Archive | Theology/Bible

If same-sex attraction is sinful, then what?

Recently, there has been much debate about sexuality and human identity. A great deal of it has been related to the upcoming “Revoice” conference in St. Louis. That controversy is ongoing. As I have mentioned previously, evangelicals have not come to a consensus whether same-sex attraction is sinful and whether it is the proper basis for constructing an “identity.”

Heath Lambert and I wrote a book back in 2015 arguing that SSA is sinful as it is a part of our fallen Adamic nature (see Transforming Homosexuality, P&R 2015). Our argument goes against some celibate gay identity proponents who argue that SSA may be a part of the brokenness of creation but is not itself sinful. They would say that SSA is fallen, but it’s fallen like cancer not like pride. Our argument also goes against those like Gregory Coles who suggest that SSA may have roots in God’s good creation design. Continue Reading →

The End of BibleWorks

If you walk into my study at any given time of the day, you will find that there is one program that is almost always open on my computer—BibleWorks. I use this software not only in my private study but also in nearly all of my college courses. For me, losing this software would be like losing a limb.

That is why I was so sad to read the news today that BibleWorks has decided to cease operations as a provider of Bible software tools. When I say sad, I mean really grieved. I have used this tool so much and for so long, I can hardly believe that it is about to be no longer available. That is why I urge you serious students of scripture to purchase a copy before it becomes unavailable on June 15. Why am I so high on this software? There are several reasons: Continue Reading →

What about divorce and abuse?

Evangelicals have never been monolithic in their views about divorce. Some believe that the Bible disallows divorce altogether. Others believe that the Bible allows for divorce in certain situations (see Matt. 19 and 1 Cor. 7). There is no one view on divorce that has commanded the consensus of evangelicals. My view is the latter, and I suspect that it is the view held by the majority of evangelicals (though certainly not all).

The reason that so many of us hold the latter view is because of what Jesus and the apostle Paul say about the matter. Obviously, the accent in both Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching is that divorce is generally prohibited because of the nature of the marital covenant: “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). Yet in the very same passage, Jesus also says this: Continue Reading →

T4G Pre-conference on The Nashville Statement

CBMW hosted a pre-conference at T4G last week, and the topic was The Nashville Statement. Lig Duncan, Al Mohler, Sam Allberry, and myself all delivered messages. All four of us were in the room in Nashville last August when the statement was finalized.

In our talks, we try to make the case for The Nashville Statement as a faithful expression of the Bible’s teaching on male, female, and sexuality. We also commend the statement to ministry leaders as one they might adopt within their own ministries and churches.

I posted my message above. You can see and hear the rest of them at the CBMW website. Here’s a list with each speaker followed by the title of his message.

Session 1: Ligon Duncan, “What does Nashville have to do with Danvers?”

Session 2: Albert Mohler, “Understanding the times; knowing what to do”

Session 3: Denny Burk, “‘Male and female He created them’: Thinking biblically about transgenderism”

Session 4: Sam Allberry, “‘And the two shall become one flesh’: Thinking biblically about homosexuality and the covenant of marriage”

The Strangest Thing about the Christian Faith

The strangest thing about the Christian faith is not our views on sexuality or politics. Those things are not even our most controversial of claims. The strangest thing about us is what the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:

3 that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

To be sure, that Jesus died is not the controversial part. Even unbelieving pagans agree with the death of Jesus as an historical fact. They don’t, however, agree with the meaning of his death—that it was a vicarious sacrifice “for our sins” to reconcile us to God. But they do agree that he was dead and buried. No great dispute there. Continue Reading →

The Innermost Meaning of the Cross

“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
-Isaiah 53:10

“God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation in His blood through faith, in order to demonstrate His righteousness.”
-Romans 3:25

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”
-Galatians 3:13 Continue Reading →

Was the apostle Paul married? Yes, he was. Here’s how we know.

In my sermon this morning at Kenwood Baptist Church, I made the case that the Apostle Paul was not always single but was once married. This observation emerges from Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. You can download the full sermon here or listen below.

Here’s how we know that Paul was once married. Paul writes:

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.

If we want to understand how this verse applies to us, we need first of all to whom it is addressed. Your English versions say that Paul addresses “the unmarried and the widows.” It’s clear what Paul means by “widows.” He’s referring to any woman who was once married but whose husband has died. But to whom is Paul referring when he says “the unmarried”? Continue Reading →

Does the evangelical egalitarian spectrum include those who affirm gay marriage?

Today, I just happened to be reading Sarah Sumner’s essay on “Gender” in Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Sumner has a couple of paragraphs describing the complementarian and egalitarian spectrums. She says that while all complementarians believe that husbands are the leaders of their homes, there are differences among complementarians about the degree to which women may lead in the church. Although I might quibble with some of her description, I think she has basically described the complementarian spectrum correctly.

But then she writes this about the egalitarian spectrum:

“All egalitarians, by contrast, believe that husbands and wives are to relate together in mutual submission rather than a marital hierarchy. Yet not all egalitarians think alike. The most progressive egalitarians believe in gender equality to the point of upholding monogamous homosexual marriage and the ordination of appropriately gifted homosexuals. The most conservative egalitarians hold that Scripture prohibits homosexual unions as well as the ordination of practicing homosexuals. The rift between egalitarians regarding issues of sexual preference and orientation is so great that egalitarian mainline denominations have experienced schism between progressives and conservatives. Thus egalitarians, by label, should not be considered to be supportive of homosexual activities since many egalitarians are conservative” (p. 338, underline mine).

Complementarians have long argued that egalitarian hermeneutics are problematic. Egalitarians tend to introduce novel interpretations of biblical texts that have never occurred to anyone before the 20th century. It may seem that Paul forbids women from teaching and leading men in 1 Timothy 2:12, for example, but it only seems that way. We now know Paul did not mean what the church has always understood these terms to mean. And so a variety of revisionist approaches have emerged to show that Paul actually does allow women to teach and to lead men in 1 Timothy 2:12.

Likewise, those who embrace such revisionist hermeneutics on the gender issue are only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from embracing revisionist readings of biblical texts dealing with homosexuality. Some egalitarians make that jump and do so explicitly because of their previous egalitarian convictions. Others do not. And that is the spectrum that Sumner seems to be describing.

My questions for evangelical egalitarians is this: Has Sumner accurately described the egalitarian spectrum? Is it true that the egalitarian spectrum includes both those who affirm gay marriage and those who do not? Is this a characterization that you would accept? If it is true, do you find it problematic? Why or why not?

Hatmaker explains why she rejected the “bad fruit” of the Bible’s teaching about sexuality

Last week, Pete Enns interviewed Jen Hatmaker about her recent exit from evangelical Christianity. You can download the interview here or listen below:

The interview focuses on Hatmaker’s decision to embrace homosexual immorality as consistent with following Jesus. Among other things, Hatmaker describes all the consequences that have resulted from that decision—lost book contracts, cancelled speaking engagements, estranged friends and church members. She describes a harrowing emotional cost for her decision to walk away from the 2,000-year old teaching of the Christian church.

I have previously heard her talk about a lot of this, but one item in particular stuck out to me this time. One of the interviewers asked her if she had an “Aha!” moment in her reading of scripture that led her to her new views. Hatmaker explains that since key biblical texts about sexuality are disputed and unclear, she applies a hermeneutical rule to help her sort through competing interpretations. At the 29:31 mark: Continue Reading →

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