A courageously corrective, biblically responsible, pastorally sensitive, and immensely practical gift has been given to the Church. Unpacking Forgiveness offers a long overdue look at forgiveness and Chris Brauns has provided a solid framework in which to understand this central doctrine of our Christian faith. Though not a full-blown theologyRead More

While calling for change, the president-elect ran a theme throughout his campaign proclaiming “Yes we can.” Clearly the American people at large were enamored by this theme and got worked up into a political stupor that was almost hypnotic. Yet, I had my doubts whether this rhetoric was meaningful without the necessary justification and rationalization. What exactly was the grounding for the chant “Yes we can?” Do we really believe we have the power to change things? Even though we live our lives as if we can and do make a difference–that what we do really matters–I wonder whether or not we’re missing an important presupposition behind our actions, to wit: We are created beings and have no power whatsoever to do anything without the permission of and means provided by our Creator. This “Yes we can” attitude seems to leave out an important person in the “we” formula, namely, God! You see…
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God is a metaphysically and morally transcendent being. That is, he is ontologically distinct from his creation. God is morally, intellectually, volitionally, and emotionally unique. Morally, God is good (2 Chron. 5:13; Ps. 34:8; 100:5; Jer. 33:11; Nah. 1:7- Mt. 19:17), just (2 Chron. 12:6; Jn. 5:30; 2 Thess. 1:6),Read More

That God knows in advance who will respond to his call of salvation is clear (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pt. 1:1-2). However, God’s choosing is not based upon his foreknowledge (knowing in advance) of how some will respond (contra Arminian, Wesleyan theology). Rather, God’s choosing of the elect is in accordanceRead More

I confess. I’ve never seen one episode of Seinfeld or Desperate Housewives, nor have I watched a horror movie for almost 30 years. Moreover, I hardly read novels. For better or worse, I decided long ago that getting inside another’s imaginary world is, quite frankly, a waste of time when reality offers plenty of intrigue. My reading has been so academic for so long that I find it almost impossible to appreciate the world of fiction. (This is not to my credit, I have to admit.) Nevertheless, Young’s novel The Shack got my attention, as it has countless others, and I would like to say a few things about it.Read More

For a being whose attributes consist, at minimum, of absolute justice and perfect love, there seems to be a dilemma on how that being could show love to unlovely creatures without compromising either his moral perfections or absolute justice. In other words, is there some place where love and justice intersect? How, for instance, can God exact a just punishment on those deserving of his wrath while at the same time fully express his love to those same beings?Read More

Does God forget my sins when he forgives my sins? And, aren’t we supposed to “forgive and forget?” After all, the Bible clearly states “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). And, Jeremiah exclaims “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).Read More

Many who’ve been introduced to the notion of God’s omniscience eventually ask, “If God knows all things, including my choices before I make them, then are my choices really free?” Understandably, it is difficult to swallow the idea that we may not be “free” in any absolute sense. That our choices are not solely our own is not very palatable, especially for Westerners who tend to cherish (read “worship”) our freedoms. It seems we have this tenacious bent to believe that our choices really do matter, so much so that no other can possibly influence, much less determine, them.Read More

On Speaking about Hell… Why don’t Christians talk About Hell? I have a few proposed answers that run something like: We politely apologize for Hell. If it is mentioned, we are embarrassed by the topic and then quickly change the focus to the positive notions of God’s love, grace, etc.Read More