I recently posted about the Top 10 Best Books on the Atonement. There I mentioned my favorite book outside the Bible, The Death of Death by John Owen. This is Owen’s treatise on Limited Atonement. The entirety of the third section (book) is devoted to 16 arguments in support of Limited Atonement. Now each one may not be sufficient by itself (although some are) to prove the doctrine, but by the end we see that the overarching theme traced throughout the whole Bible is undeniable. Below is my summary of them. As the title implies, I’ll try to keep with Owen’s thought and Bible references, although I may at times fall for the temptation to add my own take and flare. All page numbers are from the 1983 reprint by Banner of Truth. Again, there is a free PDF version on CCEL
“These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
Paul had just said that God is working all things for our good (v. 28), and that we will be conformed to Jesus’ image (v. 29). Continuing that thought, he explains that the plan of salvation is secure, and how God brings us into that conformity. The teaching in this sentence has rightly been called The Golden Chain of Salvation. Nobody can be at one link in this chain without all of the others being true. Anybody who is justified before God is so because they were first predestined by God, and because God followed through with His purpose to save them by also calling them. Anybody who is justified will by no means fall away, but God will complete their salvation and bring them into eternal glory. The verse could have the same meaning if it had only said, “all whom He predestined, He also glorified.“ Continue reading The Golden Chain of Salvation, Romans 8:30
N.T. Wright, in his newest book, The Day the Revolution Began, asserts that an either/or distinction between the theories of the atonement must be discarded. These theories in fact are all truthful. They must be taken together to get a holistic picture of what the atonement is. The idea, in a nutshell, is that the atonement of Christ is a multi-faceted event containing elements of Christus Victor, Moral Influence, and Penal Substitution, an event which is ultimately about God reclaiming authority over the world through the reinstatement of humans to their God-ordained vocation as image bearers and vice-regents of the earth. Below, I will explain the deficiencies of each theory to show that they are not sufficient in and of themselves to explain the atonement. Continue reading The Multi-Dimensional Revolution: Theories of the Atonement, pt. 2
These are in no particular order!
The Death of Death by John Owen. The PDF can be found here
Apart from the Bible, this is my favorite book of all time. John Owen, the greatest of all Puritans, had already defended Limited Atonement in his first work, A Display of Arminianism. Here is an absolutely thorough treatment of the subject that to this day has not been sufficiently answered by the opposing side. Continue reading Theology Must Reads: Top 10 Books on the Atonement
I promise you that the title isn’t meant to be clickbait. Anxiety is a very real thing that we feel as human beings, and the Scriptures are replete with comforts and corrections for us in our worries. Rather what I mean by “nobody struggles with anxiety” is that an individual’s battle against anxiety is never a war against anxiety particularly. They may feel anxiety and that anxiety may produce a great deal of pain in their hearts, but anxiety is always a product of some greater issue. Continue reading Nobody Struggles With Anxiety
The book 1 Timothy was written by Paul the apostle to a young evangelist who often served with him. He is absent at the time and wishes to instruct Timothy on how to run the church. Our passage for today, chapter 1 verses 12-17, is a digression. His mention of his commission to preach the gospel in verse 11 sparks a rant about how he was considered faithful despite his former sins. He picks up his thought again in verse 18 mentioning again the command back in verse 3. In this paragraph Paul give us insight into the gospel and his personal testimony. I want to draw particular attention to his past sin. Paul shatters the notion that people can be too bad to make it to heaven. If you are in that thought process concerning yourself, may Paul’s testimony show you just how merciful Jesus is. Continue reading Paul the Chief of Sinners Was Shown Mercy
The Galatian church had fallen prey to false teachers, and many of its members were being drawn away from the pure gospel of grace alone. Paul writes the letter to rebuke them and get them back on track. Here we can glean insight and many practical tips for how we can recognize and defeat false doctrine in our churches. Continue reading 10 Lessons From Galatians on False Doctrine and Its Teachers
The death of Jesus Christ stands as a central event in Christian theology along with the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension. Like the other three events, the death of Jesus is rich with meaning and significance. The New Testament, looking back at the crucified Christ, explains that the death of Jesus should be understood in terms of atonement (Heb. 2:17). Jesus, like the sacrificial animals offered by the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament, is handed over to be killed on a Roman crucifix in order to make atonement for the sins of the people.
However, the nature of how this atonement works has been hotly debated throughout church history. Several different theories have been offered throughout the past two millennia to try to get at what is happening on the cross. Is Jesus’ death an ironic victory over the dark powers of this world, an inspirational illustration of the sacrificial love of God, or a legal transaction between God and Jesus in order to satisfy God’s requirement? This paper will present a middle way theory which navigates between the other atonement theories and discovers they are in fact parts to a multi-dimensional whole expressed in various metaphors in Scripture requiring a harmony of more than one atonement theory in order to be fully explained. Continue reading Ironic, Subjective, Just, or All Three: Theories of the Atonement, pt. 1
Today I want to address that which is both a highly neglected Christian responsibility and a highly underappreciated Christian privilege. The exhortation from Scripture goes as follows:
“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
Todays topic is something we can all relate to: suffering. We have all suffered in one way or another–a physical illness, a death in the family, or even persecution for being a Christian. In the gospel of John, we find examples of each of these. I want to examine an account of each, and glean insight from the narrative as to why we go through hardships, and how God can still shine through our darkness. Continue reading God’s Glory Through Suffering: A Case Study in the Gospel of John