Posts Tagged "Theology"

What Happened During the Final Week of Jesus?

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Remarkably, this year the dates of Easter week coincide exactly with those of the final week of Jesus, according to most likely estimates, as follows. Justin Taylor and I include a rationale for the original dates in our book The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Crossway, 2014). Here is a brief synopsis of these events. Sunday, March 29: Jesus triumphantly enters the city of Jerusalem, mounted humbly on a donkey in keeping with prophetic messianic prediction. He later predicts his impending death and teaches at the Temple. Monday,... Read More

Best of 2014

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I am grateful for the publication of several volumes in 2014 that will equip serious exegetes and preachers to study and proclaim God’s word with greater accuracy and authority. This pertains particularly to the study of Acts, Galatians, 1-2 Thessalonians, and 1 Peter. Other important books pertain to the divinity of Jesus, church leadership, and heaven. In the interest of full disclosure, while no books I authored are included, there are several books to which I contributed an essay (6, 7) or which I edited (2, 4). 1. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 5... Read More

What Is the Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived?

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Here’s what Easter may look like for many dedicated Christian families. Spring is always a very busy time of year, with spring cleaning, tax returns, school, and a million other things. You’d go to church and serve there in a variety of ways. But more often than not, Easter sneaks up on you. Palm Sunday? Oh, yes, it’s Palm Sunday! Perhaps the pastor preaches a sermon on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where an excited crowd waves palm branches, and everyone in the congregation is upbeat. Problem is, the excitement soon wanes, and Jesus ends up crucified. Good Friday... Read More

Who Is Jesus?

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With the publication of Bart Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God and the response How God Became Jesus by a team of scholars, Jesus is in the news again. That’s a very good thing. It’s also terrific that scholars are rising to the challenge of responding to the skeptical questions raised by the likes of Ehrman. But at a deeper level, what is needed is to equip high school students and young college students, as well as their parents and youth leaders, to know what the issues are and to respond intelligently and biblically to questions such as, Why does God allow human suffering? Is the... Read More

Best of 2013

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Christmas is only a couple weeks away, which means it’s time once again for the best books in Bible and theology published this year. The list is inevitably subjective, and in many cases unsurprising, as certain books commend themselves by their self-evident quality and the scholarly stature of their authors. Needless to say, listing a book doesn’t mean I endorse all of its contents (in some cases, I haven’t even read the entire book yet!). With this in mind, then, are my top 10 books of 2013: 1. William Baird, History of New Testament Research, vol. 3: From C. H. Dodd to Hans Dieter... Read More

The Present and Future of Biblical Theology

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In his influential address, “Discourse on the Proper Distinction between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology, and the Right Determination of the Aims of Each,” Johann Philipp Gabler (1753–1826) lodged the programmatic proposal that scholars ought to distinguish between biblical and systematic theology. In his lecture, delivered at the University of Altdorf in 1787 (the year the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia), Gabler urged his colleagues to place their theological edifice more overtly on a scriptural foundation: “There is truly a biblical theology, of historical origin,... Read More

Failure, the Backdoor to Success

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Many years ago, I read Chicago pastor Erwin Lutzer’s little book Failure, the Back Door to Success. The title sums up the underlying message perfectly: while none of us welcomes failure, many times we must fail before we can succeed. In God’s terms, suffering and testing will often precede glory and success. No passage in the Bible drives this point home more poignantly than the opening verses of Isaiah 40. The Priority of Failure: Judgment Comes before Comfort “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is... Read More

What is the Hermeneutical Triad?

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In my presentation today, I’ll introduce you to a set of new hermeneutical lenses I call “the hermeneutical triad”—history, literature, and theology. This hermeneutical triad forms the backbone of Dick Patterson’s and my new hermeneutics text, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. What is the “hermeneutical triad”? In short, our core proposal is this: for any passage of Scripture, regardless of genre, you’ll want to study the historical setting, the literary context, and the theological message. Thus the hermeneutical triad consists of history, literature, and theology. As... Read More

Does John Teach a Replacement Theology?

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John does not teach a replacement theology whereby the church takes the place of Israel. As a closer look at John 15 indicates, it is not believers in Jesus who are depicted as the vine. Rather, the vine is Jesus. Jesus himself is therefore the new Israel, just as he has already been portrayed as the replacement of the temple and the fulfillment of the symbolism of various Jewish festivals. Jesus thus embodies and fulfills God’s true intentions for Israel; he is the paradigmatic vine, the channel through whom God’s blessings flow and who bears much fruit. Indeed, by dying Jesus will prove... Read More

Surrejoinder to Voddie Baucham

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Voddie: Thank you for these additional points of follow-up. First of all, thank you for articulating your strong commitment to regenerate church membership, with implication for observance of the Lord’s Supper. I accept your assurance that this is not an FIC issue even though Presbyterians will differ from Baptists on these matters. Perhaps a bit more dialogue is needed on this to crystallize the issue even more clearly. I’m not sure what was unclear about my response regarding the Mohler blog. As I tried to indicate, Dr. Mohler had planned to post a blog but did not end up doing so, and... Read More

Rejoinder to Voddie Baucham

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Voddie: Thank you for taking the time to read the chapter on God, Marriage, Family, and the Church in the second edition of God, Marriage & Family and for your blog post in response to it. You are a man of God, and I am deeply grateful for your ministry. In fact, I endorsed your most recent book! I think it’s great that you and I seem to agree on the bottom line—you quote at length my positive and constructive prescription on how to move forward in encouraging family-friendly and family-oriented churches (though you prefer the term “family-integrated”). We also agree on the... Read More

Proposition 8

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Christianity Today has an article on the recent Proposition 8 ruling that includes many different evangelical voices. Here is my response: The ruling shows that as Christians, we should not look for a political solution to the crisis surrounding marriage and the family in our culture. The only true and lasting solution is found in a return to our spiritual foundations. The Bible makes clear that marriage is God’s idea rather than a social contract that we are free to renegotiate based on changing social trends. But we can’t expect the unbelieving world or any government or... Read More

What Is the Heresy of Orthodoxy?

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The Bauer-Ehrman thesis contends that “orthodoxy” is not a first-century phenomenon but only a later concept that allowed the Roman church to squelch alternate versions of Christianity. We have seen that Bauer virtually ignores the New Testament evidence while believing to find evidence for early heresy and late orthodoxy in various urban centers of the second century. Ehrman, likewise, makes much of second-century diversity and assigns the notion of orthodoxy to later church councils. The precursors of the orthodox, Ehrman calls “proto-orthodox,” even though it must,... Read More

What Is the Gospel? 5 Observations

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A while back, I contributed a chapter entitled “The Gospel for All Nations” to a book called Faith Comes by Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism (edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (InterVarsity). Here are my five concluding observations: 1. Divine, not human: The gospel is God’s saving message to a world living in darkness and a humanity lost in its sin. The gospel is not a human message, nor was its conception a function of human initiative, but its origin and its impetus derive solely from God. For this reason our role with regard to the gospel is not that of... Read More

The Gospel, Missions, and Inclusivism

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Daniel Strange, in his monograph The Possibility of Salvation Among the Unevangelised, defines the “unevangelized” as “any person in history who has lived and died without hearing and understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a human messenger.” As Strange notes, this would seem to include at least four groups of people: (1) children who died in infancy and those mentally unable to respond to the gospel; (2) those who lived prior to the time of Christ and thus before the formulation known as “the gospel”; (3) those who have been presented with a... Read More