The Baffling Call of God

The gospel allows us to move ahead without having all the answers, without knowing perfectly the purposes of God.

Confident of God’s call on my parents to serve Him in Africa, I was baffled by what they were enduring for the sake of the needy there. Furthermore, as I dealt with my own weary and broken heart, I was baffled at what God was doing in my own life. None of it made sense.... Continue Reading

God Works Through His Appointed Means

"Yes, it is far better that he comes through the gospel than that he would now enter in through the door; for you would not even know him even though he came in."

The Christian must give priority to the outward institutions of the Word, both in preaching and in the sacraments. As God came to us in the incarnation, so He continues to come through outward means to accomplish His purpose. They are the means that God has appointed and through which He works by His Spirit.  ... Continue Reading

Does John Piper Believe in Salvation by Works?

The issue is: “Does Piper reject Reformed orthodoxy regarding salvation by faith alone?”

Reformed confessions’ teaching on salvation by faith alone, if Piper answered these questions: 1. Does justification received now in this world by faith declare not only God’s present verdict but what shall be his final verdict regarding his people? 2. Can justification, once declared, be revoked? 3. Will any who are justified in this age... Continue Reading

The Old Perspective on the Works of the Law

The Reformers understanding of Paul's argument radically impacted later Protestant formulations on the doctrine of justification.

According to proponents of the New Perspective(s) on Paul, justification does not–as the Reformed have always maintained–involve the imputation of Christ’s righteousness by faith alone. The crux of the argument has to do with how one defines the phrase “works of the Law” (and its various related forms in Pauline literature).   Biblical studies have... Continue Reading

In By Grace, Stay In By Faithfulness?

Everyone must say with David: “Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for before you no living person shall be justified.”

“Men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for... Continue Reading

Laughing with Luther

Who are we to tell God who and what He must be?

Humor, of course, has numerous functions. It is in part a survival mechanism. Mocking danger and laughing in the face of tragedy are proven ways of coping with hard and difficult situations. Undoubtedly, this played a significant role in Luther’s own penchant for poking fun. Yet I think there is probably a theological reason for... Continue Reading

We Are Equally Sinful. We Are Not All Equally Broken or Toxic.

There is a tendency to assume that biblical principles like those found in I Corinthians 10:13 mean that all our struggles carry the same weight.

 As I am using these terms, “broken” would refer to things for which we do not bear moral responsibility but create unique challenges for us, and “toxic” would refer to persistent patterns of sin that not only harm others but we punish others if/when they bring them to our attention. From the opening paragraph, the... Continue Reading

What Do Manuscripts Tell Us About the Origins of the NT Canon? A Response to John Meade

Just because the quantity of manuscripts doesn’t tell us everything about the canon, does not mean it tells us nothing about the canon.

At the end of Meade’s piece, he sums up his main complaint: “But my critique is that [Kruger] and others should describe what early Christians actually thought about these books according to their clearest statements on the subject before turning to material evidence, which is not self-interpreting.” In other words, I should have covered patristic... Continue Reading

The Freedom Of The Christian Man

The sole, unique authority of the Bible, God’s inerrant, infallible Word is provides and guards our liberty against the tyranny of human opinion

As recipients of such rich and richly undeserved favor freely given we are free. Because it was freely given it was not earned. Because it was not earned it cannot be kept. We do not “keep” it. Grace keeps us.  In that case, we are free from the tyranny of human expectations at least when... Continue Reading

Protestantism Is Over and the Radicals Won

Many today who claim the Reformation as their heritage are more likely heirs of the Radical Anabaptists.

I’m not talking about Amish communities in rural Pennsylvania. In fact, I don’t have in mind specific offshoots, like Arminian Baptists, as such. I’m thinking more of the Radical Anabaptists, especially the early ones, who were more an eruption of late medieval revolutionary mysticism than an offshoot of the Reformation. I have in mind a utopian,... Continue Reading