Archive | Theology/Bible

When Popes and councils contradict each other

Andrew Sullivan calls the news out of the Vatican yesterday a “pastoral revolution.” That point is being vigorously contested right now by the likes of Robbie George, George Weigel and R. R. Reno, who point out that the statement in question has no official status. Some reports say that the report reflects the sentiments of a plurality of bishops participating in the synod. Still, it is significant that a synod of Bishops has even released an interim report affirming the church’s traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality while calling for “courageous pastoral choices” that include valuing gay “sexual orientation.”

At least some of these bishops wish to maintain the language of the catechism but to adopt pastoral practices that contradict it. This enables them to say that the church’s teaching on homosexuality has remained constant and that the only change is in how it is applied in people’s lives. But in this case, that distinction doesn’t work. One cannot value something and at the same time repent of it, and yet that is what these bishops appear to be calling for. Most people (I think) can see the contradiction. Continue Reading →


Did the Roman Catholic Church just change its position on divorce and gay marriage?

The headlines coming out of the Vatican yesterday are nothing less than eye-popping. Here’s just a handful:

What is going on here? Did the Roman Catholic Church really just nullify its 2,000-year old teaching on the nature of marriage and sexual ethics? If all you had were these headlines, you might think so. Continue Reading →


The argument from irony against close communion

Well, I suppose I would be better off letting Mark Jones’ essay attacking close communion go by without comment. I am reminded of the Proverb, “Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own” (Proverbs 26:17). Jones’s post wasn’t addressed to me specifically. Still, I do feel like this is as much my quarrel as anyone’s. I am a Baptist pastor who holds to close communion. That is the position of my denomination, and it is the position of my church. I happen to believe that it is the position of scripture as well. Continue Reading →


How to read the New Testament in Greek

Dr. Rob Plummer has put together an outstanding resource to help beginning Greek students read the Greek New Testament. It’s a website called “Daily Dose of Greek,” and it provides a schedule for reading and daily explanations of Greek syntax and grammar on the day’s reading. If you want help from a Southern Seminary master-teacher on the elements of Greek, you really should check out this site: Daily Dose of Greek.


Why I Am a Baptist — Two Key Resources for Me

The main reason that I am a Baptist Christian is because that is what my parents raised me to be. The faith that they passed on to me involved (among other things) a conviction that baptism is for believers alone and that the church’s polity is congregational. The Bible honors this kind of inheritance, and I am happy to own it (2 Tim. 3:14).

It was only after I entered seminary that I really began to press into other ecclesiological perspectives and to wrestle with their interpretations of scripture. Elder-rule polity and paedobaptist paradigms were particularly challenging to my congregational and credobaptist upbringing. More than anything, I wanted to be faithful to scripture. But I had to face the possibility that maybe I had understood the Bible’s teaching incorrectly on these issues.

Continue Reading →


Wayne Grudem coming to SBTS

Wayne Grudem has to be one of the most significant figures in the evangelical movement. He has published more books than I could attempt to count off the top of my head. But the one that he is known best for is his Systematic Theology, a text where innumerable young students have cut their theological teeth. That has certainly been the story on the campus of Southern Seminary and Boyce College where I teach. It would be difficult to overstate the influence of Dr. Grudem on an entire generation of theological students.

That is why I am so excited that Dr. Grudem will be in town later this month to lead a conference on the campus of Southern Seminary. Dr. Grudem has recently co-authored the book The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution with Barry Asmus, and the conference will be an elaboration of the themes in this work. Grudem and Asmus contend that the solution to poverty “lies in a comprehensive development plan that integrates the principles of a free market system with the Bible’s teachings on social ethics.” They take their first principles from scripture and make a compelling case for developing the wealth of nations in order to alleviate poverty in the world. Both Dr. Grudem and Asmus will be on campus to speak at the conference. Continue Reading →


The absurdity of dividing God’s word from God’s work

The integrity of God’s word has always been under assault, from “hath God really said” until now. For this reason, Jonathan Akin highlights two recent instances in which well-known Christians have made statements that cast doubt on that integrity. He writes:

First, Andy Stanley tweeted a link to an article where a young lady who has renounced Christianity talks about how much she misses being a Born-Again Christian. Along with the link, Stanley tweeted, “Why we must teach the next generation the FOUNDATION of our faith is an EVENT not a BOOK.”

Continue Reading →


“God and the Gay Christian” on MSNBC

Matthew Vines appeared on MSNBC last week promoting his book God and the Gay Christian (video above). There is nothing new here in terms of argument, and I still stand by my previous critique of this work.

Having said that, it is interesting to see that Vines’ views are received as unassailably obvious. The interviewers give no place to the entire 2,000-year consensus of the Christian Church on sexuality. Instead, Vines’s recent revision is treated as if it were the only plausible perspective to reckon with.

The ground is moving beneath our feet.


Do infants who die go to heaven?

Several years ago, Danny Akin and Albert Mohler wrote a short article explaining why they believe children who die go to heaven. Today, Danny Akin offers a revised version of that argument, and you can read it here. Akin writes:

I believe that there are good reasons biblically and theologically for believing that God saves all who die and who do not reach a stage of moral understanding and accountability. Scripture may not speak to this issue directly, but there is sufficient evidence that would lead us to affirm that God receives into heaven all who have died in infancy. Some evidence is stronger than others, but cumulatively they marshall strong support for infant salvation. I will note six of them.

Read the rest here.


Kent Brantly’s remarks upon his release from hospital

I can’t tell you how full my heart is at the news of Dr. Kent Brantley’s recovery. I can only imagine how his family must be feeling to have him back after thirty very dark days of uncertainty and perhaps even of despair.

The video above is the statement that Dr. Brantly made upon his release earlier today. It’s fantastic. Among other things he describes how he cried out to the Lord as the illness descended upon him, “I prayed that God would help me be faithful even in my illness and that in my life, even in my death, he would be glorified.” How grateful we should be for this dear brother’s life and for that of his colleague Nancy Writebol. God is merciful.

I am reminded of the lines from John Piper’s poem about Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol:

Fly back to us, our joy, our crown…

They are back… all the way back. Thanks be to God!


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