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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My previous case for “middle knowledge Calvinism” (WTJ, 2007)

A draft of “Why Calvinists Should Believe in Divine Middle Knowledge, Although They Reject Molinism” (eventually published in WTJ 69 [2007]: 349-66) can now be read online at my web site. Since I now believe that God knows counterfactuals naturally or necessarily (cf. my later conversation with Paul Helm), it might seem counterproductive for me to be publishing this earlier material now. But I still affirm a great deal that I said in this article, … Continue reading

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Why did the 5 “solas” of the Reformation arise?

Jesse Johnson briefly describes the context which required that Protestant beliefs be defined, and he summarizes the 5 points which all orthodox Protestants agree are essentials of Christian faith and life. We should note, however, that although these five basic truths were frequently affirmed by leaders of the Reformation, they did not constitute a formal structure at that time. By the end of the 16th century, the western Christian church was in chaos.  The absolute … Continue reading

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My part of the conversation with Paul Helm regarding the validity of a Calvinist version of middle knowledge

In the Westminster Theological Journal, in the Fall of 2009 (437-54), Paul Helm and I published a conversation which was prompted by my previous article in WTJ (Fall 2007:345-66) in which I had argued that Calvinists should affirm middle knowledge even though they reject Molinism. My conversation with Paul Helm is not available to the public on line, and it would not be right for me to publish Paul Helm’s work, but I want to … Continue reading

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Jesus’ death and the nature of hell

Both traditionalists and annihilationists often say that their view of hell best accords with the manner in which Jesus suffered the penalty of sin in our place. I am still not convinced, however, that either understanding of hell has a significant advantage in this regard. Traditionalists generally focus on hell as an endless experience of the righteous wrath of God. Some understand the biblical descriptions (fire, darkness, physical agony, death) more literally than others do, … Continue reading

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