O NSA, You Have Searched Me and Known Me

We have every reason to rejoice at God’s perfect ability to know everything about us

“What a contrast. Edward Snowden saw the government’s desire for omniscience and feared that it would be used to harm its own citizens. In the muddied hands of human beings, programs designed to protect will inevitably be used to destroy. David saw God’s omniscience and rejoiced that it would be used to protect his loved... Continue Reading

Beware of Ministry Shaming

I fear that we are unaware of our tendency to cast shame upon those with different ministries than us

I don’t think ministry shaming happens with blatant intention, yet I think it is more common than we realize. We may let our passion for our particular ministry color our speech about it in a way that paints a picture of superiority and makes others feel shame for their ministry. We may have certain ideas about what kind of ministry is the best use of our time, so we unknowingly assume that it is the best for others. God may have created us to be an eye, and we may be so passionate about the work of eyes that we make hands and ears feel less important (1 Corinthians 12:14-26).

Taking Back Christianese #8: “It’s Not My Place to Judge Someone Else”

We have been conditioned to never condemn certain kinds of behavior lest we are chastened by an avalanche of social media accusing us of being legalistic and judgmental.

If we stick to the two positive uses of this phrase above, we will be in good shape. However, this phrase is routinely used to say that we can never tell someone that their behavior is wrong. In other words, it is sinning to tell someone they are sinning. But, there are two problems with this approach:

The Cure for a Lack of Fruit in Our Christian Lives

As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you

“While the certainty of salvation is grounded upon the (objective) work of Christ, the certainty of assurance is grounded upon the (objective) promises God gives us and the (subjective) discovery of those promises at work in us. And it is this latter consideration that gives rise to one or two problems.”   The Westminster Confession of... Continue Reading

Christ’s Amazing Transition

Christ’s resurrection was His appointment as the Son of God-in-power

“It is only if the Son of God amazingly transitions from humiliation to exaltation that we can graciously transition from God’s just and holy wrath on us for our sin to his love toward us as his adopted children. In other words, we are sons of God by grace whereas Christ is God’s Son by... Continue Reading

Forty Three Years Of Federal Vision Theology

Federal Vision theology is Norman Shepherd’s theology

“The controversy simmered below the surface until the late 90s, when he retired from the ministry and began speaking at conferences on covenant and justification, where he advanced the same views that he had argued in the first phase of the controversy. In 2000 he published The Call of Grace (see this review and response)... Continue Reading

To Give a Good Answer, Sometimes You Have to Change the Question

As Christians representing God’s Word, we have to be able to explain the bigger picture

“In the case of homosexuality, pornography, and sex outside of marriage, we need to explain what God’s plan is for human sexuality. The reason there are negatives in the Bible is to protect the positives. God says no to certain sexual behavior because He has a beautiful plan for sexuality He wants us to protect.”... Continue Reading

Repent of Lent: How Spiritual Disciplines Can Be Bad for Your Soul

Christ fasted for forty days in the wilderness on our behalf, so we wouldn’t have to; not as a model, but as a substitute

His passion was not a discipline that made his heart pure in its love for his Father, it was the price to be paid for our sins, and he paid it in full. Christians are called to suffer as Christ suffered, that is, with the same purpose. We are called to suffer not for ourselves, but for others. When we engage in fasting in his image, but for the purpose of purifying ourselves, we invert that image. Such penitence is ultimately focused on self, not on the other.

A Great Teacher Can Simplify Without Distortion

Once the teacher has mastered his material, how does he transmit it to his students?

A great teacher can simplify without distortion. This is the supreme test of understanding. If I truly understand something, I ought to be able to communicate it to others. There is a vast chasm that separates the simple from the simplistic. Jesus, the greatest teacher ever, taught in simple terms. But He was never simplistic. To oversimplify is to distort the truth. The great teacher can express the profound by the simple, without distortion. To do that requires a deep level of understanding. The great teacher imparts understanding, not merely information. To do that the teacher must understand the material being taught.

“Economic” Subordination of the Son? Part 1: Theologia and Oikonomia

There are three major use classes of “economy” at play in the current debate, and it is of utmost importance to discuss them separately and on their own terms as they relate to ESS

The problem, as I stated in the last post, is that there are too many definitions and variant uses of “ontological” and “economic” at play for a statement such as Ligonier’s to constitutively rule out the supposed Subordination of the Son that has been called into question. This has lead each participant to see His position as orthodox, with lofty origin in the Fathers, and yet all still disagreeing on what is and isn’t biblical and orthodox subordination of the Son.