Luther’s Theology: The Will’s Bondage

The Bondage of the Will is one of Martin Luther’s most important and enduring works

“Luther rejects the idea that man stands in the middle and can choose between a good spirit or bad flesh, or that original sin has only partially hindered man’s ability to perform acts of righteousness. Instead, he looks to Christ’s words John 3:6 that what is born of flesh is flesh, and what is born... Continue Reading

How We May Strengthen Our Hope

God will surely hear the prayers of his children when they beg for more hope.

Exercise your hope much. Repeated acts strengthen habits. The promises of God are hope’s object to act upon. Meditate on the promises, set some apart for yourself, and drink in the refreshing truths of God’s promises. David did this when he remembered that with the Lord there is forgiveness (Ps. 130). He exercised his hope... Continue Reading

How Does Sanctification Work?

What Powlison wants and promotes is a well-balanced understanding of sanctification that accounts for the many and varied means God uses to make his people holy.

Sanctification is a topic that has received a lot of attention over the past few years. We have grown accustomed to hearing of the centrality of the gospel in sanctification. And, of course, it is exactly the case that the gospel goes far beyond our justification, and is, indeed, essential to our sanctification. Yet, as... Continue Reading

Woodrow Wilson’s troubling faith

Wilson adopted a brand of social Christianity that justified white supremacy and more.

Wilson emerges as a formidable but deeply flawed man, who “lived out half his religious heritage, while betraying the other half.” The relevant heritage in this case was southern Presbyterianism, which exerted considerable sway over Wilson’s early thinking but was gradually overtaken, in Hankins’s view, by a generic and theologically deficient liberal Protestant faith.  ... Continue Reading

Luther’s Theology: Music as Servant of the Word

Using the gospel as his grid, Luther retained, replaced, or revamped various elements from the mass

Having ensconced the Bible at the pinnacle of worship, Luther sees an intimate connection between music and the Word: “Thus it was not without reason that the fathers and prophets wanted nothing else to be associated as closely with the Word of God as music. Therefore, we have so many hymns and Psalms where message... Continue Reading

Restless: On the Road with Augustine

Journeying with the perfect patron saint for our age.

The reason Augustine tells his story is because he thinks it is simply an example of the human story. We are all prodigals. And he wants us to ask ourselves a question: “What if I went home?” But what’s interesting is that it also traces his own geographical excursions from Africa to Italy, from the... Continue Reading

The Danger of Biblicism

By “biblicism” I mean an over-rigid adherence to certain Bible texts or teachings at the expense of context and other biblical teachings.

Yes, the Bible is the Christian’s highest authority in all of life, and yes, Scripture is sufficient for doctrine and life.  But that doesn’t mean we should ignore general revelation.  It doesn’t mean that there’s a Bible verse for everything.  It doesn’t mean we can ignore context and flatten out the Bible.  It doesn’t mean... Continue Reading

Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels

The Old Testament surfaces on virtually every page of the New Testament; it speaks with divine authority , and like the NT, it is the very word of God.

The NT writers, to be sure, are largely silent concerning the degree to which the OT authors were aware and conscious of the One to whom they were pointing. They are generally content to affirm that the OT authors pointed to Christ. The NT writers are more concerned to insist that the project of “reading backwards” is... Continue Reading

Why Does God Make Us Wait?

To combat spiritual impatience, we need to pray for more hope and patience.

God wasn’t obligated to make any good promises to sinners like us.  But in his sovereign and free mercy, he did promise salvation and all the blessings that go with it. Therefore, it’s fitting and right to be patient and to say that his timing is best.  And we put on “the hope of salvation as a... Continue Reading

Life After the Dash from Zero to 2 Billion

A Review of Two Recent Books on Smartphones and Social Media.

None of us can miss the most striking change in material culture in our lifetime. In a single decade we have dashed from a world with zero smartphones (if you don’t count the clunky pre-2007 ancestors of the iPhone) to a world with 2 billion of them. We’ve taken a kind of cross-cultural trip to a... Continue Reading