Frustration with Bible Translations (Part One)

Frustration with Bible Translations (Part One)

The goal of the Bible translator is to stay with the original text as much is linguistically possible by making judicious translation decisions that maintain the integrity of the words used by the authors. When a literal translation is not made, the reader should be notified and told why. This is done in some translations like the KJV and the NASB that italicize words that are not in the Greek tex [...]

Revelation and Christian History

Revelation and Christian History

One of the most common methods of understanding the book of Revelation today is the futurist approach which says that the visions of the book of Revelation signify historical events that will occur at the end of the world. Some early Christian writers like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Lactantius seem to have held similar views. Some who hold this view today believe that the visions in the majority [...]

The Rich Young Ruler and Social Justice

The Rich Young Ruler and Social Justice

Theologians virtually ignore the economic commentary in the Bible. In the few cases where it gets any attention, economic commentary in the Gospels and other New Testament writings tend to lapse into simplistic class warfare nostrums. Liberation theologians import Marxism wholesale (but they try to sell it retail) into theology. Academic historians of first Century Palestine/Judea have been pushin [...]

The Dark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night of the Soul

Most evangelicals tend to think in “words.” This is certainly understandable because of the Protestant focus on the Bible as the sole authority (sola Scriptura) and the Lutheran concept of the “priesthood of all believers.” When this is applied to storytelling and film, this primary focus on word over image ends up killing the spirit of the message in favor of trying too hard to make sure the mess [...]

The Worldview 'Rosetta Stone'

The Worldview 'Rosetta Stone'

A biblical worldview is an essential part of thinking properly about God and His creation. Thanks in part to the Enlightenment and its long-lasting effects of modern thinking, we often think like humanists rather than like faithful stewards of God’s truth. In order for Christians to be effective in the culture, they need to understand what it means to think God’s thoughts after Him. Or [...]

This Generation and Brood of Vipers

This Generation and Brood of Vipers

“This generation” in Matthew 24:34 and the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21 refers to the generation of Jesus' day. Following this biblical evidence, most Bible com­mentators have interpreted “this generation” in this way, understanding that all the signs in the Olivet Discourse referred to events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem that took pl [...]

Randall Balmer's Fake News About the Christian Right

Randall Balmer's Fake News About the Christian Right

Guest article by Michael Wagner The modern conservative Christian political movement commonly known as the “Religious Right” or the “Christian Right” began in the late 1970s in response to adverse changes in American society. Many Christians became involved in politics for the very first time, and they were credited with contributing to the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. Since then, [...]

What It Takes to Interpret the Bible

What It Takes to Interpret the Bible

When I sit down with young people to discuss films, I often get a blank stare. They have not heard about the films that I and others consider to be classics. I need to be careful when I mention something from a film to illustrate a point since many people have never heard of the film. As a result, they can’t appreciate the point I’m trying to make from a particular scene. [...]

The Old is Revealed in the New

The Old is Revealed in the New

There are obviously differences between the Old and New Testaments. Augustine said that the New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed. Changes do indeed come through the course of redemptive history, so that there certainly are exceptions to the general continuity that characterizes the relation between Old and New Covenants. God has the right to make alterations for the New [...]

What About 2 Timothy 2:15?

What About 2 Timothy 2:15?

Dispensationalists vehemently maintain that the Church (ekklēsia) was unknown to the Old Testament writers. The so-called church age is said to be a “mystery,” a parenthesis, a gap in prophetic time, until the pre-tribulational “rapture” when the church will be removed from the earth and God will deal with Israel again. If they are correct, then the New Testament writers were awfully confused, in [...]

The End and Heir of All Things

The End and Heir of All Things

A Christian should never fear having his “system” scrutinized by the plain teaching of the Bible. The rallying cry of the Reformation was ecclesia reformata quia semper reformanda est, “the church reformed because it must always be reforming.” This should be every Christian’s rallying cry. The church needs to take another look at the topic of eschatology, the study of last things. The topic has no [...]

All Christians are Preterists

All Christians are Preterists

All Christians believe in fulfilled prophecy. This makes them preterists to some degree. A preterist interpretation of prophecy puts its fulfillment in the past. What separated unbelieving Jews from believing Jews in the first century was the issue of fulfilled prophecy. Was Jesus the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures that predicted a coming redeemer? Jews who rejected Jesus as the promised Mes [...]

The Lie of "Property is Theft"

The Lie of "Property is Theft"

“You shall not steal” is a fundamental biblical commandment that’s found in both Testaments (Ex. 20:15; 21:16; Lev. 19:11, 13; Matt. 19:18; Rom. 13:9). If property is theft, as one Christian stated on his Facebook page, then every person in the world is a thief because everyone owns something. Property rights are fundamental in the Bible, so much so that they’ve been written into our nation’s laws [...]

Jefferson's Wall of Separation

Jefferson's Wall of Separation

Many Americans might be surprised to learn that the United States Supreme Court building has a number of depictions of the Ten Commandments and other lawgivers prominently displayed, some of which are carved in stone, adorning entryways and visible in the chamber where the justices sit. Isn’t this a violation of the First Amendment and the “separation of church and state”? Histor [...]

Eschatology Precedes Everything

Eschatology Precedes Everything

This is Part Two of a book review written in 2009 of the book, Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and Not Yet. Part One can be found here. In the “Preface” to Dual Citizens, Jason Stellman approvingly quotes Dutch theologian Geerhardus Vos, who “famously said that ‘eschatology precedes soteriology.” “But,” Stellman continues, “I wou [...]

Would Jesus be Woke Today?

Would Jesus be Woke Today?

Matthew Dowd who was the chief strategist for the re-election campaign of former President George W. Bush who’s now running as a Democrat in the Texas lieutenant governor’s race implied in a tweet that conservatives and Republicans would criticize Jesus as being “woke” if He were alive today. Given the definition of being woke, Jesus would denounce it since it’s being used to promote racial [...]

This "Type of" Generation

This "Type of" Generation

Many prophecy writers try to get around the biblical meaning of genea by translating it as “race” when it should be translated as “generation” since this is what the word means in the genealogy in Matthew 1:17 where it’s used four times and cannot mean “race.” There weren’t 42 races, but there were 42 generations. Wars and Rumors of Wars Skeptics read the Olivet Discourse in the right way, but co [...]

Christians are Outsiders Here on Earth

Christians are Outsiders Here on Earth

John Piper writes that Christians “exert influence as happy, brokenhearted outsiders” who should only count on having limited and temporal success this side of heaven. “American culture does not belong to Christians,” he continues, “neither in reality nor in biblical theology. It never has. The present tailspin toward Sodom is not a fall from Christian ownership, &lsq [...]

It's all Vanity and Utterly Pointless

It's all Vanity and Utterly Pointless

Ideas have consequences and history often provides some interesting examples. The book review below was written in 2009 and there have been several ironic turns in the intervening years. The author of the book, Jason Stellman, was a PCA minister in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery and served as the prosecutor at Peter Leithart’s trial over teaching “heresy.” Leithart was acquitte [...]

Focus on the Smaller Picture

Focus on the Smaller Picture

Change takes time and people are generally impatient. It is easy to get frustrated and discouraged by what we see happening around us, but Christians need to have a long-term vision. The Church has existed for 2000 years, Israel for 2000 years before that, and the patriarchs 2000 before that. We have the time; now we need the vision. Unconditional Surrender: God's Program for Victory A primer [...]