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Discussing abortion, Scholastic-style

In the spirit of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, what follows is an attempt to tackle the topic of abortion according to a medieval-scholastic disputation. The topic is divided into four key questions (philosophical, biblical, circumstantial, and legal) that follow the format of Aquinas’s Summa, first setting forth the objections, then stating the opposing traditional view […]

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What was Adam’s reward? A summary/commentary of Francis Turretin

One of the ongoing intramural Reformed debates centers on what would have happened to Adam if he hadn’t fallen into sin. Would he have continued in an earthly paradise? Or would he have been elevated to a higher, heavenly stage? Would his obedience have counted as “merit”? Does that make Eden a kind of temporary […]

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Does nature need addition? Bavinck against the donum superadditum

One of the central points of disagreement among the various Christian traditions is the question of the relationship of grace and nature. Should we say that grace opposes nature? Affirms nature? Perfects nature? Flanks nature? The answer that Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck famously gives is that grace restores nature: it gives back to us what […]

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Thornwell’s Inaugural Address of the Confederate Presbyterian Church

Note: In 1861, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was deeply divided over the issue of slavery, as well as the broader matter of the church’s role in addressing social and political controversies. It was a question of jurisdiction as much as one of morality. In May, the PCUSA General Assembly had […]

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Alexandrians vs. Antiochenes on Mosaic Law (Part 2)

Note: this is the second part of a paper originally written for a class on the History of Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Part 1 can be read here. Evaluation of Origen The advantage of Origen’s approach is that it compels Christians to read their Old Testament and wrestle thoroughly with its text. A […]

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Alexandrians vs. Antiochenes on Mosaic Law (Part 1)

Note: this paper was previously written for a class on the History of Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Due to the paper’s original length, I will split it into two parts (Part 2 can be read here). Introduction Ever since its inception, the church has struggled to understand the proper place of […]

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Roundup on the Frame-Dolezal Dustup

First it was Eternal Subordination of the Son; now it’s Theistic Mutualism. It’s hard to keep up with all of these modern evangelical debates over the doctrine of God. For those just tuning in, the latest controversy centers on the recently published volume All That Is in God by Reformed Baptist theologian James Dolezal (Reformation […]

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A Quick and Easy Guide to the Apostolic Fathers

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, I have started teaching an adult Sunday School series on Church History. There’s a wealth of wisdom to be learned from the early church, but it can be pretty daunting to the uninitiated! I’ve tried to make things a little more accessible to my congregation by […]

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Robert Rollock on the Merit of Christ

Robert Rollock was a 16th-century Scottish Reformed theologian, credited with developing the idea of a distinction between a covenant of works and a covenant of grace between God and man (aka “bicovenantalism”), and with helping bring Reformed theology to the British Isles. Although his work was influential for later mainstream Reformed theology, he was also […]

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Kuyper on the Church and the Kingdom of God

Exactly what is the relation of the church to God’s kingdom? Are they the same thing? Are they distinct? Abraham Kuyper responds to these questions in the following quote, taken from his address to the Free Church in Amsterdam, now translated in the volume Rooted and Grounded: The Church as Organism and Institution (Christian’s Library Press, 2013): […]

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