Can We Know for Sure who is Lost?

There are a number of people who are fairly certain that they can know—not guess, but know—who is lost and who is saved. Others on the opposite end of the omniscience scale assert emphatically that no one can know for sure if any particular person is lost or saved. The first group claim that total certitude is possible about such things; the latter group opts for total agnosticism. I quote representatives from…

A Tame Lion

There is a new product on the theological market, Universalism, which advertises a new and improved deity, one much better than the old deity offered by such men as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards—and John Chrysostom. The old deity could be wrathful, and would consign impenitent sinners to an eternal hell, an unquenchable fire. The new and improved deity is much nicer: he would never damn anyone eternally, and offers the good news…

The Genesis Creation Stories

Possibly no part of the Bible arouses more controversy and strong feeling than its opening two chapters on the creation of the world. In one corner of the cultural boxing ring we have those who regard those chapters as a literal description of how the world was made (with some exegetical wiggle room about the definition of the word “yom/ day”, and therefore about the age of the cosmos), and in the…

A Lethal Legacy

A friend of mine just returned from back east where he had attended the funeral of a friend and was mightily impressed by it—but not in a good way. The deceased was an older woman who had died, leaving behind a grieving family who loved her very much. The eulogy applauded her as a devoted wife, a steadfast friend, and an apparently perfect mother. Chief among her virtues was her devotion to…

Worshipping with Muslims

In the current cultural debate over Islam, we sometimes meet people who rush to defend Islam and assert that Muslims and Christians both worship the same God. Sometimes they give liturgical expression to this assertion, and participate in joint Muslim-Christian worship services, in which both the Qur’an and the Bible are read. What are we to think of this? Can Muslims and Christians unite in worship? Is it true that they both…

An Exclusive Creed

The Nicene Creed was created to exclude. This goes against the grain of our modern secular society, where the word “inclusive” has become a magic word, conjuring up warm feelings of virtue, righteousness, and goodness. To be inclusive is to be good; to exclude is to be bad. The magic is, I think, rooted in the American Civil Rights Movement, where certain people were unjustly excluded from certain things (such as employment…