Either Lord or Lunatic – An Excerpt from Core Christianity
One doctrine especially core to Christianity concerns the identity of Christ: Is Jesus God?
As C. S. Lewis suggested over a half century ago, we are faced with the choice that either Jesus is Lord or he was a lunatic. March down through the centuries – from modern day to those who witnessed the life of Jesus – and you will see how the answer to this one question shapes how one views the world. In this excerpt from Core Christianity, Michael Horton walks the reader through the claim, the case and how the skeptics respond.
JESUS IS GOD. We know this because of the clear claims he made concerning himself and the fact that he rose from the dead just as he promised. Knowing that Christianity stands or falls with this claim, skeptics have focused all their critical…
The Problem of Evil – An Excerpt from Core Christianity
“Either God is great or God is good, but he can’t be both.”
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in Christianity is the question about evil: How can a powerful and loving God allow pain and suffering?
This excerpt from Core Christianity lays out the problem of evil in light of the story of God’s sovereignty, goodness and love. Author Michael Horton brings the drama of good and evil into tension with the end in mind…
IF GOD IS GREAT AND GOOD, HOW CAN THERE BE SO MUCH EVIL IN THE WORLD?
There are a lot of mysteries surrounding the attributes of God. The Bible teaches us both that God is all-powerful and that we have real freedom and responsibility. But how? We know…
Mounce Archive 24 – God and Jesus
Bill Mounce is traveling this month and is taking a break from his weekly column on biblical Greek until April. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your Greek-studying pleasure.
In one of his first posts, Mounce helps us take a deeper look at Paul’s introduction to the book of 1 Timothy. By looking at the grammar in the Greek, we can see how Paul referred to the Trinity. Mounce calls this a “christologically sensitive grammatical structure.”
You can read the entire post here.
“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (1 Tim 1:2). Paul begins his letter to Timothy with a somewhat normal…
It’s All About Him – An Excerpt from God’s Glory Alone
In God’s Glory Alone—The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life, which is available to order now, renowned scholar David VanDrunen looks at the historical and biblical roots of the idea that all glory belongs to God alone. He calls it “the glue that holds the other solas in place…” As he examines the biblical themes and traces it through history, he concludes by addressing several of today’s great cultural challenges and temptations—such as distraction and narcissism—and reflecting on how commitment to God’s glory alone fortifies us to live godly lives in this present evil age.
In popular conception, the Reformation motto soli Deo gloria is sometimes reduced to a call for moral action: we Christians should pursue all activities for the glory of God as our only…
God’s Freedom – An Excerpt from The Holy Spirit
Today we continue our study of the third member of the Trinity. In The Holy Spirit, Chris Holmes takes up the questions surrounding the Spirit’s procession and mission with the help of three of the church’s greatest teachers—Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Barth. The following excerpt begins to outline Barth’s contribution to pneumatology. This first book in the New Studies in Dogmatics series is now available from Zondervan Academic. Order your copy today.
Karl Barth is the last major classical interlocutor to feature in our account of the Holy Spirit. As Augustine and Thomas, Barth will not leave us room “for a facile self-dispensation from the burden of metaphysical thought.” This is because of one theological conviction above all else,…
[Common Places] Engaging with Kate Sonderegger: On Divine Invisibility
“The Lord’s style of language”
One of the theologian’s primary tasks is to assist the church in better understanding what Augustine once called, “the Lord’s style of language.” This task is challenging, not because the Lord employs an esoteric angelic language when he speaks to us, but because he uses ordinary human language to speak of extraordinary things: In Holy Scripture, the Lord speaks of God and all things in relation to God. The first volume of Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology is the product of a theologian well trained in the art of following “the Lord’s style of language.” Therein, Sonderegger offers an account of God’s oneness and perfection that trades upon the correspondence between the Lord’s unique mode of speaking in Holy Scripture and the Lord’s unique mode of being as God.
The Problem of Pain – Mondays with Mounce 264
I’ve had a great summer. Good meeting with the CBT on the NIV. Time at the cabin with my wife Robin. And all the kids came back for a week before my Marine son goes on deployment. A good summer.
I’ve got lots of new ideas for blogs, but before I jump in I want to share something on a more personal level. I think I have finally come to terms with the problem of evil. No new revelation, but perhaps all the pieces finally came together after the right amount of time spent in reflection.
This is a big deal for me. I have often thought that if I had not been raised in a Christian family, I would never have come to Christ. Why worship a God who created the world knowing the unbelievable amount of pain that…
[Common Places] Engaging with Kate Sonderegger: Interview (Part 2)
The release of a book within a multi-volume systematic theology project makes for a momentous occasion in the world of systematic theology. Over the last few years a number of such projects have launched, none to greater acclaim or worthy of more significant attention than Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology. In our first post we introduced and began to explore critically the volume on the Doctrine of God, then we posted the first installment of an interview that Scott Swain and Michael Allen had with Kate Sonderegger about her book, her theological approach, and her upcoming volumes. Now we conclude that interview by considering some substantive decisions made in this volume, regarding substance metaphysics, causality language, and scriptural exegesis that spans the whole canon.
[Common Places] New Studies in Dogmatics: The Divine Names
The perfections of the triune God may be treated profitably under various aspects. Under the aspect of “divine attributes,” God’s perfections are studied as truths about God’s being, always alert to the fact that, properly speaking, God does not have attributes since God is his perfect being, power, wisdom, and love. Under the aspect of “divine goods”—Gregory of Nyssa’s lovely description of the divine perfections—God’s perfections are treated with a view to God’s status as the supreme object of desire and delight, in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand are pleasures evermore. Both of these approaches are common to natural theology and revealed theology insofar as these disciplines treat God as the efficient and final cause of his creatures.
I have chosen, however, to treat God’s perfections under the aspect of The Divine Names. Though…
Exploring Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity: Classical and Relational
It is the doctrine of the Trinity which fundamentally distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian… (CD, I/1, 346)
So wrote Karl Barth on the centrality of the Trinity to the Christian faith. A recent book agrees with Barth’s assessment. In Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity, editor Jason S. Sexton says, “The doctrine of the Trinity stands front and center of the Christian faith and its articulation.” (13)
A recent trinitarian revival is seeking to re-prioritize this crucial doctrine, and this book chronicles this revival by presenting two of its dominate views: the classical and the relational views. We’ll look at these below.
The new book introduces readers to the views by assembling a cast of leading theologians:
Stephen M. Holmes,…
Is the Doctrine of the Trinity Useful? Relevant? — An Excerpt from “Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity”
Inevitably, in a discussion about the nature of God and the Trinity, the question “Why is it important to believe the Trinity?” arises.
As I’ve taught theology and fielded this question, two others follow closely: What use is the doctrine of the Trinity? And, Is it still relevant?
Stephen R. Holmes and Thomas H. McCall answer these questions in their essays on the doctrine of the Trinity appearing in the soon-to-be released book Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity. (Releasing 9/2/2014)
As a classical trinitarian, Holmes says ”If the doctrine has any use, it is in clarifying errors about its own articulation.”
Representing relational trinitarianism, McCall argues it is relevant because “God created us to share in…
Which Doctrine Has Seen A Revival of Interest? The One Barth Placed Front and Center
“The doctrine of the Trinity stands front and center of the Christian faith and its articulation.” (13)
Jason S. Sexton makes this declaration at the beginning of his introduction to a new resource on the Trinity releasing September 2, Two Views of the Doctrine of the Trinity. Karl Barth agreed:
It is the doctrine of the Trinity which fundamentally distinguishes the Christian doctrine of God as Christian—it is, therefore, also, which marks off the Christian concept of revelation as Christian, in face of all other possible doctrines of God and concepts of revelation. (CD, I/1, 346)
Barth was so convinced of the centrality of the Trinity that he placed the doctrine at the front of his Church Dogmatics, guiding and directing his behemoth dogmatic…