Category Archives: Eschatology

Peter Leithart: Keep the Fast, Keep the Feast

James Grant says:

I just finished reading Peter Leithart’s article “Keep the Fast, Keep the Feast,” posted at First Things. This is quite an amazing piece of work. Leithart has some helpful points reflecting on both church history and Scriptures, and he provides some great examples of how to do biblical-theological interpretation. Leithart blogs here, and he pointed out that the article is already translated into German! Take a moment and read the whole thing (in English, of course!).

Also, read the following excerpt from the article at least:

Jesus is the Last Adam because He keeps the fast. He enters a world that is no longer a garden, but a howling waste, and in that wilderness Satan tempts Him to break the fast, to be an Adam: “You’re hungry; eat this now. You deserve the accolades of the crowds; you can have it now if you jump off the temple. You want all authority in heaven and on earth, but your Father won’t give that to you unless you suffer an excruciating, shameful death; you can have it all now, no cross or self-denial required. It’s yours, and you only need to do a bit of bowing. Life, glory, power, everything you want, everything you deserve—you can have it all now.”

Jesus refused, and refused, and then refused again, and in so doing broke the power of Adamic sin. Jesus kept the fast; he waited, labored, suffered, died, and then opened his hand to receive all the life, glory, honor, authority, and dominion that his Father had to give Him. He kept the fast and as a result was admitted to the fullness of the kingdom’s feast—because by that time both it and he were ready. And by resisting the devil, Jesus sets the pattern of true fasting and reveals a Lenten way of life.

[Continue Reading…]

N.T. Wright and the Problem of Hell

The more one listens to N.T. Wright give lectures on the topic of his new book and his strong desire to see the world put to rights by God in Jesus, the more you notice that even though much of what he says is true… he’s leaving one important topic out on purpose! In Wright’s recent Harvard lectures, found here, Bishop Wright clearly avoids talking about the topic of hell for a more positive picture of God putting the world to rights and bringing about justice through the work of Christians (along and others) in the here and now. [NOTE: I encourage everyone to listen to these free lectures in mp3 and consider the good things Bishop Wright has to say, but I want to point out that everyone needs to listen with discernment and not embrace all of Wright’s narrative.]

To be honest, this is probably the most disturbing item of disagreement that I have with the British New Testament scholar. I’m very concerned that his lecturing is going to help many people become more universalistic in their thinking and less explicit about worshipping Jesus as the one and only Saviour and Lord. Now, Bishop Wright always tells people that he is the world’s one, true Lord and Saviour, but that still does not help it when people in a postmodern culture reinterpret things so easily!

But the point of this post was to point out some good comments from another Christian pastor and writer, Doug Wilson. I encourage you to read his post here and consider what he has to say about N.T. Wright and others who seemingly marginalize the doctrine of Hell away to nothing. Below is an excerpt:

N.T. Wright at Harvard

In his otherwise admirable book on evil, N.T. Wright makes the drastic mistake of leaving the subject of Hell entirely alone. But no matter how many helpful things you say, if you leave the really huge question out, then all you are really displaying is a real loss of proportion. “Well, other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

The questions that swirl around the issues of violence, pacifism, and the redistribution of mammon are all questions that tend to be summed up by those advocating their causes under this rubric as questions of “justice.” “No justice, no peace” the bumpersticker puts it. This is particularly the bent of the Christian left — the Jim Wallis, Ron Sider, Greg Boyd contingent. This is the myopic view of the Obama evangelicals, all singing that blues standard, “Lie to me!”

And they persist in acting as though you can define justice by taking an evangelical Christian and making him watch CNN for long enough. And lest anybody misunderstand me, I am not saying this because I think we ought to be learning from Fox News instead. No. We are to define justice exegetically (what does justice mean throughout the pages of Scripture?) and theologically (what are the ultimate displays of God’s justice?). We have done quite a bit of the former, and it is time for us to consider the latter.

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Bill Maher and John Piper

Denny Burk says:

You have probably seen by now one of the ads for Bill Maher’s new documentary “Religulous.” If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie that was produced for the expressed purpose of denigrating religion. The fundamental point seems to be that having faith in any religion is ridiculous—thus “Religulous.” In the trailer for the movie, the following exchange takes place between Maher and a person dressed up like Jesus.

Maher: Why doesn’t [God] just obliterate the devil and therefore get rid of evil in the world?

Jesus Impersonator: He will.

: He will?

Jesus Impersonator
: That’s correct.

Maher: What’s he waiting for?

The whole point of the exchange is to show how ridiculous it is that the Christian God will not do anything about evil in the world even though He’s supposed to be both good and all-powerful. Even though it’s delivered with sarcastic humor, Maher is asking a serious question. At bottom the exchange is really about the classical question of theodicy, and the whole thing is framed in a way to discredit the Christian faith.

In a recent blog post, John Piper answers Maher’s question, though he doesn’t mention Maher’s name. Nevertheless, the title of Piper’s essay reads like an allusion to “Religulous”: “Why not destroy the devil now?” Piper gives an answer that is (as you might expect) grounded in God’s passion for His own glory. God is most glorified by allowing Satan to remain for a time. He writes:

“The glory of Christ is seen in his absolute right and power to annihilate or incapacitate Satan and all demons. But the reason he refrains from destroying and disabling them altogether is to manifest more clearly his superior beauty and worth. If Christ obliterated all devils and demons now (which he could do), his sheer power would be seen as glorious, but his superior beauty and worth would not shine as brightly as when humans renounce the promises of Satan and take pleasure in the greater glory of Christ.”

Maher’s question deserved a serious answer, and I am grateful that Piper took the time to write one. You should read the rest.

“Why Not Destroy the Devil Now?” – by John Piper (

Bavinck’s Covenant Christology

Covenant Christology: Herman Bavinck and the Pactum Salutis
By Rev. Mark Jones, Leiden Universiteit

For Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) ‘the doctrine of the covenant is of the greatest importance.’ Behind the temporal covenants of works and grace stands the pretemporal pactum salutis (counsel of peace/covenant of redemption). The pactum salutis is an intratrinitarian covenant between the Father, Son and Spirit that provides the eternal, inviolable foundation for the temporal covenant of grace (foedus gratiae). The Reformed orthodox in particular, since the sixteenth century, used the pactum salutis as an argument for the ad intra trinitarian grounding for the ad extra work of salvation. Thus, soteriology is decidedly trinitarian, that is, ‘salvation is an undertaking of the one God in three persons in which all cooperate and each one performs a special task.’ Consequently, this doctrine is the starting-point for any Christological discussion of the person and work of the Mediator, Jesus Christ.

In defending and giving expression to the pactum salutis, Bavinck is conscious that this doctrine has a fairly long and illustrious history among Reformed covenant theologians. And though this doctrine is ‘rooted in a scriptural idea’, Bavinck suggests that not a few of the Reformed were guilty of ‘scholastic subtlety’ by quoting various Scriptural passages (e.g. Zech. 6:13, translated by the Latin Vulgate as consilium pacis) that did not have reference to the pactum salutis. Thus, while clearly appreciative of his Reformed heritage, Bavinck is not uncritical of various formulations of the pactum salutis.

In order to understand why Bavinck gives such prominence to the pactum salutis, something of this doctrine’s history must be understood, which will show, among other things, that his theology reflects the broad parameters and concerns of the Reformed interpretive tradition.

(Continue Reading…)

[HT: James Grant]

The Judgment of God continues…

As America has seen fit to usher in a man who will act in the ways that will destroy the foundations of this country’s constitution, the rights of individuals and states, and the freedoms that we have enjoyed for so many years… I cannot help but look to God in Jesus Christ for my only hope and joy and comfort!

God’s judgment is being revealed against all ungodliness and wickedness of mankind through the election of Barack Obama as President of the United Stated of America. America and the Church in America will receive the judgment that God sees fit to bring upon it in the coming months and years. Freedoms will be reduced and Government will seek to grow bigger and make more and more people dependent upon it. We can only hope that people will feel in their hearts that freedom and liberty are more important than peace and safety “at all costs.”

May God have mercy upon this country and may God glorify Himself and show forth the rule of Jesus Christ over all powers and principalities that seek to make themselves greater than He.

Thankfully, this is a day of change that will work against the glory of America and work for the glory of God in Jesus Christ! Amen.

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,
Glenn Jones

Thoughts about Obama’s speech as President-Elect

Obama said that a united America elected him. That is not true. Good rhetoric, but not good reality.

Obama promises that America will become greater. That is not true. America will fall and in 4 years its people will be looking for a new leader once again who will promise them a full pocket book and a fat belly.

Obama calls for greater sacrifice and service. Those things are good in relation to certain things, such as Christian ministry, but what do they mean for us as Americans? Redistribution of wealth? Fewer freedoms for the sake of “fairness”? The destruction of state’s rights? Tell us Mr. President-Elect.

Obama says a new dawn of American leadership is at hand and that America will defeat all those who seek to divide and destroy the world. That is not true. America can never defeat those things, even with a new “dawn” of American leadership. Only God in Jesus Christ can do those type of things. But it will not be for America that God does them. It will be for the Kingdom of God.

Obama is essentially saying this: America can change (i.e. – “yes we can”) and overcome their shortcomings WITHOUT Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. This is the folly of all nations, especially America. In fact, today, the American dream is the spirit of anti-Christ in this country today. That can be seen in Obama’s speech with crystal clear clarity. And, might I add, Barack Obama is its newly appointed prophet, priest, and king.

Ending his speech, Obama said that anyone who doubts America will be responded to with a spirit of a people saying “yes we can” and that America must summon a new spirit now that a new “dawn” has come. But, I ask, what spirit can be summoned at the call of man? The only spirit I know of is that spirit which is sinful within the hearts of mankind. That spirit is already summoned and it is the spirit that will not confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

This nation is so strong, this “democracy” so proud, but it will never see the glory it wants. It will always fall short because it is only the glory of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ that will be seen on the Last Day. May we never forget that as we see the sinful hearts of humanity trying to build another Babel… that that goal will never happen. Unity for the people of the world will never come in that way.

There is only hope in Jesus Christ and that hope is most clearly seen through His Kingdom that is being preached through His Gospel by the Church throughout the world! For the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen.

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,
Glenn Jones

The N.T. Wright Project

Some students from Princton Theological Seminary have started a research project for the purpose of studying the foundational works of theology by N.T. Wright. Here is their description of the project:

Rarely in the course of our seminary study do we have the opportunity to study theologians whose work is currently transforming the life of the church. Tom Wright is one such theologian, and a small group of us at Princeton Theological Seminary, together with one of our professors, Ross Wagner, have decided to spend this semester immersed in Wright’s work. We hope to carefully read some of his most foundational writings and to engage each other through this blog on the issues and ideas which emerge from this study. From time to time we will have guest authors from a wide spectrum contribute, and we also invite those of you in church, parachurch, or seminary communities to read and respond to our blog posts as a way of keeping this project closely grounded in the church today. Welcome and enjoy!

I encourage everyone to keep up with this blog, especially if you don’t have the ability to read Bishop Wright’s works in full by yourself. These students will be summarizing and analysing and discussing much of what he has written and I think we will all benefit from their work. May God bless this project!

American News Media: “Americans are Stupid”

If there’s anything that I come away with tonight regarding the third and final Presidential debate, it is this: The national news media outlets have told, more clearly than ever, that the American people are stupid and scared and that they will end up electing the candidate who can speak with the most eloquence and stay the calmest during a debate.

“As long as you look ‘presidential’ then we think you are going to win!”

That is basically what I heard every single news outlet and media pundit say tonight after the debate. But are they right? Is the fact that so many of us are facing uncertain times and wondering about job security and retirement going to dictate that the majority of States elect a president who presents himself the best and talks a good talk and says he walks a good walk?

Honestly, I don’t know… I’m sitting here writing this and I’m wondering how so many people could be in favor of giving all three sectors of elected government over to the control of the Democratic party this coming November? I’m sitting here wondering if I will actually be able to blog about these things in just a few years time if the Internet becomes regulated and our freedom of speech is taken away from us by an unchecked liberal ideology that “scared” people decided to give control of their lives over to one early November day in 2008?

The liberals in this world are not interested in free speech unless it benefits them. They are not interested in freedom unless it’s the way they say things should be. This is why an Obama Presidency will be one of the most uncertain times that America will have ever had to face. If the Senate and the Congress decide to roll out all the party favors with a Democratic President who will sign things into being… what it there to stop this country from having its foundation of freedom destroyed and the most socialistic laws implemented in its history? Remember, the Constitution is only a force if you have “checks and balances.” But when all the means are controlled by one ideological center that wants to enforce its rule of law on everyone… then no old piece of paper will make a difference anymore than rotting crap will be avoided by people who could care less about cleaning it up.

Well, enough of my lamenting… Because I do have hope… And it’s NOT in this country called America. I have hope that one day, no matter what may come in the near future to American politics, I will inherit a New Heavens and a New Earth where righteousness dwells and suffering and sin are no more! Through the power of God’s Spirit I can accept whatever His sovereign hand will bring me and I can press forward toward the upward goal of knowing Christ Jesus, the true Lord and Ruler of this world! Because of His Kingdom and His Rule at the right hand of the living God, I can rest in His promise that He is making all things new. Even though I may one day lose my freedoms that have been so good to have in this amazing country, I will still bless the name of Yahweh and I will always proclaim… Maranatha, Lord Jesus! Maranatha!

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,
Glenn Jones

How could God command Genocide in the Old Testament?

Justin Taylor of Between Two Worlds has written a powerful and authoritative article for New Attitudes on the the justice of God and the genocide of the Canaanites in the Old Testament. I could not agree more with his seven points. In particular, I think everyone needs to grasp this point, number seven:

7. The destruction of the Canaanites is a picture of the final judgment.

At the end of the age, Christ will come to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5), expelling them from the land (the whole earth). That judgment will be just, and it will be complete. That is the day “the Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (2 Thess. 1:8–9). Amazingly enough, Paul asks the Corinthians something they seem to have forgotten, if they once knew it: “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? (1 Cor. 6:2).

How does this work? What will it look like? I really don’t know. But God’s Word tells us that God’s people will be part of God’s judgment against God’s enemies. In that way, God’s command of the Israelites to carry out his moral judgment against the Canaanites becomes a foreshadowing—a preview, if you will—of the final judgment.

Read in this light, the terrible destruction recorded on the pages of Joshua in God’s Holy Word become not a “problem to solve,” but a wake-up call to all of us—to remain “pure and undefiled before God” (James 1:27), seeking him and his ways, and to faithfully share the gospel with our unbelieving neighbors and the unreached nations. Like Job, we must ultimately refrain from calling God’s goodness and justice into question, putting a hand over our mouth (Job 40:4) and marveling instead at the richness and the mystery of God’s great inscrutable mercy (Eph. 2:4). At the end of the day we will join Moses and the Lamb in singing this song of praise:

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Rev. 15:3-4)