• Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Should We All Be Deconstructing?

    Kirsten Sanders has an interesting definition of deconstruction in an article for Christianity Today. She writes, Deconstruction, by which I mean the struggle to correct or deepen naive belief, is a significant part of learning theology. Christians should engage in the task to move beyond simplistic conceptions to belief in a God who is vaster than they can comprehend. As near as I can tell, this definition of deconstruction is what Christians usually refer to as sanctification. It’s that normal experience of growth whereby the Holy Spirit enables believers to forget what lies behind and to strain toward what lies ahead (Phil. 3:13). It involves repentance from error and growth…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Bringing Holiness to Completion

    Earlier this evening, I preached on Sanctification to the students of Boyce College. The text is 2 Corinthians 7:1: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” There is still sin in the world, and there is still sin in us. It’s power has been broken through Christ so that we are no longer slaves to it, but its remnants are still there. We are to contend against it until glory. That’s what it means to cleanse yourselves. For the rest of the message, see below.

  • Complementarianism,  Egalitarianism,  Theology/Bible

    Saint Paula Is No Exemplar of the Faith

    I thought it might be helpful to address yet another serious accusation from Beth Allison Barr about my representation of her work. On social media yesterday, she reacted to a critical review of her book that a colleague and I commented about online. The review offers a trenchant critique of Barr’s praise for “Saint Paula,” a medieval catholic woman who abandoned her children. Colin Smothers and I both commented that our jaws hit the floor when we read that part of Barr’s book. Barr’s response was sharp. She writes, Y’all, I’m a kind person. But I’m also a fighter. And I have hit my limit with @DennyBurk & @colinsmo. There…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  Egalitarianism,  Theology/Bible

    Complementarianism as a Second Order Doctrine

    Last week, there was some discussion on social media about complementarianism as a second order doctrine. The issue was brought into focus by a recorded comment that Thabiti Anyabwile delivered about women pastors. He later clarified that he still believes in a qualified male-only eldership. Nevertheless, I think his video statement—if the off-the-cuff remarks accurately reflect his position—would still be problematic because he seemed to imply that having a female pastor would not be sufficient reason to leave a church. That’s much different than reading a book by an egalitarian or acknowledging they are Christians. If your pastor is a female and you are a complementarian, then you necessarily believe…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    A Plan to Read through the Bible in 2022

    In years past, my customary mode for reading through the Bible every year involved starting in Genesis and reading right through to Revelation. I estimated that about four chapters per day would get me through in under a year’s time. The method worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t without its problems. Sometimes I would miss a day (or days) and get behind, and I had no way to keep up with my progress. I needed a schedule so that I could keep myself accountable for finishing in a year. In 2009, therefore, I did something I had never done before. I followed a Bible reading plan. I adopted Robert Murray…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    Against an elder receive not an accusation

    John Calvin’s commentaries on Scripture are always so insightful and practical. Today I was reading his comments on 1 Timothy 5:19, which says this: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.” Calvin explains why it is so important for there to be no presumption of guilt but a presumption of innocence unless or until adequate evidence is brought forth to prove the charge against the elder. Calvin also points out that Paul’s instructions for disciplining an elder are in fact the same as the Bible’s instructions for disciplining any member of the congregation. This high bar of proof is not…

  • Christianity,  Theology/Bible

    How To Recognize an Abusive Leader

    Jonathan Leeman has some wise words about how to recognize abusive leadership in a church: All of us, at times, will be called to endure humbly a leader’s mistakes and sins. Nonetheless, should you find yourself in a church where the leadership is characteristically abusive, I would, in most cases, encourage you to flee. Flee to protect your discipleship, to protect your family, to set a good example for the members left behind, and to serve non-Christian neighbors by not lending credibility to the church’s ministry. How do you recognize abusive leadership? Paul requires two witnesses for a charge to be leveled against an elder (1 Tim. 5:19), probably because…

  • Christianity,  Homosexuality,  Theology/Bible

    Engaging CT’s Piece on “Side B Christians”

    Christianity Today has published an article by a “Side B Christian” named Bekah Mason. For those unfamiliar with this terminology, so-called “Side A Christians” are those who believe that they can follow Christ while affirming homosexual identity and practice. “Side B Christians” are those who believe that following Christ means affirming gay identity while eschewing gay sexual behavior. Mason’s article is about the plight of “Side B Christians” who feel rejected both by LGBT folks on their left and by “orthodox churches” on their right. Mason argues that “Side B Christians are not a threat but an asset to orthodox churches.” Readers would do well to reckon not only with…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  Homosexuality,  Theology/Bible

    Crucial Questions with Kristin Kobes Du Mez

    Over the weekend, I had an important exchange with Kristin Kobes Du Mez on social media. I won’t rehash the entire back and forth here. Some of it is linked below for your reference if you are interested in following the threads. If you boil it all down, she asked me a question, and I asked her one. She asked me whether I thought her book Jesus and John Wayne contains false teaching (to which I answered “yes”), and I asked her if she believes that homosexuality is sinful (to which she answered that she doesn’t know yet). In this post, I simply want to comment on her answer to…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  Egalitarianism,  Theology/Bible,  Transgenderism

    What happened at the ETS?

    Well, another annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) is now in the books. I returned home late Thursday night from Fort Worth, TX, where this year’s gathering was held. For those of you who don’t know, the 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. Keep in mind that I only experienced a narrow slice of things, but here are my reflections on what I saw nonetheless. 1. Fort Worth and Nostalgia I confess that…