Augustine scholar Phillip Cary retrieves and reargues that the meaning of Protestant theology is Christ offered for us. He explains, “The Gospel, Protestant theology has taught ever since Luther, is God’s way of giving us nothing less than his own beloved son” (2-3). Overall, he succeeds in communicating his main thesis but I am wary about some of his conclusions. [Read more…] about What Martin Luther Can Teach Us about the Gospel (Review of The Meaning of Protestant Theology)
First, Christians figured out the Trinity. Then, they figured out Christology. This developmental narrative of Christian theology exists virtually everywhere. More commonly, the Protestant re-telling of this narrative goes like this. During the Medieval era, all was lost. But the Reformers rediscovered the New Testament and justification. And since then, we have grown in our theological understanding century by century.
But this developmental theory wrongly characterizes history. It is a myth, not reality. It corresponds to our era’s scientific achievements and current evolutionary thought. When medicine and science constantly progress and when the primary meta-framework for the world requires the advancement and change of living creatures, then it seems obvious to us that theology must have progressed.
But this is not accurate. Here’s why. [Read more…] about The Myth of Theological Development
Double procession refers to how the Spirit relates to the Father and Son. It is said to be “double” because both the Father and the Son spirate (breathe out) the Spirit. The Spirit comes from both. Others find it better to say: the Spirit only proceeds from the Father in order to maintain the monarchy of the Father.
While both positions overlap, it is worthwhile to consider the logic of double procession since few discuss the relative (pun-intended) benefits of the doctrine today. The basic argument is that double procession ensures that each person in God has one relational difference from the other. The point is to ensure that we can distinguish the Father, Son, and Spirit.
Here is how this works. [Read more…] about The Logic of Double Procession
Does the Son eternally submit to the Father? Jonathan Routley thinks so. Actually, Routley argues that he has a moral obligation to define God in terms of submission and authority. He explains, “Scripture teaches that the Son eternally submits to the Father willingly, voluntarily, and lovingly” and affirms his “moral obligation to speak up for that conviction” (xii).
Yet his moral obligation to understand God rightly means that he wants to persuade those who no longer speak about the doctrine eternal submission to reaffirm their beliefs: “I am hopeful that this volume might challenge some who have formerly supported the doctrine of eternal submission and have more recently taken a position of silence to regain their voice and reaffirm their support” (xii-xii).
Should the silent speak up? Should we all affirm the eternal submission of the Son to the Father? In answer to that question, we need to see if Routley’s thesis accurately interprets Scripture and uses theological reasoning. My conclusion will be that Routley does not successfully prove his case either scripturally or theologically. [Read more…] about Does The Son Eternally Submit to the Father (A Review of Eternal Submission by Jonathan Routley)
The first article of the Belgic Confession (1561) affirms, “We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God.” This confession of God’s simplicity represents the common opinion of reformed theology as well as earlier Christian theology.
But divine simplicity as well as its attendant teachings (immutability, impassibility, timelessness) no longer enjoy such a consensus. Instead, a number of theologians now deny, ignorte, or redefine simplicity. Certainly, the principle of Sola Scriptura allows even the most central teaching of Christianity to undergo scrutiny. Yet I am persuaded that divine simplicity enjoyed such universal consensus because it is biblical, true, and coherent. God is simple.
To deny, ignore, or redefine this doctrine entails not only theological incoherency but also various other inconsisties when it comes to certain attendant doctrines—immutability, impassibility, infinity, triune relations, and monotheism. [Read more…] about Is God Simple?
Since human nature exists, sex does not amount to either biological or chemical properties in us; nor does it amount to a fluid identification of gender.
Human nature encodes capacity and purpose into humanity. Biology and chemistry can describe our constituent parts but insufficiently do so. We need to also define our capacity and purpose.
This means somewhat controversially that whether we have an xy, xx, or xxy chromosome pattern, these biological and chemical compositions do not tell the whole story. [Read more…] about What Gender Is the XXY Chromosome?