[Common Places] The Five Solas: Scripture Alone

Matthew Barrett on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation, looking back to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the theological debates kick-started by their posting. The Reformation continues to be lauded, cajoled, and debated in circles of all sorts today. At Common Places we will begin the year by focusing on some of the central principles and most relevant texts that shaped early Reformation theology and that have continued that conversation in the centuries that followed. Each month we will begin with a post related to an ongoing book project from Zondervan Academic that addresses the five solas of Reformation theology. We will then conclude each month with an annotated reading guide on classic and contemporary works that address that particular principle.

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Why Should I Know the History of Christianity? Here Are 5 Reasons

Jeremy Bouma on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310536284_imageEdmund Burke famously said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

Perhaps there is no more urgent task for the church today than heeding these words. Ian Shaw aims to help us.

In Christianity: The Biography Shaw charts the story of Christianity from its birth and infancy among a handful of followers of Jesus Christ, through its years of development into a global religious movement, spanning continents and cultures and transcending educational and social backgrounds. Here’s why:

Understanding and preparing for the future of the church requires opening the book of its past. The biography of Christianity has not been one of constant advance and progress. In times of growth Christians should not exult…

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Two Competing Stories to the Christian Worldview

Jeremy Bouma on 4 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310525042Last week we engaged Gregory Koukl’s new book The Story of Reality, examining what Christianity is and isn’t.

As Koukl explained, “[Christianity] is an account or a description or a depiction of the way things actually are” (23). And the way things actually are can be traced along a four-act story, familiar to many Koinonia readers: creation, fall, redemption, restoration.

Perhaps the most important part of this story is how it begins. Creation tells us how things began, where everything came from (including us), the reason for our origins, and what ultimate reality is like. Koukl explains it like this:

on the Christian view, God and the world—mind and matter—are two different kinds of things. Both are real. The first (God) is…

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What Is Christianity? Different than What Most People Think

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310525042It’s a basic question, and also a vital one. Not only for our own spiritual journey, but also for the journeys of people we know and meet.

And it’s a question Gregory Koukl engages in his new book The Story of Reality. The reason why is because of the misguided approach to religion people often take:

people are often tempted to think of religion as a kind of spiritual fantasy club…the one that meets your personal needs, that gives you rules to live by that are respectable but not too demanding, that warms your heart with feelings of spirituality…[They say] do not, however, confuse religious stories with reality. They don’t give you the kind of information about the world that, say,…

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Three Steps Toward Rightly Knowing the Doctrine of the Trinity

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310491491_imageFred Sanders has an ambitious goal with his new book The Triune God: securing our knowledge of the triune God by rightly ordering the theological language with which we praise him.

To get us on toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity, Sanders outlines three crucial steps, which we’ve engaged below:

to grasp the entire two-Testament canon, to trace its unbroken narrative arc, and to recognize that arc as a self-communicative action with God as its source. (98)

Step 1: Construe Scripture as a Whole

Although space doesn’t permit a complete defense of canonical unity, Sanders spends enough time to show why construing Scripture as a whole is a necessary first step toward rightly knowing the doctrine of the Trinity:

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10 Principles You Need to Know about Trinitarian Dogmatics

Jeremy Bouma on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310491491_imageWhile celebrating Christ’s incarnation is fresh on our breath, it’s apt we contemplate the Trinity. After all, the God-with-us event is inherently Trinitarian: the Father gave the world his only-begotten Son, by the Holy Spirit.

Here to help is Fred Sanders with his new book The Triune God. In it he contends:

the manner of the Trinity’s revelation dictates the shape of the doctrine; it draws its dogmatic conclusions about how the doctrine should be handled on the basis of the way the Trinity was revealed. (19)

He offers an extensive set of dogmatics principles for Trinitarian exegesis to shepherd Trinitarian contemplation. They offer “systematic help for reconstructing the plausibility structures of biblical Trinitarianism” (19).

We’ve briefly shared those principles below to deepen your understanding of the triune God.

1) A Doxological Movement

When…

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Explore God’s Two Books: God’s Word and God’s Works – Reflecting on “Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!”

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

25% and 23%

9780310526445These two numbers represent the reason why Denis Lamoureux wrote his new book Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!

The first is the percentage of young adults who perceive Christianity as anti-science. The second is the percentage of those who have been turned off by debates surrounding evolution and creationism. Lamoureux finds both numbers shocking; he thinks you should, too.

To help mitigate the fallout of these two numbers, Lamoureux has offered readers a framework for understanding the two “Books” of God. He hopes this framework hopes will help Christian students navigate the tension of modern science and the Bible. What are these two books, you ask?

The Book of God’s Words is the Bible. Scripture reveals spiritual truths concerning…

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[Common Places]: Pro-Nicene Theology: Theology and Economy in Scripture

Fred Sanders on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

Tree of Life by Pacino di Bonaguida detail.jpg

Image: detail from the Tree of Life by Pacino di Bonaguida (Florence, ca. 1305). Salvation history spread out in great detail, but centered on the cross.

In Lewis Ayres’s latest post in this series, he showed the use that Greek patristic theologians made of the terms theologia and oikonomia. The fathers reached for this pair of terms to make the crucial distinction between God’s own eternal nature, on the one hand, and…

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What Is an “Evangelical” Dogmatics of Scripture? Here’s a Framework

Jeremy Bouma on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

voiceofgodtextofscriptureSeveral years ago, Oliver Crisp and Fred Sanders conceived of an annual conference discussing and explicating Christian doctrine, one that was self-consciously ecumenical and sought to resource contemporary systematic theology. The result was the Los Angeles Theology Conference (LATC).

Earlier this year, the fourth annual gathering was framed by this question:

How does the voice of God come to us in the text of Scripture?

The result was The Voice of God in the Text of Scripture, a series of illuminating, constructive essays exploring the ways God speaks through the biblical text. Of this unique text Crisp and Sanders write,

we stand before a theological claim of the first order, and one of the right responses is to develop a doctrine…

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[Common Places] Pro-Nicene Theology: Theologia and Oikonomia

Lewis Ayres on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Our current series, Pro-Nicene Theology, offers doctrinal and exegetical entries to the key tenets of basic Trinitarian orthodoxy as developed in the early centuries of the church. For introduction to the series, see this first post.

origen_big

The individual terms theologia and oikonomia have long histories of their own in classical Greek, but the first time we find these two terms paired in Christian writing is in the work of the famous theologian and exegete Origen of Alexandria (died c. 254). He speaks in the 18th of his Homilies on Jeremiah of God speaking “theologically about himself, and [not about] his plan (oikonomia) for human matters” (18.6.3). Whereas theologia concerns the nature of God, God’s oikonomia refers to God’s concern for and ordering…

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Two Views, Four Voices on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

homosexualityThe sanctity of same-sex relations is one of the most pressing ethical questions facing the church today. (9)

So contends Preston Sprinkle in his new edited volume Two Views of Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church. And rightly so. For, as he continues, “Unlike other topics that Christians debate—the rapture, the millennium, speaking in tongues, etc.—homosexuality affects the very core of human persons.” (9)

Bringing together four voices to discuss two dominant views on the Bible and sexuality, this unique volume in the Counterpoints series offers fresh perspective on a well-worn topic in three distinct ways:

This first-of-its-kind book published by an evangelical publisher encourages dialogue within the body of Christ about homosexuality, the Bible, and the church Though most discussions have been dominated…

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