Tuesday 22 February 2022

Didache 21, 2 (2022)

The latest issue of Didache (sponsored by the International Board of Education of the Church of the Nazarene) is now online. The summaries are adapated from Dean Blevins’ Introduction. It, and the individual essays, are available from here.

Dean G. Blevins


Francisca Ireland

Wesley’s Aesthetic Practical Theology

Francisca Ireland offers a new vision for theological aesthetics, arguing that John Wesley’s practical theology provides an ‘engaged aesthetics’ of body and imagination, allowing practitioners to reflect theologically on one’s own and others’ experiences.

C.P. Troutman

John Wesley, Ethnodoxologist: Engaging Missionally with the Ethnodoxology Conversation

Troutman argues that Wesley provides a theology that motivates an embrace of various cultural forms of music and celebration, commensurate with Wesley’s own vision.

Vinicius Couto

Synod of Dordrecht: An Iconographic Analysis

Vinicius Couto utilises an aesthetic methodology and historic artwork to explicate the theological issues underlying the Synod of Dort and the division around Arminian and Calvinist discourse.

Jorge Alberto Baños Peña

What is Biblical Preaching? Its Importance and Purpose for the Church’s Work

Jorge Alberto Baños Peña offers a rationale for biblical preaching, providing a grounded presentation demonstrating the interplay between artistic expression, Scripture, and theological reflection.

Joseph Bankard

Forgiveness as Process and Virtue: How to Overcome Feelings of Anger and Resentment

Joseph Bankard revisits the multifaceted practice, and virtue, of forgiveness. Bankard notes that this is interpersonal and intrapersonal, with the process entailing three elements: omissions, actions, and emotions.

Sarah Legreid

Death and Life: Reading 2 Corinthians 4:7–12

Sarah Legreid introduces a trauma hermeneutic into a detailed study of Paul’s theology through his Corinthian correspondence, arguing that 2 Corinthians reveals a nuanced and balanced trauma dynamic within Paul’s life of suffering and resilience.

Hannah Jones-Nelson

Perichoresis and Missional Theology: Humanity’s Invitation into the Mission of God

Hannah Jones-Nelson’s treatise addresses the theological concept of perichoresis as the intimate relationship, or dance, of the Trinity – a relationship that allows humanity to both extend and fulfill the missio dei.

Saturday 12 February 2022

Vern S. Poythress on the Mystery of the Trinity

Vern S. Poythress, The Mystery of the Trinity: A Trinitarian Approach to the Attributes of God (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2020).

A recent book by Vern Poythress on the attributes of God explored through the lens of the Trinity has been made freely available in its entirety. Here’s the blurb:

‘Starting with the doctrine of the Trinity, Vern Poythress addresses six challenges concerning the compatibility of God’s independence with his activities in the world. The eternal activities among the persons of the Trinity offer a foundation for God’s activities in the world. Alternative metaphysical frameworks for explaining God’s transcendence and immanence run the danger of overriding the truths of biblical revelation.’

The book (which comes with some sterling endorsements but has had mixed reviews) is available here as a pdf.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Evangelical Review of Theology 46, 1 (February 2022)

The latest Evangelical Review of Theology, published by The World Evangelical Alliance, is now online and available in its entirety as a pdf here.

Johannes Reimer

The Erosion of Church Growth through Patriarchal Leadership in Russia

Authoritarian patriarchal leadership has spawned abuse, scandal and controversy caused tragedies in churches and Christian ministries all over the world. This article highlights the pervasive problem of autocratic leadership among Russian evangelicals – explaining the historical reasons for the development of this pattern, analysing its components and urging a healthier way forward.

Elmer John Thiessen

In Pursuit of Intellectual Virtue

This article rigorously and insightfully examines three intellectual virtues – love of knowledge and truth, intellectual humility, and open-mindedness – that are essential to Christian maturity and powerful in overcoming strife, contention and polarization.

Richard L. Smith

Such a Heart as This: The Intellectual Implications of Deuteronomy 5:29

Contrary to the frequent Christian tendency to devalue intellectual pursuits, Richard L. Smith finds an emphasis on loving God with the mind throughout the Old Testament. This excerpt from his new book shows how God communicates this message through Deuteronomy.

Dennis P. Petri and Ronald R. Boyd-MacMillan

What Persecution To Endure, To Resist, or To Flee?

How to respond to persecution is a complex decision involving both principled and strategic considerations. In this article, two of the world’s leading experts on religious persecution draw on both Scripture and their considerable experience to discuss the options comprehensively.

Francis Jr. S. Samdao

On the Idea of Contextualization: Cultural Sensitivity and Catholic Sensibility

How do we present the Christian faith so as to be sensitive and accommodating to local cultures while not obscuring the non-negotiable truths of the gospel? This article, authored in an Asian context but with worldwide relevance, offers guidance on fulfilling both of those imperatives.

Israel Oluwole Olofinjana

Jesus’ Discipleship Model of Suffering and Sacrifice: Discipleship and Racial Justice

How to pursue racial justice has been a contentious issue in many places, particularly because of the allegedly radical views of some pro-justice organizations. This article takes a different approach, depicting racial justice as an implication of whole-life discipleship and proposing practical actions for Christians.

David A. Clark

Evangelical Identity Formation in Post-colonial Britain

Modern cultural changes have divided evangelicals in many parts of the world, with some urging progressive agendas and other resisting what they consider radical ideas. Using racial justice issues as an example, this article warns against both extremes and charts a course of sensitivity toward the aggrieved as part of building a more unified church.

Leah Farish

The ‘Sins of Equals’ and Racial Justice

Evangelicals believe that Scripture and the great confessions of faith remain relevant to our modern lives. This short essay demonstrates that relevance by applying a little- known passage from the Westminster Larger Catechism of 1648 to race relations.

Book Reviews

Thursday 3 February 2022

The Master’s Seminary Journal 32, 2 (2021)

The latest Master’s Seminary Journal has been posted online, this one focused on the Trinity.

A pdf of the journal can be downloaded here.

Peter Sammons


J.V. Fesko

The Covenant of Redemption and the Ordo Salutis

In this article Dr. Fesko brings rich historical insight into the necessity for the pactum salutis and its relationship to the ordo salutis. This article retrieves the historical consensus that intra-trinitarian processions, missions, and ordo salutis are all interrelated. Drawing from the WCF and Vos, he proves that to neglect, minimize, or disregard any one of these has crushing ramifications. While establishing the necessity of these doctrines and answering objections, Fesko demonstrates a precision in Trinitarian thought which helps establish long-lost guard rails that need to be regained by evangelicalism.

Richard C. Barcellos

Change in God Given Creation?

In this article Dr. Barcellos takes on the important question often asked, “Was there any change in God when He created the world?” Or, how can a Triune being act in creation and remain immutable? Barcellos answers these often-raised questions by relying on a rich history of the Church. If the Church has univocally answered this question and yet modern “Christians” are starting to answer it another way, what does that mean for modern Evangelicalism? Is there anything historically Christian about the modern answers? What are the ramifications of equivocating on this important issue? All that and more are aptly addressed in this article by Barcellos as he tackles the Theistic Mutualists new take on the Trinity and Creation.

Kevin Zuber

Indications of the Trinity in the Old Testament

The Trinity is not explicitly revealed in the Old Testament, but after the revelation of the Trinity in the New Testament and after that revelation was given greater clarity in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (AD 325/381), it became possible to recognize the indications of the Trinity revealed in the Old Testament. This article examines key Old Testament texts that contain these indications. This examination includes: Texts that Reveal Aspects of the OT Doctrine of God (that are pertinent to the doctrine of the Trinity); Texts that Reveal Indications of the Trinity including: Texts that Reveal Plurality / Triads—Conversation Texts and in a Blessing and Vision; and finally, Texts that Reveal the Indications of “Others” in Relation to Yahweh—the Angel of the LORD, the Spirit of the LORD, the Servant of the LORD, and Wisdom. This study demonstrates that the revelation of the Trinity in the Old Testament, while not explicit, does disclose truth about the Trinity that is pertinent to a full appreciation and understanding of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.

Peter Sammons

When Distinction Becomes Separation: The Doctrine of Inseparable Operation in the Contemporary Evangelical Church

The doctrine of the Trinity has made a rich impact on the believer’s theological taxonomy. In fact, Christians cannot even explain divine action without utilizing the precise, time-tested language upon which Trinitarianism rests. Sadly, many Bible scholars today are so narrowly focused on their modest field of “expertise” that they intentionally exclude this type of language in the name of academic fidelity. The modern exegetical task, therefore, has been hamstrung by a focus on the myopic. This article seeks to demonstrate that those Bible scholars who refuse to utilize historical- theological categories and terminology in their exegetical method will be left proliferating inadequate exegetical conclusions at best or damning errors at worst. A test case of John 1 will confirm the inadequacy of the ahistorical exegetical method to explain divine action apart from the nomenclature of inseparable operations. In this instance, such a method ends up resorting to either inaccurate language or practical tritheism. Furthermore, this article aims to prove that the taxonomy of inseparable operations is the necessary ramification of classical theism (in accordance with the doctrines of pure actuality and divine simplicity in particular). Therefore, classical theism—and the terminology supplied therein—functions as a proper guardrail for explaining divine action in a way that keeps the exegete from the pitfalls of tritheism or social trinitarianism.

Phil Johnson

A More Excellent Name: Eternal Sonship and Psalm 2:7 in Hebrews 1

In this article Executive Director of Grace to You, Phil Johnson, masterfully addresses the pitfalls with Incarnational Sonship while retrieving the Biblical necessity for Eternal Generation. Johnson focuses on the New Testament (Hebrews 1) use of the Old Testament (Psalm 2) as a key to properly retrieving the doctrine of Eternal Generation. In this piece Johnson shows how the church of recent generations has neglected and abandoned Eternal Generation on faulty grounds, misunderstanding monogenes, and aims to aid the church in retrieving this precious doctrine taught in Scripture.

Fred Sanders

Incorruptible Trinity: Sketch of a Doctrine

The doctrine of divine incorruptibility deserves more focused attention than it has generally received, especially in the modern period. This article draws the doctrine from its Scriptural sources (especially making use of the phthora word-group) and sketches its basic shape for systematic theology. First, it establishes the doctrine as a statement about God’s nature (that it is not subject to decay), and then traces its implications through Christology and soteriology. Finally, with the overall doctrine sketched out, the article suggests what is especially trinitarian in the doctrine of God’s incorruptibility.

Glenn Butner

The Obedience of One Man

This excerpt from The Son Who Learned Obedience, is excellent evidence why proper Trinitarian orthodoxy informs the taxonomy of incarnational theology. Modern evangelicalism has been too swift to violate the principle of Communication of Properties (from Theistic Mutualists, to social trinitarians, to EFS and ERAS, to name a few), where they read back into the Metaphysics of Trinitarian dogma (the ontological trinity) by ignoring the taxonomy of ecumenical councils. This trend has created a new Christology that is not Trinitarian in the historic sense of the term. Butner aptly shows why this error must be avoided if the church is to maintain its creedal confessions for future generations. In this article Butner invites us to sit at the feet of Maximus the confessor and see what’s really at stake in the Son’s Obedience.

Craig A. Carter

Denying Divine Eternity: Can Evangelical Theology Resist the Temptation?

In this article Craig Carter addresses the new wave of assaults on divine timelessness. This assault has ranged from quarters of liberal Protestantism from Moltmann, to Kant, to Open Theism, but most importantly has found a home in Evangelicalism. Modern evangelicals have fallen in love with the seeming simplicity with which these quarters of liberalism have answered the difficulty of explaining the Eternal Trinity and the Economic Trinity. In this article Carter masterfully demonstrates why giving up on the metaphysical attributes under the anti-metaphysical pressure of late modernity is a bad idea.

Mike Riccardi

Triune Particularism: Why Unity in the Trinity Demands a Particular Redemption

The doctrine of the Trinity is the fundamental doctrine of Christian theology, and thus is rightly brought to bear on every doctrinal locus. Trinitarianism is particularly relevant to the doctrine of the atonement, and the extent of the atonement more specifically. The doctrine of inseparable operations (grounded in consubstantiality) has implications for the unity of the saving intentions and acts of the persons of the Trinity, namely, the Son cannot act to atone for the sins of any more or any fewer persons than the Father has elected and than the Spirit will regenerate. Particular redemption coheres most consistently with a particular election and a particular regeneration, and thus inseparable operations provides a theological argument for embracing a particular rather than universal atonement. These conclusions are vindicated by examining how the multiple intentions view of the extent of the atonement fails to account for Trinitarian unity, demonstrating that particular redemption is most consistent with orthodox Trinitarianism.

Matthew Barrett

What Is Eternal Generation? (and Interview)

This contribution by Matthew Barrett is an excerpt from his book Simply Trinity. In this piece Barrett helps present the doctrine of Eternal Generation and its importance to a proper doctrine of the Trinity. Following this excerpt, we have an original interview between the TMSJ managing editor Peter Sammons and Matthew Barrett on some of the most pointed questions facing Christian education concerning the doctrine of the Trinity.