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We must never forget that our knowledge of God is a gift, not a given. What I mean by this is that we all too often presume that what we know of God is either something we gained by self-exertion, dedication, and study, or it is something we deserve, perhaps something that is our by right or entitlement. We should never treat the knowledge of God as a given. It is something He gives, and He does not give it universally. This is nowhere better seen in our Lord's words in ...Read More

How are we to conceive of and classify the attributes of God? (1)       The Lutheran model According to Francis Pieper, Lutherans opt for one of two approaches: (1) quiescent and operative attributes or (2) negative and positive attributes. "Those who have employed the first classification define as quiescent those attributes in which no effect upon, and no relation to, the world is implied, but which are conceived as remaining within the ...Read More

The Christian world-view is a way of "seeing" and "interpreting" reality through the lens of God's revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ as found in Scripture. What, then, does the Bible tell us is God's ultimate aim for all that exists and thus the framework within which we must make sense of life? To put the same question in other terms: What is the pre-eminent passion in God's heart? What is God's greatest pleasure? How does the happiness of God manifest itself? In w...Read More

The concept of the one God as a trinity of co-equal, yet distinct, persons is the most intellectually taxing and baffling doctrine in Scripture. It is a mystery that is beyond reason yet not contrary to it. Probably the most famous definition of the doctrine of the Trinity is that of St. Augustine (4th-5th century a.d.): "There are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and each is God, and at the same time all are one God; and each of them is a full substance, and a...Read More

What does it mean to say that God is holy? Most people think of moral rectitude or righteousness or goodness, and that is certainly true. To be holy is to be characterized by purity and blamelessness and integrity, both in terms of one's essence and one's activity. In this sense, God's holiness and his righteousness are somewhat synonymous. He is described in the OT as "too pure to behold evil" and intolerant of evil (Hab. 1:12-13). But this is only a secondary way in wh...Read More

A highly simplistic definition of "power" would be that it is the ability to produce effects, or to accomplish what one wills. The Scriptures clearly affirm not only that God has such an ability but that he has it without limitations. Hence, we speak of God as being omnipotent, infinite in power. His "power is vast" (Job 9:4). He is "the Lord strong and mighty" (Ps. 24:8), "great and awesome" (Deut. 7:21), "the Lord Almighty, the Mighty One of Israel" (Isa. 1:24). "Ah, ...Read More

A. Over Nature and Weather Psalms 104; 105:16; 135:7; 147:7-20; 148; Job 9:5-10; 26:5-14; 37:1-24; 38:8-38; Mark 4:39,41. Other texts: "It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, and brings out the wind from H...Read More

The importance of defining our theological terms with precision is most evident in the case of divine immutability. Here is a word which in contemporary evangelical circles evokes either protest or praise. Some see it as a threat to the biblical portrait of God who does indeed change: He changes His mind ("repents") and He changes His mode of being ("the Word became flesh"). Others are equally concerned that a careless tampering with this attribute of God will reduce Him...Read More

The "omni's" of God, if I may refer to them in this way, are of little comfort to the rebellious heart, for they shatter those illusions on the strength of which we so often justify our sin. Thinking that none has access to the secrets of our hearts, we lust, envy, hate, and covet. But what we naively think to have concealed successfully behind the veil of the soul is but an open book before Him with whom we have to do: "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You...Read More

The love of God, as with His grace, mercy, and longsuffering, is another aspect of that more general attribute which we have referred to as goodness. More than that: Love is something God is. The apostle John concludes that lovelessness on the part of the individual is an indication that one does not know God, "because God is love" (1 John 4:8). Love, therefore, according to Carl Henry, "is not accidental or incidental to God; it is an essential revelation of the divine ...Read More

The Historical Development of Roman Catholicism: The Emergence of Roman Catholicism in the Patristic Church (a.d. 95-590) Part One...Read More

What comes to mind when you hear the word "God"? What is your concept of the Creator? I've talked with people who relate to God as if He were something of a coach. There's no real relationship, at least not on a personal level. Joining the church is like making the team. When God does choose to communicate, it isn't with soft-spoken words of loving encouragement but with an angry shout of "Run faster! Jump higher! Two more laps!" One's responsibility is to train hard, pe...Read More

The Historical Development of Roman Catholicism: The Emergence of Roman Catholicism in the Patristic Church (a.d. 95-590) Part Two...Read More

Moses was in a rut. For forty years he had been living in the land of Midian, tending the sheep and goats that belonged to Jethro, his father-in-law. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, sheep and goats, more goats and more sheep, for forty long, tedious, boring, quiet, uneventful years. It was enough to test anyone's faith. But the second forty years of Moses' life were nothing like the first forty. Having been raised in the palace of Pha...Read More

The Historical Development of Roman Catholicism: Medieval Developments and the Growth of Papal Power (590 a.d.-1517)...Read More

The Historical Development of Roman Catholicism: Roman Catholicism & the Reformation: The Catholic Counter-Reformation & the Council of Trent...Read More

Justice When we speak about the justice of God, we have in mind the idea that God always acts in perfect conformity and harmony with his own character. Some suggest that justice is thus a synonym for righteousness. Whatever God is, says, or does, by virtue of the fact that it is God, makes it righteous. Right and wrong are simply, and respectively, what God either commands or forbids. In other words, God doesn't do or command something because it is right. It is right b...Read More

"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit" (Ps. 147:5) There is a growing trend among evangelicals to significantly redefine the content of divine omniscience by eliminating divine foreknowledge. This attempt to reshape the historical orthodox view of God must be addressed. Before doing so, we must first examine the biblical evidence for the nature and extent of God’s knowledge. A.        God's Kno...Read More

The Historical Development of Roman Catholicism: Post-Tridentine Catholicism Catholicism in the Modern World...Read More

Airline magazines typically have at least one list of "Top Ten Steak Houses" in America. Each of these claims to serve the best, most delicious, most tender, most nutritious steak in the land. Let's consider and compare a few of them. (1) Martin's Protestant Steak Joint is a simple restaurant but with high standards. It serves a variety of steaks, but all come from the finest cows in America. All beef is prepared medium rare. The atmosphere is simple and rugged. You get...Read More

The Authority of Roman Catholic Church Documents...Read More

A Study of the Ordo Salutis Calvinistic ordo salutis Arminian ordo salutis Calling: External (universal / resistible) Internal (limited / efficacious) Prevenient Grace (universal / resistible) ↓ ↓ Regeneration / New Birth (passive / monergistic) Calling: External (universal / resistible) ↓ ↓ Conversion: Faith & Repentance ↓ The Gifts of God Conversion: Faith & Repentance ↓ Freedom of the Will ...Read More

Miscellaneous Observations on Roman Catholic Doctrine...Read More

Observations on the Relationship between Catholics and Protestants...Read More

Foundational to the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory is their understanding of the double-effect of sin: “Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the ‘eternal punishment’ of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This pu...Read More

Introduction "The significance of the sacraments for the life of the Christians of the Middle Ages is impossible to exaggerate. They were not mere isolated rites; they were bound together by their common quality as signs and vehicles of divine grace. They constituted the very heart of Christianity. By means of them the channel of communication between God and man and man and God was kept open constantly. Where the sacraments were there was life and salvation; where th...Read More

The Eucharist The word “mass” is of uncertain origin, but may be a derivative of the Latin verb mitto, mittere = to send, dispatch, release, or the noun missio, -onis (f) = a sending off, letting go, discharge. The idea was either that when the Lord’s Supper was to be observed, those of the congregation not participating were to withdraw or leave, or that after the Eucharist the faithful were “dismissed” or sent forth into the world. A...Read More

Penance Penance is that sacrament designed to address the problem of post-baptismal sins. According to the CC, the new life received in baptism "has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life" (CC, 1426). This sacrament exists for those "who, since Baptism, ha...Read More

A.        The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Scripture 1.         The Extent of Scripture - What actually constitutes inspired Scripture, says Rome, is determined by the conciliar consensus of the church or by papal edict. Thus, the apocrypha was officially introduced into the canon by the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century. In addition to the 66 books of the Protestant canon, Rome include...Read More

A.        The Prominence of Peter in the NT Evangelical Protestants must get over their aversion to Peter. There is no escaping the fact that he played a dominant role in the gospels and in the early development of the church in Acts. (1)       Every list of the twelve apostles has Peter placed at the top (Judas is always listed last; see Mt. 10:2; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13). (2)    &nb...Read More

Mariology: The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception...Read More

The news has been filled of late with the story of John Paul II’s respiratory illness. This wouldn’t necessarily be significant news if it weren’t for the fact that John Paul’s health has been poor for some time. Given his age, one can only imagine that there is a flurry of activity, hidden from public view, in preparation for the selection of the next Pope should John Paul’s illness turn fatal. Few Protestants are aware of the elaborate pr...Read More