Category Archives: Soteriology

Is conversion a process or an event?

Like Louis McBride, I have often pondered this question, and I like the perspective he has cited from Joel Green’s book on Conversion in Luke-Acts. Again, this approach to the question takes as its point of departure the consequences of a particular approach to the human situation: What is the human ‘problem’ that needs to be addressed? A more helpful point of entry takes the phenomenological route of describing how conversion is conceptualized and experienced. … Continue reading

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How can models of salvation be compared on a scale of graciousness?: a response to Jerry Walls

    Daniel Sinclair has shared what he learned at the 2015 Rethinking Hell Conference. Since I was not there myself, I read his comments with interest, but I was surprised when my name showed up in his second point. I think that the ideas cited from Walls definitely merit some consideration, and I offer this as a contribution to the discussion of this very important matter.     Jerry Walls’s perspective on my model … Continue reading

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Is Mormonism Christian?

Roger Olson has written a long post in answer to the question of whether Mormonism is Christian. That question will probably seem to many evangelicals to be hardly worth asking, but Olson’s answer is carefully nuanced and it grows out of much greater knowledge of Mormonism than most evangelicals possess. I commend the whole post to you if you are at all interested in what is happening within Mormonism, but here is the nub of its … 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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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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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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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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Romans 1, Calvin, and the usefulness of natural revelation in salvation

In my biblical and theological study of the possibility of the salvation of the unevangelized, I have presented a position that I call “accessibilism” (see Who Can Be Saved?). Among the varied understandings of how God makes salvation accessible to everyone, is a position I call “universal revelation accessibilism.” This asserts that God saves some people whose faith the Holy Spirit elicits through universal revelation alone. This idea does not sit well with many Calvinist … Continue reading

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Should we forgive the unrepentant?

When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we find it easy at the start. We do want our heavenly Father’s name to be reverenced, and we do want his kingdom to come, which means that his “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are also happy to ask God for our daily bread, because we know that he is the source of all that we have and need (Mt 6:9-11). So far … Continue reading

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The righteousness of Christ: imputed, infused, incorporated

Last Friday, at the Festival of Faith and Writing held at Calvin College, Cornelius Plantinga Jr. preached an excellent sermon during the Vespers service, which was itself beautifully designed. He described quite elaborately the way our bodies work when attacked by a virus, countering it with antibodies and, after defeating it, building antibodies to guard against its return. From this process, vaccinations have been developed against these viruses. These are  then injected into people, giving … Continue reading

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