• Theology •
August 30, 2005
August 30, 2005
On January 5, 1868, Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached a sermon entitled “Creation’s Groans and the Saints’ Sighs.” The sermon is filled with biblical insights, and it speaks directly to the realities of natural evil and human suffering. As always, Spurgeon preached Christ, even as he offered rare biblical insights into the groaning of our fallen creation:
Creation glows with a thousand beauties, even in its present fallen condition; yet clearly enough it is not as when it came from the Maker’s hand–the slime of the serpent is on it all–this is not the world which God pronounced to be “very good.” We hear of tornadoes, of earthquakes, of tempests, of volcanoes, of avalanches, and of the sea which devoureth its thousands: there is sorrow on the sea, and there is misery on the land; and into the highest palaces as well as the poorest cottages, death, the insatiable, is shooting his arrows, while his quiver is still full to bursting with future woes. It is a sad, sad world. The curse has fallen on it since the fall, and thorns and thistles it bringeth forth, not from its soil alone, but from all that comes of it. Earth wears upon her brow, like Cain of old, the brand of transgression. Sad would it be to our thoughts if it were always to be so. If there were no future to this world as well as to ourselves, we might be glad to escape from it, counting it to be nothing better than a huge penal colony, from which it would be a thousand mercies for both body and soul to be emancipated. At this present time, the groaning and travailing which are general throughout creation, are deeply felt among the sons of men.
August 30, 2005
Every thoughtful person must deal with the problem of evil. Evil acts and tragic events come to us all in this vale of tears known as human life. Yesterday, evil showed its face again as Hurricane Katrina came ashore on the Gulf Coast. The problem of evil and suffering is undoubtedly the greatest theological challenge we face.
August 29, 2005
August 26, 2005
Jeffrey Jue, Assistant Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, has written a thoughtful analysis of the Emergent church movement. “What’s Emerging in the Church?” is published at reformation21, the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
His aim: The purpose of this article is not to provide a comprehensive critique of the Emergent Church. Instead I would like to give a somewhat narrowly focused evaluation from the perspective of a historian and then offer some suggestions from church history to help address some of the concerns expressed by Emergent leaders. At first it may seem misplaced to invoke a primarily retrospective discipline while commenting on an extremely prospective movement. Moreover some readers might be anticipating a predictable traditionalist critique that eschews anything progressive. After all the Emergent Church, like all postmodern thinkers, is attempting to move beyond the past and discard the shackles of modernity. While many within this movement prefer to engage current issues or anticipate future challenges, the motivation for insisting upon a “new Christianity” is deeply historical.
More: What’s emerging in the church? According to many Emergent leaders, something old and new. But without accurately understanding the old, the new lacks the rigor and depth which can only be achieved through years of testing and refinement. Meeting the challenges of our contemporary culture is not an easy task. We must have the humility to admit that we cannot meet this challenge alone. Thankfully we are not historically isolated. We have a rich history of theological reflections and writings from which to draw from.
August 12, 2005
Just a couple of years ago, I was talking to a group of college students–mostly young men–about pressures, temptations, and challenges that come with living in our postmodern world. Predictably, many of these students mentioned challenges related to technology, such as the availability of internet pornography. What took me by surprise was their near-unanimous judgment that video games represent a persistent pattern of temptation they often find very hard to resist.
July 27, 2005
There is much conversation these days about the role of doctrine in the Christian life. I was recently reminded of how J. Gresham Machen addressed this issue in the context of the controversies of his day. On September 11, 1924, Machen responded to a reviewer who had published a negative review of Christianity and Liberalism in The British Weekly. Here is the essential section of Machen’s response:
July 27, 2005
“It takes one to know one,” quipped historian Eugene Genovese, then an atheist and Marxist. He was referring to liberal Protestant theologians, whom he believed to be closet atheists. As Genovese observed, “When I read much Protestant theology and religious history today, I have the warm feeling that I am in the company of fellow nonbelievers.”
July 23, 2005
In his new book, Contending for the Faith [Mentor, 2005], theologian Robert L. Reymond of Knox Theological Seminary offers several insightful essays. Each is a short exercise in apologetics. Here is an insightful passage from his essay on creation:
July 21, 2005
July 12, 2005
In every generation, the church is commanded to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” That is no easy task, and it is complicated by the multiple attacks upon Christian truth that mark our contemporary age. Assaults upon the Christian faith are no longer directed only at isolated doctrines. The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack by those who would subvert Christianity’s theological integrity.