Showing posts from January, 2014

What is repentance?

This post reproduces an essay written by Dr. Dan Rogers former director of U.S. Church Administration and Development for  Grace Communion International . For a previous post on this topic click here . Some have asked about the meaning of repentance in the framework of Trinitarian theology. If all humanity is included already in Jesus’ love and life—what place is there for repentance? I give a brief answer here. In English, “to repent” is sometimes understood as meaning, “to turn.” The English term actually is derived from a Latin root that means “to feel regret” or “to be penitent.” However, the New Testament is written in Greek. The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated into English as “repent” is metanoia (μετάνοια). Literally, the prefix meta means “after” or “again,” and the root noia means “think.” So, a literal translation from the Greek would be “after-think” or “think-again.” The idea is that of a “change of mind.”  The New Testament passages where “repent”

What about repentance?

Sometimes we're asked this question: Given that God has forgiven and accepted all people in Christ, isn't it inappropriate to call people to repentance? Here is a helpful answer from Dr. Gary Deddo . For another post on this topic, click here . _____________________________ It's appropriate to invite people to repent, so long as we call them to evangelical repentance  rather than to legal repentance.  John Calvin used these terms to speak of two different approaches on repentance that tend to lead in opposite directions. He noted that legal repentance undermines the foundation of the Protestant Reformation, which is the truth that salvation is by grace alone. More recently, J. B. Torrance , seeing that legal repentance had become predominant in both Reformed and Arminian traditions, urged his students to embrace and teach evangelical repentance. A call to legal repentance says this: If and only if you repent will God forgive you . This "if we...then God" a

Relating Scripture and theology

Are theology and biblical studies incompatible? The answer might be "yes" or it might be "no"--it depends on one's understanding and practice of both disciplines. To me, they go together--"hand in glove"--helping us rightly apprehend the ultimate reality to which, when used with care and in faith, both disciplines point. In an earlier post , I shared an essay related to this topic from Michael Morrison, Grace Communion Seminary  dean of faculty. This time I share relevant points (slightly edited for use here) provided by Gary Deddo who teaches at Grace Communion Seminary and serves as a writer and editor for  Grace Communion International . The role of faith. Reading and understanding Scripture rightly (in a way that leads to living by it) requires faith--trust in God who we know and have met in Jesus Christ. By faith, we understand that God is present, active and speaking as we read his Word--he is not mute. Thus faith, rather than being a bias th

Are Christians too "heavenly minded"? (the problem of dualism)

Former first lady Barbara Bush, in her book  Heart Trouble   (Zondervan, 1985), makes this insightful and challenging comment (Scriptures added): Christians are sometimes accused of being so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good. We get caught up in choir rehearsals, studies of the end times or other church activities, and ignore needs around us. When problems are brought to our attention, we content ourselves with feeling sorry about them while doing nothing. But sympathetic thoughts or kindly musings are not true compassion. With the divine power he possessed, Jesus could have met the multitude's needs merely by forming a thought or speaking a command. He could even have done it from heaven without coming to earth. But his compassion [Mark 6:34] caused him not only to come and live and die among us, but also to touch lepers and blind men, and to take little children in his arms. True compassion is personal, active involvement that expresses God's merciful hear

Theology and Biblical Studies - What's the Difference?

Are theology and biblical studies the same thing? If not, how do they relate? How are they different? Are they in conflict? This article by Michael Morrison of Grace Communion Seminary addresses these and related questions. For another post on this topic, click here . In most seminaries and Bible schools, theology and biblical studies are in separate categories. Yet most lay Christians assume they are the same. In this article we will explain why there is a difference, problems that can arise because of the difference, and how biblical studies and theology can both be better if they work together. A brief history of biblical studies The early church taught the gospel, and educated pagans said, “Oh really? How does that work?” Some of the pagans wanted to ridicule people who believed the gospel about a crucified hero; others were genuinely interested. So the early church leaders began to answer some of the philosophical and logical questions about salvation through Christ