To download or view the the issue as a PDF please click on: Sinners In The Hands Of A Merciful God
Sin is a concept that is by and large discounted and even neglected in the Church. Not that many Pastors don’t preach on it—they do—it’s more that sin is an uncomfortable topic to talk about. Think about the last time someone pointed out sin in your life to you. Or the last time you were convicted of your sin by the Holy Spirit. No one enjoys having their sin pointed out to them or being convicted of their sin, yet we need both. We need to be in community with God’s people. You need me to help you grow in grace. In turn, I need you to help me grow. After all we all have “blind spots” in our lives, where we attempt to justify our sin. Some people get very defensive when they have their sin pointed out to them. Those who know the grace of God, however, know they don’t have to have it all together. They are freed in Christ to be who they are.
The more we understand our sin, the more we can rightly understand the work of Christ. After all, Christ dealt a death blow to sin in His death, burial, and resurrection. Since we’re freed from the chains of sin and transferred from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, we’re free to be who we are in Christ. We’re not free to be who we want to be (living however we want to live). Even our freedom in Christ is restricted. We don’t get to abuse the freedom we have, but we do get to enjoy it. We’re freed from the penalty of sin, but we still experience the very real effects of sin, since we haven’t yet been glorified. There is a tension I hope you see between the “already” and the “not yet” of the Christian life. We’re saints in our standing with God, and yet we’re still sinners, still repenting of our sin. This is why as Martin Luther said, in the very first of his 95 theses he posted to the door of the church at Wittenberg, “When Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said, “Repent”, He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
The clearer we see our sin, the better able we’ll be able to understand the finished work of Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection dealt a death blow to sin. Through Him, we who have died to the flesh can live according to the Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to put sin to death, and live not according to their fleshly desires, but according to the Spirit.
In this issue we’ll be talking about sin. Through the articles, interviews, and book reviews, our aim is to help you consider your sin and to point you to the finished work of Christ, who alone empowers you now through the Holy Spirit to slay your sin. Jesus has sent you out on a mission; He calls you to bring people to Himself through faithfulness to His Word by declaring His gospel to sinners. As you bring sinners to Jesus, He will save them. This means that you and I can be who we are in Christ. We are His; we are His beloved. Yet, we’re not perfect—we’re still growing in His grace. We’re still repenting and we still need one another. I pray this issue helps you understand the doctrine of sin so that you can rightly see your sin, and thus better know, see, and delight in the Savior. It is Christ alone who saves sinners from sin to new life in His Name, and empowers His people to shine the light of the gospel in a dark world.
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor of Theology for Life
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To download or view the the issue as a PDF please click on: Scripture The Source of Truth in a Culture of Doubt
Over the past decade, I’ve spent considerable time studying the Bible in both an academic and personal setting. During this time, I not only learned a great deal about the Bible, but also about how the Bible is under attack through a multifaceted method from the scientific communities, theological liberalism, and secularism. Many people come to the Bible to merely investigate what it teaches, rather than to humbly submit to what it teaches. As I continued to study secular history and church history, I quickly realized that these attacks are not new, but rather a common reoccurrence throughout time—albeit with a new spin and a fresh face attached to them.
When I progressed past the scrawny middle-schooler stage, I became very interested in studying doctrine and theology. As I continued to study the Bible into adulthood, I came to the conclusion that when a person views the Bible in the wrong light it affects the conclusions that he or she comes to regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ.
During the Protestant Reformation, the Reformers returned to the Scriptures. Theologians call this return Sola Scriptura which means “Scripture Alone”. By their understanding of Sola Scriptura, the Reformers believed the Bible was inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient for training and equipping in the Word of God as Christians practicing their faith.
In this issue of Theology for Life on the Bible, you’ll learn from me and our other contributors about the doctrine of Scripture—precisely how the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, sufficient and authorative Word of God. Not only this, but you’ll also read reviews of current books on Scripture and an interview from Dr. Chatraw, co-author with Drs. Bock and Kostenberger of Truth Matters and Truth in a Culture of Doubt. As you read this Issue, our prayer is that the Lord would help you to grow in knowledge of handling His Word and applying it so that you won’t be merely a hearer of the Word, but a doer of His Word by His grace. My hope is that the Bible would become more precious to you, so much so that you would delight to digest the Word of the Lord, in the Bible. This is our prayer for you:
“Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord. I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.”
In Christ Alone,
Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine
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Over the past six years I’ve lived in Boise, Idaho, an area that is predominately Mormon. Before this, however, I lived for 26 years in the greater Seattle, Washington area. While Boise’s predominate religions are Mormonism and Catholicism, in Seattle the most highly followed religions are liberal Christianity, Atheism (although some would argue that it’s not a religion), and New Age/Occultism. The difference in these cities couldn’t be starker. The variety of views throughout the United States and world regarding the person and work of Christ is massive. Many people view Christ as either a “good person”, prophet, or teacher. Jesus is all of those things to be sure, but He is so much more. Consider in the Gospel of John alone. Seven times John uses the “I Am” statement in reference to describe an aspect of who He is. All of the world’s religions except biblical Christianity diminish some aspect of the deity of Christ. Biblical Christianity stands on who the Bible proclaims who Jesus is and what He has done. While the deity of Christ doesn’t say everything about who Jesus is and what He’s done it does articulate a crucial aspect of Jesus work. The deity of Christ proclaims that Jesus is fully God and fully man. We know this because Jesus taught it, the Apostles proclaimed it and the early church defended and contended for the deity of Christ. The Church throughout its history has also proclaimed, defended and contended for this truth.
In this issue of Theology for Life, we are going to explore the person and work of Christ. Theologians use the fancy word “Christology” to express this truth. As we explore the person and work of Christ you’ll learn why a fully rounded understanding of Christology is so important, not only from Scripture, but also from church history, and how this doctrine relates to your life. A robust and biblical understanding of the person and work of Christ is absolutely essential to a healthy Christian Church, the Christian life, and to the spread of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this magazine issue, you’ll learn not only how the person and work of Christ is under attack, but also how Jesus is fully God and fully man, the incarnation of Christ, and other biblical topics beneﬁcial to your Christian growth. As you read this magazine, we encourage you to share the Issue with your friends. We also encourage you to provide feedback on the articles, or submit questions. Thank you for reading and supporting the work of Theology for Life. We also want to especially thank our partners, B&H Publishing and Beeson Divinity School, for their partnership with Theology for Life. My prayer is that the person and work of Jesus Christ would become more precious to your heart, mind, and soul as you absorb the words printed here.
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Coming October 31 is our second Issue of Theology For Life on the person and work of Jesus Christ titled “Christology: Christ, the Church, and the Christian Life“. This issue will help you to not only understand what the Bible teaches about this vital topic but also to be equipped to answer objections to this doctrine. I encourage you to read our second issue Friday October 31 and be encouraged, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy our giveaway sponsored by our friends at Crossway, B&H Academic and Dutton Adult and please encourage your friends and family to check out our second issue of Theology For Life Magazine.
The books being given away are three copies of Truth in a Culture of Doubt, one copy of Edwards on the Christian Life, one copy of God’s Design for man and woman, one copy of The Stories We Tell and two copies of Tim Keller’s new book on Prayer. There are eight books in total available and there will be eight winners.
Enter the giveaway below through punchtab:
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To download or view the the issue as a PDF please click on: Theology-for-Life-Issue1-Vol1
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When I was a teenager, I feel in love with theology. I had come home from a high school summer camp and was riding a spiritual high. I resolved at that camp that I was going to grow in my knowledge of God’s Word and so determined I would go to the church library after youth group service that following Sunday to pick up some books to read toward that end. I began this journey and came to discover that I truly loved theology. People often asked me during this time (and do today), what kind of theology I like. My consistent answer to that question is, “I love all of it!” I read so much and so often during my high school years that the church librarian began to give me the pick of the books as they were donated by people in the church. She then started giving me books stating, “With the way you read you’re going to seminary.” Here almost twenty years after that event, I am still reading and consuming theology and serving the Lord.
We live in a world where many are greatly confused about what they believe, why it matters and how to live based on those beliefs. In the Boise (Idaho) area, there are Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and many Christians who have replaced their local church with a coffee shop. In ministering to the saints over the years, in a variety of capacities, I have often come to discover that when Christians talk about theology, they are not always as clear as they should be in their understanding of it (or in their communications regarding it). Speaking clearly and in the proper doctrinal and theological categories does not mean you’re a “know-it-all”, it means that you’re seeking to love the Lord with all of your heart, mind, and strength.
The Reformers and Puritans sought to ground God’s people in His Word. They did this because they knew that when God’s people focus on how they feel above what God has declared in His Word, they will be misled by their own feelings instead of Truth. Christians are a people who live not by how they feel, but from the objective standard of God’s Word, which is authoritative for faith and practice.
We live in a day when our greatest need as believers is to ground our lives in the truth of His Word. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths that sets us on the pathway of righteousness and life everlasting. As you’ll learn in this first issue of Theology for Life Magazine, to ask and answer the question, “What is theology?” is not just for the ivory towers of academia, but to inform and guide all of our Christian lives. Theology is for all of life because all of our lives are lived before the sovereign gaze of an all-knowing and all-powerful Lord.
As you take up and read this issue it is my prayer that not only would your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word increase, but that your passion to worship and delight in Him would soar as it did with me those two decades ago. Grow deep and wide in the grace of God, and watch as God uses you in amazing ways for His glory. This is my prayer for you as you read this magazine and continue in your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Contributors include: Brian Cosby, Mike Boling, Craig Hurst, Dave Jenkins, and Lane Keister.
Hello and Welcome to Theology for Life Magazine!
One of my main concerns about contemporary evangelicalism is that we are an inch deep and a mile wide. Christians should be growing deep and wide in the gospel. We do that by knowing what we believe, why it matters, and how to implement a biblical worldview into all of life. This is exactly why Theology for Life magazine exists.
We exist to help lay people to understand biblical and theological issues from a confessionally Reformed perspective. We’re not trying to be a theological encyclopedia, but to explain old truths and point people to the old paths to which our forefathers in the faith have held. In other words we want to be biblical, historical, personal, and practical. While this explains what we are seeking to do, I want you to understand why I feel burdened to start this magazine.
I spent five years in Bible College and seminary and almost my entire life has been spent in the church. I read quite a few books each year and see a huge need in the Church for resources written specifically for lay people. There are other good publications online like Themelios, which is directed more towards scholars. There is also Credo Magazine, but this publication is geared toward Bible College and seminary students. We exist not to take the place of any of these or other fine publications. Our purpose is to explain biblical and theological issues in easy to understand language without compromising any of the doctrinal or theological teaching behind them, thus enabling lay people to apply the truth of God’s Word and the teaching of the Church into their daily lives. Our purpose, as you can see, is to be biblical, while maintaining a pastoral feel with practical application. We want you to be not only hearers of the Word, but also “doers” of the Word. We desire that you gain knowledge and understanding for the purpose of being discerning. Every Christian is to be discerning, and in the issues of this magazine you’ll learn doctrinal and theological words that you may not have known before. Our goal is to uncomplicate these words by explaining them simply—no theological degree necessary.
I hope this explanation will encourage you to check out this magazine! Our prayer is that you would grow deep and wide in the grace of God, so that you may take what you learn here and share it with your friends, family members, and on your social media channels. Wherever you are in your walk with God, in relation to spiritual growth, knowledge, or experience, we believe that Theology for Life has something for you. I encourage you to read our first issue come Monday August 11th and be encouraged, but for now, I hope you’ll enjoy our book giveaway sponsored by our friends at Crossway and B&H and tell your friends about us as we prepare to launch this exciting new ministry.
The books being away are three copies of Theology For the Church, three copies of Women of the Word, one copy of The Wonder Working God, one copy of Taking God at His Word, and one copy Edwards on the Christian Life. There will be a total of nine winners for nine books. Enter the giveaway below through punchtab:
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