The gospel of vicarious atonement

Today, I received by email an earnest plea for theological help from someone with whom I have had previous correspondence regarding the doctrine of the atonement. My questioner wrote as follows: I love God with all of my being but I cannot wrap my mind around this concept [penal substitutionary atonement] as it does not make sense to me other than hearing that it satisfies Gods justice.  I know this sounds weird but I cringe … Continue reading

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How Christ’s death delivers us from fear of death (both first and second)

I think that Christ’s victory is the overarching framework within which Christ’s saving work is best viewed. (See my post, “Is there an overarching model of the atonement?”) Penal substitution was the way in which Christ delivered us from the adversary’s ability to bring a damning accusation against those who are in Christ. We were dead in our trespasses but “God made [us] alive together with [Christ],” by “cancelling “the record of the debt that … Continue reading

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Calvinist perspectives on Molinism

The Logos Reformed Blog, moderated by Jesse Myers, ran a series of 5 posts by Nathanael P. Taylor regarding Molinism. I was invited to write a response to that series and I did so, in two posts. I chose not to respond to each of Taylor’s posts separately, and I did not critique Taylor’s understanding of Molinism (the philosophical theology originated by Luis de Molina), since I am not an expert in it myself. Rather, … Continue reading

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My theological journey in regard to hell reposted at Jesus Creed

At his blog, Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight has reposted the account of my journey in understanding the nature of hell. Scot’s posts frequently generate an active comment thread, so I’m letting you know in case the conversation interests you.

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Is sanctification a duty?

Among Reformed scholars, we hear a great deal of discussion these days about the law and the gospel. Getting this right is important, but it is not as simple as it sounds. In a recent blog post, Paul Helm had some thoughts which I found helpful and I pass them on for your consideration. Helm begins his post with some astute reflections about the intentions of Andrew Fuller when he spoke about faith as a … Continue reading

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How will God finally punish unrepentant sinners? Part 2: A very helpful resource

In part 1 of this 2 part series, I told the story of my theological journey in pursuit of an answer to this important question. I now want to commend to you a book which I believe will make an invaluable contribution to the evangelical conversation about hell. This is not a critical review of Rethinking Hell, it is a recommendation. But as I walk you through the book’s contents, I will  comment occasionally. Why … Continue reading

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How will God finally punish unrepentant sinners? Part 1: My journey in quest of an answer.

I set out to write a blog post that grew rather large. So I have decided to split it into two posts, of which this is the first. Here I will relate the story of my long journey in quest of a biblical answer to that big question. In Part 2, I will recommend a book which I believe contributes very helpfully to the conversation about this issue which I believe needs to happen among … Continue reading

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What makes us lovely to God, and why do we love him?

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it. So wrote Martin Luther, in the last one of the 28 theses that he composed for the disputation on April 26, 1518. Those theses and their proofs became known as “The Heidelberg Disputation,” which is part of The Book of Concord, in which the confessional statements … Continue reading

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An evangelical reflects on lunch with Pope Francis

Brian Stiller is the Global Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance. Together with Geoff Tunnicliffe, the Secretary General of WEA, he had the opportunity recently to spend a few hours at lunch for an informal meeting with Pope Francis, at the Pope’s request. Yesterday, Brian posted his reflections on Facebook, so I take that to be a public sharing which allows for further sharing. For some decades, I have been both intrigued and pleased with … Continue reading

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A small “b” baptist perspective on the rebaptism of mature believers

Last year The Gospel Coalition ran an interesting series, in which they asked pastors and theologians why they changed their mind on baptism. Gavin Ortlund: Why I Changed My Mind About Baptism Sean Michael Lucas: Why I Changed My Mind About Baptizing Infants Liam Goligher: Why I Changed My Mind About Infant Baptism More recently, a piece by Bill Kynes, senior pastor of Cornerstore Evangelical Free Church, describes what he calls his “small ‘b’ baptist” perspective, and it … Continue reading

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