Archive | Theology/Bible

Sex and the false gods of the marketplace

Peter Jensen has a wonderful review of Glynn Harrison’s new book A Better Story: God, Sex and Human Flourishing (Intervarsity, 2017). I haven’t read the book yet, but I want to point out two paragraphs from the review that are important. Jensen writes:

We frequently hear from Christians who sigh about our apparent obsession with sex and advise us simply to get on preaching the gospel. This superficially attractive advice is, in fact, untenable. The world we live in is sex-saturated. We can hardly avoid addressing the subject if we wish to apply the gospel, challenge people to live in a godly way, and protect the faithful. At a deeper level, when we consult the Scriptures themselves, we see that the whole business of sexual relations is very much connected to our humanness. At any period of human history, it would be right to give attention to this subject if we wish to understand who we are and how we are to please the Lord. Since there is a close biblical connection between the abuse of sexuality and idolatry, if we wish to analyse the false religions of humanity, we will need to talk about sex. Continue Reading →

Faithful biblical typology or unbiblical Marian devotion?

Earlier this week, Joe Carter tweeted his skepticism about a popular image depicting Eve and Mary (see above). That one tweet led to spirited debate on social media about the proper meaning and interpretation of this picture. One side argues that the image depicts an unbiblical form of Marian devotion. The other side argues that the image represents a biblical view of Mary’s place in the gospel story—one that is completely friendly to the Protestant tradition of scriptural interpretation. Continue Reading →

ETS Debate about the Continuation of Charismatic Gifts

Last week at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, there was a session about the continuation/cessation of charismatic gifts. This was a really stimulating discussion which I wrote about here. Unfortunately, the audio is not free, but you can purchase and download audio at the links below.

Thank you, Patrick Schreiner, for putting together a great session. Well done! Continue Reading →

Some reflections on the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society

I attended the 70th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Denver, Colorado last week. For those of you who don’t know, ETS is a society of theologians and biblical scholars who are dedicated to biblical inerrancy and a belief in the Trinity. At the annual meeting, members come together to present academic papers, meet with publishers, and catch up with old friends. What follows are some reflections about this year’s meeting. Continue Reading →

John Piper on Pride, Social Media, and the Nashville Statement

Ten years ago, John Piper delivered an address at the founding of Bethlehem College and seminary. Today, he offers some reflections on the ten year anniversary of that address and expands and corrects some things from ten years ago. I think the whole thing is worth reading, but his comments about social media and pride are particularly pointed and needed. He writes: Continue Reading →

Are prophecy and tongues still for today?

Yesterday at our church, I took a break from verse-by-verse exposition of 1 Corinthians in order to address an important question about prophecy and tongues. The sermon has three points:

  1. What Is the Gift of Prophecy?
  2. What Is the Gift of Tongues?
  3. Are Prophecy and Tongues for Today?

My answer to the last question is “no.” My contention is that prophecy and tongues are revelatory gifts that are foundational to the church but that are no longer operative within the church (Eph. 2:20). You can download the sermon here, subscribe to the podcast, or listen below.


For more reading on this, I recommend two books, both of which I rely on heavily in this message:

What does it mean that “God is the head of Christ”?

Paul’s teaching about head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 stands out as some of the most difficult material in all of Paul’s writings. This is not only because there is disagreement over what the head covering means, but also because commentators debate what the covering even is. Even though there are some obscure points in this passage, I would argue that the main point of the passage is clear enough. That main point is Paul’s teaching about headship. Verse 3 reads as follows:

1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.”

In verse 3, Paul unfolds a series of relationships that are defined by this notion of headship, but what Paul means by “head” is precisely what commentators have vigorously disputed. Continue Reading →

A Basic Principle of Justice

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deuteronomy 19:15)

“Take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

Jesus of Nazareth, King of Kings (Matthew 18:16)


UPDATE: John Calvin’s commentary on Deuteronomy 19:15 is illuminating:

“Since too great credulity would often impel the judges to condemn the guiltless, [God] here applies a remedy to this evil, forbidding that the crime should be punished unless proved by sure testimony. Although He has naturally inscribed this law upon every heart, yet He would have it written down, that its observance amongst the Israelites might be more sacred; for nothing is more dangerous than to expose men’s lives to the tongue of a single individual; but, where the consent of two or three is carefully weighed, any lurking falsehood is for the most part detected. Lest, therefore, any one should be rashly condemned, and so innocence should be oppressed by any light conjectures, or insufficient accusations, or unjust prejudices, God here interferes, and does not allow any to be harshly dealt with, unless duly convicted.”

Albert Mohler answers questions about social justice

Albert Mohler had an open Q&A session with students at Southern Seminary and Boyce College today in which he answered a question about social justice. At 24:14 in the video above, a student asks, “How do you define social justice, and how do you define our gospel call in how you define social justice.” Dr. Mohler gives an extensive statement in response, and at 38:35 offers a specific explanation of why he didn’t sign the recent Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel.

Later in the day, Dr. Mohler answered more questions along these lines on his podcast “Ask Anything Live.” In the video below, you can hear the questions and his answers at following time marks: Continue Reading →

John Calvin on Temptation and Original Sin

Over the summer, Rosaria Butterfield and I coauthored an article about the differences between Protestants and Catholics concerning original sin. I followed up that article with some of my own reflections about temptation and sin. I stand by what we wrote. I have many Roman Catholic friends that I love and appreciate, but I still think that our differences on this point are important to come to terms with.

John Calvin opines on these differences as well in a sermon on Galatians 5:19-23. Calvin’s comments reveal that our differences with Roman Catholics about original sin are as old as the Reformation. The sermon also reveals that the debate was not and is not still merely academic. It has tremendous practical implications for how we are to live our lives as pleasing before God. The rhetoric here is strong and reflects the pitched conflict of the time. Nevertheless, the underlying theological point still stands. Here is Calvin in his own words: Continue Reading →

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