Theology

  • Written by John Fesko

The Pillars of Theology

In any building there are key foundational structures that ensure the stability and strength of the building.  Without a strong foundation, for example, a building might topple to the ground.  In the study of God, or theology, there are three foundational pillars that are absolutely essential to the integrity of the theological task.  Without these foundational pillars, a person’s theology will undoubtedly tumble to the ground.

Read more

  • Written by John Fesko

The Federal Vision and the Covenant of Works

Ever since the theological doctrine of the covenant of works was codified in the 17th century in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) it has come under criticism and outright rejection.  In past years rejection has come not only from the broader evangelical community but also from within the reformed camp itself, most notably from John Murray, Herman Hoeksema, and Daniel Fuller.

Most recently, however, rejection of the covenant of works has come from proponents of the so-called, federal vision.  Among the proponents of the federal vision, two authors have specifically written against the traditional understanding of the covenant of works, Rich Lusk and James Jordan. Jordan, for example, writes that "the confusion over merit and works came into the Protestant tradition as a hangover of Medieval theology."

Read more

  • Written by John Fesko

The New Perspective on Paul and the Reformation on Justification: Calvin and N. T. Wright

Despite the fact that Qohelet tells us that there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1.9), in recent years a school of Pauline interpreters have raised their banner declaring they have a new perspective on Paul. What exactly is the nature of this new perspective? One of the earliest proponents of the new perspective, E. P. Sanders, argues that the historic Protestant interpretation of Paul is incorrect. Paul did not face opposition from pharisaical legalism; rather, the Judaism of Paul’s day was a religion of grace, not works.

Read more

  • Written by John Fesko

Gossip: Sweet But Deadly Morsels

We live in a culture in which information is much like gold.  The more information you can possess, organize, and control, the more power you can yield.  The thirst for information certainly fuels the media and entertainment industry.  For example, peruse any given news media website, CNN, ABC, or FOX and you will find gads of information only a click away.  People want to be informed of the latest international and local events.  There is also another category of information that exists on these reputable news outlets—gossip.  One can read stories about celebrities and their love interests or the most intimate details of a person’s life.  It seems as though man has an insatiable desire for gossip, rumors of a personal or intimate nature, which may or may not be true.  Gossip is of course to be expected of the world, the world is as the world does, and the world is sinful.  Yet, sadly, the thirst for gossip also affects the church.

Read more

  • Written by John Fesko

Who fulfills the dominion mandate?

Within the Reformed community there is always much discussion and sermonizing on the dominion mandate: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Gen. 1.28).  There are many Reformed pastors and theologians who appeal to this passage of Scripture and argue that the Church must carry out this command.  The Church must not only carry out the mandate through evangelism, they argue, but also through procreation.  After all, Christ reissued the mandate to the Church in the Great Commission (Matt. 28.18-20) and we are still obligated to God’s first command to Adam and Eve.  Hence, the bottom line of their argument is that through the accomplished work of Christ the Church fulfills the dominion mandate.  While this sounds true and scriptural, it misses the mark by a significant distance.  It might surprise us to discover that the Church does not fulfill the dominion mandate.  If the Church does not fulfill the mandate, then who does?  Christ fulfills the dominion mandate.

Read more

  • Written by John Fesko

The Importance of Hospitality

There are many verses in the Scriptures with which people are familiar. Perhaps this is due to the desire to inculcate Scripture in the lives and minds of the people of God. Therefore, whether it is Sunday School memorization, or a personal desire to memorize Scripture, people gravitate towards the great verses of Scripture. One such verse, for example, is Romans 12.1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Now, while many are familiar with this passage of Scripture, there are many who do not know what this verse looks like in real life. In other words, What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?

Read more