Four Gospels?

Nicholas T. Batzig: God doesn’t do anything arbitrarily. We may not be able to grasp His intentions in full or even in part, but we can be sure that everything that He does is full of eternal purpose and Divine wisdom. The secret things may belong to God, but those that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever (Deut. 29:29). Those revealed things have to do with all that God has made known to us in the Scriptures. The heart of biblical revelation is the revelation of Jesus. The chief reason why God breathed out the Scriptures is that we might come to know Him in and through His Son–and that we might have life in Christ. While every book of the Bible is about Jesus and our relationship to Him, the four Gospels give us the close-up shots of the Savior in the days of His flesh. As a young Christian, I remember wondering why it was that

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The relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament

By Tim Keller: I find it frustrating when I read or hear columnists, pundits, or journalists dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they pick and choose which of the rules in the Bible to obey.” What I hear most often is “Christians ignore lots of Old Testament texts—about not eating raw meat or pork or shellfish, not executing people for breaking the Sabbath, not wearing garments woven with two kinds of material and so on. Then they condemn homosexuality. Aren’t you just picking and choosing what they want to believe from the Bible?” It is not that I expect everyone to have the capability of understanding that the whole Bible is about Jesus and God’s plan to redeem his people, but I vainly hope that one day someone will access their common sense (or at least talk to an informed theological advisor) before leveling the charge of inconsistency. First of all, let’s be clear that it’s not only the Old Testament

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Identifying the Colossian Heresy

. Nicholas T. Batzig writes: One of the more difficult aspects of biblical interpretation is identifying the precise historical background of the book or letter being read. In the NT epistles there are almost always enough internal clues for the interpreter to come to a settled understanding of what error, if any, is being confronted. Of all the polemical letters (which would include almost every book in the NT. For a brief survey see this!) most of us would agree that Galatians is the far and away the most polemical and–in some ways–the most difficult to interpret; the letter to the Colossians, however, is certainly not far behind. In fact, the nature of the Colossian heresy–which the apostle sought so vigorously to refute with the Gospel–is perhaps the most difficult to identify. On first glance the internal evidence seems to show three errors that had infiltrated the fledgling church: (1) Philosophical speculation (Col. 2:2-4; 8), (2) Angel worship (2:18), and (3)

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Goldsworthy: “the history of the word…climaxes in the word becoming flesh”

“It is clear from the New Testament that the primary means by which the church grew was through the preaching of the gospel. The apostle Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians that he was determined to know nothing among them but Christ and him crucified, expressed it simply: “we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23; 2:2). “The act of proclaiming, or preaching, was not the giving of opinions or of reinterpreting old religious traditions in new and creative ways. It was proclaiming the word of God. Whatever the form of the proclamation, the content was the gospel of Jesus, and it was by this means alone that people were added to the church. “Faith comes through what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). We note to begin with that the word of God now attaches to both Jesus and to the testimony about

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Russell Moore: “Every text of Scripture–Old or New Testaments–is…about Jesus”

“There’s plenty of Veggie Tales preaching out there, and it’s not all for children. As a matter of fact, the way we teach children the Bible grows from what we believe the Bible is about–what’s really important in the Christian life. There’s also such a thing as Veggie Tales discipleship, Veggie Tales evangelism, even erudite and complicated Veggie Tales theology and biblical scholarship. “Whenever we approach the Bible without focusing in on what the Bible is about–Christ Jesus and His Gospel–we are going to wind up with a kind of golden-rule Christianity that doesn’t last a generation, indeed rarely lasts an hour after it is delivered. Preaching Christ doesn’t simply mean giving a gospel invitation at the end of a sermon–although it certainly does entail that. It means seeing all of reality as being summed up in Christ, and showing believers how to find themselves in the story of Jesus, a story that is Alpha and Omega, from the spoken

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Interview with Tom Schreiner

I can’t wait to get hold of Tom Schreiner’s new book, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ. Midlands Bible College and Divinity School recently interviewed Dr. Schreiner about the book. You can read the interview here, but here’s a sample that particularly interested me: Let’s consider two things that you focus upon in your book. The first is the theme of magnifying God and the second is the theme of salvation history. Taking the first of these, what do you mean when you say, “the New Testament is radically God-centred”? What I mean by that is that the New Testament’s ultimate aim is to lift us up into God’s presence so that the purpose of the New Testament is not merely intellectual but is doxological, that we will glorify, honour, and praise God for his saving work in Christ. I have 10 plus chapters on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit but the majority focus on Jesus

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Everyone Who Has Been Born of God Overcomes the World

Here’s the outline of  great sermon from John Piper on the signs of new life in Christ from 1 John. You can hear, watch or read the whole thing here. The apostle John wrote his First Epistle to believers, with deceivers in their midst, to give them rock-solid confidence in their possession of eternal life as born-again children of God, so that they would not be drawn away after sin—all to the completion of his joy. At the heart of John’s reason for writing was his desire to help his born-again readers know that they were born again—that they already had new, spiritual, eternal life. In his letter, John gives eleven evidences of those who are born of God: 1. They keep God’s commandments (2:3-4; 3:24). 2. They walk as Christ walked (2:56). 3. They don’t hate others but love them (2:9; 3:14; 4:7-8, 20). 4. They don’t love the world (2:15). 5. They confess the Son and receive (have)

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Excerpt from Schreiner’s NT Theology

Justin Taylor posts on Tom Schreiner’s new book: Baker Academic has posted the introduction and chapter 9 of Tom Schreiner’s forthcoming magnum opus, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (due out in May 2008) The introduction is well worth a read. Here’s some extracts to whet your appetite. As you can imagine, I love Schreiner’s emphasis on the importance of the ‘Already Not Yet’ –  “promise fulfilled but not consummated”. The thesis advanced in this book is that NT theology is God-focused, Christ-centered, and Spirit-saturated, but the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit must be understood along a salvation-historical timeline; that is, God’s promises are already fulfilled but not yet consummated in Christ Jesus. We will see that the ministry of Jesus Christ and the work of the Spirit are fundamental for the fulfilling of God’s promises. The coming of Jesus Christ and the work of the Spirit are the prime indications that God is beginning to fulfi

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Eschatology Q & A: What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Different Millennial Views?

This is a very helpful article on the Millennial views by Kim Riddlebarger. Lëmi asks (October 31, 2007): “Could you explain briefly all the millennial positions pointing out their main strengths and weaknesses?” Thanks for the question Lëmi. Although I could write a book-length answer to your question (and hopefully will one of these days), I’ll do what I can to give you as concise an answer as possible. Lets start with premillennialism. As for its strengths, there seem to be two. One is the fact that Revelation 19 depicts the return of Christ, while Revelation 20:1-10 depicts the reign of Christ on the earth. If these chapters describe consecutive events (a point with which I would take issue) then this would place the millennial age after Christ’s return. A second apparent strength is that a number of church fathers state that this was the teaching passed on to them by the eyewitnesses to the ministry of the apostles, although

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The Spirit of Holiness

I found this article by Michael Haykin helpful for some current research I’m doing into the understanding of the link between the Spirit and ethical transformation in the Old Testament. One does not have to read far in Romans—the most systematic of all of Paul’s letters—to encounter a reference to the Spirit’s sanctifying work. In Romans 1:4 Paul describes the Spirit with a phrase that is unique in the New Testament—he is the “Spirit of holiness.”[1] What exactly does the Apostle mean by describing the Spirit thus? Why does he not use the more common term “Holy Spirit”? For some writers the terms “Holy Spirit” and “Spirit of holiness” are simply synonymous and they would understand the term “Spirit of holiness” to mean something like “the Spirit whose character is holiness.” There is another way, though, to understand this phrase and that is to see it as a description of the Spirit’s work: he is the giver of holiness, the

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Scripture Congregates About Jesus/Gospel

D.A. Carson: “Strictly speaking, then, Christians are not to think of the New Testament books as just like the Old Testament books, bringing the next phase of God’s redemptive plan to us. Mormons argue that that is all they are — and then say that Joseph Smith brought a still later revelation to us, since he was yet another accredited prophet. But the author of Hebrews sees that the climax of all the Old Testament revelation, mediated through prophets and stored in books, is not, strictly speaking, more books — but Christ Jesus himself. The New Testament books congregate around Jesus and bear witness to him who is the climax of revelation. Later books that cannot bear witness to this climactic revelation are automatically disqualified.” (HT: Gospel Muse)

The Incarnation

David Mathis, at Desiring God blog, reflects on the advent and incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is a really great series. I rcommend it highly! Advent and the Incarnation Jesus Is Fully Human What Is the Hypostatic Union? The Virgin Birth (HT: Justin Taylor)