Category Archives: Articles on Theology

Forgiven Much

Forgiven Much

They tried to make her leave. She knew she shouldn’t be here, but she loved him deeply, a love that came from a heart of desperate need. He didn’t turn her away, though. He watched as she wiped away the tears that had dripped onto his feat as he reclined at table. Then she pulled… Continue Reading

Does God Have “Emotions”?

Does God Have “Emotions”?

This entry is part 45 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Trying to answer a badly-worded question often leads to an inferior answer. Loaded questions implicate those who even attempt to answer them. “By what authority doest thou these things?” Whether Jesus had answered “By My own” or “By My Father’s”, he would have been accused of pride or blasphemy. Best rule of thumb: ask the… Continue Reading

How Shall We Be Like God?

How Shall We Be Like God?

Ponder a paradox with me. In Genesis 1, we learn that God creates humanity in his own image and likeness. Exactly what that means has perplexed theologians for literally millennia. Some say being made in God’s image means that we have a mind, will, and emotions. Some see the image as referring to our ability… Continue Reading

Jesus Fulfills Old Testament Worship

Jesus Fulfills Old Testament Worship

In the Old Testament economy, God established particular means through which his people were enabled to draw near to him in worship, although since the sacrifices were not completely pure and the worshipers remained sinful, no one could enter God’s presence for free and open communion with him. Jesus enabled such communion by himself fulfilling… Continue Reading

Do This in Remembrance of Me

Do This in Remembrance of Me

The observance of the “Last Supper” by Jesus and his disciple appears in all four gospels, though John does not give details of the meal itself (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; Luke 22:19, 20). The particular elements of the meal mentioned in the gospel records (and repeated later in 1 Corinthians) each become significant for the… Continue Reading

Beauty and Reality

Beauty and Reality

This entry is part 7 of 8 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 has made a comeback. After years of being relegated by intellectual elites to the junkyard of old and outdated concepts, it is now popping up everywhere. The terminology of beauty is, strangely enough, now heard often in scientific and mathematical discourse, speaking of the beauty of mathematical models or theorems, the elegance of “nature’s… Continue Reading

A Theology of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

A Theology of the Holy Spirit’s Work in Worship

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past several weeks carefully surveying the Holy Spirit’s work throughout Scripture, and specifically in passages that describe his work in worship, to determine what should be our expectation regarding his ordinary work in worship. The common expectation today is that we should expect him to… Continue Reading

The Value of Beauty

The Value of Beauty

This entry is part 6 of 8 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 possible value can the study of beauty deliver? Isn’t this fiddling while Rome burns, counting daffodil petals while barbarians lay siege to the city? In times of apostasy, false teaching, deception and darkness, shouldn’t aesthetics go to the bottom of the priority-pile? When caricatured as effete aestheticism, then yes, beauty will seem to be… Continue Reading

Ordering in Corporate Worship

Ordering in Corporate Worship

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, we saw that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the purpose of building a “holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:21-22). This metaphor of the Spirit building believers into a temple for God narrows the focus of the Holy Spirit’s work specifically to corporate worship. The temple metaphor is not coincidental; the… Continue Reading

Ordering in Salvation and Sanctification

Ordering in Salvation and Sanctification

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The Holy Spirit’s characteristic work is not only an ordering of God’s historical-redemptive plan, but it also a moral ordering. This work begins with his acts of convicting sinners (John 16:8) and regenerating hearts (Titus 3:5), bring life and order to once dead and disordered lives. This re-ordering continues with his frequently mentioned work of… Continue Reading

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

This entry is part 4 of 8 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 idea of beauty is present in the first chapters of the Bible, as God creates and then makes the evaluative judgement that it was “good”. God was not judging the morality of the world, but praising the the beauty of creation. The Bible opens with God creating a cosmos which was aesthetically pleasing to… Continue Reading

Ordering as Characteristic of the Holy Spirit’s Work

Ordering as Characteristic of the Holy Spirit’s Work

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Based on a thorough survey of how the Holy Spirit works throughout Scripture, I suggested last week that although he certainly sometimes works in extraordinary ways, these occur in Scripture at transitional stages in the outworking of God’s plan. Therefore, our expectation for how the Holy Spirit works should not be that he will do something… Continue Reading

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

This entry is part 3 of 8 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.

C. S. Lewis once wrote that the modern dilemma is either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste—or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are in an experience or to lack another kind because we are outside it. As thinkers we are cut off from… Continue Reading

Is the Holy Spirit’s Work Characteristically Extraordinary Experience?

Is the Holy Spirit’s Work Characteristically Extraordinary Experience?

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week I presented a brief survey of the Holy Spirit’s activity throughout Scripture, which helps to lay an important foundation for assessing his work in worship, especially what Christians should expect his ordinary work to be. In order to arrive at conclusions regarding that expectation, I will next consider broadly how to characterize the… Continue Reading

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

This entry is part 2 of 8 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.

Few Christians would say that beauty is unbiblical. After all, they vaguely remember references to “the beauty of holiness” or the desire “to behold the beauty of the LORD”. But many might think of beauty as extra-biblical: mostly an aesthetic and philosophical concept, more at home in art galleries and philosophy lecture-halls than in churches… Continue Reading

In Pursuit of a Doxology

In Pursuit of a Doxology

This entry is part of 8 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.

In 1962, A. W. Tozer warned that the evangelical church was missing a jewel. “Now, worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized; we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship.… Continue Reading

How Does Scripture Describe the Work of the Holy Spirit?

How Does Scripture Describe the Work of the Holy Spirit?

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series The Holy Spirit's Work in Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Ultimately, current expectations concerning the Holy Spirit’s work in worship must derive, not from experience, but from Scripture. In order to lay such a biblical foundation, I will next survey how the Bible broadly characterizes the Holy Spirit’s activity, and then narrow the focus to the church age and specifically corporate worship. Scripture contains roughly… Continue Reading

Limited Atonement: Rejecting What Was Never Provided?

Limited Atonement: Rejecting What Was Never Provided?

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Definite Atonement's Indefinite Inferences You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have seen that to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Scripture teaches particular redemption, an advocate would need to show an explicit negation: a denial that Christ provided atonement for the non-elect. Instead of such a negation, we find references to universal provision of atonement. We find application of Christ’s atonement limited to the elect,… Continue Reading

Limited Atonement: Provision and Application

Limited Atonement: Provision and Application

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Definite Atonement's Indefinite Inferences You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Proponents of definite atonement wish to avoid a “hypothetical” atonement by asserting that the elect’s sins were actually atoned for, when Christ died in A. D. 33. This has the unintended logical consequence of eternal justification: the hyper-Calvinist notion that the elect were justified before their birth. To avoid this logical consequence, proponents of particular… Continue Reading

Limited Atonement and Eternal Justification

Limited Atonement and Eternal Justification

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Definite Atonement's Indefinite Inferences You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Limited Atonement, also known as definite atonement and particular redemption, is regarded by some as a kind of Shibboleth of Reformed or Calvinistic Orthodoxy. Disavow particular redemption, and you are a closet Arminian, an Arminian in Calvinist clothing, or even an inconsistent Universalist. If your TULIP lacks the middle petal, it’s a disfigured flower, they… Continue Reading