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
“Comfort Your People” is a devotional from Isaiah 40:1–8.
“‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.” We all love to be comforted. So this word of comfort is good news for a people hungry for comfort. But wait! How is it good news that Israel “has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins”? From the prophet’s vantage point prior to the exile, it was indeed good news for him to... Read More
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
One of the most frequently asked questions related to the Bible is, “Which Bible translation should I use?” People often wonder what is the all-around best English Bible translation available. In this book, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem, Ray Clendenen, and Philip Comfort make a case for the Bible translation he represents: the NIV 2011 (New International Version), the ESV (English Standard Version), the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible), and the NLT (New Living Translation) respectively.
In each case, the contributors explain the translation philosophy under- lying these major recent... Read More
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
Engaging and accessible, The Lion and the Lamb is an ideal resource for college students and others interested in knowing the essentials of each New Testament book. A concise summary of The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown – the acclaimed New Testament introduction by the same authors — this volume sets a new standard for high-level, up-to-date research presented in a core knowledge format that is practical, relevant, and easy to follow. Part One features chapters on the nature of Scripture and the religious and political background of the New Testament. Part Two covers the... Read More
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
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
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
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
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
In a Zondervan publication, John Oswalt, long-time Old Testament scholar and author of the two-volume commentary on Isaiah in the NICOT series, discusses The Bible among the Myths. In light of controversial books by writers such as Peter Enns or Kenton Sparks, Oswalt tackles an important question: How is the Bible (actually, the Old Testament) similar or different from other ancient (Near Eastern) literature? Is it, to quote the subtitle, “Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature”?
In essence, Oswalt argues that while there are doubtless numerous surface similarities between the Old... Read More
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
There are few tasks more urgent than for the church to reflect on the nature of its mission and to formulate a clear understanding of its task in the world today. As Paul wrote, “There I do not run like someone running aimlessly. I do not fight like a boxer beating the air” (1 Cor 9:26). I developed the following 12 theses as a humble contribution to the ongoing conversation on this topic.
THE TWELVE THESES
(1) The church’s mission-in both belief and practice-should be grounded in the biblical theology of mission. This requires sustained reflection on the biblical teaching... Read More
In a previous post, I discussed the question, “Do Jews Need to Be Perfected?” An international task force of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) met on the issue of the uniqueness of Christ and Jewish evangelism in Berlin, Germany, from August 18-22, 2008 to consider how the Christian community might express genuine love for the Jewish people, especially in Europe. Participants included Christians from Germany and Messianic Jews. The result was the following “Berlin Declaration.”
1. Love is not Silent: The Need for Repentance
We deeply... Read More