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The Blessing of a Boring Testimony

Posted on June 29, 2012

My youngest daughter Peace was participating in a missionary trip to Mexico years ago with a local evangelical church. This was a basically good group, as far as I can tell, though I would, of course, disagree with some of their theological distinctives. She asked me, “Dad, before we go, we’re required to give the group a public testimony of our salvation experience. I know I’m saved. What should I say? A lot of the other kids have really spectacular testimonies, but mine is so boring. I was trained in a Christian home and heard the gospel from an infant and trusted the Lord. I wish my testimony were more exciting!” I smiled with gratification, and told her of the blessing of a boring testimony. One…

Is Obedience a Christian Duty?

Posted on June 28, 2012

Mark Galli, Managing Editor of Christianity Today, writes: We are in the bad habit of thinking that ethics is a REAL SERIOUS BUSINESS [his caps], that our welfare and the welfare of the world depend on its proper execution. Not quite. The gospel is the end of ethics in this sense. In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself. The welfare of the world is a settled issue. Someone has already won the Masters [golf tournament]. The key question for believers is not “What are you going to do to earn God’s blessing, or to attain a good life, or to thank God for all he has done for you, or to make the world a better place?” No, it’s “What are you going to…

What Is the Gospel?

Posted on June 25, 2012

So here is the problem. Man is a guilty sinner, God is a holy God. How can the two be brought together? The answer is the cross of Christ. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross[1]   “God was in Christ,” writes Paul to the church at Corinth, “reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing [counting] their trespasses to [against] them (Second Epistle, 5:19) Two thousand years ago, God acted dramatically in Jesus of Nazareth to bring back to Himself an estranged human race.  This is the world’s Good News — its best news, in fact — and in the Bible it is called the Gospel.[2] It was this message that formed the heart of the mission of Jesus’ earliest followers after His death and resurrection.  This…

Romancing Utopia

Posted on June 25, 2012

I detest the notion of a new dawn in which Homo sapiens would live in harmony. The hope this utopia engenders justified the bloodiest exterminations in history.   François Bizot[1] In his brief but weighty tract Communism: A History,[2] Harvard historian Richard Pipes observes what others before him[3] have noted — the driving force behind Marxist regimes of the 20th century was nothing less than to “creat[e] an entirely new type of human being” (8-9).   The underlying goal was not economic, but ontological.   Acquisitiveness is a trait cultivated by capitalist societies, according to Marxists, but it can be stripped from man’s consciousness by careful reconditioning.   Man can be broken, remade and purged of all self-interest and recalibrated to submit joyfully to “the collective” in…

The Deity of Jesus Christ as Jewish Monotheism

Posted on June 24, 2012

My Christology will never be the same. In his God Crucified: Monotheism & Christology in the New Testament, Richard Bauckham argues that: The deity of Jesus as an aspect of orthodox Christology did not develop in the patristic church but was already a tenet of the first (Jewish) church that had sufficient categories to identify Jesus of Nazareth with the one God of Israel. Orthodox Christology was developed by Jews, not Gentiles, who (rightly) piggybacked on it. Jesus is intrinsic to the unique identity of God such that if we do not understand Jesus, we do not rightly understand God. The OT already contains adumbrations of divine identity (e.g., Wisdom, the Word) that reflect the being of God and not simply his nature or…

It’s the Ecclesiology, Stupid

Posted on June 12, 2012

On Being Honestly Wrong Jason Stellman was correct to relinquish his Protestant ministerial credentials when he became no longer convinced of the distinctive Protestant dicta of sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) and sola fide (faith alone). Jason was confessionally bound (Westminster Confession of Faith) to both distinctives in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and the honest thing to do was give up his ordination along with his doctrine (one wishes that many 20th century liberals had been so honest). Not that honesty is the prime virtue.  One can be honest and wrong.  Jason is honest and wrong.  He claims that there is “no indication in Scripture that such [infallible] ecclesiastical authority [as he claims was found in the apostolic church] was to cease and…