A confessing community: Salvation revealed

The Bible is a collection of inspired writings, spanning an array of genres, written by forty-plus authors over a span of some four thousand years. Yet it presents a single, united message. It is easy to miss this central theme in the complexity of…

A confessing community: Salvation provided

Sola 5, whose Confession we are studying in this series, is an association of God-centred evangelical churches in Southern Africa. While there is a degree of doctrinal diversity between the churches, all churches confess certain core doctrines. Most core to the identity of the…

A confessing community: Sin

The five solas of the Protestant Reformation remind us of the gospel truth that the Reformers recaptured: that salvation is by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) in Christ alone (solus Christus) according to Scripture alone (sola scriptura) for the glory…

A confessing community: The fall

It is universally recognised that “nobody’s perfect.” Bad things happen to good people. Innocent people—including infants—die. Every culture in history has had to wrestle with why. What is the source of imperfection, death, and misery in the human race? From a humanistic standpoint, it…

A confessing community: Creation of angels

Writing in 1941, German Lutheran theologian Rudolf Bultmann suggested that the Bible is filled with “mythological thought,” which can be traced to “Jewish apocalypticism” and “the Gnostic myth of redemption.” Bultmann suggested that such mythological thought “is incredible to men and women today because…

Keep yourselves from idols

The apostle John wrote his first letter to a group of Christians struggling with idolatry. As he closed his exhortation, he issued a stern warning: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). To those who are not versed in a biblical understanding…

The myth of Christian persecution

Several years ago, English academic and theologian Candida Moss wrote The Myth of Christian Persecution. Her premise is that early Christianity invented a narrative of systemic persecution during the first three centuries following the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. This persecution, the inventive Christians…

Israel’s woes: My perspective

It’s been an interesting few weeks in the world of Christianity and celebrity sport stars. Last week, it emerged that Wallaby rugby star Israel Folau had landed in hot water (not for the first time) after posting an image on Instagram stating that hell…

A confessing community: Creation of heaven and earth

It may surprise you—or perhaps it won’t—that Bible interpreters have never fully agreed on a single interpretation of the creation story in Genesis 1–2. Some of the early church fathers (e.g. Victorinus, Lactantius, Basil the Great, Ambrose of Milan, and John Damascene) explicitly affirmed…

A confessing community: The Scriptures interpreted

One of the biggest doctrinal controversies in the fourth century centred on the deity of Jesus Christ. Arius and his followers taught that Jesus Christ was a created being, who did not always exist. Athanasius strongly defended the deity of Jesus Christ and helped…