Articles

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

Critiquing the Klinean Doctrine of Republication: A review article

Article by   March 2015
Currently, there is considerable discussion - both within the academy and within the Church - concerning the doctrine of republication. In its most basic form, republication is the belief that "the Mosaic covenant [is] to be considered in some sense a republication of the Adamic covenant of works." (p.1) In the opinion of those who hold republication views, such an understanding of the Mosaic covenant has been a long-held, although recently-neglected, position within Reformed covenant theology. continue

Mere Believers

Article by   March 2015
Marc Baer, Mere Believers: How Eight Faithful Lives Changed the Course of History. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2013. 190 pages. $22.00Although I double-majored in English and history as an undergraduate, when I moved on to graduate school, I narrowed my... continue

Rejoice in the Midst of Suffering?

Article by   March 2015
We only need to read the headlines in the morning paper or turn on the evening news to have confirmed what we already know to be true, suffering is an ever-present companion in this world. As a result of the Fall, every individual throughout the history of humanity has known suffering and Christians are not exempt from this experience. Rather, in many ways the suffering Christians are called to endure can even be greater (John 15:20) than that which the unbeliever endures in this world. continue

Kingdom Conspiracy

Article by   March 2015
Scot McKnight, Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2014. x + 289pp. $21.99The Kingdom of God has captured the attention and imagination of many recent evangelical writers. Even so, nothing resembling a... continue

Around and Around We Go

Article by   February 2015
Since we completed our discussion of the "Ten Tenets" last month, I thought it might be useful to comment on some of the common objections to a Covenantal approach to apologetics. One of the most common objections against a "Covenantal" (or presuppositional) approach to apologetics is that it reasons in a circle, and thus provides no real argument for its position. Reasoning in a circle is a fallacious endeavor, so the objection goes; it cannot provide reasons for what it claims. Examples of this objection could be almost endlessly multiplied, but we will be content with just a couple. In a recent exchange between Covenantal and Classical apologists, one of the latter complains continue

Rejoicing in Lament

Article by   February 2015
J. Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015. $14.99/£11.99Much of life in a fallen world consists of navigating through the fog of tragedy and suffering. Any pastor who has... continue

Joining the Resistance: Lament and the Kingdom [Part 4]

Article by   February 2015
In previous posts, I have suggested that the question of suffering before God needs to remain an open question - a question that we, along with the Psalmists, bring before God in the midst of our grief, anger, and confusion. All of this relates to prayer. But it also relates to action - action in a world in which God is king, and yet we groan and wait for his kingdom to come in fullness. continue

Atonement, Law and Justice

Article by   February 2015
Adonis Vidu, Atonement, Law and Justice: The Cross in Historical and Cultural Contexts. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2014. $24.99/£15.99Theology does not occur in a vacuum, we are constantly reminded. The Church's doctrines do not develop in isolation from the contingencies... continue

Divine Providence: Occupying The Mysterious Middle [Part 3]

Article by   February 2015
How can we avoid the extremes of monocausal fatalism, on the one hand, and open theism which insists that some events are "pointless" even to God, on the other? As I immersed myself in the Psalms after my cancer diagnosis, I came to see the value of the much-maligned "classical distinctions" in historic Christian theology. This realization may come as a surprise to some as caricatures abound of classical approaches to divine providence. Sometimes these caricatures come from its contemporary opponents. They usually paint it as portraying an unfeeling Sovereign Tyrant, thus presenting a doctrine that lacks pastoral empathy and fails to confess the dynamic, passionate God of the Bible continue

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