This article considers the best translation and interpretation of Genesis 2:5-6. The discussion revolves around whether these verses describe a dry or a wet world.
The doctrine of Christology is of central importance in Christian thought. More recent scholarship has questioned the view that an understanding of the person of Jesus as the Son of God in a real or essential sense is to be found in the mind of Jesus and in the thought of the early church, and that such understanding can for the basis of a modern Christology. This article addresses the scholarship that denies the above contentions, questioning whether they demonstrate a true reading of the New Testament evidence.
There are only three explicit Old Testament references to the doctrine of the image of God in man: Genesis 1:26, Genesis 5:2, and Genesis 9:6. However, the importance of the doctrine is out of all proportion to the limited treatment it receives in the Old Testament. That man is a [creature]] implies limitations upon the range and degree of his similarities to God.
This study considers two of the prepositions used in New Testament statements on the subject of the atonement to see what contribution they have to make. Four prepositions are used in the New Testament statements about the death of Christ, but only two are examined here, i. e. "for" (ἀντί) and "on behalf of/for the sake of/for the beneft of" (ὐπέρ).
The Hebrew expression "saraph me'opheph" occurs twice in the Old Testament, and both times in Isaiah. Isaiah 14:29 refers to the "fiery flying serpent" and Isaiah 30:6 the term is usually understood as a reference to the sand-viper. Such interpretations imply that these creatures were semi-mythological. This article calls into question this interpretation, showing from contemporary data that these creatures may have been some kind of poisonous winged insect.
This paper wants to re-examine the interpretation of Malachi 1:11 that suggests that worship offered in sincerity and truth under the auspices of any religion whatsoever is in effect offered to the one true God. Is this interpretation consistent with Old Testament teaching as a whole on the subject of the worship of the nations? Is it consistent with the prophet's teaching in the rest of Malachi? The author examines these questions, and then takes a fresh look at the text and its interpretation.
The Gospel of Matthew's account of the resurrection of Jesus is regarded by many scholars as the least reliable historically. This article does not provide definitive answers to the questions raised, but it indicates some of the avenues that could be further explored. The relationship of Matthew 28 to the other gospels is examined. The major arguments that supposedly justify treating Matthew 28 with suspicion are each considered in turn.
This essay attempts to explain the belief that the death of Christ on the cross had the character of penal substitution, and that it was by virtue of this fact that it brought salvation to mankind. First, the author clears up some questions of method. He then continues to explore what it means to call Christ's death substitutionary.
The concepts of wisdom and knowledge in 1 Corinthians have been studied from two general approaches. One approach derives the apostle Paul's usage from nonmythological understanding of the concepts in the Old Testament and later Judaism. The second approach sees an influence of mythological origins that may or may not have been mediated through Judaism.
One looks almost in vain for a major discussion of sin during the twentieth century. Does guilt before God still have meaning in the context of modern developments such as Marxism and psycho-analitical approaches to who man is? This essay attempts to examine the way that theology has sought to come to terms with the idea of sin during the twentieth century.
The aim of this essay is to survey approaches to the parousia (return of Christ) in modern theology. It wants to describe and assess these modern approaches within their own proper theological and historical context. It is followed by the author's own approach to the subject, showing where he thinks he may draw fruitfully upon modern insights and where we must take warnings from modern misunderstandings.
The author addresses questions about the interpretation of the Bible's ethical material. These are questions about the meanings of moral words, to be distinguished from questions of normative ethics and of descriptive ethics. By defining "ethics" formally, rather than by its content, O'Donovan has included within the scope of ethics two spheres that are sometimes distinguished from it, i.e., the religious and the aesthetic.
This article draws attention to the fact that it is no longer possible to describe Nuzi customs as customs of Hur simply on the basis that they show some divergence from better-known Mesopotamian practices, and because there was considerable influence of Hur at Nuzi. In Near Eastern Studies there is an increasing awareness that the similarities between Nuzi and other Mesopotamian text groups are, in fact, greater than was formerly supposed.
Does preaching still have any meaning in our time and age? Is the sermon a relic of the past? This essay wants to reflect on the theological question of what preaching really is. The true renewal of preaching can only happen in the way of understanding the real nature and function of preaching. A renewal on the level of preaching technique alone is not really a renewal at all. In the New Testament, we find the origin of what Christian preaching is. Some key terms used for preaching are examined.
The approach of this article to the Scriptures is with the conviction that they mean exactly what they say. However, it is not true that the Bible means nothing more than that. The author grapples with the divine as well as the human element in the Bible. It reflects on how readers can hear what God's timeless message is from any given passage. It is within this context that the article reflects on the significance of "sensus plenior" (the "fuller" sense).
In Old Testament scholarship, there is a general recognition of the unique importance of the Decalogue in Israel's understanding of her relationship with God. The article states that the last six commandments are in themselves not at all unique. Is there significance in the explicit listing of these otherwise very general moral obligations at the foundation of the nation as the covenant people of Yahweh?
What is the relationship between the name of God and the glory of God? In OT studies there has been a change in the conception of the ark of the covenant in Deuteronomy. The ark is no longer seen as the footstool of God in his glory, but merely a receptacle containing the stones on which the law is written. This study is concerned with the fact that God's name has been used to demythologize the ark. Exodus 33:18ff.
What is the literary structure of the composition of the oracles against Babylon in Jeremiah 50 and Jeremiah 51? This study hopes to demonstrate that the composition of the oracles is not disordered but rather a well-ordered complex of structurally related elements. The thesis is that the composition is comprised of six movements set within a common framework.
What are the extra-biblical sources for the history of Israel? There is an Assyrian text that offers an account of dealings with Judah, a text renowned since the beginning of Assyriology. That text is Sennacherib's report of his attack on Judah and Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah. This article examines mainly this text.
This article is an account of the political thought of the book of Revelation. It reflects on how the goodness of creation is questioned by the apparent meaninglessness of the historical events. Only if history can be shown to have a purpose can the praise of creation resume. The sacrificial death of the Messiah of God is the event that interprets all other events.
What is the relationship between Christ and Christian ethics? The article asks the question: If Christians are what they are by virtue of their participation in Christ, then what room is left for human ethical activity? What is the relationship between grace and morality? Webster wants to explore this relationship by giving close attention to the New Testament material on the imitation of Christ.
This article considers the matter of competition in business and politics. It reviews the matter from a Christian perspective, then sets out its advantages.
The release of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to the "greenhouse effect," has caused a major concern about man's environmental and ecological responsibilities. This paper asks whether Christians have a distinctive viewpoint on these matters. First, it is noted that the issues raised go far beyond scientific analysis; profound consequences for economic life can follow.
What were the appropriate Christian responses to the complexity of daily life presided over by the deities in Corinth, as portrayed in 1 Corinthians 8-1 Corinthians 10? This essay responds to this question by first describing the religious pluralism of Roman Corinth, which took for granted the legitimacy of all its many gods and many lords.
This article considers the translation of Ruth 4:5.
What is the meaning of "kathegetes" in Matthew 23:10? This article proposes that the papyrus P.Oxy. 2190 (c. AD 70–90) could help in understanding its meaning. In this papyrus the term occurs more frequently than in most literary sources. It is then argued that "kathegetes" in Matthew 23:10 refers to a tutor
What is the significance of man being created in the image of God? This article outlines the current state of exegesis on this doctrine and the problems connected with the traditional theological interpretation of Genesis 1:26. Next, he considers the newly recognized importance of intertestamental Judaism for a Christian doctrine of the image of God.
The resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian faith. This article argues that resurrection is essentially a feature of the last times and the outstanding aspect of the Christian hope. The New Testament makes it evident that the resurrection of Jesus was linked not only with his death but also with his parousia. The major theme of this study is the nature and significance of this connection.
This article reflects on the interpretation of the writing on the wall of Daniel 5:26-28. The article starts to consider the particular problem why the Babylonians could not read these Aramaic words when Aramaic was an official court language. It is proposed that the inscription was a number written in cuneiform, which was translated into Aramaic and then interpreted.
What is the intended meaning of the rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 10:22? This article argues that an investigation of the Old Testament background to verses 1-21 suggests a likely origin for 10:22b, and also clarifies its precise intent, significance, and force.
This essay wants to contribute to the discussion about biblical inspiration. Two modern but very different views of biblical inspiration are examined (those of B. B. Warfield and James Barr). Begby argues that despite their strengths both would have benefited from sustained attention to the trinitarian context of the work of the Spirit in inspiration.
This article argues that careful lexicological investigations in 1 Timothy 2:12 have undermined the traditional interpretation of "authenteō" ("to have authority over") and brought to light various shades of meaning, without demonstrating their relevance to the passage. The argument of this paper is that if closer attention is paid to the structural and figurative character of the passage, the result is a reading that takes into account both the proper sense of "authenteō" and the particular social context and circumstances of the apostle's message.
This article makes a case for the possibility of written literature and thus the skill and knowledge of writing existing in Palestine from at least the tenth century BC onward.
Greek hero cults consisted of sacrifices offered at the grave of deceased human beings. There was a belief that the hero was still active and able to exercise a powerful influence. In this article, this evidence is compared to Mark’s portrayal of Jesus’ empty tomb to show that it is not the empty tomb of a hero, but of one who has been raised from the dead.
The apostle Paul uses the phrase "refresh the heart" some four times. This article wants to look at the use of the verb "anapauō" (with various meanings) in particular where it is combined with "pneuma" ("spirit") or "splanchna" ("bosom") in ancient Greek literary and non-literary sources. It concludes that Paul's use of the complete phrase (1 Corinthians 16:18, 2 Corinthians 7:13, Philemon 7, and Philemon 20) may have been a unique usage.
Opinions vary on the relationship of 1 Corinthians 7:6-7 to its wider context. The result is that widely differing interpretations of 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 have been offered. This article offers a way to unlock the pattern of Paul's thought in 7:8-24. It is argued that 7:6 does not refer to the contents of 7:1-5, but emphatically to 7:7a where "de" assumes an adverbial role of "rather" in Paul's warning. Using the strong adversative "but" in 7:7b, Paul acknowledges that either singleness or marriage is a divine gift.
In Romans 8:26 Paul compares the ministry of the Holy Spirit in helping Christians in their weakness to something he had written earlier. He uses the comparative adverb "hosautos." There is no consensus among interpreters as to the subject of the comparison. This article makes a proposal: Paul is comparing the Spirit’s ministry in verse 26 to the Spirit’s ministry in verse 16.
Did the New Testament permit divorce in Matthew 19 and elsewhere? This article argues that an improved syntactic analysis of the Old Testament text shows Moses to have in fact issued a specific directive on divorce; however, that directive in Deuteronomy 24 was open to the kind of misunderstanding that Jesus needed to correct.
The most important models Paul urges his readers to imitate are those of himself, Christ, and God. He also directs his readers to the behavior of other individuals and occasionally reminds them of the example of other churches. There are also exhortations that his readers become "models" for others to imitate. Questions have been asked regarding the motivation behind Paul’s instruction.
This article focuses on the moral distinction between appearance and reality, between an outward self and an inward self. It examines contemporary virtue ethics and the claim that Christian ethics is a virtue ethic. It identifies, examines, and evaluates three theses that are central to virtue ethics: a priority thesis, a perfectionist thesis, and a communitarian thesis.
The aim of this article is to examine the reasons why theodicy, as we understand the term today, is virtually absent from ancient Mesopotamian literature. The purpose is to discover what factors in that culture led to the exclusion of theodicy and the idea of innocent suffering from their worldview and literature.
Is the canon merely an anthology of the religious literature of the day, making it no longer possible to speak of its unity? This article indicates two main ways in which the issue of biblical unity is typically presented: unity may be based in the process of divine inspiration which is believed to have brought about these writings, or it may be based in a theory of providential ordering.
This article discusses the renewal of theological interpretation of Scripture. The article first mentions the strength of objections to theological interpretation in the 19th century, the time when the paradigm of historical criticism was established. This is followed by a consideration of the problem of conceptualizing revelation within the Old Testament, as done by Preuss in the 20th century.
This article argues that the Gospel of Mark’s sayings on the coming of the Son of Man (Mark 8:38, Mark 13:24-27, and Mark 14:62) refer to the return of Jesus. This is argued against the view of R. T. France and N. T. Wright according to whom these sayings call attention to the vision of Daniel 7:9-14.
This article finds fault with the popular evangelicalism of the past few decades and sees it as a crumbling edifice. The source of this demise is evangelicalism's understanding of the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christ and redemption, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, especially his work in regeneration and sanctification.
This article describes neotheism as a new view of God in theological scholarship. After describing the characteristics of this new worldview, the author then also sets up objections to this view of God. The objections touch on the topics of creation ex nihilo, predictive prophecy in the Bible, the test for false or true prophecy, and God's ultimate victory over evil.
The author wrestles with the question of the sovereignty of God and human responsibility. The sovereignty of God seems to take away from man's responsibility or accountability. On the other hand, human responsibility seems to rob God of his sovereignty. The author searches for the biblical relationship between these two concepts.
How did the apostle Paul understand the ministry of the church? In this article, Fung wants to examine the mutual relationships of ministry, community, and "charismata." Various relationships are examined therein: the relationships between ministry and Church, ministry and spiritual gifts, and the nature of the ministry and its outward organization.
This article wants to come to a biblical-theological perspective on war and peace. It starts by looking at Yahweh as a warrior God and war as a theme in the Old Testament. The impact of the teaching and person of Jesus Christ, who brought a new relationship between Israel and the nations, is considered next. Then follows a consideration of the early church's view of the Christian as a citizen of two "kingdoms" or "communities." Next, it notes the contributions of some modern theologians on the topic.
Instead of reading the apostle Paul as if he wrote from a Gnostic influence, this article wants to take seriously the Jewish context of the apostle. The Jewish environment in which Paul lived had a number of sects, like the Essene movement, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, all of which had certain attitudes toward the law. The author considers Paul's attitude toward the law, and how that impacted his mission work and teaching.
This essay focuses on the question, will God give the opportunity of salvation to those who have never heard the gospel of Christ? It wants to give a fair presentation of three different responses to this question: the unevangelized are lost, there is a future chance after death for the unevangelized, and the unevangelized are saved or lost depending on their response to the light they have.
This article provides a critique of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. In the critique the author mentions the heresy of inviting Christians to rely upon science instead of on the word of God alone. The author also also takes time to point out some factual errors in the book, including historical divergencies, location divergencies, divergencies in religious facts, and scientific and technological inaccuracies.
This article offers a theological discussion on the relationship that must be understood in the church between law and grace. In particular, the author seeks to find the proper place of the law of God in the life of the believer. The discussion, therefore, includes an exploration of such phrases as "under law," "under grace," the Mosaic covenant, and holiness.
John Calvin explains what is meant when God says he wants to have all men saved (1 Timothy 2:3-5). In the process, Calvin also seeks to show that this text should not be used to invalidate God's election of his people. Rather, it must still be understood in view of God's sovereignty even in the matter of salvation. The impact of this view on world evangelism is also debated.
The Holy Spirit and spirituality are two key aspects frequently noted in theological discussions. Wood finds it profitable to reconsider the approach of Martin Luther to these two themes in theology. He indicates the importance of the Holy Spirit in Luther's theology and the role of the Spirit in Luther's piety and experience of faith.
The gospel has important social dimensions. In this essay the author wants to show the considerations in the social and political thinking of evangelicals in times past. Wilberforce and Shaftesbury are remembered as some of the outstanding examples of a biblical Christianity that was prepared to take on the challenge of social reform.
This article includes a review by Max Turner of the book The Anointed Community The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition, with a response by Gary M. Burge. The book is a work on the apostle John's understanding of the Holy Spirit and his work. Turner zooms in on the Spirit and sacraments, Spirit and eschatology, and Spirit and Christology.
This essay wants to focus attention on the career of Thomas Cranmer as a Reformer. A short historical overview is provided of his life and theological development before the author examines Cranmer's teaching on some of the major points of the Reformatlon. Particular attention is given to the Bible.
This essay offers an analysis of the theology and structure of evangelical spirituality. It also reviews the present practice of spirituality in the light of contemporary trends. It wants to give a critical review of the practice and sources of evangelical spirituality, in order to show the strengths and weaknesses of evangelical spirituality. It also wants to determine whether other traditions of spirituality are compatible with it, and how they might be used to enrich it.
The purpose of Peter's sermon on Pentecost is reflected in Acts 2:37-42. His audience is exhorted to call upon the name of Jesus Christ to be saved from a perverse generation. This study wants to examine Luke's theological method. The article reflects on how Peter attains his stated missiological purpose and confessional goal as reflected in the Pentecost sermon. He accomplishes this by arguing in the salvation-historical pattern of the traditional kerygma.
What are the implications of the discovery of 11QMelchizedek for the interpretation of Melchizedek in Hebrews 7? In this essay Cockerill wants to show that the differences between 11QMelchizedek and Hebrews are too significant to consider the possibility that any close contact between the authors or readers of these documents was possible.
Is there evidence that any real evolutionary changes are taking place in the present day? Is there evidence that evolution has taken place in the past? The author attempts to answer these questions and many others associated with evolution and the geologic history. This is done through scientific analysis of biological and geological phenomena, especially as far as biological mutation is concerned.
What is the evidence against evolution? This article begins with the biblical record and further engages in critical analysis of laws discovered in other disciplines, specifically the first and second laws of thermodynamics. These laws are then applied to the biblical witness as well as to naturally observable phenomena.
What is religious toleration? Is it the same thing as freedom of conscience? How is this toleration related to God's toleration of sinners? This article gives primarily a historical overview of how toleration functioned since the sixteenth century Reformation. It starts with the classic development of a theory of toleration first expressed by Tertullian.
This article engages with criticisms made by Bonhoeffer towards Karl Barth's theology of "Positivism of Revelation." In the analysis, it is also evident that there is need to properly understand the meaning of Bonhoeffer's expression, which can only be done through the careful study of his writings.
What should a Reformed pastor make of ecumenism? The article addresses this by considering the biblical foundation of ecumenism, from the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and further worked out in redemptive history. Biblical ecumenism is based on salvation through grace alone.
In this article, the author conducts a methodical study of the practice of hospitality among Christians and how hospitality should be understood in today's context. The author discusses this matter by referring to the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, the writings of the apostle John, and also the present-day context.
This article discusses how man can be justified before God. He surveys the concept of justification in the Old Testament, in the Gospels, and finally in the Epistles. The discussion then proceeds to the views of Martin Luther on the subject, citing some problems in Luther’s views. It also looks at Calvin’s much more polished expressions on the subject, and finally reviews the present-day state of opinion on this matter.
This article considers the phrase "justification by faith," with special emphasis on the word "alone." The study starts with a historical perspective, noting the great controversy that the word stirred up between the Roman Catholic and the Reformers. Those who contended against the use of that small word state that the word does not specifically occur with justification in Scripture, and therefore its use amounts to an addition to Scripture.
This article studies the phrase "justification by faith," focusing on the preposition “by.” This study is done from four perspectives: scriptural, theological, experiential, and polemical.
Is religious neutrality at all possible? Is there an actual position of neutrality that could be the beginning point of any two parties in the discussion of the verity of the gospel and Christianity? The writer of this article is determined to show the answers to these questions by using the analogy from humanistic geography. The principal points of philosophical arguments are indicated as those of space and place.
The article featured here centres on the doctrine of justification by faith and its place in the life of the church. The article traces the emergence of its prominence in the church of the Reformation. Further, the article considers the need for justification, the meaning of justification (including imputation of righteousness), and faith as the means of justification.
This article addresses the question of whether Christ could have sinned, a crucial question in Christology. To wrestle with the question, one has to do justice to these truths: Jesus never actually sinned, he was tempted, and God cannot sin. Wellum demonstrates that Christ was unable to sin (he was impeccable).
What does it mean to know God? What is the key to the knowledge of God? These are the questions that this article attempts to answer. Central to the answer is the divinity of Jesus Christ. The author also observes the effect of philosophical developments through time on the church's faith in the deity of Christ.
This article focuses on the coming together of the two natures of Christ, the human nature and the divine nature, for the purposes of mediation between God and man. The author says that the constitution of the person of Christ is of such a fundamental and vital concern that without believing it, one cannot be a Christian.
In this article, the contribution of J. Gresham Machen to understanding the relationship between the church and contemporary culture is discussed. His vision of Christian involvement in cultural life was different from the pietistic and revivalistic otherworldliness of many fundamentalists of his time.
This article identifies some of the most influential ways in which biblical interpretation was formed in the context of modern academic sciences. The author argues that most of the exegetical programmes of interpretation were apologetic. This apologetic goal was achieved by using neo-Kantian ideas to separate historical exegesis from theological interpretation.
In detail, the author discusses the subject of repentance and includes in the discussion the necessity, nature, implications, and fruits of repentance.
The author discusses in detail the teachings around the subject of regeneration. Included are discussions on its necessity, what it is and means to the believer, and the results of the process of regeneration. The author dutifully addresses many terms to do with regeneration, including spirit, flesh, illumination, degeneration, and fallen nature.
This article considers the preservation of the Scriptures in relation to the inspiration of the original manuscripts. The author looks at the history of the Old Testament text, the Masoretic text and its witnesses, including discoveries from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The New Testament is also discussed with equal weight on its purity as far as the autographs are concerned.
The authority of Scripture should be carefully distinguished from the authority itself and what theologians say about it. On this same subject, one must be clear about the nature and purpose of Scripture, bearing in mind what may be raised as inconsistencies, contradictions, and incompatibilities that may face us. This article is a careful consideration of the doctrine of the inspiration and authority of Scripture.
Are those who have not heard the gospel excluded from the blessing of a life with God? More evangelical scholars have recently questioned the conviction that those who die without faith in Christ are excluded from eternal blessings. In this paper it is argued that an unqualified inclusivism undermines the urgency of mission and evangelism. Two scholars, Clark Pinnock and John Sanders are placed in the spotlight.
Adoption as sons is an important motif and theme in the letters of Paul (Romans 8:15, 23, Romans 9:4, Galatians 4:5, and Ephesians 1:5). In this article Burke wants to explore the relationship between the Holy Spirit and adoption in Romans 8. The relevance and importance of adoption for the Christian life are also indicated.
Does the Bible speak on the issue of genetic engineering? Not directly, but the story of salvation history has implications for such engineering. This article discusses what the Bible has to say on the concepts of personhood, health, and medicine. From the conclusion that we have a moral obligation to restore the balance of creation, the article attempts to weigh in on the issue of genetic engineering.
What is the relationship between the Christian faith and other religions? What is a good biblical theology of religions? In this paper, the author goes into a dialogue with the inclusivism views of Clark Pinnock. Yong argues that there is a lurking danger of relativism in the critique of Pinnock against exclusivism.
The place and scope of induction and deduction in the task of ascertaining the truly biblical view of scriptural inspiration is a feature that has been debated at length. In this article these approaches are explained. The author then attempts to find out whether there is any other option besides strictly siding with one of these approaches.
The article finds that the most important principle of Calvinism is the centrality of God. It identifies some fallacious statements of the fundamental principle. It then considers other first principles that also underlie the whole system, chief of which is God's special revelation.
The author explains that hyper-evangelism does not emphasize the aspect of God as lawgiver and judge. In other words, the truth of man's position before the law of God is simply ignored in the preaching. The consequences are discussed further in the article. Other observations are that it ignores the sovereignty and power of God in the dispensation of his grace, the glory of God in the salvation of a sinner, and the lurking danger of antinomianism in converts.
In this study the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve is placed in the wider context as a prelude to the Pentateuch. The article wants to demonstrate its significance for Israel as the people of God. It sees the two trees in the Garden of Eden as part of retribution theology functioning in the same way as the blessing and curse of Moses.
A proof-text used for the doctrine of eternal torment in hell is Revelation 14:11. Bowles examines this text and argues for a new interpretation, suggesting that the traditional reading of this verse misses much. Thus, in contrast to the traditionally accepted viewpoint on this text, the author argues that God will bring his enemies to judgment, with absolute destruction and extinction as the result.
This article argues for the authenticity of John 12:24. Its vocabulary, form, style, and content fits naturally into its context and is, therefore, not a fabrication of John but part of his witness as apostle.
Martin Luther is well-known for his theology of the cross. This theology of Luther is based on his view of the love of God and how it relates to suffering and evil. The author introduces into the discussion a Finnish school of interpretation of Luther. This school offers a new understanding of these themes in Luther's theology. In particular the real presence of Christ in the believer is highlighted.
This article deals with the book of Judges from an ethical perspective. The author writes from the conviction that Judges is rich in ethical insight even though there are not direct prescriptions by way of laws or rules of conduct. Judges deals with the community of faith as the place and context for moral formation. The concept of irony is worked with to indicate how life without God looks like.
The allusions to the Old Testament in the book of Revelation form a key to its interpretation. This article is a survey and evaluation of recent studies on the role of the allusions in how Revelation is to be interpreted.
This article considers some criticisms against the redemptive-movement hermeneutic. Should the redemptive intention in the Bible be taken beyond certain time-locked limits of the New Testament? Is it possible to take the redemptive intention of the New Testament beyond the Bible? What are the limits placed on our interpretation and application when we acknowledge the revelation in Jesus Christ as God's final revelation? The author responds to specific criticisms of Thomas Schreiner.
This article considers the debate on various approaches to the study and practice of science. The author first describes the modernist's point of departure. Then the debate takes place between the Calvinist and the modernist approaches to scientific study, specifically in terms of scientific methodology.
This article discusses the events that necessitated the Synod of Dort, which was mainly in response to the objections raised by Jacob Arminius against major points of the Protestant doctrines. The result was that the synod upheld the teachings of the Protestant confessions, including what later came to be known as the five points of Calvinism. These five points the author discusses in detail.
This article starts with a discussion on the relationship between the covenant of redemption and the covenant of grace, arguing that there is no material difference between them. He then focuses on the covenant of grace, refuting non-Reformed teachings that have emerged on this doctrine. The author emphasizes that this covenant follows the covenant of works in history, and that it does not do away with the responsibility of man.
This article examines the objection often levelled against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation. The objection often raised is that these are inconsistent with the goodness of God. The article shows that these objections are unfounded, and that the Arminian doctrines make salvation impossible by denying that it is by grace and also by works.
This treatise considers the discussion of the decrees of God between two major groups: those who prefer supralapsarianism and those who opt for infralapsarianism. The author traces this controversy to the struggle between Augustine and Pelagius. There were strong views for and against the two options.
This article relates the teaching of the perseverance of the saints to another Calvinistic doctrine, the doctrine of election. It explains further this relation, noting the role of man and the role of God in the process of perseverance, the possibility of backsliding, the danger of relying on external conduct as a sign of election, and the insecure ground of belief on which Arminianism stands.
Bavinck discusses the views of supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, which are all attempts to describe the order in which God made the decision to predestine man to salvation, permit the fall, and provide a mediator for the atonement of the elect. The author finds fault with both views and discusses an alternative way of viewing and studying God's decree.
What is the current state of the evangelical movement? The article gives insight into the different groups that are part of the movement and indicates some of its distinctive features. The author notes its character as a protest and renewal movement within Christendom, the resulting combative mentality, its centres of dynamism, etc. The author also identifies two challenges: the need for self-definition and identifying of boundaries, and the need to maintain ecumenism and avoid fragmentation.
This article is the second part of a longer article. It summarizes the core beliefs of evangelicalism and their significance for the movement. These core beliefs include the authority of God exercised through Scriptures, the majesty of Jesus Christ in and through the cross, the lordship of the Holy Spirit, etc.
The author speaks on the foreknowledge of God as it applies to the doctrine of atonement. The article rejects the assertion that God foreknew who would believe and therefore predestined such people to salvation. The author redefines the foreknowledge of God, understanding it in the context of the decree of God.
The author examines the meaning of the Greek word agorazo from 2 Peter 2:1, a text quoted by some to argue the case for universal atonement. Then the article briefly looks at the misuse of agorazo, to show the fallacy involved in the universalist's argument. The article ends with a fresh look at the verse in light of the discussion, to attempt to offer a better understanding of its meaning.
This article is a review of the influential work, Justification and Variegated Nomism, edited by D. A. Carson, Peter O'Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid. The volume concerns itself with the question whether E. P. Sanders got early Judaism right or wrong, and thus in general the book considers the New Perspective on Paul.
What does it mean that the final judgment will be according to works? This article analyzes the apostle Paul's different statements about the criteria by which the works of a person are measured in the last judgment. The study concludes that the same criteria applies to believers and unbelievers, i.e., the Torah as fulfilled by Jesus Christ. It is argued that the whole Torah is still valid in the time of the new covenant, but in a transformed and intensified way.
This article begins by outlining the original threefold distribution of the topics embraced in Christian theology: (1) relations of a rational creature to its Creator and Ruler, (2) the covenant of works, and (3) the covenant of grace. Then the author goes on to focus on different views of how primarily two groups of theologians give the order of decrees within the scheme of redemption: supralapsarians and sublapsarians.
The author argues that while the sacrifice of Christ accomplished the full redemption of all the elect, there are certain benefits that come to sinners in general because of that sacrifice. God may show pity to those whom he is determined not to save. While God purposely designed Christ's sacrifice for the redemption of all whom he intended to save, he yet holds forth the expiation of Christ to the whole world as a demonstration of his kindness.
In this article, the author puts forward a strong case for studying theological doctrines in such a way that each individual doctrine falls within a particular larger theological field. He thus proposes that the doctrine of the atonement should be defended as falling within the covenant of grace. In this regard, the gospel call is made to everyone outside, but the one who really calls, Jesus Christ, does so from within the covenant of grace.
What is the connection between the ascension of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost? The church fathers made use of the antithesis between descent and ascent, often found in Scripture, for their understanding of the relationship between Christ's ascension and the coming of the Spirit.
Is there a disparity between the Old and New Testaments on the doctrine of the invisibility of God? This article considers the evidence, suggesting to take seriously the Old Testament statements that God can be seen, and to reconsider what the New Testament passages (e.g., John 1:18, John 5:37, 1 John 4:12) claim when they refer to God's invisibility.
Was it compulsory for the earliest Christians in the book of Acts to share their possessions? This article considers this question in the light of passages like Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-35, which speak of sharing of possessions among the earliest believers. This article is a response to the view that Luke presents this practice as mistaken.
This article addresses the relationship between the church and Israel as it is reflected in the different views on Jesus as Messiah. The history of the early church reflects a vigorous debate between Jewish scholars and the church about the true identity of the Messiah. Probably the most well-known interaction from the patristic period is Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, who was the Jew from the second century.
What is the main focus of the book of Acts? In this article, Walton argues that the focus of Acts is God and his redemptive purposes being carried out. As evidence, Walton analyzes the subjects of clauses, sentences, and terms assuming divine action. He further considers the focus of the speeches and the development and growth of the mission in Acts.
This article responds to and interacts with Kevin Giles who wrote in the same journal about his concerns with American evangelicals' view of the Trinity and in particular the "subordination of the Son" to the Father. This article acknowledges some valuable criticisms made by Giles and his defense of the full equality of the trinitarian persons opposing hierarchical relations.
How does the Bible function in Christian spirituality and spiritual exercises? The article argues that the Bible's potential to facilitate an encounter with God is underestimated. The author reflects on the way Psalm 119 relates to the believer. The psalm is acknowledged as acting upon the reader and is not seen merely as a passive object of study. The article argues for a more central place for the Bible in spiritual practice and makes suggestions for how to put this into practice.
The thesis of this article is that a neglected area of the New Testament’s teaching on the cross is the imitation of Jesus and his cross. The author illustrates the negative effects of overlooking the imitation of the cross. He uses the work of Peter Bolt as his conversation partner and in particular the way that the call to take up the cross functions in Mark 13 and its literary context.
Was Gottschalk, the ninth-century monk of Orbais, standing alone in his preaching of the sovereignty of God? This article indicates that it was not the case that in a time when Semi-Pelagianism dominated, he stood alone. Investigation of eighth and early ninth-century literature reveals an influence of Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian soteriology.
Amyraldianism (following the teaching of Amyraldus/Amyraut) is often portrayed as a balanced alternative to both Calvinism and Arminianism. This article reviews the publication Christ for the World: Affirming Amyraldianism. This book is an Amyraldian commentary on developments in Reformed theology after the Synod of Dort.
This article examines the doctrine of Christ expressed in the songs of four contemporary worship songwriters: Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, [Martyn Layzell], and Paul Oakley. The author's thesis is that the songs do indeed focus on Jesus, but the Christology is very limited and poor. Insufficient attention is given to the doctrine of the Trinity.
What does it mean that man is called the image of God (Imago Dei)? What is the nature of the "image"? This article surveys three interpretations: the substantialist, relational, and vocational, and concludes that the vocational view reflects the biblical evidence best. The ethical implications flowing from this view are then considered.
How is work to be viewed? How do we evaluate the work done by either believers or unbelievers? This article argues that there is an uncomfortable relationship between British evangelicals and ordinary work, and wants to understand the reasons for this state of affairs. It also wants to point a way forward for a better development of a theology of work. This article focuses on the work done by unbelievers in the context of common grace.
Does the traditional antithesis between law and gospel indeed function in the Mosaic covenant? The article gives specific attention to the use of the contrast between the principles of inheritance by works and inheritance by grace through faith. Can it be argued that the Mosaic covenant is in a certain sense a republication of an original covenant of works?
This article considers Paul's purpose in writing Romans. Wu wants to demonstrate exegetically that Paul's motive in writing Romans was to motivate them to support his mission to the “barbarians” in Spain. He argues that the letter’s theology exists to allow Paul to preach the gospel where Christ had not been known (Romans 15:20). Wu works out the implications for the church's missiological and pastoral practice.
How does information about building practices from the ancient Near East support an interpretation of the book of Ezekiel? Peterson's thesis is that Ezekiel deliberately omits some key human elements from ANE temple-building practices in his temple vision of Ezekiel 40:1-Ezekiel 43:11, in an effort to help Israel to realize the nature of their sin.
How should the use of contraceptives as instruments of family planning be viewed from a theological perspective? The arrival of the Pill in 1960 caused a major shift in thinking about this topic. Hollinger considers the theological argument against contraception that has too often been missing in ethical considerations in Protestant circles.
This article explores the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and whether there are structural connections between the two. Did the order of the the Old Testament books influence the ordering of the books of the New Testament canon? The article further considers what the possible implications are for the reading and interpretation of the Bible as one book.
What is the true identity of Nimrod that the readers of the Bible get acquainted with in Genesis 10:8, 9 (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:10, Micah 5:6)? This study wants to work towards a clearer identification of Nimrod by investigating the different words, phrases, and constructions that act as exegetical clues that can possibly throw more light on what can be known for certain about the biography of Nimrod.
Did God make one or three or perhaps even more covenants with Abraham? Do Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, and Genesis 22 refer to different covenants? This article argues that the Lord made a single covenant with Abraham and later supplemented that covenant by adding name changes, requirements, and promises.
Is the birth of Jesus from a virgin an invention of Matthew (Matthew 1:23) as part of a desire to fulfil the words of Isaiah 7:14? This article examines the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 in pre-Christian times and how Matthew cited prophetic texts. It also reflects on the influence of the early tradition of Jesus’ descent from David upon Matthew's reference to a virginal conception.
What is the nature of human freedom in light of man's natural tendency towards sin? This article responds to a previous article in the journal by Paul Himes who argued that 1 Corinthians 10:13 provides good evidence in favour of libertarianism, at least in situations in which Christians are tempted to sin. Cowan argues contrary to Himes that the text actually supports a compatibilist view of freedom.
This article offers a new translation of the often-puzzling text 1 Timothy 2:15. Hubbard argues that this text refers to the safe-keeping of a woman through the ordeal of child-bearing. He also interprets the text against the background of the ancient Mediterranean world, which he believes to be essential for a good interpretation of Paul's letter and this verse in particular.
The interpretation of how Hosea 11:1 uses Matthew 2:15 has a troubled history. Beale gives a short overview of interpretations before he offers his grammatical-historical and biblical-theological approach. Beale concludes that Matthew makes a comparison between Jesus as the "son" with the "son" of Hosea.
The election of Israel to be the people of God is a significant theme in the Old Testament. This special position of Israel has offended many people both in the ancient and modern world. In a world of "equal opportunity," people argue that the idea of election leads to violence because it in effect defines all other nations as the enemy. The elect and the non-elect are seen as antagonistic categories.
This article provides a bibliography on relevant resources for the study of literature from the intertestamental period, which is useful for an understanding of the background to the New Testament. Specific attention is given to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also authors like Philo and Josephus, as well as rabbinic literature and the Talmud.
This study explores the possibility that Paul created the so-called hymnic material he is using in Ephesians 5:14. Supporting this thesis is a study of the way that the passages from Isaiah have been conflated in Ephesians 5 and have influenced the broader contours of Ephesians. The authors first look at the Old Testament text behind the citation and then demonstrates how Paul contextually appropriates the texts for his purposes.
The use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15 has been much discussed. Many covenant theologians has seen this text as evidence for the church replacing Israel. Dispensational exegetes treat this text as not relevant for the present age but a reference to a future state of affairs. Hays seeks to follow a third alternative and steer clear of the pitfalls mentioned.
In this article Hays argues that the theme of justice is the central theme and motif of Luke 18:1 to Luke 19:10. Hays notices Luke's use of the Old Testament prophets and the theme of justice to be found in the prophets as it is connected to the coming messianic era. He then notices the socio-economic context of the first-century Palestine. Finally, Hays demonstrates how the theme of justice runs through Luke 18 to 19.
This article wants to consider the soteriological significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The author considers Jesus' resurrection in relation to his offices as Messiah: prophet, priest (Hebrews 5:5–10), and king (Acts 2:30–32). He wants to emphasize that the resurrection on Sunday is more than just a "proof" of the gospel of the cross.
What is the significance of salt in the Bible? Why are the disciples of Jesus called the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)? This study argues that there are four central notions that stand out. The binding factor is the biblical idea of covenant. The article proceeds with a survey of salt in the Hebrew Scripture and the disciples as salt in the New Testament.
Many commentators agree that the prophecies in Isaiah 40-Isaiah 55 were written to a group of Hebrew exiles living in Babylon about 150 years after the time of Isaiah. However, this article wrestles with this point of view and therefore reassess the interpretation of seven passages that do not seem to address Hebrew exiles in Babylon.
According to Wolters the meaning of the verb αὐθεντέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12, has been under considerable scholarly discussion since the 1980s. The thesis of this article is that one important attestation to the possible meaning of the word has not received the due attention because of an error of dating.
This article is an argument in defence of proof-texting. Historically, it has served a useful function as a sign of disciplinary symbiosis among theology and exegesis. The authors believe that a renewed practice of proof-texting may serve as a sign of lively interaction between biblical commentary and Christian doctrine.
Does the New Testament use the Old Testament in a contextual manner, that is, acknowledging the literary context from where the reference is taken? The thesis of this article is that Paul’s use of Exodus 32:6 in 1 Corinthians 10:7 and the flow of the argument in 1 Corinthians 10:1–13 are best understood against the literary context of covenant making, breaking, and renewal in Exodus 19-Exodus 34.
Jobes underlines the importance of Bible translation. She reflects on Bible translation through her outline of a biblical theology of language. She also explores relevance theory as it bears on the question of translation. Jobes works toward conclusions on what characteristics a translation must have to be faithful.
This article gives some scientific considerations that support the thesis of a young earth.
This article wants to contribute to the way we think about God. It wants to tighten the relationship between the economic Trinity and the immanent Trinity. Horrell offers in the first part a basic presentation of a social model of the Godhead. He observes especially divine reciprocity in Scripture. Secondly, he traces current issues in social trinitarianism.
This fourth of a four-part series investigates the Reformed doctrine of inspiration, particularly its relevance for today.
This second of a four-part series of articles investigates the Reformed doctrine of inspiration.
This first of a four-part series of articles investigates the Reformed doctrine of inspiration.
Is there a specific purpose behind the location of Proverbs 9:7-12 in the book of Proverbs? This essay answers this question and also reflects on perspectives of various scholars regarding the nature of this passage.
People and actions are often presented in Proverbs in polar extremes—the wise and the foolish, the righteous and the wicked, and actions that lead to honour or shame.
In this essay the author investigates a number of current influential views on secular feminist religious metaphor. Her contention is that the religious metaphors developed by secular feminists are insufficient to express the complexity of the nature of God. Existential feminists examined include Mary Daly and Emily Culpepper.
Can we argue for the existence of God? This article attempts to deal with the arguments used by atheists in their use of science to argue that God does not exist. It uses the evidentialism method to show that since a person feels guilty, has a sense of absolute justice, has a sense of the dignity of mankind, an appreciation of the beauty and design in nature, then it is possible to argue for the perception of the existence of God.
How was Genesis 3:15 interpreted throughout history? Does this verse contain a promise or does it actually form part of the curse on the serpent? Lewis gives an overview of the history of exegesis of this passage starting with the Scriptures, early Jewish writers, and the early church fathers, and continues until the Reformation and modern commentaries.
Did Jesus descend into hell like the Apostles' Creed confesses? Grudem argues against this article, and considers the phrase as one that was later introduced into the creed. The article considers the origin of the phrase "he descended into hell" and possible biblical support for the confession in passages like Acts 2:27, Ephesians 4:8-9, Romans 10:6-7, and 1 Peter 3:18-20.
In this chapter Hamilton considers what Biblical Theology is. For Hamilton it is the “interpretive perspective reflected in the way the biblical authors have presented their understanding of earlier Scripture, redemptive history, and the events they are describing, recounting, celebrating, or addressing.”
Hamilton argues that the centre in Biblical Theology is God, who is both merciful and just. The central theme of Scripture, according to Hamilton, is the glory of God in salvation through judgment. In Chapter 1 he first considers whether there is a centre in Scripture that holds everything in Scripture together.
In this chapter the author considers two views on the source of the law. One view is confident that humanity is the only source of law and of the knowledge of good and evil. The other view finds a fountain for the good life for ourselves and society if we turn back to God himself. Law is seen as an expression of the character of God. Questions for personal reflection and group discussion follow at the end of the chapter.
In Chapter 2 Barrs first considers how the past century witnessed a loss of biblical content to people’s views of God, truth, and moral convictions. Two views are considered: a Christian (traditional) view (morality and law are fixed and eternal) and a postmodern view (morality and law are constantly open to change). Questions for personal reflection and group discussion are at the end of the chapter.
Chapter 1 considers issues like the following: What do you think about the law of God? Do you think that you don’t need laws written thousands of years ago to direct your life? The culture in which we live today claims it knows better about how we should live than people from distant times and different cultures. Our scientific knowledge has advanced so much that it is no longer necessary for us to obey a moral code written in a time of comparative ignorance about human life.
In this chapter Wenham first gives a brief overview of the history of the use of the Psalms in congregational worship. He also discusses the specific impact of setting the words of the Psalms to music. Wenham further notes a secondary use of the Psalms, as a resource for private meditation and devotion. He suggests that the book of Psalms is a deliberately organized anthology designed for memorization.
This book’s concern is with what has become known as the New Perspective on Paul, which is concerned with Paul's understanding of the law, works of the law, righteousness, and other related issues. This chapter starts with a history of the study of Paul covering the period from Martin Luther to Albert Schweitzer.
Edgar introduces his readers to the apologetics of Cornelius van Til, who was one of the original apologists of the twentieth century. His approach to apologetics has become known as presuppositionalism. Edgar further provides an overview of the most prominent characteristics of Van Til’s method of apologetics.
For John Calvin the subjects of money, wealth, and business are all created entities. Money is a creation, and as such it should not be worshipped, overemphasized, or ignored. Like the rest of creation, it has a place and is useful. In the section of Chapter 1 presented here, the creaturely character of the economy is considered.
The focus of this article is on the nature of eternal punishment. In contrast to the traditionally accepted viewpoint on this text, the author attempts to argue that God will bring his enemies to absolute destruction.
The article attempts to define and discuss the problem of evil, citing its existence in creation where an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God could have made certain it does not affect people, at least his chosen ones. In the discussion, the article engages the views of anti-theists, proponents of the free-will defense, and other Reformed theologians. The conclusion answers the question whether God would and did create a world containing evil.
What is redaction criticism? Osborne argues that it is a very positive tool for biblical interpretation. The aim of this article is to apply redaction criticism to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, to work towards a better understanding of the passage. Osborne then wants to apply it for a better understanding of inerrancy.
Your eternal destination will be determined by your answer to this question: who do you say Jesus is? The Bible's pointers to the deity of Christ are clear. This article looks at these pointers and objections raised against them. It concludes that Jesus is God, and also shows why believing this is crucial for your eternal destiny.
If free will refers to the freedom of the will to choose and act of itself, without coercion, then it is proper to ask: does man have a free will? This article looks at the two answers given by libertarianism and compatibilism to the question of the sovereignty of God and its relationship to human responsibility, which shapes how one understand free will.
Adoption is an act of God’s free grace whereby believers become members of God's family. This article explains how the Bible speaks about the fatherhood of God and looks at both the positive and negative implication of this doctrine, showing that it is impossible to claim the universal fatherhood of God.
What should we understand by the authority of Scripture? This article shows that the authority of Scripture rests in God. It defines the basis of this authority, and discusses other authorities appealed to in relation to the authority of Scripture. It then shows what implications this has for the church today.
Existentialism's view of the individual is sometimes claimed to be similar to the views of Augustine. In this essay Lewis evaluates such claims by comparing the thought of Augustine with that of contemporary existentialists. Lewis introduces Paul Tillich's distinctions between an existential point of view, an existential philosophy, and an existential attitude (involvement).
This article examines the place and role of mutual agreement in the covenant. It argues that the divine covenant should be seen as the sovereign administration of grace and of promise in relation to redemption. To argue this point the article looks at the Noahic covenant, Abrahamic covenant, Mosaic covenant, Davidic covenant, and the covenant in the New Testament.
Greek ideas and expressions have exercised an unmistakable influence on the wisdom literature and notably the Greek translation of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. This paper compares the differences between the Masoretic text and the Septuagint, and forms conclusions on the attitudes of the translator that may have led to differences.
In the early 1960s Rudolf Bultmann was arguably the most influential theologian in Germany. It is imperative to attempt to understand Bultmann's theology. This paper is such an attempt. It focuses on understanding the paradox at the heart of Bultmann's theology, i.e., the place where God acts is in the sphere of human existence. How should we understand this language of the "act of God"?
What is the place of the book of Proverbs within Old Testament theology? To many OT scholars this question is a puzzle. This article proposes that Proverbs should be seen in relation to the prophets as true spiritual yokefellows sharing the same Lord, cultus, faith, hope, anthropology, and epistemology. Seen in this way the puzzle is solved.
One of the themes characterizing the book of Proverbs is that of righteousness. What does it mean to be righteous? This article looks at the meaning of righteousness in the book of Proverbs. It shows how righteousness relates to the law of Moses, and how righteousness manifests itself in social life.
Proverbs 3:1-12 is full of promises for the covenant keeper. Are these promises real? This article answers this question by looking at the translation and structure of Proverbs 3. Then it rejects four solutions to the question of promises, after which it offers four acceptable solutions to the question.
This article evaluates three models that seek to date the exodus and Israel's conquest of Canaan. It evaluates the immigration, revolt, and two-phase conquest model.
At its beginning stages textual criticism aimed at establishing the text as the author wished to have it presented to the public. Modern textual criticism has taken a different turn. This article looks at five aims in the study of textual criticism within OT studies.
The biblical way of thinking about the atonement is to think of it as penal substitution. In arguing this point this article points to the nature of knowledge required to comprehend this. This kind of knowledge is faith knowledge that rests on God's Word. It explains the idea of substitution and how it relates to Christ death being penal.
This document contains course material used as an introduction to the methods and tools for New Testament exegesis. It introduces students to a number of hermeneutical issues related to interpreting the New Testament. The focus of this course is on the basic steps in the exegesis of the New Testament.
Every action of humans is directed towards happiness and flourishing. Looking at key biblical words, this article shows that true flourishing and well-being can be found only in relationship with God and through alignment with his kingdom. The concepts of peace, blessedness, and completeness point to this conclusion.
Sexual abuse has destructive results. It impacts one's relationship with self, others, and God. This article shows how sexual abuse does this, and how to bring healing.
Why is idolatry by far the most frequently discussed sin in the Bible? It is a problem of the heart, the chief object of God's concern since from the heart issues everything. Yet idolatry is also a social problem. This article considers the interplay between our hearts and the situation that surrounds us, and the implications this has for counselling issues.
This article traces the development of covenant theology from the early church fathers through the medieval period, to the Reformation and the 20th century.
Looking at the epistemology of Pascal, this article shows how Pascal understood knowledge to function in relation to the faculties of man - body, mind and heart. Pascal exposed the limits of knowledge, and believed that man's rejection of God is rooted in the heart. The ability of man to know God is dependant on the revelation of God. The author of this article argues that Pascal system is worth emulating.
This article examines the claim of hyper-preterism that since all biblical prophecies must be fulfilled as predicted, this means that the imminent return of Christ was fulfilled. The author shows that this claim fails to take into account the human contingencies of prophecy. Biblical prophecies are seldom fulfilled exactly as they are.
Loking at the philosophy of Jacques Derrida and linking it to postmodernism, this article shows that the struggle of postmodernism is not that of epistemology, but that of ontology and metaphysics. The author discusses Derrida's struggle with phenomenology and logocentrism, and points to Van Til as the answer to Derrida's criticism.
This article encourages Christians to practice positive apologetics. Christians can set the terms for debating the faith, thus giving a positive defense of the faith - this is positive apologetics. In this article, the author discusses objections raised against Christianity, focusing on objections based on epistemology, Bible criticism, science and ethics.
This article encourages Christians to practice positive apologetics in evangelism. Christians can set the terms for debating the faith, and they can give a positive defense. This article gives arguments that can be used to build such a positive apologetic of the faith and which support belief in God and His Word.
This article looks at the theory of deconstructionism and its emphasis on subjectivism (the meaning rests with the reader) and the theory of authorial intention and its emphasis on objectivism (the meaning rests with the intentions of the author). The author disusses the impact these two theories have on hermeneutics, and proposes an alternative.
The Second Council of Constantinople anathematized the literal historical approach of interpreting Scripture associated with the School of Antioch as the breeder of heresy, while the council embraced allegory as the proper method of interpretation. This article looks at the historical account of these events.
Looking at the relationship between the attributes of God and His nature, this article gives some historical background to the formulation of the doctrine of the simplicity of God. The author discusses the challenge of hyper-realism and nominalism - are the attributes of God independent or dependent of Him? Choosing one of these poses the challenge of painting an unbiblical view of God.
What is God? Looking at the relationship between the attributes of God and His nature, this article shows that while the word "God" is not the proper name of God, it is used as an umbrella word to cover what God is. Defining the attribute of simplicity (God cannot be divided into parts; He is non-composite), the author discusses what this tells us about God's nature.
This article is a comparison of Proverbs 7 and the Qumran text known as 4Q184. The author argues that the strange woman of Proverbs 7 is an imaginary figure used by the father to teach the son the path of wisdom. The woman symbolizes folly through her used of seductive language, and is very different from the wisdom woman. This text is compared to the Qumran text, which uses the wicked woman to teach wisdom. The author maintains that Proverbs 7 presents the best pedagogy for teaching wisdom.
This article shows that Titus was written as an apologetic letter. Looking at Titus 2:12, the author shows that it is through the church, which is a manifestation of God's grace as a new community, that a genuine pious, just and sober life can be found where words translate into actions. Christian lifestyle is a form of apologetics.
Starting from the conviction that the church in both the New Testament and Old Testament is one church, this article draws the beginning of the church from Adam and Eve to the New Testament church. From the beginning God intended to build one united church, and the division of the two kingdoms and the exile shows that sin separates God's people.
Looking at the division made in modern philosophy in the pursuit to discover truth, this article studies the relationship between analytical truth and synthetic truth. The author maintains that it is impossible to make a distinction between these two kinds of truth, and relates this to the topic of apologetics.
The essay seek to demonstrate the following: (1) The Gospel of John's mission theology is an integral part of his presentation of Father, Son, and Spirit; and (2) rather than John’s mission theology being a function of his Trinitarian theology, the converse is actually the case: John’s presentation of Father, Son,and Spirit is a function of his mission theology.
North American egalitarianism has developed a distinct hermeneutic of its own with regard to its interpretation of gender-related passages in Scripture. It is the purpose of this article to provide a response to the hermeneutical issues raised in chapters by Roger Nicole and Gordon Fee in the book "Discovering Biblical Equality".
The syntax of 1 Timothy 2:12 has been the subject of serious scholarly discussion in recent years. Increasingly, It has become clear that before one can apply this important passage on women's roles in the church, one must first determine what it means. In this quest for the meaning of 1 Tim 2:12, the proper understanding of the passage's syntax has had a very important place, especially since consensus on the meaning of the rare word "authentein" has proved elusive.
It is hard to imagine a more profound question than "What is truth?" The world’s greatest philosophers and theologians has been driven by the quest for truth. It is also the question Pilate asked Jesus. It is probable that Pilate’s question has several layers of meaning, intriguing commentators over the centuries. This pays tribute not so much to Pilate but to the apostle John who wove the question into the fabric of his Gospel concerning Jesus, the Christ and Son of God.
The Epistle to the Hebrews reflects the use of comparatives more frequently than any other writing in the New Testament. Twenty-eight uses of comparative adjectives combine with seventeen uses of comparative adverbs for a total of forty-five occurrences of comparatives. This is a reflection of the writer‘s purpose in comparing the old covenant with the new covenant and the glory of Christ.
Who is the “Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16? The understanding of this passage has an important bearing on the question of the relationship between Israel and the church. Rather than viewing the verse through a pre-existing systematic-theological grid, Paul’s reference to the “Israel of God” ought to be studied first and foremost in the context of the entire epistle. Special attention need to be given to his anti-Judaizing polemic.
Unaware of the origins of some of these thoughts, many pastors and church members may find themselves increasingly confronted with ideas like “story preaching” or “reading the Bible as literature.” Even though it may seem harmless at first, these phrases may in fact conceal trends of which the unsuspecting pastor, churchgoer, or Bible student may not be aware. This article will help us understand the unfortunate dichotomy between history and literature modern biblical studies have inherited.
This study aims to provide a corrective to the current debate regarding the historical Jesus by studying the Gospel of John’s presentation of Jesus as a teacher. The argument is not that this is the major, or even a major aspect of John's teaching on Christ. Rather, John reflects the common perception of Jesus among his contemporaries, friends and foes alike: that Jesus was, perhaps more, but certainly no less, than a rabbi.
This is a short article suggesting a translation of 2 Corinthians 5:20 which can be an improvement on most of the well-known English translations and commentaries.
This article offers a detailed exegesis on 1 Timothy 2:15.
The statement of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:15 has mystified Bible readers as well as Christian scholars for centuries. In what sense can a woman be "saved" by bearing children? What is so virtuous about bearing children that it could become the cause of women's salvation? What about single women or married women who do not or cannot have children? Even apart from these questions, the apostle sounds sexist and out of date in our modern era. How should we understand this passage, and how are we to apply it?
The following article is a comparative study of the translation of the Greek words anthrōpos ("man," "human being") and anēr ("man"). The IBS made a decision to forego the development of an "Inclusive Language Edition" of the NIV in the United States. At the time of writing the article, the UK edition was still available.
The role of women in the church, and in particular the issue of the ordination of women is a world-wide discussion point. We must avoid the notion that we are here confronted with an unprecedented issue in the history of the church. The issue of women’s roles in the church and society is not a new one. This makes it all the more remarkable that the “progressive” reading of biblical texts such as 1 Tim 2:9–15 is a comparatively recent phenomenon.
Christian mission currently appears to be suffering from an acute identity crisis. This crisis has to do with at least two major factors: the increasing interdisciplinary nature of missiology and the rapid pace of change in the world around us. Each of these has significant implications for the church’s missionary task. Few would oppose in principle the efforts made to draw upon the valid findings of the various social sciences.
The importance of signs in the Gospel of John is generally acknowledged. However, there is no treatment of the exact number and identity of the Johannine signs. For important reasons such a work, however, is needed. While six Johannine signs are commonly acknowledged, there is no agreement regarding possible other signs in John's Gospel. Through an exploration of the alternative proposals, greater clarity, if not consensus, could be achieved.
The present essay links the “greater works” passage in John 14:12 with other passages in John’s Gospel with similar wording or similar theological or terminological content. After a brief survey of the history of interpretation of the reference to believers’ “greater works” in John, an effort is made to draw implications from the present study’s findings for the self-understanding and practice of the contemporary church’s task and mission.
Ephesians 5:22–33 is an important passage in debates on headship and submission in marriage. An important aspect of this passage that has not received the attention it deserves, however, is the reference to a “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32). The term "mystery" occurs consistently throughout Ephesians. An understanding of Paul’s use of the term can help in the understanding of marriage according to Ephesians 5:22–33.
Interest in the prophetic can be commended. At the same time, however, the prophetic books can and should orient us in important areas of our existence and faith, areas which often has been overlooked. One example is our social ethics. It is ironic that evangelical Christians who are committed to a high view of the authority of the Scripture, have not given this fundamental part of the prophetic message the attention it deserve.
The primary themes that configure the book of Joshua are constituted by possession of the promised land, obedience to the commands of Moses, and the extermination of the peoples of the land. Even though there has been common agreement that these themes function to establish a sense of national identity, attempts to describe how they do so have been frustrated by the apparent contradictory perspectives they present.
It has often been said that the Gospel of Mark has no real teaching on salvation. Theologians commonly identify the teaching on the person of Christ as Mark's central concern. Although Mark certainly does focus on Christ, for him his teaching on Christ is inseparable from what he teaches on salvation. In Mark's Gospel, understanding who Jesus is and what He did and is doing entails acknowledging his claim upon one's life. Therefor Mark's characteristic model of salvation is discipleship.
This article examines the theme of wisdom in the Epistle of James. Wisdom forms a major motif in the background of the writer and his epistle. While not personified, wisdom is extolled here as a divine gift. Additionally, wisdom possesses some personal characteristics that form a wisdom poem in which the virtues of wisdom are listed and praised.
Paul's use of the expression "in Christ" or "in the Lord" has received a great deal of attention in the past century. His use of this formula has implications for his understanding of the person and work of Christ, the Bible's teaching on salvation, what we believe about the return of Christ and the Christian life.
Our paradigms of reality determine how we process informational data. It determines what we make of it (to speak in everyday terms), for processing data is essentially a matter of fitting the bits into our overall frame of reference. In this way paradigms become the pathway to understanding - if the paradigm is a good one, or to misunderstanding if it is not.
The term "salvation" (Greek, soteria) has given us the name for a central category of systematic theology (soteriology). However many discussions of the doctrine of salvation do not give much attention to the actual Biblical use of the word group related to salvation. In Systematic Theology the approach is to synthesize the various Biblical concepts, and the terms for salvation occur with relative rarity.
One aspect of hermeneutics which has provided no lack of scholarly discussion is the question of the interpretation and use of the Old Testament scriptures with regard to New Testament doctrine and practice. Discussion of this topic must consider the way in which the New Testament authors understood and applied the Old Testament.
Bible translation is important. The view of the function of language and the task of the translator are no less important. One of the major stimuli to reevaluating the task of translation has been the feminist movement within the church. The discussion has largely centred on the use of gender-specific language, both of human beings and God.
Through much of the history of the Church those who have articulated Christian doctrine have viewed narcissism as the original and fundamental human problem. Augustine declared that the "primal destruction of man was self-Iove". This article takes an in-depth view at the role of the "I" in the confrontation with the Kingdom of God, where the most important one is the one who know how to be a servant.
This a review article of an important book of Richard A Burridge on the imitation of Christ as an approach to New Testament Christian living. Burridge thinks that people who wrote on imitation before him in their analysis of the ethical teaching in the Gospels tends to be abstracted from what Jesus did. Jesus’ actions throw light on his words and vice-versa.
This article is a review of the important "The Mission of God" of Chris Wright. In his book Wright himself offers a point at which his own work might be assessed when he writes: "I would ask that the missional framework I propose in this volume be evaluated for its heuristic fruitfulness. Does it in fact do justice to the overall thrust of the biblical canon? Does it illuminate and clarify? Does it offer a way of articulating the coherence of the Bible’s overarching message?".
This article is concerned with the part that the Bible plays in the formation of Christians, especially those called to leadership ministry. How can we read the Bible and have it form us, without bringing our own pre-formed agendas to the text? The many challenges in reading the Bible on its own terms is noted, not least laying aside modern categories for enquiry.
Davie was requested to give an Evangelical response to the ARCIC document "Mary – Grace and Hope in Christ". He here offers a helpful introduction to the report’s contents and central conclusions. Davie highlights seven elements in it that Evangelicals could welcome. However, he also notes problems with its argument and, in particular, its claims to have made advances in agreement in relation to the Marian dogmas that divide Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
In this article McGrath argues for the importance of apologetics in contemporary mission to a post-modern world. He also raises concerns about the weakness of much modern evangelical apologetics. Making use of the apostles’ speeches in Acts he highlights the importance of knowing our audience before showing the importance of theology in apologetics.
This article compares the recorded teachings of Jesus to what is now known about the teaching of rabbis in the first half of the first century. The author looks at three examples: prayer, divorce and earthly rewards. Knowledge of the Rabbinic teachings is used to illuminate the meaning of the recorded words of Jesus.
Storkey provides a guide to resources for further study and action in relation to justice. He offers a review of evangelical and other Christian literature surrounding the theme. Our Christian approaches to justice have often been partial or limited. Having a fuller perspective is a requirement of our Christian calling. This essay includes a number of opinions which really need more debate and is an aid to those who want to engage with the justice of God more deeply.
Hartropp looks at the inadequacies of neo-classical economics. He compares it to the great Christian tradition of just price theory and examines the resurgence of just price economics in the Fair Trade Movement. Prices paid and received in markets should reflect justice to all the participants. Prices can be too low or too high.
Our contemporary preaching of the gospel message would be improved by making better use of the much neglected and misunderstood subject of divine judgment. The breadth of the biblical use of judgment is considered in this article and it is argued that judgment as a metaphor of atonement provides the wider context in which penal substitution should be understood. The metaphor of judgment can also be a means of coordinating disparate biblical images of the atonement.
This is an extended review of N T Wright’s important book The Resurrection of the Son of God. The book has two main aims. First to reassert that the authors of the New Testament believed that Jesus was raised bodily from the dead. Second to clarify the authors’ understanding of resurrection for those who believe in Jesus.
A plea is offered for a return to the city. The author argues the reasons for practical theology to be restored to the city, he advocates reasons why this is not proving an easy thing to achieve and makes proposals for a future that features a reinvigorated church for urban mission. When urban needs are given priority in churches outside the city, they die under a thousand qualifications. If the church is to reconnect with the city, the mission of Jesus will be clarified and amplified.
This is the third in a series of articles looking at the issues raised by modern research into the "historical Jesus". The first part was a general overview looking at the work of key writers such as Marcus Borg, E. P. Sanders and the work of the Jesus Seminar. A second part looked in more detail at the work of N.T. Wright with special reference to his book "Jesus and the Victory of God".
In an earlier article the work of some of the key contributors to the debate about the historical Jesus in the last 20 years was noted. This present article now focuses exclusively on the work of N.T.Wright. Wright's work is a breath-taking, magisterial accomplishment, grounded in a careful historical reasoning and deeply rich in theological consequences. He has established a new paradigm for the debate and no work in this field hereafter will be able to by-pass his work.
Congregations, so long the normative form of church life, are under threat. Haddon Willmer demonstrates how the threats come from social and economic forces. The situation is made worse by the internal loss of bearings in churches themselves. In particular he identifies the flight from a critical intellectual life and the problems of inculturating faith in our twenty-first century world.
"Historical Jesus" work is important. Just because we do not like the reconstruction of others who set about the task with different presuppositions, does not negate our responsibility to think about Jesus not just theologically but also from a historical perspective. Much of this work is being done in North America. This article tries to cover most of the works written in this field, concentrating on some of the leading writers in North America.
The field of human genetics is vast, involving many different technologies, offering many possibilities. The field of human genetics is also moving at great speed. Each day new genes are discovered, new sequences published and new therapies suggested. Christian theology is not called to respond in a superficial way to every new discovery. The article suggests how the church should respond from an ethical, pastoral and theological perspective.
David Bosch developed the concept of "creative tension" in his influential book Transforming Mission. He explores the polarities held in tension when the Church engages in post-modern mission. The influence of Bosch's thinking on others writing on mission and evangelism through the last decade is assessed and the way opposing absolutes can be held together is described.
The world of two contemporary Anglicans, Mark Stibbe and Ray Simpson is examined. Their work reveals radically divergent understandings of the origin, motivation, context and scope of mission.
The New Testament frequently quotes the Old Testament. How can we best understand this?
Bauckham discusses the importance of having a Christian eschatology which looks forward to the new creation promised by God, but also works for change in the present.
Contemporary western culture has become very subjective. How can Christians continue to practice evangelism in such a culture?
This article introduces a theological perspective on politics.
Does the New Testament quote the Old Testament out of context? Does the New Testament change the meaning of the Old Testament Scripture which is quoted? This article looks critically at the issue of intertextuality.
This article discusses the practice of cohabitation, or living together as an unmarried couple.
The aim of this article is to offer a possible Christian theological approach to counseling. The author first gives an overview of different perspectives on applying the insights of counseling psychology to the practice of Christian counseling and caring. With this as his background, the author sketches an approach to counseling which keeps the concept of covenant at its core.
Lesslie Newbigin has written a few works on the concept of the gospel as public truth. This concept emphasizes the factual basis of Christianity, and encourages Christians to be confident to engage in rational public discourse with Scripture as their basis. This article tries to envisage what Newbigin's proposal might mean. Criticism, questions and suggestions for modification of Newbigin's work are given with the intention of carrying the program forward.
The idea of the individual has long been central in most societies. This article looks at the role and place of the individual and individualism in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah emphasize the importance of the individual, highlighting that each individual is accountable for his own sin.
What is the Church's primary calling and mission?
The role of the Confessing Church in Germany during the Nazis' rise to power constitutes one of the most fascinating phenomena in modern church history. Its development and partial disintegration raise crucial issues for the church in every era. The lessons to be learnt are relevant far beyond the boundaries of Germany. This article first presents a brief outline of the history of the Confessing Church and its struggle with the evils of National Socialism.
This article suggests one way to read the Bible, which would call for reading Scripture with mission work as its central goal. This should not be the only way to read the Bible, but using mission as a hermeneutic for interpreting Scripture could help us to better understand how we ought to do missions.
How should we understand and live out Christology in our modern context? Who is Jesus Christ for us today? This author maintains that our orthodoxy must be contemporary. This does not mean that our contemporary context should determine our faith, but that we should understand our orthodoxy within the modern context. This article discusses what a contemporary orthodox witness to Christ looks like.
The canonicity of the Gospels was an issue that arose in the period from the second to third century. In this time the church was determining the authority of these Gospels. In this article Richard Bauckham looks briefly at the way in which apostolic eyewitness functioned as a criterion of authenticity.
This is the first chapter of Christian Political Ethics. This book discusses such things as the Christian's relationship to government and civil society, the relationship between state and society, and the Christian's civic responsibility. In this chapter the author looks at the Christian perspective on civil society.
This article assumes that the ministry of evangelism is necessary to the life and health of the church. The author discusses why the church no longer seems to produce leaders who are both scholarly and evangelistic, and highlights the role of the theological seminary in producing such scholary evangelical leaders.
People love conspiracies. They love it even more when it involves politics, noteworthy people, or such institutions as Christianity. After all, isn't it exciting to think that there is some sinister plot that lurks behind what we don’t know, or perhaps, don’t want to accept? It is in this context that so many people have latched on to The Da Vinci Code, a novel by Dan Brown. People use it as a vehicle to express their doubts.
Some biblical scholars believe that the four Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to this view, the traditional authorship was assigned or guessed at by the early church. This suggestion is put forward, casting doubt on the traditional authors, without much examination of its own merits. This article argues that the evidence for this position is limited. The belief that there originally was anonymity of authorship of the Gospels is unlikely.
This article looks at the arguments for infant baptism in the Bible. The author discusses circumcision as covenant sign, circumcision and the new covenant, circumcision and the judgment from God, circumcision and Jesus Christ, the baptism of John the Baptist, baptism and the judgment from God, baptism as a water ordeal.
This article looks at the fulfillment of prophecy, conditional prophecies, the influence of human action and decisions on prophecy, predictions and the providence of God, predictions and unconditional/assurances by God, prophecy and an oath of God, promises and the human response in the covenant, covenant and predictions, and the promis
in this article about Acts 17:28, the author also discusses the relation of Paul to the Stoic philosophy.
This article looks at the main theme of Psalm 23.