From the Archives: Real Resurrection

cross(Originally posted March, 2012.)

April 5 is Easter, when Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We gather the first day of every week throughout the year for this same purpose, but Easter Sunday marks the anniversary of the event.

Or does it? “No, no,” some insist, “not the anniversary of the event, the commemoration of the experience.”

It has become something of a rite of spring for some leading voice among this or that mainline Christian denomination to assure the world that the resurrection of Jesus was not a historic event. In March 2008, for instance, the Dean of Perth at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Shepherd, insisted that “the resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.” He urged his hearers to understand that it is “important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.” The physical resurrection of Jesus is not only unessential to Reverend Shepherd’s faith, it is apparently something of an encumbrance.

The fourth article in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion—not long ago the Anglican Church’s official creed—claims that “Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature.” But not to worry, the Very Reverend John Shepherd assures us, religion is always evolving. Old, dusty documents like the Articles should not be permitted to exercise undue influence upon our enlightenment. Read more about From the Archives: Real Resurrection

Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 6)

Criticisms of the Two-Nature View

Though I have argued that the two-nature view is a theologically accurate way to describe the believer’s struggle with sin and that Scripture itself supports such a view; nevertheless, the two-nature view has been subjected to severe criticism. That criticism has come mainly from within the Reformed camp. One of the most outspoken critics was B. B. Warfield. His views are found in an article entitled, “The Victorious Life,” which was originally written for the Princeton Theological Review in 1918 and later reprinted as part of his two-volume work, Perfectionism, in 1931.1 Equally important is Warfield’s review of Lewis Sperry Chafer’s book, He That Is Spiritual, which appeared in the Princeton Theological Review in 1919.2 The significant point to note about Warfield’s opposition to the two-nature view is that his criticism was based on a particular formulation of the two-nature view. Warfield criticized Chafer’s presentation of two natures in the believer, not so much because of his two-nature terminology, but because Warfield believed Chafer’s particular two-nature viewpoint was defective as it related both to regeneration and sanctification. Warfield’s chief objection to Chafer was theological, not semantic. That this is the case can be demonstrated from the fact that Warfield’s own teacher in theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, Charles Hodge, used two-nature terminology,3 and, as we would expect, Warfield’s views on regeneration and sanctification are in full agreement with those of Hodge.4 A more recent Reformed theologian, Anthony Hoekema, whose views are substantially the same as Warfield’s, also firmly supports the concept of two natures in the believer.5 Read more about Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 6)

Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: The Concept of Grace Giving

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. This article will stand somewhat alone, but is best understood within the context of the overall biblical teaching on giving.

Most Christians know that giving of material and financial resources as an offering to God and to support the work of ministry comes with the territory of being a believer. Many have been taught that tithing (giving 10% of one’s income) is the accepted way to give. A key point in this article series is that tithing fades from view and grace giving comes to the forefront in New Testament Christianity.

So the question is, what is “grace giving” and where is it taught in the Bible? Read more about Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: The Concept of Grace Giving

Chrislam: A Dangerous Ecumenical Expansion (Part 2)

Adapted from Voice, Mar/Apr 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

God gave this warning to Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land filled with Canaanites:

Take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the LORD hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. (ESV, Deut. 12:30-31)

The Quran certainly does believe in replacement, not only of the Jews and Israel but also of the Messiah and His Church, replacing them with Islam’s own prophet and book. But the Bible clearly teaches: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Read more about Chrislam: A Dangerous Ecumenical Expansion (Part 2)

Chrislam: A Dangerous Ecumenical Expansion (Part 1)

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2015. Used with permission.

We need to make Bible believers aware of a new ecumenical trend called Chrislam, which attempts to reconcile Islam and Christianity based on shared common beliefs. It is a pattern developing in Christian-Muslim interaction with the goal to bring acceptance of Islam as a peaceful religion while rejecting the uniqueness of Biblical Christianity. In this article I will try to inform the readers as to how has this come about, what we should make of this trend and suggest how we might respond.

History of Chrislam

Due to religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria in the 1970s, a group was formed that embraced both the Bible and the Quran as holy books of faith and this group held both combined and separate services to meet everyone’s background. The leaders believed they had special angelic revelation to create this syncretism of religions.1 A similar grouping developed in 1993 following the Lebanon-Israel conflict. Several Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim leaders formed the “Islamic-Christian National Dialogue Committee” to promote understanding and dialogue between religious groups.2 Read more about Chrislam: A Dangerous Ecumenical Expansion (Part 1)

Evolutionism in the Pulpit

(About this series)

CHAPTER II - EVOLUTIONISM IN THE PULPIT*

BY AN OCCUPANT OF THE PEW

Perhaps the most remarkable movement in philosophic thought that has occurred in any age was the rise and general acceptance by scientific circles of the evolutionary theory as propounded by Darwin, Huxley and Spencer. It was remarkable that men of science, whose peculiar boast it is that they deal only with established facts, should have so readily departed from this rule and accepted a system based upon hypothesis only, and which was, and is still after the lapse of forty years, without a single known fact to support it. Even when allowance is made for the well-known eagerness of many scientists to do away with all dualism, which was Mr. Darwin’s aim, it was still remarkable that men of trained intellect should have so promptly accepted at face value his two principal works, in which the expression, “we may well suppose,” occurs over eight hundred times, as a basis for the argument. Pure supposition may answer as a foundation for fanciful sketches like those of Jules Verne’s; but as ground upon which to base a sober scientific argument it appears to the average man as little less than farcical. Why it did not so appear to the scientific mind, the scientific mind may perhaps be able to explain. We frankly confess our inability to do so. Read more about Evolutionism in the Pulpit

From the Archives: I Will Raise It Up

(Originally posted 3/22/2011)

Many children raised in Christian homes do not understand the meaning of Resurrection Sunday. They might choose the correct answer on a multiple-choice test but would flunk an open-ended question (“Why do we celebrate Easter?”). Open-ended questions provide the best measurement of understanding.

Fortunately, some of these kids will later appreciate the meaning of the holiday. They will learn that Easter is not about bunnies, baskets and ham, but the resurrected Savior. There were no bunnies at the tomb as far as we know. The women may have carried baskets, but we know that Jesus never tasted ham.

Similarly, Jesus’ disciples understood many of His teachings only in retrospect. After the resurrection, the disciples finally understood that He had to die an atoning death and then be raised. Read more about From the Archives: I Will Raise It Up

Book Review – Chance and the Sovereignty of God

It is easy to think that much of the activities in our lives are nothing more than a string of random chance events that have no significance beyond their occurrence or connection to the bigger picture of our lives, let alone the lives of others. Further, when it comes to the good events in our lives we are quick to attribute them to God. But what about the bad events? Is God in those somewhere? Did He ordain them? Allow them? Is He indifferent to them?

Chance. Randomness. Unpredictability. Is there such a thing? What do they look like in everyday life? How would they work with a sovereign God? Is there a place for them within the Christian worldview? Seeking to answer these questions and more, Vern Poythress has written Chance and the Sovereignty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events (Crossway, 2014). This book is a continuation of his previous books like Logic and Redeeming Philosophy in which Poythress seeks to understand these sciences in light of Scripture and the the existence of God as the foundation for all of life.

Overview

The book can be broken into two essential parts. In the first half of the book Poythress establishes the sovereignty of God as laid out in Scripture. From texts like Heb. 1:3 and Col. 1:17 it is established that God ‘s continual sustaining of the universe places God in sovereign control of it. From Scripture, Poythress shows how God in involved in many kids of events: Read more about Book Review – Chance and the Sovereignty of God