A common enemy

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It is a universal principle that people need enemies. Loud protests notwithstanding, people need enemies. It is fundamental to modern politics. The left has the right. The right has the left. The people have the politicians. And the politicians have the people. We all have enemies. And we have them because we need them. Every sports team has its opponents. Every nation has foes. Every city has its critics. Every ideology has its counter. Every

The scandals of that silent night

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Silent night, holy night... The song brings to mind images of moonlit fields and starry skies; shepherds laughing around a cosy fire; an awestruck husband and a contemplative new mum. We're warmed as we recount the comforting joys of that night so long ago. Our hearts become settled, peaceful, serene... But underneath the serenity were some ugly realities. For starters, the common notion among family friends and relatives was that Joseph was the dad. Jesus

The NIV and the deity of Christ

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I wrote this post about six years ago while I was in Bible college in Sydney. It was a study that I did for my own benefit, and have not published until now. The purpose of this paper is to briefly critique the theory that the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible destroys the biblical basis for the doctrine of the full deity of Jesus Christ. It is not my intention to promote the

Five great theological themes of the gospel: Regeneration (part six)

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If you've ever played paintball, you're probably familiar with the idea of regeneration.1 After a player has "died," he must make his way to the "dead zone." After a set time has passed, he is regenerated and may re-enter the field of play. Spiritual zombies In order to understand why regeneration is necessary, you have to understand that man is born dead. This is what Jesus was talking about when he said to Nicodemus "you

Five great theological themes of the gospel: Justification (part five)

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To justify is to defend as right... or just. Justification, then, has to do with the means by which we who are anything but just, are declared by God to be just. We the unjust The reason justification is necessary is that we are not just and we cannot be just. We have rebelled against God and we do rebel against him. The godliest saint has a deep-seated bent toward rebellion.1 God hates sin. His

Five great theological themes of the gospel: Imputation (part four)

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The word "impute" means to credit, attribute, or assign. In imputation, something is assigned to something else. The Christian doctrine of imputation is closely tied to the atonement and to justification. The atonement is the value that is assigned. Justification is the result of that assignment.1 In a sense, imputation is the mechanics of how the atonement works. For instance, how can Jesus cover my sin by his death on the cross? How can his

Five great theological themes of the gospel: Propitiation (part three)

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If I had to sum up propitiation in one word, it would be "satisfaction." In propitiation, the wrath of God is satisfied. An angry God We may underestimate the importance of propitiation until we have a proper estimate of the wrath of God against sinners. The Scripture teaches that God "feels indignation every day."1 That "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness"2 and that this wrath is not passive

Five great theological themes of the gospel: The atonement (part two)

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Australia's T. C. Hammond, principal of Moore Theological College in the middle of the twentieth century, had this to say of the atonement: If the student has insufficient time for an attempt to master the other important sections of Christian Doctrine, let him, at least, have a firm grasp of this, which is the very heart and core of the Faith.1 Indeed, the atonement is "the very heart and core" of our Christian faith. Every

Five great theological themes of the gospel: An introduction (part one)

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The wise old apostle is bent over the desk as he scrawls the final words of his letter in the gathering darkness. "O Timothy," (the words are warm, but solemn) "guard the deposit entrusted to you."1 If there is one passion that should be characteristic of every single believer, it is this passion to guard the truth which has been entrusted to us. It is a solemn thing to hold the truth in trust. And