Archive | Theology/Bible

Correcting the Record in light of Sec. Hillary Clinton’s false statements

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed-in on the Hobby Lobby decision yesterday (see above), and her analysis is so egregiously in error that I could not let it pass without some comment.

She claims first of all that this is the first time that the Supreme Court has found that a corporation has religious freedom and thus that employers can impose their religious beliefs on employees. Now this is a curious characterization of yesterday’s opinion. Religious freedom does not give anyone—individual or corporate—the right to impose one’s beliefs upon someone else. Yet Clinton speaks as if the right of individuals to “impose their beliefs” has now been given to corporations. What a gross mischaracterization of our first freedom. Continue Reading →

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Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood

Desiring God Ministries and CBMW have just produced a new book celebrating biblical manhood and womanhood. It’s edited by Owen Strachan and Jonathan Parnell, and it’s titled Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood. I’ve got a chapter in it on transgender, which you can read here. John Piper penned a nostalgic forward to the book that takes a look back at just how much has changed among evangelicals since he and Wayne Grudem first edited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood twenty-six years ago. Grateful for the fruit of that work, Piper concludes with this:

I commend this book to you, and pray that the beauty of the vision, and the courage to speak it, will spread—for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.

To download Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood, click on the following format options:

  • Download ebook as a PDF file.
  • Download ebook as an EPUB file formatted for readers like the Nook, Sony Reader, and Apple iBooks (iPad, iPhone, iPod).
  • Download ebook as a MOBI file formatted for Kindle applications (this option works well on some mobile devices, and not so well on others).
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The future of evangelical reflection on same-sex orientation

Last week, Matthew Vines had an extended interaction with Sam Allberry’s review of God and the Gay Christian. Vines digs his heals in and defends the main thesis of his book while critiquing Allberry’s book Is God anti-gay?

Those who have read my own review of Vines’s book will not be surprised that I find much to disagree with in Vines’s remarks. He continues to argue that same-sex orientation is a morally neutral—and even praiseworthy—category of desire. I won’t rehearse all my reasons for disagreement but simply direct the reader to my earlier review.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that I find myself in agreement with Vines about one thing (though I am not at all convinced that Vines has read Allberry correctly). Vines highlights the inconsistency of those who try to stake out a “middle ground” on the morality of same-sex orientation and behavior. The “middle ground” view holds that while same-sex behavior is always wrong, same-sex orientation is not. Vines writes: Continue Reading →

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Exalting Jesus in Ezra and Nehemiah

Jim Hamilton has become quite the prolific commentator and biblical theologian, and he has a new commentary out on Ezra-Nehemiah that I highly recommend to you. It appears in Broadman & Holman’s new “Christ-Centered Exposition” series edited by Danny Akin, David Platt, and Tony Merida. Thus, the aim of the commentary is not only exegetical precision but also explaining how the message of Ezra-Nehemiah fits into the entire storyline of scripture—a story which has its culminating moment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Hamilton argues that Ezra-Nehemiah are enormously relevant, though many pastors only preach sermons on them during church building programs. This is unfortunate. Instead, Jim encourages pastors: “I’m talking about preaching them straight through, start to finish, in the regular course of the ministry of the word” (p. xi).

This is a fantastic exposition of Ezra-Nehemiah, and it is aimed at pastors. So if you are a regular preacher of God’s word, this volume is for you.

James M. Hamilton, Jr., Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah, Christ-Centered Exposition (Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 2014)

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Download the new JBMW for free

The Spring issue of The Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has just been released. You can download the entire issue for free from CBMW.org. This issue includes articles from Owen Strachan, Andrew Walker, and more. Strachan’s article takes a critical look at the moniker “gay Christian.” Walker has an insightful piece about religious liberty and current debates about sexuality. This issue also includes David Schrock’s interview with the author of True Sexual Morality, Daniel Heimbach. This issue is filled with helpful material, and you can read the full table of contents is below. Continue Reading →

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What Jesus Does with False Faith

“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.” -John 2:23-25

In verse 24, there’s a play on words that you miss in English translation. Literally, John says that even though the people were believing in Jesus, He was not believing himself to them. The idea is that even though they were trusting in Jesus, He wasn’t reciprocating. Jesus was rejecting their faith as false faith.

So what does it mean that He was not “entrusting” himself to them? It means that he was holding back the full revelation of himself. In contrast to what he did with his disciples after turning water into wine where he “manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11), here it’s as if Jesus is holding back even in the midst of performing signs.

The question is, why is He doing this? Because “He knew all men, and because… He Himself knew what was in man.”

There is something inside of these people that turns Jesus away from them. Even though on the outside they may look like their intentions are good, on the inside something else is going on.

Jesus knows that He’s dealing with people who are like you and me apart from Christ. They’re in bondage to sin:

John 3:19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

So they were seeing the signs (v. 23), but they weren’t seeing what the signs signified. Why? Because they don’t want to see. This is not innocent ignorance. They love the darkness rather than the light. Their hearts are too crooked for Jesus to entrust himself to them.

God’s insight into our heart is not unlike a parent’s insight into a child’s heart. When my son was two years old, he passed into that stage of life in which he knows what he wants and he knows how to express it. And usually that means that he wants what he wants, and he wants it now. No delay. So we train and discipline him that he can’t always have what he wants when he wants it. Life is more than the succumbing to the sum total of your appetites. It has become very clear to my wife and me that this is probably going to take a long time to teach him.

This comes out perhaps most clearly when it comes to food. My son will be sitting in his little chair all fastened in with his bib on. He’ll have a plate of food sitting in front of him. But if he’s sees you getting one of his favorites out of the pantry or refrigerator, Katy bar the door! What’s on his plate no longer matters. That he shouldn’t whine and cry no longer matters. That he isn’t the sum total of his appetites no longer matters. He’s going to carry on until he gets it.

We know that he must be taught not to act this way. And we regularly and diligently discipline him to teach him just that. But sometimes, we don’t want to create a situation that we know is going to lead to conflict. So we sometimes will conceal from him what we are getting out of the refrigerator. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hidden pizza or raisins as I put them on the counter. I don’t want him to see them because I know what is inside of him. I know that his appetites and desires are not ready for me to reveal to him what I’m doing.

How many of you—if you were honest—would confess that perhaps you don’t see Jesus for who He is because you don’t want to see Him for who He is? Perhaps there is more that Jesus would disclose to you about Himself, but He’s not doing it because you have a heart that doesn’t really want Him?

We are a people of unclean lips, and we live among a people of unclean lips. People say they want to follow Jesus, but they don’t really want Jesus meddling in their personal lives. They say that want eternal life, but they don’t really want to believe that Jesus is the only way to have it. People say that they want to keep it real, but they don’t really want Jesus shining the light on the sin that they are trying to hide from Him. They don’t want their rebellion exposed for what it really is.

How many of you are perhaps not seeing Jesus for who He is because you wouldn’t want Him even if you could see? And some of what you have seen, you’ve already turned your nose up to? Jesus knows what’s inside you. Do you know? You will never see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, until you do.

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Does Protestantism have a future?

The Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University hosted a fascinating discussion last night featuring Carl Trueman, Peter Leithart, and Fred Sanders. They discussed the future of Protestantism vis-à-vis the Roman Catholic Church. Should the shape of Protestant theology be determined by the Reformation’s reaction to Roman Catholicism?

The conversation is inspired in part by an article that Leithart wrote for First Things last year. Other questions addressed by the panel: Is the Reformation over? How should American Protestantism relate to Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy? Will Protestantism need to change if it is to thrive in the 21st century? Watch above.

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How God became a pacifist?

Bob Gundry has a thorough critique of N. T. Wright’s How God Became King in the most recent issue of Bulletin for Biblical Research. Among other things, Gundry objects to Wright’s pacifist interpretation of the Kingdom of God. Gundry thinks Wright whitewashes depictions of divine violence in both the Old and New Testaments. Thus when Wright says that “bombs and bullets” can never bring “justice and peace,” Gundry is not convinced and asks a rather practical question:

Someone is bound to ask whether countering the Axis with bombs and bullets in World War II did a pretty good job of obliterating that evil, an obliteration which has brought peace and justice to Wright and a good many others (59).

I don’t know that Wright has ever claimed the pacifist label, but he does sound like one from time to time. How does he answer this critique from Gundry? Does Wright think that Great Britain, France and the United States were wrong to oppose the Third Reich in World War II?

I leave it to you to read Wright’s book for yourself and then Gundry’s review and then come to your own conclusions.

Robert H. Gundry, “An Exegetical and Biblical Theological Evaluation of N. T. Wright’s How God Became King,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 24.1 (2014): 57-73.

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God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines

Matthew Vines is a young author who has just released a new book trying to disprove that the Bible condemns homosexuality, God and the Gay Christian. Against a 2,000-year old consensus within the Christian church, Vines contends that key biblical texts do not mean what they appear to mean—that homosexuality is fallen and sinful and completely incompatible with following Christ.

Vines argues that if the Bible were properly understood, everyone would see that there’s nothing inherently sinful about homosexual orientation or behavior. Thus there is no biblical reason to prevent gay “Christians” from entering into the covenant of marriage with a same-sex partner. Gay couples can fulfill the marital norms of Ephesians 5 just like their heterosexual counterparts. Continue Reading →

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