Bible Theology

Is Biblicism the Problem in the Church Today?

The diffuse nature of evangelicalism means it is both difficult to define what it now is, but also that it is popular, that is, of the people. These facts have without question led to doctrinal aberration and heterodoxy. The solution some put forth is we need to overcome biblicism and return to classical theism. But the counsel is not self-evident, in that it rests on definitions that may not be commonly held. One writer offers…

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The Church

Is There a Difference between Church Membership and Commitment?

In a much of church culture, there is an emphasis on membership, as a way to get believers to commit to the local church. Yet membership and commitment are not synonymous, and looking at the distinction can help us understand the importance behind these ideas.   Almost all local churches have a membership process, often entailing a class one takes, and then signing a covenant about member responsibilities. Usually (one hopes!) there is an interview…

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Theology

Two Truths and a Lie

The game “two truths and a lie” is a popular ice-breaker for youth ministry gatherings, at least it was when I was working with high school youth groups. A person states three “facts” and the hearers must guess which of the the three is a lie. The game plays on expectations and what people know—or think they know—about the person. Laughter usually ensues at the admission of what is actually true. “I did not expect…

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Theology

You May Be More of a Dispensationalist Than You Think

Dispensationalism, as a way of viewing God’s dealings with mankind, is for some, a theological “crazy uncle.” The stereotype of excited explanations of end-times events has become an eye-roll inducing meme. Things like the “Left Behind” series have not helped, but they do serve as an example of misconceptions surrounding dispensational views. I want to discuss a few of these and suggest that elements of what constitute dispensationalism are present in more theological systems than…

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Covenant Theology The Extent of the Atonement

The Covenant of Redemption is a Problematic Notion

Within Covenant Theology, there is some diversity of views on whether there are two or three covenants. Most recognize a covenant of works, made with Adam, and a covenant of grace, which God establishes just after the Fall. However, many see a third, the covenant of redemption, that differs from these. The topic is large enough that I will only be able to capture highlights, but I hope to focus on those questions I believe…

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Greek Theology

Does the New Testament Use ἀνήρ and ἄνθρωπος Synonymously?

Bible translation is not a static discipline. As target languages change, it calls for fresh renderings of the Scriptures. Some words lose or change their meanings, to a point where it may be confusing to readers of a different era. I well recall sitting in a Bible study years ago where a young man was puzzling over the King James rendering of Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” He…

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The Church

Was Junia an Apostle?

When dealing with the question of women’s roles in the church, many cite Romans 16:7 to demonstrate that women could and did serve as apostles in the early church. In the ESV, the verse reads “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles.” Some have pointed to the ESV as a thumb-on-the-scale translation, in rendering the verse “They are well known to the apostles” instead of…

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Theology

Is “The Making of Biblical Womanhood” a Game-Changer?

The discussion around women’s ordination, and complementarianism versus egalitarianism has percolated for decades, but has lately risen to a boil. Several books have come out, and when a church as high profile as Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church ordains women, something different is happening. The reception of Beth Allison Barr’s The Making of Biblical Womanhood made me wonder if new data had come along. After reading it, I don’t believe so. Barr frames the issue as…

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Theology

Two Truths and No Lie: Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Is there a solution to the “problem” of reconciling divine sovereignty and human responsibility? I use quotes because there are many who say there’s no problem whatsoever. God is sovereign. However, while most readers of Scripture would agree with this, it is likewise too facile an explanation of all the biblical data. My thoughts were once again drawn the topic by reading D. A. Carson’s Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspectives in Tension. I…

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Theology

Triumphalist Arguments And Theological Dialogue

A byproduct of social media is that the degree of separation it provides makes some feel emboldened to speak (or post) in ways they might not if they were sitting across a table from someone. Quite often this takes the form of what I refer to as either a “triumphalist” tweet, or a “peremptory” post. That is, the words are designed as a slam-dunk on a (potential) opponent (the triumphalist) or the thought is expressed…

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