Have you ever wondered how to make a theological argument? While many tools can help us make arguments, there are four overlapping steps to making a theological argument. Here they are: [Read more…] about How to Make a Theological Argument
A number of recent evangelical theologians have reshaped and redefined one of the most central doctrines of Christianity: the doctrine of God. In particular, the dogmas of divine simplicity, eternality, infinity, immutability, impassibility, and triune relations of origin have been widely redefined and even rejected.
Yet these doctrines have been a mainstay of biblical Christianity for centuries, for millennia. These teachings appeared in Christian confessions and in the great writings of Christian theology. Until the twentieth-century, almost every Christian thought they were biblical. But that is no longer the case.
This change confronts us with the question: can we trust our theology? Is it correct? Why are we biblical now but not then? What makes us right and them wrong? What confidence can we have in unshakeable revealed truth if we cannot agree on the central topic of Christianity anymore, namely, God?
Before answering that question, consider the following proofs for the above statements. The following paragraphs list the doctrines mentioned above and then cites evangelical theologians who either redefine or reject these doctrines. Afterward, I will reflect briefly on what this means and whether or not we can still trust evangelical theology. (Preview: we can) [Read more…] about Can We Still Trust Evangelical Theology?
Christians have traditionally affirmed natural law or theology. The Belgic Confession (1561) represents one of the three from of unity for reformed churches and affirms, “We know God by two means”: creation and revelation (Art 2). This confession represents the opinion of a diverse group of Reformers (Richard Hooker, Franciscus Junius, Girolamo Zanchi, Peter Virmigli, Anthony Burgess, Francis Turretin, Petrus van Mastricht, and others).
But some 20th-century theologians have challenged this common notion (pun intended!). Karl Barth wrote his (in)famous response to Emil Brunner in which he said Nein! to natural theology. Elsewhere he wrote: “Christian theology has no use at all for the offer of natural theology, however it may be expressed.” (CD, 1.2 168). In the same century, Cornelius Van Til heavily qualified the prospects of natural theology.
In light of these recent challenges, ought we to affirm natural theology today? And how should we understand natural theology? I believe the answer to the first question is Yes. And the answer to the second question appears in Scripture because Scripture itself affirms the reality of natural theology. [Read more…] about A Biblical Case for Natural Theology
Baker Academic has published the first English translation of a nearly forgotten book. For 100 years (since 1921), Herman Bavinck’s 1,100-page manuscript remained at the Bavinck Archives (Vrije Universiteit) until Dirk van Keulen rediscovered it in 2008.
As John Bolt records, “Readers of this volume are, therefore, among the privileged first group to gain access to Bavinck’s systematic reflection on theological ethics since his own students who heard the lectures in the last two decades of the nineteenth century” (ix).
As the historical level, reading Reformed Ethics represents something of a privilege to read. In terms of editing, John Bolt has done an excellent job formatting and providing explanatory footnotes throughout the work. And lastly, when it comes to the argument, Bavinck’s Reformed Ethics ably sketches out a consistent Reformed view of, as the subtitle suggests, created, fallen, and converted humanity. [Read more…] about Review of Reformed Ethics (Vol 1) by Herman Bavinck
God is good, loving, and merciful. And while this affirmation makes good sense, it does lead to the question of how God is good, loving, and merciful. We sometimes are good. Sometimes not. But God always is and does good. So when John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), he means something different than the phrase “Stephanie is a loving person.”
The traditional answer is bound up in the idea of God’s simplicity. In short, God simply is who he is (Exod 3:14). So that means God is love by nature. And the two terms are basically interchangeable. To say Love is to say God because Love defines God by nature. The nature of God is identical to his properties or attributes.
While most Christians had affirmed this answer (it appears in the Reformed confessions and early Christian thought), some have now challenged the idea that God is identical to his properties. [Read more…] about Is God Identical to His Attributes?
Christians across the ages have confessed God’s simplicity, and it also remains as a stalwart foundation for the reformed faith. The Belgic Confession (1561), for example, begins by affirming that God is “ single and simple spiritual being.” And Francis Turretin (1623–1687) remarks, “The orthodox have constantly taught that the essence of God is perfectly simple and free from all composition” (1992: 1:191).
Divine simplicity means that God has no parts or possibility. He is actually and always who he claims to be.
Yet some today reject divine simplicity as being nonbiblical and incoherent. Is it? [Read more…] about Some Say Divine Simplicity Is Nonbiblical and Incoherent. Is it?