Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial (or at least thought-provoking!) in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
William Edgar, "Exclusivism: Unjust or Just" in Faith Comes By Hearing: A Response to Inclusivism, ed by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson. IVP Academic, 2008, p. 92:
"...once we see how radically evil we are, then the gospel answer comes not as a matter of fairness, but as a wonderful surprise. God has not only retained his full right to be angry with our sin, and thus to place a curse upon the world, but he has determined to save multitudes from their plight because of his love. This is the gospel, the good news, that by mutual agreement the eternal Son of God became a man, who both perfectly obeyed the Father and also took all of the guilt for sin upon himself asa substitute for his people. Not only that, but whoever turns tot he Lord for mercy shall be saved."
Gerald R. McDermott, "Guided by the Great Cloud: Why Tradition Is Vital for Understanding Scripture." Christianity Today (November 2014), p. 57:
"The real question is not whether tradition influences our interoperation of the Bible, but which tradition does so. And the best way to judge that tradition is to regularly compare it to the Great Tradition - another name for the great 'could of witnesses' (Heb 12:1) down through the centuries. It's what C.S. Lewis called 'mere Christianity,' the consensus on belief and behavior that the historic church has agreed on for the past 2,000 years." //
"Consulting the Great Tradition doesn't mean the exact language and formulations of every creed and dogma must stay the same. Protestants have invoked semper reformanda ('always being reformed'), recognizing the church's need to be open to the Spirit. But there is a difference between teasing out, for further development, the inner logic of the creeds and dogmas of historic orthodoxy, on the one hand, and throwing out what is opposed to today's culture, on the other. For example, we might object to the culture-bound ways of explaining penal substitution on the Cross, recognizing there are multiple atonement motifs in Scripture. But we should never omit what is both central to biblical teaching and offensive to today's zeitgeist - that through the bloody sacrifice of Christ, God satisfied his holy wrath toward sin."
Click here to be taken to Christianity Today's website where you can search for the full article from which this excerpt was taken, or find other articles broadly relevant to evangelical Christianity that may be of interest to you.
Michael J. Kruger, "One Trait that Set Apart the Earliest Christians." Accessible online at thegospelcoalition.org. Posted on October 28, 2014.
"[A] sampling of texts from the second century demonstrates that one of the main ways that Christians stood out from their surrounding culture was their distinctive sexual behavior. Of course, this doesn’t mean Christians were perfect in this regard. No doubt, many Christians committed sexual sins. But Christianity as a whole was still committed to striving towards the sexual ethic laid out in Scripture–and the world took notice.
"Needless to say, this history has tremendous implications for Christians in the modern day. We are reminded again that what we are experiencing in the present is not new—Christians battled an over-sexed culture as early as the first and second century. But it is also a reminder why Christians must not go along with the ever-changing sexual norms of our world. To do so would not only violate the clear teachings of Scripture, but it would also rob us of one of our greatest witnessing opportunities. In as much as marriage reflects Christ’s love for the church, Christians’ commitment to marriage is a means of proclaiming that love.
"In the end, Christianity triumphed in its early Greco-Roman context not because it was the same as the surrounding pagan culture, but because it was different."
Click here to see the full post from which this excerpt was taken. Please note the usual disclaimer, that my recommendation of this post is not necessarily an endorsement of everything else on the site where this was posted.
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