Toward a Forum Philosophy for SI, Part 5

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
BowlingBuilding the ideal Christian forum is a bit like bowling—or at least like my bowling. You’re aiming for a narrow middle, but it has two seemingly magnetic gutters on either side. In the case of SharperIron, the ideal narrow middle is not easy to sum up in a sentence or two, but the two gutters are easy to identify. One gutter—let’s say the one on the right—is the too-much-control gutter. The other, on the left, is the free-for-all gutter.
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Creation, Part 4

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Grassy FieldCreation of the heavens and the earth was planned, guided “construction.” None was by accident or as an afterthought. Each step each day proceeded according to divine plan. Each step was divinely accomplished. Each phase was divinely approved, passing inspection. The work was done “on schedule,” God not creating during the night periods, only during the six days. The end result was a perfect earth on which to locate a Garden of Eden, watched over by orderly heavens above.

The first day saw “stuff” and light (probably including energy), a massive, indistinguishable glob. The second day that glob was separated, some to be called “heaven” and some to be called “earth.” Separation and division of the portion to be known as “earth” took place on day three.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good (Gen 1:10). Read more about Creation, Part 4

Book Review: Salvation Belongs to Our God

Wright, Christopher J. H. Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible’s Central Story. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2007. Paperback, 202 pp. $16.00

(Review copies courtesy of IVP Academic.)
Salvation Belongs to Our GodPurchase: IVP Academic | Amazon | WTS | CBD

Series: Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective series, edited by David Smith and John Stott.

ISBNs: 0830833064 / 9780830833061

Features: Questions for Reflection or Discussion (at the end of each chapter), Endnotes, and Scripture Index
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What Is Clear Biblical Teaching? Part 4

by John C. Whitcomb, Th.D.

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
1023367_the_word.jpgThe Melchizedekian high priesthood of Christ is one of the clear, “solid-food teachings” of the Bible. To most Christians, however, this is not an easy concept to understand. It is therefore often neglected and ignored. Let us note these points:

1) Melchizedek (Hebrew: “king of righteousness”) was a king-priest in Salem (which later became Jerusalem—Psalm 76:2) about four thousand years ago. He blessed Abraham and received from him a tithe of all his spoils of war (Gen. 14:18-20). He was therefore in the sight of God a very important ruler. For a highly significant reason, however, the Holy Spirit did not record his genealogy: neither parents nor children, neither ancestors nor descendants. Because of this, some believe Melchizedek was an angel, or even a theophany (an appearance of God). But no angel could function as a king on the earth; and he was not an appearance of Christ, for the Bible tells us that he was “made like unto the Son of God” (Heb. 7:3, KJV). Thus, he was a genuine descendant of Adam, of whom nothing more is known. Read more about What Is Clear Biblical Teaching? Part 4

Contextualization and Syncretism: Navigating a Course

by Dr. Stephen M. Davis
Syncretism Quote
Read Part 1.

Once one has decided that contextualization is a missiological necessity, the danger of a drift to “Christian” syncretism must be addressed. John H. Connor has defined syncretism as “the combination of any belief or practice with Christian belief and/or practice which is objectively incompatible with Christian truth in the context of culture.” He recognizes the fine line between syncretism and contextualization and insists that the “guardian of the line is objective truth, not culture (1991:28).

In practice, the believing church has often sought to contextualize the gospel. Not all of its efforts have been successful. The syncretism which resulted has often left the church not only feeble but also a pale shadow of what God meant it to be. A basic problem is that we are confronted with different views of how the church should look in other cultures. How do we decide what to affirm and what must be condemned when confronted by the new and the strange in other cultures or in our own? How is the purity of the church maintained in the manifestation of its universality and diversity? Which elements of another culture can be incorporated into the worshiping church’s expressions without violating scriptural injunctions?
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Creation, Part 3

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”

Read Part 1 and Part 2.
vanhetloo_clouds.jpgGod’s work of creating all things other than Himself was accomplished over a six-day period. He could have brought into existence all things in their final form in a few seconds, but He didn’t. He could have taken great lengths of time to fashion or “evolve” various life forms. He didn’t. What’s important for us to know is that we don’t need to guess and theorize about what might have happened; God related what and how He brought about the heavens and the earth in clear, simple summary expressions.

The structure of the creation account in Genesis 1 suggests that God gave the information early to those faithful to Him. Then it was passed on orally from one generation to another through the centuries until finally it was incorporated into the special scrolls written either by Moses or at the time of Moses in the first five books of the Bible. The account is certainly a proper introduction to the history recorded in the book of Genesis.
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Book Review: Doctrine that Dances

Smith, Robert. Doctrine that Dances: Bringing Doctrinal Preaching and Teaching to Life. Forward by Dr. James Earl Massey. Nashville, Tenn: B & H Academic, 2008. Paperback, xiv + 207 pp. $19.99

(Review copy courtesy of B&H Academic.)
doctrine that dances.jpgPurchase: B&H | Amazon | CBD

ISBNs: 0805446842 / 9780805446845

Winner of Preaching magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year

Subjects: Preaching, Doctrinal Theology-Teaching

Dr. Robert Smith, Jr., is the Associate Professor of Divinity and Professor of Homiletics at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University.
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