Forthcoming: “A Consuming Passion”

  I just got word from the editor that a book to which I contributed a chapter is soon to come off the press from Wipf and Stock, under the Pickwick imprint, which is their primary academic venue. I look forward to reading the other essays, because it looks like a very worthwhile collection – good authors on interesting topics. I am happy to have a small part in honoring Edward Fudge, a lovely and … Continue reading

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How the Christian doctrine of sin should lead believers in eternal conscious torment to affirmation of annihilationism

In a blog post at Jesus Creed, Jeff Cook (lecturer in philosophy at the University of Colorado and pastor of Atlas Church) has raised a very significant philosophical objection to the traditional doctrine that hell is eternal conscious torment. He demonstrates convincingly that the concept of hell as dehumanization, as affirmed by C. S. Lewis and N. T. Wright is almost indistinguishable from annihilationism. That dehumanization tends toward annihilation has already been nicely demonstrated in … Continue reading

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God’s love in the context of his relationship with the world: notice of a valuable book that is forthcoming.

Three and half years ago, I was asked to look at a manuscript proposal which IVP was considering and to make some evaluative comments. I suggested that the book was worth publishing but heard no more about it until recently. Then I was happy to learn that the editors had concurred with me, because I was asked if I’d be willing to write an endorsement for the book, which is scheduled to come off the … Continue reading

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Does theology matter to churches?

The other night, when reading a letter I wrote to my parents during my first year as a missionary in the Philippines at the age of 26, I chuckled when I saw that I had signed off with: “Love, Terry, ‘your incurable theologian.’” How right I was. Forty five years later I still haven’t been cured. Paraphrasing the wonderful comment olympic sprinter Eric Liddell made to his sister in the film “Chariots of Fire,” I … Continue reading

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Some stimulating insights from Oliver O’Donovan

I found many profound and stimulating statements in this brief interview with Oliver Donovan, one of the greatest minds and hearts at work in Christian ethics in our time. I particularly enjoyed some comments on his use of other scholars. Here are a few to ponder:   I often feel that biblical studies get too close to the text actually to read it. But we need them, and owe an incalculable debt to them for their most important … Continue reading

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Our hope as “citizens of heaven”

Jesus taught us to pray that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But, nonetheless, many Christians still think of heaven as primarily out there where God lives and think that our great hope for the future is that we will leave this crumby world and go to heaven. That was certainly the thought generated in my mind by most of what I was taught about … Continue reading

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Preston Sprinkle on the nature of hell

Preston Sprinkle has now concluded a series of 4 blog posts on the nature of eternal punishment/hell. His final post sums up his present stance: he is pausing for a time of serious consideration of the relative merits of eternal conscious torment and what he aptly calls “terminal punishment” (destruction). Links to the first 3 posts can be found at the beginning of this last one. I commend Sprinkle for his careful biblical exegesis, for … Continue reading

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Tensions regarding soteriology, within the Southern Baptist Convention

I am not a Southern Baptist, but I am a Baptist, and I watch with interest theological developments within the Southern Baptist Convention. Like many other Baptist associations, they have not clearly identified themselves as either Particular or General Baptists, that is, as Calvinistic or Arminian in their theology. This has caused significant tension in recent years, some of it possibly growing out of the “young, restless, and Reformed” movement because of the large number … Continue reading

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A helpful resource on hypothetical universalism

After decades of believing in particular redemption after the high Calvinist fashion of John Owen, John Murray and others, I moved to classical moderate Calvinism and hypothetical universalism. I still consider myself a 5 point Calvinist, which I take to mean that I affirm the Canons of Dort (popularly referred to as TULIP), even though many high Calvinists would call hypothetical universalists 4 point Calvinists. I explained my reasons previously on this blog. If this … Continue reading

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How can people who do not love God be considered not to be sinning?

In an earlier blog post, I argued that sinners in hell reach a point at which they no longer sin. In the comment thread, Chris Wettstein has asked: “If, then, the reprobate will not be ‘sinning’ can they be said to be ‘loving God’ and ‘loving their neighbour’?” I started to write a response to Chris’s question in the comment thread, but it became too extensive for that venue, and so I decided it would … Continue reading

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