Theology Articles

  • The Good Book Blog Blog — 

    Dr. Kevin Lawson (Professor of Educational Studies at Talbot School of Theology) recently co-edited and published Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry in partnership with Dr. Adam Harwood (Associate Professor of Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). We wanted to learn more about this book, so we had Dr. Lawson respond to some questions ...

  • David A. Horner — 

    ... Suffering is not only physical. It’s also emotional, psychological, relational and spiritual. Victims and their families have internal wounds and struggles; some find this pain equal to or even greater than that of their external wounds. Sufferers need comfort, love, a taste of goodness, a measure of peace. They need hope ...

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Then Charlottesville, now Sutherland Springs. In contemporary America. Islamabad. Cairo. Worshippers gathered together are met with unprovoked lethal violence. And we mourn. We mourn as fellow humans, we grieve as fellow believers, we mourn as a world-wide church. We grieve as those who hope in the resurrection of the dead assured by our anointed King and Savior Jesus who will come again to establish righteousness and equity through judgment ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    The 16th century church was in dire need of a Reformation. What about today, a half millennium later? Is the 21st century church due for another Reformation, a Re-Reformation? Professor Williams shares his thoughts ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    Fifteen years ago in Paris, I had a conversation with a young existentialist who said something as unflattering as it was memorable: “Whatever the world does the church does ten years later and worse.” My new friend was talking about Christian music, describing a decade lag factor, a slowness to recognize and adapt to cultural changes that, in his estimation, rendered the church musically irrelevant ...

  • John E. McKinley — 

    In the fourth verse of the popular modern hymn, “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, we hear this line that poses Hell as our enemy: “No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand.” My ear has been catching a similar idea of Hell as a powerful enemy in several other contemporary worship songs. My guess is that songwriters are (perhaps) unwittingly drawing on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (NASB[1], NIV, NKJV). Other translations give “the gates of hell” (ESV, NLT, KJV; the Greek text has "Hades" not "Gehenna"). I prefer the RSV and NET that give “the powers of death” by interpreting the usage of Hades in line with Sheol of the OT, referring to the place of the dead, particularly for the wicked. The slip of meaning from “Hades” to “Hell” is understandable, but this causes a problem theologically that we need to pause and consider more closely ...

  • David L. Talley — 

    There is no end of opportunities to be blessed with the teaching and preaching of God’s word. Great preachers can be heard on the radio. Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to our phones or iPads. The teaching of God’s word is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on cable television networks. Christian bookstores are full of books by the greatest authors of our day. Electronic books can be carried with us everywhere with ease. Churches have program after program geared toward teaching God’s word, not to mention a worship service every week, which includes a Bible-based sermon. From the cradle to the grave, opportunities abound ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    I had the occasion to watch a six-part DVD series called PovertyCure, produced by the Acton Institute. It is indeed an eye-opening series that I’d encourage you to watch. Each part is less than 30 minutes long and is available in the Biola Library (BV4647 .P6 P68 2012 DVD). It challenges the effectiveness of the traditional model of helping the poor through foreign aid in regions where there is wide-spread poverty and the economy is largely depressed. This aid can come in the form of government sponsored foreign aid, through global agencies such as the IMF or World Bank, and even from NGO’s (both secular and Christian). By the end of the series, I think most would at least pause to consider if “aid” (as a “handout”) helps to alleviate poverty, or whether it actually exacerbates the problem ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Hi Dr. Craig, I appreciate your work for the kingdom of Christ. You have been of great influence in my life as a Christian. I recently came across this piece by an unknown skeptic that was reviewing a book by Stewart Goetz ( The Purpose Of Life: A Theistic Perspective) "The first question that seems fitting when discussing the purpose of life from a theistic perspective is: what is the purpose of God's life? If our being/life is somehow derived from God's being/life, then any relevant discussion of human purpose must be contingent upon God's purpose. But since purpose necessarily entails an initial directive, a beginning-less being cannot have a purpose. A being that has no origin or beginning cannot exist for anything. Since it would follow that this supposed being's actions must derive from the nature of its existence, it would be hard to logically defend the existence of purposeful actions resulting from a being that must be categorically devoid of purpose. " I'm completely puzzle by this. Does God exist for something? Can it be said that if God had remain in eternity without creating he would be living a purposeless life? ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    I am a very open minded person and consider all possibilities. I am open to the possibility of a God and an afterlife. I am also open to the possibility that this God could be one who demands and expects that I obey and serve him or that I would be condemned to a horrible afterlife. I have been doing some open-minded research on the subject of life after death. As of right now, it doesn't matter what anyone says to me or what claims other people present to me in regards to God's character, if he is real or not, or if I am a blind sinner or not. The reason why it doesn't matter to me is because, like I said, I am very open minded right now and am open to alternative explanations of the things people offer up here. I am a very wise open minded individual and I do not jump to any given conclusion based upon some things I read online or a holy book such as the Bible. There is so much more to look into and have an open mind to. Even things that sound very compelling cannot be trusted since there are plenty of things out there that sound compelling, but are actually not ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I am a great admirer of yours despite being a non-religious theist myself. For the sake of full disclosure, I have never been able to bring myself to take atheism seriously and am convinced on purely philosophical grounds that the atheist worldview is consigned to logical absurdity. That said, I have never been able to bring myself to subscribe wholeheartedly to any one religion either, and this for a variety different reasons depending on the religion under discussion. However, since you are a Christian I will limit myself to the principal reason why I cannot bring myself to accept Christianity, to which I have yet to receive a satisfying response. I figure if I won't get a compelling answer from Dr. William Lane Craig, then most likely no such answer is available at least for now ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I have been enjoying your videos and podcasts about your study of the atonement. I have to admit though, that as of right now I don't accept penal substitution. Though I grew up with this view, I now hold a combination of the recapitulation and satisfaction theories. To briefly summarize for the readers, the recapitulation theory teaches that Jesus became like us and did what we should have done, so that in him, we might become like him and do what he did. This is perhaps the oldest theory of the atonement and is the basis for many later theories. The satisfaction theory of St. Anselm adds that Jesus's self sacrificial obedience served as restitution for our sins, or as Anselm calls it, satisfaction. In my opinion, these theories together are more Biblical and intellectually satisfying than penal substitution ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A few years ago I received an email from a former student (now a young pastor) asking some questions about speaking in tongues during corporate worship. Let me excerpt his e-mail and then include my reply (with his permission): Dr. Berding, I am emailing you because I have a question about ‘service of worship’ for the church. Recently I have taken upon myself to work out some position papers on where I stand on a few ecclesiology topics. I have spent time reading from Horton, Grudem, Bloesch, and some of Clowney's works on ecclesiology. However, recently at our corporate worship one of the elders prayed in tongues and this was followed by what appeared to be an interpretation. As I have been reading through these books and wrestling with scripture, I have come to wonder if tongues plays a role in corporate worship or not ...

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    In a post on his blog, "Jesus Creed," eminent New Testament scholar Scot McKnight seems to agree with some of the findings of Claude Mariottini's book Rereading the Biblical Text: Searching for Meaning and Understanding which argues that Gen. 3:15 is not in fact messianic. McKnight further points out that such a conclusion agrees with Old Testament luminaries Gordon Wenham and Gerhard von Rad as well as some translations. These, says McKnight, conclude that the “seed” mentioned in Gen. 3:15 refers to not an individual, but rather the sum total of the descendants of both the woman and the serpent ...

  • Scott B. Rae — 

    All legitimate work in the world has intrinsic value and God calls men and women to be faithful in working in various arenas as their service to Him. Of course, there are some limits to this, since it would difficult to see how God could call someone to produce pornography or engage in the illegal drug trade. But excluding those exceptions, God calls people to work in business, not only because of what it accomplishes, but because it has value in and of itself to God. Business is the work of God in the world in the same way that being a pastor is the work of God in the church and in the same way that missionary service is the work of God on the mission field. All have value to God because of the value of the work done, and that work is an intrinsically good thing that has value as it's done with excellence ...

  • Steven L. Porter — 

    Recently I was in discussion with a friend who was concerned about the tendency of some Christians to spiritualize death and dying by appeal to the afterlife. To “spiritualize” death and dying is to utilize spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with unwanted feelings over the loss of a loved one. “I just try to think of how happy she is with Jesus.” “When we see him again in heaven it will seem like no time has passed.” “I am just glad she’s finally at rest in Jesus’ arms.” To spiritualize death and dying in these and other ways is a defense mechanism. It is a way to defend against experiencing some painful part of reality as it actually is ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I became a believer last year after one of your books helped remove an obstacle to my faith. I’ve studied the Bible on and off for roughly 10 years, but I now have a renewed sense of urgency and desire for diving deeper into scripture and theology. But I don’t know where to start with theology (apart from Defenders). I was raised in a non-religious family and have little background knowledge on the different denominations and theological schools of thought in Christendom. The huge number of theology books available make it seem impossible to know what to choose. Do you have any suggestions for systematic theology texts (and anything else you might think helpful)? ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    What is my purpose in life? This is a question that plagues each and every one of us. The Westminster confession puts the question this way: "What is the chief and highest end of man?" Countless books and blogs have addressed this question. But are we really asking the right question? ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    The account of humanity’s creation in the image of God in Genesis 1:26-28, is specifically crafted to lead the reader to conclude that God’s intended outcome, his purpose, for creating humanity in his image, was to create flourishing communities, not just flourishing individuals. The cultural or creation mandate as it has been called—God’s command to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and to rule over the living things on the earth—is rightly seen as a command to fulfill God’s intention. Humanity is to fill the earth and bring about flourishing ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    In Paul’s famous words, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile …” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Can we say the same for work that Paul says about faith? Without the resurrection of Jesus do our earthly endeavors amount to nothing in the grand scheme of existence? As Darrell Cosden asks in The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, “Is there any real lasting or ‘eternal’ value in our work?” Cosden answers, “Our everyday work (whether paid or unpaid) actually matters and makes a difference—not just in the here and now, but also for eternity. Work, and the things that we produce through our work, can be transformed and carried over by God into heaven" ...

  • Mark R. Saucy — 

    Reading the other day in Luke’s Gospel I ran across some arresting words aimed indirectly at John the Baptist. In Luke 7:23, right after the account of John sending a delegation of disciples to inquire whether Jesus is the “Expected One,” Jesus cites his deeds and words to say in effect, “yes, indeed I am.” But then Jesus closes the episode with another “beatitude” seemingly made in John’s direction: “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me" ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Why does the Bible use so many metaphors and analogies to describe the Spirit’s activities and our relationship to those activities? Why not employ concrete language to teach us what we need to know about the Holy Spirit and our relationship to him? ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    The Bible insists that everything exists for Jesus. He is the Telos, the Goal, the Final Point where all lines converge. ‘But isn’t that such a strange and invisible conclusion? Doesn’t such a view make Christianity fundamentally anti-science?’

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    What happened on Good Friday is so scandalous and profound that the Bible does not limit itself to a single explanation. Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, explains, “[T]he work of Christ is so multifaceted that it cannot be captured in a single word nor summarized in a single formula." “Multifaceted” is exactly the right word for the cross. It brings to mind the image of a giant deep-cut diamond, a unity with a multiple facets, each refracting rays off and through the other. Let’s take one lap around this flawless wonder and look at six things to celebrate this Friday and every day...

  • Matt Williams — 

    ... The Old Testament background is very helpful for understanding the deeper meaning of the New Testament scriptures. In the transfiguration account, we read in Matthew 17 that Jesus “was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” We remember that in the Old Testament, after Moses went up Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive the ten commandments, his face “was radiant,” and he wore a veil (Exodus 34:33-35). Matthew 17 is showing us that Jesus is the new (but better) Moses ...