It’s no secret that John’s Gospel often cloaks depth with simplicity. That is part of the beauty of his prose, which carries over from the Greek into many English translations. A prime example is the often-quoted John 14:6, an utterance of Christ comprised of a simple subject, a linking verb, and three subject complements: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” We might skip over the syntax as thoughtlessly as we would dance over a string of rain puddles on pavement. But I cannot seem to get over the middle part.
On 17 August 1560, the Scottish Parliament read twice and with great care a newly drafted Confession of Faith. It was an important document for a transformed nation that had just won the right to abandon Roman Catholic worship and adopt a Protestant theology, liturgy, and church order.
A Little History
On his 23rd birthday, 10 August 1559, Caspar Olevianus had a chance to preach his first sermon in German in a lecture hall at Trier, Germany (his birthplace). He had been waiting long for this moment. His love for the gospel had bloomed in his college days, when he had first come into contact with the Protestant Reformation. His desire to communicate it to others turned into a vow after he nearly escaped death at the University of Bourges, France.
An Eager Vow
I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contribute a column at Place for Truth, and I pray the Lord will use my contributions for the furthering of His kingdom.
Given the Alliance’s clear emphasis on the subject (coupled with evangelicalism’s increasing murkiness), I can think of no better theme for my first post than this: “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Two texts are particularly helpful for understanding what Paul means by this.
Christians are frequently reminded to “remember the reason for Christmas,” meaning, of course, that we should turn our attention away from the cultural trappings and to the fact that Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem. But this Christmas, perhaps we should fix our attention a little more closely, not just on the details of Jesus’ birth, but on the miracle of the incarnation. In so doing, we join a great cloud of Christian witnesses, who have reflected deeply on this glorious mystery.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (WCF 1:6a)
Calvin’s and Beza’s thought was so fertile as to spawn many followers. Summaries of Ponet, Daneau, Hotman, and many others are worth consulting at any Inauguration. Another disciple who particularly refined this theory was the Marian exile, Christopher Goodman, whose ideas will be explored briefly below.
The popular Federalist Papers in many ways reflect the continuation of Calvin’s view of man and the state. Alexander Hamilton began The Federalist Papers by asserting that the people of this country have reserved to themselves the important question of whether “societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government” (Federalist #1). While he admitted that the people must cede to that government certain prerogatives (#2), Ham
In the Western world at least, the glory of the church seems to be fading fast. Far from those days when her influence was far-reaching and wide-ranging, her values and opinions respected and her numbers strong; she has become the object of public ridicule and, too often, seen as the great irrelevance. It is perhaps not surprising therefore, that Christians and even Christian ministers are tempted to keep their church affiliation and involvement to themselves. These are challenging times for many churches.
In this quincentennial year, marking Martin Luther’s memorable act of defiance in Wittenberg, much has been said regarding his famous dictum about ‘the Word doing its work’. Far from attributing the impact and success of the Reformation on his own natural abilities or dogged persistence, he humbly acknowledged the Holy Scriptures in the hand of the Holy Spirit as the key to all it accomplished.
The first Psalm sets the stage for the entire Psalter. Its attention on the covenant God and covenant blessing and cursing, as well as its preoccupation with God’s Word as the source for our understanding, focus the entire Psalter. In fact, as scholars like O. Palmer Robertson have contended, Psalms 1 and 2 serve as the “pillar or gates” to the whole edifice of the Psalter. They are the great building blocks that support the whole.
A Stew Pot
One of the more frequently visited proverbs of my childhood came to me from my mother. “A stew pot never boils,” she would say. I felt what it meant long before I actually understood it. Explanation of the phrase came in its fuller version: “A stew pot never boils when watched.”
This week on Theology on the Go, our host, Dr. Jonathan Master is joined by Dr. Robert Cara. Dr. Cara is the Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte and Provost and Chief Academic Officer for the Reformed Theological Seminary institution. He has been a professor at RTS since 1993. Dr. Cara was an engineer for seven years before the Lord re-directed him toward seminary.
One of the more contentious issues in the history bibliology has been over the relationship between the human and divine in Scripture, an issue to which B.B. Warfield devoted so much of his attention. Jeff Stivason has served us well in recapturing Warfield’s emphasis on concursus, an idea perhaps best summarized through the words of 1 Peter 1:12, where Peter can attribute Scriptures authorship to be both entirely human as well as entirely (and primarily) of God.