What relationship does the pastor have with his church? Is he the CEO who makes sure the programs run smoothly? Is he the master-of-ceremonies to make sure people don't get bored? Is he the therapist who soothes consciences? Answer: None of the above - he's a servant. Turretin hammered this home well (Institutes III.227): "...It… Continue reading The Pastor: CEO, MC, Therapist…?
Reading through Vanhoozer's Drama of Doctrine a couple of years ago, I made a mental note of his discussion on certainty in the Christian faith. I loved the book, but was wrestling over his critique of absolute or apodictic certainty in the faith. After all, aren't we certain that God exists and that our sins… Continue reading On Certainty in the Christian Life
Francis Turretin asked the question, "What rules are to be observed in explaining...the precepts of the decalogue?" He gave seven principles: 1) The law is spiritual - it includes not only external acts, but also "internal motions of the mind." The commandments speak to the soul as well as the body. Obedience has to do… Continue reading How to Study the Ten Commandments
This post is a plea for students of the word to use Systematic Theology books (Berkhof, Bavinck, Turretin, Hodge, etc.) when studying passages in Scripture. Here's one example why it can be helpful. In 1 Kings 21.27-29 the Bible says wicked King Ahab "humbled himself" (ESV; nikna in Heb). After studying that phrase, the context… Continue reading Exegesis, Interpretation, and Using Systematic Theologies
Though not mentioned in volume one of Muller's PRRD, the doctrine of the Lord's Supper throughout church history proves Muller's point [see my last post]: the reformers and following scholastics did not outright reject 100% of medieval theology. Did the Reformers reject the Roman doctrine of Transubstantiation? Certainly. Did they reject all previous medieval teaching… Continue reading Medieval, Reformation, and Scholastic – The Doctrine of the Holy Supper