• Culture,  Theology

    A Brief History of Prisons and Their Failure

    On a recent episode of The Briefing, Al Mohler discussed New York’s plan to spend $9 billion on building new prisons. Mohler included a brief discussion of the history of prisons which inspired me to do a little more research on the issue. Throughout most of human history, prisons were meant to be a temporary arrangement. Prisons in the ancient world were a place where a suspect was to be held while waiting for his case to be heard. For example, Leviticus 24:10-12 mentions the imprisonment of an individual until the verdict had been reached, and the judgment was then administered (cf. Num 15:32-36). Similarly, in ancient Mesopotamian practice, a…

  • Culture,  Ethics,  Theology

    Socialism and the Bible

    Socialism is becoming popular in the United States, especially among the younger generations. One poll noted that 61% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 thought positively of socialism. Another poll said that 43% of Americans thought some form of socialism would be a good thing for the United States. The popularity of socialism in the United States is due in part to the political popularity of politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it is also clear that many young people embrace socialism without really understanding what socialism is. Read the Whole Article

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    How Many Resurrections are there in Scripture?

    Easter weekend is upon us, and so we celebrate the most important part of Christianity–the fact that Jesus is alive! This is the essence of our hope as believers. Because of Christ’s resurrection we have hope of our own resurrection. I saw an online discussion recently about how many resurrections there are in Scripture, and a question was asked about when OT believers are resurrected. I think it is a worthwhile discussion to have, and I think we can accurately observe four resurrections in Scripture. (This is of course assuming that the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 and the saints in Matthew 27 are temporary and they die again).…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Cascade Argument against Miraculous Gifts

    There are a variety of ways to deal with the issue of continuationism (i.e., the belief that miraculous spiritual gifts like prophecy and tongues are currently in operation in the church today). In these discussions I often point to the cascade argument which is well summarized by Sam Waldron in his book, To Be Continued? His argument goes like this. There are no Apostles today. This is an important starting point, and fairly obvious to anyone who reads Scripture. Although there are apostles in the sense of general “sent ones” (cf. Phil 2:25; 2 Cor 8:23), there is also a clearly defined special group of Apostles. These Apostles were: (1)…

  • Culture,  Theology

    How Can Same Sex Relationships be Wrong?

    “How can same sex relationships be wrong if they don’t hurt anyone?” (Of course when I say same sex relationships I am referring to homosexual relationships, not same sex friendships). This is a common objection to the biblical view that same sex relationships are wrong. The argument is often stated, “If two adults want to engage in a consensual same sex relationship, if there is no harm done, why disallow them that freedom?” The implication of this kind of argumentation is that if something is not harmful, it is good (or at least allowable). Read the Whole Article

  • Culture,  Theology

    All Cultures are Not Equal

    There is a growing belief today that all cultures are equal. In other words, no culture can claim moral superiority over another. Although this is a common idea, it has met resistance by some who have demonstrated that, on a pragmatic level, productivity and the standard of living are better in some cultures than others. However, as Christians I think it is important to be in the habit of using Scripture to inform any kind of comparison—including culture. Speaking from a biblical standpoint, there are cultures that are better than others. The cultures which are superior are the cultures which are more closely aligned with God’s standard for living, and…

  • Culture,  Old Testament,  Theology

    God Can Use Evil People to Administer Justice

    We often imagine justice being administered by those who hold to God’s righteous standard. In the past, Western culture and society was tremendously influenced by Scripture, and so was influenced by a biblical standard of justice. However, now as the Western culture disintegrates a new kind of morality has arisen—a morality where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. In the world we face today, we need to remind ourselves of the comforting truth that God’s sovereign control is not prohibited from using evil men to administer justice. One of the clearest places this is revealed is in Habakkuk. Read the Whole Article

  • Review,  Theology

    An Important Primer on Dispensationalism

    Concerning dispensationalism, I have tried to set the record straight by blogging on Beliefs that DON’T Define Dispensationalism and beliefs which all dispensationalists hold to. In keeping with that theme, (and because I know it may be of interest to some), I want to write a brief review of a primer on dispensationalism by Dr. Mike Vlach, entitled Dispensationalism: Essential Beliefs and Common Myths. I have really enjoyed this work, and it was just updated this past March (the previous edition is dated 2008). The updated version includes some additional material, including a significant discussion on the differences between dispensationalism and covenant theology (Chapter 5). What follows is a brief…

  • Review,  Theology

    Book Review: Sons in the Son

    This month I had the opportunity to read Sons in the Son: The Riches and Reach of Adoption in Christ, by David B. Garner. I was first interested in the book because it covers a topic that I have not read much on, and it is a topic that is rarely addressed in depth—our adoption in Christ. About the Author David Garner got his ThM at DTS and his PhD at Westminster. He is now the Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster, and is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). One thing I really appreciate about Garner is his obvious desire to wed good scholarly…

  • Ethics,  Theology

    What Does it Mean to Be Human?

    Someone asked me this last week if I would write down my thoughts on what it means to be human. My answer will of course focus on the Bible, since that is the best source for understanding the intricacies of what it means to be human. Being human means being a creature made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-28). There are two important aspects to this statement. First, human beings are creatures made by a Creator. Hence, man is obligated to follow and obey the Creator. No creature has the authority to supersede the Creator, and thus morality and ethics are completely derived from the Creator himself. Read the…