Theology Articles

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    This past Wednesday night I participated in an outreach along with Talbot colleagues Gary Manning and Alan Hultberg at the Uptown Whittier YMCA. The outreach was in support of a new campus plant for Whittier Hills Baptist Church in one of many “downtowns” here in the Los Angeles basin (but referred to in Whittier as “uptown” rather than “downtown”). People from the uptown community received invitations either on the street—I went out twice along with two of my daughters and some others from the church—or by mail. We told people that the purpose of the forum was to respond to the recent upturn in the media of discussions about what happens after death. The turnout to the event was good and the responses were encouraging.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    We’ve seen a lot of death, pain, suffering, and evil in our world during the last few years, so today I want to address a few questions having to do with evil, pain and suffering— questions that, I believe, all ‘thinking’ people ask.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Last night I finished reading Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. I read it in preparation for an outreach I’ll soon be doing through my local church on the topic of heaven and hell. Love Wins is a deeply troubling repudiation of certain aspects of orthodox Christian doctrine by a megachurch pastor who is trying to be relevant to a tolerance-enamored generation.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    ‘Missional ethics’ speaks of the missionary dimensions of the life of the people of God and the ethical features of mission. The connection between mission and ethics is fundamental for how we perceive our common life in the Spirit.

  • Rob Lister — 

    In my previous post, I reflected on a lesson about humility that I learned as a seminarian. Since then, I have encountered a few folks who have observed that a struggle with spiritual pride is not altogether infrequent in the halls of evangelical seminaries. Initially, seminary might seem an unexpected place to encounter such a struggle. Why is it, then, that this temptation is often found in this context? Is seminary somehow intrinsically antithetical to gospel humility?

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Evil is present in the world. It was seen in the face of Usama bin Laden. It is also seen in things like murder, child abuse, terrorism, and natural disasters. Many Christians and non-Christians don't understand why evil is present in the world. Here's why.

  • Moyer V. Hubbard — 

    Is it possible to be a Christian and a polytheist? The correct answer, of course, is no, but a close reading of 1 Corinthians 8 reveals that the matter is perhaps not so simple.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    This week someone wrote me an email asking if I was able to give a defense of Calvin. This person had recently heard things about Calvin that he found “disturbing,” and wanted to know if they were true: harsh views on God and hell, abuse of intelligence and power in Geneva, sentencing people to death over theological disagreements, etc. Here is my response.

  • Ashish J. Naidu — 

    Because of the propitiation of Christ, God’s wrath is satisfied, and we who were once enemies of God have now received “at-one-ment” or reconciliation.

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that the biblical teaching of justification by faith alone “is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” Historically, Protestants have understood justification to mean that God declares us “not guilty” for our sins because Christ bore them in our place, and also that God declares us as being positively righteous in his sight because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, i.e., credited to our accounts. However, a recent teaching called the “New Perspective on Paul” has called into question the traditional Protestant understanding of justification.

  • K. Erik Thoennes — 

    We should want to know God more than we want to know his will for our lives.

  • Rob Price — 

    It could have turned out badly. Back in spring 2010 I decided sight unseen to assign Fred Sanders’s The Deep Things of God as a textbook in my fall Theology I class. The publisher said that the book should be available by mid-August. That’s about one week before the start of the semester. What if there were delays? And regardless of delays, what if the book showed up and was lousy? What would I tell my students?

  • Rob Lister — 

    I loved my time in seminary. The seminary years were formative and growth-filled for me in many ways. I learned more about God in a concentrated period of time than ever before. My professors were scholar-pastors. I was blessed to be part of a healthy church. I made some of my best (and lifelong) friends during seminary. And God graciously started and grew our family during those years.

  • Ashish J. Naidu — 

    A friend of mine has a coffee cup with the following words printed on the outside, “Presbyterian Coffee: Predestined to be brewed decently and in order.” I chuckled when I saw it for the first time several years ago. The humorous one-liner nicely captures a couple of representative ideas that are associated with a particular church denomination. An amusing tongue-in-cheek way to integrate the love of coffee, a distinctive theological perspective, and a related view of church polity, one might say! Funny sayings aside, the hallmark of church polity of things being done “decently and in order” actually derives from Paul’s remark in 1 Cor. 14:40, where he instructs believers to be orderly in their worship and to avoid discord and confusion. I suggest that this regulative principle of church polity can be of great service outside its walls, especially in conversational contexts that can be potentially explosive.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    Consider the following observations from two Christian thinkers representing two different theological traditions (Anglican and Eastern Orthodox): Fleming Rutledge comments on the earthquake catastrophe in Haiti: A frequent response heard from Christians is, “God has some purpose in this.” “Something good will come out of this.” “Haiti will become stronger as a result of this.” In one sense, all these things are true; however, these are deeply wrong responses, both theologically and pastorally….Glib, monochromatic responses to catastrophe should have no place in our faith.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    If we’ve learned anything about Romans in recent years from the New Perspective folks, it is that Romans is not just about me and God. It’s also about me and you. Paul, in fact, leverages many of the familiar soteriological truths that we typically associate with the book of Romans in the service of what I take (at least in part) to be an ecclesiological agenda. The church at Rome was apparently divided along ethnic lines. Paul’s letter to the Romans represents (among other things) the apostle’s concerted effort to address the issue, in order to restore some inter-racial harmony in the congregation.

  • Rob Price — 

    Hey, if you can summarize Luther in 1,000 words, Calvin should be no problem. Not that Calvin’s any less interesting than Luther, just less open. In tens of thousands of pages of his surviving writings, including several thousand personal letters, Calvin gives only the rarest hints of what’s going on inside. It’s pretty obvious, though, that so profound an exegetical and theological legacy could only have come from a heart aflame for God.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    Because the biblical documents were written in ancient times, in different cultures, and to different peoples, an historical approach to the interpretation of the Bible is deemed necessary. This has become so properly basic that it is nearly an axiom that the contemporary interpretation of the Bible is historical interpretation. Without denying that the Bible is the Word of God, the actual task of interpreting the Bible has become primarily an examination of the words of men. Such an historical emphasis makes theology seem less important, or at best a quite distant secondary concern.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    Along with speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, if one were to peruse the communication literature of most American, Evangelical churches, it would seem that Paul had somehow left off Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and blogs of every sort. The ubiquity of “social media” in all its iterations has found quite the tender audience in Evangelicalism with seemingly no parachurch ministry, church (along with each respective ministry therein), pastor, youth minister, or seminary able forge ahead without intermittingly spreading communicative buckshot across the world wide web at a 140 character pace.

  • Rob Price — 

    How do you introduce the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther in under 1,000 words—plus a picture or two? His life, his works, his doctrines, his impact? One standard biography (Brecht) runs 1,300 pages. I might omit a few things, but here goes.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    Don’t gimme no theology. Just gimme the Bible! Ever heard someone say that? Well, at times theology comes in handy. That might sound like a no-brainer coming from a pastor/seminary professor, but as a historian I much prefer interpreting a biblical passage in its historical and literary context (my task as a New Testament scholar) to systematizing various portions of Scripture around a single theological truth (the task of a theologian).