Works-righteousness: a square contractual peg in a round covenantal hole
In antiquity, the key distinction between contract and covenant was one of performance versus loyalty. This was widely understood and accepted; so how plausible is it that first century Judaism treated God’s covenant as a contract requiring performance, rather than as what it claimed to be—a covenant requiring personal fidelity?
Is final justification unchristian?
Final justification does not add anything to the conditions of justification; nor does it entail that God grounds his verdict in our works rather than in his Son’s. On the contrary, final justification is on account of the very same faith that first joined us to Jesus and his vindication—and our works are a proper part of that faith.
Am I toxically paranoid, or are you naïvely inured?
The frog is disputing the meaning of the bubbles as the pot comes to the boil.
The Last Jedi is the first successful leftist porno
Why did the latest Star Wars installment receive fawning critical adoration, but widespread contempt from average movie-goers? Because average movie-goers didn’t realize that it was a film made to stimulate the engorgement of virtue, rather than to tell a story.
Does 1 Corinthians 8:4–6 deny or affirm the existence of other gods?
This is commonly taken as an anchor point for proving that other gods do not exist—but in fact, it is saying the opposite.
What is the kingdom of God? Introduction: a tale of two kingdoms
Why do the gospels represent the good news as being about the “kingdom of God”? What is this kingdom, and how does it relate to us today? In this series I trace the surprising biblical narrative of kingdom, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, starting by showing that John 3:16 is actually about God transforming man’s ruined kingdom into his own eternal one.
Baptism as a pledge of allegiance
Baptism is (among other things) a public renouncement of one’s former enslavement to Satan and the other spiritual rulers of this present darkness, and a vow of fealty to the enthroned king, Jesus.
Who is the serpent in Genesis, and is it an actual snake?
Several different strands of evidence point to the serpent being not an animal, but a shining, serpentine angelic being.
Thorny problems with the serpent being a talking snake
This surprisingly common YEC interpretation of Genesis 3 is problematic for at least seven reasons.
Angels and ghosts
The common assumption that Matthew 18 and Acts 12 give us glimpses of guardian angels is probably mistaken. Rather, the term angel in these passages is referring to human spirits.
Presupposing freewill theism is the opposite of the Naked Bible method
Modern ideas about libertarian free will, conditioned by our culture and theological history, are completely foreign to the assumptions that ancient readers would have brought to the Bible.
Demonization and mental illness
Despite popular assumptions, ancient peoples could usually tell the difference—just like we usually can.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 5: when God began retaking Adam’s kingdom from Satan
Before we can understand how God is retaking Adam’s kingdom, we must first establish when he began to do it. Daniel 7 was fulfilled after Pentecost when Jesus went into heaven on a cloud and received kingship to place his enemies under his feet.
Why think the rulers of 1 Corinthians 2:8 are gods?
In which I outline two significant reasons based on the language used, and what Paul is actually talking about.
Are cherubs just palace guardians?
Steve Hays argues that my view of Eden as the divine council meeting-place trades on ignoring the role of cherubs as defensive rather than administrative beings. I reply with a three-pronged rebuttal.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 3: what happened in Eden
Adam was created as the first human member of the divine council. The serpent was a shining, serpentine being who didn’t like Adam being given dominion of the earth instead of someone higher up…like him.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 2: the divine council
Israel, like all ancient Near Eastern peoples, conceived of the world as being governed by a cosmic bureaucracy—a bureaucracy the Bible calls the divine council. Prophets were brought into this council when they were commissioned.
How to better profit from personal Bible reading
Some thoughts and questions to ponder when seeking to apply the Bible to your own life in your personal devotions.
Prelapsarian predation, part 4: the curse
Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the fourth part of this series I assess what we can infer about death and predation from the curse.
Word studies are not exegesis
Or, don’t bother learning the original languages if you don’t yet know how communication works in even your native tongue.
What is going on with Legion and the pigs?
Why does Legion beg to go into the pigs? Why does Jesus let them? Why do the pigs then rush into the sea?
Is the Sabbath still required for Christians?
One of the characteristics of the “New Calvinism” is that it is generally anti-sabbatarian. Is this right?
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 7: the early church
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I demonstrate how they must cite cherry-picked evidence from the most absurdly unqualified sources to make the case that eternal punishment wasn’t part of early church doctrine.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 6: argument from statistics
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I briefly demolish their “statistical argument” that if hell were in the Bible, it would appear more often.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 5: exegetical fumbles
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show the blunders and gymnastics required to so comprehensively misunderstand the obvious “hell passages”.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 4: is hell eternal or age-long?
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show that if you believe hell’s duration should be translated as “age-long” rather than “eternal”, you not only mangle basic language, but eviscerate the gospel and spiral into heresy on the nature of God himself.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 3: Gehenna
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I correct their hasty assertions about how “Gehenna” is mistranslated, by examining its use in Second Temple sources.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 2: the nature of hell
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I illustrate their fundamental misunderstanding of the traditional doctrine of hell.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 1: hell and the gospel
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I question how their view of hell can square with a gospel that preaches eternal life.
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 3: the face of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 2: the angel of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 1: the word of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
A simple argument that John 6 is not referring to the Eucharist
I mean, of course it’s not—but try convincing a Catholic of that.
Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #2: who is ha’satan?
In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on Satan.
Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #1: filters and mosaics
In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—starting with his idea that viewing the Bible as a mosaic means throwing out our “filters”.
What is being born of water in John 3:5?
Is it baptism, amniotic fluid, or is John tracing a trajectory of Old Testament allusion and physical metaphor?
Are the first and second commandments morally distinguishable?
It’s a bit of a trick question when I ask it.
Prelapsarian predation, part 3: wildness in Genesis 1–2
Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the third part of this series I look at clues in Genesis 1–2 that reveal a much wilder world than creationists suppose.
Can we distinguish inspiration from canonization?
The answer might not be as obvious as you think.
If the New Testament says Lord instead of Yahweh, why shouldn’t we?
A good question that leads to some unexpected problems.
Why I love the name Yahweh like I love the name Jesus
If you find it off-putting when Christians speak of Yahweh instead of the LORD, this testimony is for you.
What’s the big deal with translating Yahweh as LORD?
A reader wishes to know.
What does baptism signify?
Is it membership in the covenant? Or just membership in the covenant community?
It’s a name, people.
New atheism & child psychology
Why do new atheists form beliefs, and argue for them, in the same way as my four year old son?
Who is baptism for?
Is it for babies? Or believers only? It is for new covenant members— who the Bible explicitly identifies as regenerate believers.
Silly myths and irreverent visions
An exchange in which I resist being led away by a professing believer whose sensuous mind is puffed up without reason…
Prelapsarian predation, part 2: the provision of plants for food
Although God’s provision of plants for food in Genesis 1 seems to indicate that animals were not yet bitey, careful comparison with Genesis 7 and 9 suggests otherwise.
Prelapsarian predation, part 1: could it be “very good”?
Were animals bitey before the fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the first part of this series I assess what we can infer from God’s repeated declaration that his creation was “very good”.