Are the “Calvinist” Critics of Piper Really Calvinists At All?

Many of the arguments used to defend a Reformed doctrine of justification don’t seem very Reformed

Unlike many “Reformed” theologians today who view conditional or instrumental language with respect to good works as unorthodox or legalistic or outside the bounds of Reformed orthodoxy, Calvin unashamedly uses such language.   When I was a student at Westminster Seminary, I spent a number of months studying the Norman Shepherd controversy which racked that... Continue Reading

Exegesis without Embarrassment

Biblical Interpretation, Old Testament Books, & Tough Texts

It is understandable why teachers and curriculum might not put much emphasis on the destruction of Jericho’s citizens or the other instances in the book of Joshua that describe the Israelites’ killing the residents and animals of entire towns. These stories can make us feel uncomfortable, after all. They can be hard enough to explain... Continue Reading

Believers Are Saved And Sealed

It is being proposed that believers are initially justified by grace alone, through faith alone but only finally saved through faith and works.

The Scriptures teach and the Reformed churches confess that believers are definitively, finally, once-for-all justified before God. They will not be re-tried. They cannot be re-tried. To suggest such a thing is to insult the perfect righteousness of our Savior and to deny the once-for-all declaration of God. Christ did not become incarnate for his people,... Continue Reading

Affirming our Faith in the Secular Age: A Meditation for Evangelism

Are we entering a new epoch as the Church must confess Jesus Christ in what Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor has called “the secular age?”

One of the most extraordinary passages in the Gospels is the confession of Jesus’ identity by the Apostle Peter. There are a myriad of remarkable spiritual dynamics at work in the passage, each of them with far-reaching theological and practical implications for the Church and, consequently, for your life and mine. We should consider Jesus’... Continue Reading

Mainline Decline, Liberation Theology & the Gospel

There is more to the Christian salvation than achieving liberation from classism and colonial tyranny in this fallen world.

Rev. Samuel said that God commanded the devotion of ancient Israelites as “the Divine Agent of their liberation,” having freed them “economic and political exploitation” in Egypt. Christians should thus feel empowered to live their “best life today” by drawing on God’s salvific work.   Liberation theology gained momentum last century as a liberal alternative... Continue Reading

How to Be Teachable According to Proverbs

If there is any quality that helps in every area of life, it is being teachable.

Life is complicated and the enemy deceiving; without a disciplined pursuit of wisdom and instruction, we risk falling captive to lies and short-cut solutions to our problems. The diligent pursuit of wisdom will train us to act wisely and prepare us for difficulties in life.   Teachable people don’t have to be the smartest to... Continue Reading

“…Let’s just pipe down and let the experts handle this.”

I fear that we are creating many mini-popes, untouchable by the common layperson.

At the time of the Reformation, it was forbidden to put a bible into the hands of a layperson because only the scholars had the proper training to interpret the bible correctly. A layperson would mess it up to no end and start talking about justification by faith apart from works and salvation by the... Continue Reading

No Harbor In My Own Righteousness (Sibbes)

"I will rest in that righteousness which God has wrought by Christ, who is the God-man."

Sibbes is saying that on the one hand, we need to understand our sin and be humble because of it.  On the other hand, we need to understand our Savior and realize that in him God sees us as perfect, forgiven, justified.   One of the greatest things about being a Christian is knowing that... Continue Reading

The Ordinary Means of Soul Winning

Many Christians simply aren’t aware that God has provided the church with particular means for winning souls.

But in the end, they are only true churches if they are committed to the ordinary marks of the church to the end that souls might be rescued for Christ, that they might become faithful disciples of Christ in all of life, that they might receive the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and... Continue Reading

Rachel Miller Contra Mundum? The 5 Solas and John Piper, Part 1

Piper is arguing that the whole of the so called Five Solas relate only to Justification; in particular, one can only say that we are justified by faith alone.

Sola fide does not have reference to Justification alone, the benefit that answers our guilt; sola fide likewise applies to Regeneration/Sanctification/Glorification, the benefit that answers to our corruption, since faith itself is the instrumental cause of both. Truly these benefits are what constitutes salvation in its fullest sense. If we cannot separate these benefits, and if they are strictly speaking... Continue Reading

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