But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

imageAbout six months ago I did a couple of interviews with the folks at Grace Communion (click here for the first one). The second and final episode is now available. In it, Mike Morrison asks me about two of my favorite, most Trinitarian subjects: adoption and prayer.

Here’s an excerpt of what we...

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 02:00

Retrieving Eternal Generation

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image Scott Swain and I recently turned in the manuscript for a book called Retrieving Eternal Generation. It’s a collection of fifteen essays that we hope will go a long way toward securing Trinitarian theology’s classic form for contemporary theological work.

The last few decades have seen...

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 03:16

The Distinct God of the Book of Job

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Robert Sokolowski has said that

The Christian God is presented as being so transcendent to the world that he could be, in undiminished goodness and greatness, even if the world were not. The Christian God can be distinguished from the world in this radical way. … In contrast, the gods of...

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Sunday, 12 March 2017 17:04

No More Theology Journals (Troeltsch 1900)

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image Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923) was an influential German theologian, whose life project was to work out the logic of the historical sciences in the sphere of Christianity and culture. In his own theological work, he did not think that a thorough historicism would leave any room at all for normative...

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Thursday, 09 March 2017 15:58

Divine Affections Yes; Divine Passions No

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image Does God have emotions? Anybody who reads the Bible certainly finds God declaring himself to be full of love, full of anger, and many other things besides. So the answer seems obvious: Emotional God.

But as soon as you say it, it sounds odd and you catch yourself thinking it can’t be quite...

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Wednesday, 08 March 2017 16:20

Chapel in the Gym on the Shack in the Theater

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The release date for the movie version of The Shack was March 3. That morning (not having seen the film yet) I was the guest in Biola’s interview-format chapel session called The Biola Hour (the name is a callback to the school’s great radio heritage).

Mike Ahn and I talked about one...

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Wednesday, 08 March 2017 02:09

How to Read TWO Books (Erasmus Addlepate)

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File this under “weird books I have encountered.” Erasmus Addlepate’s 1940 How to Read Two Books:

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It’s obviously a spoof of Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book. You can tell from Addlepate’s supposed other books like How to Get Up int he Morning that he’s...

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Monday, 06 March 2017 16:23

How to Use a Book Instead of Receiving It

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image In his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis describes the difference between reading a book to encounter what is in it, and using a book for other reasons. There are lots of other reasons to use a book, some petty and some profound, but the point Lewis is making is that using is...

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Sunday, 05 March 2017 16:15

Deeper Simplicity (Dialogue with Dolezal)

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imageLate in 2016 I wrote a blog post on divine simplicity for the Pro-Nicene Theology series at Zondervan Academics’ Common Places blog (now available as part of a free mini-e-book). My goal was to show the biblical support for the doctrine of divine simplicity (simplicity was much on my...

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One of them locals

Every July, about forty students and three professors from the Torrey Honors Institute take a trip to Cambridge for an intensive four-unit class. It’s Torrey Cambridge, and it’s a blast.

The curriculum each summer is anchored in a short book of the New Testament, and...

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 04:18

When Bad Books do Good Things

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image It was while he was a student at Yale that R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) became a Christian. He describes it as a time when he was “leading a very reckless life” which involved, among other things, drinking heavily as a seventeen-year-old college kid. By his own testimony, he was driven to...

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 16:05

Teaching the Trinity in Haiti

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image In January 2017 I got to teach about the Trinity at a Bible Institute in Haiti. I did it in partnership with More Than Bread, a ministry committed to training Haitian pastors with biblical and theological knowledge. In a developing country with obvious hardships and material needs, there are...

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Friday, 24 February 2017 08:33

Pro-Nicene Theology (Free E-Book)

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imageShort story: here’s a free theology book to download.

Long story: In late 2016, Mike Allen and Scott Swain edited a blog series at Zondervan’s Common Places devoted to Pro-Nicene Theology. Pro-Nicene theology is trinitarianism, of course, but it’s not just the doctrine of the...

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Thursday, 23 February 2017 02:41

God’s Omniscience as Law and Gospel (Sermon)

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image Earlier this month I got to preach in a chapel service at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology. I preached from Psalm 139 about divine omniscience, which has been much on my mind for the last few months.

God knows everything about us, and the Bible talks about his knowledge not as some static...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 16:52

Make Good People Wish It Were True (Pascal)

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image After 9 hours of discussing Pascal’s Pensées with juniors in the Torrey Honors Institute this week, I feel (yes, in my heart, which knows many things reason cannot know) that he is a subtle author indeed. His fragmentary apologetic for the Christian religion, though in form...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 16:22

Was Revealed, Is Revealed

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image Once upon a time, the triune God revealed the triunity of God. Before that time, God was triune but wasn’t saying so. Maybe there were hints and undertones here and there in the ways and words of the triune God throughout the Old Testament, but nothing you could call definitive disclosure.

God...

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Tuesday, 03 January 2017 12:04

Christmas is a Time for Family

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Like most people I know, I have some very special Christmas memories, and many of them revolve around presents: the treasure-hunt gift that culminated in my first basketball, wrapped and hidden in a garbage can, or the tiny little present hidden on the tree itself that proved to be the pin for a...

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Thursday, 29 December 2016 15:39

Absolute and Relative Regarding God

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image This post is just me preemptively sorting out some terminological confusion in academic trinitarian theology, so if you read it and then find yourself asking, “who cares?” you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The answer is, “seven people care.” So if you’re...

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Sunday, 11 December 2016 23:37

Angels Speaking Creation Maybe

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image So I was in church and we were singing that nineteenth-century hymn “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and that one line “you who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth” got me thinking about how I’ve sometimes wondered who the implied speaker...

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Tuesday, 06 December 2016 10:40

The Triune God: Book Release Today

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image Today is the official release date of my book, The Triune God, in Zondervan’s ambitious New Studies in Dogmatics series edited by Allen and Swain.

Its cover has a nice, minty green color that will look good under your favorite theologian’s Christmas tree. Put a little red bow on it...

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Thursday, 01 December 2016 22:52

Gift and Giver

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image In The Dialogue of Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), she describes how God deals with the widespread human tendency to take good things from God and then forget him.

“Those whose love is imperfect,” she reports God as saying, “who love me for my gifts and not for myself the giver,...

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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 20:47

The Virtue of Tolerance

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imageA virtue, in order to live up to its lofty title, must contain within itself its own proper resources for opposing the vice unique to it. As Aristotle taught us, virtues rarely travel alone; typically they wander the streets accompanied by distorted versions of themselves; the vices that carry the...

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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 20:38

A Charge to Maintain Liberal Arts

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A few weeks ago Biola had the delight of installing our new Provost and Senior Vice President, Dr. Deborah Taylor. Part of the installation involved a series of charges from faculty who had been invited to articulate some of the key challenges ahead of Dr. Taylor in her new role, from Biblical and...

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Sunday, 06 November 2016 23:20

Dogmatics Class for LATC17

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image In mid-January of 2017, the Los Angeles Theology Conference will bring a remarkable group of theologians to Biola University for a two-day discussion of “The Task of Dogmatics.” (Register before the end of November for the early registration discount.)

Theology professors in southern...

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Thursday, 03 November 2016 23:43

Helpful Resources from Classical Trinitarianism

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The theme for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society this year is the Trinity, so you can imagine how many sessions there are that I’m eager to attend.

There’s also an ongoing Trinitarian Theology Consultation at ETS, which does Trinity programming every year. For this...

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