The Battle for God – Part 4

 Volume 28, Issue 4, May 2022 Since publishing the first three parts in “The God Debate” series, I have read Matthew Barrett’s Simply Trinity and the most recent issue of The Master’s Seminary Journal, both of which strongly defend Classical Theism and were critical of Eternal Functional Submission of the Son (EFS). In addition, two other current books have given me some insight that will necessitate another related paper.  These latter books are companions: Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew by Hans Boersma and Five Things Biblical Scholars Wish Theologians Knew by Scot McKnight.  As a result, I want to offer two more papers on the current subject.  This one will bring some additional clarity to the debate by defining more precisely some critical words and terms and drawing a conclusion.  I will follow up with one more article offering a caution related to the hermeneutics interwoven throughout...

Beth Allison Barr’s Distortion of Biblical Womanhood

Volume 28, Issue 3, April 2022 Recently we published a book review of Beth Allison Barr’s book, The Making of Biblical Womanhood.  Since then a revised form of that review was published in The Journal of Dispensational Theology, and given the significance of the subject matter, and its challenge to the biblical concept of men and women, we thought it prudent to send it out as a Think on These Things article.  Accordingly, it will read a bit differently than most articles, following more carefully the format of a book review. The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2021. 245 pp. + xvii, paper, $19.99. Beth Allison Barr is a history professor at Baylor University who specializes in medieval studies. Admitting she is not a theologian, but rather a historian (p. 205) (a fact mentioned...

Best Books

Volume 28, Issue 2, February 2022 Much of my life and ministry has been devoted to reading and study. Fortunately, the Lord has instilled in me a great love for such endeavors although, to be honest, I have managed to put undue pressure on myself to meet self-imposed goals which often rob me of some of the joys of reading. For example, no one required me, on the first day of full-time pastoral ministry, to make it my aim to read, on the average, one book per week for the rest of my life. And no one, some twenty years ago, asked me to write reviews of most of these books as I read them. But looking back over the 2,500+ books read and the approximately 800 Christian books reviewed, I am glad that I made such an effort. I trust my reading a wide range of topics, excellent...

The Battle for God – Part 3

Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2022 While debates concerning the nature of God can be traced throughout church history, often resulting in creeds such as Nicene (381), which established a standard of theological orthodoxy, battle lines in recent years have been drawn over the issue of submission of the Son to the authority of the Father. Those calling themselves classical theists maintain that the Son was subordinate to the Father only during His incarnation.  Others, sometimes termed theistic mutualists, believe that the Son has eternally submitted to the Father; yet in no way is this submission a sign of inferiority.  Their position has been labeled the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), or the Eternal Functional Submission of the Son (EFS), and more recently Eternal Roles of Authority and Submission (ERAS).  Since much mudslinging between the classicalists and the mutualists has occurred, and since most Christians are unaware of...

The Battle for God – Part 2

Volume 27, Issue 9, December 2021 In part one of this series, the origin of the debate between classical theists and theistic mutualists concerning the nature of God was introduced. The essence of the discussion centers on whether or not the Son has eternally submitted to the will of the Father or just submitted during the time of His incarnation. Complicating matters is the fact that complementarians support their views partially on the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS), also termed Eternal Functional Submission (EFS). While neither side denies the orthodox statements found in the Nicene Creed (381), the classicalists accuse the mutualists of misunderstanding the creed and falling short of its intent. A few even charge mutualists with the heresies of subordinationism and even Arianism. If the supporters of EFS are correct then the classicalists lament we have misunderstood God since the beginning of the church age. If...

The Battle for God – Part 1

Volume 27, Issue 8, October 2021 While most conservative evangelicals were resting comfortably in the Trinitarian understanding of the Godhead, as stated in the Nicene Creed (AD 381), a storm was brewing on the theological horizon of others.  In just the last few years, a major war over the very nature of God has erupted with the potential of leaving in its wake much doctrinal and spiritual damage. For this reason, I want to discuss this debate, not necessarily with the hope of solving all the issues (after all, some of the greatest theological minds within Christianity are weighing in on this subject), but at least to bring some clarity to the discussion and perhaps to map a way forward. With these aspirations in mind, I will prepare three articles on the subject.  This first paper will lay the foundation by addressing the origin of the debate, as well...

Book Listing for the Social Justice Movement Articles

Volume 27, Issue 6, June 2021 I have read more than 30 books in preparation for the five-part Think on These Things series on the Social Justice Movement (SJM) and Critical Race Theory (CRT).  Some of the books were read a few years ago, while many others more recently.  Not every volume is directly connected to the SJM or CRT but all contribute to understanding these influences in one way or another.  I thought it might be useful to identify these works including links to my book reviews of each.  This list, with accompanying links will provide a quick, and hopefully valuable reference for those who wish to explore this subject more fully.  As will be noticed, the books are organized alphabetically, rather than by subject. Book Author TOTT web link African Hermeneutics Elizabeth Mburu https://tottministries.org/african-hermeneutics-by-elizabeth-mburu/   Benedict Option Rod Dreher https://tottministries.org/the-benedict-option-a-strategy-for-christians-in-a-post-christian-nation-by-rod-dreher/ By What Standard Jared Longshore https://tottministries.org/by-what-standard-gods-world-god-rules-by-jared-longshore/  ...

Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 5 Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice

Volume 27, Issue 5, May 2021 What Christian would deny the importance of justice? Justice is a divine attribute (Deut 32:4) and a central feature of our obligation to those who live among us.  Micah 6:8 reads, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” In Isaiah 1:17 the Lord instructs His people to “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” For these reasons, when Christians begin to discuss their affirmation of justice it would appear to be a no-brainer.  But as it is so often the case, when it comes to critical race theory, different definitions of vital words are being used. Standard dictionaries will define justice in terms of fairness, conformity to the facts, treating...

Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 4, A Biblical Response

Volume 27, Issue 4, April 2021 In formulating a response to CRT and the broader social justice philosophy, which has momentarily captured the imagination of Western culture and increasingly made inroads into evangelicalism, we must begin not with contemporary theories but with Scripture. I would like to propose, and briefly address from Scripture, three key questions: What did we expect? Many Christians seem dumbfounded when the fruit of godless worldviews and false, spiritually-bankrupt ideologies emerge. This trend is especially prominent in America where some have equated Christianity with the American way of life (often called Christian Nationalism). Because of material prosperity and a relative level of common morality, many evangelicals have been led to believe that they live in a truly Christian society in which God is honored and His Word obeyed, at least superficially. When the bubble pops, whether that be in the form of social unrest, senseless...

Racism and Critical Race Theory Part 3, Biblical Investigation

Volume 27, Issue 3, March 2021 Part one in this series on racism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) was an introduction to the current conversation, while part two addressed past roots and present areas of social unrest. This part will provide a biblical investigation of CRT, identify three major ways that CRT is having a negative impact on evangelical Christianity, and part four will offer a response drawn from Scripture.  Biblical Investigation of CRT We now turn our attention to investigate the claims of Critical Race Theory, racism, and social justice in light of Scripture, including how unbiblical answers color our understanding of the gospel, the church, and the Scriptures. The question must never be if an ideology is popular or trending, but whether it stands the test of the Word of God.  Looking at the big picture, we can quickly see the contrast between the CRT worldview and...