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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Theology

How Much Does God Know?

A brief inquiry into the open view of God I commented recently on the problems with open theism, and in response, someone recommended Greg Boyd’s God of the Possible as a good summary of the view. Having read the book, I want to interact with some of what Boyd says to explain that the future is partly settled, and partly open. First, I commend Boyd on dealing with the text of Scripture, rather than philosophical…

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Gospel Theology

Yes, We Are Saved by Right Theology

What is popular in the broadest sense is often not detailed or specific. By popular, I mean “of the people.” A popular audience is less academic, less trained in technical terms or the jargon of specialty. They tend to be generalists. This does not mean that advanced concepts cannot be packaged in a way to appeal to a popular audience. (The “For Dummies” books acknowledge this, i.e. Physics for Dummies.) Evangelicalism is a popular movement;…

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Bible Canon of Scripture Theology

The Fallacy of Red Letterism as an Interpretive Grid

Most people have heard of “Red Letter Christians.” Who are they and what do they believe? According to redletterchristians.com,  “Red Letter Christians is a movement that holds the teachings of Jesus—which are highlighted in red letters in many Bibles—as central to our understanding of the Bible. Christ is the lens through which we interpret the Word — and the world. Not only do we have words on paper, but the Word becomes flesh — in…

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Bible Theology

Biblical Theology Comes from Reading More of the Bible

Most Christians at least acknowledge the fact that reading through all of Scripture is something they should do. One hears complaints about the great difficulties of making it through Leviticus, the implication being that it is so far removed from our contemporary experience that it is rough sledding indeed to push on. I recall being part of a study a few years ago on the last four books of the Pentateuch, and one participant remarked at…

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Theology

Does the Presence of Evil Disprove God?

I had a recent interaction on social media, in answer to the claim that “because this evil happened, God does not exist.” A friend’s very young daughter was stricken with terminal cancer and the conclusion this person drew was, if there is a God, he would not allow such evil to occur. Therefore, God does not exist.” These are not new assertions, nor is the question “Does God exist?” I suggest, however, that it is…

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Bible Theology

Is the Metaphor of God as Father Incorrect?

What are the limits of language when we speak of God’s person and essence? What can we say definitively about God that does not lapse into sentimental anthropomorphizing? These questions aren’t new, but they are recent news due to the remarks of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby stated that it is wrong to think of God as male or female. “God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human…

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The Church Theology

The Great Tradition and Interpretive Diversity

Among the many fault lines within evangelicalism is the question of certainty. In David Bebbington’s “quadrilateral,” Biblicism is a shorthand for the Scriptures as the final authority. But it’s too facile to point to a passage of Scripture and say “There, you see?” When two equally sincere and honest believers have a disagreement about what those Scriptures mean, then the problem just moves elsewhere. In a prior post, I discussed the rule of faith, which for…

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Theology

Where Poor Theology Can Lead Us

Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the importance of the local church in bringing believers to “the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) That urging is every bit as important today as it was in the first century. The danger of remaining immature, or poorly instructed in the teaching of the gospel, can have profound consequences. I recently read…

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