Monday, December 31, 2012

"Scottish Theology" by T. F. Torrance: A Review

I have a special love for Scottish Theology. For that reason, I recently picked up and read the late Thomas F. Torrance's wonderful book Scottish theology: From John Knox to John McLead Campbell. The book does exactly what the title and subtitle suggest. Torrance offers a historical sketch primarily through theological biographies of Scottish theology beginning with John Knox (1514-1572)though he briefly makes mention of those who came before him like John Duns Scotus and others) and finally ending with John McLead Campbell.(1800-1872) - a period of 300 years.

The spirit of the book regards both the general theology of each individual highlighted and some of the controversies they might have been embroiled in (especially the latter chapters concluding with McLead Campbell). My favorite section regarding John Knox and those who were his colleagues and followed him (like John Craig and others). The chapter on Knox is worth the book itself. There, the author walks the reader almost through a systematic theology course from the perspective of Knox. He discusses Theology Proper, Christology, the Trinity, soteriology, Ecclesiology, the ordinances, etc. This is full of riches. Torrance shows how, to Knox, the death and resurrection of Jesus were essentially one event. The death of Christ, he says, is the negative aspect of salvation - propitiation, etc. - while the resurrection is its opposite. However, this singular act cannot be separated from the ascension of Christ.

Consider the following quotes from Knox quoted by Torrance:

John Knox himself was essentially a preacher-theologian, one who did not intend to be a theologian, but who could not help being a theologian int he fulfilment of his vocation. (2)

And:

The price of Christ Jesus, his death and passion is committed to our charge, the eyes of men are bent on us, and we must answer before the Judge, who will not admit everie excuse that pleaseth us, but will judge upryghtly, as in his words he hath before pronounced . . . Let us be frequent in reading . . . earnest in prayers, diligent in watcheing over the flock committed to our charge and let our sobrietie and temperate lyfe eshame the wicked, and be example to the godly . . . (3)

From there, he looks at those who followed him. He traces the theology of one often overlooked Scottish theologian, John Craig whose catechism (usually referred to as Craig's Catechism) was widely used for decades in Scotland. I have not come across any better resource discussing Craig's theology than this.*

Overall, I would say that if you love theology in general and Scottish theology and history in particular, this is a wonderful resource. Many of the great books on such topics are quit old (Torrance highlights some of them, most out of print, in his introduction). However, if you are new to theology and new to Scottish history, you will struggle to work your way through this book.

However, there is one concern I do have. Though I am not an expert on Torrance and his theology and have not read many of his other works, at times I do wonder if Torrance flirts with speaking through the various theologians and his survey of them. One example regards John Knox's view of particular redemption. Torrance writes that Knox believed that limited atonement implied a form of Nestorian Christology. Upon further research, I found that Torrance has made this same claim elsewhere. Torrance does not offer any direct quotes from Knox nor interact with his works or other authors who have said the same. Is this what Knox believed? We will have to take Torrance at his word, but the thought has crossed my mind.

But in the end, your first thought upon seeing this book will likely be the same on whether or not you choose it and read it. If you do not like theology or Scottish theology you will probably move on. But if you hold it in your hand and begin to read its rich pages, then it is likely you love Scottish theology. In which case, you will love it. A rich resource it is with insights you are unlikely to find anywhere else from a more capable theologian and writer.


This book was given to me by T&T Clark for the purpose of this review.


* I would, however, point you to another one of Torrance works which includes Craig's Catechism along with others in the Reformation with an extensive introduction: The School of Faith (which has been reviewed here).


For more:
"The School of Faith" by Thomas F. Torrance: A Review
An Introduction to the Life and Works of Scottish Reformer John Craig
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism: A New Translation - Introduction
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism: A New Translation - Chapter 1
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 2
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter  3
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.1
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.2
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 4.3
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 5.1
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 5.2
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 6.1
A Short Summary of the Whole Catechism - Chapter 6.2   



For more on Knox:
"John Knox: An Introduction to His Life and Works" - A Review
"The Mighty Weakness of John Knox" by Douglas Bond: A Review
"John Knox & the Reformation" by M. Lloyd-Jones & Iain Murray: A Review
"John Knox" by Rosalind K. Marshall
Douglas Bond on the Legacy of John Knox


For more on Calvin and Calvinism:
"Foundations of Grace" by Steven Lawson: A Review
Was Calvin a Calvinist?  Helm Weighs In
Counterintuitive Calvinism: Tim Keller on Calvin's Institutes 


For more on the Reformation:
"The Reformation for Armchair Theologians" by Glenn S. Sunshine: A Review
The Theology of the Reformers  
The Unquenchable Flame  
"On the Necessity of Reforming the Church" by John Calvin
John Calvin:  A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology 
Christianity's Dangerous Idea
"Five Leading Reformers"     
 Was Calvin a Calvinist?  Helm Weighs In 
He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Theology Thursday | Calvin on the Redemptive Necessity of the Resurrection
Calvinist Baptists and the Many (False) Misconceptions
"Without the Gospel": A Gem From John Calvin
Calvin on God in Theology and the Christian Life
Calvin on Providence
Calvin on Treasures in Heaven
Calvin on Fasting
Calvin on Prayer: Why Bother?

All Around the Web - December 31, 2012



HT: 22 Words
 

The Blaze - These Were the 10 Most Significant Faith & Religion Stories of 2012 (Can You Guess #1?) | In a disappointing number 1 and 2:

1. The number one ranked story among professional journalists was the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate and the battle with religious leaders over its implementation. TheBlaze has covered this issue extensively throughout the year and will continue to as lawsuits and challenges continue into 2013.

2. The second most significant religion story of 2012 was the startling finding that the “nones” are a rising group in America. According to surveys, one-in-five Americans report having no religious adherence. While not all of these individuals are atheists, they are unattached to a particular faith. And, to top it off, they comprise the fastest-growing “religious group” in the nation.


Christianity Today - Now You Can Study the Dead Sea Scrolls Without Getting Out of Bed |

Google made headlines last year when it digitized five Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts and made them available online. Now, it's making 5,000 more available.

Together with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Google will partner in launching the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, "an online collection of some 5,000 images of scroll fragments, at a quality never seen before," according to Google.

The Daily Telegraph reports that approximately 4,000 fragments already have been uploaded to the website.


Reformation 21 - Review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | Its been a few weeks. Here is one of the best reviews of the Hobbit movie. I've seen it and loved it.

There is so much that Peter Jackson got right in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Overall, considering the challenge of adapting a children's story based heavily on the legends of Northern Europe, the movie was remarkably well done. As in her previous movies the screen writer Philippa Boyens deserves her share of the troll-hoard of profits for turning in a good screen play.

If you go into this movie knowing it's not really a children's movie (terribly violent at times) and that it is really a "prequel" to Jackson's LOTR trilogy you'll enjoy it even more. Unless you are a film aficionado I would recommend seeing it in the lower rez (24fps) non-HD format. It's much less distracting. The "3D experience" does nothing for me, as I have enough tension in life.


Courier-Journal - Parents of Louisville's Gorgui Dieng feel fans' warmth at Kentucky game | Louisville beat Kentucky Saturday (!). But this story isn't really about that. One of the UofL players is from Africa and his parents got to see him play for the first time.

Momar Dieng sat with his wife, Seynabou Diagne, in their sixth-row seats in KFC Yum! Center behind the University of Louisville bench on Saturday, and their smiles were indelible.

They smiled when Cardinals fans took pictures with them. They smiled when people handed them bottles of water. And, of course, they smiled as they watched their son Gorgui play college basketball in person for the first time, helping U of L to an 80-77 win over Kentucky.

“I am proud of him and his mother is proud of him,” Momar Dieng said through an interpreter. “We are proud of him for everything.”
 

Wade O Radio - Top 10 Trip Lee Songs of All Time | Coming in at number 1:




Philly - Condoms for free at 22 city schools |

Coming over the holiday break to about a third of Philadelphia high schools: clear plastic dispensers chock-full of free condoms.

The dispensers will be placed in the 22 high schools whose students had the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and condoms will be available to any student - so long as their parents did not sign a form opting them out of the program.

It's a pilot designed to address "an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease in adolescents in Philadelphia," said Donald F. Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity. Since April 2011, the city has given away about four million condoms, and now, STD rates are falling.


President Obama's "Meet the Press Interview"


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pray For Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From CNN:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized Sunday after doctors discovered a blood clot during a follow-up exam related to a concussion she suffered this month, her spokesman said.
She is expected to remain at New York Presbyterian Hospital for the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor her condition and treat her with anti-coagulants, said Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state.
 
"Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said. "They will determine if any further action is required."
Reines did not specify where the clot was discovered.
 
Clinton, 65, was suffering from a stomach virus earlier this month when she fainted due to dehydration, causing the concussion.
 
Clinton spent the holidays with her family last week after working from home.
She was scheduled to return to work at the State Department this week after being sidelined for the past three weeks. Her illness forced her to bow out of testifying December 20 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Deputies Thomas Nides and Bill Burns appeared in her place.
 
The medical setback comes as Clinton is wrapping up her busy tenure as secretary of state, during which she has logged more than 400 travel days and nearly a million miles. She plans to step down from the post if and when Sen. John Kerry -- President Barack Obama's choice to replace her -- is confirmed by the Senate.

"Declaring and Defending the Deity of Christ": A Sermon Preached by John MacArthur

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Does the Universe Have a Purpose? Scientism & the Limits of Science

This is a good example of the self-contradictory nature of scientism. On the one hand those who propose that the universe has a purpose are derided for not having any empirical evidence. Yet, it is then concluded that it must therefore have no purpose. One should ask, then, on what basis is such a concluded founded? It is quit a leap to say, "we have no evidence," therefore it does not exist. The video below seems to want writing in the sky or something more tangible, but since such clear evidence is not available, he sides with the negative view of the question.

This is the same sort of logic that intelligent design proponents are scoffed for. They suggest that the intricate nature of the universe suggests strongly for an intelligent designer that most call God. The argument is not, "we can't explain this, therefore God must exist," but rather, nature itself is so balanced, complex, and inexplicable that it is likely that a universe that appears designed must have a designer. ID proponents, then, are accused of making a conclusion of the Divine without evidence for the Divine. The video does precisely what ID proponents are accused of only from the opposite end of the spectrum. He says, "I cannot find an answer therefore there must not be one."

This is the problem with scientism. Claiming to carry the banner of science, scientism makes claims on things that science cannot say with any certainty. When science steps into the arena of metaphysics it is missing why it is called metaphysics. Science is limited in this sense. It cannot tell the metaphysical why of everything. Why are we here? Why are we the way we are? Science may try to tell us how we got here or how something works, but it cannot tell the story behind the evidence.






Everyday Theology - Does the Universe Have a Purpose?


For more:
"The Magician's Twin: C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism" Full Documentary
"Willing Slaves of the Welfare State": CS Lewis on Freedom, Science, and Society - Part 1
"Willing Slaves of the Welfare State": CS Lewis on Freedom, Science, and Society - Part 2

All Around the Web - December 29, 2012



HT: 22 Words


Dr. Thom Rainer - The Top Seven Regrets of Pastors |

  1. Lack of practical training for local church ministry. “I was not prepared for 80 percent of my day-to-day ministry after I graduated from seminary. I wish I had taken time to find some resources or places where I could get practical training. I had to learn in the school of hard knocks, and it was very painful at times.”
  2. Overly concerned about critics. “I had this naïve view that a bunch of Christians in a church would always show love toward each other. Boy was I wrong! There are some mean church members out there. My regret is that I spent way too much time and emotional energy dealing with the critics. I think of the hundreds of hours I lost focusing on critics, and it grieves me to this day.”
  3. Failure to exercise faith. “At some point in my ministry, I started playing defense and let the status quo become my way of doing church. I was fearful of taking steps of faith, and my leadership and churches suffered as a result. Not only was I too cautious in the churches I served, I was too cautious in my own ministry. I really felt God calling me to plant a church at one point, but I was just too fearful to take that step.”
  4. Not enough time with family. “I can’t say that people didn’t warn me. One wise pastor told me I had a mistress. When he saw my anger rising, he told me that my mistress was busyness in my church, and that my family was suffering from neglect. It hurts me to say this, but one of my adult sons is still in rebellion, and I know it is a direct result of my neglect of him when he was young.”
  5. Failure to understand basic business and finance issues. “The first time I saw my church’s budget, I thought I was looking at a foreign language. Greek is a lot easier than finance. They sure don’t teach you basic church finance and business at seminary, and I didn’t take the initiative to educate myself. I really felt stupid in so many of the discussions about the budget or other church business issues.”
  6. Failure to share ministry. “Let me shoot straight. I had two complexes. The first was the Superman complex. I felt like if ministry was going to be done well, I had to do it. I couldn’t ask or equip someone else to do it. My second complex was the conflict avoider complex. I was so afraid that I would get criticized if I didn’t visit Aunt Susie personally when she had an outpatient procedure that I ran myself ragged. In my second church I suffered burnout and ended up resigning.”
  7. Failure to make friends. “I know it’s cliché, but being a pastor can be lonely. I think many pastors get in trouble because we can get so lonely. I wish I had done a better job of seeking out true friends. I know if I had made the effort, there would have been a number of pastors in town that I could have befriended. Sometimes I got so busy doing ‘stuff’ that I didn’t have time to do the things that really matter.”

Kevin DeYoung - Some Thoughts on the State of Christian Publishing |

1. We have an embarrassment of theological riches in the English language. It’s simply astounding the books we can get by a click of the button on Amazon or WTS Books or CBD. And in recent years, we’ve witnessed an avalanche of “big books.” From Bavinck to Beale to Beeke there are brilliant books coming out every year-systematic theologies, biblical theologies, historical theologies. There is more good theology in some of these individual books than in many pastoral libraries. We should be thankful and get at least of few these big books.

2. I’ve been pleased to see fine dissertations having an opportunity to see the light of day. I included two in my list yesterday (Listor and Chapman). I’ve noticed several publishers (like Cascade, Reformation Heritage Books, and Crossway) are willing to give select dissertations a chance, even though the potential for profit is pretty small. I imagine most dissertations can’t be converted well for a broader audience, but as a pastor who doesn’t visit research libraries very often, I’m thankful for the readable research that can be made available in inexpensive paperbacks.

3. Cover designs are so much better than they used to be. But it can be hard to break out of familiar trends.

4. Too many books are derivative in nature. They quote the same books, cover the same ground, and say the same stuff. This is probably a problem in all of publishing. All I can speak to is the Christian world. Although we have more good books than ever before, I still see a lot of books (again, maybe my own?) that strike me as a poor man’s version of something Packer or Piper already said.

5. I’ve seen many books in the past few years that I would put in the category “Really good stuff, but I’m not sure it was book worthy.” These are books that might have been excellent sermons or terrific blog posts or could have been a wonderful long article, but a stand alone book they feel underwhelming.

6. Some topics continue to get a lot of attention (e.g., gospel, marriage, prayer, pastoral ministry, cultural engagement). But there is more important ground to cover. Personally, I’d like to see a deeply theological book about the nature of church unity. I’d like to see more careful “first principles” kind of thinking on politics and the relationship between church and state. I’d like to see someone publish (at a popular level) that go-to book on the doctrine of Scripture. I think we need a myriad of resources on homosexuality-medical, pastoral, legal, cultural, and apologetic.


John Stonestreet (The Point) - Challenging the Cassanova Myth |

And it’s also nonsense according to Rachel Hills in a recent article in “The Atlantic.” Hills cites the evidence laid out by Professor Andrew Smiler of Wake Forest University, who shows that only a small minority of men actually think this way. In his new book, “Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male” he demonstrates that the vast majority of young males aren’t looking to bed the nearest woman—they’re looking for long-term relationships and love.

If we are mere animals, nothing Patreaus did was actually wrong. But we’re not animals and God didn’t design us for hookups.


The Cripple Gate - The 12 Best-selling MacArthur works | Really surprised that Hard to Believe made it to the top 12. That's not a critique of MacArthur, but of the church. Also surprised that The Gospel According to Jesus isn't closer to the top or even number 1.

12. Anxious for Nothing
11. Called to Lead 
10. Truth For Today
9.  The Truth War
8. Hard to Believe
7. The Fundamentals of the Faith
6. The Gospel According to Jesus
5. Found: God's Will
4.  Twelve Extraordinary Women
3. Twelve Ordinary Men
2. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series
1. The MacArthur Study Bible



WORLD Magazine - America’s baby bust |

The overall U.S. birthrate fell in 2011 to its lowest level ever recorded, according to a recently released study from the Pew Research Center. 

The rate that year dropped to 63 births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44. That’s the lowest since 1920, the earliest year for which reliable numbers exist. The rate declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2010.


Real Clear Politics - Bret Baier: How Much of  the National Debt Do You Owe?

Friday, December 28, 2012

"It is Humanly Wrong": An Interview With Glenn Stanton

Cohabitation has become as common as marriage itself. Its popularity is based on a number of well-intentioned myths about gender, marriage, relationships, and love. Glenn T. Stanton, director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and a research fellow at the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa, has  uncovered the many myths of cohabitation as evidenced in both science and Scripture in his book The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage (Moody, 2011).

Stanton was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding his book in general and cohabitation in particular.


1. What made you want to write this book? What do you hope to accomplish through it? How has the response been since its publication?

My job at Focus on the Family is to study family formation trends and in that work, we find that cohabitation is the fastest growing family formation trend, not only in the US, but in the world. It's growth is dramatic and more so in the last ten years, followed by unmarried child-bearing. Given this fact, it is important for people, young adults especially, to grasp how medical, psychological and social sciences have been finding consistently for that last three decades how harmful cohabiting actually is to personal well-being, relational strength and health as well as the substantial harm it brings to marriage, once a person does marry. There is really no upside to cohabitation in terms of improving any important part of a someone's life. I wrote the book to help individuals, pastors, counselors and parents understand how and why all of this is true. People need to know it.


2. In your book, you present unquestionable scientific evidence of the many dangers of cohabitation. Could you present some of that evidence here for those who have not read your book?

First, there is an absolute wealth of scientific data here and it doesn't come from Christian or even conservative researchers. It comes from mainstream and leading academics. But the findings: first, as I just said, examining all the published academic literature on the effects of cohabitation, there is not one significant measure which cohabiting increases compared to marriage. Marriage dramatically improves all important measures of human well-being. Cohabitation harms them. Here are some of the most important. Compared with married couples and parents, cohabitors are significantly more likely to:
  • Be unfaithful to one another
  • Use illegal substances as well as alcohol.
  • Be unhappy in their relationship, especially women.
  • Require the women to work outside the home
  • Have the women carry a greater share of the household chores
  • Suffer from physical and mental illness
  • Experience more jealousy in the relationship
  • Have less fulfilling sexual relationships

3. You dedicate an entire chapter to the dangerous theory that cohabitation is a wise way to "try out" marriage. Why doesn't this method work? 

Perhaps the greatest myth that people hold today - especially young people - is that cohabiting before marriage is a smart way to test out a relationship to see if a potential partner is right for you. But there are few beliefs so widely today that have so little scientific support behind. In fact, it has no support whatsoever. Ever since scholars have been studying cohabitation they have consistently found that cohabitors have less healthy relationships in every measure and when or if they do marry, they are have less healthy marriages, they have poorer relational problem solving skills and face a dramatically higher likelihood of divorce, the very thing they were seeking to prevent by cohabiting. Cohabitation increases one's likelihood of divorce from 50 to 80 percent. The general likelihood is around sixty-five percent. This is such a truism of the research that they have developed a term for it: "the cohabitation effect." It is the consistent finding that cohabitation strongly tends to harm relational health and longevity. So young people and their parents need to know that cohabitation delivers the exact opposite consequence that they believe it will. Nothing smart about that.


4. You argue that feminism has played right into the hands of men. How so? And what damage has feminism done to the family, to women, and to marriage?

Radical feminism put forth three beliefs relative to sexuality, marriage and family that have actually ended up harming women in significant ways.

First was the pill and abortion. Both put control over pregnancy in the hands of the woman, making her a stronger player in the game of sex. But both of these let the man off the hook for his expectation of supporting the woman and her child. It was now the woman's responsibility to prevent the pregnancy. The man was no longer expected to do "right by the woman" because she was the one in control of her fertility, or so it seemed. This brought on the social phenomenon that sociologist called "the feminization of poverty."

Second was sexual aggressiveness on the part of women. It is culturally universal that women are less sexually aggressive and experimental than men. But the feminist said that women had just as much right to be as sexually wild as the men. In fact, that they should mimic the men in order to show they are equal. This required women to deny and act contrary to their feminine nature. And while the sexual revolution hurt both men and women in profound ways, it hurt women more deeply. It did anything but empower women. It objectified them, playing into the male sexual opportunists hands.

The third was cohabitation. It was supposed to empower the woman, making the relationship more equitable. Marriage was supposed to have been the man's ability to control the woman, whereas cohabitation was to put the woman on equal standing with the man. Like the others, it didn't really work out that way. Through decades of experience, we have found that marriage is actually the relationship on the woman's terms while cohabitation is the relationship on the man's terms.

Cohabitation hurts women in more ways than it hurts men and deeply so. Women are more likely to believe their cohabiting relationship will lead to marriage. Men are not. This means that cohabiting women are living on false hope. That is not empowerment. The experience of cohabiting tends to reduce a man's commitment to the woman and their relationship, both before and after marriage. This was not found among women. So, for women who want a guy who is less committed to her and the relationship, cohabitation is exactly what she is looking for.

The feminists have not played a smart game in regards to improving the lives of women sexually and relationally.


5. What advice would you give pastors who are shepherding members of their church who are living together?

Now this question gets at the bigger reason I wrote this book. The best thing pastors can do is help their young people know God's word on this topic (Genesis 2:24, Matt 19:5-6) as well as the richness and diversity of social science that supports God's word here. Young people need to know and understand how unwise it is to live together outside marriage. This can help young people know it is more than the "old folks" just thinking cohabitation is morally wrong. It is humanly wrong. There is no upside to it. And The Ring Makes All the Difference explains all this is a very easy-to-read, very applicable and concise presentation of the leading and more reputable research.


For more:
"The Ring Makes All the Difference" by Glenn T. Stanton: A Review
Does the Ring Make All the Difference?: CT Interviews Glenn Stanton
Tim Keller on Cohabitation and Marriage
A Must Read:  Colson on the "Cohabitation Revolution"
"After All, We'll Never Be the Right One Either": Stonestreet on "The Right One" Fairy Tale
The Gospel and Marriage: Keller on Love, Forgiveness, & the Example of Christ
"The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller
"Real Marriage" by Mark & Grace Driscoll
"Father Hunger" by Doug Wilson: A Review  
"Marriage" by Voddie Bauchman: A Sermon
Repost | An Important Read: Premarital Sex and the Promises It Fails to Deliver
Don't Be Naive, They're Having Sex: A Word to Parents, Students, and Pastors
The Myth of "the One": Why We Should Reconsider the Fairy-Tale View of Love and Marriage
The Marriage Debate: A Debate About Rights or Definitions?
Marriage and the Limits of the Law and Courts:  Why Only the Gospel Regenerates & Changes Behavior
Ravaged Love: Mutually-Agreed Infidelity and the Future of "Marriage"
Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom (Part 1)
Is What is Natural Moral?  The Great Chasm Between Nature and Morality (Part 2)
Is What is Natural Moral?:  The Way Forward is Backwards - Cave Men and the Return to Amoral Sexuality (Part 3)
Is What is Natural Moral?:  Monogamy and What Jealousy Says About Naturalism (Part 4)
Marriage and the Limits of the Law and Courts:  Why Only the Gospel Regenerates & Changes Behavior
Pornography for the Mind:  Our Continuing Obsession for What is Not Real  
Obsess Much?:  Understanding Our Culture's Obsession With Sex 
The Great Recession or the Recession That Made Us Great?:  Pornography and the Frugality of Lust 
"Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn"
"Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World"    

All Around the Web - December 28, 2012




The new Internet craze


Thinking Christian - Happy 100th Birthday, Piltdown Man! | His official birthday was December 18, 2012. This is one of the greatest "scientific" hoaxes of all time.

One hundred years ago today the most infamous science fraud of all time was presented to the world: Piltdown Man, a “missing link” skull that turned out to a creative composite, a human skull attached to an orangutan jawbone. Some researchers were immediately suspicious, yet still it took until 1953 until the scientific community reached consensus that it was a hoax. In the meantime, it was taken to be solid evidence supporting apelike animal-to-human evolution.

Piltdown Man represented one of the great failures of science, and as such it has real historical significance. That’s not to say we should draw the wrong conclusions from it. It doesn’t mean that evolution is a hoax, or that evolutionary theory is built on false pretenses. It doesn’t mean that evolutionary scientists can’t be trusted, or that there’s something inherently wrong with science itself.


Justin Taylor - A Reminder for Those Who Have Ministry Regrets at the End of 2012 |




Thom Rainer - Five Things You Should Know about Pastors’ Salaries |
  1. A pay or compensation package is not the same as a salary. I cringe when I hear churches state a package to be the pay for the pastor. The package includes benefits such as health insurance and expense reimbursements such as business use of the automobile. No worker in a secular company adds their benefits and expenses and calls it their pay. Anything other than the cash payment (before taxes) the pastor receives should be reported in a totally separate category.
  1. There are many resources to find out what the fair compensation for a pastor should be. Many denominations provide their own compensation studies. But you can do an Internet search for “pastor pay” and see a plethora of resources that are available. And as a rule of thumb, you could seek to estimate what the mean income is for families in the church, and use that as a basis for compensation for the pastor. Churches that do not do their homework on pastoral compensation tend to underpay their pastors.
  1. Many pastors request no raises but would still appreciate one. Some pastors simply don’t want to deal with a critic who might question any raise given to a pastor. Others feel extremely uncomfortable talking about money in general, and use the “no raise” request to deflect further conversation. Some think it’s just the noble thing to do. But most pastors, in reality, would appreciate a fair raise to keep up with growing expenses. Don’t accept their requests as the last word.
  1. Many pastors are under extreme stress because they do not have adequate income to meet their financial obligations. Like anyone else who is under heavy financial burdens, a pastor can find his thoughts consumed with worry. Because he is so distracted, he naturally is less effective in his ministry. Both he and his family feel the pressure.
  1. Some pastors leave their churches because of pay issues. You will not likely hear a pastor announce in his resignation that he is leaving because of financial pressures. The reality is that, for a number of pastors, the issue of compensation is a major push from one church to another, or from the church to a secular vocation. It’s not that the pastor is in his job for the money; it’s that the compensation for his vocation is insufficient to meet his family’s needs.

New Testament Blog - Another Bible Series Video |




Between the Times - The Conservative Resurgence: An Annotated Bibliography |

Since the early 1980s, dozens of scholarly or semi-scholarly books, dissertations, articles, and essays have been written about the Conservative Resurgence (CR) in the Southern Baptist Convention. The CR in the SBC began with the Houston Convention in 1979 and lasted through the end of the century. I would argue that the best ending date for the CR is 2000, the year the Baptist Faith and Message was revised. Though the “national” CR ended over a decade ago, statewide versions of the CR continued in some areas throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The CR goes by many different names, depending upon one’s interpretation. The period has also been called the “Inerrancy Controversy,” “The Fundamentalist Takeover,” “The Fundamentalist-Moderate Controversy,” or simply “The Controversy.” Each of these labels contains some truth, though I opt to call the period the Conservative Resurgence because I believe this label best captures the heart of the issue. Grassroots theological conservatives, displeased with the leftward drift of many denominational servants, used democratic means to effect a leadership change in the Southern Baptist Convention.

This list of resources is not intended to be exhaustive, but it does represent some key works for those interested in studying the CR in greater detail. For the sake of space, I have not included any dissertations, though plenty have been written. Since my personal theological sympathies are with the resurgent conservatives who gained control of SBC leadership during the CR, my bias is reflected in my comments about these sources.


Superman

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Complete Series

Earlier today I wrote an article reviewing Millard Erickson's chapter on the question of the soul. I discussed in some detail the challenge of monism and mentioned briefly the rise of what I call the New Monism. It is a movement driven out of neuroscience that argues that neuroscience has proven that we do not have a soul.  It is new in that it is based primarily on science, not on Scripture.  What many of the proponents do is first begin with the science and then seek to show that theology agrees.

One of the fascinating things I discovered during this series is that when we think of the conflict between science and theology, we usually only think in terms of evolution vs. creation and bioethics.  But here we see another place where the two bump heads. Science is increasingly suggesting that we are mechanistic robots without free will.  What these theologians try to show is that though we are without a soul, that does not mean that we are mere machines.

But in all of this, they fail.  If we are essentially nothing other than the byproducts of brain activity and the brain itself has evolved out of nothing, by accident, and driven by animalistic, genetic goals, then how are we not mechanistic?  Though the theologians try to defend both the current direction of neurscience and the gospel, they fail.

And it is the gospel that I seek to tackle here.  We rarely think that a discussion like this - over free will, anthropology, human nature, and the soul - affects our understanding of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, justification, and salvation, but it does.  The paper - presented in a series of posts - argues that the New Monism, though they seek to be faithful to both science and the Christian gospel, fail miserably and unfortunately when many have to chose one, it is theology - and the gospel - that gets the ax.

I hope the series is helpful.


The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 1 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 2 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 3
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4a  
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4b   
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4c
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5b 
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5c
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 6  


"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 5


How many parts are we? Are we one (monism), two (dualism), or three (trichotomism). By "parts" what I am asking is do we have a soul? And if so (dualism and trichotomism), then are we just a body and a soul (dualism) or a body, soul, and mind (trichotomism). In the three chapter dealing with the doctrine of man (Anthropology), Dr. Millard Erickson takes on the question in great detail.

I will spare you the arguments for each. Of the number of systematic theologies I have read, Erickson offers perhaps the best treatment of each. This has been typical of Erickson. My criticism of Erickson has been how much he overlooks and how often he bends the conversation towards philosophy. Yet, at the same time, what he does discuss he discusses in greater detail than most. Wayne Grudem, on the other hand, in his systematic theology raises more issues but offers a very basic, bullet point defense of his own view that he at times fails to honestly present other positions.

Erickson offers a great explanation of Trichotomism which, beyond some misguided preachers, is not a commonly held position. Dualism, Erickson uses the term Dichotomism, is the more historical and popular view. It holds that we are both a body and soul/spirit - we are material and immaterial.

The third view, monism, is what will dominate our time. I have found that monism, in recent years, has had a bit of a resurgence primarily due to the advances made in neuroscience (I explore this more in the links below). Erickson, writing not with that necessarily in mind, describes monism as follows:

According to monism, to be human is to be or have a body. The idea that a human can somehow exist apart from a body is unthinkable. Consequently, there is no possibility of postdeath existence in a disembodied state. Immortality of the soul is quite untenable. Not only, then, is there no possibility of a future life apart from bodily resurrection, but any sort of intermediate state between death and resurrection is ruled out as well. (543)

The key to understanding the appeal to monism, in spite what appears to be clear biblical evidence contrary to it, is the emphasis on unity. We are a whole not a composite. However, in spite of monists best effort to explain away some of the biblical texts, they are overlooking or obscured  some of the significant date (545). Some texts clearly indicate that there will be/is an intermediate state between our death and final resurrection. Erickson highlights both Luke 23:43 and Luke 16:19-31. Similar to these, again following Erickson, is 2 Corinthians 5:8 and Matthew 10:28.

We should also ad here that monism complicates an orthodox Christology. Did Jesus, as God, cease to exist when He died? Monist would have to say yes in some sense. This is problematic for orthodox Christology and Trinitarianism. Furthermore, the implications regarding eschatology are obvious. What happens between death and final resurrection? As Erickson suggest above, does Luke 23 and Luke 16 suggest that there is, for a time, a separation between the body and soul? More could be said here regarding the philosophical challenges of monism (and dualism for that matter) as well as the biblical record, but let this suffice. Monism is attractive because of its emphasis on unity, but dualism/dichotomism does not inherently reject that notion. We are a unified whole, but that does not preclude a material and immaterial self.


The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 1 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 2 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 3
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4a  
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4b   
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4c
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5b 
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5c
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 6  


For More on Erickson:
Where to Begin?: Calvin on the Starting Point of Theology - The Knowledge of God & the Knowledge of Man
Wherefore Art Thou Theological Giants?
On Special Revelation: Dreams, Visions, Theophanies, and the Word of God 
Is Hell Real?: The Difference Between Emergent Agnostic Doctrine & Orthodoxy
Condemnation But No Justification: The Purpose of General Revelation
The Reservoir & Conduit of Divine Truth: Carl FH Henry on Revelation
Where is the Gospel? Charles Hodge & the Insufficiency of Natural Theology 
Exegetical Theology or Theological Exegesis?: DeYoung on the Both/And
A New Kind of Christianity . . . Indeed: The Authority Question - Part 2
Grudem on the Problems With Denying Inerrancy
Inerrancy and the Early Church
Divine Simplicity: Theology Proper For Liberals & Calvinists
The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Introduction
The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Foundations
The Immutability of God: Its Truth and Relevancy - Scriptural Challenges
"Their God is Too Small": A Review
Tozer on Holiness  
"Knowing God": A Review
Justice and the Implications of Atheism: Doug Wilson Hits the Nail on Its Head
"The God Who Loves" by John MacArthur: A Review
"Godly Jealousy" by Erik Thoennes: A Review
Ryrie on the Names of God
"The Sovereignty of God" by A. W. Pink: A Review
DeYong on the Trinity
Does God Suffer?: Aquinas on Divine Impassibility
All Aspects of Our Lives Are Preordained: Grudem on Providence & God's Plan
If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?: A Few Voices From the Past & Present - Part 1
If God is Sovereign, Why Pray?: A Few Voices From the Past & Present - Part 2
"Lofty" by Propaganda, Beautiful Euology & Joel
Some Things Never Change: Why Evolution Is Contrary to the Gospel
Calvin on Providence
Providence and Prayer: Carson's Response 
Does the Calvinistic Doctrine of God's Providence Make God Responsible For Sin?: Grudem's Answer
"When Bad Things Happen To Good People" by Harold Kushner: A Review
"God Forsaken" by Dinesh D'Souza: A Review
Grudem on Who Were the Sons of God


For more on Anthropology:
The Transcendence of Greed:  What Economics Can Teach Us About the Gospel  
"A Conflict of Visions" by Thomas Sowell
Some Things Never Change: Why Evolution Is Contrary to the Gospel
When Theology Meets Political Ideology: Bill Whittle & Anthropology
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Complete Series
Lewis on the Why of Democracy
John Stott on the The Human Enigma
"Its a Human Problem": What the History of Slavery Can Teach About Ourselves
Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World
What's the Difference? Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives: Politics
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Politics 
What's the Difference?  Drawing the Line Between Liberals and Conservatives:  Morality

All Around the Web - December 27, 2012

Thom Rainer - Eight Negative Reasons Pastors Leave a Church |
  1. Discouragement and frustration over critics in the church. Over thirty times this year pastors have contacted me to let me know they resigned from their church due to weariness over critics.
  2. Discouragement and frustration over the direction of the church. Most pastors come to a church with an eager vision and great hope. Many pastors leave a church when it becomes obvious to them that the hope will not be realized.
  3. Moral failure. The two most common moral failures are sexual and financial. In either case safeguards were typically not in place.
  4. Burnout. The flexibility of a pastor’s job can lead to one of two extremes: poor work ethic or workaholism. The latter inevitably leads to burnout.
  5. Forced termination other than moral failure. Just last night I heard about a pastor who was fired because the church members determined they needed better leadership. That reason is one among many I hear more and more often.
  6. Financial struggles. A number of churches do not take care of their pastors financially. Most are able to do so. A pastor who has to worry about paying his bills will not be an effective pastor.
  7. Family issues. Obviously the family issues could be related to any of the reasons noted here. But a number of pastors tell me they resigned simply because the entire church experience and atmosphere were unhealthy for their family.
  8. Departure of joy. Typically a pastor has great joy when he is called to ministry. That joy often continues during the time of training for ministry and entry into the first church. But a number of pastors for various reasons lose their joy in the real world of local church ministry.


Yahoo! - California gay couples hoped Supreme Court would avoid same-sex marriage case | This is interesting.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Supreme Court's decision on Friday to review California's same-sex marriage ban disappointed some Golden State gay couples who would have been able to wed if the court refused to hear the case.

If the court had not taken the case, a federal appeals court ruling that had overturned the ban would have been the law of the state, opening the way to same-sex marriages in California and leaving the nation unchanged.

Now the Supreme Court could decide whether -- or not -- the U.S. Constitutional guarantees gays the right to marry.

The stakes are now higher, the wait is longer, and there is no certainty gay rights advocates will win.


Christian Post - Washington State to Remove 'Husband' and 'Wife' From Official Documents |

As Washington State prepares for same-sex marriage to be implemented on Dec. 6, lawmakers are making preparations by removing "husband" and "wife" from marriage certificates. The traditional labels for a husband and wife will be replaced with gender neutral language.

Washington State recently passed legislation that would recognize the union of a homosexual couple and as a consequence of such actions traditional words to describe a married person are in the process of being replaced with more gender neutral terminology.



Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - Feed My Lambs — The Tender Courage of the Christian Ministry |  SBTS graduation address from President Mohler.

The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains a list of recognized job descriptions, and that list has been undergoing a lot of change in recent years. Some jobs have disappeared entirely. There is little call for lamplighters and ice cutters today, and those jobs actually disappeared long ago. More recently threatened jobs include telephone operators and typewriter repairmen. They will soon join lamplighters and ice cutters on the list of jobs that exist no longer.

Just about anyone watching the job market knows that very few jobs or professions can be taken for granted. Many will disappear, others will wax and wane. Technology accounts for some of these losses, but others are lost simply because no one any longer sees a need to employ a person for such a purpose.



Parchment and Pen - Should William & Kate Get an Abortion? | A lot of pro-life supporters are pointing out the language used by the culture. If this had been any other child, it would be called a "fetus."

If the same reasoning used throughout the developed civilized world is used in William & Kate’s situation the answer very well could be: yes. They should get an abortion.

I think this situation, however, has revealed something inside the heart of all people. The entire world would rightfully place our hands over our mouths and gasp if William and Kate decided to terminate the pregnancy. If their explanation was, “Well, it was just not the right time. We’ve only been married for a year and a half. Kate was suffering with morning sickness. We’ll start a family some day, but not today.”

William and Kate are going to press on through the pregnancy because this child is special. This child is destined for royalty. Any current pain will be long forgotten over a lifetime of joy with this child. Sure, things aren’t pretty today but they won’t stay that way. Psalm 30:5 speaks into this concept when it says, “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning.



22 Words - Cast and director of "The Hobbit" see how fast they can name the dwarves |

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pray for former President George HW Bush

From ABC:

Former President George H.W. Bush continues to fight a stubborn fever in the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital.

"Following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever, President Bush was admitted to the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital on Sunday where he remains in guarded condition," Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath revealed in a prepared statement. "Doctors at Methodist continue to be cautiously optimistic about the current course of treatment. The president is alert and conversing with medical staff, and is surrounded by family."

McGrath earlier told ABC affiliate KTRK that the former president was awake and joking with doctors, but had yet to respond to medication designed to reduce the fever.

Bush, 88, has been in the intensive care unit in Houston's Methodist Hospital since Sunday, and hospitalized since Nov. 23, when he was brought to the hospital with a bronchitis-like cough. A hospital statement released on Dec. 13 predicted the former president would be discharged before Christmas.

Hospital Media spokesman David Bricker told ABC News that Houston Methodist Hospital will be releasing an updated statement on Bush’s condition, but could not provide a timeline for the release and added that such information would be revealed when doctors felt it was appropriate and in accordance with the wishes of the Bush family.





For more:
HW Bush: An American Experience 

The God Who Became Man: Millard Erickson on the Implications of the Humanity of Christ

Originally published here with some edits.

In preparation for tonight's Bible study, I came across the following paragraphs from Millard Erickson's great systematic theology text Christian Theology regarding the implications of the doctrine of Christ's humanity.  We wholeheartedly affirm the deity of Christ, but too many of us, as Evangelical, Conservative, Baptist Christians, fail to reflect, study, and apply the important doctrine of Christ's humanity.

What Erickson offers below is a good summary of the practicality of this doctrine.  Remember that all doctrines are practical and all of us are theologians. Thus what we believe about the doctrine of Christ (Christology) matters and thus it is important to consider both the deity and the humanity of Christ. 

1.  The atoning death of Jesus can truly avail for us.  It was not some outsider to the human race who died on the cross.  He was one of us, and thus could truly offer a sacrifice on our behalf.  Just like the Old Testament priest, Jesus was a human who offered a sacrifice on behalf of his fellows.

2. Jesus can truly sympathize with and intercede for us.  He has experienced all that we might undergo.  When we are hungry, weary, lonely, he fully understands, for he has gone through it all himself (Heb. 4:15).

3. Jesus manifests the true nature of humanity.  While we are sometimes inclined to draw our conclusions as to what humanity is from an inductive examination of ourselves and those around us, these are but imperfect instances of humanity.  Jesus has not only told us what perfect humanity is, he has exhibited it.

4. Jesus can be our example.  He is not some celestial superstar but one who has lived where we live.  We can therefore look to him as a model of the Christian life.  The biblical standards for human behavior, which seem to us to be so hard to attain, are seen in him to be within human possibility.  Of course, there must be full dependence upon the grace of God.  The fact that Jesus found it necessary to pray and depend upon the Father is indication that we must be similarly reliant upon him.

5.Human nature is good.  When we tend toward asceticism, regarding human nature, and particularly physical nature, as somehow inherently evil or at least inferior to the spiritual and immaterial, the fact that Jesus took upon himself our full human nature is a reminder that to be human is not evil, it is good.

6.  God is not totally transcendent.  He is not so far removed from the human race.  If he could actually live among us at one time as a real human person, it is not surprising that he can and does act within the human realm today as well.

With John we rejoice that the incarnation was real and complete: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14)
.

-Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, 737-738.

Let me also point you to one other point hinted at in the list above (regarding Jesus' work as our Intercessor and Mediator).  And that is the fact that the sacrifice of God only is problematic for a number of reasons.  First of all, God is eternal and not subject to human weakness and the Fall.  In other words, God can never and will never succumb to death.  But there is another reason beyond this obvious point.  Jesus has to be both God and man because both are necessary for Him to be our propitiatory sacrifice and our mediator.  How?  The Docetic belief that it was God (who only "appeared" to be a man) who was on the cross is problematic for the same reason that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away human sin (Hebrews 10:4).  Animals aren't human enough to be the perfect sacrifice and mediator for salvation.  Similarly, if Christ is not both Divine and Human, then He is not human enough to be the perfect sacrifice and mediator for our salvation.  Christ, as our Mediator, must be both.

This is why Paul boldly proclaims, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5, emphasis mine).


Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 1 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 4  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Prolegomena 5

Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 1
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 2 
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 3
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 4
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 5
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 6
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 7
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 8  
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 9
Christian Theology: Blogging Through Erickson - Bibliology 10

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 3 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 16
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 17
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 18
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 19
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Theology Proper 20

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 2
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 3
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 4
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 5 
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 6
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 7
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 8
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 9
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 10
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 11
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 12
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 13
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 14
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 15
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Creation/Providence 16

"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 1
"Christian Theology": Blogging Through Erickson - Anthropology 2


For more:
Sermon - December 26, 2010 - Jesus is Man  
GBC - Mahaney on the Person and Work of Christ:  Christ Our Mediator  
GBC - Stomach Virus' and the Humanity of Christ:  Moore on the Suffering and Sick Servant
GBC - Sayers on the Incarnation of Christ  
GBC - If Jesus Were Born in Our Digital Age
We Are All Theologians: The Root of Everything We Are and Do