During the Reformation, there were five “solae” (sola is Latin for “alone”) that attempted to sum up the doctrine of salvation. To the reformers, salvation is: by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone as revealed in Scripture alone for the Glory of God alone This is right and good. But is it enough? Several years ago, a mentor posed the question to me: “I wonder how history would have changed had the reformers included another sola: for love alone.” There should be another. After all, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and … Continue reading Another Sola?
Today is an important day. It’s Reformation Day, the day that sparked the Protestant Reformation in Europe. In fact, it’s the 500th anniversary of the day, October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church, challenging several unbiblical doctrines and practices of the established Roman Catholic church in Europe. The core issue of the Reformation, of course, was justification: how are people declared righteous before a perfect God? Luther argued it was by faith in Christ, as the Scriptures reveal, not our own works. The church needed this correction. We need to … Continue reading Three Brief Reflections on Reformation Day
Jonathan Edwards is often referred to as one of the greatest minds America has ever produced. He was a theologian and philosopher, yes. But most of all, he was pastor. His writing and and speaking and ministry did not happen in a classroom or an ivory tower. His sermons prove this. He is most famous for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But Edwards didn’t only preach on God’s anger. Far from it. He talked more about God’s glory, the beauty of Christ, and love. One of the better Edwards’ sermons I have read is “Heaven, a World of … Continue reading Heaven, a World of Love
All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love.’ But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Yesterday I did my best to briefly summarize why Jesus must be God. Today, I want to do the same with the question, Why must God be a Trinity? If we … Continue reading Why Must God be a Trinity?
When we read Jesus’ teaching on divorce in Matthew 19:1-9 (or Mark 10:1-12), it’s easy to get bogged down in the details of who can get divorced for what reason. I did that extensively once—I wrote a position paper on divorce in seminary. But I think in the context of what Matthew (and Mark, of course) is doing in his Gospel, this passage goes beyond petty details. After all, the major Pharisaical schools of thought liked to quibble over details. That was their speciality. But Jesus is more than a marriage ref. He is attacking the very heart of Pharisaism. That’s one of … Continue reading Jesus Is More Than a Marriage Ref
Have you ever washed someone’s feet? I have. A couple times in various contexts. It sounds gross. But it wasn’t. Really. In our day, our feet are protected from wear and tear. We drive or ride to get to work, school, and home. We rarely walk more than a hundred yards and when we do, we wear Nike or Keen. What’s more, our streets and sidewalks don’t have slop and feces and trash on them. Feet today are as clean and cared for as they have ever been. So washing someone’s feet today is not as offensive and disgusting as … Continue reading Foot Washing and Cross-Bearing