Category Archives: Articles on Theology

Imagination and Understanding Reality

Imagination and Understanding Reality

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Should Christians persist in referring to “Christian Imagination”? Since we are concerned with truth, should we not avoid terms that have connotations of what is merely fantastical or unreal? We may choose to drop the term Christian imagination. If we do, however, we will have to use several other terms in its place, to capture… Continue Reading

In Defense of the Prayer Meeting (Part 1)

In Defense of the Prayer Meeting (Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series In Defense of the Prayer Meeting You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Long live the prayer meeting! When I was a kid, the independent Fundamentalist Baptist church I grew up in had a prayer meeting. It felt like all the churches did, not just among the Baptists, but in many other evangelical churches as well. Over the decades since, prayer meetings have slowly been replaced or even… Continue Reading

Loving God’s Beauty

Loving God’s Beauty

This entry is part 30 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

At this point, it will be helpful to summarise our argument in five steps. Step one: God’s beauty is his love for his own being. Step two: God’s beauty is perceived and apprehended by love for God. Step three: This love must be a correspondent love: one which corresponds with God’s love in degree and… Continue Reading

A Biblical Theology of Loving God

A Biblical Theology of Loving God

This entry is part 26 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Is the idea of correspondent, or ordinate, love present in Scripture? Does Scripture describe what love for God should be? It does indeed. In terms of degree, Scripture makes a hierarchy of loves very clear. The first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exod. 20:3). Deuteronomy 6:4–5 was… Continue Reading

Knowing God’s Beauty Through Correspondent Love

Knowing God’s Beauty Through Correspondent Love

This entry is part 25 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What can we conclude about God’s beauty and how to perceive it? 1) God’s beauty is his own consent, love, or affection for his holy being. 2) Loving this beauty, and necessarily, its object-God’s being simply considered-is the means of perceiving this beauty. Loving God is the analogue of God’s beauty in the creature: a… Continue Reading

Beauty: the Link Between General and Special Revelation

Beauty: the Link Between General and Special Revelation

This entry is part 24 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What relevance does understanding beauty in general revelation of creation have for understanding the special revelation of God’s beauty? This is a perennial question asked by evangelicals. What does beauty have to do with evangelism, discipleship, sanctification or church life? To answer that, we need only consider the many similarities between art and religion. Art,… Continue Reading

Biblical Fact-Check: 613 Commandments?

Biblical Fact-Check: 613 Commandments?

I’m not sure where it began, but someone started the tale that the Hebrew High Priest had a rope tied to his leg, so that if the sound of the bells attached to his robe stopped jingling in the Most Holy Place, the people on the other end of the rope would know he’d been… Continue Reading

Judging Beauty in Creation

Judging Beauty in Creation

This entry is part 22 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The two domains of God’s revelation are general revelation and special revelation. God has revealed Himself to all men generally through the created order, and God has revealed Himself specifically to some through His Word, mediated through various agents. If we wish to perceive the beauty of God, we will find it in both domains,… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Description

Beauty’s Description

This entry is part 21 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Beauty defined may be abstract and remote; beauty described should be concrete. What does beauty look like? For that matter, since beauty is not only (or even primarily) visual, what does beauty sound like, feel like, or seem like? When we have encountered or experienced beauty, what is that experience? The best approach is to… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Definition: What About the Cross?

Beauty’s Definition: What About the Cross?

This entry is part 20 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If beauty is ultimately God’s self-knowledge and communicative self-delight, we can explain easily enough why other theories of beauty have defined beauty as harmony and symmetry, or truth and goodness, or pleasure and delight. For Trinitarian love is the ultimate and absolute form of harmony and unity, being a symmetry not of objects but of… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Definition: Addenda

Beauty’s Definition: Addenda

This entry is part 19 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Jonathan Edwards combined insights from each of the theories of beauty, while being primarily theological. His theory was different from his Christian forbearers, though. Instead of resting on the medieval idea that God’s beauty was equivalent to his being, Edwards insisted that the beauty of God is God’s interaction with his being. Beauty is not… Continue Reading

Beauty Defined (With Some Help From Edwards)

Beauty Defined (With Some Help From Edwards)

This entry is part 18 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

How do we decide between these competing definitions of beauty? As Christians, we would firstly say that we cannot be satisfied with a definition of beauty abstracted from God. Beauty must be defined in relation to God. For that reason, special revelation (Scripture) must define beauty in general revelation (nature and art), not the other… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Definition

Beauty’s Definition

This entry is part 17 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Defining beauty is no easy task. A definition of beauty or the beautiful has eluded the grasp of those who wish a definition with mathematical precision. This more than two-millennia-old discussion remains open, and no definition has satisfied its perennial participants or become the final word. Among those who venture to define it, we can… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Difficulties: Philosophy versus Biblical Authority

Beauty’s Difficulties: Philosophy versus Biblical Authority

This entry is part 11 of 34 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The discussion of beauty among Christians is often stymied before it starts. Some of this is due to a long-standing suspicion towards philosophy felt by many Christians. From Tertullian’s “What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?” to Luther’s denunciation of the Scholastics to evangelicalism’s embrace of Common Sense Realism, there is some considerable water under… Continue Reading

The “Golden Chain” of Salvation in Romans 8:29–30

The “Golden Chain” of Salvation in Romans 8:29–30

Romans 8:29–30 states, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”… Continue Reading

Doctrinal Triage for Worship

Doctrinal Triage for Worship

Many years ago, Al Mohler published a widely-read article on doctrinal triage, a method for evaluating the seriousness of doctrines. Kevin Bauder then pointed out that this approach was something that mainstream fundamentalists had espoused for many years, with possibly more sophistication. I’ve thought for a while that we need something like that for the… Continue Reading

The Crucifixion: Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?

The Crucifixion: Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?

The exact day of the week of Christ’s death has been debated for centuries. The day, while not fundamental to the gospel, is of some import, especially in countries like South Africa which celebrate Good Friday as a public holiday. Churches hold Good Friday services (were we allowed out the house!) What support is there… Continue Reading

How the Tabernacle Communicated a Theology of Worship

How the Tabernacle Communicated a Theology of Worship

At Mt. Sinai, God established standardized practices of worship for his people. First, God commanded that the people build a sanctuary for him. They built the tabernacle of God—and later the temple—according to God’s specific instructions (Exod 25:8–9, 40; 27:8; Num 8:4; cf. Acts 7:44; Heb 8:5). This sanctuary of his presence was not for… Continue Reading

Forming a Great Commandment Culture

Forming a Great Commandment Culture

In the context of giving the Law at Mt. Sinai and the promise that if they follow God’s commands as a nation, God will bless them, we find a statement that stands at the core of biblical religion: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your… Continue Reading