Review of ‘Preaching the New Testament’ by Ian Paul and David Wenham

 Paul, Ian and David Wenham, eds. Preaching the New Testament. 2013. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. Expository preaching is not an easy task. It requires familiarity with the Bible and your listeners, as well as facility in bridging the contextual divide between the two. In other words, it involves at least three disciplines: exegesis, homiletics, and hermeneutics. Preaching the New Testament is a collection of 17 essays by evangelical New Testament scholars who are also preachers. Edited by Ian Paul and David Wenham, it does not focus on “persuasive communication.” Rather, it offers “insights about how to interpret and communicate … Continue reading Review of ‘Preaching the New Testament’ by Ian Paul and David Wenham

What Christians Know (1 John 5:18-20)

What do Christians know? According to 1 John 5:18-20, they know three things: We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. … Continue reading What Christians Know (1 John 5:18-20)

Mortal Sin (1 John 5:16-17)

What should you do if you see someone sinning? In our culture, the typical answer to that question is, “Absolutely nothing!” There are several reasons for this answer. For one thing, we have drunk deeply from the cup of John Stuart Mill. In 1869, Mill published an influential essay, On Liberty, which advocated “one very simple principle”: “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.” In other words, if you see someone sinning, unless he is sinning against you, leave him alone. For … Continue reading Mortal Sin (1 John 5:16-17)

God’s Obligation in Prayer (1 John 5:13-15)

Is God obligated to answer our prayers? Yes…and no. Let’s start with no. God is not obligated to answer any number of prayers. For example, he is neither obligated nor able to answer impossible requests, such as squaring a circle or revoking the law of non-contradiction. Furthermore, he is not obligated to grant immoral requests. He will not – and morally cannot – help you cheat on your high school geometry test, your spouse, or your taxes. Finally, although he is able, he will not answer immodest requests, such as praying for the winning lottery numbers or getting a date … Continue reading God’s Obligation in Prayer (1 John 5:13-15)

Spirit, Water, Blood (1 John 5:6-12)

When a juror hears evidence in a trial, he asks two questions: (1) what is being said and (2) who is saying it. Yesterday, we looked at the content of the testimony presented in 1 John 5:6-12, which I summarized as God’s life through God’s Son. Today, let’s look at the character of the witnesses. Verses 6b-10 provide the relevant information: And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony … Continue reading Spirit, Water, Blood (1 John 5:6-12)

Review of ‘C. S. Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet’ by Alister McGrath

McGrath, Alister. 2013. C. S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet. Carol Steam, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. C. S. Lewis—Jack to his friends—looms large in the American evangelical mind. On the one hand, this is surprising. A communicant in the Church of England, Lewis was generically orthodox but not specifically evangelical in theological or spiritual emphases. His closest lifelong friends were a homosexual Unitarian (Arthur Greeves) and a traditionalist Roman Catholic (J. R. R. Tolkien). And he drank and smoked prolifically, at one point having a barrel of beer in his rooms at Oxford for the use of his … Continue reading Review of ‘C. S. Lewis–A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet’ by Alister McGrath