Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy BDay Danny

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The Center of Paul’s Theology and the Order of Salvation

The central soteriological reality is union with the exalted Christ by Spirit-created faith. That is the nub, the essence, of the way or order of salvation for Paul. The center of Paul’s soteriology, at the center of his theology as whole, then, is neither justification by faith nor sanctification, neither the imputation of Christ’s righteousness nor the renewing work of the Spirit. To draw that conclusion, however, is not to “de-center” justification (or sanctification), as if justification is somehow less important for Paul than the Reformation claims. Justification is supremely important, it is absolutely crucial in Paul’s gospel of salvation” (cf.Eph.1:13). Deny of distort his teaching on justification and that gospel ceases to be gospel; there is no longer saving “good news” for guilty sinners. But no matter how close justification is to the heart of Paul’s gospel, in our salvation, as he sees it, there is an antecedent consideration, a reality, that is deeper, more fundamental, more decisive, more crucial: Christ and our union with him, the crucified and resurrected, the exalted, Christ. Union with Christ by faith-that is the essence of Paul’s ordo salutis. [1]

[1] pg. 43 From Richard Gaffin’s “By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation”

Friday, October 27, 2006

This is just sad

My fellow PCUSAer, (Backwood Presbyterian) got kicked out of Dr. Michael McMahon's message board ( because he is a member of the PCUSA. I echo BP in his exhortation not to use any more of Dr. McMahon's services.

Monday, October 16, 2006


“If God had wanted man to play soccer, He wouldn't have given us arms”

Understanding God’s Wrath

In Leon Morris’s book The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, he gives us some insights on how to think about God’s wrath.

1. There’s no antithesis between God’s love and wrath:

“Perhaps the difficulty arises because we are making a false antithesis between divine wrath and the divine love. We are handicapped by the fact that we must necessarily use terms properly applicable to human affairs, and for us it is very difficult to be simultaneously wrathful and loving. But, upon analysis, this seems to be largely because our anger is such a selfish passion, usually involving a large element of irrationality together with a lack of self-control. Nevertheless, even in human affairs, such a thing as “righteous anger” is not unknown when some, at least, of the more unworthy elements are absent, and we catch a glimpse of a fiery zeal for the right which be perfectly compatible with pure love”. [1]

2. God’s wrath isn’t some irrational and uncontrollable anger:

“Those who object to the conception of the wrath of God should realize that what is meant is not some irrational passion bursting forth uncontrollably, but a burning zeal for the right coupled with a perfect hatred for everything that is evil.” [1]

3. Propitiation is God’s act of love:

“…(P)ropitiation is understood as springing from the love of God. Among the heathen, propitiation was thought of as an activity whereby the worshipper was able to himself to provide that which would induce a change of mind in the deity. In plain language he bribed his god to be favourable to him. When the term was taken over into the Bible these unworthy and crude ideas were abandoned, and only the central truth expressed by the term was retained, namely that propitiation signifies the averting of wrath by offering of a gift which secures the propitiation is from God Himself. [2]

[1] pg. 208-209

[2] pg. 211

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Declaration of Independence

Julia, John, and I signing The Declaration of Independence

Saturday, October 07, 2006

WJDFW – You Must Be Born Again

“Jesus answered…”Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again”- John 3:5 and 7

“Jesus answered him “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one to born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” – John 3:3

Based on John 3, Piper sees Jesus as commanding that everyone be “born again”, that is, he demands everyone to be “alive to God and see his kingdom as true and supremely desirable.” [1]

So how does someone become “born again”? Piper writes:

“We must be born again. But this is a gift from God…Look away from yourself. Seek from God what he alone can do for you. Moral improvement of the old you is not what you need. New life is what the whole world needs. It is radical and supernatural. It is outside our control. The dead do not give themselves new life. We must be born again-“not … of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). That is what Jesus demands from the world. [1]

[1] pg 37-39

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What Jesus Demands From the World Part 1

I just got my copy of John Piper’s new book, “What Jesus Demands from the World. In my excitement, I just finished the introductory chapter of the book, where Piper describes his aim for the book in typical Piper-ish fashion:

“The aim of this book is God-glorifying obedience to Jesus. To that end I am seeing to obey Jesus’ last command:” Make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-10) [1]

I can’t wait to dive more into this book and to have my soul satisfied with the presence of God.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Drama of Scripture

The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story” by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen is probably the best book I have read all year. In Bartholomew and Goheen’s book, it sets out to help Christians find their purpose within the larger biblical story by organizing the story into a six-act structure:

Act 1: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation

Act 2: Rebellion in the Kingdom: Fall

Act 3: The King Chooses Israel: Redemption Initiated

Scene 1 A People for the King

Scene 2 A Land for His People

Interlude: A Kingdom Story Waiting for Ending: The Intertestamental Period

Act 4: The Coming of the King: Redemption Accomplished

Act 5: Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church

Scene 1 From Jerusalem to Rome

Scene 2 And into All the World

Act 6: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed [1]

Not only is this book helpful through it’s six-act structure, in my opinion, it also seems to be making the right emphasis within the larger biblical story. The authors states their 3 emphases as:

1. Comprehensive scope of God’s redemptive work in creation.

“First, we stress the comprehensive scope of God’s redemptive work in creation. The biblical story does not move toward the destruction of the world and our own “rescue” to heaven. Instead, it culminates in the restoration of the entire creation to its original goodness.” [2]

2. The believer’s own place within the biblical story.

“Second, we emphasize the believer’s own place within the biblical story. Some refer to four questions as foundational to a biblical worldview: “Who am I?” “Where am I?” “What’s wrong?” “What’s the solution?” Tom Wright adds an important fifth question: “What time is it?”…As part of our telling of the Bible’s grand story, we will explore the biblical answers to these five questions. [2]

3. Centrality of Mission

“Third, we highlight the centrality of mission within the biblical story. The Bible narrates God’s mission to restore the creation. Israel’s mission flows from this: God chose a people to again embody God’s creational purposes for humanity and so be light to the nations, and the Old Testament narrates the history of Israel’s response to their divine calling. Jesus comes on the scene and in mission takes upon himself Israel’s missionary vocation. He embodies God’s purpose for humanity and accomplishes the victory over sin, opening the way to a new world. When his earthly ministry is over, he leaves his church with the mandate to continue in that same mission. In our own time, standing as we do between Pentecost and the return of Jesus, ‘our central task as God’s people is to witness to the rule of Jesus Christ over all of life. [2]

If you want helpful resources relating to this book check out the authors' website.

[1] pg. 27

[2] pg.12-13