Tuesday, December 26, 2017

4 Things You Can’t Do without Systematic Theology



Before we can understand why systematic theology is essential, we must first understand what it is. There's no single definition of systematic theology, but at its heart it's the discipline captured by the phrase "faith seeking understanding."

Systematic theology builds on the results of biblical theology. Biblical theology is the exegetical discipline that seeks to grasp the entirety of Scripture as the unfolding of God's plan from Genesis to Revelation. Starting with Scripture as God's Word written through human authors—our final authority (sola scriptura) for what we think about God, ourselves, and the world—biblical theology seeks to "put together" the entire canon in a way that's true to God's intent.

Systematic theology then applies the truths gained in biblical theology to every aspect of our lives. It leads to doctrinal formulation—what we ought to believe and how we ought to live—warranted by the canon and done in light of historical theology. 

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What the Creation Museum is Really About



Answers in Genesis opened its much-anticipated, 27-million dollar Creation Museum in rural Northern Kentucky at the end of May 2007, drawing more than half a million people in the first sixteen months and more than three million in the first ten years. Those are impressive numbers. By comparison, the nearby Cincinnati Museum Center, located in the heart of a major Midwestern city, covering a much larger range of subjects in three separate museums, boasting an OMNIMAX theater, and targeting a much broader demographic than just conservative Protestants, had about 1.45 million visitors in 2015. With 20% as much traffic as its much larger secular neighbor, AiG's museum has proved to be a commercial success. Like the YEC ideas that it embodies, the Creation Museum shows no signs of going away anytime soon.

One reason for this is the high production values evident throughout. I saw this for myself, when I visited the Museum scarcely more than three months after it opened. Terry Mortenson of AiG kindly gave me a tour of the operation behind the scenes afterwards, but mostly I walked through the exhibits unaccompanied, attended a well-organized presentation by astronomer Jason Lisle in the technically impressive planetarium, and formed my own conclusions about the methods and the message of the Creation Museum. A few months ago, I commented on the one thing that struck me most, namely, the way in which visitors are shown the YEC view and evolution as separate but equal sets of assumptions, with the scientific evidence impotent to determine which approach actually provides a better explanation. That is best seen in the Dinosaur Dig Site (above), a huge sand box in which two paleontologists, one secular and one a creationist, uncover the same bones with the same techniques but draw very different conclusions about their implications.


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Every Book of the Bible in One Word

God reveals himself through his Word. When he speaks, he teaches us what he is like, how he acts, and how he desires us to respond. As a whole, the Bible is about God. It's about God the Father …

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

New Books You Should Know (July 2017)

Editors' note: On average, we publish around 150 book reviews a year at The Gospel Coalition. Ecclesiastes 12:12 rings true: "Of making many books there is no end." It's impossible to read, let alone …

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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Scientific Pantheism and the God of the Physicists

For the theist the large categories of being are God followed by Creation. God is eternal, while Creation began in time and is ontologically separate from God. Creation includes life in all its wonderful and myriad forms. Humans are a special category of life, bearing the imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-27) and uniquely able to worship God and contemplate the meaning of existence. God is transcendent, existing now, existing before the universe and existing forever. God is the "Alpha and Omega ... which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8 KJV). At the same time, the God of the Bible is personal and immanent in Creation and human affairs. For the scientific naturalist there is no personal God, so the most significant category of being is the cosmos—or, for some, the multiverse. As humans are part of the cosmos and its history, the cosmos for theists is not "Wholly Other" with respect to humans, to borrow the famous language of the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his book, The Idea of the Holy (1917).

But what about the scientific naturalist, for whom the Cosmos is the supreme entity or being? Sometimes language used by scientific naturalists suggests that the cosmos has a certain numinous quality, at least at the metaphorical level, but perhaps occasionally at a much deeper level. This is the case, for example, when Carl Sagan begins his 1980 book and documentary television series Cosmos with the powerful words, "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be" (p. 4). Sagan continues:


Saturday, June 24, 2017

World's Top New Testament Scholar - Christians Need To Read The Gospels Through Ancient Jewish Eyes

I've written here about New Testament scholar N.T. Wright and his most recent book, The Day the Revolution Began. The book was published recently and is now being made available in an online course format. The book (and the course) will bring insights to even the most seasoned student of the Scri...

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Meet St. Paul as he Writes to the Romans; A Brief Study to Make it Easy

I love St. Paul and love to write about him and his epistles. I also enjoyed traveling through six countries filming his life story and theology. St. Paul Dictating his Epistle to the Romans to TertiusSt. Paul's Letter to the Romans is often seen as impossible to understand except by theologians ...

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How the King James Bible Came to Be

Precisely 451 years after the June 19, 1566, birth of King James I of England, one achievement of his reign still stands above the rest: the 1611 English translation of the Old and New Testaments that bears his name. The King James Bible, one of the …

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The Simple Questions to Ask Every Time You Open Your Bible

I recently sat down with New Testament professor Matthew Harmon to ask him some questions about his new book, Asking the Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible …

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