Articles

Disunity in Christ

Article by   May 2015
Christena Cleveland, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2013. $13.99/£9.99Christena Cleveland's Disunity in Christ is an important read for those who--in an increasingly pluralistic yet no less segregated society--call church their... continue

More Spalled Concrete

Article by   May 2015
In our last two articles, we've been dealing with various objections that continue to be offered against a Covenantal approach to apologetics. The objection that we considered last time needs more explanation and discussion that we were able to give it in one article. We will continue that discussion in this article (and the next) in order to try more fully to address the objection itself. The hope is that these responses will be taken into account if the objection continues to be offered, rather than, as is often the case, simply repeating the objection as if nothing has been offered in response. continue

The Human Being: A Theological Anthropology

Article by   May 2015
Hans Schwarz, The Human Being: A Theological Anthropology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013. $24.99After years of relative neglect, theological anthropology has been on the rise lately. In the last few years alone, we've seen books like Michael Welker's The Depth of... continue

The Fruit of the Spirit: Love [part 2]

Article by   May 2015
At the head of the apostle's list of the Spirit's fruits stands love, the principal virtue from which the others derive and of which they are extensions. If we are to come to understand the nature of Christian love and the character of the gospel's commands to love, however, we have to proceed indirectly, reflecting first on God and the acts of God, and then on created human nature. continue

The Dynamics of Biblical Mystery

Article by   May 2015
G.K. Beale and Benjamin Gladd. Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 392 pp. $27.00.The current interest in Christ-centered preaching owes many of its finer products to the redemptive historical method and this... continue

The Kingdom Theology of the Psalter - A Challenging Lesson for the Church in America

Article by   May 2015
The language of royalty is pervasive in the Psalms. "Rule," "king" and their cognates appear 98 times in the Psalms (and the figurative words "throne," "rod," or "scepter" appear 26 times). Kings govern their kingdoms via statutes or laws, and such language appears 110 times. Kings also defend their people militarily, and such language appears 297 times. Just in these word-groups alone, we have 531 examples of royal language in the 150 canonical Psalms. This is not at all surprising, because the psalter is the hymnal of a religious people whose faith was essentially royal. The biblical narrative that we ordinarily designate as "Creation--Fall--Redemption" could equally truthfully be designated as "Rule of God--Revolt against God's Rule--Restoration of God's Rule. continue

In Defense of the Ass: Is the Sermon a "Relic of the Reformation?" [Part 2]

Article by   May 2015
For Paul, being trendy was a decidedly bad idea when it comes to preaching. He warned that people "will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions." (2 Tim 3) But the most compelling reason to resist the "relic hypothesis" is found in one of the most monumental treatments of preaching by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1. continue

Basil of Caesarea

Article by   April 2015
Stephen M. Hildebrand, Basil of Caesarea. Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014. 224 pp. $24.99J.I. Packer once likened the English Puritans to the giant redwood trees of California, that not only astound by their... continue

In Defense of the Ass: Is the Sermon a "Relic of the Reformation?"

Article by   April 2015
Recently I was presented with a question about preaching. "Given that contemporary communication studies show that people learn better with a Q&A format, should we abandon the traditional form of the sermon?" The stated premise behind the question was that the sermon form as we know it is a "relic of the Reformation" for which there is no biblical sanction. continue

The Terrible Speed of Mercy

Article by   April 2015
Jonathan Rogers, The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O'Connor. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012. xviii+186, $15.99.Given Flannery O'Connor's hallowed standing in American Literature and the undeniable influence she continues to have on artists and theologians of all... continue

Pastoral Collegiality and Accountability in Calvin's Geneva

Article by   April 2015
One important resource for pastoral health and well-being that is sometimes overlooked in contemporary discussions is the history of the pastoral office--the practices, convictions, and institutions in the Church's past that have been important in supporting and sustaining Christian ministers. The Protestant reformer John Calvin's pastoral theology and practice in Geneva from 1536-1564 can serve as an example.4 Recognizing the hardships and dangers caused by isolation in ministry, Calvin constructed a variety of church institutions in Geneva to promote pastoral collegiality, accountability, and gospel-faithfulness among the city's pastoral company. Calvin's model of ministry remains instructive for contemporary Christian leaders who seek to flourish and remain faithful in their ministry callings. continue

Dangerous Calling - A Review

Article by   April 2015
I have been the Pastor of the same congregation for 12 years. I enjoy it. I mean, I really enjoy it. There is no other job I would want to do. It has been a privilege. My eldest brother Dave works in the manufacturing industry. He's a better preacher than myself and my other brother Steve, who is a Baptist minister. He's certainly more pastoral and gentle than I am. Dave leaves the house each day just before 7am and he's rarely home before 7.30pm. He was made redundant 10 years ago and, because of the nature of the industry, his work is nearly always precarious. For 3 years he had to work in Holland most weeks which meant being away from his family. continue

God of the "Whats" and the "Hows"

Article by   April 2015
In our last article, we saw that the objection of circular reasoning in a Covenantal approach to apologetics has actually been a standard objection to Reformed thinking for centuries. Objections like this one are understandable, given that the ones offering them are, for the most part, outside the pale of Reformed theology. Whether we want to recognize it or not, our theology dictates our apologetic methodology. Responses to a "Classical" approach to apologetics, given its home in Arminian theology, need, first of all, to find their home in Reformed theology. Any disagreement on apologetic approaches is, first of all, a disagreement of theology. The debate, therefore, should be of a biblical and theological nature, and not primarily philosophical. continue

Contesting Catholicity

Article by   April 2015
Curtis W. Freeman. Contesting Catholicity: Theology for Other Baptists. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014, 466 pp. $49.95.Curtis Freeman claims to be an "Other Baptist."  In his new book, Contesting Catholicity, Freeman seeks to fill out the theological content of this... continue

The Fruit of the Spirit: Walk by the Spirit [Part 1]

Article by   April 2015
Paul's list of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit has embedded itself in the varied exegetical and moral-ascetical traditions of Christianity as a succinct depiction of gospel virtue, one which directs the mind, the affections and the will towards great regions of Christian truth. To reflect on this tiny fragment of apostolic exhortation is to be set before an ideal which is at once compelling and impossible. Alert readers are simultaneously captivated by the sheer goodness of the life which these words commend and chastened by their incapacity and unwillingness to enact it. But, more importantly, as we reflect on these words we are reminded that believers live and act in the realm of the Holy Spirit. In that realm of grace, God's regenerative mercy is alive and active, setting aside inability and opposition, and establishing a form of common human life - the church - in which love, joy, peace and all the others are being established as human nature is renewed and moved towards its completion. continue

Synopsis Purioris Theologiae

Article by   April 2015
Synopsis Purioris Theologiae, Latin Text and English Translation, Volume 1/Disputations 1-23 edited by Dolf te Velde, et al. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Pp. xv + 659. $154.00/£95.00The Synopsis Purioris Theologicae, popularly called the Leiden Synopsis, was originally published in 1625 not... continue

Happily Ever After? Thoughts on the Ending of the Acts of the Apostles [pt. 2]

Article by   March 2015
Why did Luke end Acts in the way that he did? The closing verses of Acts 28 serve, in part, to demonstrate Luke's point that the mission of the apostle Paul is a complete one. But in what sense is a description of Paul under house arrest for two years a conclusion to a largely itinerant ministry charted in the second half of Acts? To answer that question, we need to consider one other objective Luke has in concluding Acts in the way that he does. With the completion of Paul's ministry, a once-for-all apostolic foundation has been laid. continue

A Stone of Hope

Article by   March 2015
David L. Chappell. A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow. Chapel Hill: University of Chapel Hill Press, 2004. 344 pages. $27.95.David L. Chappell's A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow... continue

Happily Ever After? Thoughts on the Ending of the Acts of the Apostles - Pt 1

Article by   March 2015
The ending of the Acts of the Apostles has proven a puzzle, to say the least.[1] In the fourth century, John Chrysostom asked, "But of [Paul's] affairs after the two years [i.e., of Acts 28:30], what say we? (The writer) leaves the hearer athirst for more: the heathen authors do the same (in their writings), for to know everything makes the reader dull and jaded." Chrysostom's reflections are perceptive. He recognizes that Luke has not given readers the ending to Acts that they may want. He also recognizes that Luke is no careless author. The ending of Acts is a work of craft. continue

Renaissance

Article by   March 2015
Os Guinness, Renaissance: The Power Of The Gospel However Dark The Times. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP, 2014. 187pp. $16-00.What has Reformation (21) to do with Renaissance? It is the wrong question, at least if Os Guinness' latest book is in... continue

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