Category Archives: New Testament Theology

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!

The Trinitarian Love of God

From John Owen’s Christologia

No small part of the eternal blessedness of the holy God consisteth in the mutual love of the Father and the Son, by the Spirit. As he is the only-begotten of the Father, he is the first, necessary, adequate, complete object of the whole love of the Father. Hence he says of himself, that from eternity he was “by him, as one brought up with him: and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him,” Proverbs 8:30 – which place was opened before. In him was the ineffable, eternal, unchangeable delight and complacency of the Father, as the full object of his love. The same is expressed in that description of him, John 1:18, “The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.” His being the only-begotten Son declares his eternal relation unto the person of the Father, of whom he was begotten in the entire communication of the whole divine nature. Hereon he is in the bosom of the Father – in the eternal embraces of his love, as his only-begotten Son. The Father loves, and cannot but love, his own nature and essential image in him.

Herein originally is God love: “For God is love,” 1 John 4:8. This is the fountain and prototype of all love, as being eternal and necessary. All other acts of love are in God but emanations from hence, and effects of it. As he does good because he is good, so he loveth because he is love. He is love eternally and necessarily in this love of the Son; and all other workings of love are but acts of his will, whereby somewhat of it is outwardly expressed. And all love in the creation was introduced from this fountain, to give a shadow and resemblance of it.

Love is that which contemplative men have always almost adored. Many things have they spoken to evince it to be the light, life, lustre and glory of the whole creation. But the original and pattern of it was always hid from the wisest philosophers of old. Something they reached after about God’s love unto himself, with rest and complacency in his own infinite excellencies; but of this ineffable mutual love of the Father and the Son, both in and by that Spirit which proceeds from them both, they had neither apprehension nor conjecture. Yet, as herein does the principal part (if we may so speak) of the blessedness of the holy God consist, so is it the only fountain and prototype of all that is truly called love; – a blessing and glory which the creation had never been made partaker of, but only to express, according to the capacity of their several natures, this infinite and eternal love of God! For God’s love of himself – which is natural and necessary unto the Divine Being – consists in the mutual complacency of the Father and the Son by the Spirit. And it was to express himself, that God made any thing without himself. He made the heavens and the earth to express his being, goodness, and power. He created man “in his own image,” to express his holiness and righteousness; and he implanted love in our natures to express this eternal mutual love of the holy persons of the Trinity. But we must leave it under the veil of infinite incomprehensibleness; though admiration and adoration of it be not without the highest spiritual satisfaction.

Again, he is the peculiar object of the love of the Father, of the love of God, as he is incarnate — as he has taken on him, and has now discharged, the work of mediation, or continues in the discharge of it; that is, the person of Christ, as God-man, is the peculiar object of the divine love of the Father. The person of Christ in his divine nature is the adequate object of that love of the Father which is “ad intra” — a natural necessary act of the divine essence in its distinct personal existence; and the person of Christ as incarnate, as clothed with human nature, is the first and full object of the love of the Father in those acts of it which are “ad extra”, or are towards anything without himself. So he declares himself in the prospect of his future incarnation and work, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth,” Isaiah 42:1. The delight of the soul of God, his rest and complacency — which are the great effects of love — are in the Lord Christ, as his elect and servant in the work of mediation. And the testimony hereof he renewed twice from heaven afterwards, Matthew 3:17, “Lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;” as it is again repeated, Matthew 17:5. All things are disposed to give a due sense unto us of this love of God unto him. The testimony concerning it is twice repeated in the same words from heaven. And the words of it are emphatical unto the utmost of our comprehension: “My Son, my servant, mine elect, my beloved Son, in whom I rest, in whom I delight, and am well pleased.” It is the will of God to leave upon our hearts a sense of this love unto Christ; for his voice came from heaven, not for his sake, who was always filled with a sense of this divine love, but for ours, that we might believe it. This he pleaded as the foundation of all the trust reposed in him, and all the power committed unto him. “The Father loveth the Son, and has given all things into his hand,” John 3:35. “The Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself does,” John 5:20. And the sense or due apprehension of it is the foundation of Christian religion. Hence he prays that we may know that God has loved him, John 17:23, 26. In this sense, the person of Christ is the “prooton dektikon” — the first recipient subject of all that divine love which extends itself unto the church. It is all, the whole of it, in the first place fixed upon him, and by and through him is communicated unto the church. Whatever it receives in grace and glory, it is but the streams of this fountain — love unto himself.

[HT: The Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies]

Henry Center for Theological Understanding

The Carl F. H. Henry Center is an excellent online resource for those interested in sharpening their own Theology and finding resources (audio, video, articles, etc.) that are freely available to the public. I encourage you to visit their web site and especially take a look around at their media publications.

From the Director:

Theologians often comment on the low levels of Christian literacy in our pews as well as our pulpits. Likewise, ministry leaders complain about the irrelevance of seminaries. We at the Henry Center are bent on addressing these concerns and the problems they represent. We are committed to bridging the gap between the academy and the church. Gospel labors are too important to be shouldered on one’s own. What is needed is a center for evangelical collaboration, where “experts” of all kinds can work together to engage culture–in the U.S. and around the world.

The Henry Center is such a place. It houses a cluster of initiatives, each of which is aimed at applying practical Christian wisdom to important kingdom issues–in the church, the academy, and the world. It seeks to ground each of these initiatives in Scripture, interpreted theologically as the Word of God. And it pursues these goals collaboratively, bringing ministry practitioners and academics together in creative kingdom partnerships. We exist to glorify our Lord by advancing Christian wisdom in all areas of life and thought, enabling others to apply the knowledge of God and themselves in the rough and tumble of life.

Our work will be much poorer without your help. Won’t you consider praying for the Center and participating with us in its various ministries? We will be grateful for your partnership in the gospel.

Douglas A. Sweeney

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)

New Horizons: Herman Bavinck

Jason Button points out that New Horizons, the monthly publication of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, has dedicated the current issue to the life, theology, and legacy of Herman Bavinck. Below are the contents for the October 2008 issue.

[HT: James Grant]

There is a Day by Phatfish

My wife posted about this song today. Please watch the video (link below) and be encouraged as you look to the day that all things will be made new and death will be defeated and sin will be no more!

Maranatha! Maranatha!

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (ESV)

My wife said:

I came across this video on this blog and thought I would share it. What hope we have in Christ! The song is “There is a day” by the UK band Phatfish.

The Doctrine of Glorification

My former Hebrew professor’s teaching assistant has posted a good sermon online at Sermon Exchange on the topic of Glorification and the various passages of Scripture that expound upon it. I encourage everyone to read it and be encouraged! Below is an excerpt…


Glorification – Various Texts

by Ike Huges

House, MASH, St. Elsewhere, ER, Doogie Houser, General Hospital, Scrubs, Trapper John, MD, Dr. Kildare, Becker, Ben Casey, Chicago Hope, Gray’s Anatomy, Medical Investigations, Grosse Anatomy. What do all of these have common?

These are all shows about doctors. Some are dramas. Some are comedies. Some are soap operas, or stories as my grandmother used to call them. When you have shows about doctors, what else do you have?

Sick people.

Hollywood has made a very lucrative industry out of shows about sick people.

Then there are books. I went into our bookcase, well one of our book cases, to look for a medical dictionary so that I could regale you with big medical terms and I looked at some of the books that Michelle kept from her time in nursing school and I about fell over.

She has a stack of 4 or 5 books that equal close to an entire semester’s worth of reading for me. And those were a small token of what she had to buy and read during nursing school. I’m sure that Becky and Celia have similar books in their libraries.

Then there are friends of mine who are doctors. I checked out a website that told me it could take up to nine years to become a doctor.

9 years of your life in school and as an intern and as a resident. If you want to specialize in a certain field, it would take another 3 years of study.

Nurses and Doctors spend a great amount of time and effort to gain the information that they have to take care of …sick people.

There are health programs and diet programs and all sorts of programs where you, in the comfort of your own home, can help to prevent some of the illnesses that we deal with in life.

We as a nation invest thousands of dollars into research to prevent many of the illnesses. We take medicines; we exercise; we use anti-bacterial soap all in a effort to keep ourselves from getting sick.

America has made a huge, expensive industry out of health care.

But this fixation on health comes from a deeper drive. This drive to keep from getting sick is pushed on by our drive to stay alive. In many of the shows that I listed above, the people get better.

Usually someone only dies on a show when the actor is ready to move on. And then we know that they will show up on another show or in a movie at some point.

But it’s not the same with you and me. We know that many of the sicknesses that we face end in death. Cancer; Leukemia; Lou Gehrig’s disease; Muscular Dystrophy; Cerebral Palsy, just to name a few.

Funeral homes today are nationwide chains. I worked for a very short period of time with one of the chains that owned 6 funeral homes in Tampa and many more around the country. And I never set foot in a funeral home. I worked in a sales office selling arrangements. My job was to sell you your arrangements prior to your death.

Death is a huge industry in our lives.

No matter where we look, no matter what we do, no matter where we go, sickness and pain and suffering and death are all around us. Some of us today are sick; some of us today are in pain; some of us today are suffering.

Today we are going to look at what hope the Christian can take in the midst of all this pain and sickness suffering and death. We are going to look at a concept called Glorification and what it means for the Christian in light of the fact that we are surrounded by pain, suffering, sickness and death.

(continue reading…)

Midlands Bible College Interviews Dr. Darrell Bock

I would like to point everyone to a very interesting and informative interview with Dr. Darrell Bock that was recently conducted by Midlands Bible College. He discusses a variety of topics and it is very enjoyable to read. Here is an excerpt:

A short while ago, you wrote widely on matters relating to the DaVinci Code. Is this subject something that you intend to keep at the top of your agenda?

Well, not the DaVinci Code, but I do plan to keep writing in areas where the culture interacts with the Jesus and the Bible. There are so many crazy ideas out there. I distinguish between Christianity, where Jesus is unique and Messiah versus Jesusanity, where Jesus is just a great religious teacher but he is not Messiah nor unique. I will continue to write about the difference and the issues tied to that discussion.

What impact, long-term, do you think the DaVinci Code and similar works will have on the general public perception of the historical Jesus? In other words, do you think the negative effect of these works will be short lived?

It actually is that the DaVinci Code reflects issues that have been in the public square and now, popularized, reflect how many people are coming to see Christianity as a political creation of Constantine that has little, if anything, to do with the historical Jesus. Now Constantine did have a tremendous impact on Christianity, but the theology of the church long predates him as does the church’s view of Jesus, as that is rooted in the experience of the disciples and Jesus’ own teaching. But fighting the impression made by this other story that now shows up in novels and TV specials on Jesus and Christianity is going to be an ongoing task for the church—and many in the church have no idea how to respond to such claims. They sense these alternative ideas are wrong but do not know what to say when “experts” or books say otherwise. Thus the church needs to do a better job of instructing its own on such idea.

For Christians who want to know more about this, there any other books or resources that he would recommend?

There are dozens of books in the DaVinci Code. However there are very few on the early history of Christianity that deal with these issues. Among those that exist are my The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth behind Alternative Christianities; Craig Evans’ Fabricating Jesus; Dan Wallace and two others have Reinventing Jesus. My blog at also discusses these issues now and again. (Read More…)