Category Archives: Articles on Biblical Authority

The road from interpretation to application

The road from interpretation to application

Last week at the Annual Evangelical Theological Society meeting, the theme of the meeting was “Creation Care.” This is not a subject that I find particularly interesting, but in the final plenary session, Doug Moo made a point that was quite helpful and that applies to areas that I am certainly interested in. In the… Continue Reading

A postscript on Biblical discernment

A postscript on Biblical discernment

Last October I wrapped up my eight-part series on Biblical discernment (parts 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 and 8), and I thought I would now, in retrospect, add a brief postscript to that series simply demonstrating that my position is not novel. A couple years ago Scott Aniol introduced to me Matthew Henry’s book on prayer,  A Method for Prayer. I strongly… Continue Reading

Rightly Viewing Tradition

Rightly Viewing Tradition

This entry is part 29 of 32 in the series Toward Conservative Christian Churches You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The religious scene of the country in which I minister is populated by mainline Protestant churches, some of whom place great emphasis on tradition. However, in many of these churches, the gospel itself is all but invisible, an assumed but unseen foundation of the house. The problem is, most of those in the house have… Continue Reading

Some concluding thoughts on discernment (Part 8)

Some concluding thoughts on discernment (Part 8)

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I was pushed to write a series on discernment when I heard a famous evangelical pastor define discernment as the ability to see, allegedly by the Spirit of God, obscene things on a kind of imaginary “movie screen.”1 I also wanted to respond with sound exegesis to the opinions of some that any extra-biblical moral… Continue Reading

Discernment and God’s Judgment (Part 7)

Discernment and God’s Judgment (Part 7)

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I have been arguing for the importance of discernment in the life of a Christian. I define discernment as a biblically informed judgment whether certain extra-biblical moral actions are good or evil. As we have seen there are an impressive testimony of Scripture to the importance of this biblical discipline: Phil 1:9-11 (Part 1), Rom… Continue Reading

To sing or not to sing, that is the question

To sing or not to sing, that is the question

An interesting online discussion has emerged in the past few weeks about the issue of not singing a particular song in a service when that song expresses sentiments you do not believe to be true. The discussion began with Roger Olson, who argued that we should not sing a song when the doctrine does not… Continue Reading

Maturity and Discernment (Part 6)

Maturity and Discernment (Part 6)

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Discernment is a biblically informed judgment whether certain extra-biblical moral actions are good or evil. Last week, we looked at discernment in Eph 5:7-11 and pushed forward our argument that discernment is a crucial element of New Testament ethics. This argument is sound (and I am not the first to make it), and it is… Continue Reading

A World of Meaning

A World of Meaning

This entry is part 25 of 32 in the series Toward Conservative Christian Churches You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Once a pastor has it settled in his mind that sola Scriptura does not require him to ignore, dismiss or reject extra-biblical sources of knowledge, he may safely walk through God’s world and examine it, knowing that it is, indeed, his Father’s world. A pastor should become personally fascinated with meaning. How could it be… Continue Reading

Enlightened Discernment (Part 5)

Enlightened Discernment (Part 5)

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We are beginning to see that discernment was a significant category for Paul. As an apostle, Paul was very much accustomed to giving the Lord Jesus Christ’s divine instruction to the church for doctrine, worship, and practice. But he was also very much aware that such instruction could in no way satisfy all the moral… Continue Reading

The Pastor and Sola Scriptura

The Pastor and Sola Scriptura

This entry is part 24 of 32 in the series Toward Conservative Christian Churches You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If pastors are to shepherd churches in which there is a desire to understand the meaning of the world and apply it to worship, obedience and ministry, some will need to adjust their understanding of their doctrine of Scripture (or their theories of applying Scripture). A strange paralysis has come over many evangelical pastors. They… Continue Reading

Discernment and Good and Evil (Part 4)

Discernment and Good and Evil (Part 4)

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

To this point, the passages studied in our series on discernment have been pretty straight-forward. Whether Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 12:1-2, or Colossians 1:9-10, each passage has clearly taught the importance of discerning the will of God. In each context, knowing the will of God (which I define to be discerning God’s will as to how… Continue Reading

The Christian and Meaning

The Christian and Meaning

This entry is part 23 of 32 in the series Toward Conservative Christian Churches You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Two propositions summarize why a conservative Christian church is concerned with meaning: Christians are humans, and Christians live in the world. What is the world? The world Christians live in is a world that is the handiwork of an intelligent Being, filled with all His purposes and designs. What is a human? A human is… Continue Reading

Discernment as spiritual wisdom and understanding (Part 3)

Discernment as spiritual wisdom and understanding (Part 3)

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This is a series on Christian discernment. My first post argued that Christian discernment is necessary for living for the glory of God (Phil 1:9-11). Last week I argued that the ability to choose between right and wrong is a crucial part of spiritual worship to God in living holy lives (Rom 12:1-2). In Romans… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura arguments should be put to rest

Sola Scriptura arguments should be put to rest

One of the most abused doctrines in evangelical Christianity is Sola Scriptura. Everybody uses it to prove their side of some argument, and as I’ve been thinking about it lately, I’m convinced it really proves very little for anyone. Now one caveat before I move to my main point: the doctrine obviously does prove something;… Continue Reading

Discernment for the Glory of God (Part 1)

Discernment for the Glory of God (Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Discernment for the Glory of God You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Yesterday, Phil Johnson highlighted the “preposterous claims, unhinged behavior, and spiritual quackery” of the charismatic movement, with Mark Driscoll as “Exhibit A.” I agree with the substance of Johnson’s post (though I’m not sure I would go so far as to infer that Driscoll is lying), but I want to highlight something I think Driscoll… Continue Reading

The Sola Scriptura trump card

The Sola Scriptura trump card

Some recent internet discussions, some sprung from Ken Brown’s very fair review of my book, have once again led to all sorts of folks slapping their “Sola Scriptura” trump card down on the table, as if playing that card gives them the high ground and silences all argument. Don’t get me wrong; I firmly believe… Continue Reading

Will the Real Legalist Please Stand Up? Concluding Thoughts

This entry is part of 5 in the series Will the Real Legalist Please Stand Up? You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Included in faulty ideas of what legalism is are the notions that it is interpreting Scripture literally, making applications for modern living, exhorting submission, and judging various cultural phenomena for their meaning. Now it is obvious that legalism cannot be all of these things. In fact, when examined closely, legalism is not any of these… Continue Reading

Will The Real Legalist Please Stand Up? – Judging Culture

This entry is part of 5 in the series Will the Real Legalist Please Stand Up? You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Christians often imbibe facile and unhelpful definitions of legalism. One of these is the idea that legalism is the act of judging the meaning cultural phenomena, or to put it another way, the act of judging the meaning of things in our world. Christians live in the world, and therefore Christianity is to be lived out… Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura and Form: What I’m Not Saying

This entry is part of 4 in the series Sola Scriptura and Form You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The purposes and positions of Religious Affections (the ministry and blog, not [necessarily] the book) are not obscure; this granted, I expect that our readers are primed to hear the strains of grinding axes in all our posts. Everything we say looks like a camel’s nose in your tent. You have the gnawing suspicion that… Continue Reading