June 2014 Archives

The Rise of Liberal Religion

Article by   June 2014
Matthew S. Hedstrom. The Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century. Oxford, 2013.288  pp. $39.99/£29.99Reformed Christians pride themselves in being well informed of major eras in the development of Christian theology. They can articulate... continue

The Gospel and Total Depravity

Article by   June 2014
This month, I want to continue in my studies of the Affirmations and Denials on the Gospel and Sanctification, which touch upon so many significant issues. Having started with Article 1, which says that Legalism Is a Real Problem, I move now to Article 2, The Gospel and Total Depravity. We start with the affirmation: We affirm that unregenerate man, being totally depraved, is unable to obey or please God unto salvation. continue

One with Christ

Article by   June 2014
Marcus Peter Johnson, One with Christ: An Evangelical Theology of Salvation. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 256 pp. $19.99/£12.99Though I am not a Calvin scholar, there are few theologians who have influenced me as much, and consistently help me more than the... continue

Treading Through the Tenets: Of Metaphysics and Marriage

Article by   June 2014
This month we look at the man-ward side of God's natural revelation, which means, what we do with what God is doing. Last month, we saw the God-ward side of that revelation. God is, always and everywhere, from the time of our existence into eternity future, making himself known to all people, at all times. Note carefully: God is the actor here, and not we ourselves. God is the one revealing, and ensuring that his revelation gets through to every creature. There is no possibility of getting an "F" on the "Knowing God" exam on judgment day. There is no possibility that the knowledge that God reveals is in any way false. The sober and substantial truth of the matter is that all people, by virtue of being image-bearers of God, begin their existence as knowers of God, because knowers of creation. This has massive theological, and epistemological, implications for every person. Christians, and philosophers, would do well to tuck this truth away in their bag of necessities and have it handy to pull out each and every day, first thing in the morning. This is the way to begin to interpret ourselves, and the world around us. Because God is actively revealing himself, that revelation hits its mark every time. We know because he reveals; it's that simple. continue

Politics and the Order of Love

Article by   June 2014
Eric S. Gregory. Politics and the Order of Love: An Augustinian Ethic of Democratic Citizenship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. 417 pp. $28.99/£20.99This is not a book to be undertaken lightly by the unsuspecting reader, lured in by the... continue

Insider Movements Defined...Biblically

Article by   June 2014
Insider Movement (IM) advocates arrive at their conviction by a variety of different ways. For example, the behavioral sciences are viewed as furnishing a hermeneutical key that unlocks both the Bible and the door into other religions. Other advocates of IM are bare pragmatists and find in IM a possible solution to reaching resistant peoples when all other options have been tried and apparently failed. Still others are universalists and see in other religions a spark that will spontaneously ignite into "christianities" of different forms. Then there are the ecumenicists outside of the evangelical camp who see the lines between Christianity and other religions as blurred beyond recognition. Lastly, there are the pietists who do not concern themselves with doctrine and perceive IM as a movement of the Holy Spirit authenticated by astonishing anecdotes. Some advocates are open to any of these avenues while others are more selective. continue

Jennings and Garner Final Responses

Article by   June 2014
Dr. Nelson Jennings's Final Response It is indeed a privilege to testify to God's goodness and greatness, as well as to try and work together regarding how best to serve the cause of the Christian gospel. It is a painful reality, however, to be thoroughly misunderstood and mischaracterized on important matters too numerous to list, much less to try and discuss, in this brief response. My earlier response (and essays) already attempts to address some of the misunderstandings and mischaracterizations. Let me quickly add that, insofar as I have (unintentionally) misunderstood and misrepresented Dr. Garner on certain points, I sincerely apologize continue

The Study Committee on Insider Movements Minority Report - Concrete or Abstract?

Article by   June 2014
The title "Realities on the Ground - An Additional Perspective" for Minority Report 2014 is misleading. What is set forth in this document is not a perspective that compliments or supplements the SCIM Report but rather one that is wholly contrary as it is founded on a contrary premise. What it claims to be "reality" is in fact based on abstractions. This essay argues that the SCIM Minority Reports, 2014 in particular, has confused what is concrete and what is abstract and thereby present a perspective that is not simply confused, but false. continue

Divine Providence and Human Agency

Article by   June 2014
Alexander S. Jensen, Divine Providence and Human Agency: Trinity, Creation and Freedom. Farnham, Surrey, Ashgate, 2014. 215 pp. $104.99/£57.99How would you go about developing the theme that is the title of this book? The typical reader of Reformation 21 would... continue

Is the Insider Movement Really That Bad?

Article by   June 2014
As I prepare to serve as a commissioner to the 2014 PCA General Assembly, I have been refreshing myself on the Insider Movement/s (IM) debate. I began with the study committee's report, a powerful case against IM that David Garner has ably defended. However, although I had read some pro-IM material in the past, I decided to read for myself what some consider the most attractive and compelling work, Carl Medearis's Muslims, Christians and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships (Bethany House, 2008). continue

Tolle Lege: A Brief Response to Paul Helm

Article by   June 2014
I have decided, with some reluctance, to respond to Paul Helm's recent critique of God With Us. The reasons for my minor reluctance are two. First, I consider Paul a friend. I have learned much from him and, for example, wanted to make sure our students here at Westminster were exposed to his teaching, so was pleased to invite him to teach a doctoral course here a few years ago. I do suspect, however, that his antipathy to Van Til is some of what motivates his comments below. These disagreements, I trust, remain disagreements among friends -- at least I would hope they do. continue

Jennings and Garner First Rejoinders

Article by   June 2014
Editors' Note: The first part of this series can be found here. This installment is the first of two responses offered by each participant. Jennings's First Response It is privilege to testify to God's goodness and greatness, as well as to work together regarding how best to serve the cause of the Christian gospel. continue

Who's Afraid of Relativism?

Article by   June 2014
James K. A. Smith. Who's Afraid of Relativism? Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2014. 192 pp.  Softcover: $19.99/£11.99James K. A. Smith's latest book is the follow-up to Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? (2006) and continues his longstanding... continue
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