Category Archives: articles

God Is Spirit

The new issue of The Gospel Witness is available, and I have an article in it entitled “God Is Spirit.” You can download it here.


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New Credo Magazine Available

Credo Magazine released its January 2012 issue today entitled, “In Christ Alone.” There are essays in it by scholars like Gerald Bray and Nathan Finn, as well as interviews with David Wells, and Robert Peterson. Among the reviews is my own of Michael Haykin’s very useful Rediscovering the Church Fathers, that I think would make for a good textbook for first year patristics or historiography courses. You can access the PDF of the magazine here or in an open publication format – which means you can “flip” the pages on your screen. Below is the table of contents for the main essays:

Gerald Bray, “Does the Holy Spirit Speak Apart from Christ?” 23

Todd Miles, “The Fate of the Unevangelized and the Need for Faith in Christ,” 29

Todd Borger, “Can Inclusivism Be Supported by the Old Testament?” 39

Ardel B. Caneday, “‘Faith Comes By Hearing’: Some Lessons for Evangelicals?” 45

Timothy Beougher, “Does A Belief in Inclusivism Weaken Movitation and Evangelism?” 52

Nathan Finn, “Responding to Bell on Hell: Some Lessons for Evangelicals,” 58

My review is on page 72.

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New Issue of Mid-America Journal of Theology

The new issue of Mid-America Journal of Theology — vol. 22 (2011) — is out and in my hands. I’m thankful to Dr. J. Mark Beach, the editor, and the reviewers for publishing an essay of mine on the English Reformation. I’m hoping to get a PDF of it to post here at some point.

Here’s the contents:

Charles K. Telfer, “Toward a Historical Reconstruction of Sennacharib’s Invasion of Judah in 701 B.C., with Special Attention to the Hezekiah Narratives of Isaiah 36-39,” 7-18.

Cornelis P. Venema, “‘In This Way All Israel Will Be Saved’: A Study of Romans 11:26,” 19-40.

John C. Peckham, “The Analogy of Scripture Revisited: A Final Form Canonical Approach to Systematic Theology,” 41-54.

J. Mark Beach, “Calvin’s Treatment of the Offer of the Gospel and Divine Grace,” 55-76.

Ian Hugh Clary, “Backgrounds to the English Reformation: Three Views,” 77-88.

Laurence R. O’Donnell III, “Not Subtle Enough: An Assessment of Modern Scholarship on Herman Bavinck’s Reformulation of the Pactum Salutis Contra ‘Scholastic Subtlety,” 89-106.

As well as notes, homiletics, book reviews and notices.


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January Issue of Credo

Credo Magazine has just released the cover page and table of contents of their upcoming January issue entitled “In Christ Alone,” dealing with inclusivism. It looks to be quite good with articles by Gerald Bray, Ardel Caneday, Nathan Finn; interviews with David Wells, Michael Horton; shorter pieces by Trevin Wax, Michael Reeves; and reviews by Fred Zaspel, Steve Cowan. I’m thankful to have a review in this issue as well; it is on Michael Haykin’s Rediscovering the Church Fathers.


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Resources on Creation and the Framework View

“By a simple reading of Genesis, these days must be described as days in the life of God, but how his days relate to human days is more difficult to determine” (ESV Study Bible note for Genesis 1:3-5).


Robert Letham: “In the Space of Six Days”: The Days of Creation from Origen to the Westminster Assembly – Reformed theologian Robert Letham’s, who currently teaches at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology, article for the Westminster Theological Journal that deals with the history of interpretation of the creation days in Genesis from the church fathers to the Westminster Assembly. Letham concludes there there is no consensus in church history as to what the days mean. This is must reading for anyone studying the issue of creation days.

William S. Barker: “The Westminster Assembly On the Days of Creation: A Reply to David W. Hall.” Barker is a published expert on the Westminster Assembly and taught church history at Westminster Seminary (PA) until his retirement. This essay was published in the Westminster Theological Journal in 2000 and is an historical response to young earth creationist David Hall. Barker argues that there was no uniform view of the creation days among the Westminster Divines and thus the statement about “in the space of six days” was primarily a refutation of the Augustinian view of instantaneous creation held in the middle ages. Ministerial candidates should not have to declare an exception to the Standards’ teaching on six days because of the ambiguity of the language. Unfortunately a subscription is required to view this essay, but I have it in its entirety as a PDF.

Max Rogland, “Ad Litteram: Some Dutch Reformed Theologians on the Creation Days.” This essay, from Westminster Theological Journal (Fall 2001), written by a presbyterian minister, and professor of OT at Erskine College, and who has a PhD in OT from Leiden, argues that it is erroneous to say that late-twentieth century and early twenty-first century Dutch Reformed theologians held to the 24 hour, six day creation. He evaluates Kuyper, Bavinck, Honig, Aalders, Schilder, and some synods to demonstrate this. The only Dutch theologian who possibly held the 24 hour view was Vos, but it is hard to tell from his writings. This link requires a subscription, but I have it in PDF if anyone wants it.

Confessional Subscription

None of the sixteenth-century Reformed confessions mention the days of creation, because to this point in church history there was no consensus on them, thus it was not a confessional issue.

Westminster Seminary and the Days of Creation – Westminster Theological Seminary’s (PA) statement on the days of creation and how their faculty have historically understood them in light of inerrancy. WTS upholds inerrancy and allows for various young-earth and old-earth interpretations. They argue that “in the space of” as a qualifier for the “six days” is a refutation of Augustine’s view of instantaneous creation, not a reflection of the Standards’ view of the creation days themselves. Westminster Confession subscriptionists such as Hodge, Warfield, Machen, Young did not see their “day age” views as contradictory of the Standards.

Creation Report of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church – Study Committee on Creation’s report to the General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The report concludes that the major evangelical views (days of ordinary length, day age, days of unspecified length, the framework view, the analogical day view) square with the statements about creation in the Westminster Standards. Subscription to “six days” can be preserved through different permissible understandings of the word “day.” Note: The OPC is a conservative and Reformed denomination in the US and Canada that was founded by Machen and requires subscription to the Westminster Standards by their ministers.

Creation Report of the Presbyterian Church in America – This is a report that is similar to the OPC’s noted above, and came out before the OPC’s. Like the OPC, the PCA requires their ministers to subscribe to the Westminster Standards. The report concludes with the recommendation (that was accepted by the General Assembly): “That since historically in Reformed theology there has been a diversity of views of the creation days among highly resected (sic) theologicans, and, since the PCA has from its inception allowed a diversity, that the Assembly affirm that such diversity as covered in this report is acceptable as long as the full historicity of the creation account is accepted.”

Hermeneutics and the Creation Wars by R. Scott Clark. This essay is written to relate the hermeneutical principles of the Reformation, including the principle of sola scriptura, to the recent “creation wars.” Clark is a historical theologian who specializes in the Reformation and post-Reformation periods; he teaches at Westminster in California. Clark is concerned with showing that to hold a Framework reading of Genesis is in line with a Reformed hermeneutic.

Perspicuity, Exegetical Populism, and Tolerance by William B. Evans. This is a response to G. I. Williamson who argued that a plain reading of Genesis 1, read as if a non-trained Christian were reading it, will lead one to a young earth, six day creation view. Evans is an Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister, a professor at Erskine College, was an editor of the New Geneva Study Bible, has written for Banner of Truth, and is a member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals where he blogs at Reformation 21 (edited by Derek Thomas). This essay argues against “exegetical populism,” and in favour of tolerance for all evangelical views of creation including the Framework, Day Age and Analogical Day views.

Framework View

The Framework Interpretation: An Exegetical Summary by Lee Irons. A very readable introduction to the framework view. This was originally published in the Ordained Servant, a magazine for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Irons co-wrote a chapter with Meredith Kline in The Genesis Debate book that I read and found very convincing, and this essay (though more popular) has the same exegetical rigour. Especially good is the discussion of “temporal recapitulation.” This is a great place to start for an understanding of this view.

Framework Interpretation by various authors. This article is a combination of lengthy selections from other written material on the framework view. It is quite introductory and easy to read; the charts give a visual picture of what is going on in Genesis 1. The second excerpt is quite helpful in its discussion of how the “formless and void” is being filled by the two triads of days.

Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony by Meredith Kline – This was written for the journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith journal in 1996. At the time of writing, Kline taught at Westminster Seminary in California, before that he taught at Westminster in PA, Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell. Kline was a major Old Testament scholar and was one of the principal teachers of the framework view. This essay is very influential.

Because It Had Not Rained by Meredith Kline. From the Westminster Theological Journal written in 1958. This was Kline’s earlier contribution to the development of the “framework” view. He argues for the use of “ordinary providence” in the creation narrative, based upon Gen. 2:5.

Because It Had Rained: A Study of Genesis 2:5-7 With Implications for Gen. 2:4-25 and Gen. 1:1-2:3 by Mark Futato – This was written for Westminster Theological Journal as a compliment to the previously linked article by Kline. Futato is currently Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, though at the time of writing he taught at Westminster Seminary (California).

Origins by Justin Taylor. This is a blogpost that summarizes the Futato article linked above, written from the “analogical day” perspective. Taylor is the editor of the ESV Stuby Bible and is VP of the editorial board of Crossway Publishers. Before going to Crossway, he worked for John Piper’s Desiring God Ministries. Taylor’s blog, Between Two Worlds, is one of the most widely read evangelical blogs.

God Created the Heavens and the Earth by Kim Riddlebarger. This is a sermon preached by Riddlebarger at Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, of which he is pastor with Mike Horton. This sermon is from a Framework perspective and shows how naturally this view springs from the text of scripture. Riddlebarger is one of the hosts of the White Horse Inn radio program.

Thoughts on Those Genesis Days by Rowland S. Ward. The author is a very conservative Australian Presbyterian minister who is an expert in Reformed theology. This article defends the Framework Interpretation from a biblical, theological, and historical position, and shows that it does not break with the “Three Forms of Unity” (Dort, Belgic, Heidelberg). He also deals with criticisms that a non-24hr 6-day view is not in keeping with a plain reading of the text and is on a slippery slope.

Review of Douglas Kelly’s Creation and Change by Lee Irons. Douglas Kelly wrote a defense of young-earth creation that is critical of old earth views. He devotes a chapter to critiquing the Framework view. Lee Irons writes a pretty thorough response.

Sermon on Genesis 1:1 by J. V. Fesko. This sermon was preached by Fesko, prof. of systematic and historical theology at Westminster California, at Geneva OPC in Woodstock, GA. He makes the interesting point that the creationist movement has its roots in Seventh Day Adventism and dispensationalism.

Animal Death Before the Fall by Lee Irons. Evaluates the four key texts used to argue that there was no animal death before the Fall, and two texts that support the idea.


Bill T. Arnold, Encountering the Book of Genesis: A Study of Its Content and Issues (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 24, argues for the framework view of creation days (see Table 1.1).

Henri Blocher, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVaristy Press, 1984). When I first read this book I was deeply impressed by how well-rounded it was in terms of exegesis, theology and philosophy. Blocher taught at Wheaton, and his other book Original Sin is the lead book in Don Carson’s “New Studies in Biblical Theology” series.

David Hagopian (ed.) The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation (Mission Viejo: Crux Press, 2001). Contributors: Ligon Duncan and David Hall (24 hour view); Hugh Ross and Gleason Archer (day age); Lee Irons and Meredith Kline (Framework). I believe this was the first book I read on the subject, rather innocently. I was surprised by how poorly the 24 hour perspective was argued, because I highly respect Duncan and Hall and love their work. Their chapter was full of generalizations and dismissals, and I didn’t feel that it really had much of an argument. The Ross and Archer chapter seemed to be too influenced by science and had little in the way of exegesis. The Framework view by Irons and Kline is strong exegetically, very well argued, and deals decisively with criticisms. It’s worth the price of the book just for their chapter.

James M. Houston, I Believe in the Creator (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, ). Houston is the founder and first chancellor of Regent College in Vancouver. Before that he taught engineering at Oxford University, where he also did his PhD. He has written a number of books on theology and spirituality, including a reprint of John Owen’s work on sin. In I Believe in the Creator, he argues for the framework reading of Genesis 1, based on the “forming and filling” triad.

Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2006). This is the reprint of his important book on Genesis that became a standard exposition of the Framework interpretation. Here is a PDF of the first forty pages.

Peter Leithart, A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, ). Leithart, a noted Reformed theologian who did his PhD at Cambridge and teaches at New St. Andrews College, argues for the framework reading of Genesis 1 on page 45 of this book.

Ronald L. Numbers, The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2006). Numbers, is a former Seventh Day Adventist; he is also an historian of Adventism and an expert on the history of science. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin, and in this book demonstrates that the young earth creationist movement has its roots in the Seventh Day Adventist tradition,  American fundamentalism, and is a recent view in the history of the church. The book is endorsed by George Marsden.

Ronald L. Numbers, “The Creationists” in Zygon 22.2 (June 1987): 133-164. This article contains the substance of his arguments in the book noted above. I have it as a PDF if anyone wants it.

John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2009). This entire book is an exegesis of Genesis 1, and demonstrates in detail the framework structure of the chapter. John Walton is a respected OT scholar who teaches at Wheaton, before that he taught for 20 years at Moody.

John H. Walton, Genesis The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001).  He argues for the framework pattern in his comments on Genesis 1.

Gordon Wenham, Genesis 1-15 Word Biblical Commentary 1 (Waco, TX: Word, ). In the section dealing with the days of creation, Wenham argues for the framework pattern of two triads of filling.

The article in the New Bible Dictionary (co-edited by Packer) by Gordon Wenham speaks of the poetic nature and the literary framework of Genesis 1-2. So does the article in The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theoloby (ed. by Walter Elwell).

Age of the Earth

PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth in Modern Reformation magazine. The authors are geologists who are also members of PCA churches. They give evidence from their field that the earth is old.

Apparent Age & Theology: Appearance of Age in a False History? by Craig Rusbult. This article gives helpful distinctions between categories (like essential and non-essential apparent age). He argues that non-essential apparent age, like the left-over light from a super-nova, has no intrinsic need or value for creation, and would make God out to be open to creating falsehoods if a young earth with “mature creation.”

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Four Questions

Tyler Horton runs the Me and Brooks blog, dedicated to things Puritan (generally) and Thomas Brooks (specifically). Tyler is wont to interview various he’s-and-she’s about Puritan-related topics, and I got held up with four questions dealing with how to define Puritanism; the subject of an essay I published in Puritan Reformed Journal. I’m thankful to Tyler for asking good questions and for posting my mediocre responses. The questions are:

1) I absolutely have always held “the notion that Puritanism was a monolithic movement distinguished by its piety, Calvinism, and anti-Anglican posture.”  What parts of that definition are misleading?

2) What is the danger in holding that previously mentioned definition of Puritanism?

3) Calling the Puritans “hot Protestants” or the “hotter sort of Protestant” appears to be a comment not just about their passion but also quality.  Were the Puritans simply the best Protestants of their day?  Are they the ‘hottest Protestants’ in Church history?

4) Can you break down your lengthy definition of a “Puritan” from the article into its essential elements?  What are the essential distinguishing features that need to be included in a good definition of the term?

You’ll have to click here to read my answers.

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New Hope’s Reason Journal

Here’s the latest issue of Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics. It is both an online and print journal, this is the online bit. The print will be available some time soon.


“An Apologetic Church”
Stephen Bedard

“Apologetic Testimony from an Unlikely Source”
Mark Eckel

“The Witness of the Spirit: Developing a Pentecostal Approach to World Religions”
Jeffrey K. Clarke

“The Christian Doctrine of God Explained and Defended for Muslims”
Luis Dizon

“The Resurrection, Two Scholars, and Historical Method”
J. Steve Lee


Ravi Zacharias, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend by Stephen J. Bedard

Carl R. Trueman, The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Fred G. Zaspel

Tom Wells, The Priority of Jesus Christ by Fred G. Zaspel

Andreas J. Kostenberger and Scott R. Swain, Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel by Fred. G. Zaspel

Paul R. Williamson, Sealed With An Oath: Covenant In God’s Unfolding Purpose by Fred G. Zaspel

Norman L. Geisler, If God, Why Evil? A New Way to Think About the Question by Stephen J. Bedard

Michael Rydelnik, The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? by Fred G. Zaspel

Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Stephen J. Bedard

Daniel C. Dennett and Alvin Plantinga, Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? by Josiah J. Batten

Drew Dyck, Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith by Jeffrey K. Clarke

Paul Hughes (ed.), Think and Live: Challenging Believers to Think and Thinkers to Believe by Stephen J. Bedard

James Hannam, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution by David Rodriguez Jr.

Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me To Faith by Ian Clary

Tim Challies, The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion by Michael Plato

William Edgar and K. Scott Oliphint, Christian Apologetics: Past & Present: A Primary Source Reader: Volume 1: To 1500 by Ian Clary

Robert Letham, Through Western Eyes: Eastern Orthodoxy: A Reformed Perspective by Ian Clary

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The Path of Contentment by John Bell

John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in downtown Toronto, wrote a great article for the recent issue of Barnabas magazine called “The Path of Contentment” that I recommend. Barnabas is the mouthpiece of the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada.

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Amis on Hitch

I have, in the last year, become somewhat of a Christopher Hitchens admirer. I basically read every new article that is posted at Daily Hitchens (I get their email updates), often have his lectures or debates playing in the background while I’m doing dishes or some other mundane task, and try to collect and read through his books. In addition, via the references in a number of his works, I’ve broadened my reading interests to include others of his circle, including the poet James Fenton, his brother Peter Hitchens and novelist Martin Amis. It’s worth noting that I’m also slowly working my way through the writings of George Orwell, largely due to the Hitch. Also, I have a somewhat strange confession that I probably shouldn’t share, but will anyway: I pray fairly regularly that he would both be cured of his cancer and would turn to Christ in faith.

Martin Amis has been a lifelong friend of Hitchens; they met in school. I am hard-pressed to determine who is the better prose writer, both are genius with the English language. If you read Amis’ latest piece in the The Observer, it would appear that he believes Hitchens to be the better between the two. I enjoyed this essay for a number of reasons: first, it appears in the beginning to be hagiographical, which it certainly is not; second, Amis shares some hilarious (albeit crude) one-liners of Hitchens’; third, Amis tries to “convert” Hitchens to agnosticism. Here’s a quote regarding the latter:

The atheistic position merits an adjective that no one would dream of applying to you: it is lenten. And agnosticism, I respectfully suggest, is a slightly more logical and decorous response to our situation – to the indecipherable grandeur of what is now being (hesitantly) called the multiverse. The science of cosmology is an awesome construct, while remaining embarrassingly incomplete and approximate; and over the last 30 years it has garnered little but a series of humiliations. So when I hear a man declare himself to be an atheist, I sometimes think of the enterprising termite who, while continuing to go about his tasks, declares himself to be an individualist. It cannot be altogether frivolous or wishful to talk of a “higher intelligence” – because the cosmos is itself a higher intelligence, in the simple sense that we do not and cannot understand it.

But I find the following, not perplexing, but depressing. Amis intends to demonstrate some eschatological optimism, but his words amount to a banal form of “ashes to ashes,” bound with a sort of euphemism that Hitchens (and Amis) purportedly despise. What comfort or solace is there in this?

Anyway, we do know what is going to happen to you, and to everyone else who will ever live on this planet. Your corporeal existence, O Hitch, derives from the elements released by supernovae, by exploding stars. Stellar fire was your womb, and stellar fire will be your grave: a just course for one who has always blazed so very brightly. The parent star, that steady-state H-bomb we call the sun, will eventually turn from yellow dwarf to red giant, and will swell out to consume what is left of us, about six billion years from now.

From “Amis on Hitchens: ‘He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen,'” in The Observer (Sunday April 24, 2011).


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Death, Parousia and the Christian Life (GW Article)

The Gospel Witness, published by Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto, is a great magazine that I recommend subscribing to. Typically it offers three articles on a given theme as well as one or two book reviews and news updates for things going on in the Jarvis Street/Toronto Baptist Seminary nexus. Contributors have included theologians like Carl Trueman, Fred Zaspel, Michael Haykin (one-time editor), Sharon James, Richard Gaffin, and a whole host of other well-known evangelicals. One of the distinguishing features of the magazine is that, alongside writers we are familiar with, pastors and church leaders also have opportunity to contribute. I am thankful that over the years I have been given the chance to publish a couple of articles.

In the March 2011 edition I was asked to share my thoughts on the eschatological hope found in 1 Thessalonians, a book of the bible that the issue is dedicated to looking at. The article is called “‘Since We Belong to the Day’: Death, Parousia and Christian Life” The Gospel Witness (March 2011), 6-10. It is written to highlight the encouragement Christians are to take from the promise that Jesus is returning, instead of over-emphasizing the details of the end times calendar.

To subscribe to The Gospel Witness go here.

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First Things (March 2011)

I recently picked up the March 2011 of First Things. I’ve slowly made my way through it and think that it was one of the best issues I’ve read yet–and I’ve been reading First Things for years. I was particularly taken with the articles on Herbert Butterfield’s The Whig Interpretation of History by Wilfred McClay and on reading the bible with the reformers by Timothy George. The website has posted the articles online, so I’m linking to them in the order they appear in the print edition:

RJN and First Things – James Nuechterlein (a short reflection on Neuhaus)

An exchange on liberal conservatism

Real Death, Real Dignity – David Mills (powerful personal reflections on the “dying with dignity” shibboleth)

Blurring Sexual Boundaries – Douglas Farrow (from McGill University, on transgender issues and law)


The Dialectic and the Double Helix – Thomas Albert Howard (about the relationship between Europe and America regarding religion and democracy since the Enlightenment)

Reading the Bible with the Reformers – Timothy George

Newman’s Ideal University – Edward T. Oakes, S. J.

Thomas Merton and Confucianism – Wm. Theodore deBary (this is the only one I skimmed through)

Whig History at Eighty – Wilfred McClay


White Coat, Black Hat by Carl Elliott – Gilbert Meilaender (didn’t read this)

Defending Constantine by Peter Leithart – Robert Louis Wilken (an eminent patristic scholar gives the book a positive review)

Mathematics and Religion by Javier Leach – David P. Goldman

Blessed and Beautiful by Robert Kiely – Paul J. Contino

All Things Shining by Dreyfus and Kelly – David Bentley Hart (a pretty critical take on the book by an awesome writer)

The poetry in this edition was particularly good, especially “Late Night” by Robert Pack (it touched my northern Ontario sensibilities) and “At Stake” by Paul Lake where he references Hus, Tyndale and Kindle all in four lines!

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Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics 2.1

Well, now that the first issue of Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics has gone to print, we are now at work on the second. What’s neat about this journal is that you can follow each issue’s progress online. As new articles and reviews go through the peer-review and are accepted, they are posted on our website. Once we have a goodly-sized collection, they are sent off to the printers and, voila!, a new issue.

Thus far our second issue has an article on Deuteronomy as an apologetic source written by Mark Eckel, Professor of Old Testament at Crossroads Bible College in Indiana. We also have a couple of reviews written by Fred Zaspel, author of the recent study The Theology of B. B. Warfield. We have some pretty good articles lined up and a tonne of reviews, so check the website periodically for updates, or follow us on Facebook for news.

We are always open to submissions both for articles and reviews. If you have an article that you would like to publish, and it fits the criteria listed on our site, then email our editor Stephen Bedard at If you have a review(s) then send it to me, the book review editor, at

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SBJT 14.4 (Winter 2010)

The latest issue of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology is now available. This issue deals with the subject of Puritanism. Here is a list of the contents:

Editorial: Stephen J. Wellum
Learning from the Puritans 2

Carl R. Trueman
Reformed Orthodoxy in Britain 4

Joel R. Beeke
Reading the Puritans 20

Michael A. G. Haykin
Word and Space, Time and Act: The Shaping of English Puritan Piety 38

Stephen J. Nichols
More than Metaphors: Jonathan Edwards and the Beauty of Nature 48

Andrew David Naselli
John Owen’s Argument for Definite Atonement in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ: A Summary and Evaluation 60

Adam Embry
John Flavel’s Theology of the Holy Spirit 84

The SBJT Forum 100

Book Reviews 110

In the Forum discussion I have contributed a short piece on James Ussher’s ecclesiology.

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Interacting with Bebbington on the Enlightenment

In an earlier post I summarized David Bebbington’s chapter on the Enlightenment from his excellent book The Dominance of Evangelicalism. Here I link to some responses to his views, not just from this book, but from his overall historical project. The first place anyone should turn to for a response to Bebbington, on a range of issues, is The Advent of Evangelicalism edited by Michael A. G. Haykin and Kenneth J. Stewart. There are three chapters in this book that deal with the issue of Bebbington on the Enlightenment, two of which are available in other forms on the internet.

The first is a direct response to Bebbington on the Enlightenment, by Haykin, called “Evangelicalism and the Enlightenment: a reassessment.” This is the second chapter of Advent and also appears in similar form in Loving the God of Truth ed. Andrew M. Fountain.

The second is Stewart’s chapter dealing with the doctrine of scripture: “The evangelical doctrine of Scripture, 1650-1850: a re-examination of David Bebbington’s theory.” This essay appears in Evangelical Quarterly 67.2 (2005): 135-153 as “Does Evangelicalism Pre-Date the 18th Century? An Examination of the David Bebbington Thesis.”

The third is Garry J. Williams’ chapter “Englightenment epistemology and eighteenth-century evangelical doctrines of assurance.” This can be found in Tyndale Bulletin 53.2 (2002): 283-312 as “Was Evangelicalism Created by the Enlightenment?

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More on Bonhoeffer and Metaxas

Further on my earlier post (scroll down), Tim Challies links to Richard Weikart’s excellent article critiquing Eric Metaxas’ biography Bonhoeffer. This goes into much further detail than the one I linked to in my post and comes from an evangelical perspective. Check out “Metaxas’ Counterfeit Bonhoeffer: An Evangelical Critique.”

***UPDATE*** Carl Trueman offers his thoughts, making a useful comparison between the reception of Bonhoeffer in evangelical circles with that of C. S. Lewis: “Bonhoeffer and Anonymous Christians.”

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Reading Bonhoeffer

I do not pretend to be an expert on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but the little I know of him gives me both cause for admiration and concern. Of course I, like most people, admire his courageous stand against Adolf Hitler that ultimately resulted in Bonhoeffer’s execution. I also admire him as a powerful thinker whose writings have served to greatly influence twenty- and twenty-first-century theology. His popular books such as Cost of Discipleship and Life Together have long been sources of encouragement for Christians as works of devotion. But my concern lies in the fact that Bonhoeffer was not an evangelical (in the North American sense of the term) and his theology does not square with evangelical theology. Yet, in spite of this, evangelicals have adopted Bonhoeffer as one of their (our) own and have thus read him both uncritically and uncharitably.

Lately I have had some discussions about this with a friend who knows Bonhoeffer much better than I do (this friend, also, does not profess to be an expert) and the conclusion is that many evangelical works on Bonhoeffer, including the recent biography by Eric Metaxas, do not seem to understand their subject. This has bothered me, even more-so as I have read through a large number of reviews of Metaxas’ work by evangelicals–including many scholars who should know better–to find very little in the way of criticism both of Bonhoeffer or Metaxas.

Now, I am all for reading someone with whom I have severe disagreements in order to glean some good from their writings (see my “Reading and Error“). So this is not a screed against reading anything outside of our tradition. But I am saying that it is patently wrong to read someone with whom we differ so vastly as if they held to our view to serve an agenda. We must read Bonhoeffer with the goggles of his own day and context–namely dialectical theology, liberalism and continental philosophy–rather than with the goggles of conservative evangelicalism.

Clifford Green writes on this trend to misinterpret Bonhoeffer in Christian Century, an essay aptly titled “Hijacking Bonhoeffer.” I recommend it to any evangelical who wants to see in Bonhoeffer a super-hero who supports their own theology (alongside dispelling the myths, Green notes the numerous factual errors in Metaxas’ book that also go unnoticed in reviews). Read Bonhoeffer, yes; but do so sympathetic to his own situation and thought. To do any less is to actually do harm to the legacy of this Christian hero.


Filed under articles, books, church history, dietrich bonhoeffer, history, hitler

Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics

Hope's Reason

Hope's Reason: A Journal of Apologetics


Hope’s Reason: A Journal of Apologetics is a new periodical that deals with issues broadly pertaining to the defense of the faith. While it is a print journal, each issue is posted online with articles and reviews in PDF format (see below). As each issue is finally compiled, it will be available for purchase by library or individuals.

The editor, Stephen J. Bedard, is one whom readers might be familiar with as the co-author of the excellent book Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea with McMaster Divinity College’s principal Stanley Porter. Bedard explains the purpose of the journal thusly:

The purpose of this journal is to provide academically sound apologetic resources that will equip Christians (pastor and layperson) to engage critics and to answer the questions of seekers.

Our vision is to bridge the gap between the academic world and the needs of the local church. This journal represents solid scholarship and provides practical resources for the local church.  This is a peer reviewed journal in order to keep the standards of the resources to an appropriate level of excellence.

I am thankful to the editor and peer-reviewers for accepting an article of mine on presuppositionalism (please forgive the stylistic glitches, they’ll be fixed). I’ve linked it below along with the other articles that comprise the online edition thus far.


“Hope’s Reason” by Stephen J. Bedard

“Did Muhammad Deny the Incarnation or Paganism?” by K. Dayton Hartman

“The Myth of Metaphorical Resurrection: The Resurrection in the First Century, the early Church, and Her Opponents” by Tawa J. Anderson

“An Introduction to Presuppositional Apologetics” by Ian Hugh Clary


John M. Oswalt, The Bible Among the Myths by Stephen J. Bedard

Richard Swinburne, Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy by J.W. Wartick

David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion by Jonathan Mills

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Hot Protestants – A Taxonomy of English Puritanism

Below is an article I wrote on how to define Puritanism.

Ian Hugh Clary, “‘Hot Protestants’: A Taxonomy of English Puritanism” Puritan Reformed Journal 2.1 (January 2010): 41-66. You can download it here.

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Alexander Carson on Baptism

The recent issue of The Gospel Witness has kindly published an article of mine entitled “‘Defending Truth at Every Expense’: Alexander Carson (1776-1844) on Baptism.” I’ve uploaded a PDF of it: Alexander Carson on Baptism.

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James Ussher – ODNB – Alexander Gordon – 1921-22

USSHER, JAMES (1581-1656), arch-
bishop of Armagh, second but elder surviv-
ing son of Arland (Arnoldus) Ussher (d.
12 Aug. 1598), clerk of the Irish court ol
chancery, by his wife Margaret (d. Novem-
ber 1626), daughter of James Stanyhurst
[see under STANYHURST, RICHARD], was born
in Nicholas Street, parish of St. Nicholas
Within, Dublin, on 4 Jan. 1580-1.  Continue reading 

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