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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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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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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Theology

Talking About Divine Simplicity is Complicated

It is probable that some reader of this post will brand me a heretic. Such is the state of things when discussing theology proper. I was reminded of this difficulty through reading James Dolezal’s All That is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism. This isn’t a book review per se, but reflections on the topic of divine simplicity spurred by reading Dolezal. I am not denying divine simplicity, rather I…

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Theology

A Review of “The Trauma of Doctrine”

I was intrigued when I saw Paul Maxwell’s book The Trauma of Doctrine about to launch, particularly for the subtitle of “New Calvinism, Religious Abuse, and the Experience of God.” I have interacted with a lot of Reformed writers and sources, and while I wouldn’t term myself a Calvinist (nor would they likely claim me) I regard Calvinism and Reformed theology as something every student of theology must engage with. It’s simply too important historically…

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Theology

On the Eternal Punishment Scripture Speaks Of

There have always been some in church history who affirmed universalism, the view that all of humanity will ultimately be saved. Origen believed even the devil would finally be reconciled. More recently, David Bentley Hart has offered an apology for universalism in his recent book That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation. Hart’s book is polemical, for which I fault him not in the least. The topic is such that it is…

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Theology

Does Dispensationalism lead to “Christian Nationalism”?

In the wake of recent events in the United States, several have suggested that dispensational theology is at the root of an embrace of Christian nationalism. Few offer any substantive evidence beyond the charge, however. I want to offer three reasons I think this claim is inaccurate. 1) A misunderstanding of the distinctives of dispensationalism. 2) A failure to see that in church history, there has been far more symbiosis between covenant theology and seeing…

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Theology

How to Practice Theological Criticism Responsibly

Suggestions for combatants At the remove of many centuries after the apostolic era, we have not just competing voices stating what is true and false, we have whole choruses, antiphonally arrayed. The Reformation is, by some accounts, one of the most significant historical events for the Western world. It is not difficult to see how that is the case. Out of the Reformation came a surge of theologizing; believers who sifted and weighed the evidence…

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