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Showing posts from March, 2014


This is the fifth post in a series going through the book, " By Faith, Not By Sight ." Find previous posts at the links below: #1 (Intro)   #2   #3   #4 Have you ever thought about salvation, the work of Jesus as being accomplished and being applied? Another wordy way of putting it; all of what Jesus did in history; being born of a virgin, living a sinless, perfect life in complete obedience to His Father, being crucified, dying and receiving the Father's wrath earned by taking into Himself the sin saved sinners, being raised from the dead and ascending to the right hand of His Father in heaven; all of that actually happening on the timeline of history and it being applied to you at the moment of conversion; salvation accomplished by Jesus and applied to you. This is referred to in Dr. Gaffin's book in a nifty shorthand way as historia salutis (salvation accomplished in history ) and ordo salutis (salvation applied to the believer). If you haven't heard of t

Me or We? Part II

This is the fourth post in a series where we are making our way through Dr. Richard Gaffin's book, "By Faith, Not By Sight" . You can find  the first three linked here: First Post Intro Second Post Third Post The last post ended with the question, "How are we made right with God?".  It is your answer to this question that will help you make sense (or not) of the rest of our posts. Men like N.T. Wright, E.P. Sanders and J.D.G. Dunn may argue that this is the wrong question to ask. (A helpful bibliography of some of these men's work is available in the book "By Faith, Not By Sight" .) So it is necessary to dip our toe in these waters, in the most shallowest of ends, so that we can move forward a bit more prepared. We are only dipping our toes in because I don't think I have the theological chops to understand all of the complexities involved. But some familiarity is necessary. In order to hyper-metaphor you, we will do our best to avoid t

Me or We?

Post 3 in a series on the book " By Faith, Not By Sight " The introduction to this series is here . First post is here .  How are we made right with God?  The Bible is clear that we have all fallen short of the glory of God. No one is righteous, not even one. We are dead in our trespasses and sin . What has to happen for sinners to be received by God? (The issue of b eing made right with God is captured in the the doctrine of Justification.)  The Apostle Paul teaches us that sinners must be justified; their sin must be punished and the sinner must be found "not guilty", in order to be received by God.  So the next question should be; how is one justified?   The background for the lectures Dr. Gaffin gave in 2004 was a somewhat fragmented and complex body of work regarding Paul's view of justification. This body of work is generally referred to as the New Perspective on Paul (NPP).  One of the claims that is made by some of the NPP proponents is that

Commending Clarity

Post 2 in a series on the book "By Faith, Not By Sight" This is the first post of a series I introduced here . "...the purpose of the lectures [is] to highlight matters which...pastors and other teachers...need to be clear on..." ( Preface, BFNBS ) This book was born out of lectures Dr. Gaffin presented in 2004. The lectures had a purpose, as does the book, captured in the abbreviated quote from the preface above; to offer clarity in Paul's theology. Clarity is needed as things have become muddled with the New Perspective on Paul, the intramural debates regarding justification and sanctification, the distinction between Law and gospel, etc. How you appropriate Paul's theology will necessarily put you somewhere on the continuum in any or all of these debates. And  it will effect your understanding of, not just Paul's letters (13 of them!), but of all of Scripture. And that will inform how you preach, how you counsel, how and from what you repen

Tweet Cred

On March 19th I tweeted this tweet . It was a pretty bold claim, I admit.  So I am going to take the opportunity to back it up through a series of blog posts. Get yours today! I claim that the book, By Faith, Not By Sight   may be the best theological-pastoral-practical-pastoral counseling  book I have ever read. I am saying this book and its subject matter has implications in all of these facets in ways I have not found (or can't remember) in any other book I've read.  To be sure, there may be better theological books out there, better pastoral books, better books that are more accessible practically, etc. But Dr. Gaffin's work is multi-faceted in its implications for all of these areas in ways I haven't seen before. My goal in this series of blog posts is to make my way through the book and highlight these implications. But first, maybe some definitions would help. Theological- This is a study of the Apostle Paul's view of the theology of salvation, or h

That Dark Silence

They imagine they see their faces. They wonder about the sounds of their voices. They see a smile and wish they could turn the clock back. Church nurseries hurt. Baby showers bring a knot to their stomach. High chairs can make them turn away. Avoiding the baby food aisle can be a singular goal with every trip to the grocery store. Women (and men) carry the shame and guilt and grief of past abortions.  This past decision carry with it painful, personal and often silent incriminations.   We all coo and ahh at the pictures of newborns.  We celebrate the news of newly expectant mothers and rejoice with the families. Women (and men) whose past includes the abortion of their baby share these experiences, but the experiences are always tinged with something else; something hard for us to least experience..."what might have been", "what have I done", "how old would he/she have been" and on and on and on. So often these e