Category Archives: Articles on Theology

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

Nine Biblical Truths Regarding the Doctrine of Election (2)

Nine Biblical Truths Regarding the Doctrine of Election (2)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series The Misunderstood Doctrine of Election You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We continue to examine nine biblical theses regarding election. 6. The individuals given to Christ by the Father are chosen in Christ. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Eph. 1:4) When Paul says that God has… Continue Reading

Merry Christmas, Heretics, One and All

Merry Christmas, Heretics, One and All

Security companies enjoy a kind of odd gratitude for criminals. After all, without the threat of crime, security companies would have little in the way of business. It’s thanks to the attempted and successful acts of crime that security companies develop their walls, fences, locks, and alarms. Christians, too, should have a similar kind of… Continue Reading

Nine Biblical Truths Regarding the Doctrine of Election (1)

Nine Biblical Truths Regarding the Doctrine of Election (1)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series The Misunderstood Doctrine of Election You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In our last post, we showed that all Christians implicitly or explicitly accept the idea of election: that God controls (directly or permissively) the destinies of His creatures. A philosophical defence goes only so far, however. We wish now to review nine biblical truths regarding the doctrine of election. 1. God does not wish anyone… Continue Reading

Why Every Christian (Ultimately) Believes in Election

Why Every Christian (Ultimately) Believes in Election

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Misunderstood Doctrine of Election You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The idea that God chooses or “elects” people is taught in many Scriptures (Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:4; 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2). People struggle with this concept. Doesn’t that make the whole thing unfair? Isn’t it unjust to choose people for salvation? Surely salvation is then all a stacked-deck, with people nothing more than… Continue Reading

Undiscerning Discernment

Undiscerning Discernment

One of the ways you make your mark in the online discernment ministry world is by “outing” a popular and generally reliable pastor or Bible teacher. This promotes you in the eyes of discernment devotees, because you are supposedly spotting error in a teacher that “everyone else unquestioningly follows”, and are willing to be the… Continue Reading

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

A critic recently approached me about our hymnal and rebuked us for (among other things) including hymns written by Catholics in our hymnal. It is no secret that we include Catholic and Orthodox hymn texts. For example, we include the very ancient Te Deum (“Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”). We include works by or attributed to… Continue Reading

The Many Meanings of “Reformed”

The Many Meanings of “Reformed”

I find it quite amusing these days to be classified by some as “Reformed”, when I’d barely heard the term for most of my Christian life. I grew up in Baptist circles that didn’t use the term “Reformed”. In fact, the first time I heard it used of my church was when a student attending… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 7: Loving What Christ Loves

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 7: Loving What Christ Loves

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

I am forming an argument for Scripture-regulated worship from two pillars: the authority of Christ and our love for him  (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6). If Christ is Lord, then we should obey him. But we should also obey Christ because we love him. The way Christ exercises authority in the church is through the apostles, and… Continue Reading

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 4: Christ’s Authority 2

Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship 4: Christ’s Authority 2

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Love for Christ & Scripture-Regulated Worship You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The first post in this series introduced Scripture-Regulated Worship. The second post considered some important arguments for Scripture-Regulated Worship. The third post showed the ways the New Testament explains the authority of Christ in churches. To summarize my argument in that third installment, Jesus Christ sent delegates (apostles) to teach his churches his will for them as churches. This… Continue Reading

Two Exams, and Two Questions

Two Exams, and Two Questions

I present my children with two written tests. They open the envelope of the first, and see the heading, “Dad Orthodoxy”. A series of questions about me follows, which they find delightfully easy. “What is your father’s first name?” “What color are your father’s eyes?” “What is your father’s favorite meal?” “Where did your father… Continue Reading

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

Authority, Soul Competence and Vocation

This entry is part 15 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Soul competence and the priesthood of the believer are two sides of one doctrine that Baptists cherish. Indeed, they make up part of the matrix known as the Baptist distinctives. Soul competence teaches that individual Spirit-indwelt believers can read and understand Scripture for themselves, using the means He has given. The priesthood of the believer… Continue Reading

A Worship Catechism (15)

A Worship Catechism (15)

This entry is part 15 of 15 in the series A Worship Catechism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

97. What is our ultimate hope? Our ultimate hope is to see God’s glory in His realized presence (Rev 21:2-3, 22:4; Joh 17:21-26), where we will behold His beauty forever (Ps 27:4, 23:6). 98. How will we commune with God in His realized presence? We will behold Him without the curse of corrupt bodies and partially… Continue Reading