Theology

"1. Put your heresy in a song with a good beat. It will be sung in churches all over the world."

10 Heresy-Hiders in Evangelicalism

7. Appear cool, sweet, metro, or simply different from other pastors. Spike your hair and dress cool. Say curse words from the pulpit occasionally. Be “edgy,” a type of “shock-jock.” Be the “Howard Stern” of the evangelical world.

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Book Review - Waiting for the Land: The Story Line of the Pentateuch

Image of Waiting for the Land: The Story Line of the Pentateuch
by Arie C. Leder
P & R Publishing 2010
Paperback 256

Over the past few years I have fallen in love with the Pentateuch. I now see it as some of the richest theology in all of Scripture. So when I saw this book from P & R Publishing, its title and evocative cover had me hooked in no time flat. Waiting for the Land: The Story Line of the Pentateuch by Arie C. Leder did not disappoint. Instead old insights were crystallized and new gems were discovered as I paged through this wonderful book.

9579 reads

SharperIron's Doctrinal Statement: Questions from Readers

The SharperIron Doctrinal Statement is available here.

Salvation and regeneration

This one came to us via the site contact form in July of 2011.

I would be interested in joining your group and adding to the discussion, however, you require that a person believe your Doctrines Statement and I have a problem with statement #8, which defines “Salvation” as being the result of the inner transformation of the man. This is not Salvation. Your statement is a fine example of the error of Roman Catholicism, which fails to understand the difference between, and relationship of, what Jesus has done FOR us and what the Holy Spirit is doing IN us. Salvation (which is the promise of the believers resurrection from the dead) is what Jesus has done FOR us, outside of us. The new-birth is what the Holy Spirit is doing INSIDE of us (it comes to every believer as a RESULT of trusting the the Gospel of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection). The new-birth is not the Gospel itself and it is not a biblical definition of Salvation.

Would I be allowed to join dispite my refusal to accept your false definition of Salvation?

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Society of Evangelical Arminians: What is Arminianism?

The following is by Dan Chapa of the Society of Evangelical Arminians (SEA). Since theologically serious alternatives to Calvinism seem to be in short supply these days, SharperIron contacted SEA recently about the possibility of representing classical Arminianism for the SI audience. To learn more about the SEA, see their About Us page.

Arminianism is a summary of our understanding of the Scripture’s teaching on salvation. The name comes from Jacob Arminius, who led 17th century opposition to Calvinism, but the idea stems from Scripture and has deep roots in the early church fathers. Many non-Arminians have mistaken notions about Arminianism—as do many Arminians. This post will define and defend the essential aspects of Arminianism (total depravity, resistible grace, unlimited atonement and conditional election), without critiquing Calvinism.

Total Depravity

Both Calvinists and Arminians believe in total depravity—the idea that fallen man requires God’s grace through the beginning, middle and end of the salvation process. Adam’s fall left us unable, of our own strength, to repent and believe or live a life pleasing to God. But total depravity is not utter depravity; the lost don’t commit the worst sins possible on every occasion. Still without God’s grace, sin impacts every aspect of life and we cannot seek God on our own. Rather, He seeks us and enables us to believe.

Resistible Grace

Arminians may vary on exactly how God’s grace works; but all Arminians hold to the necessity of prevenient grace (grace that comes before conversion that enables us to believe). When God’s grace starts drawing us to conversion, we can choose to say no and reject Christ. God hasn’t predetermined repentance and faith; nothing causes these such that rejection is impossible and we cannot choose otherwise. But believing does not earn or cause salvation; God chooses to have mercy on believers.

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The "Uniform Pattern" and Theological Measurement

NickImage

When answering theological questions, one of the thorniest problems that we face is deciding what counts as evidence. To be sure, we affirm the absolute authority and sufficiency of the Scriptures and, in the case of questions about the church, the finality of the New Testament in all matters of faith and order. Simply believing in the Bible’s authority and sufficiency, however, does not tell us how the text ought to be brought to bear upon our questions.

One very common way of using the Bible is to look for examples of the kind of thing that we are asking about. These examples are then treated as permanently binding. Theological literature abounds with references to the examples or even the “uniform pattern” of Scripture.

The argument is a weak one. Scripture contains examples of all sorts of things, some good and some bad. The mere fact that someone did something is no indication that God wants that thing to be done by others at another time. Even when the example is viewed positively in the text, it may be an isolated instance. One would not appeal to Abraham’s treatment of Isaac in Genesis 22 as a universal pattern for relationships between fathers and sons.

An “is” never constitutes an “ought.” Sound theological method draws a sharp distinction between historical narrative and didactic requirement.

This distinction does not render the examples of Scripture irrelevant. When the Bible communicates a didactic principle, then we may legitimately observe the examples in the text to see how the principle looks in practice. By studying the examples we may also discover something about the rewards of obedience or the consequences of disobedience. By themselves, however, the examples of Scripture are not binding. Historical narrative always needs to be interpreted and applied by didactic discourse.

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