We Must Clarify the Three Phases of Salvation

This is a great article that discusses some important topics concerning our salvation in a succint and understandable manner. From the Biblical Counseling Coalition………..

What is Theology and What Should We Do With It?

<p class="has-medium-font-size" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">If you follow this blog, then you probably perceive that I love theology. It's not that I love theology more than I love God; it's that I love theology <em>because</em> I love God! The point of this article is to show that theology is important because it should deepen our love for God, and theology should help us to better understand Him and better live in His world. From Credo Magazine………………….If you follow this blog, then you probably perceive that I love theology. It’s not that I love theology more than I love God; it’s that I love theology because I love God! The point of this article is to show that theology is important because it should deepen our love for God, and theology should help us to better understand Him and better live in His world. From Credo Magazine………………….

BOOK REVIEW: Knowing and the Trinity by Vern Poythress

This book by the eminent Bible scholar and theologian Vern Poythress is a fascinating examination of developing a new way to think about and understand the Trinity. The author’s goal here is to provide a different framework to examine the relations within the Trinity, then flowing out to God’s relationship with humans. He proposes uses perspectives – points of view – to do this. He makes the case that people use perspectives all the time in examining themselves and the world around them, and we are certainly hearing a lot in society today about learning to see life, ethnicity and culture from differing perspectives.

Poythress first describes the three types of perspectives he uses in examining the Trinity, and then he begins to apply those three forms of perspectives to an examination of the Trinity. Within this examination, Poythress also shows how the use of thinking and defining in terms of perspectives can help with questions that have long puzzled Christians, such as how God is both transcendent and immanent, understanding the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and balancing the soveriegnty of God with human responsibility for their actions.

This book is by no means an easy and quick read, but careful and methodical reading of the ideas that Poythress presents will provide benefits and understandings that make the effort well-worth the time and energy. Highly recommended!

*NOTE: As an Amazon Affiliate, I receive a small fee when my readers click through the image above and decide to make a purchase.

Jesus Christ’s Two Amazing Natures

I have mentioned before that I am somewhat of a theology nerd. But why not? Theology is simply the study of God, and what can be more important or exciting than learning more about the God of the universe? Anyway, this article does a great job of summarizing one of the most important – one of the hardest to understand – concepts in the Bible: That Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully man. From Monergism…………..

https://www.monergism.com/jesus-christ%E2%80%99s-two-amazing-natures

Top 10 Theology Books for Beginners

10 Best Recommended Theology Books for Newbies

[EDITOR’S NOTE]:  The original version of this article was written in June 2019, several weeks before the news about the recent divorce and repudiation of Christianity by Joshua Harris; one of his books I had originally recommended.  In light of these recent developments, I offer a new suggestion for #10

Theology is a term and subject that can scare off many a young Christian (not to mention most seasoned believers, too!).  But theology is really nothing more than the “study of God” [paraphrased dictionary definition], and as such should be of interest to every Christian who wants to learn more about our Heavenly Father and how He relates to the world and His creation — mankind.  As R. C. Sproul once famously declared, “Everyone is a theologian” — because everyone; believers and non-believers alike, need to try to make some sense of the world we live in.  And for the Christian, a good theology book simply serves to take the vast but complicated information found in the Bible, and attempt to synthesize that information into understandable and palatable portions that help make sense of what the Bible teaches.  One can find theology books that have print as small as the Bible itself, and nearly as many pages in some cases!  But there are a plethora of books that are much easier to handle, and even devotional and encouraging in tone and content.  The following is a list of ten recommended theology books that should not be overwhelming for new believers, and that would also prove useful for more mature believers who would like resources in helping them to lead Sunday school classes, home study groups, or mentoring younger believers.  So, in no particular order, here is my list:

Top 10 Theology Books for beginners:

  1. Knowing God by J. I. Packer (Intervarsity Press; 1973)

This book has been in print constantly since its first publication in the 1970’s, and was named by Christianity Today, as one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals in the 20th Century.  Packer is an eminent scholar, theologian, and teacher, but his writing is unusually clear and practical; and instructs readers in two eminent subjects — knowing about God, and also knowing God intimately through knowing Jesus “closer than a brother.”  You cannot go wrong with this sublime book.

     2.  The Attributes of God by A. W. Tozer (Wingspread; newest edition, 2007)

Like Packer’s book above, this work by Tozer is not strictly a systematic theology; but like Packer’s book, it has been in continual print since first published in the 1950’s, and also is often cited as a formative influence on numerous pastors, authors and lay people alike.  Tozer writes with passion and clarity on 10 of the most attributes that make God the “only God.”

3.  Bible Doctrine:  Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne

            Grudem (Zondervan Academic; 1999)

This volume is a major abridgement of Grudem’s full-fledged systematic theology 

 titled oddly enough Systematic Theology, but even at a little over 500 pages, is still less than a third of the size of the full textbook.  Like a true systematic theology, this work by Grudem covers all the main aspects of a systematic theology — God; the Bible; Man; Christ; redemption (salvation); the Church; and the End Times.  Grudem is an able scholar, but as a teacher and pastor for many years, he knows how to communicate hard truths into easily digestible nuggets.

4.  The Cross of Christ by John Stott (Intervarsity Press; newest edition,         2006)

  John Stott was one of the most revered authors, evangelist, and Christian statesman of    the 20th Century, and again, this book makes the list of practically all lists of top    Christian books; because it is generally so well-reasoned, thoroughly biblical, and yet    eminently applicable for today.  As the title implies, the volume focuses on the central  meaning of the Cross in Christianity — deliverance from sin, but most beautifully as the  greatest possible expression and demonstration of God’s love for His children.

5.  The Reason for God:  Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller  (Penguin Books; 2008)

Tim Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the heart of New York City;  and his preaching and teaching has attracted many thousands of young, upwardly mobile  seekers, with his down-to-earth yet heartfelt illustrations and his special gift of teaching  biblical truths in a manner both accessible and life-changing to thousands weekly, and  scores more through his writings.  While not really a theology book, per se, he aptly  demonstrates that belief in the Bible and the God of the Bible is both rational and  reasonable.

6.  Everyone’s a Theologian by R. C. Sproul (Reformation Trust Publishing;  2014)

R. C. Sproul was a well-known author, teacher, pastor and radio personality until his  recent passing in 2018.  As this title trumpets, anyone who thinks about the Bible and tries  to understand it, is engaging in theology.  Once Sproul gets this point across, he then goes  through all of the classical theological subheadings.  But because his teaching ministry  began teaching small groups of laymen in his living room, eventually growing into a  multi-national radio program and Christian resource repository, Sproul is more than  capable to the task to make theology both understandable life-changing.

7.  Systematic Theology:  An Introduction to Christian Belief by John Frame 

            (P&R Publishing; 2013)

As one reviewer put it:  “It would be nearly impossible to read this volume without being    drawn into fellowship and conversation with the God who is at its center….this is perhaps one of the most practical systematic theologies ever penned!.”  Enough said.

8.  God is Love:  A Biblical and Systematic Theology by Gerald Bray  (Crossway Books; 2012)

Bray delivers on his promise to teach Christians on the God who is love, and shows consistently how God’s love all hangs together in God’s story of the Good News given by Christ.

9.  According to Plan:  The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible by      Graeme Goldsworthy (IVP Academic; 2002)

This book by Goldsworthy is acknowledged by the majority of scholars and pastors as     one of the very best books on the unity of the Bible and the overarching message that      runs from Genesis to Revelation — thus making the message of each individual book      more meaningful.

10.  Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof (Eerdmans Publishing; 1938)

This work is older but still is in print and highly readable (publisher describes it as being written originally for high school students), but covers all the basics parts of theology in under 200 pages.

So, this is one pilgrim’s recommendations, but is by no means definitive or complete; but perhaps is a good place for someone to start with.  I would invite your thoughts and comments.  Happy exploring and growing closer to God!

A Guide to Theology in Three Perspectives and Why It is Important

THEOLOGY IN THREE DIMENSIONS — A Guide to Triperspectivalism and Its Significance by John Frame (P & R Publishing — 2017)

THEOLOGY IN THREE DIMENSION by John Frame presents an interesting and unique outlook on how to do theology; and from the processes and viewpoints explained in this fairly short, but meaty book, offers a way to coherently tie together the realities of God’s makeup as a way of learning more about Him, our world, and ourselves. Frame attempts in this book to explain his intriguing theory that that the triunity of the Godhead inevitably leads to a universe that is filled with triads and three perspectives on looking at all things both spiritual and material.
The main idea posited in the book is Frame’s argument that all things theological and biblical can be perceived and evaluated in terms of three perspectives — the normative, the situational, and the existential perspective. Defining “perspective” as “a position from which a person sees something,” Frame shows that one must use more than only one simple perspective to grasp more of the reality of a thing or a topic — including and especially our Triune God. Because God has given us glimpses of His unique omniperspective in the Bible, that coupled with our human perspectives in concert should give us a more thorough an extensive method to examine the truths of God, the teachings of the Bible for systematic and biblical theologies, and a greater understanding of the human condition from a multiple perspective methodology.
While the book is written at an accessible level, and Frame is an able writer and effective communicator — still, the thoughts and implications in this book are profound and thought-provoking, and would warrant several readings over time to fully grasp the significant implications posited by this preeminent theologian and Christian thinker. Highly recommended.