The Gospel Promise of God’s Performance

God presented a bilateral contract of law to us, and we have done nothing but transgressed the terms. However, God has made a unilateral covenant of grace for us.

All our spiritual blessings are the result of God’s unilateral, undeserved, unbreakable, one-way, covenant. The Law tells us how to perform to earn his favor. The Gospel tells us how he performs to favor us. In the Gospel, God is the Promise-Maker and Promise-Keeper; we are merely the unworthy and passive recipients. God is the one who makes and keeps covenant;... Continue Reading

Why Does the Universe Look So Old?

God did not create a universe that began in an infant or primordial state before maturing over billions of years, but one that began in a state of maturity.

When it was still young it already looked mature because this was God’s design. Indeed, this was the case with the first human being. “When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus; Adam was a man; he had the appearance of a man. By our understanding that would’ve required time for Adam to get... Continue Reading

Remembering the Reformation but Celebrating What?

The problem is that the Reformation is only really congenial to modern American evangelicalism if it is reduced to little more than the doctrine of justification by grace through faith

“The truth is: The priorities and concerns of American evangelicalism have a highly tenuous and ambiguous relationship to those we find embodied in the confessions and catechisms of the Reformation and exemplified in the attitudes and actions of the Reformers.”   October is the month of the year in which, as a Reformation specialist, I... Continue Reading

You Are What You Think

Scripture does not make brute statements that circumvent our interpretive lenses

“Epistemological modesty sounds so compelling, so humble, so godly. After all, which of us wants to claim we have the corner on truth? How can we really know we are right and someone else is wrong? Though such “humility” seems so right on the surface, a quicksand foundation lies beneath it.”   Every society has... Continue Reading

You Can’t Trust Yourself

Why peace is a terrible basis for decision making

Our internal sense of peace serves as the ultimate rationale for decision-making and, the great thing is, no one can question us. It’s the ultimate mic-drop—akin to saying that God told you to do something. Who’s gonna say that God didn’t tell you this or that your sense of peace is wrong? This might not... Continue Reading

Toward a Better Reading: Reflections on the Permanent Changes to the Text of Genesis 3:16 in the ESV Part 2

How did desire “for” the man become desire “contrary to” the man?

The only way translators can justify rendering ‘el as “contrary” is to assume something negative about the woman’s desire based on the use of desire in Genesis 4:7-8. But such a novel change relies solely on commentary, not on accepted definitions to the Hebrew ‘el.  In fact, Denny Burk, current president of The Council of... Continue Reading

Core Foundational Beliefs of Discipleship

The church must seek to glorify God and the work his Son did in redeeming his people by actively working with people to shape them in becoming true disciples of the Lord.

Everywhere Jesus spoke of discipleship, he associated it with life and death.  For instance, he stated in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me, and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even his own life, then he cannot be one of my disciples.  Whoever does not carry his own... Continue Reading

Is the Westminster Confession’s Doctrine of the Sabbath a Judaizing Doctrine?

Does observing Sunday as the Christian Sabbath lead to a judaizing of the gospel and a denying of Christ?

Indeed, this is a system whose Sabbath doctrine is inextricably intertwined with other central doctrines of our confessional system, such as its doctrine of the law of God. One wonders how ordained officers who embrace the position of the Minority Report could work in clear conscience within the context of a denomination and in cooperation... Continue Reading

Calvin’s Questions: A Response To Jonathan Sheehan

The question is not “Do I make my own choices, and determine my own destiny?” but instead, “Given that I do not, why do I want to believe that I do?”

And yet at this point, just when it is about to get interesting, Sheehan pulls up short. He tells students that when they critique Calvin’s ideas, they are “participating in the intellectual revolutions of the modern world.” This is a way of containing the challenge Calvin poses.   In “Teaching Calvin in California,” a recent... Continue Reading

Lament: A Missing Practice

There is a practice of biblical praying that is missing, and without it, I believe Christian praying can become unreal and pastorally unhelpful

“What difference would it make to our own prayer life and our church life if we heard prayers of lament when something awful happens to a congregation member, or to the local community, or to the wider society? Christian realism requires no less.”   Early in my Christian life I was taught an acronym to... Continue Reading