In the USA, some Christian leaders are debating the nature and place of social justice. One side wants to define the Gospel as a proclamation that does not entail social justice. The other side affirms that the Gospel alone saves while also emphasizing those saved by the Gospel will necessarily live by the Gospel, which means doing justice. As might be obvious, the difference here is slight but significant enough to warrant discussion.*
My observation here is that the debate partly revolves around how the Old Testament applies to the church today. By grasping this point, parts of the dispute become much clearer. And it is worth exploring how the Old Testament relates to us today because this knowledge will help believers live their life as they ought to (2 Tim 3:16). The discussion matters. [Read more…] about One Reason Why People Disagree on Social Justice
John MacArthur recently wrote, “This recent (and surprisingly sudden) detour in quest of “social justice” is, I believe, the most subtle and dangerous threat so far.” Agreeing with John Macarthur, Josh Buice says that social justice is the top issue for the church in the last 100 – 200 years (18m:25s). Small wonder then that John MacArthur, Josh Buice and eleven others wrote the Statement on Social Justice & The Gospel. [Read more…] about What’s the Christian Social Justice Debate about?
The famous historian Adolf Harnack once asserted, “The attempts at deducing the genesis of the Church’s doctrinal system from the theology of Paul, or from compromises between Apostolic doctrinal ideas, will always miscarry; for they fail to note that to the most important premises of the Catholic doctrine of faith belongs an element which we cannot recognise as dominant in the New Testament, viz., the Hellenic spirit.”*
And it is not that he sees this difference between Jewish and Greek thought as a minor divergence. He claims, “Judaism and Hellenism in the age of Christ were opposed to each other.”** Harnack’s thesis, I would suggest, still predominates today, even if heavily nuanced and rebuffed largely by Hengel.
Yet the idea that Greek thought with its metaphysical interest or abstracted language does not match the biblical idiom of the Bible is beyond false. [Read more…] about Hellenism Wasn’t Such a Bad Thing
Theology belongs to the church, and theology leads to worship. And this means that worship includes prayer because it adores and shows reliance on God. Prayer is, therefore, theology put to work. As an example of theology put to work, here is a prayer to God that serves as a form of public worship. In this prayer of adoration, God for being himself and creating all things.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1) What a simple passage but what difficulties. O Lord, you were there and you did create. But what does the beginning mean, when you already were there? [Read more…] about “In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth” and Other Difficult Verses
In the beginning, God created the universe (Gen 1:1). He spoke, and it came into being. Apart from the Word of God, nothing would be made that was made (John 1:3). God speaks his Word, and creation comes into being. When he speaks, he spirates, and his breath animates what has come into being (Gen 2:7). When God speaks, things happen. His word creates and still does. [Read more…] about When God speaks, he creates