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Historical Theology Articles

  • John McKinley — 

    When I offered a new seminar course on Ecclesiology last semester, one of the books we discussed is Gregg R. Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers: the Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012). This is the latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series edited by John Feinberg. The book has several features to commend it for evangelical readers interested in ecclesiology. One characteristic throughout the book is the clear and well-organized writing style that is a model for students to see how ideas are presented, supported with evidence, and critiqued or nuanced. It is difficult to misunderstand Allison’s meaning and how all of his claims fit together.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    A tribute to our beloved brother in Christ, Dr. Robert Saucy, who went home to be with the Lord on March 12, 2015.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries were to God the Father, with a few exceptions.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Mercy must, it appears, be enacted in order to be efficacious. And thus the answer to the third question regarding this proverbial statement appears to be “yes,” mercy is a “work” required for salvation. But that is a misleading way to understand James. It is better perhaps to call the mercy that triumphs an appropriation of the divine concern (2:5, 8), proof of the reality of the “birth” (1:18) and the “implanted word” (1:21), and an accurate understanding of “faith” (2:14). This question of what constitutes “good works” will be explored now in this final post.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered the function of the “word” and the “law” as God’s gracious gifts for salvation. Here we specifically looked at James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Thus, the “word/law” in James is God’s instrument for salvation—it is both gift and responsibility. In this second post we will focus on James 2:12-13 where “mercy” triumphs over judgment.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    I suspect for many readers of the New Testament that the Letter of James is something like the odd uncle at a family Christmas party who unfortunately suffers from chronic halitosis. Someone you rather not talk with, but in the end you are related—and thus might owe the obligatory yearly conversation. Well, if this does not accurately describe the church’s reception of James, it certainly represents the attitude of many scholars. For example, Andrew Chester notes “James presents a unique problem within the New Testament ...

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    In the last twenty years, many individuals claim to have visited heaven or hell and have written vivid accounts of what they purport to have seen. What should we make of these stories? Should they form a basis for our faith? Might they supplement or enhance the convictions that we already have? How do we evaluate such claims and what is their practical use even if true?

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    In the last twenty years, many individuals claim to have visited heaven or hell and have written vivid accounts of what they purport to have seen. What should we make of these stories? Should they form a basis for our faith? Might they supplement or enhance the convictions that we already have? How do we evaluate such claims and what is their practical use even if true?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Newsweek decided to begin the New Year by attacking people who hold a high view of Scripture. (“The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” by Kurt Eichenwald, January 2-9 issue.) Their lead article on the Bible contains so many untrue or partially true assertions that it seemed to me that some sort of concise and readable response needed to be offered. But it would, literally, require a book-length critique to adequately address all the mischaracterizations, factual mistakes, and suggestive statements propounded in this single article. So I have decided to simply read through the article, select an occasional assertion from the article that needs a response, and try to offer a straightforward and hopefully fair response. None of these responses should be taken by a reader as sarcastic; my goal has been to offer sober-minded responses to particular assertions in an article that is full of inaccuracies.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Readers of this blog may be interested in the short article I have written over at Reformation 21. The gist of my claim is that the person of Jesus Christ shapes our primary ethical response to torture and our attitude to its perpetration by our authorities. Person, that is, over procedure, particularly over fear based consequentialist reasoning that might allow in extremis the ends of security to justify the means of torture. I very minimally offer that the health of our moral imaginations as Christian citizens is attested to in our habits of corporate prayer.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace unos días tuve el privilegio de participar en el IV Congreso sobre la Reforma Protestante Española que tuvo lugar en la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad Complutense en Madrid, España. Este importante congreso internacional tuvo como tema principal la Reforma en Hispano América. Entre los participantes se encontraban profesores, historiadores y eruditos para dialogar acerca de la influencia del protestantismo en América Latina y su relación con la reforma española. Aunque el número de participantes no eran tan numeroso, el significado de esta reunión y los temas tratados son de suma importancia y son relevantes para nuestros días. Me gustaría compartir en este espacio algunas reflexiones sobre el pasado y el presente basadas principalmente en los temas tratados en este congreso.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    As indicated in a previous post, Talbot School of Theology will be well represented this year at the Evangelical Theological Society's national meeting [need link here]. For those unable to attend (most of you, I assume!), here is a video clip that touches upon some key ideas that I will be sharing in my plenary address. The interviewer is Dr. Jason Cusick, a pastor at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach, CA. The clip was shown in a church service as part of a series on the church and the family.

  • Aaron Devine — 

    I often think about home in a specific way. For a long time, home has been a safe place to come back to at the end of the day. It has been a place to establish a comfortable niche in the world as a respite, a literal financial investment in emotional well being. Home has been about rest and nurture, as it can be a place of ministry to family and friends. It also has been a place to launch out into kingdom ministry more broadly.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Inequality is not necessarily inequity. Often talk related to disparities in income, opportunities, education, skills—you name it—centers on the issue of justice or equity. However, it may be that justice or injustice has little to do with inequalities. As in all matters, it is helpful to get somewhat of a God’s eye view on this rather easily misunderstood issue. What I’d like to do is briefly draw attention to one strand of biblical teaching worth considering as we discuss matters of inequality. I’ll do this with the help of Edwards and his eschatology.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    The Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude constitute one of the final frontiers in New Testament studies. Whereas the four Gospels and Paul’s letters have received copious attention, these seven letters, in comparison, constitute the distant shores of a largely unknown world. It is not uncommon to search in vain for substantive treatment of any one of these letters in the standard introductions or theologies of the New Testament. While one can find a handful of introductory texts focusing on “the latter New Testament” or “Hebrews through Revelation,” there are precious few devoted specifically to the Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude, and almost all fail to consider the possibility of interpreting the Catholic Epistles as a discrete collection.[1] Though considering the canonical collections of the “Gospels” and the “Pauline Epistles,” even the groundbreaking Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of the Bible (2005) fails to supply an entry for the Catholic Epistles ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I recently read a fascinating book by Richard Nisbett, who compares and contrasts contemporary Asian and Western worldviews. It just so happens that the strong-group mentality of Nisbett’s Asian culture corresponds in some important ways to the mindset of people in the New Testament world.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    After six months of on-and-off reading, I have just completed N.T. Wright’s book, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The book is 1660 pages long if you include the bibliography and indices. (If you don’t it’s only 50 pages long…just kidding.) Here are three things I liked about this two-volume book, and two things that I struggled with.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In 19th century England, Atheists knew more about the Bible than most Christians do today. So did Liberal Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Unitarians, and Agnostics. So claims Timothy Larsen in A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians (Oxford, 2011) ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    ... I’m all in favor of blood moons (awe-inspiring astronomical phenomenon!), tetrads (rare!), Jewish feasts (our overly Gentilized Church calendars should be more dominated by these—as they are fulfilled in Christ), and apocalyptic (it can be literal too—resurrection is a feature of apocalyptic and we all believe in that one). But put them together in yet another sensationalized, factually crazy, books-flying-off-the-shelf spectacle for the world, and I just shake my head. We’re in the same ditch as those who have no hope ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    One of my self-imposed projects over the January break is to read through N. T. Wright’s (most recent) magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The work is actually two separate books (@ 600 and 1200 pages, respectively!). Book I is primarily concerned with backgrounds, and Paul’s worldview vis-à-vis paganism and Judaism. Book II deals with Paul’s theology and more directly engages the text of his letters.

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teaching and record of historical facts. They are without error or defect of any kind.” Thus reads Biola University’s (and Talbot School of Theology’s) Articles of Faith—a document that remains unchanged since it was written shortly after the turn of the century. As the Dean of Talbot and as one who has been on the faculty for 27 years, I can say that this is a conviction that runs very deep in our faculty. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is truthful in what it affirms and can be completely trusted.

  • Tom Finley — 

    Is it possible for a true story about an ancient manuscript of the Hebrew Bible to be thrilling?

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El 31 de octubre de 1517 Martín Lutero clavó en las puertas de la catedral de Wittenberg en Alemania 95 tesis en las que criticaba abiertamente las ventas de indulgencias de la iglesia católica romana. Lutero inicialmente no tenía la intención de romper con la iglesia romana sino enfatizar la supremacía del evangelio basada en su simplicidad y a la vez en su gran profundidad. El evangelio o las buenas noticias de la salvación en Cristo es el fundamento esencial de la fe cristiana y desgraciadamente se había pervertido convirtiéndose en una práctica totalmente ajena a su esencia. De manera que, las indulgencias eran una distorsión absoluta del evangelio y, por lo tanto, dignas de ser repudiadas con severidad. Como resultado de esta acción, Lutero inició el movimiento conocido como la Reforma Protestante y cada 31 de octubre se conmemora como el Día de la Reforma.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El gran educador Antonio del Corro (Sevilla, 1527-Londres, 1591) es quizá una de las figuras más importantes y a la vez menos conocidas de la reforma española. Es también un ejemplo a imitar para todos los que seguimos a Cristo y sobre todo para los que nos dedicamos a servirle a través de la enseñanza. El historiador Emilio Monjo se refiere a Antonio de Corro como “un personaje que refleja el talante de la Reforma española en cuanto a su libertad de pensamiento y palabra: una iglesia que había nacido libre por la acción de la Escritura, y que se mantuvo libre con la Escritura también en su exilio europeo".

  • John McKinley — 

    As Part 3 in this series on the doctrine of hell, I introduce an interpretation of hell that is coming into print from a few contributors during the last decade. See Part 1 on the metaphorical language for hell, and Part 2 on the doctrine of degrees of punishments. The traditional teaching about hell has been criticized for many reasons, one of which is that sin continues forever in hell. This seems to be a cosmic dualism where good prevails only in heaven (the new creation), but evil continues to hold out in hell where evildoers continue to hate God and compound their guilt forever and ever. This might not be the best conclusion.