The Extent of the Atonement

Discussing the Atonement As Co-Heirs of Life

In discussions of the atonement, it is far too easy to lapse into lines of reasoning that have an appeal to emotion, or to what seems logical, but for which Scriptural warrant may be lacking. Some of this can be seen even in the terms used through the centuries. In this debate, there has been an evolution of terms: “limited atonement”, “particular redemption” and “definite atonement.” At various points in history throughout the discussions of…

Continue reading

The Extent of the Atonement

Does the Passover Demonstrate Definite Atonement?

At various point through the years, I have investigated the idea of “definite atonement.” As I’m now reading through From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective a few reactions have come to mind. I recognize the topic is broad, and takes in many different aspects of theology, so I don’t want to diminish the complexity of it by coming to some summary conclusions in this post.…

Continue reading

Bible Canon of Scripture

Is Holy Scripture Sufficient?

The expanse of 2000 years of Church history means that one is forced to be more precise and specific than some prior ages might have required, because as Thomas Schreiner has written, “controversy is the furnace in which clearer theology is formed.” Distinguishing between the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of it is one of those furnaces, and indeed, while both are doubted, there is a need to parse the implications of saying Scripture…

Continue reading

Gospel Old Testament

The Gospel is in Leviticus

“Moses and all the prophets” includes the 3rd book of the Torah. It’s somewhat of an evangelical applause line to say that you’ve tried to read through the Bible in a year, but got bogged down in Leviticus. Brothers and sisters, I’d like to issue an appeal that we stop disparaging the book as some cryptic, impossible-to-understand work that we somehow tolerate because it’s part of the Hebrew Bible. Instead, let’s look at Leviticus as…

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

The Decalogue

What Does Scripture Mean by the Word “Law”?

Context and salvation history help us see not all uses are equal. The word “law” is an important one in the Bible, in the Old Testament, especially, but also in the New. If we read the word and always think it has a single meaning, we will be led astray from what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. Only by reading and comparing can we arrive at the various ways Scripture uses the word.…

Continue reading

The Decalogue The Law of Moses

What Did the Jerusalem Council Decide?

Putting Christians under the law was wrong then, as it is now. Acts 15 contains the account of the first council of the church, in Jerusalem. The topic was the law, and whether Gentile converts to faith in Jesus need to adhere to the Mosaic law. Despite the clear verdict of the council, there are still those who say that the Christian must keep the law. But just as it was wrong then, so is…

Continue reading

Gospels

Can Redaction Aid Interpretation?

Redaction criticism in gospel studies is a well-known discipline. It is the study of the selection and arrangement of the materials the evangelists used to construct their accounts of the life of Jesus. Redaction does not imply that inspiration takes a back seat, rather, that the Holy Spirit moved in the writers in a way that resulted in the gospels we have. The inclusion (or exclusion) of pericopes, the placement of them in the record,…

Continue reading

Covenant Theology

What are the Terms of a Covenant with Adam?

I previously looked at the idea of headship, and concluded that Scripture teaches we are under one of two heads: Adam or Christ. Jesus taught that his blood is the basis of the new covenant, and the book of Hebrews twice states that Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant (“he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance”. 9:15, and “Jesus, the…

Continue reading

Covenant Theology

The Diversity of “Covenant” in Early Reformation History

Before there was Federalism, there was Bullinger When one thinks of Reformed theology, it is usually the case that federalism, or covenant theology, is part of this heritage. But the history of Reformed theology isn’t as monolithic as some may think when it comes to the idea of covenant. Indeed, J. Wayne Baker’s work in Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenant is subtitled, “The other Reformed Tradition.” What the other tradition shows is that what now…

Continue reading