Francis Schaeffer – The Age of Non Reason
Francis Schaeffer – The Age of Fragmentation
James Dolezal – The Eternality of God (Part 2)
If someone was to ask you who Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians to, how would you respond? If you’re like most people, you’d probably answer that it was written to the church at Galatia, and—technically—you’d be right.
But did you know that there’s actually quite a bit of discussion around whether Paul’s letter was written to those in northern or southern Galatia? Does knowing who Paul was writing to affect how we read it? Not necessarily, but it does change the way we look at the book of Galatians in regards to Acts.
To continue reading Thomas Schreiner’s article, click here.
We conclude our series on Puritan preachers (see #1, #2, #3) with John Preston (1587–1628), whose preaching can be described as preaching great gospel themes. He was more topical and organized by theological categories and questions than the verse-by-verse biblical expositions of John Calvin. Hughes Oliphant Old wrote:
The text is studied briefly in order to draw out of it a specific teaching or theme, and then this theme is developed in a number of points which are then supported by various arguments, drawn mostly from Scripture. They are illustrated by examples or illuminated by similes. Then, finally, they are applied to the lives of the congregation. In this respect Preston’s sermons resemble those of medieval Scholasticism. . . . Preston usually takes one verse and develops from it a theme or a number of themes (The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, 4:284).
To continue reading Joel Beeke’s article, click here.
When one asks the most influential thinkers in the modern evangelical church are, one might find names such as Jim Packer, John Stott, and Don Carson.
I would like to suggest, however, that there is one whose influence is perhaps much greater than we are aware of, yet whose thinking all but pervades the modern evangelical church: Marcion.
He’s the man who gets my vote for most profound influence on evangelicalism, from canon to theology to worship practices. You never see his books on the shelves in your high street Christian bookshop; you never see him advertised as preaching in your local church; but, rest assured, his spirit stalks those bookshops and pulpits.
To read the rest of Carl Trueman’s article, click here.
“And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? — Genesis 24:5
“And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again” — Genesis 24:5-8.
GENESIS is both the book of beginnings and the book of dispensations. You know what use Paul makes of Sarah and Hagar, of Esau and Jacob, and the like. Genesis is, all through, a book instructing the reader in the dispensations of God towards man. Paul saith, in a certain place, “which things are an allegory,” by which he did not mean that they were not literal facts, but that, being literal facts, they might also be used instructively as an allegory. So may I say of this chapter. It records what actually was said and done; but at the same time, it bears within it allegorical instruction with regard to heavenly things. The true minister of Christ is like this Eleazar of Damascus; he is sent to find a wife for his Master’s son. His great desire is, that many shall be presented unto Christ in the day of his appearing, as the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
One of the most devastating attacks on the life and health of the church throughout all of church history has been what is known as the ecumenical movement — the downplaying of doctrine in order to foster partnership in ministry between (a) genuine Christians and (b) people who were willing to call themselves Christians but who rejected fundamental Christian doctrines.
In the latter half of the 19th century, theological liberalism fundamentally redefined what it meant to be a Christian. It had nothing to do, they said, with believing in doctrine. It didn’t matter if you believed in an inerrant Bible; the scholarship of the day had debunked that! It didn’t matter if you believed in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ; modern science disproved that! It didn’t matter if you embraced penal substitutionary atonement; blood sacrifice and a wrathful God are just primitive and obscene, and besides, man is not fundamentally sinful but basically good! What mattered was one’s experience of Christ, and whether we live like Christ. “And we don’t need doctrine to do that!” they said. “Doctrine divides!” Iain Murray wrote of that sentiment, “‘Christianity is life, not doctrine,’ was the great cry. The promise was that Christianity would advance wonderfully if it was no longer shackled by insistence on doctrines and orthodox beliefs” (“Divisive Unity,” 233).
For more than 200 years, Christians have been trying to reinterpret the six days of Creation in Genesis 1 to make them align with millions of years. But every attempt has a fatal flaw.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31).
“The sixth day.” What does that phrase mean to you? More than 200 years ago, Christians began to question whether this day truly was the sixth day, instead of the six millionth or six billionth day. They were responding to an idea, popularized in the late 1700s, that our planet and universe are much older than Scripture indicates. They wondered where millions of years might harmonize with the Bible. So they scrutinized Genesis 1 and reinterpreted the days of Creation Week in a variety of ways.
But they didn’t recognize that each of these attempts to insert long ages into Scripture had fatal flaws (even beyond the alarming fact that they tried to change the original intent of the language). Most notably, they place death, suffering, and disease long before Adam and Eve sinned.
Yet you will still hear varieties of these views. What are we to make of them? Is there any justification for changing the meaning of the Bible’s first chapter?
Is the Bible the reliable Word of God or a fallible collection of human religious ideas? The purpose of this article is to show that the conflict between secular science and the Bible is not new, but dates back to the days of the early church. Greek scientists like Porphyry and Celsus questioned the reliability of the contents of Genesis, Jonah, Daniel, as well as the factuality of Jesus’ Virgin Birth and Resurrection. This paper will demonstrate how early Greek scholars alleged that the holy Christian Scriptures were unreliable productions of men and will consider the commitment of the early church to these writings as the voice of God.
Often research articles have the aim of stating something that is experienced as new and relevant for a limited group of colleagues with expert knowledge. This paper has a different purpose, namely to translate some of these results from the field of patristic studies1 and make them available to fellow Christian scholars who are active in the natural sciences. This is likely to be encouraging, as the world of the early Christians was in many ways like the post-Christian Western world of the 21st century. What early Fathers embraced as Scripture is now usually also found in our printed Bibles. The fact that they took the Bible as the literal voice of God does not imply their interpretation was always right or that they were unaffected by the philosophies and pressures of their time and cultural surroundings. Likewise for Greek science in the late ancient era: although some philosophers preceded the modern ‘unbelief’ of the Continental Enlightenment Theology in many ways, this article does not claim that their worldview or motivation was identical, or deny that their work is inconsequential when it comes to considering the unusual or ‘miraculous’ in their own tradition.
Continuing in our series on Puritan preachers (parts #1, #2), we come to Richard Sibbes (1577–1635). One source in which he reveals his view of preaching is The Fountain Opened, a collection of his sermons on 1 Timothy 3:16 (Works, vol. 5), where he addresses the office of the preacher particularly when he comes to the phrase “preached unto the Gentiles.”
When a king is enthroned, both his nobles and his common subjects must know it. Therefore, it is not enough for Christ to be “seen of angels,” His heavenly nobility. His kingdom must also be proclaimed to the entire world, all men called to submit to Him. He must be preached before He can be “believed on in the world,” Sibbes writes, for “faith is the issue and fruit of preaching” (Works 5:504). Sibbes says, “Preaching is the ordinance of God, sanctified for the begetting of faith, for the opening of the understanding, for the drawing of the will and affections to Christ.” This is the ladder of heaven that we must ascend one step at a time: first preaching, then faith, then prayer (Works 5:514).