Articles

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

Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety

Article by   February 2015
It's that time of year again: the ancient tradition of Lent, kick-started by Ash Wednesday. It is also the time of year when us confessional types brace ourselves for the annual onslaught of a more recent tradition: that of evangelical pundits, with no affiliation to such branches of the church, writing articles extolling Lent's virtues to their own eclectic constituency. continue

Boyhood

Article by   February 2015
It is rarely possible to predict with any certainty which of today's crowd-pleasers or critic-pleasers will secure for themselves a place as classics in the annals of film history--which will be taken as the defining films of their era, not... continue

'Mindfulness' or the mind of Christ: A false dilemma

Article by   February 2015
"Come to me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) Oh, the beauty of Jesus' invitation. Who has not known the weariness that Jesus evokes, and the almost palpable relief in the promise of succor? For the anxious in particular, no words are sweeter. And for just that reason, no words can be more troubling. Rest, the one thing needful for the anxious, seems ever to evade their grasp. Or, if it comes, it leaves as abruptly. continue

Avoiding the Dead Ends of Providence: Monocausal Fatalism and Open Theism [Part 2]

Article by   February 2015
As I explored in the previous article in this series, my cancer diagnosis forced me to join the Psalmists in prayer more deeply than I had ever done before. I prayed the Psalms - especially Psalms of laments - with others and in solitude. And I noticed that as they pray to the good and Almighty God, they are also unafraid to question God, to ask why he does not appear to be fulfilling his promises. continue

Reformed Catholicity

Article by   February 2015
Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain, Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015A few words of introduction and clarification are requisite on the front end of this review. First, given the... continue

Justification, Faith and Works: Calvin on Ezekiel 18:17

Article by   February 2015
A passage from Calvin's commentary on Ezekiel 18:14-17 has the distinction of being among the last, perhaps the last, of his comments on the relationship among justification, faith and works. Apparently written shortly before his death in 1564, it is perhaps as pointed as any of his comments on their interrelationship and so, highly instructive concerning his matured understanding. An excerpt of some length from his comments on verse 17 is provided here, because, seen in its immediate context, it needs to be read carefully and digested (bolding added). Note that when Calvin speaks here of "works" he clearly has in view, as the plural shows, the believer's good works or obedience done over time, in other words, seen in terms of God's work in the believer, sanctification as ongoing or progressive, what he regularly includes elsewhere with "regeneration," a word he uses in a broader sense than later Reformed theology. continue

The Good of Politics

Article by   February 2015
James W. Skillen, The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014. $22.99/£16.99A welcome addition to Baker Academic's "Engaging Culture" series, James Skillen's The Good of Politics offers an accessible, probing introduction to the... continue

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