Provisionism (Traditionalism) rejects the concept of Divine Simplicity, at least as formulated by Augustine. I highly recommend a book entitled The Hexagon Of Heresy, by James Gifford. It’s a deep dive, to be sure, but it explains how Augustine's incorporation of Plato's view of God impacted Western Christianity. Heads up: you need to like philosophy to appreciate this post.
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Monday, August 21, 2023
- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
- “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
- “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
- “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
- “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
As a result, the church had to address ‘doctrines of salvation’ (soteriology). It was a messy process. As church history unfolded, the church writ large occasionally gathered to address the implications of these attempts to explain God in a way that used the language and ideas of the audience. The controversy that followed looked like a pendulum swinging between doctrines that overemphasized either Jesus’ humanity or deity at the expense of the other, or perspectives on God that failed to account for the complexity of the Biblical revelation.
Monday, June 12, 2023
The first installment was the most positive. The church's reputation prior to Constantine was pretty solid. But following Constantine's influence, leaders like Ambrose and then Augustine changed the tune the church had been singing. The changes may not strike you as jarring yet, but they are laying a foundation infused with a love of money and power on which others will build terrible things. The second installment covered the time from Julian to Augustine's City of God, a time with remarkably different - sometimes jarringly different - visions for how Christians should live in society. This leads us to part three.Much of the old work of the church was still going on. And there were plenty of genuine prophets popping up and accusing the church of being a pack of hypocrites. The third installment ended this way: "If, by the 500s, being Christian was indistinguishable from being Roman, by the 1000s being Christian was indistinguishable from being Frankish or Saxon. Europe and the church found themselves converted to each other’s ways."
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Monday, April 10, 2023
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Friday, February 24, 2023
I’ve waded through a lot of hot takes, knee-jerk reactions, profound reflections, critiques, praises, and personal testimonies the past two weeks concerning the events in Asbury. First, I will overviews what’s happening (or by the time I publish this, ‘happened’) at Asbury. The overview will not be unbiased, as I am going to push back against some of the outsiders looking in based on what I am reading from the insiders looking out. Second, I will offer some observations about how to put theological guardrails around moments like these so that good movements of God don't go bad.
“I hope you guys forget me but anything from the Holy Spirit and God’s Word would find fertile ground in your hearts and produce fruit. Romans 12. That’s the star, okay? God’s Word and Jesus and the Holy Spirit moving in our midst, that’s what we’re hoping for.”After he challenged them to love others with the love of Jesus, he noted that doing this sounds impossible, and it is – unless we have Jesus. He reminded the students that our ability to love others well will come from the love Jesus has shown to us flowing out of us; in my words, we can only pay forward what God has given to us through Jesus. He gave them a particular challenge: if you are having trouble loving others well, you need to pray that you understand and experience the love of Jesus. That’s the only way it will work.
I’ve heard some criticism of this sermon for not preaching “the whole gospel.” Listen. It was one of three-times-a-week chapels at a Christian college. This sermon had a particular focus on a particular morning. It was great. Speaking as a pastor who preaches a lot, if someone would take one isolated sermon and judge me or our church based on that one sermon, I would find it grossly unfair. Same with the times I've spoken in chapel at the local Christian high school. It’s like judging the plot or message of a book based on one chapter. Sermons (and chapels at Christian colleges) occur in a much broader context. Speakers don’t cover everything every time.
The next unexpected spark in what would become a fire was a public confession/repentance from a student shortly after that message. I don't know what this student confessed, but if it built from the message, it was inspired by a conviction to love others well. One student reported that, in the following days, she observed students who couldn’t stand each other praying together and reconciling. That tracks with the focus of the sermon.
It quickly swelled as a grass roots movement characterized by repentance and personal renewal/refreshing. Remember: the focus was on the importance of understanding and experiencing the love of Jesus – which is what many are reporting to have felt strongly. To criticize this moment for not necessarily going beyond that seems to me to be unfair. Meanwhile, there wa a lot of Scripture reading interspersed, a sermon every night, clear calls to repentance, and people making first-time decisions to follow Jesus.
Friday, December 23, 2022
Highlights from the Final Report of the Select Committee To Investigate The January 26th Attack On The United States Capital.
What follows are my highlights from the Final Report of the Select Committee To Investigate The January 26th Attack On The United States Capital. You can read the full document here: https://january6th.house.gov/sites/democrats.january6th.house.gov/files/Report_FinalReport_Jan6SelectCommittee.pdfn
gressSecond Session House Report 117-000
These are excerpts from the Executive Summary, which is the shorter version of a much longer report contained in the same document. I obviously have not included anywhere near all the information from the summary; the full report contains significantly more information than the summary.
I encourage you to read the whole thing (or at least the full summary). Of all the politicians or political operatives interviewed, all but one are Republican. This is not the testimony of Democrats going after a political enemy. This is testimony from those who saw how the political sausage was made leading up to the 2020 election and leading directly to the insurrection on January 6.
Yes, this is a really long post.
But how it happened matters. Why it happened matters. And who made it happen matters perhaps most of all.