Nicholas Ridley, the Oxford martyr, is part of my family story

A recent discovery My wife, Gail, is an avid genealogist, and she recently made a marvelous discovery. Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, who was burned at the stake in Oxford, on October 16, 1555, in the reign of “Bloody Mary,” is part of my family story because he is my 12th great-uncle.  My direct family line runs from Nicholas’s older brother by two years, Hugh, who is my 11th great-grandfather. In the course of our … Continue reading

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In memory of J. I. Packer: A personal tribute

Last week (July 17, 2020), God welcomed J. I. Packer to his life after death, with Christ, and I’m confident that he was received with a hearty: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Many people who knew him much better than I did  have published tributes to him, but I want to share my own reasons for being very grateful to this great servant of God, for his contribution to my own life and … Continue reading

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Relating to people who identify as LGBT+, with grace and truth

There are not many issues confronting Christian churches, in western post-Christian cultures these days, which are more troubling and difficult than how the church should relate to people who identify as LGBT+. The sexual revolution has gotten more diverse in recent decades, and it has become a political force which frequently threatens both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Within this context, Christian churches and individuals are struggling to figure out how to relate … Continue reading

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Free Will, Foreknowledge, and Necessity: Assessing an Incompatibilist Understanding

I have been interacting with Robert Picirilli’s book, Free Will Revisited, which he wrote as a “respectful response to Luther, Calvin, and Edwards.” Those three representatives of a compatibilist perspective were selected because each of them wrote a book to argue for their position, against a prominent incompatibilist of their time. Martin Luther’s book, On the Bondage of the Will (1525), was his response to Desiderius Erasmus’s Diatribe on Free Will (1524). John Calvin wrote … Continue reading

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Luke 23:34 and the salvation of the unevangelized

In his book, Salvation Accomplished by the Son: The Work of Christ, Robert Peterson has given us a very fine piece of biblical theology. Because of the way the book is organized it will serve as an excellent reference work, but it is also fine devotional reading. I’ve been working my way through it slowly, for its devotional benefit, and I have been blessed in the process. Most of the time, I agree with Peterson’s … Continue reading

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Introducing Calvinism and Middle Knowledge: A Conversation

I am happy to report that a new book is hot off the press, Calvinism and Middle Knowledge: A Conversation, to which I contributed two chapters and half of a third one, which was co-authored with Paul Helm. I’ll give a brief introduction to the book, and then I will trace the history of my own theological journey in relationship to middle knowledge, and finally I’ll briefly sum up my current beliefs about God’s knowledge … Continue reading

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The harmony of translating “torah” as “covenant obligation” with accessibilist soteriology

McKnight’s suggested translation of torah A few weeks ago, I very much enjoyed a podcast by Scot McKnight, regarding his translation project for the “second Testament.” I heard many interesting comments on decisions he had been making, but one particularly caught my attention. I was especially delighted with his suggestion that “covenant obligation” is the best way to render torah. The framework of accessibilist soteriology I particularly appreciate that translation because it fits so beautifully within … Continue reading

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Introducing a Theology Book for Beginners

Our modern plight I frequently hear Christian leaders and mature Christian believers express concern about widespread biblical illiteracy within evangelicalism in our time. There are many reasons for this, and I’m not going to give you my own list of likely culprits, but I share the concern. We Christians are a people of the Book, the Word of God, composed over many centuries as people who were inspired by God wrote down, for the people … Continue reading

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A self-determinist reading of key New Testament passages

In my previous post on Robert Picirilli’s book, Free Will Revisited, I examined his study of key Old Testament passages in which he found indications that God has given humans libertarian freedom. I responded to his reading in some detail, taking the opportunity to examine John Calvin’s exegesis of those Old Testament texts, and then offering some of my own comments regarding the mystery of authentic human freedom of choice, within a world whose history … Continue reading

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A self-determinist reading of key Old Testament passages

Before Robert Picirilli identifies particularly significant biblical texts which teach that humans are libertarianly free, he pauses to describe the general approach to such texts by Luther and Calvin. Luther Picirilli describes the crucial importance of Luther’s distinction between law and gospel, and he suspects that Luther would regard some of the passages which Picirilli is going to cite, as gospel, rather than law, but he is not able to discern the criteria by which … Continue reading

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