From The Archives: Warnock Interviews Grudem

Here is an interesting video, where Adrian Warnock interviews Wayne Grudem. While it is relatively brief and they do not explore any single question in depth, there is a lesson to be had. We are able here to peek through a small window into a mature theological world-view. Grudem does not display foolish middle-of-the-road muddle-ism as he considers and answers Adrian’s questions. Instead, he externalizes his internal dialog so we might see the path he walks from the question to living out the answer.

Young brothers and sisters, take note. Life is richly textured. Your walk in this life need not be reduced to a pallete of black and white. There is room for nuance and vibrance in your daily walk.

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Originally posted May 2010

 

You Are Not Your Own

Quote

“We understand the nature of possessions. When we purchase something, we expect to take possession of it. We own it. No longer does it belong to the seller. Even when we buy things with credit, such as houses and cars, although we do not really own them and are making payments on them, we treat them as if they are ours. We think, “These are my possessions because I bought them.” The Bible says that Christ has paid the price for us. He bought us; therefore, He owns us. Furthermore, He did not purchase His people on credit; He paid in full. We are His.

“The fact that the church is Jesus’ personal possession is a powerful motivation for individual hopeful and holy living. Collectively, the church belongs to Jesus. Yet, the collective community is made up of individuals, each of whom has been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Christ. Knowing that we are the possession of Jesus and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit should provide motivation for our pursuit of holy living in this body. As 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 puts it: ‘Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.’

“Being the possession of Christ is the hope of the Christian. To be a Christian is to belong to Him. To belong to Christ is the foundation for comfort and security in this life and in the life to come. This is the point poignantly made by Question One, Lord’s Day One, of the Heidelberg Catechism. The catechism asks, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer rings with the truth of the purchasing power of the blood of Christ and our security in His possession:

“That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”

Anthony Carter; Blood Work – Kindle Edition (pg 18-19)

From the Archives: The Atonement, Its Meaning and Significance by Leon Morris

Originally published in 2009:

I’ve spent several hours this month with the late Leon Morris. It has been time well spent. You will typically find high recommendations for his scholarly work The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. For all of the glowing and deserved recommendations, it is written targeting an education level that most of the church never reaches. Like climbing Everest, you need to bring along theological oxygen bottles to survive the rarefied atmosphere. Recognizing the limiting nature of that work for evangelicals in general, Morris set out to bring the hay down out of the loft so we all might ruminate and benefit from his work. He succeeded.
The Atonement, Its Meaning and Significance is a book about the cross for the rest of us. Morris throws biblical light on the death of Messiah using the lamps of covenant, sacrifice, the Day of Atonement, Passover, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, and justification. Each lamp has a different hue, emphasizing its own aspect of the atonement. Morris is unapologetic about using a broad palette. Only by using a wide range of biblical language can he paint a rich portrait to help us understand and appreciate the length, breadth, and depth of God’s solution to mankind’s evil and rebellion.
One chapter stands out for me, not for devotional value, but for the devotion Morris shows in pursuing important concepts. I’m thinking specifically of his chapter on propitiation. C.H. Dodd’s efforts to empty the New Testament of God’s personal wrath has had a deep impact on the church today. Morris brings the scholarly material to bear in a simplified manner and contributes several helpful insights. In doing so, he contemplates the differing semantics of propitiation v. expiation. Morris makes a strong case that our understanding of the atonement is meaningfully diminished if we omit God’s righteous indignation. This one chapter is enough to display the profound insights that Morris developed over years of interaction with Dodd’s work.
Morris combines a clear writing style with delightful little glimpses of his own personality. I could almost see him shake his head or chuckle a little under his breath. A couple of times his wry sense of humor rises to mock our foolishness. The book is about 200 pages long. It’s helpful. I recommend it for your consideration. Following are some morsels served up to whet your appetite.

“The cross is central to Christianity.”

“The witness (to a covenant) was not an independent figure who could speak up and testify to the fact and terms of the covenant. The witness was rather something that served to remind the participants of what they had done.”

“Every Christian enters the covenant by faith, and here the references to the covenant with Abraham as of continuing force are important. Abraham is the classic example of faith for the New Testament writers and to be involved in the covenant with Abraham means to live by faith as that patriarch did. Not all the descendants of Abraham were caught up in his covenant with God, and Paul specifically makes the point that in the sense that matters Abraham’s children are those who believe, whether they are his physical descendants or not, whether they are circumcised or not. And, of course, a consideration of the place of faith in the covenant calls us to consider the reality of our faith. Without faith, there is no membership in the covenant.”

“Ancients like me remember that during the years of the Second World War we were frequently called upon to make sacrifices to assist our country. That meant forgoing comfort and pay rises and it involved making do with inferior substitutes instead of insisting on the superior article; on occasion it meant going without something altogether.”

“The worshipper laid his hand on the head of the (sacrificial) animal. The Hebrew verb means something like leaning on the animal. It was a firm contact, not a casual touch. The meaning of this is disputed. Some hold that it meant that the worshipper was identifying himself with the offering. If this is the way of it, the action said, ‘This is my sacrifice. This is the animal am offering.’ It certainly did this at least. But others think that the action was a symbolic transferral of the sins of the worshipper to the animal, so that when it died it was taking the punishment due to the worshipper for his sins. It was being treated as the sins it bore deserved. They hold that this is the obvious symbolism and that it is supported by the fact that in later times at least there are passages which tell us that, as the worshipper laid his hands on the animal, he confessed his sins. It is not easy to see what the laying on of hands means if there is no symbolic transfer to the animal which was to die of the sins being confessed.”

“Nobody who came thoughtfully to God by the way of sacrifice could be in any doubt but that sin was a serious matter. It could not be put aside by a light-hearted wave of the hand but required the shedding of blood.”

“The term (redemption) as used in the all-pervasive Greek culture of antiquity had its origin in the practices of warfare. When people went to war in ancient times they lacked the refinements of our modern civilization. They had no atom bombs, no poison gas, no germ warfare. But in their own humble way they did what they could to make life uncomfortable for one another. One of the happy little customs was that, when battle was over, the victors sometimes rode around the battlefield rounding up as many of the vanquished as they could. Then they took them off as slaves. It meant a tidy profit and an increase in the spoils of war, though I guess the new slaves did not like it much.”

“The two concepts (propitiation and expiation) are really very different. Propitiation means the turning away of anger; expiation is rather the making amends for a wrong. Propitiation is a personal word; one propitiates a person. Expiation is an impersonal word; one expiates a sin or a crime.”

“An important idea in the New Testament is that righteousness may be imputed. There are grounds for imputation in an Old Testament passage, that in which we read, ‘Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness’. This presents a problem to some modern people, because we so firmly believe that righteousness is an ethical quality. It is ‘being good’. In that sense, it is nonsense to talk about righteousness being imputed. Everyone who aspires to this kind of righteousness must merit it for himself, by right living. It cannot be ‘credited’ or ‘reckoned’ or ‘imputed’ to him other than in some fictitious and fanciful sense. But when we see righteousness as basically legal, as ‘right-standing’, it is another matter. A standing or status can be conferred. The narrative says that God conferred this status on Abraham because of his faith. Paul uses this as his classic example of justification by faith. Abraham received his ‘right-standing’ not on account of any meritorious action but simply because he trusted God.”

The Atonement

John Murray’s book Redemption–Accomplished and Applied has helped me repeatedly over the years.  Here is a shorter treatment of the atonement for your benefit.




“The atonement springs from the fountain of the Father’s love; He commends His own love towards us. We must not think, however, that the action of the Father ended with the appointment and commission of the Son. He was not a mere spectator of Gethsemane and Calvary. The Father laid upon His own Son the iniquities of us all. He spared not His own Son but delivered Him up. He made Him to be sin for us. It was the Father who gave Him the cup of damnation to drink. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Here is love supremely demonstrated.” – John Murray




Pierced for Our Transgressions

I finally finished my first reading of Pierced for Our Transgressions by Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach. It is an excellent work and well worth the time. I hope to post a full review in a few days. The authors take the time to deal with many current objections to penal substitutionary atonement, explaining and exploring models of justice displayed in various positions, identifying and critiquing underlying presuppositions, and offering helpful advice on less-than-helpful illustrations which enjoy broad use within evangelical preaching.
This was a great volume to follow Morris’ The Cross in the New Testament. Morris explored the rich pallete of the atonement and responded more than adequately to positions which still hold sway in several branches of the church. Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach continue his analysis into current trends and echo the faithful work of Morris to our current generation of evangelical theologians.

Warnock interviews Grudem

Here is an interesting video, where Adrian Warnock interviews Wayne Grudem. While it is relatively brief and they do not explore any single question in depth, there is a lesson to be had. We are able here to peek through a small window into a mature theological world-view. Grudem does not display foolish middle-of-the-road muddle-ism as he considers and answers Adrian’s questions. Instead, he externalizes his internal dialog so we might see the path he walks from the question to living out the answer.

Young brothers and sisters, take note. Life is richly textured. Your walk in this life need not be reduced to a pallete of black and white. There is room for nuance and vibrance in your daily walk.

Hebrews 9-10: Christ our Atonement and High Priest

Today in our Sunday School class we explored the Day of Atonement in the New Testament. At the conclusion of the discussion period, we watched the following video since it covered the most focused section of Scripture on Christ as the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament. This is Ryan Ferguson reciting Hebrews 9-10 from memory. It is about 11 minutes long and well worth the time to watch.