The Covenant in Classical Covenant Theology (Part 2)

(Read Part 1.)

If we turn to Covenant theology’s own explanations of their system we find a curious dualism of frankness and subterfuge. I do not use “frankness” in the ethical sense, just in the sense that there is sometimes a willingness to face the text and deal with what it actually says.

Likewise, by “subterfuge” I am not saying there is an unethical motive in these men, but that they almost instinctively avoid the clear implications of passages which undermine their teaching. Robertson, for example, when dealing with the inauguration of the Abrahamic covenant, carefully picks his way through Genesis 15 (and 12:1) without mentioning God’s land-promise (The Christ of the Covenants, ch. 8). He first constructs his thesis with the help of certain NT texts, and then deals with the land issue once he has a typological framework to put it in. Read more about The Covenant in Classical Covenant Theology (Part 2)

The Covenant in Classical Covenant Theology (Part 1)

I think it is fair to say that the whole impetus for the covenants of redemption, works and grace in the Reformed Confessions stems from the assumption that the Old Testament must be read through the lens of the extra light of the New. If that assumption is flawed, as I believe it certainly is, then the whole project is in serious trouble.

The release of the Westminster Confession of 1647, although it was preceded by over a century of formative thinking about the covenant, stands out as the principal document of what is known as Covenant Theology.1 Covenant is employed as a fillip to understand and arrange the “doctrines of grace,” and is central to the Confession’s portrayal of redemption.2 This means that the concept takes on a deliberate soteriological hue. The WCF treats its concept of covenant as principally a gracious relationship; a condescension. And there is no doubt that in this it is correct. The Westminster Divines did not lay stress on a pre-creational ‘covenant of redemption’, although their anticipatory language of salvation for the elect in the ‘covenant of grace’ is in tune with it,3 and it is there in WCF 7:3. Read more about The Covenant in Classical Covenant Theology (Part 1)

Sermon for New Year's Day

Sermon no. 1816, delivered on Thursday evening, January 1st, 1885, by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”—Revelation 21:5.

HOW PLEASED WE ARE with that which is new! Our children’s eyes sparkle when we talk of giving them a toy or a book which is called new; for our short-lived human nature loves that which has lately come, and is therefore like our own fleeting selves. In this respect, we are all children, for we eagerly demand the news of the day, and are all too apt to rush after the “many inventions” of the hour. The Athenians, who spent their time in telling and hearing some new thing, were by no means singular persons: novelty still fascinates the crowd. As the world’s poet says—

“All with one consent praise new-born gawds.” Read more about Sermon for New Year's Day

When the Truth Isn't True

Despite the fact that the US Presidential election is almost a year away, I’m ready for the campaigning to be over. In the last few months, we’ve seen our share of drama, name-calling, schism, and scandal. Same old, same old, right?

Unfortunately, no. If anything, the Republican primary has already been full of unsettling surprises, not the least of which is the disturbing popularity of a man who is anything but conservative. And it’s left many folks—conservative, moderate, and liberal alike—scratching their heads wondering, “Why is Donald Trump so popular?”

In this recent New York Times piece, Justin Wolfers argues that Trump’s popularity stems from his rhetorical style rather than what he’s actually advocating. Trump’s willingness to speak the unspeakable signals to many folks that he’s “authentic”—despite the fact that unspeakable things are often best left unsaid. Read more about When the Truth Isn't True

What About the Tithe?

The practice of tithing, giving ten percent of one’s income to the Lord, has been a well-established standard among Christians for many years. However, this practice has been challenged in more recent days, with some opposing it vehemently. What’s the problem? For those who reject it, the issue is usually that tithing is “Old Testament” and Christians are governed by the New Testament.

On the surface, this statement is true enough, but like so many issues, requires a bit more investigation.

The Old Testament Tithe

Tithing was unquestionably required under the Law of Moses. In fact, Mosaic Law specified at least two tithes, and in some years, three. It was not simply a tithe, but several tithes. Although it is true that the Law of Moses is synonymous with the Old Covenant, it is not true that the Law of Moses is the same as the Old Testament. It is contained within the pages of Old Testament Scripture, but it is neither synonymous with the Old Testament, nor did it cover the entire history of the Old Testament. Read more about What About the Tithe?

Adjusting the Conscience - The Grand Reversal (Part 11)

(Read the series so far.)

What if God wants you to “strengthen” on an issue that is passionately prohibited by our group? If you logically think that it is permissible, but still feel that it is wrong, how do you adjust your conscience without violating your conscience?

Our conscience seems to have a mind of it’s own. It tells us that something is wrong and we do not have to think it through in the moment. And we don’t seem to be able to disregard its conclusion. In this sense, the conscience seems out of our control.

Oddly enough, though, we can lie to ourselves about our circumstances for the sake of our consciences. The German public persisted for some time in thinking that only foreign Jews (not German Jews) were killed in the holocaust.1 Why lie thus to ourselves? Because it keeps our conscience from condemning us (or lessens the blow). The lesson here is that our conscience can condemn us without our permission, but we can deceive it. J.D.Crowley says, Read more about Adjusting the Conscience - The Grand Reversal (Part 11)

Should All Believers Learn Biblical Languages?

How important are Hebrew and Greek skills for interpreting the Bible well and thriving as a Christian?

It’s an important question, since we believe Christians ought to grow in their ability to interact directly with Scripture and discern truth from error—and not only feed themselves well, but hopefully teach and admonish one another well also.

Any learning that has the potential to further those ends has to be seriously considered.

Views on the languages question range from “all you need is good intentions and the Holy Spirit” to “nobody lacking Greek and Hebrew skills can get the Bible right.” Debaters tend to characterize one another as holding one of these two views, but the reality is that most attitudes fall somewhere between. Read more about Should All Believers Learn Biblical Languages?

Merry Christmas from SharperIron

“The Nativity (also known as The Holy Night (or La Notte) or as Adoration of the Shepherds) is a painting finished around 1529–1530 by the Italian painter Antonio da Correggio. It is housed in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.” Wikipedia