John Calvin situates our “mystical union” with Christ with “the highest degree of importance.” By our union with Christ, we experience a “fellowship of righteousness.” This is why our imputed righteousness is not some remote thing that comes to us. We experience God’s righteousness in a personal way. We have it in mystical union with Christ. [Read more…] about John Calvin on Our Mystical Union with Christ
In the New Testament, Christians are called to hope, to hope in seeing God face-to-face in the resurrection. But what about the Old Testament? Did it have a meaningful vision of the afterlife?
Fleming Rutledge answers in the negative. She writes, “There is no meaningful life after death in the Old Testament world” (Rutledge, 2015: 399). She continues to explain that the Israelites were “to relinquish any hope for meaningful individual survival after death. Insubstantial nonexistence in Sheol was the destiny of all” (p. 399).
Basil of Caesarea is one of the giants of the past. He was a pastor, a writer, and a theologian. His work On the Holy Spirit is still the best book you can read on the topic. And we have abundant access to his life through his extant letters. In Letter 38, for example, he writes to his brother Gregory of Nyssa (who would later preside over the Council of Constantinople), giving Gregory a crash course on the Trinity.
And it is quite simply the best short guide to the Trinity that I have ever read. I outline the argument below, so that you can participate in the crash course and become a better person (really). By learning more about God, you grow in your experience of God. And this is how God grows us from one level of glory to another. Put more explicitly, by the Holy Spirit we gaze into the face of Christ so as to see the Father in it; by this knowledge, we grow from one level of glory to another. [Read more…] about Basil of Caesarea’s Crash Course on the Trinity
In the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus promises to build his church. He says, “So, then, I speak to you because you are Peter. And upon this rock, I will build my church (ἐκκλησίαν) and the gates of hades will not over power it (αὐτῆς)” (Matthew 16:18).
The word “church” and the pronoun “it” above are in the singular. In other words, Jesus says that he will build the church, the one church.
His promise leads us to ask an important question: Which church is he building?
Is he building the Baptist church, the Presbyterian church, the Roman Catholic church, the Orthodox church, or any of the other denominations? [Read more…] about Christ Will Build His Church, But Which Church Is His?
In recent years, many have argued that Penal Substitution is not true. They argue that God could not possibly expend his wrath on the Son of God in our place; he could not stand condemned for us and for our salvation. For them it’s simply not true.
Whenever I hear arguments against penal substitution, they interest me. I want to gain a closer look at the truth, and so I am open to listening to others. But whatever the argument is (and however good it sounds), we always need to step back and ask: Yes, but is it true?
Or better: Yes, but is penal substitution true?
Whatever you think or feel about the doctrine, we must ask: does the Bible teach it? Even if it abhors or scares us.
We must be relentlessly biblical.
And you know what. When we come to understand and to accept the Bible’s message, the abhorrence and fear melts away. You come to see that God is beautiful and that whatever he does is beautiful, good, and right. [Read more…] about Yes, But Is Penal Substitution True?
Sometimes we think of the Bible as if it were a book that fell from heaven to earth. But, while the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, regular humans (who were prophets) wrote it. And they cited sources in their writings in similar ways that we do.
Once we realize this, it helps us to read the Bible in the way that God and its authors intended it to be read. The Bible is both historical and theological. Authors wrote books of the Bible within real historical times, and God inspired it to speak beyond those events in history.
Let’s take a look at the Bible itself to explain how this worked. [Read more…] about Biblical Authors Cite Sources in Their Writings