Rethinking Glory

Glory is one of those common words in popular Christian vocabulary which we assume the meaning without doing any deep study of how it is actually used in the Bible. Theologian and Bible scholar Haley Goranson Jacob in her new book Conformed to the Image of His Son: Reconsidering Paul’s Theology of Glory in Romans (IVP, 2018) tackles this very issue. She does this by carefully re-examining Romans 8:28-30, which is one of the most important passages about glory in Christian thought, and brings fresh insights on this well-known and beloved Pauline passage. Continue reading “Rethinking Glory”

A Definite Gospel (Part 2)

In the New Testament (NT) the gospel is a specific message. As I have previously explored, when we fail to recognize this we wrongly conflate certain issues, some more understandable than others, with the gospel message even though they are distinct. Those issues may be very important and even intimately related to the gospel but they are not what the NT considers the gospel. If the NT goes to the trouble to make those often-subtle distinctions, we should too. As the NT indicates, a precise understanding of what does and does not constitute the gospel matters because the good news is the foundation of the entire Christian edifice. Continue reading “A Definite Gospel (Part 2)”

A Definite Gospel (Part 1)

Among Christians, the gospel is considered foundational and we like to think that we know what it is. However, when you pay attention to how believers talk about it, there is some fuzziness regarding what it exactly is. Part of the reason for this imprecision is the fact that the gospel is central. Practically every theological issue orbits around it with varying degrees of separation. It is therefore quite easy to bundle issues into the gospel, especially if they are closely related, even though they might be quite distinct. Continue reading “A Definite Gospel (Part 1)”

Contemporary Prophecy and the Bible

In the Pentecostal and Charismatic world the issue of prophecy matters today as much as it did in the Bible. What then is prophecy and how does biblical prophecy compare to modern day prophecy? Prophecy in the Bible is quite diverse but it is generally speaking human speech that is inspired by God (2 Peter 1:21.) There is a tradition of men and women in the Bible whom God specially commissioned as his spokespeople known as prophets. They are usually the ones who prophesied in the Bible and a significant portion of the Bible consists of their prophetic words. The Bible is therefore our main resource for understanding what prophecy is so we can use it to asses prophecy today. Continue reading “Contemporary Prophecy and the Bible”

Temple Theology

New Testament scholar Gregory K. Beale in his insightful book The Temple and the Church’s Mission traces a biblical theology of the temple through the Old Testament and into the New Testament. This is very important because the temple is a unifying motif that helps makes sense of the story of the Bible. Here is a very helpful and informative summary of the book by Dr. Beale himself which you can download here. In the summary he focuses on temple language in the Hebrew Bible and the challenge of understanding how the New Testament interprets the temple prophecies in the Hebrew Bible as being fulfilled. Continue reading “Temple Theology”

The Trinitarian Problem

One of the lesser known arguments for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is that it is the solution to a theological problem found in the New Testament. The problem is there is one God yet Jesus and the Spirit, who are distinct from God and one another, are also considered to be divine. The most influential proponent of this argument is theologian Arthur Wainwright in his 1952 book The Trinity in the New Testament. In it he called it the “problem of the Trinity” which he argues was later clearly articulated and fully resolved as “the doctrine of the Trinity”, that is, in the formal creeds. As such it is a version of the developmental argument for the Trinity and the most popular version of it. The Trinitarian problem approach is the most popular argument for the Trinity among the theologically educated. Even though I think it is the best argument for the Trinity there is a serious problem with the Trinitarian problem thesis. Continue reading “The Trinitarian Problem”

Covenant Making God

Covenant keeping God, there is no one like you.

The above line from Willie and Mike’s song Covenant Keeping God captures a profound revelation of who God is. It is hard to understate how important covenant is. However, he is not just a covenant keeping God, he is a covenant making God. On this the late renowned Hebrew Bible scholar Moshe Weinfeld writes: Continue reading “Covenant Making God”