Dispensational premillennialists have long been charged with cultural retreat, yet despite the rhetorical extremes of some dispensationalists, dispensational premillennialism does not necessitate withdrawal from cultural engagement; rather, it actually provides a theological basis for equipping Christians as they are active in society. By surveying dispensational thought concerning the kingdom, the church, and the church’s role in society, this article demonstrates that dispensationalists view the church’s exclusive mission as one of discipling Christians to live sanctified lives in whatever cultural sphere to which God has called them. This is the extent of the church’s so-called “responsibility” toward culture, and anything more than this threatens to sideline the church’s central mission.
Proponents across the spectrum of contextualization theory often appeal to Paul’s strategic evangelization through Macedonia into Athens in Acts 17 to either support or decry the theological presuppositions at the root of popular Christian dialogue theories. It is therefore opportune to exegetically revisit this locus classicus to understand the guiding parameters and practices of Paul, especially for missionaries who daily combat the overwhelming forces of secularism and religious pluralism. The exegetical analysis of Acts 17 provides crucial, unmistakable conclusions about Paul’s methods of interreligious dialogue and cultural engagement in the foreign context. The theological and practical constraints of Christian dialogue which emerge from the study should embolden the missionary in the task of propositional evangelism––that is, proclaiming the distinctly Christian gospel to a religiously ambivalent culture.
A tragic lack of familiarity with the historical development of classical Christology has resulted in the acceptance of unbiblical views of Christ’s self-emptying. The post-Enlightenment doctrine of Kenotic Theology continues to exert its influence on contemporary evangelical models of the kenosis, seen primarily in those who would have Christ’s deity circumscribed by His humanity during His earthly ministry. Keeping moored to the text of Scripture and to Chalcedonian orthodoxy combats this error and shows Christ’s kenosis to consist not in the shedding of His divine attributes or prerogatives but in the veiling of the rightful expression of His divine glory. The eternal Son emptied Himself not by the subtraction of divinity but by the addition of humanity, and, consistent with the Chalcedonian definition of the hypostatic union, the incarnate Son acts in and through both divine and human natures at all times. A biblical understanding of these things leads to several significant implications for the Christian life.
New Testament interpretation often has been the subject to historical-critical interpretive fads that have no basis in reality or substance throughout history. These fads generate from the liberal critical scholarship in academic circles, then infiltrate evangelical critical scholarship who then imitate their more liberal counterparts. Under the influence of evangelical critical scholars, many conservatives eventually are led to believe that such fads are “normative” when actually they are highly aberrant and designed to be destructive of the biblical text. Today, a fad known as “Greco-Roman biography,” i.e., a form of historiography that is infiltrating conservative scholarship, is making inroads in interpreting the canonical Gospels. Its impact is the reduction of the gospel texts to mere fallible products that reflect standards of ancient historiography where events are fabricated, sayings are invented, or inaccuracies are latent in the text rather than being what they truly are: inerrant texts guided by the Holy Spirit of Truth (John 14:26:16:13; 1 John 4:4–6; Matt. 23:35).
The 9/11 attacks by Muslims on New York and Washington, D.C posed a question about canonical authority in Islam. Since Islam is ultimately based on the Qur’ān, it is crucial to define and assess the concept of canonization in Islam. Canonization as a theological concept consists of the principles according to which something is originally established and subsequently recognized by adherents as foundational standard for faith and practice. In this essay, Islamic canonization is contrasted with Evangelical canonization. The principles implicit in Islamic recognition of the Qur’ān as canon are observed, followed by the principles in Evangelical recognition of the Bible as canon.
A significant concern for the expositor is navigating the relationship of interpretation and application. A part of the navigation is understanding the complement of the implications of a given text to the proper application. Teachers and expositors who want to make meaningful application of the passage or verse must bear in mind appropriate principles if they are to navigate from the ancient context to their con- temporary audiences; if not, there will be misapplication on the one hand or not using the Scriptures to bear on the actions of listeners on the other.
There are few challenges as prevalent within the church as broken relationships. This article seeks to introduce the subject of facilitating reconciliation between believers within the church. While the primary audience is new and future pastors, it also is accessible to saints within the church. It offers a fourfold introduction to the subject on how to restore broken relationships within the church for consideration to peers and students—past, present, and future.