'Theological Issues' Tagged Posts

'Theological Issues' Tagged Posts

Law Confusion

It is an often repeated mistake for Bible readers to assume that “the works of the Law” means any good work or act of obedience to God. However, Paul appears to mean by this term in his first century context “the externalities of the Mosaic Law”. If someone said, “You have to be circumcised to be saved, and obey Old Covenant separation laws, feast days and dietary restrictions” he would be talking about what hopeful Gentile converts in the first…

Incorporation into Christ: The Mystery in Ephesians

I was a teenager when I experienced my first revelation as a reader of Paul’s letters. It was as if Ananias had once again stepped off the street called Straight and opened my eyes. What I saw was very simple and (I have since found out) already discovered by many before me: Paul wrote very often about Jew-born and Gentile-born believers and how they become a unified church through the gospel. “So that’s why he talks so much about things…

Why Is God Angry With Us?

I have at times felt uncomfortable with the idea that God is angry at humankind. I mean that the harshness of it sometimes feels unfair. The feeling comes when I read things like the conquest of Canaan or the graphic predictions of judgments that God would bring on Israel. But most of all, eternal torment is almost impossible for me to think about without real terror and revulsion. Could anything someone does in these moments on earth deserve that? My…

How and When Will All Israel Be Saved?

And so all Israel will be saved.  Romans 11:26 This phrase has often stymied students of the New Testament, and has been a verse with many interpretations. I offer mine. To adamantly conclude that I have the right one, or even one that has not been proposed by others is presumptuous. What I’m offering is merely from my Bible reading and not from diligently studying other authors on the subject, so I could likely be repeating what another has said.…

The Law is Not My Tutor

“But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the Law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Gal 3:23-25) The Mosaic Law is not my tutor to bring me to faith in Christ, for two reasons: 1. I am Gentile by…

Speaking Biblically About the Death of Christ

Among conservative Bible-believing Christians there is often passionate resistance to the doctrines of unconditional election and the limited atonement. One reason for this, I believe, is a commendable zeal for evangelism coupled with a common misconception about the essential content of the gospel message. I think it would be fair to say that most Christians believe that preaching the gospel means saying two things to the unconverted: (1) “God loves you and wants to save you,” and (2) “Christ died…

What Was Reformed in the Reformation

If one wants to know what the Protestant Reformation was all about without reading huge volumes of historical literature, it is perhaps most clarifying to look at the theological results. One should specifically note the rediscovery of five critical biblical doctrines that had been obscured from public view by the medieval version of what we now know as the Roman Catholic Church. And just so you know, Rome still either openly opposes or seriously distorts these doctrines. Using the Latin…

James in the Light of Job and Abraham: An Informal Attempt to Discover A Unifying Concept

Editor’s Note: The words below this introduction came from Benjamin Elliff in two private email conversations about the book of James. They follow a fairly lame attempt on my part to put the book together on James 2:12. Neither one of us knows for sure if the idea expressed below is exactly what James had in mind when he wrote his letter, but the attempt opens the door for more discussion. The style of Benjamin’s writing is just what it…

Reading Scripture Rightly

When reading a section of Scripture, we will find that a passage almost always comes across weighted on one side of an issue or another. I mean this: a passage is written intended to drive a certain point home, aimed at a particular audience, for a specific reason by an author who knew what was needed. He drives his nail to the heart. That passage should stare at us, disturb us and call us to action and faith. We should…

The Last Forty-five Minutes

He was lying down, gasping. It was his own bed and it was his time. Forty-five minutes from this moment he would die. Beside him sat his wife in the overstuffed leather chair that had been pulled close for the final event. She had been there all night. She sat on the edge as she patted his hand and tried to soothe him—disheveled, wide-eyed with simmering panic, twitching, pleading. It had been the hardest night of her life. The hospice…

The Pronouns Preach: Lessons on the Glory of the Church

When reading the Bible, parts of speech make a big difference in our understanding. There are many examples, but here is one that demonstrates my point perfectly. It is found in Ephesians. I will be so bold as to say, “If you miss the pronouns, you miss the entire meaning of the epistle,” and you will miss a particularly important lesson we need today. An Illustration Ephesus was a center of pagan worship boasting one of the seven wonders of the…

Natural Disaster and Pastoral Comfort

We must acknowledge that the most troubling problem emerging from any large scale natural disaster is not that people die. That is a real human and emotional issue, but not the most significant one. Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, tornados or floods do not change the statistics on the number of the human race experiencing death by even one digit. A typhoon in Bangladesh swept away between 300,000 and 500,000 lives in 1970,[1] and the worldwide influenza pandemic of 1918 exterminated…