The Evangelical Theological Society and the Trinity

It is that time of year when all of us Bible nerds relocate ourselves to a non-undisclosed location in order to debate with each other about theology and stuff. This year, the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) will be held in San Antonio, Texas. And the theme is on the Trinity. One might think that this theme emerged in response to the trinity controversy over the summer, but that would be mistaken. This theme was decided long before that. Our topic for the week was entirely coordinated by a smiling Providence. Among the highlights from the program:

  • Millard J. Erickson, “Language, Logic, and Trinity: An Analysis of Recent Subordination Arguments”
  • Bruce A Ware, “The Nature of the Priority of the Father within the Trinity: Biblical Basis and Importance”
  • Wayne Grudem, “Why a Denial of the Son’s Eternal Submission Threatens both the Trinity and the Bible”
  • Kevin Giles, “The Book, One God in Three Persons, a Critical Review”

The Plenary addresses will feature:

  • Fred Sanders, “Evangelical Trinitarianism and the Unity of the Theological Disciplines”
  • Gerald R. McDermott, “How the Trinity Should Govern Our Approach to World Religions”
  • Scott R. Swain, “The Bible and the Trinity in Recent Thought: Review, Analysis, and Constructive Proposal”

I will be moderating a session on transgenderism. It’s one of the sessions not dealing with the main theme, but it is nonetheless timely. I invite anyone attending the annual meeting to join us as we consider “An Evangelical Appraisal of Transgenderism and Gender Dysphoria.” Our session meets on Tuesday morning, 9:00 AM – 12:10 PM, in Hyatt – Lone Star Salon A. Here’s the program:

  • Owen Strachan, “The Clarity of Complementarity: Transgender in Moral & Theological Perspective”
  • Preston Sprinkle, “A Biblically Compassionate Response to Transgender Persons”
  • R. Albert Mohler, “Understanding the Transgender Revolution in the West”
  • Panel Discussion, Denny Burk (moderator), Owen Strachan, Preston Sprinkle, R. Albert Mohler

Hope to see you there.

Michael Moore, Joe Scarborough discuss the election of Donald Trump

Michael Moore predicted five months ago that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. He knew then what the coastal elites just learned on Tuesday–that the Democratic Party is out of touch with its working-class voter base.

Moore appeared on “Morning Joe” this morning to discuss the election and its aftermath. It’s a fascinating conversation revealing how liberals are processing this election. It also reveals that the divide in our country is not going to abate now that the election is over. If Moore is right, it is only going to intensify. Liberals are not making their peace with Trump.

Where does #NeverTrump go in a Trump presidency?

Dan McLaughlin is a #NeverTrump conservative at The National Review, and he asks and answers the following question: “Where Does Never Trump Go in a Trump Presidency?” He argues that there are three options for conservatives now that the party belongs to Donald Trump.

  1. Leave the Party
  2. Remain in the Party and Embrace Trump
  3. Remain in the Party to influence it

McLaughlin makes a solid case for number three. He argues that conservatives haven’t been evicted from the party and still have an opportunity for influence. He says that conservatives are now in the same situation they were in before the Reagan-era GOP.

This is a reminder that movement conservatives are rediscovering that we have a relationship with the Republican Party that is similar to the one our movement had between 1952 and 1976: the party is sometimes on our side, but it’s not consistently guided by our principles, and we have to work to turn it our way. Maybe in retrospect, that was truer in the past 20 years than some of us wanted to admit at the time.

So what is the role for conservatives who decide to stick it out with the party? He says that conservatives should not concede the GOP as the “party of Trump.” Rather, they should view it as the “party with Trump.”

We will and should view the incoming Trump Administration not as a natural friend but as a transactional ally to be kept at arms’ length, kept honest by criticism, done business with on an issue-by-issue basis, and fought forthrightly when it deserves to be. We can’t fool ourselves: those fights will sometimes be lonely and losing ones.

I think this is a thoughtful piece and worth your time to read the whole thing.

Some late-night thoughts about the most stunning election of my lifetime

I have stayed up to the bitter end on election night. Secretary Clinton has just conceded the race, and President-elect Trump is delivering his victory speech as I type. There will be much to say in coming days about tonight’s result. Before turning-in for the night, I offer five quick thoughts on what we have just witnessed.

1. This is the American Brexit. It’s a populist realignment of the American two-party system. Donald Trump won 44% of the vote during the GOP primaries, and he has achieved a stunning victory tonight. The GOP is now the party of populism, not the party of conservatism. A similar populist strain runs right through the Democratic Party as well. That strain is reflected in the 47% who voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, and that strain will endure for the foreseeable future. This populist divide runs right through both parties and has changed everything this cycle. Will it endure? I don’t know. But there’s no question about what just happened. The people spoke, and their voice astonishes the ruling class. This result leaves the nation’s media and political elites as the shocked victims of their own presumption.

2. I have been an outspoken opponent of both major party nominees. That means that no matter the result of this election, I was going to be disappointed. I thought both candidates to be uniquely unqualified for the presidency. But what now? I don’t regret opposing these candidates. I continue to believe both candidates to pose real challenges to the common good. I trusted neither of them on the issues I care about most—sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty. I also believe both of them to have character flaws undermining their fitness for office. In light of that, what is my duty now? If the Apostle Paul told Christians to honor Emperor Nero, then I know I certainly have an obligation to honor the president-elect (Rom. 13:1-7). I will be the loyal opposition when necessary. I will also be praying that I was wrong about him and that he will do better than what I have expected him to do (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

3. I hope that evangelicals who have been divided over this election can reconcile and come together again. To that end, I want to repeat something I wrote last week. I have many friends and loved ones who made the decision to cast a mournful vote for the GOP nominee. They care about the unborn and religious liberty just as much as I do. They have no illusions about what the GOP nominee is. They did not wish to endorse his character, and they weren’t making a public discrediting defense of the indefensible. They too were dismayed about the alternatives before them. But they made a prudential judgment about the best way to do damage control with their vote. As I have said, I disagree with their decision, but I understand and respect them. The last thing I want is to be divided from them now that the election is over. This has been the most divisive campaign I have ever seen. If this election somehow were to result in a lasting division among Christians who should otherwise be together, that would be lamentable. For my part, I want to do what I can to keep that from happening.

4. I have black and brown friends and loved ones who are deeply distressed by the result of this election. They and others are justifiably concerned about what the future holds given what president-elect Trump has said and done during his campaign. Our country is deeply divided, and many people are terrified by tonight’s election result. I have not and will not forget them. I am thinking about and praying for them tonight.

5. God is still running this show. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?'” (Dan. 4:35). “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3). Nations come and go at the sovereign ordination of God. For those of us who love our country and the good it has stood for, patriotism means celebrating a heritage handed down to us by a smiling providence. But we also know that this great experiment in ordered liberty can be a tenuous thing. That is why Benjamin Franklin defined our system of government as “A Republic, if you can keep it.” So I will be praying that we can keep it a little while longer. We don’t deserve it. But then we never did, did we?

An interview with “Nightline” about a candidate who is outside the normal bounds of unacceptability

Last week, I did an interview with Terry Moran of ABC News about the presidential election. It aired last night on “Nightline.” Ed Young, Jr. and Katelyn Beaty also appear. My part is at the very end–about the last minute and a half or so. You can watch it above.

I stand by all of what I said in the interview (although I said much more than what actually made it to air). I do not believe that either of the major party candidates are qualified for the office that they seek, and I cannot vote for either of them. I do not do public endorsements, but I do think it is important for Christians to speak with moral clarity about the alternatives before us.  Continue Reading →

Is evangelical Christianity becoming more open to gay marriage?

I was just rereading an essay I wrote about six years ago on what the bible teaches about homosexuality. That essay begins with a discussion of Brian McLaren’s then recent affirmation of committed homosexual relationships.

It is strange to read that essay now and to consider in retrospect how quickly McLaren faded from evangelical view. At the time, the emerging church still had some purchase within the evangelical movement. Now that entire project is defunct and so are its major proponents. They pushed the very edges of the leftwing of the evangelical movement until they pushed themselves right out of the movement. Many of them did so by adopting unorthodox positions on sexuality.

The ascendancy of Emergent seems like ancient history, but it really wasn’t that long ago. How quickly its heterodoxy doomed it to irrelevancy and demise. Evangelicals no longer look to the McLarens, the Tony Joneses, or the Rob Bells for sound guidance on the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Continue Reading →

Yes, let’s remember who’s watching this conversation

Last week I noted Jen Hatmaker’s sad departure from the Christian faith. In an interview for RNS, she revealed that she believes sexual immorality to be compatible with following Christ. As you can imagine, the response to this announcement has been mixed. I am happy to see that many Christians have expressed dismay at Hatmaker’s stance and have said that where she is going they cannot follow.

Yesterday, Hatmaker posted some additional thoughts on Facebook. I had hoped and prayed that she might return to the fold, but that is not what she did. Instead, she admonished her detractors to remember that the LGBT community is watching this controversy. She writes: Continue Reading →

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes