Inheritance of the Spirit

A few days ago, I suggested in passing that N.T. Wright misses the connection of the Spirit and the Abrahamic promise in Galatians 3. I was wrong. I just hadn’t gotten far enough in his book, and he addresses that very point in his exegesis of Galatians 3 ( Paul and the Faithfulness of God , . . . . Continue Reading »

God’s righteousness

In a helpful discussion of the justification as a status-creating declaration, Wright ( Paul and the Faithfulness of God , 946-7) once again insists that the righteousness that describes the legal status of the justified person cannot be the same as the righteousness of the judge himself: . . . . Continue Reading »

Church and salvation

In his contribution to Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life , a Festschrift for Geoffrey Wainwright, Telford Work argues that ecclesiology is the proper setting for the ordo salutis . In what he admits is something of a caricature, he describes American evangelical ecclesiology in . . . . Continue Reading »

Breaking Dawn

If Judah keeps Yahweh’s fast, a new day will dawn (Isaiah 58:8). In the Hebrew, the promise is announced in two tiny chiasms: A. then shall break out B. as dawn C. your light C’. and your recovery B’. speedily A’. shall spring And then: A. and will walk B. before you C. your . . . . Continue Reading »


It is said that as J. Gresham Machen died, he spoke of the comfort he took in the imputation of Christ’s active obedience, which ensured his standing before God. I don’t know if that was actually Machen’s dying thought. But leave that to the side. I can see the point, but I . . . . Continue Reading »

Ordinary Atonement

In America’s Theologian: A Recommendation of Jonathan Edwards (125-7), Jenson summarizes Edwards’s discussion of atonement. Edwards begins with notion of “merit,” but he defines it in a way that, Jenson says, “amounts to its replacement.” Merit is something in a . . . . Continue Reading »

Union and Substitution

In a sermon on the acceptable sacrifice of Christ ( Sermons and Discourses, 1723-1729 ), Edwards emphasizes that union of Christ with His people is the foundation for Christ’s substitution for His people: “Christ, that gave himself in sacrifice, is so united to them he died for, that it . . . . Continue Reading »

Contextualization and Cultural Lenses

“The mere fact that in changing cultural and religious settings we find it hard to understand or communicate key biblical teachings is not,” writes Veli-Matti Karkkainen in Christ and Reconciliation: A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World, vol. 1 (324), “a . . . . Continue Reading »

Sacrificial resurrection

In the aforementioned article in JETS , Blocher notes that the New Testament treats Levitical sacrifices as types of Christ’s redemption, but adds that there is also a discontinuity: The intimate and essential bond between Christ’s death and his resurrection does not receive a clear . . . . Continue Reading »

Abstract Atonement

Rudisill ( The doctrine of the atonement in Jonathan Edwards and his successors , 114-5) says that for Edwards “Christ’s work per se does not affect man. In the final analysis, it does not deal with man’s predicament. President Edwards’ doctrine of the Atonement is a . . . . Continue Reading »