[This is a direct continuation of my previous post. Before that, part 1.] The Big Picture (Continued) A Time of Uncertainty Now back in the land, God’s people entered a strange time. They rebuilt the Temple and Jerusalem, but the glory cloud never came back. David’s city was restored, but David’s throne was empty. Pagans … Continue reading "Story’s End: Eschatology and What the Bible is About, Pt. 3"
[This is a direct continuation of my previous post.] The Big Picture (Continued) A Son to Reign Israel continued lapsing into idolatry, despite all the seers and judges God had given her. But for each of them, Israel did fairly well during his lifetime. It was generally only at death that the slide back into … Continue reading "Story’s End: Eschatology and What the Bible is About, Pt. 2"
The Problem with Wrapping Up As any writer will tell you, it’s hard to bring a good story to an end. No proof of this should be necessary; TV has enough examples. Look what happened to Lost, Haven, or White Collar. A good ending usually has to conclude great conflicts, deal out deserved fates, drive … Continue reading "Story's End: Eschatology and What the Bible is About, Pt. 1"
This post will be short, as I only mean to make a quick and simple point. Some people lump rules in almost any sense with legalism. Others count all rules beyond the clear moral law legalism. Both of these are misguided. Properly speaking, legalism refers to two possible mistakes. The first error is about salvation. … Continue reading "Rules Aren't Legalism"
If you’ve ever talked to broadly conservative Christians in the US about politics, you’re likely to have heard the claim the title of this post refers to. Skeptical of government welfare programs, they often argue that charity—meeting the needs of the poor—is not the government’s job. The government has other duties, like justice and national … Continue reading "Is Charity the Church's Job?"
If you talk about C. S. Lewis in theological circles for more than 30 seconds, you are bound to run into talk of his views on the atonement. I myself have written an essay on the subject. But most of the material (my essay included) is about one of two things: either Aslan’s death in … Continue reading "Lewis on Atonement: Christ as Perfect Penitent"
Fantasy, when done well, is one of the best genres of story. (Though when done poorly, it can be among the worst.) Some works of fantasy deserve to be read by almost everyone. But there is one particular series which I truly think everyone ought to read. Indeed, it would be of enormous assistance to … Continue reading "A Fantastic Saga Everyone Should Read"
“I the Lord do not change.” So declared God in Malachi 3:6. The doctrine of immutability, that God is completely changeless, has always been a staple of Christian theology. Unfortunately, like all such staples, it has made many enemies in the last couple centuries. More than a few theologians and philosophers like to argue that … Continue reading "Unchangingly Alive"
Not long ago, I was reading Malachi when I was struck by a verse commonly quoted in the Calvinist circle. In Malachi 1:2b-3a, God tells Israel, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.” The Apostle Paul later cites this in Romans 9:13. Calvinists often deploy it as evidence of individual, unconditional election. It … Continue reading "Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated"
[A recent post of mine on Reddit.] Inspired by yesterday’s thread on heresies Christians can or can’t believe and u/peasantcore’s comment on it, I’d like to question the usefulness/legitimacy of the notion of heresy for Protestants. Heresy usually is defined in terms of crossing a doctrinal boundary of a religion, in our case the Christian … Continue reading "Is heresy a meaningful concept for Protestants?"