J. I. Packer on the 6 Things You Should Tell Yourself Every Day

Justin Taylor: Spiritual adoption is a big deal for the practical theology of J. I. Packer. In Knowing God J. I. Packer writes: If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. He says that if he were to focus the New Testament message in three words, he would choose adoption through propitiation. “I do not expect,” he writes, “ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” How would Packer summarize the whole of New Testament teaching? a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. He summarizes the whole of New Testament religion as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father.

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What Is the “Church”?

Justin Taylor: Gregg Allison, professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, provides the following definition of the church his book, Sojourners and Strangers: The Doctrine of the Church, Foundations of Evangelical Theology, ed. John Feinberg (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 29–30. [Bullets, brackets, italics, and formatting are mine.] The church is: the people of God who have been saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and have been incorporated into his body through baptism with the Holy Spirit. It consists of two interrelated elements: [1] The universal church is the fellowship of all Christians that extends from the day of Pentecost until the second coming, incorporating both the deceased believers who are presently in heaven and the living believers from all over the world. This universal church becomes manifested in local churches characterized by seven attributes: [Origin and Orientation] doxological oriented to the glory of God logocentric centered on the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, and the inspired Word of God, Scripture

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3 Things to Remember Before You Criticize Someone’s Theology

Justin Taylor: Critique—done well—is a gift to the one being criticized. (“Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” Prov. 27:6a). We should welcome the opportunity to have our thinking corrected and clarified. We see in a mirror dimly and we know only in part (1 Cor. 13:12), but God has gifted the church with teachers who often see things more clearly than we do at present. In God’s providence and through the gift of common grace he may also use unbelievers to critique our views, showing our logical mistakes or lack of clarity. Critique done poorly—whether through overstatement, misunderstanding, caricature—is a losing proposition for all. It undermines the credibility of the critic and deprives the one being criticized from the opportunity to improve his or her position. It’s impossible in a blog post to set forth a comprehensive methodology of critique—if such a thing can even be done. But there are at least three exhortations worth remembering about criticism: (1) understand before

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An Interview with David Wells

Justin Taylor: I was recently able to sit down with David Wells to talk about his new book, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World (Crossway, 2014). We talk about why this is the hardest book he has ever written, how it is different from what he’s written before, and why he spends so much of his time working with orphans in Africa.  

10 Reasons Why God Allows Suffering

Jared Wilson, in Gospel Deeps, writes that “while we may not be satisfied with what God has revealed about his purposes in suffering, we cannot justifiably say he has not revealed anything about his purposes in suffering. We may not have the answer we are labouring for, but we do have a wealth of answers that lie in the same field.” Here’s an outline of ten reasons he identifies in God’s Word: To remind us that the world is broken and groans for redemption [Rom. 8:20-23]. To do justice in response to Adam’s (and our) sin. To remind us of the severity of the impact of Adam’s (and our) sin. To keep us dependent on God [Heb. 12:6-7]. So that we will long more for heaven and less for the world. To make us more like Christ, the suffering servant [Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 1:5, 4:11]. To awaken the lost to their need for God [Ps. 119:67, 71]. To make the bliss of heaven

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We’re in the Last Days

Justin Taylor: Finally Revealed: Definitive Proof that the “Last Days” Are Upon Us In the New Testament there is a distinction between “the last day” (that is, the coming day of salvation and wrath; see 1 Thess. 5:1-11) and the “last days” (the period of time we are now in, between Christ’s death/resurrection/ascension and his second appearing). In addition to “last days” this present-day category can also be called “the last time/s” (Jude 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:20) or “the last hour” (1 John 2:18). You can see the references below: “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you. . . .” (1 Pet. 1:20) “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for

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Do You Expect a Response to the Preaching of the Gospel?

“St Paul expected his hearers to be moved. He so believed in his preaching that he knew that it was “the power of God unto salvation” [Rom. 1:16]. This expectation is a very real part of the presentation of the Gospel. It is a form of faith. A mere preaching which is not accompanied by the expectation of faith, is not a true preaching of the Gospel, because faith is a part of the Gospel. Simply to scatter the seed, with a sort of vague hope that some of it may come up somewhere, is not preaching the gospel. It is indeed a misrepresentation of the gospel. To preach the Gospel requires that the preacher should believe that he is sent to those whom he is addressing at the moment, because God has among them those whom He is at the moment calling: it requires that the speaker should expect a response.” —Roland Allen, Missionary Methods—St. Paul’s or Ours? (Grand Rapids, MI:

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