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Archive | Theology

Browse Worthy: The Slippery Slope

Some helpful articles have appeared recently discussing how ministers, churches, and denominations can start the downhill slide down into theological liberalism that destroys evangelical faith, personal holiness, and ecclesiastical integrity. The following posts are helpful mind-sharpeners on this issue.

The Slippery Slope and the Jesus Box | Richard Philips

Dr. Philips tracks a former PCA minister’s (and the congregation he pastors) long descent into endorsing homosexuality and denying Christ’s penal substitution. He points to the first steps down this slope, which he identifies as compromising Biblical authority and accepting women’s ordination.

The Slippery Slope: An Iron Law of Theological Declension? | William Evans

In response to Philips, Dr. Evans questions whether these are truly the first steps and wonders if starting the slide down the slippery slope is not more complicated. He raises the question of whether the competing authority of the culture with Christ and how the Bible is being interpreted are where slides begin.

Double Black Diamonds: Navigating the Slopes | Jay Harvey

In another article interacting with this subject on Reformation21, two particular types of slippery slopes, that of hermeneutical fallacy and the other of fear, are described.

Avoiding Logical Fallacies in Theology | Justin Taylor

In this archived article, Justin Taylor reminds us of how a slippery slope argument […]

Addendum on Resisting Redefinition

I’ve been thinking a little more on the need to guard against the casual adoption of the language of the PC establishment.

What I have found really helpful in thinking about this question is some recent reading about Martin Luther’s ‘Theology of the Word’. The German Reformer, pointing to biblical texts like Genesis 1.3, Romans 10.17 or 2 Corinthians 4.6, believed that the Word of God, as Carl Truman summarizes, “not only describes reality but also determines reality: all reality,” in ‘Luther and the Christian Life’ (p.80).

From the point of view of the Gospel, it is good to ask the question, why is it necessary and important to resist redefinition? Can I suggest that it would be good to bear in mind some or all of the following reasons?

First, because the chief instrument Satan uses to promote unbelief and undermine the truth, is the lies he tells. One example might be the lie of ‘same-sex marriage.’ In reality there is no such thing. Marriage is between one man and one woman. This linguistic redefinition is a false construction of the PC establishment which bears no relation to reality before God.

Second, because this blinding power of words is only removed by the […]

The Troubled Thoughts of a Blind Persecutor

In the early hours of morning, when the sun was beginning to stretch its gaze across the dusty roads of Damascus, Saul sat silent, blind to the eastern glow. His companions sat nearby in the stillness, regarding him with uncertainty.

“Do you want something to eat?”

“No,” said Saul.

“It would be good for you to strengthen yourself.”

Saul made a small motion with his hand.

“Were you able to sleep?”

“A little.”

They sat.

“I have bread here. Do you want some?”

“No,” said Saul.

The companions unrolled the bread from a long strip of cloth and began to eat, saying nothing further.

Saul shifted. He felt the stiff edge of rolled parchments in his garments. They were the letters from the high priest. In all the dizzying events of the past day, he had forgotten they were there. While staring at a wall, his eyes blank and lost, Saul felt the parchments, scraping a finger against a stiff curve. His heart grew heavy and his mind continued to reel.

His companions silently watched as they ate.

——-

It is a wonder to think what Saul of Tarsus thought during the days of his blindness after the Lord had visited him. While the mysteries of the heart remain hidden under lock and key, […]

3GT Episode 39: The Lord’s Presence in His Supper

Aaron wants to know. He quotes from the Westminster Confession of Faith and (after being warned about trespassing on Kyle’s other podcast) asks, “How is Christ present in communion?” After defining the four different views and giving Aaron an A on his test of them, a vigorous discussion on Christ’s human nature ensues. Where is his physical body now? How do we “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood” as Jesus said in John 6:53? How do we “really and indeed” feed upon him as the Confession says? The guys chew upon this perplexing mystery, and offer up a slice of the Reformed answer to it!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-39.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

References Cited

Keith Mathison, Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper

Peter Martyr Vermigli, The Oxford Treatise and Disputation

Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures in Christ

Thomas Houston, The Lord’s Supper: Its Nature, Ends, and Obligations

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 

Is it Possible that God is Actually a Terrible Demon Tricking Us?

Or it is at all possible that we are living in the Matrix?  Or are a brain in a vat?  Be honest!  Is it at all possible?

In this second video (do watch the first if you missed it), I tackle this thorny problem.  Having wrestled with this subject for well over a decade, I do not approach this as a dispassionate Christian.  There are profound implications hiding behind this issue.  So put on your thinking cap and dive on in.

 

 

 

 

Theology in View: The “What If” Problem (Part One)

Are we currently living in something like The Matrix? Can we know? And if not, then doesn’t agnosticism eat away at certainty?

In this first video, the problem of all-consuming agnosticism is set up, leaving us wondering if knowledge is forever crushed under the weight of ignorance.

If you find these helpful and enjoyable, please share with your friends.  In order to reach everyone who likes Gentle Reformation, Facebook charges fees in order to boost posts.  But if you share it, that helps circumvent it 🙂

 

Speaking of the Spirit

Reformed Christians are often accused, perhaps rightly so, of not emphasizing the person and work of the Holy Spirit sufficiently enough. As the Father has sent Jesus as our God-man mediator, from worship to evangelism our focus is to call people to come to the Father through the Son. We speak of being Christ-centered in our worship and preaching, as we should.  Yet often we can slip into “binitarian” tendencies instead of practicing a robust Trinitarian faith by not recognizing fully enough our dependency on the Spirit of God. Simply put, we fail to speak of the Spirit like we ought.

J.I. Packer has done a great deal to help us in the Reformed faith honor the Spirit’s role, most notably from his book on the third person of the Trinity entitled Keeping in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God. However, note how his familiar “hidden floodlight” illustration could be easily misunderstood if taken out of context.

I remember walking to a church one winter evening to preach on the words ‘he shall glorify me,’ seeing the building floodlit as I turned the corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my ministry needed. When flood-lighting is […]

Hezekiah My Hero

I’ve just finished reading through 1 & 2 Kings, in Hebrew, last Friday. For the sins of King Manasseh, the nation of Judah was finally thrust out into the judgment of Exile to Babylon.

Hezekianic Analysis

Some weeks ago I did a blog entitled ‘Humbling Hezekiahs’. I had been reminded at that time about the danger of pride in leaders, particularly after times of successes. Re-reading the life and times of Hezekiah has given me a fresh more positive take on his reign – I’ve recently declared in church ‘Hezekiah is my new hero!’

Hezekianic Text

The bit of the text by which I was struck like a thunderbolt was 2 Kings 18.3:

“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David, his father, had done. He removed the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).”

There is far more to Hezekiah than initially meets the gaze. His reign concluded in a downfall caused by pride, when self-interest finally trumped and eclipsed a career […]