Category Archives: The Book of Romans
Are we “Born of God”, or “Adopted”? It can’t be both.
Does the Bible say we are adopted by God? I am quite certain that the Bible does not say we are adopted by God. It does say that we are born of God. Many commentators seem awfully confused about this, but that’s because they are reading an English translation of a Greek document, written in a […]
How to understand the “Two Natures of Christ”? That’s the wrong question.
Was Luther wrong about “Justification by Faith”?
Justified by Faith Luther made axiomatic the claim that the believer is “Justified by Faith”. He was right, of course, but did he understand what that phrase meant to the author of it, and to the original audience?
Biblical Election: It’s not a Democracy
Is God a Voter, and each of us a Politician? Since at least the Middle Ages, the Biblical concept called “Election” has been thought of in terms roughly equivalent to the democratic process. The democratic process uses the same word. But that’s not what it means in the Bible. In the Bible the word has […]
Become like a little child; Understand the Kingdom of Heaven
The Story of Cain and Abel This basic little story is not complex. It is structured like a children’s story. But for reasons I list below, theologians almost universally fail to understand it. It means what it says: “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” ()
Asking the right questions about what “Son of God” means
What does it mean when Jesus says he is “Son of God”? Jesus claimed to be God’s son. He claimed to be both equal and subservient to God. This mystifies theologians today, because they find it hard to reconcile these two things. It isn’t supposed to be that hard. Let us ask not how Jesus […]Read More
What is Christian “Worship”?
Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth Mike_tn / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND Let’s look at where Christian worship began, what it was like then, and what it meant to the first Christians. Much has happened through subsequent church history, but how much of what we now call “worship” is directly related to what the first Christians […]Read More
The Message of Christian Baptism: Death…?
A journey through Handel’s “Messiah” – George Frederic Handel (1695-1759)
Messiah, G. F. Handel Welcome to my happy place: Handel’s “Messiah”. There is lots I could say about this. I could talk about the art, the theology, the subtle interpretive cues that make this a sort of “Gospel according to Handel”… But I won’t. I’ll just stand aside and put this here for you to […]
Christian Assurance, Apart From the Law: A Defence Against the Judaisers
Judaisers A ‘Judaiser’ is someone who insists that a believer in Christ must join the Covenant of Moses, which was ratified at Mt Sinai around 1300BC. The Apostle Paul was routinely persecuted by Judaisers, who were scandalised that Paul’s non-Jewish (“Gentile”) converts were not being circumcised. The Judaisers are back. There is a whole movement […]
“Election”: Calvin…? No; Arminius…? No; “The Corporate View”…? Almost…
The Ancestral View of Election Studying the “Corporate View” of Election was refreshing. The paradoxical word games that Calvinist and Arminian arguments rely on are exhausting, and any serious apologist for them is forced, sooner or later, to admit that they cannot reconcile the paradoxes that both raise. The “Corporate View”, by contrast, actually describes […]Read More
Romans 8:28-30: Not “Predestination”, but an argument against Judaisers
An appeal for clarity A favourite text of those who argue about Predestination is Romans 8:29-30. It mentions people being “predestined”, and a lot of speculation has surrounded the concept throughout Christian history. The speculation essentially fails to grasp the point: Gentiles and Jews are equally considered God’s “holy people”.Read More
Romans 8:12-14 “Flesh and Spirit”. Do the translators understand?
Discerning the Worldview of the Translators…? The Bible talks about “the flesh” and “the spirit”. Various translations treat these concepts in subtly different ways, and in those differences there can be substantial theological impact. Irrespective of what we want it to say, it is important to comprehend what the original author meant by these terms, […]Read More
Addiction: How to Help
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 Human beings seem universally to be able to imagine the loftiest moral ideals, but just as universally seem incapable of actually living according to them. This conundrum lies deep at the heart of the human condition. Are we required to just “live […]