Theology

  • Culture,  Theology

    Do Dispensationalists Cause Cultural Decay?

    Postmillenialists will often claim that dispensationalists do not engage the culture and have no interest in seeing the culture flourish. Furthermore, it is often stated that wherever dispensationalism flourishes, the culture decays. Thus, it is dispensationalism which is dangerous and causes cultural decay. Although I have written before that many incorrectly argue that dispensationalism hurts the church, today I want address the subject again, focusing on whether dispensationalists promote an escapist worldview which causes cultural decay. It is my goal that the argument that dispensationalists don’t care about culture should be be retired from use, since it is neither true nor the real issue. Read More

  • Church,  Theology

    Paedobaptists and the Problem of New Covenant Regeneration

    Reformed paedobaptists view the new covenant as an extension of the old covenant, not as its replacement,[1] although as I argued before, the new covenant is discussed in terms of replacing the Mosaic covenant. However, in Reformed paedobaptist thought the newness of the new covenant is usually thought to refer to external aspects only. For example, Jeffrey Niell notes, “The newness of the new covenant pertains to the external aspects, the outward administration, of the covenant of grace. The new covenant is not new in its nature of membership.”[2] In other words, “The transition from the old covenant to the new covenant is a smooth unfolding of God’s redemptive plan,…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament,  Theology

    Infant Baptism and the Connection to the Abrahamic Covenant

    As we have noted before, for the Reformed paedobaptist, the covenant of grace is the foundational argument for paedobaptism. Within the covenantal system, the specific covenants mentioned in Scripture are just various manifestations of that singular covenant. Specifically, however, for the Reformed paedobaptists, the New Testament discussion of the “old covenant” is the Abrahamic covenantal manifestation of the covenant of grace. In contrast, the Bible’s mention of a new covenant is not not “new” in the sense of something that has not been seen before, but rather, a renewed version of that Abrahamic covenant which already existed. Note, for example, renown Berkhof’s explanation. Read More

  • Theology

    Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace

    We looked previously at how important covenant theology is to the Reformed arguments for paedobaptism. Within the Reformed argumentation for paedobaptism, there is no more essential doctrine than the covenant of grace. On this point Booth, a Reformed paedobaptist, notes, “There are also other evidences in the pages of Scripture that support the truth of infant baptism. Nevertheless, the foundation of the argument consists of the unified covenant of grace evident in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.”[1] Read More

  • Church,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Theology

    Covenant Theology and Infant Baptism

    Reformed paedobaptists are not shy to assert that their defense of infant baptism relies on covenant theology. In fact, although many Baptists take issue with infant baptism not being mentioned anywhere in Scripture, this is really a simplistic understanding of the Reformed position. In reality, for the Reformed paedobaptist, the entirety of the debate centers around the unified covenant of grace. Note the words of paedobaptist Cornelis Venema: Read More

  • Church,  Culture,  Theology

    Does Dispensationalism Hurt the Church?

    Not too long ago while I was on social media I stumbled across a quote by a Christian cultural apologist who said, “Wherever dispensationalism has gained ground, Christian culture has lost ground.” Although the claim that dispensationalism has hurt the church is not new, it was interesting to see how much agreement the post garnered in the comments. Some commenters labeled dispensationalism as the worst heresy the church has seen. Others said dispensationalism is a damnable heresy which has single-handedly lost the American culture war. In this post I would like to analyze the argument that dispensationalism itself is dangerous and responsible for the cultural loss we see in Western…

  • Theology

    What is Covenant Theology?

    Ulrich Zwingli (by Hans Asper) What is covenant theology? This is a question I get periodically, so that it would be helpful to write a brief introduction on it. In the past I have defined the beliefs of dispensationalism (as well as the things that do NOT define dispensationalism). Thus, it is only fair now that I spent some time defining covenant theology. Adherents of covenant theology claim that covenant theology is the natural outworking of God’s covenantal relationship with humanity.[1] Although that general statement would find very few detractors, the details of covenant theology are often debated, even among proponents. Although Ulrich Zwingli is referred to as the initiator…

  • Church,  Theology

    Faith and Infant Baptism in Augustine and Aquinas

    Augustine The historical evidence shows that infant baptism was regularly practiced from at least the 3rd or 4th century until the present day. One of the topics of discussion in the early church was how baptism could be an expression of faith when infants are not capable of expressing their own faith. Of particular importance in this discussion was Augustine, who is well known for being the most influential theological figure of that time. In Augustine’s discussion of baptism, after having explained that baptism belongs to those who repent of their sins, Augustine addresses the obvious problem of what are infants repenting? Read More

  • Apologetics,  Ethics,  Theology

    Can God Love Us and Still Allow Evil?

    Is it possible that a loving God would allow evil? Think about the evil we see all around the world. Rape, murder, death, accidents, suffering—all evidences of evil. If God is in complete control (i.e., sovereign), how can we justify His love when He allows such evil? This is a common argument brought forward by unbelievers. However, it is also a question that believers ask in the midst of suffering and evil. What should our response to this kind of statement? Read More

  • Theology

    The Non-Salvific Benefits of Common Grace

    There are a variety of ways one could define common grace. In Wayne Grudem’s systematic theology, he defines common grace as “the grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation. Common refers to something that is common to all people and is not restricted to believers or the elect only” (Grudem, 657). This systematic category of common grace is worth exploring in Scripture because it teaches us of God’s blessing and mercy even to the unsaved. Sometimes the believer can mistakenly think that God doesn’t give blessing to unbelievers, but that is surely not the case. Because God is gracious and kind,…