Church of the Triune God: Understanding God’s work in his people today
Edited by Michael Jensen, Aquila Press, Sydney, 2013, 224 pp.
Athanasius didn’t think Trinitarian deviation was a case of “all one in Christ”.
Yes, I’m talking about Hillsong Conference 2013 with TD Jakes on the platform. Jakes has come from Oneness Pentecostalism—a modalist trinitarian heresy—and still equivocates about orthodox trinitarian confession. (more…)
In the first part of this look at biblical inerrancy, we examined the answers to two questions: “What is the Bible?” and “What is ‘inerrancy’ when it is applied to the Bible?”. We determined that the Bible is God’s words—which have at their heart God’s promises and what flows from them—and that inerrancy makes a statement about God’s trustworthy and truthful character and our faith in him. (more…)
Within the heart of the Christian faith is an astounding truth. God—who created and sustains the universe—became incarnate. The immortal and perfect Son of God shared our messy, sin-prone death-ridden lives of flesh and blood; he became human, walked with us, suffered with us, and subjected himself to our temptations. Ultimately, he died for us, satisfying God’s wrath, destroying death. While we all exist firmly and squarely on the ‘human’ side of the God-human divide, the incarnation means that we rebels can share in intimate fellowship with God himself through the Spirit of the risen Lord Jesus—now and for all eternity. (more…)
Theologically speaking, pushing right is much harder than pushing left. I do both, depending on the context, and pushing right is definitely more difficult. When I’m trying to nudge people to their left on an issue—trying to persuade five point Calvinists to become four pointers or less, commending pacifism, defending theistic evolution, or championing charismatic gifts for today—I feel radical, creative, daring, exciting, and somewhat impish. But when I’m trying to nudge people to their right about something—inerrancy, hell, gender roles, sexual ethics, biblical authority, Reformed soteriology—I feel conservative, stern, unpopular, staid, and even somewhat apologetic.
Like I did, you might have missed this insightful post from Kevin de Young a couple of weeks ago about why churches that seemingly believe the same things, or tick the same doctrinal boxes, can look so different. Would you add or subtract anything from his list?
We know that the much-misunderstood word ‘faith’ basically means to trust in or rely upon someone or something. And many of us have heard (and used) the ‘chair illustration’ as a neat way of explaining this; that you demonstrate your faith (or ‘trust’) in a chair when you sit on it. Likewise, you only really have faith in Jesus (‘trust in Jesus’) when you rest your weight upon him. (more…)
This is the original, longer version of the edited article that appeared in print.
1. Dealing with a theological legacy
There are three common mistakes when dealing with the legacy of previous generations, whether it is in the area of theology or any other endeavour. The first is uncritical acceptance, where all that was said or done by the great ones who have gone before us is treated as so true and perfect that none of it can be questioned. Some confessional theology can be like that. I remember listening to a series of addresses on baptism in which the constant refrain was “the Reformed faith teaches…” Now I’m happy to identify myself as standing within the Reformed tradition of theology, but after about the fifth address (there were twelve!) you couldn’t help but wonder whether this system was so set in stone that it would be impossible to question it on the basis of the Bible. I had the impression that to do so would be considered a betrayal of Calvin, or Turretin, or Hodge or Warfield and what they have bequeathed to us. And yet each one of those men would have rushed to protest that their own teaching needed to be tested by the one true standard of doctrine, the teaching of the Scriptures. Now if you think that is just typical of the conservative edge of the Reformed tradition, I’ve heard people do similar things with the theology of Karl Barth. Barth’s theology sometimes seems to be made of Teflon—no criticism is allowed to stick. But Barth himself famously spoke of how the angels laughed at those who spend more time thinking about what Barth said than about what God has said. That’s the first mistake to make when considering the legacy of the great ones who have gone before us. (more…)
In the middle of the classic Christmas hymn ‘Away in a Manger’, there is this one line that doesn’t quite ring true. The second stanza tells us, “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes / But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes”. Did baby Jesus really not cry? The hymn author was likely thinking that Jesus did not cry because he was perfect and divine. But does a crying baby Jesus detract from his divinity? I think not, but a non-crying baby Jesus detracts from his humanity. (more…)
Like the eagerly-awaited visit of Apollos to Corinth (1 Cor 16), John Piper’s visit to Sydney in August brought great excitement to many local Christians. David Starling examines Piper’s theology to see what kind of fruit this visit may bear. (more…)
Recently on a feedback card at church, someone commented:
“I thought Jesus didn’t descend into hell! Just that he suffered the death we deserved.”
The answer is: yes and no! The question raises complex issues that cannot be easily answered in a short space.
So let me take a long space. (And if you are interested, read on, read slowly, and re-read if you need!)
I suspect the title has already polarized you—or if not that, it has at least evoked something of a gut response for you. The issues of creation and science tend to do that for people! But please let me set the context of this discussion: this is not a discussion about science and creation.
Jesus is God, who came to earth as a man, left as a man… and has now set aside his humanity to return to being wholly God? Peter Orr explains why Jesus is still God and man today, and will be for eternity. (more…)