The Pope’s Appeal for Inter-Religious Unity and Love

In the light of the debates now raging among Christians regarding how to respond to people of other faiths Pope Francis gives us here a short video in which he expresses his heart and personal hope. Many evangelicals will see this video and conclude something like the following: “Pope Francis believes all people are brothers and sisters and thus he … Read More

Must the Reformation Wars Continue? (Eighteen)

In my opinion what the Council of Trent anathematized was (ultimately) a caricature of the robust and clear evangelical view of justification. Who is to blame for this problem? Honestly, both sides bear fault in my estimation. The Reformers were careful thinkers about these matters. They did not speak with a divided mind, though Luther at times spoke both aggressively … Read More

Must the Reformation Wars Continue? (Part One)

I confess that I do not read the popular blogger Tim Challies. I was aware that he writes blogs which are very popular among conservative Christians, especially extremely conservative Reformed Christians. (I do not think my choice of words here is offensive and think Challies would accept this designation based upon how he presents himself!) Before last week I was … Read More

Dialogue vs. Dogma?

The word dialogue is very important to me, and my view of truth, at least in terms of the way Christians live with one another, and with non-Christians, in the modern age. What do I mean by dialogue? Could it be that the very idea behind this word is deeply flawed, as some cultural and religious conservatives maintain? Back in … Read More

Philip Schaff and the Unity of Christendom – Part Two

Last week I wrote about the unity of the church in light of my visit to Moody Bible Institute on December 3 and the dialogue that took place between Fr. Robert Barron and me before Moody students in Chicago. I then cited the work of the famous theologian Philip Schaff. I ended my final blog of the week last Thursday … Read More

The Depth & Extent of God’s Forgiveness Displayed in the Atonement – Part 2

Over the centuries theologians have developed numerous models for expressing the saving significance of Jesus’ death. We have sketched out several of these models, ever so simply I freely admit, in several blogs the past few weeks. I have concluded, along with Joel B. Green, Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, that: “No interpretation of the atonement can … Read More

The Atonement Debate: “Why Did Christ Die?” Part 5

Make no mistake about this a serious debate about the nature of God’s wrath, and the doctrine of penal satisfaction, is extremely important for many conservative Protestants.  Some of this heat, so I believe, is a carry-over from the earlier battles of fundamentalism with theological liberals who wanted to have a God who loved all and accepted all into his … Read More

The Atonement Debate: “Why Did Christ Die?” Part 4

The contentious issue in the current atonement debate among conservative evangelical Christians centers around various doctrinal distinctions that have been important for several centuries. Most conservative preaching has spoken of Christ’s death as meeting God’s just requirement for the punishment of sin, a death that satisfies God’s wrath against mankind’s rebellion. A central text employed by this argument can be … Read More

The Atonement Debate: “Why Did Christ Die?” Part 1

A recent dispute over the meaning of the atonement has sparked an outbreak of charges, and countercharges, among Protestant leaders. This particular dispute, not unlike so many in Christian history, arose from a line in a popular song. At issue are various theories of the atonement, not the simple confession made by all Christians from the earliest Christian era. We … Read More

If Rome is the One Church How Can Pope Francis Speak of Our Being One in Christ?

Yesterday, I shared the general audience address of Pope Francis from last week on Christian unity. Today I would like to offer some simple commentary and explanation of this amazing address. The pope began his audience by saying: Today I will focus upon another expression with which the Second Vatican Council indicates the nature of the Church: that of the … Read More