Warning and hope

Paul was no lone ranger. In general church life and in gospel ministry he surrounded himself with those who would encourage and strengthen him. Sometimes, however, other Christians deeply disappointed him. His honesty about both his encouragements and his disappointments serves to warn us…

Bushfires and the Bible

Australia is no stranger to seasonal bushfires. Stories and images of this season’s fires are impossible to miss. While the current disaster is hardly the worst in recorded history (the 1974–75 fires consumed in excess of 95 million hectares, compared to the present approximate…

All the King’s men: Introduction

Jesus’ compassion always turned into mission. His compassion for his people drove him to die for them so that they might live (John 3:16). His compassion also drove him to ensure that his mission was carried out by men—initially, twelve men—who shared his compassion…

The most optimistic time of the year

If Christmas—“with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer”—is the most wonderful time of the year, New Year’s is probably the most optimistic time of the year. It is the time of year in which, having taken some time…

Doctrine and devotion

In every generation there have been those who have downplayed the importance of doctrine. These detractors claim that it doesn’t matter what one believes so long as one lives a life of love and compassion. Doctrine causes division, they say. It is far better…

A confessing community: Salvation applied

Redemption is something that has been achieved through the historic life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That does not mean that it is an academic, intellectual reality. Instead, redemption is something that must be applied to God’s chosen people in space-time history. Confession…

A confessing community: Salvation purchased

Confession 4.5 brings us to the doctrine of justification proper, which is the central question of religion: How can I be right with (or, just before) God? We will only appreciate the magnitude of justification when we ask the right questions: Is God majestic…

A confessing community: Salvation promised

The church’s Christology (its doctrine of Jesus Christ) was solidified through centuries of discussion, dominating the attention of the Christian church for at least the first eight hundred years of new covenant history. This is understandable, because the nature of Christ is one of…

A confessing community: Salvation secured

In November 1785, Scottish poet Robert Burns was ploughing his field when he accidentally destroyed a mouse’s nest, which it needed to survive the winter. Burns’s brother claims that the poet was still holding onto the plough when he composed one of his most…

A confessing community: Salvation appointed

In a recent online conversation about Christian universalism, one commenter opined: “My problem with Christian universalism is the same exact problem I have with Calvinism. It’s God forcing us to love him.” The comment reveals a grave misunderstanding of the biblical doctrines of grace….