Deny Son, Deny Father

1 John 2:23 says that whoever denies the Son denies the Father as well, and vice versa - whoever confesses the Son confesses the Father. What’s the logic here? Is John assuming that Jesus is the mediator who makes a way to the Father, so that denying him closes off the way to the Father? . . . . Continue Reading »

Righteous to forgive unrighteousness

It’s common among evangelicals to say that the gospel is about God solving the tension between His justice and His mercy. As a just God, He must punish sin; as a merciful God, He seeks to save. The cross combines the two. At one level, I have no problem with this. But it is problematic both . . . . Continue Reading »

Light and cleansing

I’ve commented before on the sequence of 1 John 1:7, which moves from walking in the light to fellowship with one another, to cleansing by Jesus’ blood. The presence of “fellowship with one another” between walking in the light and cleansing is striking. Equally striking is . . . . Continue Reading »

RJ Rushdoony’s influence

Reviewing several recent books on the Christian Right in the current issue of First Things, Ross Douthat has this to say about Rushdoony: “What he has instead are the Christian Reconstructionists—the acolytes of the late R.J. Rushdoony—who are genuine theocrats, of a sort, and who . . . . Continue Reading »

Mars Hill Audio

Occasionally, I run into people who have never heard of Ken Myers and his Mars Hill Audio ministry. What a tragedy, I think. In case you happen to be one of the darkened multitude, Myers is one of the best-informed Christian cultural commentators of our time, and his audio magazine and other . . . . Continue Reading »

Justification or gratitude

In a Biblical Horizons lecture, Rich Bledsoe argued that the doctrine of justification by faith was the doctrine that needed to be emphasized in the 16th century to exorcise the medieval world where power was based on condemnation. Because of Luther, everyone could stand up to the condemnation of . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptism and being Christian

Baptism unites the baptized to the church, which is the bride of Christ. Brides take the name of their husbands, and thus all who are baptized take on the name of Jesus - they are Christians because “Christ” is their Husband’s name. Only feminists would want the baptized to keep . . . . Continue Reading »

What we proclaim

Gary Burge points out in his NIV commentary on 1 John that the relative pronoun that begins the letter is neuter, even though the subject (LOGOS) is masculine. Drawing on Raymond Brown, he suggests that the neuter is used because it covers not just the person of Jesus the Word, but the whole . . . . Continue Reading »

Justification in James

It’s common to reconcile James and Paul on justification by saying something like “Paul’s faith is not the faith that James is talking about, and James’ justification is not the justification Paul is talking about.” That is, James is talking about some kind of . . . . Continue Reading »

Qoheleth and Postmodernism

Doug Ingram suggests in his 2004 Grove Book study of Ecclesiastes that the book has a peculiarly postmodern emphasis on the ambiguity of the world and human life. Pointing to the proliferation of studies of Ecclesiastes over the past decade and a half, he writes that while modern readers find . . . . Continue Reading »