Today it is very common to hear that such-and-such a topic is “a gospel issue.” We must hold to the eternal generation of the Son: it is a gospel issue. We must defend inerrancy: it is a gospel issue. We must espouse complementarianism: it is a gospel issue. We must be sabbatarians: it is a gospel issue. We must hold to a specific eschatological vision: it is a gospel issue. We must hold to substitutionary penal atonement: it is a gospel issue.
Off The Record
We often associate atheism with a very high, indeed arrogant, view of what a human being is. Thus, sometimes God is denied because his existence would threaten the overwhelmingly important value of human freedom. So argues nineteenth-century Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin. Sometimes God is denied because a human being argues that his own exacting criteria of proof have not been satisfied and since he is self-evidently so intelligent that this indicates God is not there.
The past decades have seen a reawakening of academic and devotional interest in Edwards on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2003, the three-hundredth anniversary of his birth, Yale University founded the Jonathan Edwards Center and George Marsden published a celebrated biography of Edwards.
This article critically examines Jonathan Edwards’s doctrine of the Trinity with a particular focus upon his understanding of the person of the Holy Spirit. While his restatement of Augustinian orthodoxy served the church well during a time of great doctrinal heterodoxy, it created some problems of its own. These problems were rooted in his use of philosophical idealism, his reliance upon trinitarian analogies, and his adapted doctrine of perichoresis.
This article surveys the state of Edwards studies today, focusing particularly on its philosophical theologians who have zeroed in on Edwards’s doctrine of God. It addresses current debates over dispositionalism, reviews a new book by Kyle Strobel, and criticizes recent uses of analytical philosophy in analyzing Edwards’s doctrine of God.
A great deal of research has been done on the life and theology of Jonathan Edwards. However, there is a dearth of interest as it pertains to Edwards’s ecclesiology. As such, while certain moments in Edwards’s ministry dealing with excommunication have been dealt with, there is a need to look not only at the cases he oversaw, but also the theology that undergirded that practice of discipline. Setting Edwards in his historical context and looking specifically at both his ecclesiology and his doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, this article demonstrates how these doctrines coincided for Edwards to form a practice of church discipline that was exacting and rigorous in relation to many of his contemporaries in whose churches discipline was largely on the decline.
In the current fascination of younger evangelicals with the ethos of both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, John Henry Newman (1801–1890) has become something of a ‘poster child’. The autobiographical and polemical writings of this celebrated convert to Rome (largely reflecting the first half of his career) enjoy ongoing popularity; these are taken to ‘define’ the man. Yet what this current fascination tends to overlook is that across the twentieth century Newman has been taken up as the theme of critical and ecumenical inquiry. Critical scholarship stops well short of the overly deferential attitude to Newman, all too characteristic at the present time. This article surveys this ongoing discussion of Newman up to our time.
The book of Ecclesiastes diagnoses humanity’s tendency to link the value of human life with permanent accomplishment in our work. As a wisdom text, Ecclesiastes warns its readers that this approach leads to hatred of life as we realize that, from an “under the sun” perspective, we gain nothing permanent in all our labor. The wisdom of the book of Ecclesiastes rather associates the value of human life and work in its status as a gift from God, irrespective of what we accomplish. Qohelet also explains why God has so disposed the present order of things that human beings labor much, but without permanent accomplishment. This article attempts to articulate Qohelet’s wisdom for living within the present age so that we can fully engage with and enjoy God’s gifts of life and work.
History and Historical Theology
Systematic Theology and Bioethics
Ethics and Pastoralia
Mission and Culture