THEOLOGICAL RESOURCES:

DEBATE & DIALOGUE – MULTIPLE VIEWS & PERSPECTIVES

Compiled by David P. Craig, August, 2021

AFTERLIFE – Death, Intermediate State, Heaven and Hell

  • William V. Crockett, ed. Four Views on Hell. Counterpoints first edition: John F. Walvoord defends the “Literal View”; William V. Crockett defends the “Metaphorical View”; Zachary J. Hays defends the “Purgatorial View”; and Clark H Pinnock defends the “Conditional View.”
  • Edward William Fudge. Two Views of Hell: A biblical Theological Dialogue. Edward Fudge gives the case for “Conditionalism” and Robert A. Person gives the case for “Traditionalism.”
  • Steve Gregg. All Your Want To Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin. Covers the Case for “Traditionalism”; “Conditionalism”; and “Restorationism.”
  • Peter Kreeft. Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College, who shares much in common with evangelicals. 
  • Preston Sprinkle, ed. Four Views on Hell (Second Edition with New Contributors: Denny Burk defends the Eternal Conscious Torment view; John G. Stackhouse defends the Terminal Punishment view; Robin A. Parry defends the Universalist view; Jerry L. Walls defends the Hell and Purgatory view).
  • Michael E. Wittmer, ed. Four Views On Heaven. Zondervan Counterpoints Series: John S. Feinberg, “The Traditional View”; J. Richard Middleton, “Platonic Earthly View”; Michael Allen, “Heavenly Earth View”; Peter Kreeft, “Roman Catholic Beatific Vision View”.

APOLOGETICS – Giving Good Evidence for the Truth of Christianity 

  • James K. Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Do It. Most introductions to apologetics begin with the “how to” of defending the faith, diving right into the major apologetic arguments and the body of evidence. For those who want a more foundational look at this contested theological discipline, this book examines Christian apologetics in its nature, history, approaches, objections and practice. What is apologetics?; How has apologetics developed?; What are the basic apologetic approaches?; Why should we practice apologetics? Countless Christians today are seeking a responsible way to defend and commend their faith. If you are one them, Thinking About Christian Apologetics is a good place to start.
  • Kenneth D. Boa & Robert M. Bowman Jr. Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith. Ever since the apostle Paul addressed the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in Athens, relating the Christian worldview to a non-Christian world has been a challenge. And despite Peter’s charge to be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15), most Christian laypeople have left apologetics―the defense of the faith―to the ecclesiastical pros. Faith Has Its Reasons is a study of four different models of how apologetics should be done, an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and a proposal for integrating the best insights of each. Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman have assembled a wealth of information about what Christians believe and how to present that faith to an unbelieving world. Remarkable both in its depth of content and ease of accessibility, Faith Has Its Reasons gives Christian laypeople the tools to address such critical questions as: Why is belief in God rational despite the prevalence of evil in the world?; What facts support the church’s testimony that Jesus rose from the dead?; Can we be certain Christianity is true?; and How can our faith in Christ be based on something more secure than our own understanding without descending into an irrational emotionalism?
  • Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls. C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time. In some ways, they could not be more different: the pipe-smoking, Anglican Oxford don and the blue-collar scion of conservative Presbyterianism. But C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, each in his unique way, fashioned Christian apologetics that influenced millions in their lifetimes. And the work of each continues to be read and studied today. In this book Scott Burson and Jerry Walls compare and contrast for the first time the thought of Lewis and Schaeffer. With great respect for the legacy of each man, but with critical insight as well, they suggest strengths and weaknesses of their apologetics. All the while they consider what Lewis and Schaeffer still have to offer in light of postmodernism and other cultural currents that, since their deaths, have changed the apologetic landscape. This incisive book stands as both an excellent introduction to the work of these two important figures and a fresh proposal for apologetics at the dawn of a new century.
  • Steven B. Cowan, ed. Five Views on Apologetics (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). William Lane Craig presents the “Classical Method”; Gary R. Habermas presents the “Evidential Method”; Paul D. Feinberg presents the “Cumulative Case Method”; John Frame presents the “Presuppositional Method”; and Kelly James Clark presents the “Reformed Epistemological Method.”
  • William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. God? A Debate Between A Christian and An Atheist. The question of whether or not God exists is profoundly fascinating and important. Now two articulate spokesmen–one a Christian, the other an atheist–duel over God’s existence in an illuminating battle of ideas. In God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. Avoiding overly esoteric arguments, they directly address issues such as religious experience, the Bible, evil, eternity, the origin of the universe, design, and the supposed connection between morality and the existence of God. Employing sharp and humorous arguments, each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent’s case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God in order to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. By assuming a traditional concept of God in their discussion, the authors ensure that they are truly addressing each other’s viewpoints and engaging in a disagreement over a unified issue. The book is composed of six chapters that alternate between Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong, so that each separate point can be discussed as it arises.
  • Gary R. Habermas, Antony G.N. Flew, & Terry L. Mieth. Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? The Resurrection Debate. This is the most important question regarding the claims of the Christian faith. Certainly no question in modern religious history demands more attention or interest, as witnessed by the vast body of literature dealing with the Resurrection. James I. Packer says it well in his response to this debate: ‘When Christians are asked to make good their claim that this scheme is truth, they point to Jesus’ resurrection. The Easter event, so they affirm, demonstrated Jesus’ deity; validated his teaching; attested to the completion of his work of atonement for sin; confirms his present cosmic dominion and coming reappearance as Judge; assures us that his personal pardon, presence, and power in people’s lives today is fact; and guarantees each believer’s own reembodiment by Resurrection in the world to come’ The Apostle Paul considered the Resurrection to be the cornerstone of the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole structure, Christianity, collapses. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, ‘And if Christ has not been raised, ‘our preaching is useless and so is you faith’ More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God. . . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile [emphasis added]’ The Christian faith-and its claim to be Truth-exists only if Jesus rose from the dead. The heart of Christianity is a living Christ.
  • J.P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen. Does God Exist? The Debate Between Theists and Atheists. Is there a God? What is the evidence for belief in such a being? What is God like? Or, is God a figment of human inspiration? How do we know that such a being might not exist? Should belief or disbelief in God’s existence make a difference in our opinions and moral choices, in the way we see ourselves and relate to those around us? These are fundamental questions, and their answers have shaped individual lives, races, and nations throughout history. On March 24, 1988, at the University of Mississippi, J.P. Moreland, a leading Christian philosopher and ethicist, and Kai Nielsen, one of today’s best-known atheist philosophers, went head-to-head over these questions. Does God Exist? records their entire lively debate and includes questions from the audience, the debaters’ answers, and the responses of four recognized scholars – William Lane Craig, Antony Flew, Dallas Willard, and Keith Parsons. Noted author and philosopher Peter Kreeft has written an introduction, concluding chapter, and appendix – all designed to help readers decide for themselves whether God is fact or fantasy.
  • Armand M. Nicholi Jr. The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life. Renowned psychiatrist and educator Armand Nicholi here presents a fascinating comparison of the beliefs of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. For all the variety of specific religious beliefs, there are fundamentally only two kinds of people: believers and nonbelievers. In the 20th century, no spokesman was more prominent for nonbelief than Sigmund Freud, and no one argued for belief more successfully than C. S. Lewis. From pain and suffering to love and sex, from God to morality, Lewis and Freud carefully argued opposing positions and even considered the chief objections to their positions. Based on Nicholi’s years of studying both men, including wide access to Freud’s letters, this debate on the greatest of subjects strikes at the deepest chords in our souls.

BAPTISM – One of two essential ordinances of the Christian Faith.

  • John H. Armstrong, ed. Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints: Church Life). What is the significance of water baptism? Who should be baptized? Is infant baptism scriptural? Which is the proper baptismal mode: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Should people be rebaptized if they join a church that teaches a different form of baptism? Should baptism be required for church membership? These and other questions are explored in this thought-provoking book. Four historic views on baptism are considered in depth: “Baptism of the professing regenerate by immersion: Baptist View” presented by Thomas J. Nettles; “Believers’ baptism on the occasion of regeneration by immersion: Christian Churches/Churches of Christ View” presented by Hohn D. Castelein;  “Infant baptism by sprinkling as a regenerative act: Lutheran View” presented by Robert Kolb; and “Infant baptism of children of the covenant: Reformed View” presented by Richard L. Pratt Jr. Each view is presented by its proponent, then critiqued and defended in dialogue with the book’s other contributors. Here is an ideal setting in which you can consider the strengths and weaknesses of each stance and arrive at your own informed conclusion.
  • David F. Wright, ed. Baptism: Three Views. Bruce A. Ware presents the “Believers’ Baptism View”; Sinclair B. Ferguson presents the “Infant Baptism View”; Anthony N.S. Lane presents the “Dual-Practice View.”

BIBLIOLOGY – A Defense of the Bible and Controversies in the Bible, about the Bible, and its People and Books

  • Michael F. Bird, ed. Four Views On The Apostle Paul (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The apostle Paul was a vital force in the development of Christianity. Paul’s historical and religious context affects the theological interpretation of Paul’s writings, no small issue in the whole of Christian theology. Recent years have seen much controversy about the apostle Paul, his religious and social context, and its effects on his theology. In the helpful Counterpoints format, four leading scholars present their views on the best framework for describing Paul’s theological perspective, including his view of salvation, the significance of Christ, and his vision for the churches. Contributors and views include: “The Reformed View”:  presented by Thomas R. Schreiner; “The Catholic View”: presented by Luke Timothy Johnson; “The Post-New Perspective View”: presented by Douglas Campbell; and “The Jewish View”: presented by Mark D. Nanos. Like other titles in the Counterpoints: Bible and Theology collection, Four Views on the Apostle Paul gives theology students the tools they need to draw informed conclusions on debated issues. General editor and New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird covers foundational issues and provides helpful summaries in his introduction and conclusion.
  • David Alan Black, ed. Perspectives On The Ending of Mark: Four Views. Because it is conspicuously absent from more than one early Greek manuscript, the final section of the gospel of Mark (16:9-20) that details Christ’s resurrection remains a constant source of debate among serious students of the New Testament. Perspectives on the Ending of Mark presents in counterpoint form the split opinions about this difficult passage with a goal of determining which is more likely. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professors Maurice Robinson and David Alan Black argue for the verses’ authenticity. Keith Elliott (University of Leeds) and Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary) contend that they are not original to Mark’s gospel. Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary) responds to each view and summarizes the state of current research on the entire issue.
  • D.A. Carson. The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. The author addresses laypeople and pastors with a concise explanation of the science of textual criticism and refutes the proposition that the King James Version is superior to contemporary translations.
  • Steven B. Cowan and Terry L. Wilder. In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture. In Defense of the Bible gathers exceptional articles by accomplished scholars (Paul Copan, William A. Dembski, Mary Jo Sharp, Darrell L. Bock, etc.), addressing and responding to all of the major contemporary challenges to the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture. The book begins by looking at philosophical and methodological challenges to the Bible—questions about whether or not it is logically possible for God to communicate verbally with human beings; what it means to say the Bible is true in response to postmodern concerns about the nature of truth; defending the clarity of Scripture against historical skepticism and relativism. Contributors also explore textual and historical challenges—charges made by Muslims, Mormons, and skeptics that the Bible has been corrupted beyond repair; questions about the authorship of certain biblical books; allegations that the Bible borrows from pagan myths; the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments. Final chapters take on ethical, scientific, and theological challenges— demonstrating the Bible’s moral integrity regarding the topics of slavery and sexism; harmonizing exegetical and theological conclusions with the findings of science; addressing accusations that the Christian canon is the result of political and theological manipulation; ultimately defending the Bible as not simply historically reliable and consistent, but in fact the Word of God.
  • F. David Farnell and Norman L. Geisler, eds. Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate. The inerrancy of God’s Word has been attacked throughout church history. Today’s assaults are unique since neo-evangelicals now surrender to post-modernistic ideas of history and historical-critical ideologies that assault this vital doctrine. They seek to redefine the orthodox meaning of inerrancy. Since the signing of the Chicago Statements, troubling signs have once again appeared in recent years among many who either did not fight the battles for the inerrancy of Scripture as did the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, or who do not remember the troubling times that caused their development. The nature and definition of “inerrancy” are now being changed to include ideas of fallibility. History is forgotten. The need arises for sounding the alarm for Vital Issues in Inerrancy. Evangelical schools and churches that broke away earlier to defend inerrancy surrender now to academic prestige and scholarly fads instead of faithfulness to God’s inerrant Word. The contributors pray that the Lord will raise up a new generation with the spiritual fervency of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy to uphold the inerrancy of God’s Word: Isaiah 40:8–“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
  • Scott M. Gibson and Matthew D. Kim. Homiletics and Hermeneutics: Four Views on Preaching Today. Scott Gibson and Matthew Kim, both experienced preachers and teachers, have brought together four preaching experts–Bryan Chapell, Kenneth Langley, Abraham Kuruvilla, and Paul Scott Wilson–to present and defend their approach to homiletics. Reflecting current streams of thought in homiletics, the book offers a robust discussion of theological and hermeneutical approaches to preaching and encourages pastors and ministry students to learn about preaching from other theological traditions. It also includes discussion questions for direct application to one’s preaching.
  • Stanley N. Gundry, ed. Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views On God and Canaanite Genicide (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). A discussion of various contemporary evangelical views of genocide in the Old Testament. Christians are often shocked to read that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, commanded the total destruction―all men, women, and children―of the ethnic group know as the Canaanites. This seems to contradict Jesus’ command in the New Testament to love your enemies and do good to all people. How can Yahweh be the same God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? What does genocide in the Bible have to do with the politics of the 21st century? This book explores, in typical Counterpoints format, the Old Testament command of God to exterminate the Canaanite population and what that implies about continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The four points of view presented on the continuity of the Testaments are: “Strong Discontinuity” presented by C . S. Cowles; “Moderate Discontinuity” presented by Eugene H. Merrill; “Spiritual Continuity” presented by Tremper Longman III; and “Eschatological Continuity” presented by Daniel L. Gard.
  • Charles Halton, ed. Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). James K. Hoffmeier writes about “Genesis 1-11 As History and Theology”; Gordon J. Wenham writes about “Genesis 1-11 As ProtoHistory”; and Kenton L. Sparks writes about “Genesis 1-11 As Ancient Hisoriography.”
  • Mark D. Janzen, ed. Five Views on the Exodus: Historicity, Chronology, and Theological Implications (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Five Views on the Exodus looks at competing views on the historicity, chronology, and theological implications of the exodus. The biblical account of the Israelite exodus from Egypt is one of the most enduring narratives ever told and is a foundational event for several world religions. It resonates across cultures with its timeless themes of redemption and deliverance. It is also the only explanation the Bible gives for Israel’s origin. Despite its unique legacy, many scholars regard the exodus as fictitious or a cultural memory that may not be a historical event. Even among those who believe the exodus happened, there is no consensus regarding its date. Five Views on the Exodus brings together experts in the fields of biblical studies, Egyptology, and archaeology to discuss and debate the most vexing questions about the exodus. Each offers their own view and offer constructive responses to other leading views on the exodus. The five views presented here include: “The Early Date: The Exodus Took Place in the Fifteenth Century BC” by Scott Stripling; “The Late Date: A Historical Exodus in the Thirteenth Century BC” by James K. Hoffmeier; “A Hyksos Levite Led Exodus in the Time of Ramesses II” by Peter Feinman; “The Alternative Late Date: The Exodus Took Place in the Twelfth Century BC” by Gary A. Rendsburg; and “The Exodus as Cultural Memory: A Transformation of Historical Events” by Ronald Hendel.
  • Scot McKnight and B.J. Oropeza, eds. Perspectives on Paul: Five Views. This five-views work brings together an all-star lineup of Pauline scholars to offer a constructive, interdenominational, up-to-date conversation on key issues of Pauline theology. The editors begin with an informative recent history of biblical tradition related to the perspectives on Paul. John M. G. Barclay, A. Andrew Das, James D. G. Dunn, Brant Pitre, and Magnus Zetterholm then discuss how to interpret Paul’s writings and theology, especially the apostle’s view of salvation. The book concludes with an assessment of the perspectives from a pastoral point of view by Dennis Edwards.
  • Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, eds. Romans: Four Perspectives. There are several top notch evangelical scholars that participate in this book that interact with various issues in dialogue: Stephen Westerholm writes about “Romans and the ‘Lutheran’ Paul”; Scot McKnight writes about “Romans and the New Perspective”; Douglas A. Campbell writes “Romans and the Apocalyptic Reading of Paul”; and Michael J. Gorman writes “Romans and the Participationist Perspective.” There are significant passages and issues in Romans dealt with by Michael F. Bird; Thomas R. Schreiner; Carl R. Trueman; James D.G. Dunn; and others.
  • J. Merrick and Stephen M. Garrett, eds. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following five views are presented: “When The Bible Speaks, God Speaks: The Classic Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy” by R. Albert Mohler Jr.; “Inerrancy, However Defined, Does Not Describe What The Bible Does” by Peter Enns; “Inerrancy Is Not Necessary For Evangelicalism Outside the USA” by Michael F. Bird; “Augustinian Inerrancy: Literary Meaning, Literal Truth, And Literate Interpretation In the Economy of Biblical Doctrine” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer; and “Recasting Inerrancy: The Bible As Witness To Missional Plurality” by John R. Franke.
  • Stanley E. Porter and Beth M. Stovell, eds. Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views. Craig L. Blomberg presents the “Historical-Critical/Grammatical View”; F. Scott Spencer presents the “Literary/Postmodern View”; Merold Westphal presents the “Philosophical View”; Richard B. Gaffin Jr. presents the “Redemptive-Historical View”; and Robert W. Wall presents the “Canonical View.”
  • Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer. The Synoptic Problem: Four Views. The relationship between Matthew, Mark, and Luke is one of the most contested topics in Gospel studies. How do we account for the close similarities–and differences–in the Synoptic Gospels? In the last few decades, the standard answers to the typical questions regarding the Synoptic Problem have come under fire, while new approaches have surfaced. Following an overview of the issues, leading proponents of each view set forth their positions and respond to each of the other views. This up-to-date introduction articulates and debates the four major views: “The Two Source Hypothesis” presented by Craig A. Evans;  “The Farrer Hypothesis” presented by Mark Goodacre; “The Two Gospel Hypothesis” presented by David Barrett Peabody; and “Orality and Memory Hypothesis” presented by Rainer Riesner.  A concluding chapter summarizes the discussion and charts a direction for further study.
  • Robert B. Stewart, ed. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman & Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue. Several renowned evangelical scholars tackle the many and varied objections of liberal scholar Bart D. Ehrman.
  • Robert L. Thomas. Three Views On The Origins of the Synoptic Gospels. While secular critics and liberal religious scholars have discounted the historicity and integrity of the first three Gospels, evangelicals maintain that the Synoptic Gospels fully support a high view of inspiration and historicity, despite varying views among evangelicals on Gospel origins. Four evangelical scholars join together in a presentation/response format to examine the three dominant views on Gospel origins. Grant Osborne and Matthew Williams present the “Two-Source or Markian Priority View”; John H. Niemelä presents the “Two Gospel or Matthewan Priority View”; and F. David Farnell presents the “Independence View”. Robert Thomas provides a helpful introduction to the issues and a final summary of the discussion.
  • James R. White. Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, and Authenticity. A denial of the sufficiency of Scripture is at the core of almost every form of opposition to the Christian faith today. Scripture Alone is written to instill a passionate love for and understanding of the Bible. In this defense of God’s inspired Word, readers will comprehend what “God’s Word” is, the nature of Scripture, the relationship of the Bible to tradition, how to apply Scripture to today’s issues, and much more. Included is a faith-inspiring study of the canon–what it is and where it came from.

CHRISTOLOGY – The Doctrine of Jesus – His Historicity, Person, and Nature

  • W. David Beck and Michael R. Licona, eds. Raised on the Third Day: Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus. Raised on the Third Day approaches these questions with critical and believing eyes. A variety of contributors―including J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Craig A. Evans, Beth M. Sheppard, and Sean McDowell―evaluate scriptural, historical, moral, and apologetic issues related to Christ’s death and resurrection. Readers will better appreciate how Gary Habermas has shaped the discussion and how scholarship can be moved forward. Study of Christ’s resurrection is far from exhausted. Gary R. Habermas is one of the most influential Christian philosophers and apologists of the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His life’s work has focused on matters pertaining to the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, and it is widely agreed that Habermas is the foremost authority on the subject. This festschrift is a tribute to that work.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. The Historical Jesus: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). The scholarly quest for the historical Jesus has a distinguished pedigree in modern Western religious and historical scholarship, with names such as Strauss, Schweitzer and Bultmann highlighting the story. Since the early 1990s, when the Jesus quest was reawakened for a third run, numerous significant books have emerged. And the public’s attention has been regularly arrested by media coverage, with the Jesus Seminar or the James ossuary headlining the marquee. The Historical Jesus: Five Views provides a venue for readers to sit in on a virtual seminar on the historical Jesus. Beginning with a scene-setting historical introduction by the editors, prominent figures in the Jesus quest set forth their views and respond to their fellow scholars. On the one end Robert M. Price lucidly maintains that the probability of Jesus’ existence has reached the “vanishing point,” and on the other Darrell Bock ably argues that while critical method yields only a “gist” of Jesus, it takes us in the direction of the Gospel portraits. In between there are numerous avenues to explore, questions to be asked and “assured results” to be weighed. And John Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson and James D. G. Dunn probe these issues with formidable knowledge and honed insight, filling out a further range of options. The Historical Jesus: Five Views offers a unique entry into the Jesus quest. For both the classroom and personal study, this is a book that fascinates, probes and engages.
  • Darrell L. Bock. Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods. Interest in the historical Jesus continues to occupy much of today’s discussion of the Bible. The vexing question is how the Jesus presented in the Gospels relates to the Jesus that actually walked this earth. Studying the Historical Jesus is an introductory guide to how one might go about answering that question by doing historical inquiry into the material found in the Gospels. Darrell Bock introduces the sources of our knowledge about Jesus, both biblical and extra-biblical. He then surveys the history and culture of the world of Jesus. The final chapters introduce some of the methods used to study the Gospels, including historical, redaction, and narrative criticisms. Bock, a well respected author, provides an informed evangelical alternative to radical projects like the Jesus Seminar. His audience, however, is not limited only to evangelicals. This book, written for college and seminary courses, offers an informed scholarly approach that takes the Gospels seriously as a source of historical information.
  • Paul Copan and Ronald K. Taccelli. Resurrection: Fact or Figment? A Debate Between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann. Was the resurrection of Jesus a fact of history or a figment of imagination? Was it an event that entailed a raised and transformed body and an empty tomb? Or was it a subjective, visionary experience–a collective delusion? In the view of many, the truth of Christianity hangs on the answer to this question. Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment? is a lively and provocative debate between Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig and New Testament scholar and atheist Gerd LÜdemann. This published version of a debate originally set at Boston College is edited by Paul Copan and Ronald K. Tacelli, who invite the responses of four additional scholars. Robert Gundry, a New Testament scholar, and Stephen Davis, a philosopher, argue in support of a historical and actual resurrection. Michael Goulder and Roy Hoover, both New Testament scholars, offer their support for Gerd LÜdemann’s view that the “resurrection” was based on the guilt-induced visionary experience of the disciples. The book concludes with a final response from LÜdemann and Craig.
  • Paul Copan, ed. Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. Offers readers a clarifying and insightful comparison and contrast between the Jesus Seminar (Crossan), on the one hand, and evangelical theologians (Craig), on the other.
  • John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright. The Resurrection of Jesus: John Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue. Two of today’s most important and popular New Testament scholars–John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright–air their very different understandings of the many historical realities and theological meanings of Jesus’ Resurrection.
  • Bart D. Ehrman, Craig A. Evans, and Robert B. Stewart. Can We Trust on the Historical Jesus? This book features a learned and fascinating debate between two great Bible scholars about the New Testament as a reliable source on the historical Jesus. Bart Ehrman, an agnostic New Testament scholar, debates Craig Evans, an evangelical New Testament scholar, about the historical Jesus and what constitutes “history.” Their interaction includes such compelling questions as: What are sound methods of historical investigation? What are reliable criteria for determining the authenticity of an ancient text? What roles do reason and inference play? And, of course, interpretation? Readers of this debate—regardless of their interpretive inclinations and biases—are sure to find some confirmation of their existing beliefs, but they will surely also find an honest and well-informed challenge to the way they think about the historical Jesus. The result? A more open, better informed, and questioning mind, which is better prepared for discovering both truth and contrivance. The debate between Ehrman and Evans along with Stewart’s introductory framework make this book an excellent primer to the study of the historical Jesus, and readers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the ongoing quest for the historical Jesus.
  • Peter Kreeft. Socrates Meets Jesus: History’s Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ. What would happen if Socrates–yes, the Socrates of ancient Athens–suddenly showed up on the campus of a major university and enrolled in its divinity school?; What would he think of human progress since his day?; How would he react to our values?; To our culture?; And what would he think of Jesus? Peter Kreeft, A Catholic philosopher and longtime admirer of the historic Socrates, imagines the result. In this drama Socrates meets such fellow students as Bertha Broadmind, Thomas Keptic and Molly Mooney. Throughout, Kreeft weaves an intriguing web as he brings Socrates closer and closer to a meeting with Jesus. Here is a startling and provocative portrayal of reason in search of truth. In a new introduction to this revised edition, Kreeft also highlights the inspiration for this book and the key questions of truth and faith it addresses.
  • Michael R. Licona. Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate On The Resurrection. Imagine if the Apostle Paul were alive to defend the truth of Jesus’s resurrection only to be countered by none other than the prophet Muhammad himself. In an approach as creative as any scholar has taken, Michael R. Licona describes an invention that can make historical figures appear alive and present. Imagining an audience of both Christians and Muslims, Licona crafts a lively debate between Paul and Muhammad, each speaking on and analyzing the validity of the Qur’an, the gospel accounts, and both Christian and Muslim doctrine.Intriguing and entertaining, Paul Meets Muhammad uniquely offers evangelism advice for Christians who want to speak the gospel to Muslim friends and neighbors. This fictional scenario presents a powerful, comprehensive defense of Jesus’s resurrection and of Christianity itself.
  • Robert B. Stewart, ed. The Message of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III in Dialogue. Several respected evangelical scholars interact with liberal scholars on issues related to the Historical Jesus.
  • Benjamin B. Warfield, Benjamin W. Bacon, Andrew C. Zenos, & Rush Rhees. The Supernatural Birth of Jesus: Four Perspectives on the Historicity and Meaning of the Virgin Birth of Jesus. In 1906 The American Journal of Theology commissioned four scholars to write on the question of the ‘Supernatural Birth of Jesus and whether belief in the same is essential for Christianity. These contributions have been reformatted to make it more readily accessible to readers using e-readers. This book reproduces their contributions. In it Benjamin W Bacon and Andrew C Zenos, respectively from Yale Divinity School and McCormick Theological Seminary address the question of whether the supernatural birth of Jesus can be historically established. Also contributing are Rush Rhees and Benjamin B Warfield, respectively from the University of Rochester and Princeton Theological Seminary address the theological question of whether the supernatural birth of Jesus is an essential doctrine of Christianity. 
  • Peter S. Williams. Resurrection: Faith or Fact?: A Scholars’ Debate Between a Skeptic and a Christian. Is there enough evidence to believe Jesus rose from the dead, or must such a judgment be based only on faith? Can the resurrection story be considered a fact of history, or should it be viewed as an ahistorical account? Two renowned professors, atheist Carl Stecher and Christian Craig Blomberg, engage in a groundbreaking new debate on these very questions. Other experts on the resurrection, atheist Richard Carrier and Christian Peter S. Williams, comment on the outcome. Presenting new approaches to these centuries-old questions and taking into account the latest scholarly research, Resurrection: Faith or Fact? is a must-have not only for all those following the resurrection question—but also for those skeptics and Christians alike who are interested in determining for themselves the truth behind this foundational doctrine of the Christian faith.

COMMUNION – Understanding, preparing for, and participating in the Lord’s Supper

  • John H. Armstrong, ed. Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper (Counterpoints Church Life). Who should participate in the Lord’s Supper? How frequently should we observe it? What does this meal mean? What happens when we eat the bread and drink from the cup? What do Christians disagree about and what do they hold in common? These and other questions are explored in this thought-provoking book.This new volume in the Counterpoints: Church Life series allows four contributors to make a case for the following views: “The Baptist View: Memorialism” defended by Russell D. Moore; “The Reformed View: Spiritual Presence” defended by  I. John Hesselink; “The Lutheran View: Consubstantiation” defended by David P. Scaer; and Roman Catholic View: Transubstantiation” defended by Thomas A. Baima. All contributors use Scripture to present their views, and each responds to the others’ essays. This book helps readers arrive at their own conclusions. It includes resources such as a listing of statements on the Lord’s Supper from creeds and confessions, quotations from noted Christians, a resource listing of books on the Lord’s Supper, and discussion questions for each chapter to facilitate small group and classroom use.
  • Peter Kreeft. Symbol or Substance?: A Dialogue on the Eucharist with C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, and J.R.R. Tolkien. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College.
  • Gordon T. Smith, ed. The Lord’s Supper: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Book). Lord’s Supper. Eucharist. Communion. Sacrament. Ordinance. While it’s the meal that should unite us as followers of Christ, it sometimes appears we can’t even agree on what to call it, let alone how we might share a common theological view of its significance. Even if we cannot reach full agreement, how can we better understand one another and this central observance of the Christian faith? Gordon Smith has invited five representatives of differing views within Christian tradition. Each holds his or her views with conviction and makes the case for that tradition. Each responds to the other views with charity, highlighting significant areas of agreement and disagreement. The views and contributors include: “The Roman Catholic View”–Brother Jeffrey Gros, F.S.C., Professor of Church History, Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee; “The Lutheran View”–John R. Stephenson, Professor of Historical Theology, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catherines, Ontario; “The Reformed View”–Leanne Van Dyk, Academic Dean and Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan; “The Baptist View”–Roger E. Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas; “The Pentecostal View”–Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Here’s a book that offers more light than heat on an important topic.

CONFLICT and PEACEMAKING – How to interact with those you disagree with

  • Ronald H. Nash. Great Divides: Understanding the Controversies That Come Between Christians. Great Divides addresses the following ten issues on which many Christians disagree: The Health and Wealth Gospel; The End Times; Divorce and Remarriage; Reconstructionism; Political Involvement; Lordship Salvation; Radical Feminism; Abortion; and Women in Church Leadership. By examining the major positions held by other Christians today, it will encourage you to articulate your own position, understand the positions of others, and act upon the issues faithfully.
  • Gavin Ortlund. Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage. In theology, just as in battle, some hills are worth dying on. But how do we know which ones? When should doctrine divide, and when should unity prevail? Pastor Gavin Ortlund makes the case that while all doctrines matter, some are more essential than others. He considers how and what to prioritize in doctrine and ministry, encouraging humility and grace along the way. Using four basic categories of doctrine in order of importance, this book helps new and seasoned church leaders alike wisely labor both to uphold doctrine and to preserve unity.

ECCLESIOLOGY  – The Study of the Church and It’s Nature and Practices

  • Paul A. Basden, ed. Exploring The Worship Spectrum: 6 Views ((Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Paul F.M. Zahl prescribes the “Formal-Liturgical  Worship View”; Harold M. Best prescribes the “Traditional Hymn-Based Worship View”; Joe Horness prescribes the “Contemporary Music-Driven Worship View”; Don Williams prescribes the “Charismatic Worship View”; Robert Webber prescribes the “Blended Worship View”; and Sally Morgenthaler articulates the “Emerging Worship View.”
  • James R. Beck, ed. Two Views on Women in Ministry (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The views presented are as follows: “Women In Ministry: An Egalitarian Perspective” by Linda L. Belleville; ““Women In Ministry: A Complementarian Perspective” by Craig L. Blomberg; “Women In Ministry: Another Egalitarian Perspective” by Craig S. Keener; and “Women In Ministry: Another Complementarian Perspective” by Thomas R. Schreiner.
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Church Governance: Five Views Of Church Polity. “The Single-Elder-Led Church: The Bible’s Witness to a Congregational/Single-Elder-Led Polity View” is defended by Daniel L. Akin; “The Presbyterian-Led Church: Presbyterian Church Government View” is defended by Robert L. Reymond; “The Congregation-Led Church: Congrgational Polity View” is defended by James Leo Garret, Jr.; “The Bishop-Led Church: The Episcopal or Anglican Polity View” is defended by Paul F.M. Zahl; and “The Plural-Elder-Led Church: Sufficient as Established—The Plurality of Elders as Christ’s Ordained Means of Church Governance View” is defended by James R. White.
  • Bonnidell Clouse and Robert G. Clouse, eds. Women in Ministry: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Should women teach men? Should they exercise authority over men? What about ordaining women? Even those who agree that Scripture must determine our answers do not agree on what it teaches. And too often differing sides have not been willing to listen to one another. Here in one volume are the views of four deeply committed evangelicals that focus the discussion on the issues. Robert Culver argues for what might be called the “traditional view” that women should not exercise authority over or teach men. Susan Foh suggests a “modified view” which would allow for women to teach but not to hold positions of authority. Walter Liefeld presents a case for “plural ministry” that questions ordination as a means of conferring authority. Alvera Mickelsen defends the “full equality of men and women in the church.” What makes this book especially helpful is that the writers all respond to the other essays, pointing out weaknesses and hidden assumptions.
  • Steven B. Cowan, ed. Who Runs The Church? 4 Views on Church Government (Counterpoints Church Life). Churches have split and denominations have formed over the issue of church government. Yet while many Christians can explain their particular church’s form of rule and may staunchly uphold it, few have a truly biblical understanding of it. What model for governing the church does the Bible provide? Is there room for different methods? Or is just one way the right way? In Who Runs the Church? Four predominant approaches to church government are presented by respected proponents: “Episcopalianism” articulated by Peter Toon; “Presbyterianism articulated by L. Roy Taylor;  “Single-Elder Congregationalism” articulated by Paige Patterson; and “Plural-Elder Congregationalism” articulated by Samuel E. Waldron.
  • David A. Croteau, ed. Perspectives On Tithing: 4 Views. Was the tithe just for Israel, or is it also applicable to Christians? Must a tithe go only to your local church, or can it be received by any Christian organization? Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount? Perspectives on Tithing presents in point-counterpoint format the most common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the myriad of questions that surround the complex issue. Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Eklund (Eklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute “The Foundations of Giving” while the book’s editor, David A. Croteau (Liberty University), writes “The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant.” A chapter by Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) is called “Tithing in the New Covenant? ‘Yes’ as Principle, ‘No’ as Casuistry.” Finally, Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks directly at “The Covenantal Tithe,” and Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) provides the epilogue.
  • Christopher John Donato, ed. Perspectives on the Sabbath. Perspectives on the Sabbath presents in point-counterpoint form the four most common views of the Sabbath commandment that have arisen throughout church history, representing the major positions held among Christians today. Skip MacCarty (Andrews University) defends the Seventh-day view which argues the fourth commandment is a moral law of God requiring us to keep the seventh day (Saturday) holy. It must therefore remain the day of rest and worship for Christians. Jospeh A Pipa (Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) backs the Christian Sabbath view which reasons that ever since the resurrection of Christ, the one day in seven to be kept holy is the first day of the week. Craig L. Blomberg (Denver Seminary) supports the Fulfillment view which says that since Christ has brought the true Sabbath rest into the present, the Sabbath commands of the Old Testament are no longer binding on believers. Charles P. Arand (Concordia Seminary) upholds the Lutheran view that the Sabbath commandment was given to Jews alone and does not concern Christians. Rest and worship are still required but not tied to a particular day.
  • Gary L. McIntosh, ed. Evaluating the Church Growth Movement: 5 Views (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Gaining form and momentum over the second half of the 20th century, the Church Growth movement has become an enormous shaping force on the Western church today. You may love it, you may hate it, but you can’t deny its impact. But what exactly is Church Growth? In what ways has the movement actually brought growth to the church, and how effective has it been in doing so? What are its strengths and weaknesses? This timely book addresses such questions. After providing a richly informative history and overview, it explores—in a first-ever roundtable of their leading voices—five main perspectives, both pro and con, on the classic Church Growth movement: “Effective Evangelism View” presented by Elmer Towns; “The Gospel in Our Culture View” presented by Craig Van Gelder; “The Centrist View” presented by Charles Van Engen; “The Reformist View” presented by  Gailyn Van Rheenan; and “The Renewal View” presented by Howard Snyder.
  • J. Matthew Pinson, ed. Perspectives On Christian Worship: 5 Views. Perspectives on Christian Worship presents in counterpoint form five basic common beliefs on Christian worship that have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter is written by a prominent person within each tradition, and each writer has the opportunity to respond to each differing view. The views presented are “Liturgical Worship” by Timothy C.J. Quin; “Traditional Evangelical Worship” by Ligon Duncan; “Contemporary Worship” by Dan Wilt; “Blended Worship” by Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever; and “Emerging Worship” by Dan Kimball.
  • Robert Saucy and Judith TenElshof, eds. Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective. The role of women in the church is a debate that has raged within the church for much of the twentieth century. On one side are those who say there is no difference between men and women. On the other side are those who severely limit women who want to offer ministry to the church. Judith TenElshof and Robert Saucy take the middle approach. Believing that the modern views have denied the distinctions between men and women, the authors adopt a view called complementarianism. TenElshof and Saucy argue that while men and women are equal, God has given different roles to each and that these roles rely on each other to be fully effective.
  • Jason S. Sexton, ed. Four Views On The Church’s Mission ((Zondervan Counterpoints Series). This book articulates various evangelical views regarding the church’s mission and provides a healthy, vigorous, and gracious debate on this controversial topic. In a helpful Counterpoints format, this volume demonstrates the unique theological frameworks, doctrinal convictions, and missiological conclusions that inform and distinguish the views: “Soteriological Mission”:  presented by Jonathan Leeman; “Participatory Mission”: presented by Christopher Wright; “Contextual Mission”: presented by John Franke; and “Ecumenical-Political Mission”: presented by Peter Leithart. Each of the four contributors is to answer the same key questions based on their biblical interpretations and theological convictions. What is your biblical-theological framework for mission? How does your definition of mission inform your understanding of the church’s mission? How does the Mission of God and Kingdom of God relate to the mission of the church? What is the gospel? How does your view on the gospel inform the mission of the church? How do verbal proclamation of the gospel, discipleship, corporate worship, caring for the poor, social justice, restoring shalom, developing culture, and international missions fit into the church’s mission? The interaction between the contributors will help readers get a clearer picture of where the differences lie and why different conclusions are drawn and provide a fresh starting point for discussion and debate of the church’s mission.
  • Robert Webber, ed. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives. What are the beliefs of the new movement known as the emerging church? In thought-provoking debate, prominent emerging leaders John Burke, Mark Driscoll, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, and Karen Ward discuss their sometimes controversial views under the editorship of author and educator Robert Webber. Hear what they say about their views of Scripture, Christ, the atonement, other world religions, and other important doctrines, so you can come to your own conclusions about the emerging church.

EDUCATION – How To Best Make Disciples among children, youth & families

  • Michael J. Anthony, ed. Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation: Four Views. Scott May argues for “The Contemplative-Reflective Model”; Gregory C. Carlson and John K. Crupper argues for “The Instructional-Analytic Model”; Trisha Graves argues for “The Pragmatic-Participatory Model”; and Tim Ellis, Bill Baumgart, and Greg Carper argue for “The Media-Driven Active-Engagement Model.”
  • Chap Clark, ed. Youth Ministry in the 21st Century (Youth, Family, and Culture): Five Views. Bestselling author Chap Clark is one of the leading voices in youth ministry today. In this multiview work, he brings together a diverse group of leaders to present major views on youth ministry. Chapters are written in essay/response fashion by Fernando Arzola Jr., Greg Stier, Ron Hunter Jr., Brian Cosby, and Chap Clark. As the contributors present their views and respond to each of the other views, they discuss their task and calling, giving readers the resources they need to develop their own approach to youth ministry. Offering a model of critical thinking and respectful dialogue, this volume provides a balanced, irenic approach to a topic with which every church wrestles.
  • Adam Harwood and Kevin E. Lawson. Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry. A congregation rejoices when a new child is added to its midst, yet the church often wrestles—in both theology and practice—with how to best receive and minister to infants and children entrusted to her care. Frequent questions arise like: How are infants and children impacted by sin?; How does God treat people who die in their infancy or childhood?; When and how are children considered members of the church?; and When and how are children instructed in Christian doctrine? Infants and Children in the Church addresses these critical and sensitive questions from a variety of rich traditions, including Eastern Orthodox (jason Foster), Roman Catholic (David Liberto), Lutheran (David P. Scaer), Reformed (Gregg Strawbridge), and Baptist (Adam Harwood), so that Christians can make the most of every opportunity as they minister to children.
  • Timothy Paul Jones, ed. Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views. Every church is called to some form of family ministry, but this calling requires far more than adding another program to an already-packed schedule. The most effective family ministries refocus every church process to engage parents in discipling their children and to draw family members together instead of pulling them apart. In this second edition, Jones expands the definition of family ministry, and broadens the book’s focus to address urban perspectives and family ministry in diverse settings. 
  • Timothy Paul Jones, ed. Perspectives on Your Child’s Education: Four Views. In Perspectives on a Child’s Education, proponents of four very different learning options present their faith-based positions on how a parent should answer the question, “Where should I send my child to school?” Troy Temple (International Center for Youth Ministry) is convinced every Christian parent should consider public schooling. G. Tyler Fischer (Veritas Academy) believes open admission Christian schools are best for Christians and non-Christians alike. Mark Eckel (Mahseh Center) favors covenantal Christian schools that don’t enroll non-Christians. Michael Wilder (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) advocates homeschooling. For each contributor’s chapter, a counterpoint chapter from the other contributors follows with a goal of determining which view is most in line with what the Bible teaches.
  • Mark H. Senter III, ed. Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church: Inclusive Congregational, Preparatory, Missional, and Strategic. Join the conversation as experts propose, defend, and explore Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church. In a dialog that often gets downright feisty, four youth ministry academicians delineate their distinct philosophical and ecclesiological views regarding how youth ministry relates to the church at large–and leave a taste of what’s profound and what’s not in these four typologies: “Inclusive congregational” (Malan Nel). What happens when a church thoroughly integrates its adolescents, making them full partners in every aspect of congregational life? “Preparatory” (Wesley Black). Why and how should a church consider its teenagers as disciples-in-training and its youth ministry a school of preparation for future participation in church life? “Missional “ (Chap Clark). What does a church look like, whose youth ministry does not necessarily nurture “church kids” but is essentially evangelistic? Whose youths and youth workers are considered missionaries? “Strategic” (Mark Senter). How feasible is it for a youth ministry to become a new church on its own–the youth pastor becoming the pastor, and the new church planted with the blessing of the mother church? In Four View of Your Ministry and the Church, solid academic writing and an inviting tone and design create a compelling text for both in-the-field, practicing youth workers and undergraduates and graduate student

ESCHATOLOGY – The Study of Last Things

  • Darrell L. Bock, ed. Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Craig A. Blaising defends the “Premillennial View;” Kenneth L. Gentry defends the “Postmillennial View”; and Robert B. Strimple defends the “Amillennial View.”
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Israel and the Church: 4 Views. Robert L. Raymond presents the “Traditional Covenantal View”; Robert L. Thomas presents the “Traditional Dispensational View”; Robert L. Saucy presents the “Progressive Dispensational View”; and Tom Pratt presents the “Progressive Covenantal View.”
  • Robert G. Clouse, ed. The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. George Eldon Ladd defends the “Historic Premillennialism View”; Herman A. Hoyt defends the “Dispensational Premillennial View”; Loraine Boettner defends the “Postmillennial View”; and Anthony A Hoekema defends the “Amillennial View.”
  • Jared Compton, ed. Three Views on Israel and the Church: Perspectives on Romans 9-11. Michael J. Vlach defends “A Non-Typological Future Mass Conversion View”; Fred G. Zaspel and James M. Hamilton defend “A Typological Future Mass Conversion View”; Benjamin L. Merkle defends “A Typological Non-Future Mass Conversion View.”
  • John S. Feinberg, ed. Continuity and Discontinuity. Essays in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments. Evangelicals agree that the Bible is God’s inerrant word. But we sometimes differ on how to relate the messages of the Old and New Testaments. Without a basic understanding of this crucial matter, it is difficult to know how to use the Testaments to formulate either doctrine or practice. For example: Was Israel the OT Church—are OT promises to God’s national people fulfilled in the church today? Or, is Mosaic Law binding on believers now—are twentieth-century Christians to obey the Ten Commandments, including sabbath observance? In this book, thirteen noted evangelical theologians discuss, fairly but clearly, the continuity/discontinuity debate in regard to six basic categories: theological systems, hermeneutics, salvation, the Law of God, the people of God, and kingdom promises. Covering much more than the differences between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism, this work of distinguished evangelical scholarship will fuel much profitable study and discussion.
  • Steve Gregg. Revelation: A Parallel Commentary Four Views(Revised and Updated). Gregg quotes from various sources representing the four primary ways that evangelicals interpret the book of Revelation: Historical, Idealist, Futurist, and Eclectic.
  • Steve Gregg. All Your Want To Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin. Covers the Case for “Traditionalism”; “Conditionalism”; and “Restorationism.”
  • Alan Hultberg, ed. Three Views on the Rapture: Pretribulational, Prewrath, or Posttribulational. Craig Baising presents the “Pretribulational View”; Alan Hultberg presents the “Pre-Wrath View”; Douglas Moo presents the “Posttribulational View.”
  • Thomas Ice and Kenneth L. Gentry. The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? Two Evangelicals Debate The Question. Thomas Ice defends the “Futuristic View,” and Kenneth L. Gentry defends the “Preterist View.”
  • Timothy Paul Jones. Four Views of the End Times. A brief overview of the four main ways scholars interpret Eschatology – pros and cons of each view.
  • Robert M. McKenzie. Identifying the Seed: An Examination and Evaluation of the Differences between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. This book has one goal in mind, to try and bring greater understanding between two dedicated groups of Christians. Dispensationalists and Reformed Christians have a very different understanding of how God has worked in this world as well as how God will continue to work. There is a theological divide that has developed after many years of discussion and stems from a mixture of ignorance; misunderstanding and actual disagreement. Robert McKenzie seeks to examine what each side believes, fleshing out the differences and misunderstandings. He takes a look at the history of each system as well as their theological developments. The author seeks to be faithful to each system pointing out their strengths and weaknesses all the while citing the Scriptures that are used to support each side’s belief. It is hoped that with greater understanding the two groups will be able to engage in conversation with a clearer view of why a doctrine is believed and how the different doctrines build into the system. Whether you are a Dispensationalist, believe in Covenant theology or you aren’t quite sure if you fall in either camp this book can be tremendously helpful.
  • Benjamin L. Merkle. Discontinuity to Continuity: A Survey of Dispensational and Covenantal Theologies. Outstanding resource that involves the author interacting with all the key players in the debate over this important debate.
  • Brent E. Parker and Richard J. Lucas, eds. Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). With contributions by Michael Horton and Stephen Wellum (Covenantal perspectives) and Darrel Bock and Mark Snoeberger (Dispensational perspectives).
  • C. Marvin Pate, ed. Four Views on The Book of Revelation. Kenneth Gentry defends the “Preterist View”; Sam Hamster defends the “Idealist View”; C. Marvin Pate defends the “Progressive Dispensationist View”; and Robert L. Thomas defends the “Classical Dispensationalist View.”
  • Richard R. Reiter, ed. Three Views on the Rapture. Paul D. Feinberg presents the Pretribulational View”; Gleason L. Archer presents the “Midtribulational View”; Douglas Moo presents the “Posttribulational View.”
  • Ron Rhodes. The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy: Understanding the Ongoing Controversies. Thoroughly covers the following debates in eschatology: (1) Should Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Allegorically? (2) Are Israel and the Church Distinct in Bible Prophecy? (3) What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times? (4) Which View of the Rapture is Correct? (5) How Are We To Understand the Book of Revelation? (6) How Are We To Understand The Antichrist? (7) Which view of the Millennium is Correct? (8) Is it Okay to set prophetic dates?
  • Stephen J. Wellum and Brent E. Parker, eds. Progressive Covenantalism: Charting a Course between Dispensational and Covenantal Theologies. Building on the foundation of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012), Stephen J. Wellum and Brent E. Parker have assembled a team of scholars who offer a fresh perspective regarding the interrelationship between the biblical covenants. Each chapter seeks to demonstrate how the covenants serve as the backbone to the grand narrative of Scripture. For example, New Testament scholar Thomas Schreiner writes on the Sabbath command from the Old Testament and thinks through its applications to new covenant believers. Christopher Cowan wrestles with the warning passages of Scripture, texts which are often viewed by covenant theologians as evidence for a “mixed” view of the church. Jason DeRouchie provides a biblical theology of “seed” and demonstrates that the covenantal view is incorrect in some of its conclusions. Jason Meyer thinks through the role of law in both the old and new covenants. John Meade unpacks circumcision in the OT and how it is applied in the NT, providing further warrant to reject covenant theology’s link of circumcision with (infant) baptism. Oren Martin tackles the issue of Israel and land over against a dispensational reading, and Richard Lucas offers an exegetical analysis of Romans 9-11, arguing that it does not require a dispensational understanding. From issues of ecclesiology to the warning passages in Hebrews, this book carefully navigates a mediating path between the dominant theological systems of covenant theology and dispensationalism to offer the reader a better way to understand God’s one plan of redemption.

ETHICS – How Should I live Morally as a Christian?

  • Paul Chamberlain. Can We Be Good Without God? A Conversation about Truth, Morality, Culture & a Few Other Things That Matter. In Paul Chamberlain’s intriguing, inventive book, the pivotal questions of ethics and morality are explored by a cast of five: a Christian joins an atheist, a moral relativist, an evolutionist, and a secular humanist.
  • Robert G. Clouse, ed. War: Four Christian Views. Have you ever wondered….. Should Christians ever go to war? If so, under what conditions? Here are four modern expressions of four classical views. Dr. Herman Hoyt explains the Biblical Nonresistance view. Christian Pacificism is discussed by Myron S. Augsburger. Arthur F. Holmes explains the Just War view. Preventive War is explained by Harold O.J. Brown.
  • Steven B. Cowan. Problems in Value Theory: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. Problems in Value Theory takes a pro and con approach to central topics in aesthetics, ethics and political theory. Each chapter begins with a question: What Makes Actions Right or Wrong? Does Morality Depend on God? Do We Need Government? Contemporary philosophers with opposing viewpoints are then paired together to argue their position and raise problems with conflicting standpoints. Alongside an up-to-date introduction to a core philosophical stance, each contributor provides a critical response to their opponent and clear explanation of their view. Discussion questions are included at the end of each chapter to guide further discussion. With chapters ranging from why the government should never wage war to what is art and does morality depend on God, this introduction covers questions lying at the heart of debates about what does and does not have value.
  • Robert K. Garcia and Nathan L. King, eds. Is Goodness without God Good Enough? A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Morality and religion: intimately wed, violently opposed, or something else? Discussion of this issue appears in pop culture, the academy, and the media—often generating radically opposed views. At one end of the spectrum are those who think that unless God exists, ethics is unfounded and the moral life is unmotivated. At the other end are those who think that religious belief is unnecessary for—and even a threat to—ethical knowledge and the moral life. This volume provides an accessible, charitable discussion that represents a range of views along this spectrum. The book begins with a lively debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on the question, Is goodness without God good enough? Kurtz defends the affirmative position and Craig the negative. Following the debate are new essays by prominent scholars. These essays comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of religion and morality. The book closes with final responses from Kurtz and Craig.
  • H. Wayne House, ed. Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Divorce. No one likes it, but it doesn’t go away. Even among Christians, the divorce rate continues to climb. How should Christians approach this issue? May Christians ever legitimately divorce? If they divorce legitimately, may they remarry? Not everyone who appeals to Scripture agrees on how we should understand what it says about divorce and remarriage. In this book, four authors present their distinct perspectives. Carl Laney argues that the Bible indicates that marriages are always intended to be permanent, that there is never a need for divorce and that remarriage is never permissible after divorce. William Heth contends that while there are legitimate biblical grounds for divorce, there are no legitimate grounds for remarriage after divorce. Thomas Edgar defends the position that Scripture allows for divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery or desertion. Larry Richards holds that Scripture, while decrying divorce and the pain it causes, points to a God of grace who will not condemn those who divorce and remarry. Such a sensitive debate cannot remain abstract, so a case study accompanies each position, followed by critical responses from each essayist. The result is a thoughtful, helpful resource for all who wish to think biblically about a crucial issue confronting the church.
  • Douglas S. Huffman, ed. How Then Should We Choose?: Three Views on God’s Will and Decision Making. The three-views approach is an effective and succinct means of introducing theological subjects to readers of all levels. How Then Should We Choose? applies this proven format to the vital topic of decision making and the Christian’s search for the will of God. Garry Friesen of Multnomah Bible College, Henry and Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries International, and Gordon T. Smith of Regent College each contribute summaries of their perspectives on God’s will and their approaches to decision making. Friesen discusses the “wisdom” view, Henry and Richard Blackaby delineate the “specific will” view, and Smith champions the “relationship” view of God’s will. In an effort to make this discussion reader friendly, the contributors have applied their beliefs regarding God’s will and decision making to three practical, concrete topics: career, relationships, and stewardship. Using three hypothetical stories, the authors illustrate how their respective views would influence decisions in these common areas of concern.
  • Adam Lloyd Johnson, ed. A Debate on God and Morality: What is the Best Account of Objective Moral Values and Duties? In 2018, William Lane Craig and Erik J. Wielenberg participated in a debate at North Carolina State University, addressing the question: “God and Morality: What is the best account of objective moral values and duties?” Craig argued that theism provides a sound foundation for objective morality whereas atheism does not. Wielenberg countered that morality can be objective even if there is no God. This book includes the full debate, as well as endnotes with extended discussions that were not included in the debate. It also includes five chapters by other philosophers who have written substantive responses to the debate – J. P. Moreland, David Baggett, Mark Linville, Wes Morriston, and Michael Huemer. The book provides crucial resources for better understanding moral realism and its dependence on, or independence from, theistic foundations. 
  • Nathan L. King and Robert K. Garcia. Is Goodness without God Good Enough?: A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Morality and religion: intimately wed, violently opposed, or something else? Discussion of this issue appears in pop culture, the academy, and the media―often generating radically opposed views. At one end of the spectrum are those who think that unless God exists, ethics is unfounded and the moral life is unmotivated. At the other end are those who think that religious belief is unnecessary for―and even a threat to―ethical knowledge and the moral life. This volume provides an accessible, charitable discussion that represents a range of views along this spectrum. The book begins with a lively debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on the question, Is goodness without God good enough? Kurtz defends the affirmative position and Craig the negative. Following the debate are new essays by prominent scholars. These essays comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of religion and morality. The book closes with final responses from Kurtz and Craig.
  • Peter Kreeft. A Refutation Of Moral Relativism: Interviews With an Absolutist. No issue is more fateful for civilization than moral relativism. History knows not one example of a successful society which repudiated moral absolutes. Yet most attacks on relativism have been either pragmatic (looking at its social consequences) or exhorting (preaching rather than proving), and philosophers’ arguments against it have been specialized, technical, and scholarly. In his typical unique writing style, Peter Kreeft lets an attractive, honest, and funny relativist interview a “Muslim fundamentalist” absolutist so as not to stack the dice personally for absolutism. In an engaging series of personal interviews, every conceivable argument the “sassy  feminist” reporter Libby gives against absolutism is simply and clearly refuted, and none of the many arguments for moral absolutism is refuted.
  • Peter Kreeft. The Best Things in Life: A Contemporary Socrates Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth the Good Life. What are the best things in life? Questions like that may boggle your mind. But they don’t boggle Socrates. The indomitable old Greek brings his unending questions to Desperate State University. With him come the same mind-opening and spirit-stretching challenge that disrupted ancient Athens. What is the purpose of education?; Why do we make love?; What good is money? Can computers think like people?; Is there a difference between Capitalism and Communism?; What is the greatest good?; Is belief in God like belief in Santa Claus?In twelve short, Socratic dialogues Peter Kreeft explodes contemporary values like success, power and pleasure. And he bursts the modern bubbles of agnosticism and subjectivism. He leaves you richer, wiser and more able to discern what the best things in life actually are. A supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College yet evangelicals share much common ground with him.
  • Peter Kreeft. The Unaborted Socrates: A dramatic debate on the issues surrounding abortion. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College yet evangelicals share much common ground with him.
  • R. Keith Loftin, ed. God & Morality: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). Is morality dependent upon belief in God? Is there more than one way for Christians to understand the nature of morality? Is there any agreement between Christians and atheists or agnostics on this heated issue? In God and Morality: Four Views four distinguished voices in moral philosophy ariticulate and defend their place in the current debate between naturalism and theism. Christian philosophers Keith Yandell and Mark Linville and two self-identified atheist/agnostics, Evan Fales and Michael Ruse, clearly and honestly represent their differing views on the nature of morality. Important differences as well as areas of overlap emerge as each contributor states their case, receives criticism from the others and responds. Of particular value for use as an academic text, these four essays and responses, covering the naturalist moral non-realist, naturalist moral realist, moral essentialist and moral particularist views, will foster critical thinking and contribute to the development of a well-informed position on this very important issue.
  • Mark L. Strauss, ed. Remarriage After Divorce in Today’s Church: 3 Views (Counterpoint: Church Life). A biblical and practical case for three main evangelical views on remarriage after divorce among born-again Christians, 27 percent have experienced divorce as compared to 24 percent in the general population. Yet no consensus exists among evangelicals on their views of remarriage, leaving many Christians confused. This single volume summarizes and explores three main evangelical views: “No Remarriage After Divorce”, presented by William A. Heth; “Remarriage After Adultery or Desertion”, presented by Gordon J. Wenham; and “Remarriage for a Variety of Reasons” presented by Craig S. Keener.
  • Steve Wilkins, ed.Christian Ethics: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). Brad J. Kallenberg presents, “Virtue Ethics”; John Hare presents, “Divine Command Ethics”; Claire Peterson presents, “Natural Law Ethics”; and Peter Heltzel presents, “Prophetic Ethics.”

HAMARTIOLOGY – The Study of Sin

  • W. Paul Franks, ed. Explaining Evil: Four Views. In Explaining Evil four prominent philosophers, two theists and two non-theists, present their arguments for why evil exists. Taking a “position and response” format, in which one philosopher offers an account of evil and three others respond, this book guides readers through the advantages and limitations of various philosophical positions on evil, making it ideal for classroom use as well as individual study. Divided into four chapters, Explaining Evil covers Theistic Libertarianism (Richard Brian Davis), Theistic Compatibilism (Paul Helm), Atheistic Moral Realism (Michael Ruse) and Atheistic Moral Non-realism (Eric J. Wielenberg). It features topics including free will, theism, atheism, goodness, Calvinism, evolutionary ethics, and pain, and demonstrates some of the dominant models of thinking within contemporary philosophy of religion and ethics. Written in accessible prose and with an approachable structure, this book provides a clear and useful overview of the central issues of the philosophy of evil.
  • Chad Meister, ed. God and The Problem of Evil: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Evil abounds. And so do the attempts to understand God in the face of such evil. The problem of evil is a constant challenge to faith in God. How can we believe in a loving and powerful God given the existence of so much suffering in the world? Philosophers and theologians have addressed this problem countless times over the centuries. New explanations have been proposed in recent decades drawing on resources in Scripture, theology, philosophy, and science. God and the Problem of Evil stages a dialogue between the five key positions in the current debate: Phillip Cary: “A Classic View”; William Lane Craig: “A Molinist View”; William Hasker: “An Open Theist View”; Thomas Jay Oord: “An Essential Kenosis View”; and Stephen Wykstra: “A Skeptical Theism View.” According to the classic position, associated especially with the Augustinian tradition, God permits evil and suffering as part of the grand narrative of divine providence to bring about the redemption of creation. Molinism modifies the classic view by adding God’s middle knowledge to the picture, in which God has knowledge of what creatures would do in all possible worlds. Open theism rejects the determinism of the classic view in favor of an account of God as a risk-taker who does not know for sure what the future holds. Essential kenosis goes further in providing a comprehensive theodicy by arguing that God cannot control creatures and thus cannot unilaterally prevent evil. Skeptical theism rejects the attempt to provide a theodicy and instead argues that, if God exists, we should not expect to understand God’s purposes. Edited and with an introduction by Chad Meister and James K. Dew Jr., God and the Problem of Evil hosts a generous and informative conversation on one of the most pressing issues in the Christian life.
  • J.B. Stump, ed. Original Sin and the Fall: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). “What is this that you have done?” Throughout the church’s history, Christians have largely agreed that God’s good creation of humanity was marred by humanity’s sinful rebellion, resulting in our separation from God and requiring divine intervention in the saving work of Christ. But Christians have disagreed over many particular questions surrounding humanity’s fall, including the extent of original sin, the nature of the fall, the question of guilt, how to interpret the narratives from Genesis, and how these questions relate to our understanding of human origins and modern science. Views and Contributors: “An Augustinian-Reformed View” by Hans Madueme, Covenant College; “A Moderate Reformed View” by Oliver Crisp, The University of St. Andrews; “A Wesleyan View” by Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary; “An Eastern Orthodox View” by Andrew Louth, Durham University; and “A Reconceived View” by Tatha Wiley, University of St. Thomas.
  • Terry L. Wilder, ed. Perspectives on Our Struggle with Sin: Three Views of Romans 7. Perspectives on Our Struggle with Sin presents in point-counterpoint form three differing views of a Christian’s relationship with the law, flesh, and spirit as illustrated through Paul’s often-debated words in Romans 7. Stephen Chester (North Park Theological Seminary) writes “The Retrospective View of Romans 7: Paul’s Past in Present Perspective,” suggesting the apostle’s description of his struggle speaks more to his pre-Christian self. Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) offers “The Flesh Without the Spirit: Romans 7 and Christian Experience,” perceiving Romans 7 as an accurate representation of what believers go through even after their conversion. Mark Seifrid (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), in “The Voice of the Law, the Cry of Lament, and the Shout of Thanksgiving,” asserts that Paul is not speaking of his past or his present Christian experience in Romans 7, but more fundamentally and simply about “the human being confronted with the Law.”Chad Owen Brand (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) writes a conclusion on the theological and pastoral implications of Romans 7.

HOMOSEXUALITY & LBGTQ & SEX – What Does The Bible Teach?

  • James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy. Understanding Transgender Identities: Four Views. One of the most pressing issues facing the evangelical church today involves dramatic shifts in our culture’s perceptions regarding human sexuality. While homosexuality and same-sex marriage have been at the forefront, there is a new cultural awareness of sexual diversity and gender dysphoria. The transgender phenomenon has become a high-profile battleground issue in the culture wars. This book offers a full-scale dialogue on transgender identities from across the Christian theological spectrum. It brings together contributors with expertise and platforms in the study of transgender identities to articulate and defend differing perspectives on this contested topic. After an introductory chapter surveys key historical moments and current issues, four views are presented by Owen Strachan, “Transition or Transformation? A Moral-Theological Exploration of Christianity and Gender Dysphoria”; Mark A. Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky, “The Complexities of Gender Identity: Toward a More Nuanced Response to the Transgender Experience”; Megan K. DeFranza, “Good News for Gender Minorities” and Justin Sabia-Tanis, “Holy Creation, Wholly Creation: God’s Intention for Gender Diversity.” The authors respond to one another’s views in a respectful manner, modeling thoughtful dialogue around a controversial theological issue. The book helps readers understand the spectrum of views among Christians and enables Christian communities to establish a context where conversations can safely be held.
  • Preston Sprinkle, ed. Two Views On Homosexuality, The Bible, and The Church (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). No issue is more divisive or more pressing for the church today than homosexuality. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church brings a fresh perspective to a well-worn debate. While Christian debates about homosexuality are most often dominated by biblical exegesis, this book seeks to give much-needed attention to the rich history of received Christian tradition, bringing the Bible into conversation with historical and systematic theology. To that end, both theologians and biblical scholars—well accomplished in their fields and conversant in issues of sexuality and gender—articulate and defend each of the two views: “Affirming View”: William Loader and Megan K. DeFranza; and the “Traditional View”: articulated by Wesley Hill and Stephen R. Holmes. Unique among most debates on homosexuality, this book presents a constructive dialogue between people who disagree on significant ethical and theological matters, and yet maintain a respectful and humanizing posture toward one another. Even as these scholars articulate pointed arguments for their position with academic rigor and depth, they do so cordially, clearly, and compassionately, without demeaning the other. The main essays are followed by exceptionally insightful responses and rejoinders that interact with their fellow essayists with convicted civility. Holding to a high view of Scripture, a commitment to the gospel and the church, and a love for people—especially those most affected by this topic—the contributors wrestle deeply with the Bible and theology, especially the prohibition texts, the role of procreation, gender complementarity, and pastoral accommodation. The book concludes with general editor Preston Sprinkle’s reflections on the future of discussions on faith and sexuality.
  • Dan O. Via and Robert J. Gagnon. Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views. Few recent issues have sparked such debate in the churches as homosexuality, same-sex unions, and ordination of gays and lesbians. A key point of contention is the meaning and authority of the biblical witness. In this brief book, two New Testament scholars discuss the relevant biblical texts on the subject of homosexual behavior and orientation. Discussing both Old Testament and New Testament texts, each author also raises important interpretive and moral questions and then offers a response to the other’s main assertions. Chief questions examined by each include what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and homosexual behavior, the meaning of those texts in their cultural contexts, and the larger hermeneutical dilemma of what kind of authority the Bible’s teaching, if recoverable, has for Christians today. A thoughtful and irenic dialogue, this volume can facilitate reflection and discussion among church members on a vital and contentious issue in American church life.

MIRACLES – A Miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which He arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself

  • Wayne Grudem, ed. Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Four Views. (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Robert B. Gaffin Jr. defends the “Cessationist View”; Robert L. Saucy defends the “Open But Cautious View”; C. Samuel Storms defends the “Third Wave View”; and Douglas A. Oss defends the “Pentecostal/Charismatic View.”

PHILOSOPHY – The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, & existence

  • Steven B. Cowan, ed. Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates. Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics takes a pro and con approach to two central philosophical topics. Each chapter begins with a question: Can We Have Knowledge? How are Beliefs Justified? What is the mind? Contemporary philosophers with opposing viewpoints are then paired together to argue their position and raise problems with conflicting standpoints. Alongside an up-to-date introduction to a core philosophical stance, each contributor provides a critical response to their opponent and clear explanation of their view. Discussion questions are included at the end of each chapter to guide further discussion. With chapters covering core questions surrounding religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, truth, being and reality, this is a comprehensive introduction to debates lying at the heart of what we know, how we know it and the nature of the world we live in.
  • Paul M. Gould, ed. Four Views On Christianity and Philosophy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about many of the same things. They both claim to provide answers to the deep questions of life. But how are they related to one another? Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy introduces readers to four predominant views on the relationship between philosophy and the Christian faith and their implications for life. Each author identifies the propositional relation between philosophy and Christianity along with a section devoted to the implications for living a life devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. The contributors and views include: Graham Oppy—“Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity”; K. Scott Oliphint—“Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy”; Timothy McGrew—“Convergence: Philosophy Confirms Christianity”; and Paul Moser—“Conformation: Philosophy Reconceived Under Christianity.” General editors Paul M. Gould and Richard Davis explain the background to the discussion and provide some historical background in the introduction, as well as helpful summaries of each position in the conclusion.
  • Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer. In Search of the Soul: Four Views of the Mind-Body Problem. Honored in 2006 as a “Year’s Best Book for Preachers” by Preaching magazine. Why a search for the soul? Many Christians assume that it is biblically faithful and theologically noncontroversial to speak of humans having a soul. Yet a wide range of biblical scholars are questioning whether we have correctly understood what the Bible means when it speaks of the “soul.” And contemporary neuroscience is laying more and more questions at the doorstep of the church, asking whether our human sense of self is intelligible on the basis of soul. But for thoughtful Christians, following science on this point looks like caving in to reductionism, while denying science gives off the odor of obscurantism. In Search of the Soul provides a rare opportunity to listen in as four Christian philosophers set forth their best arguments for their distinct views and then respond to each other. While each of these views calls for careful framing and patient exposition, they are labeled as follows: “Substance Dualism (Stewart Goetz); “Emergent Dualism” (William Hasker); “Nonreductive Physicalism” (Nancey Murphy); and “Constitution View of Persons” (Kevin Corcoran). Editors Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer introduce the debate by laying out the critical issues at stake, and wrap it up by considering the implications for the Christian life, particularly hospitality and forgiveness. This is a book of timely interest to philosophers, theologians, psychologists and pastors. Whatever conclusions readers may draw, they will find here an instructive and engaging discussion of a controversy that will not go away any time soon.
  • Anthony C. Thiselton. Approaching Philosophy of Religion: An introduction to key thinkers, concepts, methods and debates. The book opens with an engaging history of the subject, mapping the major landmarks and outlining the main issues of current debate. The rest of the book falls into three parts: Part 1: Approaches. Descriptions of the main approaches developed by scholars to study the subject, with lively case histories and working examples showing the approaches in action, and assessing their lasting value. Part 2: Concepts and Issues. Brief introductions to their origins and evolution, highlighting their significance in the work of major thinkers. Part 3 Key Terms. Concise explanations of all the words and phrases that readers need to know in order to fully grasp the subject.
  • Steve Wilkins, ed. Faith and Reason: Three Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). In Faith and Reason, Steve Wilkens edits a debate between three different understandings of the relationship between faith and reason, between theology and philosophy. The first viewpoint, “Faith and Philosophy in Tension,” articulated by Carl A. Raschke proposes faith and reason as hostile, exclusive opposites, each dangerous to the integrity of the other. The second, “Faith Seeking Understanding,” articulated by Alan G. Padget suggests that faithful Christians are called to make full use of their rational faculties to aid in the understanding and interpretation of what they believe by faith. In the third stance, “Thomistic Synthesis,” articulated by Craig A. Boyd natural reason acts as a handmaiden to theology by actively pointing people toward salvation and deeper knowledge of spiritual truths. Bringing together multiple views on the relationship between faith, philosophy and reason, this introduction to a timeless quandary will help you navigate, with rigor and joy, one of the most significant discussions of the Christian community. Steve Wilkins concludes the book with a helpful essay on how we can disagree Christianly.

POLITICS  – How A Christian Should Respond To and Be Involved in Society

  • Amy E. Black, ed. Five Views On The Church and Politics (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Thomas W. Heilke defends the “Anabaptist Separationist View”; Robert Benne defends the “Lutheran Paradoxical View”; Bruce L. Fields defends the “Black Church Prophetic View”; James K. A. Smith defends the “Reformed Transformationist View”; and Brian Benestad defends the “Catholic Synthetic View.”
  • P.C. Kemneny, ed. Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Abortion. Physician-assisted suicide. Same-sex marriages. Embryonic stem-cell research. Poverty. Crime. What is a faithful Christian response? The God of the Bible is unquestionably a God of justice. Yet Christians have had their differences as to how human government and the church should bring about a just social order. Although Christians share many deep and significant theological convictions, differences that threaten to divide them have often surrounded the matter of how the church collectively and Christians individually ought to engage the public square. What is the mission of the church? What is the purpose of human government? How ought they to be related to each other? How should social injustice be redressed? The five noted contributors to this volume answer these questions from within their distinctive Christian theological traditions, as well as responding to the other four positions. Through the presentations and ensuing dialogue we come to see more clearly what the differences are, where their positions overlap and why they diverge. The contributors and the positions taken include Clarke E. Cochran: “A Catholic Perspective”; Derek H. Davis: “A Classical Separation Perspective”; Ronald J. Sider: “An Anabaptist Perspective”; Corwin F. Smidt: “A Principled Pluralist Perspective”; and J. Philip Wogaman: “A Social Justice Perspective.”

PSYCHOLOGY – How To Counsel People From a Christian Perspective

  • Stephen P. Greggo and Timothy A. Sisemore, eds. Counseling and Christianity: Five Approaches (Christian Association for Psychological Studies). What does authentic Christian counseling look like in practice? This volume explores how five major perspectives on the interface of Christianity and psychology would each actually be applied in a clinical setting. Respected experts associated with each of the perspectives depict how to assess, conceptualize, counsel and offer aftercare to Jake, a hypothetical client with a variety of complex issues. In each case the contributors seek to explain how theory can translate into real-life counseling scenarios. This book builds on the framework of Eric L. Johnson’s Psychology Christianity: Five Views. These include the Levels-of-Explanation Approach, the Integration Approach, the Christian Psychology Approach, the Transformational Approach and the Biblical Counseling Approach. While Counseling and Christianity can be used independently of Johnson’s volume, the two can also function as useful companions. Christians who counsel, both those in practice and those still in training, will be served by this volume as it strengthens the connections between theory and practice in relating our faith to the mental health disciplines. They will finally get an answer to their persistent but unanswered question: “What would that counseling view look like behind closed doors?”
  • Eric L. Johnson, ed. Psychology and Christianity: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). How are Christians to understand and undertake the discipline of psychology? This question has been of keen interest (and sometimes concern) to Christians because of the importance we place on a correct understanding of human nature. Psychology can sometimes seem disconnected from, if not antithetical to, Christian perspectives on life. How are we to understand our Christian beliefs about persons in relation to secular psychological beliefs? This revised edition of a widely appreciated text now presents five models for understanding the relationship between psychology and Christianity. All the essays and responses have been reworked and updated with some new contributors including the addition of a new perspective, the transformative view from John Coe and Todd Hall (Biola University). Also found here is David Powlison (Westminster Theological Seminary) who offers the biblical counseling model. The levels-of-explanation model is advanced by David G. Myers (Hope College), while Stanton L. Jones (Wheaton College) offers an entirely new chapter presenting the integration model. The Christian psychology model is put forth by Robert C. Roberts (Baylor University) now joined by Paul J. Watson (University of Tennesee, Chattanooga). Each of the contributors responds to the other essayists, noting points of agreement as well as problems they see. Eric L. Johnson provides a revised introduction that describes the history of Christians and psychology, as well as a conclusion that considers what might unite the five views and how a reader might evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each view. Psychology and Christianity: Five Views has become a standard introductory textbook for students and professors of Christian psychology. This revision promises to keep it so.

SANCTIFICATION – How does one grow as a Christian?

  • Donald Alexander, ed. Christian Spirituality: Five Views On Christian Sanctification (Spectrum Multiview Series). How can we grow closer to God? Is there a secret to spiritual life? Do we need a second blessing? Is sanctification God’s work or ours? Is it instantaneous or is it a process? The nature of Christian spirituality has been widely debated throughout the history of the church. The doctrine of sanctification was one of the main fissures separating Luther from the Catholic Church. Even today different groups of Protestants disagree on how we draw closer to God. What distinguishes the different positions and what exactly is at stake in these recurring debates? To answer these questions Donald L. Alexander, professor of biblical theology at Bethel College, has brought together five scholars that represent each of the main historical Protestant traditions: Gerhard O. Forde on the “Lutheran View”; Sinclair B. Ferguson on the “Reformed View”; Laurence W. Wood on the “Wesleyan View”; Russell P. Spittler on the “Pentecostal View”; and E. Glenn Hinson on the “Contemplative View.” With an introduction by Alexander and responses to each of the main essays by the other contributors, this book provides a helpful and stimulating introduction to an important doctrine Christianity.
  • Chad Owen Brand, ed. Perspectives On Spirit Baptism: 5 Views. Perspectives on Spirit Baptism presents in counterpoint form the basic common beliefs on spirit baptism which have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter will be written by a prominent person from within each tradition—with specific guidelines dealing with the biblical, historical, and theological issues within each tradition. In addition, each writer will have the opportunity to give a brief response to the other traditions.
  • Bruce A. Demarest, ed. Four Views on Christian Spirituality (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The Views articulated in this book are as followed: “Orthodox Spirituality: A Quest For Transfigured Humanity” by Bradley Nassie; “Come To The Father: The Fact At The Foundation of Catholic Spirituality” by Scott Hahn; “The Progressive Face of Mainlain Protestant Spirituality” by Joseph Driskill; and “Evangelical Spirituality” by Evan Howard. The views presented are as following: “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit as the Promise of the Father: A Reformed Perspective” by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.; “Spirit Baptism: A Pentecostal Perspective” by Stanley M. Horton; “Spirit Baptism: A Dimensional Charismatic Perspective” by Larry Hart; “A Wesleyan Perspective on Spirit Baptism” by H. Ray Dunning; and “Spirit Baptism: Catholic Perspective” by Ralph Del Colle.
  • Stanley N Gundry, ed. Five Views on Sanctification (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Christians generally recognize the need to live a holy, or sanctified, life. But they differ on what sanctification is and how it is achieved. Five Views on Sanctification brings together in one easy-to-understand volume five major Protestant views on sanctification. Writing from a solid evangelical stance, each author describes and defends his own understanding of the doctrine, and responds as well to the views of the other authors. This book addresses such practical questions as: How does one achieve sanctification in this life? How much success in sanctification is possible? Is a crisis experience following one’s conversion normal―or necessary? If so, what kind of experience, and how is it verified?  The following views are presented and defended: “The Wesleyan View” by Melvin E. Dieter; “The Reformed View” by Anthony A. Hoekema; “The Pentecostal View” by Stanley M. Horton; “The Keswick View” by J. Roberson McQuilkin; and “The Augustinian-Dispensational View” by John F. Walvoord.
  • Alan P. Stanley, ed. Four Views on The Role of Works at the Final Judgement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology).Views Presented: “Christians Will Be Judged According To Their Works At The Rewards Judgement, But Not The Final Judgement” by Robert N. Wilkin; “Justification Apart From And By Works: At The Final Judgment Works Will Confirm Justification” by Thomas R. Schreiner; “If Paul Could Believe Both In Justification By Faith And Judgment According To Works, Why Should That Be A Problem For Us?” by James D.G. Dunn; and “A Catholic Perspective: Our Works Are Meritorious At The Final Judgment Because Of Our Union With Christ By Grace” by Michael P. Barber.

SCIENCE – Science and the Bible

  • Michael J. Behe and T.D. Singh. God, Intelligent Design and Fine-Tuning: A Dialogue between T. D. Singh and Michael J. Behe. Is God no longer necessary in a world that is increasingly influenced by a scientific temper? Or, on the contrary, have the findings of modern sciences forced us to approach the question of the existence of God in new ways? The scientific enterprise has gifted us the ability to examine and contemplate deeply the mysterious and beautiful order behind nature. Over the past four decades modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of cells and has revealed us the marvelous design even at the molecular level. Advancements in science have also shown us some of the precise laws and unique fundamental constants in the universe. All these facts and observations point to a fine-tuned and specially designed universe with a purpose by a Supreme Being or God. As one journey through the newly discovered marvels of the cosmos and life discussed in this volume, one will be compelled to reexamine his opinion concerning the origins, evolution and essence of this wonderful world in which we live.
  • Ardel B. Caneday, ed. Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Denis O. Lamoureus articulates the “No Historical Adam: Evolutionary Creation View”; John H. Walton articulates “A Historical Adam: Archetypal Creation View”; C. John Collins articulates “A Historical Adam: Old-Earth Creation View”; and William D. Barrick articulates “A Historical Adam: Young-Earth Creation View.”
  • Richard F. Carlson, ed. Science & Christianity: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Wayne Frair and Gary D. Patterson argue for “Creationism: An Inerrant Bible and Effective Science View”; Jean Pond argues for ”Independence: Mutual Humility in the Relationship Between Science and Christian Theology View”; Stephen C. Meyer argues for a “Qualified Agreement: Modern Science and the Return of the God Hypothesis View”; and Howard J. Van Till articulates the view called “Partnership: Science and Theology As Partners.”
  • Paul Copan and Christopher L. Reese, eds. Three Views on Christianity and Science. (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Michael Ruse writes the “Independence View”; Alister McGrath writes the “Dialogue View”; and Bruce Gordon writes the “Constrained Integration View.”
  • William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse. Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA. In this book, first published in 2004, William Dembski, Michael Ruse, and other prominent philosophers provide a comprehensive balanced overview of the debate concerning biological origins – a controversial dialectic since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. Invariably, the source of controversy has been ‘design’. Is the appearance of design in organisms (as exhibited in their functional complexity) the result of purely natural forces acting without prevision or teleology? Or, does the appearance of design signify genuine prevision and teleology, and, if so, is that design empirically detectable and thus open to scientific inquiry? Four main positions have emerged in response to these questions: Darwinism, self-organization, theistic evolution, and intelligent design. The contributors to this volume define their respective positions in an accessible style, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. Two introductory essays furnish a historical overview of the debate.
  • David G. Hagopian, ed. The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation. J. Ligon Duncan III and David W. Hall argue for “The 24-Hour View”; Hugh Ross and Gleason L. Archer argue for the “Day-Age View”; and Lee Irons and Meredith G. Kline argue for “The Framework View.”
  • Preston Jones, ed. Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism Christianity. Greg Graffin is frontman, singer and songwriter for the punk band Bad Religion. He also happens to have a Ph.D. in zoology and wrote his dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism. Preston Jones is a history professor at a Christian college and a fan of Bad Religion’s music. One day, on a whim, Preston sent Greg an appreciative e-mail. That was the start of an extraordinary correspondence. For several months, Preston and Greg sent e-mails back and forth on big topics like God, religion, knowledge, evil, evolution, biology, destiny and the nature of reality. Preston believes in God; Greg sees insufficient evidence for God’s existence. Over the course of their friendly debate, they tackle such cosmic questions as: Is religion rational or irrational? Does morality require belief in God? Do people only believe in God because they are genetically predisposed toward religion? How do you make sense of suffering in the world? Is this universe all there is? And what does it all matter? In this engaging book, Preston and Greg’s actual e-mail correspondence is reproduced, along with bonus materials that provide additional background and context. Each makes his case for why he thinks his worldview is more compelling and explanatory. While they find some places to agree, neither one convinces the other. They can’t both be right. So which worldview is more plausible? You decide.
  • Kenneth Keathley, J.B. Stump and Joe Aguirre, eds. Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation? Discussing Origins With Reason To Believe and Biologos. Various issues are addressed from several scholars belonging to the Two Largest Old Earth organizations: Reason to Believe (Hugh Ross, founder) and Biologos (Francis Collins, founder). Note: there is very little discussion of a “Young Earth” position in this book.
  • J.P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger and Wayne Grudem, eds. Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. Thirty-One chapters by top Scientists, Philosophers, and Theologians who critique the primary sources and articulators of Theistic Evolution in the 20th-21st Century – a landmark book – approximately 1000 pages of material!
  • Alister McGrath, John Wilson, et. al. The Origins Debate: Evangelical perspectives on creation, evolution, and intelligent design (Christianity Today Essentials). For centuries, Christians have argued exactly what God did “in the beginning.” If this were only a question of science, it would not be so contentious. But theology and science shape one another, and there are few easy answers. This key collection of essays presents the current state of the debate, showing how faithful evangelicals have come to their respective views, and what is at stake for the church. Contents: Chapter 1: The Search for the Historical Adam – Richard N. Ostling; Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Scientists: A Young-Earth Creationist and an Evolutionary Creationist – Tim Stafford; Chapter 3: Augustine’s Origin of Species: How the Great Theologian Might Weigh In on the Darwin Debate – Alister McGrath; Chapter 4: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: The Furor Over Intelligent Design – Nancy Pearcey; Chapter 5: God by the Numbers: Math and the Theology of Origins – Charles Edward White; Chapter 6: What Good is Stardust?: The Remarkably Equipped Universe – Howard J. Van Till; Chapter 7: Your Darwin Is Too Large: Evolution’s Exaggerated Significance for Theology – John Wilson; Chapter 8: Living with the Darwin Fish: Another ‘Missing Link’ Won’t Destroy My Faith – Stan Guthrie; Chapter 9: The Evolution of Darwin: The Scientist’s Problem with God – Dinesh D’Souza; and Chapter 10: Science in Wonderland: Perspective (250 Million Years’ Worth) on the Evolution Controversy – John Wilson 
  • J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds, eds. Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds defend the view of “Young Earth Creationism”; Robert C. Newman defends the view of  “Old Earth Progressive Creationism”; and Howard J. Van Till defends the view called “Theistic Evolution.”
  • Gerald Rau. Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning. The debate over evolution and creation has raged for decades and shows no signs of letting up. Many promote one view as the only reasonable solution. But what are the main viewpoints, and just why do they disagree? In the midst of an increasingly intense dispute, Gerald Rau answers the important questions with level-headed clarity and evenhanded analysis. Rau lays out six models of origins, ranging from naturalistic evolution to young-earth creation. He shows how each model presupposes an underlying philosophy that adherents take on faith. With the sensitivity of a seasoned educator, Rau demonstrates how each model assesses the scientific evidence in relation to four different kinds of origins: the universe, life, species and humans. In an age of specialists, Rau sees the big picture. Mapping the Origins Debate cuts through the cacophony and the complexity to provide a lucid and charitable contribution to the conversation.
  • James Stump, ed. Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design  (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Ken Ham’s view is “Young Earth Creationism”; Hugh Ross gives the “Old Earth (Progressive) Creationism View”; Deborah B. Haarsma articulates the “Evolutionary Creation View”; and Stephen C. Meyer presents the “intelligent Design View.”
  • Todd Charles Wood and Darrel R. Falk. The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved Beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue About Creation and Evolution. The Fool and the Heretic is a deeply personal story told by two respected scientists who hold opposing views on the topic of origins, share a common faith in Jesus Christ, and began a sometimes-painful journey to explore how they can remain in Christian fellowship when each thinks the other is harming the church. To some in the church, anyone who accepts the theory of evolution has rejected biblical teaching and is therefore thought of as a heretic. To many outside the church, as well as a growing number of evangelicals, anyone who accepts the view that God created the Earth in six days a few thousand years ago must be poorly educated and ignorant – a fool. Todd Wood and Darrel Falk know what it’s like to be thought of, respectively, as a fool and a heretic. This audiobook shares their pain in wearing those labels, but more important, provides a model for how faithful Christians can hold opposing views on deeply divisive issues yet grow deeper in their relationship to each other and to God.

SOTERIOLOGY – The Study of Salvation in the Bible

  • David Basinger and Randall Basinger, eds. Predestination & Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). If God is in control, are people really free? This question has bothered Christians for centuries. And answers have covered a wide spectrum. Today Christians still disagree. Those who emphasize human freedom view it as a reflection of God’s self-limited power. Others look at human freedom in the order of God’s overall control. David and Randall Basinger have put this age-old question to four scholars trained in theology and philosophy. John Feinberg of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Norman Geisler of Dallas Theological Seminary focus on God’s specific sovereignty. Bruce Reichenbach of Augsburg College and Clark Pinnock of McMaster Divinity College insist that God must limit his control to ensure our freedom. Each writer argues for his perspective and applies his theory to two practical case studies. Then the other writers respond to each of the major essays, exposing what they see as fallacies and hidden assumptions.
  • Herbert W. Bateman IV., ed. Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews. Using the popular four-views format, this volume explores the meaning of the five warning passages in the book of Hebrews to both the original readers and us today. Each of the four New Testament scholars present and defend their view and critique the view of their interlocutors. This unique volume will help readers better understand some of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. Contributors include Grant R. Osborne, Buist M. Fanning, Gareth L. Cockerill, and Randall C. Gleason.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Gregory A. Boyd defends the view called “Open-Theism”; David Hunt defends “The Simple Foreknowledge View”; William Land Craig defends “The Middle-Knowledge View”; and Paul Helm defends the “Augustinian-Calvinist View.”
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. Justification: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). When Paul wrote these words he seemed confident he had made himself clear. But for centuries the Pauline doctrine of justification has been a classic point of interpretation and debate in Christian exegesis and theology. And while in recent decades there have been moments of hopeful convergence among the various traditions of the Western church, the fine print often reveals more facets and distinctions than ever before. This volume focuses on five views of justification and calls on representative proponents to set forth their case and then respond to each other. The five views are: “Traditional Reformed” defended by Michael S. Horton;  “Progressive Reformed” by Michael F. Bird; “The New Perspective” by James D. G. Dunn;  “Deification, or Theosis” by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen; and  “Roman Catholic” by Gerald O. Collins and Oliver Rafferty. In addition, editors James Beilby, Paul R. Eddy and Steven E. Enderlein provide an extensive introduction to the issues informing this important debate. This distinguished forum of biblical interpreters and theologians offers a lively and informative engagement with the biblical, historical and contemporary understandings of justification. Justification: Five Views is not only a fascinating probe into Paul?s meaning, it is also a case book in theological method.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). A long history of biblical exegesis and theological reflection has shaped our understanding of the atonement today. The more prominent highlights of this history have acquired familiar names for the household of faith: Christus Victor, penal substitutionary, subjective, and governmental. Recently the penal substitutionary view, and particularly its misappropriations, has been critiqued, and a lively debate has taken hold within evangelicalism. This book offers a “panel” discussion of four views of atonement maintained by four evangelical scholars. The proponents and their views are: Gregory A. Boyd: “Christus Victor View”; Joel B. Green: “Kaleidescopic View”; Bruce R. Reichenbach: “Healing View”; and Thomas R. Schreiner: “Penal Substitutionary View.” Following an introduction written by the editors, each participant first puts forth the case for their view. Each view is followed by responses from the other three participants, noting points of agreement as well as disagreement. This is a book that will help Christians understand the issues, grasp the differences and proceed toward a clearer articulation of their understanding of the atonement.
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Election: Five Views. Perspectives on Election presents in counterpoint form five basic common beliefs on the doctrine of spiritual election (for example, predestination) that have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter is written by a prominent person within each tradition, and each writer has the opportunity to respond to each differing view. Despite the focus upon a topic that divides many people, editor Chad Brand says, “The goal of this book is to add clarity to the discussion and to further the discussion, insofar as it is possible, in an amiable manner.” Contributors and their views are the following: “Divine Election to Salvation” presented by Bruce A. Ware; “The Classical Arminian View of Election” by Jack W. Cottrell; “A Consistent Supralapsarian Perspective on Election” presented by RobertL. Reymond; “Universal Reconciliation and the Inclusive Nature of Election” presented by Thomas B. Talbot; and “Divine Election as Corporate, Open, and Vocational” by Clark Pinnock.
  • Gabriel J. Fackre, ed. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?  Three Views on The Destiny of the Unevangelized (Spectrum Multiview Series). What is the fate of those who die never hearing the gospel? Do Hindus, Jews, agnostics and others who do not profess faith in Christ really suffer damnation after death? These and similar questions have long been contemplated by people from every religious persuasion and every walk of life. But in a culture of increasing diversity and growing doubt in the existence of “objective truth,” it seems ever more pressing. In this book three scholars present the span of evangelical conviction on the destiny of the unevangelized. Ronald Nash argues the restrictivist position, that receptive knowledge of Jesus Christ in this life is necessary to salvation. Gabriel Fackre advocates divine perseverance, with the expectation that those who die unevangelized receive an opportunity for salvation after death. And John Sanders sets forth the inclusivist case–asserting that though God saves people only through the work of Jesus Christ, some may be saved even if they do not know about Christ. As each scholar presents his own case and responds to strengths and weaknesses of differing positions, readers are treated to a lively and informative debate. What About Those Who Have Never Heard? is a truly helpful book on one of today’s–and every day’s–most crucial questions.
  • Dave Hunt and James White. Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views. A centuries-old belief system is put to the test as two prominent authors examine and debate the subject of Calvinism from opposing viewpoints. James White, author of The Potter’s Freedom, takes the Calvinist position. Dave Hunt, author of What Love Is This, opposes him. The exchange is lively and at times intense as these two articulate men wrestle over what the Scriptures tell us about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. This thought-provoking, challenging book provides potent responses to the most frequently asked questions about Calvinism.
  • Adam J. Johnson, ed. Five Views on the Extent of the Atonement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). For whom did Christ die? Who may be saved? are questions of perennial interest and importance for the Christian faith. In a familiar Counterpoints format, this book explores the question of the extent of Christ’s atonement, going beyond simple Reformed vs. non-Reformed understandings. This volume elevates the conversation to a broader plane, including contributors who represent the breadth of Christian tradition: “Eastern Orthodox”: expounded by Andrew Louth; “Roman Catholic”: expounded by Matthew Levering; “Traditional Reformed”: expounded by Michael Horton; “Wesleyan”: expounded by Fred Sanders; and “Barthian Universalism”: expounded by Tom Greggs.
  • R.T. Kendall and Rabbi David Rosen. The Christian and the Pharisee: Two Outspoken Religious Leaders Debate the Road to Heaven. The book reproduces a candid exchange of letters between two leading religious figures: an evangelical preacher and a senior Jewish rabbi. This groundbreaking publication is a rare opportunity to read the heartfelt correspondence of two prolific and acclaimed theologians, as they both seek to vigorously defend their own beliefs and allow themselves to be challenged by the claims of the other. As the discussion continues we see mutual respect grow and a strong friendship forged before the relationship is inevitably tested as they encounter points of seemingly irreconcilable differences. Though there are issues and beliefs which separate the two theological camps, this book shows how they share enough to not only get along, but form strong alliances.
  • John D. Laing, Kirk R. MacGregor, Greg Welty, et al. Calvinism and Middle Knowledge: A Conversation. Calvinism and Middle Knowledge is an anthology of essays that moves the discussion of Molinism/middle knowledge out of the philosophical arena, where it has almost exclusively remained, and into the broader theological community. In particular, it sparks a conversation between Calvinists and Molinists regarding the fruitfulness or deficiencies of middle knowledge and the feasibility or infeasibility of Calvinist use of middle knowledge without acceptance of libertarian human freedom. To this end, nine distinguished experts address such topics as the history of the doctrine of middle knowledge, the potential role of Molinism in discussions of evolution and intelligent design, Calvinist concerns with Molinism, and Calvinist appropriation of middle knowledge. This book empowers theologians, historians, biblical scholars, and pastors to join the ongoing conversation and to judge for themselves what explanatory role middle knowledge may or may not play in accounts of providence and practical theology.
  • Dennis L. Okholm and Timothy R. Phillips, eds. Four Views On Salvation In A Pluralistic World (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). John Hick proposes the “Pluralist View”; Clark Pinnock proposes the “Inclusivist View”; Alister McGrath proposes “A Particularist View: A Post-Enlightenment Approach”; and R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips present “A Particularist View: An Evidentialist Approach.”
  • Kirk R. MacGregor and Kevaughn Mattis, eds. Perspectives on Eternal Security: Biblical, Historical, and Philosophical Perspectives. Eternal security, or personal assurance of final salvation, constitutes the single most important matter of practical theology in the Christian tradition. For the past twenty centuries, no other doctrine has exerted such a direct impact on the lives of lay Christians, driving their daily actions, guiding their permanent choices, and shaping their psychology. From the New Testament period onward, a diversity of views on biblical interpretation, anthropology, and divine sovereignty have produced numerous models of eternal security. However, due to the early modern fracturing of Protestant thought along Reformed and Arminian lines, today most evangelicals equate eternal security with Calvin’s perseverance of the saints. In an ecumenical vein, this collection of essays aims to remedy the knowledge gap by bringing a breadth of biblical, historical, and philosophical perspectives to bear on the question of eternal security. These essays comprise the first print anthology from the online theological journal Testamentum Imperium, an international forum founded and edited by Kevaughn Mattis featuring scores of first-rate articles from Christian thinkers worldwide on the topic of eternal security. This book therefore analyzes Calvin’s model of perseverance alongside views on eternal security ranging historically from Clement of Rome to contemporary developments in philosophical theology and process theology. Furthermore, this book explores and strengthens the biblical roots of eternal security through an illuminating host of thematic studies on whole books and exegetical studies on particular passages. Hence this volume will profit all who are interested in the scriptural foundations and historical outworkings of eternal security.
  • Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger, eds. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All three contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution. Carl Trueman (Westminster Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work secured the redemption of his elect alone. While infinite in value, Christ’s death was intended for and applied strictly to those whom the Father had elected unconditionally in eternity past. John Hammett (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work had multiple intentions. Of these intentions two rise to the fore: (1) the intention to accomplish atonement for God’s elect and (2) the intention to provide atonement for all mankind. Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) argues that Christ’s atoning work provided atonement generally for all mankind. The application of that atoning work is conditioned, however, on each person’s willingness to receive it.
  • J. Matthew Pinson, ed. Four Views On Eternal Security (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Does the Bible support the concept of “once saved, always saved,” or can a person lose his or her salvation? How do the Scriptures portray the complex interplay between grace and free will? These and related questions are explored from different angles in this thought-provoking Counterpoints volume. The contributors each state their case for one of four prominent views on eternal security: “Classical Calvinist” (Michael Horton), “Moderate Calvinist” (Norman L. Geisler), “Reformed Arminian” (Stephen M. Ashby),  and “Wesleyan Arminian” (Steve Harper). In keeping with the forum approach of the Counterpoints series, each view is first presented by its proponent, then critiqued and defended. This fair and respectful approach allows you to weigh for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of the different doctrinal stances. By furnishing you with scholarly and thoughtful perspectives on the topic of eternal security, this book helps you sift through opposing views to arrive at your own informed conclusions. 
  • James R. White. The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and the Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free. Norman L. Geisler’s Chosen but Free sparked a firestorm of controversy when he labeled Calvinism “theologically inconsistent, philosophically insufficient, and morally repugnant.” White steps into the breach with his cogent response. His systematic refutation of Geisler’s argument will help you understand what the Reformed faith really teaches about divine election and how Reformed thought conforms to the gospel.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE – How to Practically Do Battle with the Enemy 

  • James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, editors. Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views. Walter Wink, “The World Systems Model”; David Powlison, “The Classical Model”; Greg Boyd, “The Ground-Level Deliverance Model”; C. Peter Wagner and Rebecca Greenwood, “The Strategic-Level Deliverance Model.”

THEOLOGICAL METHOD – How to Do Theology and Communal Expressions of It

  • Paul L. Allen. Theological Method: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed). Theological Method: A Guide for the Perplexed is a book that introduces the reader to the practice of doing theology. It provides a historical survey of key figures and concepts that bear on an understanding of difficult methodological issues in Christian theology. Beginning with a description of philosophical themes that affect the way theology is done today, it summarizes the various theological methods deployed by theologians and churches over two millennia of Christian thought. The book uncovers patterns in the theological task of relating biblical texts with beliefs and doctrines, according to historically conditioned theological and cultural priorities. The book’s highlights include a discussion of Augustine’s epoch-making De doctrina Christiana. Also receiving close attention is the relationship between philosophy and theology during the Middle Ages, the meaning of sola scriptura for the Protestant Reformers, the methods of key interpreters of doctrine in the nineteenth century and the theological priorities of the ‘Radical Orthodoxy’ movement.
  • Kenneth Berding, ed. Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Walter C. Kaiser defends the view: “Single Meaning, Unified Referents”; Darrel L. Bock defends the view: “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents”; and Peter Enns defends the view: “Fuller Meaning, Single Goal. 
  • Gregory Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy. Across The Spectrum: Understanding Issues In Evangelical Theology (Second Edition). This new edition of a popular text presents an accessible yet comprehensive primer that helps readers understand the breadth of viewpoints on major issues in evangelical theology, with chapters using the popular three- or four-views book format. The authors carefully examine thirty-four positions taken by evangelical scholars on seventeen seminal issues. They lay out the biblical, theological, and philosophical arguments for each position in point-counterpoint fashion and discuss possible objections. The second edition retains the helpful features of the first edition–end-of-chapter “For Further Reading” sections and an extensive glossary–and adds an appendix that addresses thirteen peripheral issues in contemporary evangelicalism.
  • Ronnie Campbell, ed. Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Worship the Same God? Four Views (Counterpoints Theology and Life).During a time of global conflict, the theological question of whether Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God carries political baggage. Is the God of ISIS the same as the God of Israel? Do Sunni Muslims and Protestant Christians pray to the same Creator and Sustainer of the universe? In this Counterpoints volume, edited by Ronnie P. Campbell, Jr., and Christopher Gnanakan, five leading scholars present the main religious perspectives on this question, demonstrating how to think carefully about an issue where opinions differ and confusion abounds. They examine related subtopics such as the difference between God being referentially the same and essentially the same, what “the same” means when referring to God, the significance of the Trinity in this discussion, whether religious inclusivism is inferred by certain understandings of God’s sameness, and the appropriateness of interfaith worship.The four main views, along with the scholars presenting them, are: “All Worship the Same God: Religious Pluralist View” presented by Wm. Andrew Schwartz and John B. Cobb, Jr.; “All Worship the Same God: Referring to the Same God View” presented by Francis J. Beckwith; “Jews and Christians Worship the Same God: Shared Revelation View” presented by  Gerald R. McDermott; and “None Worship the Same God: Different Conceptions View” presented by Jerry L. Walls) Additionally, essays by Joseph Cumming and David W. Shenk explore the implications of this question specifically for Christians wanting to minister among and build relationships with Muslims. Cumming stresses that finding common ground is key, while Shenk advocates for a respectful focus on differences.
  • John Jefferson Davis. Handbook of Basic Bible Texts: Every Key Passage for the Study of Doctrine & Theology. This volume provides the complete text of key Scripture passages that form the basis for theological study. The text used is the highly readable and modern New International Version. The verses listed are grouped by the classical categories of systematic theology (e.g., God, Christ, Salvation); on disputed points, verses from which the major theological views derive are given. Footnotes provide clarification and brief commentary on verses as appropriate. This work is intended to assist the theological student who might not take the time to look up the verses cited in systematic theologies, but it will also be useful to anyone seeking to better understand the major themes of Scripture.
  • Louis Goldberg, ed. How Jewish Is Christianity? 2 Views On The Messianic Movement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Diverse perspectives about the messianic movement ― from six contributors. Are Messianic congregations necessary or should Jewish believers be incorporated into the Gentile church? This is the topic of the latest volume in the Counterpoints series. The question of how Christian Jews relate their Jewish practices and customs to the church has been an issue within Christianity since the first century. Contemporary contributors who have lived and wrestled with this issue present informed arguments and counter-arguments. The book concludes with a chapter on the future for Messianic Jews and a directory of messianic movement organizations. Contributors include: John Fischer (ThD, California Graduate School of Theology, PhD, University of South Florida) is a rabbi of Congregation Ohr Chadash and Chairman of Judaic Studies at St. Petersburg Theological Seminary. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (ThM, PhD, New York University) has served with the Chosen People Ministries and Christian Jew Foundation in the past and is now the founder and director of Ariel Ministries. Gershon Nerel (PhD, Hebrew University, Jerusalem) has served as “Israel Secretary” for the International Messianic Jewish Alliance and has also been a member of the executive committee for the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel. David Stern (PhD, MDiv) is the translator of the Jewish New Testament from Greek to English to express its Jewishness; his version of the Tanak is the Complete Jewish Bible. Will Varner (EdD, Temple University) servers as professor of biblical studies at the Master’s College, CA, and the director of the Israel Bible Extension campus of this college in Israel.
  • Stanley N. Gundry, ed. Five Views On Law and Gospel (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). “The Non-Theonomic View” is presented by Willem A. VanGemeren; “The Theonomic Reformed View” is presented by Greg L. Bahnsen; “The Law As God’s Gracious Guidance For The Promotion of Holiness View” is presented by Walter C. Kaiser; “A Dispensational View” is presented by Wayne G. Strickland; and “A Modified Lutheran View” is presented by Douglas J. Moo.
  • Collin Hansen and Andrew David Naselli, eds. Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following views are presented in this dialogue: “Fundamentalism” by Kevin T. Bauder; “Confessional Evangelicalism” by R. Albert Mohler Jr.; “Generic Evangelicalism” by John G. Stackhuse Jr.; and “Postconservative Evangelicalism” by Roger E. Olson.
  • Glenn R. Kreider and Michael J. Svigel. A Practical Primer on Theological Method: Table Manners for Discussing God, His Works, and His Ways. Around a table sit men and women with distinct roles: the interpreter, the theologian, the virtuous, the philosopher, the scientist, the artist, the minister, and the historian. Each is ready to engage in a passionate discussion centered on God, his works, and his ways. Regardless of which role you play at the same table, you’re invited. You simply need to pull up a chair and join the conversation. But how? What do you say when you take your seat? Where do you start? What are the “rules” of the dialogue? A Practical Primer on Theological Method will help you answer these questions. This primer is not only a “how-to” manual for doing theology, but a handbook of etiquette for doctrinal discussions with other believers. This popular-level introductory text presents the proper manner, mode, and means of engaging fruitfully in theology.
  • Gordon R. Lewis. Decide For Yourself: A Theological Workbook. The great Christian doctrines are worth thinking through for ourselves. That’s why Gordon Lewis has provided this concise and complete survey of the major truths of the Christian faith. But rather than just telling us what he has discovered in Scripture, he offers a theological workbook that helps us explore the evidence itself and to draw our own conclusions. He has organized the material around the main themes of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, humanity, creation, the church, and the end times. This unique text has been used by students of the Bible over the last three decades in the classroom, in the home and in the church. Its enduring quality continues to make it a valuable tool for all who want to develop a systematic theology for themselves.
  • Erwin W. Lutzer. The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historical Doctrines That Separate Christians. Lutzer examines various controversies that exist within the broad spectrum of Christianity, presenting the historical background of the issue and the biblical understanding of the doctrine. Chapters include “Predestination or Free Will?”; “Why Can’t We Agree about Baptism”?; and “Justification by Faith.”
  • Gary T, Meadors, ed. Four Views on Moving Beyond The Bible To Theology (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following models of methods are proposed: “A Principlizing Model” by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.; “A Redemptive-Historical Model” by Daniel M. Doriani; “A Drama of Redemption Model” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer; and “A Redemptive-Movement Model” by William J. Webb.
  • Stanley E. Porter, ed. Evangelical Theological Method: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). How should one approach the task of theology? The question of methodology is increasingly one of interest among theologians, who recognize that the very manner in which we approach theology informs both the questions we ask and the conclusions we reach. This volume in IVP’s Spectrum Multiview series brings together five evangelical theologians with distinctly different approaches to the theological task. After presenting the approaches―which include appeals to Scripture, context, missions, interdisciplinary studies, and dogmatics―each contributor responds to the other views. Emerging from this theological conversation is an awareness of our methodological commitments and the benefits that each approach can bring to the theological task. Contributors:Sung Wook Chung, “Bible Doctines Conservative Theology: Codifying God’s Word”;  John R. Franke, “Missional Theology: Living God’s Love”; Telford C. Work, “An Interdisciplinary Theology Response”; Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo, “A Contextual Theology Response”; and Paul Louis Metzger, “A Trinitarian Dogmatic Theology Response.”
  • James Stamoolis, ed. Three Views On Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Bradley Nassif answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Yes”; Michael Horton answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? No”; Vladimir Berzonsky answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? No”; George Hancock-Stefan answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Maybe”; And Edward Rommen answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Maybe.”
  • Mary M. Veeneman. Introducing Theological Method: A Survey of Contemporary Theologians and Approaches. Sound theological method is a necessary prerequisite for good theological work. This accessible introduction surveys contemporary theological methodology by presenting leading thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries as models. The book presents the strengths and weaknesses in each of the major options. Rather than favoring one specific position, it helps students of theology think critically so they can understand and develop their own theological method.

THEOLOGY PROPER – The Study of God: 

The Trinity, His Nature, Character & Activity in Our World 

  • John M. DePoe and Tyler Dalton McNabb. Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Debating Christian Religious Epistemology introduces core questions in the philosophy of religion by bringing five competing viewpoints on the knowledge of God into critical dialogue with one another. Each chapter introduces an epistemic viewpoint, providing an overview of its main arguments and explaining why it justifies belief. The validity of that viewpoint is then explored and tested in a critical response from an expert in an opposing tradition. Featuring a wide range of different philosophical positions, traditions and methods, this introduction: Covers classical evidentialism, phenomenal conservatism, proper functionalism, covenantal epistemology and traditions-based perspectivalism; Draws on MacIntyre’s account of rationality and ideas from the Analytic and Conservatism traditions; Addresses issues in social epistemology; and Considers the role of religious experience and religious texts. Packed with lively debates, this is an ideal starting point for anyone interested in understanding the major positions in contemporary religious epistemology and how religious concepts and practices relate to belief and knowledge.
  • Dennis Jowers, ed. Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Paul Kjoss Helseth propounds the view that “God Causes All Things”; William Lane Craig propounds the view that “God Directs All Things”; Ron Highfield propounds the view that “God Controls By Liberating”; and Gregory A. Boyd propounds that “God Limits Control.”
  • Gregory E. Ganssle, ed. God & Time: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Paul Helm proclaims the “Divine Timeless Eternity View”; Alan G. Padgett proclaims the “Eternity As Relative Timelessness View”; William Lane Craig proclaims the “Timelessness & Omnitemporality View”; and Nicholas Wolterstorff proclaims the “Unqualified Divine Temporality View.”
  • Stephen R. Holmes, ed. Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The doctrine of the Trinity stands front and center of the Christian faith and its articulation. After a sustained drought of trinitarian engagement, the doctrine of the Trinity has increasingly resurged to the forefront of Evangelical confession. The second half of the twentieth century, however, saw a different kind of trinitarian theology developing, giving way to what has commonly been referred to as the “social Trinity.” Social—or better, relational—trinitarianism has garnered a steady reaction from those holding to a classical doctrine of the Trinity, prompting a more careful and thorough re-reading of sources and bringing about not only a much more coherent view of early trinitarian development but also a strong critique of relational trinitarian offerings. Yet confusion remains. As Evangelicals get better at articulating the doctrine of the Trinity, and as the current and next generation of believers in various Christian traditions seek to be more trinitarian, the way forward for trinitarian theology has to choose between the relational and classical model, both being legitimate options.In this volume, leading contributors—one evangelical and one mainline/catholic representing each view—establish their models and approaches to the doctrine of the Trinity, each highlighting the strengths of his view in order to argue how it best reflects the orthodox perspective. In order to facilitate a genuine debate and to make sure that the key issues are teased out, each contributor addresses the same questions regarding their trinitarian methodology, doctrine, and its implications. Contributors include: Stephen R. Holmes; Paul D. Molnar; Thomas H. McCall; and Paul S. Fiddes.
  • John W. Loftus and Randal Rauser. God or Godless? One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. In this unique book, atheist John Loftus and theist Randal Rauser engage in twenty short debates that consider Christianity, the existence of God, and unbelief from a variety of angles. Each concise debate centers on a proposition to be resolved, with either John or Randal arguing in the affirmative and the opponent the negative, and can be read in short bits or big bites. This is the perfect book for Christians and their atheist or agnostic friends to read together, and encourages honest, open, and candid debate on the most important issues of life and faith.
  • Robert J. Matz, ed. Divine Impassability: Four Views of God’s Emotions and Suffering (Spectrum Multiview Series). Does God suffer? Does God experience emotions? Does God change? How should we interpret passages of Scripture that seem to support one view or the other? And where does the incarnation and Christ’s suffering on the cross fit into this? The lively but irenic discussion that takes place in this conversation demonstrates not only the diversity of opinion among Christians on this theological conundrum but also its ongoing relevance for today. Views and Contributors: “Strong Impassibility” by James E. Dolezal, assistant professor in the School of Divinity at Cairn University; “Qualified Impassibility” by Daniel Castelo, professor of dogmatic and constructive theology at Seattle Pacific University; “Qualified Passibility” by John C. Peckham, professor of theology and Christian philosophy at Andrews University; and “Strong Passibility” by Thomas Jay Oord, professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University.
  • J.P. Moreland, Khaldoun A. Sweis, and Chad V. Meister, eds. Debating Christian Theism. Comprising groundbreaking dialogues by many of the most prominent scholars in Christian apologetics and the philosophy of religion, this volume offers a definitive treatment of central questions of Christian faith. The essays are ecumenical and broadly Christian, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, and feature lucid and up-to-date material designed to engage readers in contemporary theistic and Christian issues. Beginning with dialogues about God’s existence and the coherence of theism and then moving beyond generic theism to address significant debates over such specifically Christian doctrines as the Trinity and the resurrection of Jesus, Debating Christian Theism provides an ideal starting point for anyone seeking to understand the current debates in Christian theology.
  • Anthony C. Thiselton. Approaching the Study of Theology: An Introduction to Key Thinkers, Concepts, Methods & Debates. From the opening pages of the Bible, we learn of God as one who communicates with humankind―offering us first steps toward knowledge of the divine, the very foothold of theology. On this basis, Approaching the Study of Theology presents an engaging introduction to the breadth and depth of the study of theology, mapping the significant landmarks as well as the main areas of debate. The book is divided into three parts: Part I (Approaches) describes the major approaches to theology that have emerged and developed over time. Part II (Concepts and Issues) explains the major concepts and issues, identifying theologians associated with each. Part III (Key Terms) provides a helpful glossary of all the key terms that readers need to understand in order to better understand theology. Written by the eminent theologian Anthony Thiselton, here is an accessible resource for both those in the midst of a theological course or program as well as those contemplating the field.
  • Bruce A. Ware, ed. Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views. Perspectives on the Doctrine of God presents in counterpoint form four basic common beliefs on the doctrine of God that have developed over the course of church history with a goal of determining which view is most faithful to Scripture. Contributors to this fifth book in the PERSPECTIVES series are Regent College J.I. Packer chair in Theology and Philosophy Paul Helm (Classical Calvinist perspective), editor Bruce Ware (Modified Calvinist perspective), Baylor University professor of Theology Roger Olson (Classical Arminian perspective), and Hendrix College assistant professor of Religion John Sanders (Open Theist perspective).

WORLDVIEW – A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world

  • Ronnie P. Campbell Jr. Worldviews and the Problem of Evil: A Comparative Approach. How does the Christian response to the problem of evil contrast with that of other worldviews? Most attempts at answering the problem of evil either present a straightforward account of the truth claims of Christianity or defend a minimalist concept of God. This book is different. Inside, you’ll examine four worldviews’ responses to the problem of evil. Then, you’ll hear the author’s argument that Christian theism makes better sense of the phenomenon of evil in the world equipping you to reach an informed conclusion. This book’s unique approach integrating worldviews with apologetics with theology will give you a better understanding of the debate surrounding the problem of evil, in both philosophy and theology. Learn to think cogently and theologically about the problem of evil and Christianity’s ability to answer its challenges with Worldviews and the Problem of Evil as your guide.
  • Myron B. Penner, ed. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn (Six Views). R. Douglas Geivett, writes, “Is God a Story? Postmodernity and the Task of Theology”; R. Scott Smith writes, “Christian Postmodernism and the Linguistic Turn”; Kevin J. Vanhoozer writes, “Pilgrim’s Digress: Christian Thinking on and about the Post Modern Way”; John R. Franke writes, “Christian Faith and Postmodern Theory: Theology and the Nonfoundationalist Turn”; James K. A. Smith writes, “A Little Story about Metanarratives: Lyotard, Religion, and Postmodernism Revisited.” 

THEOLOGICAL RESOURCES: DEBATE & DIALOGUE – MULTIPLE VIEWS & PERSPECTIVES

Compiled by David P. Craig, August, 2021

AFTERLIFE – Death, Intermediate State, Heaven and Hell

  • William V. Crockett, ed. Four Views on Hell. Counterpoints first edition: John F. Walvoord defends the “Literal View”; William V. Crockett defends the “Metaphorical View”; Zachary J. Hays defends the “Purgatorial View”; and Clark H Pinnock defends the “Conditional View.”
  • Edward William Fudge. Two Views of Hell: A biblical Theological Dialogue. Edward Fudge gives the case for “Conditionalism” and Robert A. Person gives the case for “Traditionalism.”
  • Steve Gregg. All Your Want To Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin. Covers the Case for “Traditionalism”; “Conditionalism”; and “Restorationism.”
  • Peter Kreeft. Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College, who shares much in common with evangelicals. 
  • Preston Sprinkle, ed. Four Views on Hell (Second Edition with New Contributors: Denny Burk defends the Eternal Conscious Torment view; John G. Stackhouse defends the Terminal Punishment view; Robin A. Parry defends the Universalist view; Jerry L. Walls defends the Hell and Purgatory view).
  • Michael E. Wittmer, ed. Four Views On Heaven. Zondervan Counterpoints Series: John S. Feinberg, “The Traditional View”; J. Richard Middleton, “Platonic Earthly View”; Michael Allen, “Heavenly Earth View”; Peter Kreeft, “Roman Catholic Beatific Vision View”.

APOLOGETICS – Giving Good Evidence for the Truth of Christianity 

  • James K. Beilby. Thinking About Christian Apologetics: What It Is and Why We Do It. Most introductions to apologetics begin with the “how to” of defending the faith, diving right into the major apologetic arguments and the body of evidence. For those who want a more foundational look at this contested theological discipline, this book examines Christian apologetics in its nature, history, approaches, objections and practice. What is apologetics?; How has apologetics developed?; What are the basic apologetic approaches?; Why should we practice apologetics? Countless Christians today are seeking a responsible way to defend and commend their faith. If you are one them, Thinking About Christian Apologetics is a good place to start.
  • Kenneth D. Boa & Robert M. Bowman Jr. Faith Has Its Reasons: Integrative Approaches to Defending the Christian Faith. Ever since the apostle Paul addressed the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers in Athens, relating the Christian worldview to a non-Christian world has been a challenge. And despite Peter’s charge to be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15), most Christian laypeople have left apologetics―the defense of the faith―to the ecclesiastical pros. Faith Has Its Reasons is a study of four different models of how apologetics should be done, an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses, and a proposal for integrating the best insights of each. Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman have assembled a wealth of information about what Christians believe and how to present that faith to an unbelieving world. Remarkable both in its depth of content and ease of accessibility, Faith Has Its Reasons gives Christian laypeople the tools to address such critical questions as: Why is belief in God rational despite the prevalence of evil in the world?; What facts support the church’s testimony that Jesus rose from the dead?; Can we be certain Christianity is true?; and How can our faith in Christ be based on something more secure than our own understanding without descending into an irrational emotionalism?
  • Scott R. Burson & Jerry L. Walls. C. S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of Our Time. In some ways, they could not be more different: the pipe-smoking, Anglican Oxford don and the blue-collar scion of conservative Presbyterianism. But C. S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer, each in his unique way, fashioned Christian apologetics that influenced millions in their lifetimes. And the work of each continues to be read and studied today. In this book Scott Burson and Jerry Walls compare and contrast for the first time the thought of Lewis and Schaeffer. With great respect for the legacy of each man, but with critical insight as well, they suggest strengths and weaknesses of their apologetics. All the while they consider what Lewis and Schaeffer still have to offer in light of postmodernism and other cultural currents that, since their deaths, have changed the apologetic landscape. This incisive book stands as both an excellent introduction to the work of these two important figures and a fresh proposal for apologetics at the dawn of a new century.
  • Steven B. Cowan, ed. Five Views on Apologetics (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). William Lane Craig presents the “Classical Method”; Gary R. Habermas presents the “Evidential Method”; Paul D. Feinberg presents the “Cumulative Case Method”; John Frame presents the “Presuppositional Method”; and Kelly James Clark presents the “Reformed Epistemological Method.”
  • William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. God? A Debate Between A Christian and An Atheist. The question of whether or not God exists is profoundly fascinating and important. Now two articulate spokesmen–one a Christian, the other an atheist–duel over God’s existence in an illuminating battle of ideas. In God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. Avoiding overly esoteric arguments, they directly address issues such as religious experience, the Bible, evil, eternity, the origin of the universe, design, and the supposed connection between morality and the existence of God. Employing sharp and humorous arguments, each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent’s case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God in order to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. By assuming a traditional concept of God in their discussion, the authors ensure that they are truly addressing each other’s viewpoints and engaging in a disagreement over a unified issue. The book is composed of six chapters that alternate between Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong, so that each separate point can be discussed as it arises.
  • Gary R. Habermas, Antony G.N. Flew, & Terry L. Mieth. Did Jesus Rise From The Dead? The Resurrection Debate. This is the most important question regarding the claims of the Christian faith. Certainly no question in modern religious history demands more attention or interest, as witnessed by the vast body of literature dealing with the Resurrection. James I. Packer says it well in his response to this debate: ‘When Christians are asked to make good their claim that this scheme is truth, they point to Jesus’ resurrection. The Easter event, so they affirm, demonstrated Jesus’ deity; validated his teaching; attested to the completion of his work of atonement for sin; confirms his present cosmic dominion and coming reappearance as Judge; assures us that his personal pardon, presence, and power in people’s lives today is fact; and guarantees each believer’s own reembodiment by Resurrection in the world to come’ The Apostle Paul considered the Resurrection to be the cornerstone of the Christian faith. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole structure, Christianity, collapses. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, ‘And if Christ has not been raised, ‘our preaching is useless and so is you faith’ More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God. . . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile [emphasis added]’ The Christian faith-and its claim to be Truth-exists only if Jesus rose from the dead. The heart of Christianity is a living Christ.
  • J.P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen. Does God Exist? The Debate Between Theists and Atheists. Is there a God? What is the evidence for belief in such a being? What is God like? Or, is God a figment of human inspiration? How do we know that such a being might not exist? Should belief or disbelief in God’s existence make a difference in our opinions and moral choices, in the way we see ourselves and relate to those around us? These are fundamental questions, and their answers have shaped individual lives, races, and nations throughout history. On March 24, 1988, at the University of Mississippi, J.P. Moreland, a leading Christian philosopher and ethicist, and Kai Nielsen, one of today’s best-known atheist philosophers, went head-to-head over these questions. Does God Exist? records their entire lively debate and includes questions from the audience, the debaters’ answers, and the responses of four recognized scholars – William Lane Craig, Antony Flew, Dallas Willard, and Keith Parsons. Noted author and philosopher Peter Kreeft has written an introduction, concluding chapter, and appendix – all designed to help readers decide for themselves whether God is fact or fantasy.
  • Armand M. Nicholi Jr. The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life. Renowned psychiatrist and educator Armand Nicholi here presents a fascinating comparison of the beliefs of Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis. For all the variety of specific religious beliefs, there are fundamentally only two kinds of people: believers and nonbelievers. In the 20th century, no spokesman was more prominent for nonbelief than Sigmund Freud, and no one argued for belief more successfully than C. S. Lewis. From pain and suffering to love and sex, from God to morality, Lewis and Freud carefully argued opposing positions and even considered the chief objections to their positions. Based on Nicholi’s years of studying both men, including wide access to Freud’s letters, this debate on the greatest of subjects strikes at the deepest chords in our souls.

BAPTISM – One of two essential ordinances of the Christian Faith.

  • John H. Armstrong, ed. Understanding Four Views on Baptism (Counterpoints: Church Life). What is the significance of water baptism? Who should be baptized? Is infant baptism scriptural? Which is the proper baptismal mode: sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Should people be rebaptized if they join a church that teaches a different form of baptism? Should baptism be required for church membership? These and other questions are explored in this thought-provoking book. Four historic views on baptism are considered in depth: “Baptism of the professing regenerate by immersion: Baptist View” presented by Thomas J. Nettles; “Believers’ baptism on the occasion of regeneration by immersion: Christian Churches/Churches of Christ View” presented by Hohn D. Castelein;  “Infant baptism by sprinkling as a regenerative act: Lutheran View” presented by Robert Kolb; and “Infant baptism of children of the covenant: Reformed View” presented by Richard L. Pratt Jr. Each view is presented by its proponent, then critiqued and defended in dialogue with the book’s other contributors. Here is an ideal setting in which you can consider the strengths and weaknesses of each stance and arrive at your own informed conclusion.
  • David F. Wright, ed. Baptism: Three Views. Bruce A. Ware presents the “Believers’ Baptism View”; Sinclair B. Ferguson presents the “Infant Baptism View”; Anthony N.S. Lane presents the “Dual-Practice View.”

BIBLIOLOGY – A Defense of the Bible and Controversies in the Bible, about the Bible, and its People and Books

  • Michael F. Bird, ed. Four Views On The Apostle Paul (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The apostle Paul was a vital force in the development of Christianity. Paul’s historical and religious context affects the theological interpretation of Paul’s writings, no small issue in the whole of Christian theology. Recent years have seen much controversy about the apostle Paul, his religious and social context, and its effects on his theology. In the helpful Counterpoints format, four leading scholars present their views on the best framework for describing Paul’s theological perspective, including his view of salvation, the significance of Christ, and his vision for the churches. Contributors and views include: “The Reformed View”:  presented by Thomas R. Schreiner; “The Catholic View”: presented by Luke Timothy Johnson; “The Post-New Perspective View”: presented by Douglas Campbell; and “The Jewish View”: presented by Mark D. Nanos. Like other titles in the Counterpoints: Bible and Theology collection, Four Views on the Apostle Paul gives theology students the tools they need to draw informed conclusions on debated issues. General editor and New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird covers foundational issues and provides helpful summaries in his introduction and conclusion.
  • David Alan Black, ed. Perspectives On The Ending of Mark: Four Views. Because it is conspicuously absent from more than one early Greek manuscript, the final section of the gospel of Mark (16:9-20) that details Christ’s resurrection remains a constant source of debate among serious students of the New Testament. Perspectives on the Ending of Mark presents in counterpoint form the split opinions about this difficult passage with a goal of determining which is more likely. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professors Maurice Robinson and David Alan Black argue for the verses’ authenticity. Keith Elliott (University of Leeds) and Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary) contend that they are not original to Mark’s gospel. Darrell Bock (Dallas Theological Seminary) responds to each view and summarizes the state of current research on the entire issue.
  • D.A. Carson. The King James Version Debate: A Plea for Realism. The author addresses laypeople and pastors with a concise explanation of the science of textual criticism and refutes the proposition that the King James Version is superior to contemporary translations.
  • Steven B. Cowan and Terry L. Wilder. In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture. In Defense of the Bible gathers exceptional articles by accomplished scholars (Paul Copan, William A. Dembski, Mary Jo Sharp, Darrell L. Bock, etc.), addressing and responding to all of the major contemporary challenges to the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture. The book begins by looking at philosophical and methodological challenges to the Bible—questions about whether or not it is logically possible for God to communicate verbally with human beings; what it means to say the Bible is true in response to postmodern concerns about the nature of truth; defending the clarity of Scripture against historical skepticism and relativism. Contributors also explore textual and historical challenges—charges made by Muslims, Mormons, and skeptics that the Bible has been corrupted beyond repair; questions about the authorship of certain biblical books; allegations that the Bible borrows from pagan myths; the historical reliability of the Old and New Testaments. Final chapters take on ethical, scientific, and theological challenges— demonstrating the Bible’s moral integrity regarding the topics of slavery and sexism; harmonizing exegetical and theological conclusions with the findings of science; addressing accusations that the Christian canon is the result of political and theological manipulation; ultimately defending the Bible as not simply historically reliable and consistent, but in fact the Word of God.
  • F. David Farnell and Norman L. Geisler, eds. Vital Issues in the Inerrancy Debate. The inerrancy of God’s Word has been attacked throughout church history. Today’s assaults are unique since neo-evangelicals now surrender to post-modernistic ideas of history and historical-critical ideologies that assault this vital doctrine. They seek to redefine the orthodox meaning of inerrancy. Since the signing of the Chicago Statements, troubling signs have once again appeared in recent years among many who either did not fight the battles for the inerrancy of Scripture as did the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, or who do not remember the troubling times that caused their development. The nature and definition of “inerrancy” are now being changed to include ideas of fallibility. History is forgotten. The need arises for sounding the alarm for Vital Issues in Inerrancy. Evangelical schools and churches that broke away earlier to defend inerrancy surrender now to academic prestige and scholarly fads instead of faithfulness to God’s inerrant Word. The contributors pray that the Lord will raise up a new generation with the spiritual fervency of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy to uphold the inerrancy of God’s Word: Isaiah 40:8–“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
  • Scott M. Gibson and Matthew D. Kim. Homiletics and Hermeneutics: Four Views on Preaching Today. Scott Gibson and Matthew Kim, both experienced preachers and teachers, have brought together four preaching experts–Bryan Chapell, Kenneth Langley, Abraham Kuruvilla, and Paul Scott Wilson–to present and defend their approach to homiletics. Reflecting current streams of thought in homiletics, the book offers a robust discussion of theological and hermeneutical approaches to preaching and encourages pastors and ministry students to learn about preaching from other theological traditions. It also includes discussion questions for direct application to one’s preaching.
  • Stanley N. Gundry, ed. Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views On God and Canaanite Genicide (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). A discussion of various contemporary evangelical views of genocide in the Old Testament. Christians are often shocked to read that Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, commanded the total destruction―all men, women, and children―of the ethnic group know as the Canaanites. This seems to contradict Jesus’ command in the New Testament to love your enemies and do good to all people. How can Yahweh be the same God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? What does genocide in the Bible have to do with the politics of the 21st century? This book explores, in typical Counterpoints format, the Old Testament command of God to exterminate the Canaanite population and what that implies about continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The four points of view presented on the continuity of the Testaments are: “Strong Discontinuity” presented by C . S. Cowles; “Moderate Discontinuity” presented by Eugene H. Merrill; “Spiritual Continuity” presented by Tremper Longman III; and “Eschatological Continuity” presented by Daniel L. Gard.
  • Charles Halton, ed. Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither?: Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). James K. Hoffmeier writes about “Genesis 1-11 As History and Theology”; Gordon J. Wenham writes about “Genesis 1-11 As ProtoHistory”; and Kenton L. Sparks writes about “Genesis 1-11 As Ancient Hisoriography.”
  • Mark D. Janzen, ed. Five Views on the Exodus: Historicity, Chronology, and Theological Implications (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Five Views on the Exodus looks at competing views on the historicity, chronology, and theological implications of the exodus. The biblical account of the Israelite exodus from Egypt is one of the most enduring narratives ever told and is a foundational event for several world religions. It resonates across cultures with its timeless themes of redemption and deliverance. It is also the only explanation the Bible gives for Israel’s origin. Despite its unique legacy, many scholars regard the exodus as fictitious or a cultural memory that may not be a historical event. Even among those who believe the exodus happened, there is no consensus regarding its date. Five Views on the Exodus brings together experts in the fields of biblical studies, Egyptology, and archaeology to discuss and debate the most vexing questions about the exodus. Each offers their own view and offer constructive responses to other leading views on the exodus. The five views presented here include: “The Early Date: The Exodus Took Place in the Fifteenth Century BC” by Scott Stripling; “The Late Date: A Historical Exodus in the Thirteenth Century BC” by James K. Hoffmeier; “A Hyksos Levite Led Exodus in the Time of Ramesses II” by Peter Feinman; “The Alternative Late Date: The Exodus Took Place in the Twelfth Century BC” by Gary A. Rendsburg; and “The Exodus as Cultural Memory: A Transformation of Historical Events” by Ronald Hendel.
  • Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, eds. Romans: Four Perspectives. There are several top notch evangelical scholars that participate in this book that interact with various issues in dialogue: Stephen Westerholm writes about “Romans and the ‘Lutheran’ Paul”; Scot McKnight writes about “Romans and the New Perspective”; Douglas A. Campbell writes “Romans and the Apocalyptic Reading of Paul”; and Michael J. Gorman writes “Romans and the Participationist Perspective.” There are significant passages and issues in Romans dealt with by Michael F. Bird; Thomas R. Schreiner; Carl R. Trueman; James D.G. Dunn; and others.
  • J. Merrick and Stephen M. Garrett, eds. Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following five views are presented: “When The Bible Speaks, God Speaks: The Classic Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy” by R. Albert Mohler Jr.; “Inerrancy, However Defined, Does Not Describe What The Bible Does” by Peter Enns; “Inerrancy Is Not Necessary For Evangelicalism Outside the USA” by Michael F. Bird; “Augustinian Inerrancy: Literary Meaning, Literal Truth, And Literate Interpretation In the Economy of Biblical Doctrine” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer; and “Recasting Inerrancy: The Bible As Witness To Missional Plurality” by John R. Franke.
  • Stanley E. Porter and Beth M. Stovell, eds. Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views. Craig L. Blomberg presents the “Historical-Critical/Grammatical View”; F. Scott Spencer presents the “Literary/Postmodern View”; Merold Westphal presents the “Philosophical View”; Richard B. Gaffin Jr. presents the “Redemptive-Historical View”; and Robert W. Wall presents the “Canonical View.”
  • Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer. The Synoptic Problem: Four Views. The relationship between Matthew, Mark, and Luke is one of the most contested topics in Gospel studies. How do we account for the close similarities–and differences–in the Synoptic Gospels? In the last few decades, the standard answers to the typical questions regarding the Synoptic Problem have come under fire, while new approaches have surfaced. Following an overview of the issues, leading proponents of each view set forth their positions and respond to each of the other views. This up-to-date introduction articulates and debates the four major views: “The Two Source Hypothesis” presented by Craig A. Evans;  “The Farrer Hypothesis” presented by Mark Goodacre; “The Two Gospel Hypothesis” presented by David Barrett Peabody; and “Orality and Memory Hypothesis” presented by Rainer Riesner.  A concluding chapter summarizes the discussion and charts a direction for further study.
  • Robert B. Stewart, ed. The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman & Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue. Several renowned evangelical scholars tackle the many and varied objections of liberal scholar Bart D. Ehrman.
  • Robert L. Thomas. Three Views On The Origins of the Synoptic Gospels. While secular critics and liberal religious scholars have discounted the historicity and integrity of the first three Gospels, evangelicals maintain that the Synoptic Gospels fully support a high view of inspiration and historicity, despite varying views among evangelicals on Gospel origins. Four evangelical scholars join together in a presentation/response format to examine the three dominant views on Gospel origins. Grant Osborne and Matthew Williams present the “Two-Source or Markian Priority View”; John H. Niemelä presents the “Two Gospel or Matthewan Priority View”; and F. David Farnell presents the “Independence View”. Robert Thomas provides a helpful introduction to the issues and a final summary of the discussion.
  • James R. White. Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible’s Accuracy, Authority, and Authenticity. A denial of the sufficiency of Scripture is at the core of almost every form of opposition to the Christian faith today. Scripture Alone is written to instill a passionate love for and understanding of the Bible. In this defense of God’s inspired Word, readers will comprehend what “God’s Word” is, the nature of Scripture, the relationship of the Bible to tradition, how to apply Scripture to today’s issues, and much more. Included is a faith-inspiring study of the canon–what it is and where it came from.

CHRISTOLOGY – The Doctrine of Jesus – His Historicity, Person, and Nature

  • W. David Beck and Michael R. Licona, eds. Raised on the Third Day: Defending the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus. Raised on the Third Day approaches these questions with critical and believing eyes. A variety of contributors―including J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, Craig A. Evans, Beth M. Sheppard, and Sean McDowell―evaluate scriptural, historical, moral, and apologetic issues related to Christ’s death and resurrection. Readers will better appreciate how Gary Habermas has shaped the discussion and how scholarship can be moved forward. Study of Christ’s resurrection is far from exhausted. Gary R. Habermas is one of the most influential Christian philosophers and apologists of the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His life’s work has focused on matters pertaining to the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, and it is widely agreed that Habermas is the foremost authority on the subject. This festschrift is a tribute to that work.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. The Historical Jesus: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). The scholarly quest for the historical Jesus has a distinguished pedigree in modern Western religious and historical scholarship, with names such as Strauss, Schweitzer and Bultmann highlighting the story. Since the early 1990s, when the Jesus quest was reawakened for a third run, numerous significant books have emerged. And the public’s attention has been regularly arrested by media coverage, with the Jesus Seminar or the James ossuary headlining the marquee. The Historical Jesus: Five Views provides a venue for readers to sit in on a virtual seminar on the historical Jesus. Beginning with a scene-setting historical introduction by the editors, prominent figures in the Jesus quest set forth their views and respond to their fellow scholars. On the one end Robert M. Price lucidly maintains that the probability of Jesus’ existence has reached the “vanishing point,” and on the other Darrell Bock ably argues that while critical method yields only a “gist” of Jesus, it takes us in the direction of the Gospel portraits. In between there are numerous avenues to explore, questions to be asked and “assured results” to be weighed. And John Dominic Crossan, Luke Timothy Johnson and James D. G. Dunn probe these issues with formidable knowledge and honed insight, filling out a further range of options. The Historical Jesus: Five Views offers a unique entry into the Jesus quest. For both the classroom and personal study, this is a book that fascinates, probes and engages.
  • Paul Copan and Ronald K. Taccelli. Resurrection: Fact or Figment? A Debate Between William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann. Was the resurrection of Jesus a fact of history or a figment of imagination? Was it an event that entailed a raised and transformed body and an empty tomb? Or was it a subjective, visionary experience–a collective delusion? In the view of many, the truth of Christianity hangs on the answer to this question. Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment? is a lively and provocative debate between Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig and New Testament scholar and atheist Gerd LÜdemann. This published version of a debate originally set at Boston College is edited by Paul Copan and Ronald K. Tacelli, who invite the responses of four additional scholars. Robert Gundry, a New Testament scholar, and Stephen Davis, a philosopher, argue in support of a historical and actual resurrection. Michael Goulder and Roy Hoover, both New Testament scholars, offer their support for Gerd LÜdemann’s view that the “resurrection” was based on the guilt-induced visionary experience of the disciples. The book concludes with a final response from LÜdemann and Craig.
  • Paul Copan, ed. Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? A Debate between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan. Offers readers a clarifying and insightful comparison and contrast between the Jesus Seminar (Crossan), on the one hand, and evangelical theologians (Craig), on the other.
  • John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright. The Resurrection of Jesus: John Crossan and N.T. Wright in Dialogue. Two of today’s most important and popular New Testament scholars–John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright–air their very different understandings of the many historical realities and theological meanings of Jesus’ Resurrection.
  • Bart D. Ehrman, Craig A. Evans, and Robert B. Stewart. Can We Trust on the Historical Jesus? This book features a learned and fascinating debate between two great Bible scholars about the New Testament as a reliable source on the historical Jesus. Bart Ehrman, an agnostic New Testament scholar, debates Craig Evans, an evangelical New Testament scholar, about the historical Jesus and what constitutes “history.” Their interaction includes such compelling questions as: What are sound methods of historical investigation? What are reliable criteria for determining the authenticity of an ancient text? What roles do reason and inference play? And, of course, interpretation? Readers of this debate—regardless of their interpretive inclinations and biases—are sure to find some confirmation of their existing beliefs, but they will surely also find an honest and well-informed challenge to the way they think about the historical Jesus. The result? A more open, better informed, and questioning mind, which is better prepared for discovering both truth and contrivance. The debate between Ehrman and Evans along with Stewart’s introductory framework make this book an excellent primer to the study of the historical Jesus, and readers will come away with a deeper appreciation for the ongoing quest for the historical Jesus.
  • Peter Kreeft. Socrates Meets Jesus: History’s Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ. What would happen if Socrates–yes, the Socrates of ancient Athens–suddenly showed up on the campus of a major university and enrolled in its divinity school?; What would he think of human progress since his day?; How would he react to our values?; To our culture?; And what would he think of Jesus? Peter Kreeft, A Catholic philosopher and longtime admirer of the historic Socrates, imagines the result. In this drama Socrates meets such fellow students as Bertha Broadmind, Thomas Keptic and Molly Mooney. Throughout, Kreeft weaves an intriguing web as he brings Socrates closer and closer to a meeting with Jesus. Here is a startling and provocative portrayal of reason in search of truth. In a new introduction to this revised edition, Kreeft also highlights the inspiration for this book and the key questions of truth and faith it addresses.
  • Michael R. Licona. Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate On The Resurrection. Imagine if the Apostle Paul were alive to defend the truth of Jesus’s resurrection only to be countered by none other than the prophet Muhammad himself. In an approach as creative as any scholar has taken, Michael R. Licona describes an invention that can make historical figures appear alive and present. Imagining an audience of both Christians and Muslims, Licona crafts a lively debate between Paul and Muhammad, each speaking on and analyzing the validity of the Qur’an, the gospel accounts, and both Christian and Muslim doctrine.Intriguing and entertaining, Paul Meets Muhammad uniquely offers evangelism advice for Christians who want to speak the gospel to Muslim friends and neighbors. This fictional scenario presents a powerful, comprehensive defense of Jesus’s resurrection and of Christianity itself.
  • Robert B. Stewart, ed. The Message of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan and Ben Witherington III in Dialogue. Several respected evangelical scholars interact with liberal scholars on issues related to the Historical Jesus.
  • Peter S. Williams. Resurrection: Faith or Fact?: A Scholars’ Debate Between a Skeptic and a Christian. Is there enough evidence to believe Jesus rose from the dead, or must such a judgment be based only on faith? Can the resurrection story be considered a fact of history, or should it be viewed as an ahistorical account? Two renowned professors, atheist Carl Stecher and Christian Craig Blomberg, engage in a groundbreaking new debate on these very questions. Other experts on the resurrection, atheist Richard Carrier and Christian Peter S. Williams, comment on the outcome. Presenting new approaches to these centuries-old questions and taking into account the latest scholarly research, Resurrection: Faith or Fact? is a must-have not only for all those following the resurrection question—but also for those skeptics and Christians alike who are interested in determining for themselves the truth behind this foundational doctrine of the Christian faith.

COMMUNION – Understanding, preparing for, and participating in the Lord’s Supper

  • John H. Armstrong, ed. Understanding Four Views on the Lord’s Supper (Counterpoints Church Life). Who should participate in the Lord’s Supper? How frequently should we observe it? What does this meal mean? What happens when we eat the bread and drink from the cup? What do Christians disagree about and what do they hold in common? These and other questions are explored in this thought-provoking book.This new volume in the Counterpoints: Church Life series allows four contributors to make a case for the following views: “The Baptist View: Memorialism” defended by Russell D. Moore; “The Reformed View: Spiritual Presence” defended by  I. John Hesselink; “The Lutheran View: Consubstantiation” defended by David P. Scaer; and Roman Catholic View: Transubstantiation” defended by Thomas A. Baima. All contributors use Scripture to present their views, and each responds to the others’ essays. This book helps readers arrive at their own conclusions. It includes resources such as a listing of statements on the Lord’s Supper from creeds and confessions, quotations from noted Christians, a resource listing of books on the Lord’s Supper, and discussion questions for each chapter to facilitate small group and classroom use.
  • Peter Kreeft. Symbol or Substance?: A Dialogue on the Eucharist with C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, and J.R.R. Tolkien. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College.
  • Gordon T. Smith, ed. The Lord’s Supper: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Book). Lord’s Supper. Eucharist. Communion. Sacrament. Ordinance. While it’s the meal that should unite us as followers of Christ, it sometimes appears we can’t even agree on what to call it, let alone how we might share a common theological view of its significance. Even if we cannot reach full agreement, how can we better understand one another and this central observance of the Christian faith? Gordon Smith has invited five representatives of differing views within Christian tradition. Each holds his or her views with conviction and makes the case for that tradition. Each responds to the other views with charity, highlighting significant areas of agreement and disagreement. The views and contributors include: “The Roman Catholic View”–Brother Jeffrey Gros, F.S.C., Professor of Church History, Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee; “The Lutheran View”–John R. Stephenson, Professor of Historical Theology, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catherines, Ontario; “The Reformed View”–Leanne Van Dyk, Academic Dean and Professor of Reformed Theology, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan; “The Baptist View”–Roger E. Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Waco, Texas; “The Pentecostal View”–Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Professor of Systematic Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Here’s a book that offers more light than heat on an important topic.

CONFLICT and PEACEMAKING – How to interact with those you disagree with

  • Ronald H. Nash. Great Divides: Understanding the Controversies That Come Between Christians. Great Divides addresses the following ten issues on which many Christians disagree: The Health and Wealth Gospel; The End Times; Divorce and Remarriage; Reconstructionism; Political Involvement; Lordship Salvation; Radical Feminism; Abortion; and Women in Church Leadership. By examining the major positions held by other Christians today, it will encourage you to articulate your own position, understand the positions of others, and act upon the issues faithfully.
  • Gavin Ortlund. Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage. In theology, just as in battle, some hills are worth dying on. But how do we know which ones? When should doctrine divide, and when should unity prevail? Pastor Gavin Ortlund makes the case that while all doctrines matter, some are more essential than others. He considers how and what to prioritize in doctrine and ministry, encouraging humility and grace along the way. Using four basic categories of doctrine in order of importance, this book helps new and seasoned church leaders alike wisely labor both to uphold doctrine and to preserve unity.

ECCLESIOLOGY  – The Study of the Church and It’s Nature and Practices

  • Paul A. Basden, ed. Exploring The Worship Spectrum: 6 Views ((Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Paul F.M. Zahl prescribes the “Formal-Liturgical  Worship View”; Harold M. Best prescribes the “Traditional Hymn-Based Worship View”; Joe Horness prescribes the “Contemporary Music-Driven Worship View”; Don Williams prescribes the “Charismatic Worship View”; Robert Webber prescribes the “Blended Worship View”; and Sally Morgenthaler articulates the “Emerging Worship View.”
  • James R. Beck, ed. Two Views on Women in Ministry (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The views presented are as follows: “Women In Ministry: An Egalitarian Perspective” by Linda L. Belleville; ““Women In Ministry: A Complementarian Perspective” by Craig L. Blomberg; “Women In Ministry: Another Egalitarian Perspective” by Craig S. Keener; and “Women In Ministry: Another Complementarian Perspective” by Thomas R. Schreiner.
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Church Governance: Five Views Of Church Polity. “The Single-Elder-Led Church: The Bible’s Witness to a Congregational/Single-Elder-Led Polity View” is defended by Daniel L. Akin; “The Presbyterian-Led Church: Presbyterian Church Government View” is defended by Robert L. Reymond; “The Congregation-Led Church: Congrgational Polity View” is defended by James Leo Garret, Jr.; “The Bishop-Led Church: The Episcopal or Anglican Polity View” is defended by Paul F.M. Zahl; and “The Plural-Elder-Led Church: Sufficient as Established—The Plurality of Elders as Christ’s Ordained Means of Church Governance View” is defended by James R. White.
  • Bonnidell Clouse and Robert G. Clouse, eds. Women in Ministry: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Should women teach men? Should they exercise authority over men? What about ordaining women? Even those who agree that Scripture must determine our answers do not agree on what it teaches. And too often differing sides have not been willing to listen to one another. Here in one volume are the views of four deeply committed evangelicals that focus the discussion on the issues. Robert Culver argues for what might be called the “traditional view” that women should not exercise authority over or teach men. Susan Foh suggests a “modified view” which would allow for women to teach but not to hold positions of authority. Walter Liefeld presents a case for “plural ministry” that questions ordination as a means of conferring authority. Alvera Mickelsen defends the “full equality of men and women in the church.” What makes this book especially helpful is that the writers all respond to the other essays, pointing out weaknesses and hidden assumptions.
  • Steven B. Cowan, ed. Who Runs The Church? 4 Views on Church Government (Counterpoints Church Life). Churches have split and denominations have formed over the issue of church government. Yet while many Christians can explain their particular church’s form of rule and may staunchly uphold it, few have a truly biblical understanding of it. What model for governing the church does the Bible provide? Is there room for different methods? Or is just one way the right way? In Who Runs the Church? Four predominant approaches to church government are presented by respected proponents: “Episcopalianism” articulated by Peter Toon; “Presbyterianism articulated by L. Roy Taylor;  “Single-Elder Congregationalism” articulated by Paige Patterson; and “Plural-Elder Congregationalism” articulated by Samuel E. Waldron.
  • David A. Croteau, ed. Perspectives On Tithing: 4 Views. Was the tithe just for Israel, or is it also applicable to Christians? Must a tithe go only to your local church, or can it be received by any Christian organization? Do we tithe on the net or the gross amount? Perspectives on Tithing presents in point-counterpoint format the most common views about how Christians are to give of their financial resources, addressing the myriad of questions that surround the complex issue. Ken Hemphill (Empowering Kingdom Growth) and Bobby Eklund (Eklund Stewardship Ministries) contribute “The Foundations of Giving” while the book’s editor, David A. Croteau (Liberty University), writes “The Post-Tithing View: Giving in the New Covenant.” A chapter by Reggie Kidd (Reformed Theological Seminary) is called “Tithing in the New Covenant? ‘Yes’ as Principle, ‘No’ as Casuistry.” Finally, Gary North (Institute for Christian Economics) looks directly at “The Covenantal Tithe,” and Scott Preissler (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) provides the epilogue.
  • Christopher John Donato, ed. Perspectives on the Sabbath. Perspectives on the Sabbath presents in point-counterpoint form the four most common views of the Sabbath commandment that have arisen throughout church history, representing the major positions held among Christians today. Skip MacCarty (Andrews University) defends the Seventh-day view which argues the fourth commandment is a moral law of God requiring us to keep the seventh day (Saturday) holy. It must therefore remain the day of rest and worship for Christians. Jospeh A Pipa (Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) backs the Christian Sabbath view which reasons that ever since the resurrection of Christ, the one day in seven to be kept holy is the first day of the week. Craig L. Blomberg (Denver Seminary) supports the Fulfillment view which says that since Christ has brought the true Sabbath rest into the present, the Sabbath commands of the Old Testament are no longer binding on believers. Charles P. Arand (Concordia Seminary) upholds the Lutheran view that the Sabbath commandment was given to Jews alone and does not concern Christians. Rest and worship are still required but not tied to a particular day.
  • Gary L. McIntosh, ed. Evaluating the Church Growth Movement: 5 Views (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Gaining form and momentum over the second half of the 20th century, the Church Growth movement has become an enormous shaping force on the Western church today. You may love it, you may hate it, but you can’t deny its impact. But what exactly is Church Growth? In what ways has the movement actually brought growth to the church, and how effective has it been in doing so? What are its strengths and weaknesses? This timely book addresses such questions. After providing a richly informative history and overview, it explores—in a first-ever roundtable of their leading voices—five main perspectives, both pro and con, on the classic Church Growth movement: “Effective Evangelism View” presented by Elmer Towns; “The Gospel in Our Culture View” presented by Craig Van Gelder; “The Centrist View” presented by Charles Van Engen; “The Reformist View” presented by  Gailyn Van Rheenan; and “The Renewal View” presented by Howard Snyder.
  • J. Matthew Pinson, ed. Perspectives On Christian Worship: 5 Views. Perspectives on Christian Worship presents in counterpoint form five basic common beliefs on Christian worship that have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter is written by a prominent person within each tradition, and each writer has the opportunity to respond to each differing view. The views presented are “Liturgical Worship” by Timothy C.J. Quin; “Traditional Evangelical Worship” by Ligon Duncan; “Contemporary Worship” by Dan Wilt; “Blended Worship” by Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever; and “Emerging Worship” by Dan Kimball.
  • Robert Saucy and Judith TenElshof, eds. Women and Men in Ministry: A Complementary Perspective. The role of women in the church is a debate that has raged within the church for much of the twentieth century. On one side are those who say there is no difference between men and women. On the other side are those who severely limit women who want to offer ministry to the church. Judith TenElshof and Robert Saucy take the middle approach. Believing that the modern views have denied the distinctions between men and women, the authors adopt a view called complementarianism. TenElshof and Saucy argue that while men and women are equal, God has given different roles to each and that these roles rely on each other to be fully effective.
  • Jason S. Sexton, ed. Four Views On The Church’s Mission ((Zondervan Counterpoints Series). This book articulates various evangelical views regarding the church’s mission and provides a healthy, vigorous, and gracious debate on this controversial topic. In a helpful Counterpoints format, this volume demonstrates the unique theological frameworks, doctrinal convictions, and missiological conclusions that inform and distinguish the views: “Soteriological Mission”:  presented by Jonathan Leeman; “Participatory Mission”: presented by Christopher Wright; “Contextual Mission”: presented by John Franke; and “Ecumenical-Political Mission”: presented by Peter Leithart. Each of the four contributors is to answer the same key questions based on their biblical interpretations and theological convictions. What is your biblical-theological framework for mission? How does your definition of mission inform your understanding of the church’s mission? How does the Mission of God and Kingdom of God relate to the mission of the church? What is the gospel? How does your view on the gospel inform the mission of the church? How do verbal proclamation of the gospel, discipleship, corporate worship, caring for the poor, social justice, restoring shalom, developing culture, and international missions fit into the church’s mission? The interaction between the contributors will help readers get a clearer picture of where the differences lie and why different conclusions are drawn and provide a fresh starting point for discussion and debate of the church’s mission.
  • Robert Webber, ed. Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches: Five Perspectives. What are the beliefs of the new movement known as the emerging church? In thought-provoking debate, prominent emerging leaders John Burke, Mark Driscoll, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, and Karen Ward discuss their sometimes controversial views under the editorship of author and educator Robert Webber. Hear what they say about their views of Scripture, Christ, the atonement, other world religions, and other important doctrines, so you can come to your own conclusions about the emerging church.

EDUCATION – How To Best Make Disciples among children, youth & families

  • Michael J. Anthony, ed. Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation: Four Views. Scott May argues for “The Contemplative-Reflective Model”; Gregory C. Carlson and John K. Crupper argues for “The Instructional-Analytic Model”; Trisha Graves argues for “The Pragmatic-Participatory Model”; and Tim Ellis, Bill Baumgart, and Greg Carper argue for “The Media-Driven Active-Engagement Model.”
  • Chap Clark, ed. Youth Ministry in the 21st Century (Youth, Family, and Culture): Five Views. Bestselling author Chap Clark is one of the leading voices in youth ministry today. In this multiview work, he brings together a diverse group of leaders to present major views on youth ministry. Chapters are written in essay/response fashion by Fernando Arzola Jr., Greg Stier, Ron Hunter Jr., Brian Cosby, and Chap Clark. As the contributors present their views and respond to each of the other views, they discuss their task and calling, giving readers the resources they need to develop their own approach to youth ministry. Offering a model of critical thinking and respectful dialogue, this volume provides a balanced, irenic approach to a topic with which every church wrestles.
  • Adam Harwood and Kevin E. Lawson. Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry. A congregation rejoices when a new child is added to its midst, yet the church often wrestles—in both theology and practice—with how to best receive and minister to infants and children entrusted to her care. Frequent questions arise like: How are infants and children impacted by sin?; How does God treat people who die in their infancy or childhood?; When and how are children considered members of the church?; and When and how are children instructed in Christian doctrine? Infants and Children in the Church addresses these critical and sensitive questions from a variety of rich traditions, including Eastern Orthodox (jason Foster), Roman Catholic (David Liberto), Lutheran (David P. Scaer), Reformed (Gregg Strawbridge), and Baptist (Adam Harwood), so that Christians can make the most of every opportunity as they minister to children.
  • Timothy Paul Jones, ed. Perspectives on Family Ministry: Three Views. Every church is called to some form of family ministry, but this calling requires far more than adding another program to an already-packed schedule. The most effective family ministries refocus every church process to engage parents in discipling their children and to draw family members together instead of pulling them apart. In this second edition, Jones expands the definition of family ministry, and broadens the book’s focus to address urban perspectives and family ministry in diverse settings. 
  • Timothy Paul Jones, ed. Perspectives on Your Child’s Education: Four Views. In Perspectives on a Child’s Education, proponents of four very different learning options present their faith-based positions on how a parent should answer the question, “Where should I send my child to school?” Troy Temple (International Center for Youth Ministry) is convinced every Christian parent should consider public schooling. G. Tyler Fischer (Veritas Academy) believes open admission Christian schools are best for Christians and non-Christians alike. Mark Eckel (Mahseh Center) favors covenantal Christian schools that don’t enroll non-Christians. Michael Wilder (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) advocates homeschooling. For each contributor’s chapter, a counterpoint chapter from the other contributors follows with a goal of determining which view is most in line with what the Bible teaches.
  • Mark H. Senter III, ed. Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church: Inclusive Congregational, Preparatory, Missional, and Strategic. Join the conversation as experts propose, defend, and explore Four Views of Youth Ministry and the Church. In a dialog that often gets downright feisty, four youth ministry academicians delineate their distinct philosophical and ecclesiological views regarding how youth ministry relates to the church at large–and leave a taste of what’s profound and what’s not in these four typologies: “Inclusive congregational” (Malan Nel). What happens when a church thoroughly integrates its adolescents, making them full partners in every aspect of congregational life? “Preparatory” (Wesley Black). Why and how should a church consider its teenagers as disciples-in-training and its youth ministry a school of preparation for future participation in church life? “Missional “ (Chap Clark). What does a church look like, whose youth ministry does not necessarily nurture “church kids” but is essentially evangelistic? Whose youths and youth workers are considered missionaries? “Strategic” (Mark Senter). How feasible is it for a youth ministry to become a new church on its own–the youth pastor becoming the pastor, and the new church planted with the blessing of the mother church? In Four View of Your Ministry and the Church, solid academic writing and an inviting tone and design create a compelling text for both in-the-field, practicing youth workers and undergraduates and graduate student

ESCHATOLOGY – The Study of Last Things

  • Darrell L. Bock, ed. Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Craig A. Blaising defends the “Premillennial View;” Kenneth L. Gentry defends the “Postmillennial View”; and Robert B. Strimple defends the “Amillennial View.”
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Israel and the Church: 4 Views. Robert L. Raymond presents the “Traditional Covenantal View”; Robert L. Thomas presents the “Traditional Dispensational View”; Robert L. Saucy presents the “Progressive Dispensational View”; and Tom Pratt presents the “Progressive Covenantal View.”
  • Robert G. Clouse, ed. The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views. George Eldon Ladd defends the “Historic Premillennialism View”; Herman A. Hoyt defends the “Dispensational Premillennial View”; Loraine Boettner defends the “Postmillennial View”; and Anthony A Hoekema defends the “Amillennial View.”
  • Jared Compton, ed. Three Views on Israel and the Church: Perspectives on Romans 9-11. Michael J. Vlach defends “A Non-Typological Future Mass Conversion View”; Fred G. Zaspel and James M. Hamilton defend “A Typological Future Mass Conversion View”; Benjamin L. Merkle defends “A Typological Non-Future Mass Conversion View.”
  • John S. Feinberg, ed. Continuity and Discontinuity. Essays in Honor of S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments. Evangelicals agree that the Bible is God’s inerrant word. But we sometimes differ on how to relate the messages of the Old and New Testaments. Without a basic understanding of this crucial matter, it is difficult to know how to use the Testaments to formulate either doctrine or practice. For example: Was Israel the OT Church—are OT promises to God’s national people fulfilled in the church today? Or, is Mosaic Law binding on believers now—are twentieth-century Christians to obey the Ten Commandments, including sabbath observance? In this book, thirteen noted evangelical theologians discuss, fairly but clearly, the continuity/discontinuity debate in regard to six basic categories: theological systems, hermeneutics, salvation, the Law of God, the people of God, and kingdom promises. Covering much more than the differences between Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism, this work of distinguished evangelical scholarship will fuel much profitable study and discussion.
  • Steve Gregg. Revelation: A Parallel Commentary Four Views(Revised and Updated). Gregg quotes from various sources representing the four primary ways that evangelicals interpret the book of Revelation: Historical, Idealist, Futurist, and Eclectic.
  • Steve Gregg. All Your Want To Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin. Covers the Case for “Traditionalism”; “Conditionalism”; and “Restorationism.”
  • Alan Hultberg, ed. Three Views on the Rapture: Pretribulational, Prewrath, or Posttribulational. Craig Baising presents the “Pretribulational View”; Alan Hultberg presents the “Pre-Wrath View”; Douglas Moo presents the “Posttribulational View.”
  • Thomas Ice and Kenneth L. Gentry. The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? Two Evangelicals Debate The Question. Thomas Ice defends the “Futuristic View,” and Kenneth L. Gentry defends the “Preterist View.”
  • Timothy Paul Jones. Four Views of the End Times. A brief overview of the four main ways scholars interpret Eschatology – pros and cons of each view.
  • Robert M. McKenzie. Identifying the Seed: An Examination and Evaluation of the Differences between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. This book has one goal in mind, to try and bring greater understanding between two dedicated groups of Christians. Dispensationalists and Reformed Christians have a very different understanding of how God has worked in this world as well as how God will continue to work. There is a theological divide that has developed after many years of discussion and stems from a mixture of ignorance; misunderstanding and actual disagreement. Robert McKenzie seeks to examine what each side believes, fleshing out the differences and misunderstandings. He takes a look at the history of each system as well as their theological developments. The author seeks to be faithful to each system pointing out their strengths and weaknesses all the while citing the Scriptures that are used to support each side’s belief. It is hoped that with greater understanding the two groups will be able to engage in conversation with a clearer view of why a doctrine is believed and how the different doctrines build into the system. Whether you are a Dispensationalist, believe in Covenant theology or you aren’t quite sure if you fall in either camp this book can be tremendously helpful.
  • Benjamin L. Merkle. Discontinuity to Continuity: A Survey of Dispensational and Covenantal Theologies. Outstanding resource that involves the author interacting with all the key players in the debate over this important debate.
  • Brent E. Parker and Richard J. Lucas, eds. Covenantal and Dispensational Theologies: Four Views on the Continuity of Scripture (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). With contributions by Michael Horton and Stephen Wellum (Covenantal perspectives) and Darrel Bock and Mark Snoeberger (Dispensational perspectives).
  • C. Marvin Pate, ed. Four Views on The Book of Revelation. Kenneth Gentry defends the “Preterist View”; Sam Hamster defends the “Idealist View”; C. Marvin Pate defends the “Progressive Dispensationist View”; and Robert L. Thomas defends the “Classical Dispensationalist View.”
  • Richard R. Reiter, ed. Three Views on the Rapture. Paul D. Feinberg presents the Pretribulational View”; Gleason L. Archer presents the “Midtribulational View”; Douglas Moo presents the “Posttribulational View.”
  • Ron Rhodes. The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy: Understanding the Ongoing Controversies. Thoroughly covers the following debates in eschatology: (1) Should Prophecy Be Interpreted Literally or Allegorically? (2) Are Israel and the Church Distinct in Bible Prophecy? (3) What Can We Know About the Signs of the Times? (4) Which View of the Rapture is Correct? (5) How Are We To Understand the Book of Revelation? (6) How Are We To Understand The Antichrist? (7) Which view of the Millennium is Correct? (8) Is it Okay to set prophetic dates?
  • Stephen J. Wellum and Brent E. Parker, eds. Progressive Covenantalism: Charting a Course between Dispensational and Covenantal Theologies. Building on the foundation of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012), Stephen J. Wellum and Brent E. Parker have assembled a team of scholars who offer a fresh perspective regarding the interrelationship between the biblical covenants. Each chapter seeks to demonstrate how the covenants serve as the backbone to the grand narrative of Scripture. For example, New Testament scholar Thomas Schreiner writes on the Sabbath command from the Old Testament and thinks through its applications to new covenant believers. Christopher Cowan wrestles with the warning passages of Scripture, texts which are often viewed by covenant theologians as evidence for a “mixed” view of the church. Jason DeRouchie provides a biblical theology of “seed” and demonstrates that the covenantal view is incorrect in some of its conclusions. Jason Meyer thinks through the role of law in both the old and new covenants. John Meade unpacks circumcision in the OT and how it is applied in the NT, providing further warrant to reject covenant theology’s link of circumcision with (infant) baptism. Oren Martin tackles the issue of Israel and land over against a dispensational reading, and Richard Lucas offers an exegetical analysis of Romans 9-11, arguing that it does not require a dispensational understanding. From issues of ecclesiology to the warning passages in Hebrews, this book carefully navigates a mediating path between the dominant theological systems of covenant theology and dispensationalism to offer the reader a better way to understand God’s one plan of redemption.

ETHICS – How Should I live Morally as a Christian?

  • Robert G. Clouse, ed. War: Four Christian Views. Have you ever wondered….. Should Christians ever go to war? If so, under what conditions? Here are four modern expressions of four classical views. Dr. Herman Hoyt explains the Biblical Nonresistance view. Christian Pacificism is discussed by Myron S. Augsburger. Arthur F. Holmes explains the Just War view. Preventive War is explained by Harold O.J. Brown.
  • Robert K. Garcia and Nathan L. King, eds. Is Goodness without God Good Enough? A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Morality and religion: intimately wed, violently opposed, or something else? Discussion of this issue appears in pop culture, the academy, and the media—often generating radically opposed views. At one end of the spectrum are those who think that unless God exists, ethics is unfounded and the moral life is unmotivated. At the other end are those who think that religious belief is unnecessary for—and even a threat to—ethical knowledge and the moral life. This volume provides an accessible, charitable discussion that represents a range of views along this spectrum. The book begins with a lively debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on the question, Is goodness without God good enough? Kurtz defends the affirmative position and Craig the negative. Following the debate are new essays by prominent scholars. These essays comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of religion and morality. The book closes with final responses from Kurtz and Craig.
  • H. Wayne House, ed. Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Divorce. No one likes it, but it doesn’t go away. Even among Christians, the divorce rate continues to climb. How should Christians approach this issue? May Christians ever legitimately divorce? If they divorce legitimately, may they remarry? Not everyone who appeals to Scripture agrees on how we should understand what it says about divorce and remarriage. In this book, four authors present their distinct perspectives. Carl Laney argues that the Bible indicates that marriages are always intended to be permanent, that there is never a need for divorce and that remarriage is never permissible after divorce. William Heth contends that while there are legitimate biblical grounds for divorce, there are no legitimate grounds for remarriage after divorce. Thomas Edgar defends the position that Scripture allows for divorce and remarriage in cases of adultery or desertion. Larry Richards holds that Scripture, while decrying divorce and the pain it causes, points to a God of grace who will not condemn those who divorce and remarry. Such a sensitive debate cannot remain abstract, so a case study accompanies each position, followed by critical responses from each essayist. The result is a thoughtful, helpful resource for all who wish to think biblically about a crucial issue confronting the church.
  • Douglas S. Huffman, ed. How Then Should We Choose?: Three Views on God’s Will and Decision Making. The three-views approach is an effective and succinct means of introducing theological subjects to readers of all levels. How Then Should We Choose? applies this proven format to the vital topic of decision making and the Christian’s search for the will of God. Garry Friesen of Multnomah Bible College, Henry and Richard Blackaby of Blackaby Ministries International, and Gordon T. Smith of Regent College each contribute summaries of their perspectives on God’s will and their approaches to decision making. Friesen discusses the “wisdom” view, Henry and Richard Blackaby delineate the “specific will” view, and Smith champions the “relationship” view of God’s will. In an effort to make this discussion reader friendly, the contributors have applied their beliefs regarding God’s will and decision making to three practical, concrete topics: career, relationships, and stewardship. Using three hypothetical stories, the authors illustrate how their respective views would influence decisions in these common areas of concern.
  • Adam Lloyd Johnson, ed. A Debate on God and Morality: What is the Best Account of Objective Moral Values and Duties? In 2018, William Lane Craig and Erik J. Wielenberg participated in a debate at North Carolina State University, addressing the question: “God and Morality: What is the best account of objective moral values and duties?” Craig argued that theism provides a sound foundation for objective morality whereas atheism does not. Wielenberg countered that morality can be objective even if there is no God. This book includes the full debate, as well as endnotes with extended discussions that were not included in the debate. It also includes five chapters by other philosophers who have written substantive responses to the debate – J. P. Moreland, David Baggett, Mark Linville, Wes Morriston, and Michael Huemer. The book provides crucial resources for better understanding moral realism and its dependence on, or independence from, theistic foundations. 
  • Nathan L. King and Robert K. Garcia. Is Goodness without God Good Enough?: A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Morality and religion: intimately wed, violently opposed, or something else? Discussion of this issue appears in pop culture, the academy, and the media―often generating radically opposed views. At one end of the spectrum are those who think that unless God exists, ethics is unfounded and the moral life is unmotivated. At the other end are those who think that religious belief is unnecessary for―and even a threat to―ethical knowledge and the moral life. This volume provides an accessible, charitable discussion that represents a range of views along this spectrum. The book begins with a lively debate between Paul Kurtz and William Lane Craig on the question, Is goodness without God good enough? Kurtz defends the affirmative position and Craig the negative. Following the debate are new essays by prominent scholars. These essays comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of religion and morality. The book closes with final responses from Kurtz and Craig.
  • Peter Kreeft. A Refutation Of Moral Relativism: Interviews With an Absolutist. No issue is more fateful for civilization than moral relativism. History knows not one example of a successful society which repudiated moral absolutes. Yet most attacks on relativism have been either pragmatic (looking at its social consequences) or exhorting (preaching rather than proving), and philosophers’ arguments against it have been specialized, technical, and scholarly. In his typical unique writing style, Peter Kreeft lets an attractive, honest, and funny relativist interview a “Muslim fundamentalist” absolutist so as not to stack the dice personally for absolutism. In an engaging series of personal interviews, every conceivable argument the “sassy  feminist” reporter Libby gives against absolutism is simply and clearly refuted, and none of the many arguments for moral absolutism is refuted.
  • Peter Kreeft. The Best Things in Life: A Contemporary Socrates Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth the Good Life. What are the best things in life? Questions like that may boggle your mind. But they don’t boggle Socrates. The indomitable old Greek brings his unending questions to Desperate State University. With him come the same mind-opening and spirit-stretching challenge that disrupted ancient Athens. What is the purpose of education?; Why do we make love?; What good is money? Can computers think like people?; Is there a difference between Capitalism and Communism?; What is the greatest good?; Is belief in God like belief in Santa Claus?In twelve short, Socratic dialogues Peter Kreeft explodes contemporary values like success, power and pleasure. And he bursts the modern bubbles of agnosticism and subjectivism. He leaves you richer, wiser and more able to discern what the best things in life actually are. A supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College yet evangelicals share much common ground with him.
  • Peter Kreeft. The Unaborted Socrates: A dramatic debate on the issues surrounding abortion. An entertaining fictional dialogue using the socratic method by a supporter of “Mere Christianity” – Kreeft is a staunch Roman Catholic Philosopher at Boston College yet evangelicals share much common ground with him.
  • R. Keith Loftin, ed. God & Morality: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). Is morality dependent upon belief in God? Is there more than one way for Christians to understand the nature of morality? Is there any agreement between Christians and atheists or agnostics on this heated issue? In God and Morality: Four Views four distinguished voices in moral philosophy ariticulate and defend their place in the current debate between naturalism and theism. Christian philosophers Keith Yandell and Mark Linville and two self-identified atheist/agnostics, Evan Fales and Michael Ruse, clearly and honestly represent their differing views on the nature of morality. Important differences as well as areas of overlap emerge as each contributor states their case, receives criticism from the others and responds. Of particular value for use as an academic text, these four essays and responses, covering the naturalist moral non-realist, naturalist moral realist, moral essentialist and moral particularist views, will foster critical thinking and contribute to the development of a well-informed position on this very important issue.
  • Mark L. Strauss, ed. Remarriage After Divorce in Today’s Church: 3 Views (Counterpoint: Church Life). A biblical and practical case for three main evangelical views on remarriage after divorce among born-again Christians, 27 percent have experienced divorce as compared to 24 percent in the general population. Yet no consensus exists among evangelicals on their views of remarriage, leaving many Christians confused. This single volume summarizes and explores three main evangelical views: “No Remarriage After Divorce”, presented by William A. Heth; “Remarriage After Adultery or Desertion”, presented by Gordon J. Wenham; and “Remarriage for a Variety of Reasons” presented by Craig S. Keener.
  • Steve Wilkins, ed.Christian Ethics: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). Brad J. Kallenberg presents, “Virtue Ethics”; John Hare presents, “Divine Command Ethics”; Claire Peterson presents, “Natural Law Ethics”; and Peter Heltzel presents, “Prophetic Ethics.”

HAMARTIOLOGY – The Study of Sin

  • W. Paul Franks, ed. Explaining Evil: Four Views. In Explaining Evil four prominent philosophers, two theists and two non-theists, present their arguments for why evil exists. Taking a “position and response” format, in which one philosopher offers an account of evil and three others respond, this book guides readers through the advantages and limitations of various philosophical positions on evil, making it ideal for classroom use as well as individual study. Divided into four chapters, Explaining Evil covers Theistic Libertarianism (Richard Brian Davis), Theistic Compatibilism (Paul Helm), Atheistic Moral Realism (Michael Ruse) and Atheistic Moral Non-realism (Eric J. Wielenberg). It features topics including free will, theism, atheism, goodness, Calvinism, evolutionary ethics, and pain, and demonstrates some of the dominant models of thinking within contemporary philosophy of religion and ethics. Written in accessible prose and with an approachable structure, this book provides a clear and useful overview of the central issues of the philosophy of evil.
  • Chad Meister, ed. God and The Problem of Evil: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Evil abounds. And so do the attempts to understand God in the face of such evil. The problem of evil is a constant challenge to faith in God. How can we believe in a loving and powerful God given the existence of so much suffering in the world? Philosophers and theologians have addressed this problem countless times over the centuries. New explanations have been proposed in recent decades drawing on resources in Scripture, theology, philosophy, and science. God and the Problem of Evil stages a dialogue between the five key positions in the current debate: Phillip Cary: “A Classic View”; William Lane Craig: “A Molinist View”; William Hasker: “An Open Theist View”; Thomas Jay Oord: “An Essential Kenosis View”; and Stephen Wykstra: “A Skeptical Theism View.” According to the classic position, associated especially with the Augustinian tradition, God permits evil and suffering as part of the grand narrative of divine providence to bring about the redemption of creation. Molinism modifies the classic view by adding God’s middle knowledge to the picture, in which God has knowledge of what creatures would do in all possible worlds. Open theism rejects the determinism of the classic view in favor of an account of God as a risk-taker who does not know for sure what the future holds. Essential kenosis goes further in providing a comprehensive theodicy by arguing that God cannot control creatures and thus cannot unilaterally prevent evil. Skeptical theism rejects the attempt to provide a theodicy and instead argues that, if God exists, we should not expect to understand God’s purposes. Edited and with an introduction by Chad Meister and James K. Dew Jr., God and the Problem of Evil hosts a generous and informative conversation on one of the most pressing issues in the Christian life.
  • J.B. Stump, ed. Original Sin and the Fall: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). “What is this that you have done?” Throughout the church’s history, Christians have largely agreed that God’s good creation of humanity was marred by humanity’s sinful rebellion, resulting in our separation from God and requiring divine intervention in the saving work of Christ. But Christians have disagreed over many particular questions surrounding humanity’s fall, including the extent of original sin, the nature of the fall, the question of guilt, how to interpret the narratives from Genesis, and how these questions relate to our understanding of human origins and modern science. Views and Contributors: “An Augustinian-Reformed View” by Hans Madueme, Covenant College; “A Moderate Reformed View” by Oliver Crisp, The University of St. Andrews; “A Wesleyan View” by Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary; “An Eastern Orthodox View” by Andrew Louth, Durham University; and “A Reconceived View” by Tatha Wiley, University of St. Thomas.
  • Terry L. Wilder, ed. Perspectives on Our Struggle with Sin: Three Views of Romans 7. Perspectives on Our Struggle with Sin presents in point-counterpoint form three differing views of a Christian’s relationship with the law, flesh, and spirit as illustrated through Paul’s often-debated words in Romans 7. Stephen Chester (North Park Theological Seminary) writes “The Retrospective View of Romans 7: Paul’s Past in Present Perspective,” suggesting the apostle’s description of his struggle speaks more to his pre-Christian self. Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) offers “The Flesh Without the Spirit: Romans 7 and Christian Experience,” perceiving Romans 7 as an accurate representation of what believers go through even after their conversion. Mark Seifrid (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), in “The Voice of the Law, the Cry of Lament, and the Shout of Thanksgiving,” asserts that Paul is not speaking of his past or his present Christian experience in Romans 7, but more fundamentally and simply about “the human being confronted with the Law.”Chad Owen Brand (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) writes a conclusion on the theological and pastoral implications of Romans 7.

HOMOSEXUALITY & LBGTQ & SEX – What Does The Bible Teach?

  • James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy. Understanding Transgender Identities: Four Views. One of the most pressing issues facing the evangelical church today involves dramatic shifts in our culture’s perceptions regarding human sexuality. While homosexuality and same-sex marriage have been at the forefront, there is a new cultural awareness of sexual diversity and gender dysphoria. The transgender phenomenon has become a high-profile battleground issue in the culture wars. This book offers a full-scale dialogue on transgender identities from across the Christian theological spectrum. It brings together contributors with expertise and platforms in the study of transgender identities to articulate and defend differing perspectives on this contested topic. After an introductory chapter surveys key historical moments and current issues, four views are presented by Owen Strachan, “Transition or Transformation? A Moral-Theological Exploration of Christianity and Gender Dysphoria”; Mark A. Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky, “The Complexities of Gender Identity: Toward a More Nuanced Response to the Transgender Experience”; Megan K. DeFranza, “Good News for Gender Minorities” and Justin Sabia-Tanis, “Holy Creation, Wholly Creation: God’s Intention for Gender Diversity.” The authors respond to one another’s views in a respectful manner, modeling thoughtful dialogue around a controversial theological issue. The book helps readers understand the spectrum of views among Christians and enables Christian communities to establish a context where conversations can safely be held.
  • Preston Sprinkle, ed. Two Views On Homosexuality, The Bible, and The Church (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). No issue is more divisive or more pressing for the church today than homosexuality. Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church brings a fresh perspective to a well-worn debate. While Christian debates about homosexuality are most often dominated by biblical exegesis, this book seeks to give much-needed attention to the rich history of received Christian tradition, bringing the Bible into conversation with historical and systematic theology. To that end, both theologians and biblical scholars—well accomplished in their fields and conversant in issues of sexuality and gender—articulate and defend each of the two views: “Affirming View”: William Loader and Megan K. DeFranza; and the “Traditional View”: articulated by Wesley Hill and Stephen R. Holmes. Unique among most debates on homosexuality, this book presents a constructive dialogue between people who disagree on significant ethical and theological matters, and yet maintain a respectful and humanizing posture toward one another. Even as these scholars articulate pointed arguments for their position with academic rigor and depth, they do so cordially, clearly, and compassionately, without demeaning the other. The main essays are followed by exceptionally insightful responses and rejoinders that interact with their fellow essayists with convicted civility. Holding to a high view of Scripture, a commitment to the gospel and the church, and a love for people—especially those most affected by this topic—the contributors wrestle deeply with the Bible and theology, especially the prohibition texts, the role of procreation, gender complementarity, and pastoral accommodation. The book concludes with general editor Preston Sprinkle’s reflections on the future of discussions on faith and sexuality.
  • Dan O. Via and Robert J. Gagnon. Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views. Few recent issues have sparked such debate in the churches as homosexuality, same-sex unions, and ordination of gays and lesbians. A key point of contention is the meaning and authority of the biblical witness. In this brief book, two New Testament scholars discuss the relevant biblical texts on the subject of homosexual behavior and orientation. Discussing both Old Testament and New Testament texts, each author also raises important interpretive and moral questions and then offers a response to the other’s main assertions. Chief questions examined by each include what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and homosexual behavior, the meaning of those texts in their cultural contexts, and the larger hermeneutical dilemma of what kind of authority the Bible’s teaching, if recoverable, has for Christians today. A thoughtful and irenic dialogue, this volume can facilitate reflection and discussion among church members on a vital and contentious issue in American church life.

MIRACLES – A Miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which He arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to Himself

  • Wayne Grudem, ed. Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Four Views. (Zondervan Counterpoints Series). Robert B. Gaffin Jr. defends the “Cessationist View”; Robert L. Saucy defends the “Open But Cautious View”; C. Samuel Storms defends the “Third Wave View”; and Douglas A. Oss defends the “Pentecostal/Charismatic View.”

PHILOSOPHY – The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, & existence

  • Paul M. Gould, ed. Four Views On Christianity and Philosophy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Philosophy and Christianity make truth claims about many of the same things. They both claim to provide answers to the deep questions of life. But how are they related to one another? Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy introduces readers to four predominant views on the relationship between philosophy and the Christian faith and their implications for life. Each author identifies the propositional relation between philosophy and Christianity along with a section devoted to the implications for living a life devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. The contributors and views include: Graham Oppy—“Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity”; K. Scott Oliphint—“Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy”; Timothy McGrew—“Convergence: Philosophy Confirms Christianity”; and Paul Moser—“Conformation: Philosophy Reconceived Under Christianity.” General editors Paul M. Gould and Richard Davis explain the background to the discussion and provide some historical background in the introduction, as well as helpful summaries of each position in the conclusion.
  • Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer. In Search of the Soul: Four Views of the Mind-Body Problem. Honored in 2006 as a “Year’s Best Book for Preachers” by Preaching magazine. Why a search for the soul? Many Christians assume that it is biblically faithful and theologically noncontroversial to speak of humans having a soul. Yet a wide range of biblical scholars are questioning whether we have correctly understood what the Bible means when it speaks of the “soul.” And contemporary neuroscience is laying more and more questions at the doorstep of the church, asking whether our human sense of self is intelligible on the basis of soul. But for thoughtful Christians, following science on this point looks like caving in to reductionism, while denying science gives off the odor of obscurantism. In Search of the Soul provides a rare opportunity to listen in as four Christian philosophers set forth their best arguments for their distinct views and then respond to each other. While each of these views calls for careful framing and patient exposition, they are labeled as follows: “Substance Dualism (Stewart Goetz); “Emergent Dualism” (William Hasker); “Nonreductive Physicalism” (Nancey Murphy); and “Constitution View of Persons” (Kevin Corcoran). Editors Joel B. Green and Stuart L. Palmer introduce the debate by laying out the critical issues at stake, and wrap it up by considering the implications for the Christian life, particularly hospitality and forgiveness. This is a book of timely interest to philosophers, theologians, psychologists and pastors. Whatever conclusions readers may draw, they will find here an instructive and engaging discussion of a controversy that will not go away any time soon.
  • Steve Wilkins, ed. Faith and Reason: Three Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). In Faith and Reason, Steve Wilkens edits a debate between three different understandings of the relationship between faith and reason, between theology and philosophy. The first viewpoint, “Faith and Philosophy in Tension,” articulated by Carl A. Raschke proposes faith and reason as hostile, exclusive opposites, each dangerous to the integrity of the other. The second, “Faith Seeking Understanding,” articulated by Alan G. Padget suggests that faithful Christians are called to make full use of their rational faculties to aid in the understanding and interpretation of what they believe by faith. In the third stance, “Thomistic Synthesis,” articulated by Craig A. Boyd natural reason acts as a handmaiden to theology by actively pointing people toward salvation and deeper knowledge of spiritual truths. Bringing together multiple views on the relationship between faith, philosophy and reason, this introduction to a timeless quandary will help you navigate, with rigor and joy, one of the most significant discussions of the Christian community. Steve Wilkins concludes the book with a helpful essay on how we can disagree Christianly.

POLITICS  – How A Christian Should Respond To and Be Involved in Society

  • Amy E. Black, ed. Five Views On The Church and Politics (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Thomas W. Heilke defends the “Anabaptist Separationist View”; Robert Benne defends the “Lutheran Paradoxical View”; Bruce L. Fields defends the “Black Church Prophetic View”; James K. A. Smith defends the “Reformed Transformationist View”; and Brian Benestad defends the “Catholic Synthetic View.”
  • P.C. Kemneny, ed. Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Abortion. Physician-assisted suicide. Same-sex marriages. Embryonic stem-cell research. Poverty. Crime. What is a faithful Christian response? The God of the Bible is unquestionably a God of justice. Yet Christians have had their differences as to how human government and the church should bring about a just social order. Although Christians share many deep and significant theological convictions, differences that threaten to divide them have often surrounded the matter of how the church collectively and Christians individually ought to engage the public square. What is the mission of the church? What is the purpose of human government? How ought they to be related to each other? How should social injustice be redressed? The five noted contributors to this volume answer these questions from within their distinctive Christian theological traditions, as well as responding to the other four positions. Through the presentations and ensuing dialogue we come to see more clearly what the differences are, where their positions overlap and why they diverge. The contributors and the positions taken include Clarke E. Cochran: “A Catholic Perspective”; Derek H. Davis: “A Classical Separation Perspective”; Ronald J. Sider: “An Anabaptist Perspective”; Corwin F. Smidt: “A Principled Pluralist Perspective”; and J. Philip Wogaman: “A Social Justice Perspective.”

PSYCHOLOGY – How To Counsel People From a Christian Perspective

  • Stephen P. Greggo and Timothy A. Sisemore, eds. Counseling and Christianity: Five Approaches (Christian Association for Psychological Studies). What does authentic Christian counseling look like in practice? This volume explores how five major perspectives on the interface of Christianity and psychology would each actually be applied in a clinical setting. Respected experts associated with each of the perspectives depict how to assess, conceptualize, counsel and offer aftercare to Jake, a hypothetical client with a variety of complex issues. In each case the contributors seek to explain how theory can translate into real-life counseling scenarios. This book builds on the framework of Eric L. Johnson’s Psychology Christianity: Five Views. These include the Levels-of-Explanation Approach, the Integration Approach, the Christian Psychology Approach, the Transformational Approach and the Biblical Counseling Approach. While Counseling and Christianity can be used independently of Johnson’s volume, the two can also function as useful companions. Christians who counsel, both those in practice and those still in training, will be served by this volume as it strengthens the connections between theory and practice in relating our faith to the mental health disciplines. They will finally get an answer to their persistent but unanswered question: “What would that counseling view look like behind closed doors?”
  • Eric L. Johnson, ed. Psychology and Christianity: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). How are Christians to understand and undertake the discipline of psychology? This question has been of keen interest (and sometimes concern) to Christians because of the importance we place on a correct understanding of human nature. Psychology can sometimes seem disconnected from, if not antithetical to, Christian perspectives on life. How are we to understand our Christian beliefs about persons in relation to secular psychological beliefs? This revised edition of a widely appreciated text now presents five models for understanding the relationship between psychology and Christianity. All the essays and responses have been reworked and updated with some new contributors including the addition of a new perspective, the transformative view from John Coe and Todd Hall (Biola University). Also found here is David Powlison (Westminster Theological Seminary) who offers the biblical counseling model. The levels-of-explanation model is advanced by David G. Myers (Hope College), while Stanton L. Jones (Wheaton College) offers an entirely new chapter presenting the integration model. The Christian psychology model is put forth by Robert C. Roberts (Baylor University) now joined by Paul J. Watson (University of Tennesee, Chattanooga). Each of the contributors responds to the other essayists, noting points of agreement as well as problems they see. Eric L. Johnson provides a revised introduction that describes the history of Christians and psychology, as well as a conclusion that considers what might unite the five views and how a reader might evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each view. Psychology and Christianity: Five Views has become a standard introductory textbook for students and professors of Christian psychology. This revision promises to keep it so.

SANCTIFICATION – How does one grow as a Christian?

  • Donald Alexander, ed. Christian Spirituality: Five Views On Christian Sanctification (Spectrum Multiview Series). How can we grow closer to God? Is there a secret to spiritual life? Do we need a second blessing? Is sanctification God’s work or ours? Is it instantaneous or is it a process? The nature of Christian spirituality has been widely debated throughout the history of the church. The doctrine of sanctification was one of the main fissures separating Luther from the Catholic Church. Even today different groups of Protestants disagree on how we draw closer to God. What distinguishes the different positions and what exactly is at stake in these recurring debates? To answer these questions Donald L. Alexander, professor of biblical theology at Bethel College, has brought together five scholars that represent each of the main historical Protestant traditions: Gerhard O. Forde on the “Lutheran View”; Sinclair B. Ferguson on the “Reformed View”; Laurence W. Wood on the “Wesleyan View”; Russell P. Spittler on the “Pentecostal View”; and E. Glenn Hinson on the “Contemplative View.” With an introduction by Alexander and responses to each of the main essays by the other contributors, this book provides a helpful and stimulating introduction to an important doctrine Christianity.
  • Chad Owen Brand, ed. Perspectives On Spirit Baptism: 5 Views. Perspectives on Spirit Baptism presents in counterpoint form the basic common beliefs on spirit baptism which have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter will be written by a prominent person from within each tradition—with specific guidelines dealing with the biblical, historical, and theological issues within each tradition. In addition, each writer will have the opportunity to give a brief response to the other traditions.
  • Bruce A. Demarest, ed. Four Views on Christian Spirituality (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The Views articulated in this book are as followed: “Orthodox Spirituality: A Quest For Transfigured Humanity” by Bradley Nassie; “Come To The Father: The Fact At The Foundation of Catholic Spirituality” by Scott Hahn; “The Progressive Face of Mainlain Protestant Spirituality” by Joseph Driskill; and “Evangelical Spirituality” by Evan Howard. The views presented are as following: “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit as the Promise of the Father: A Reformed Perspective” by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.; “Spirit Baptism: A Pentecostal Perspective” by Stanley M. Horton; “Spirit Baptism: A Dimensional Charismatic Perspective” by Larry Hart; “A Wesleyan Perspective on Spirit Baptism” by H. Ray Dunning; and “Spirit Baptism: Catholic Perspective” by Ralph Del Colle.
  • Stanley N Gundry, ed. Five Views on Sanctification (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Christians generally recognize the need to live a holy, or sanctified, life. But they differ on what sanctification is and how it is achieved. Five Views on Sanctification brings together in one easy-to-understand volume five major Protestant views on sanctification. Writing from a solid evangelical stance, each author describes and defends his own understanding of the doctrine, and responds as well to the views of the other authors. This book addresses such practical questions as: How does one achieve sanctification in this life? How much success in sanctification is possible? Is a crisis experience following one’s conversion normal―or necessary? If so, what kind of experience, and how is it verified?  The following views are presented and defended: “The Wesleyan View” by Melvin E. Dieter; “The Reformed View” by Anthony A. Hoekema; “The Pentecostal View” by Stanley M. Horton; “The Keswick View” by J. Roberson McQuilkin; and “The Augustinian-Dispensational View” by John F. Walvoord.
  • Alan P. Stanley, ed. Four Views on The Role of Works at the Final Judgement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology).Views Presented: “Christians Will Be Judged According To Their Works At The Rewards Judgement, But Not The Final Judgement” by Robert N. Wilkin; “Justification Apart From And By Works: At The Final Judgment Works Will Confirm Justification” by Thomas R. Schreiner; “If Paul Could Believe Both In Justification By Faith And Judgment According To Works, Why Should That Be A Problem For Us?” by James D.G. Dunn; and “A Catholic Perspective: Our Works Are Meritorious At The Final Judgment Because Of Our Union With Christ By Grace” by Michael P. Barber.

SCIENCE – Science and the Bible

  • Michael J. Behe and T.D. Singh. God, Intelligent Design and Fine-Tuning: A Dialogue between T. D. Singh and Michael J. Behe. Is God no longer necessary in a world that is increasingly influenced by a scientific temper? Or, on the contrary, have the findings of modern sciences forced us to approach the question of the existence of God in new ways? The scientific enterprise has gifted us the ability to examine and contemplate deeply the mysterious and beautiful order behind nature. Over the past four decades modern biochemistry has uncovered the secrets of cells and has revealed us the marvelous design even at the molecular level. Advancements in science have also shown us some of the precise laws and unique fundamental constants in the universe. All these facts and observations point to a fine-tuned and specially designed universe with a purpose by a Supreme Being or God. As one journey through the newly discovered marvels of the cosmos and life discussed in this volume, one will be compelled to reexamine his opinion concerning the origins, evolution and essence of this wonderful world in which we live.
  • Ardel B. Caneday, ed. Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Denis O. Lamoureus articulates the “No Historical Adam: Evolutionary Creation View”; John H. Walton articulates “A Historical Adam: Archetypal Creation View”; C. John Collins articulates “A Historical Adam: Old-Earth Creation View”; and William D. Barrick articulates “A Historical Adam: Young-Earth Creation View.”
  • Richard F. Carlson, ed. Science & Christianity: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Wayne Frair and Gary D. Patterson argue for “Creationism: An Inerrant Bible and Effective Science View”; Jean Pond argues for ”Independence: Mutual Humility in the Relationship Between Science and Christian Theology View”; Stephen C. Meyer argues for a “Qualified Agreement: Modern Science and the Return of the God Hypothesis View”; and Howard J. Van Till articulates the view called “Partnership: Science and Theology As Partners.”
  • Paul Copan and Christopher L. Reese, eds. Three Views on Christianity and Science. (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Michael Ruse writes the “Independence View”; Alister McGrath writes the “Dialogue View”; and Bruce Gordon writes the “Constrained Integration View.”
  • William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse. Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA. In this book, first published in 2004, William Dembski, Michael Ruse, and other prominent philosophers provide a comprehensive balanced overview of the debate concerning biological origins – a controversial dialectic since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. Invariably, the source of controversy has been ‘design’. Is the appearance of design in organisms (as exhibited in their functional complexity) the result of purely natural forces acting without prevision or teleology? Or, does the appearance of design signify genuine prevision and teleology, and, if so, is that design empirically detectable and thus open to scientific inquiry? Four main positions have emerged in response to these questions: Darwinism, self-organization, theistic evolution, and intelligent design. The contributors to this volume define their respective positions in an accessible style, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. Two introductory essays furnish a historical overview of the debate.
  • David G. Hagopian, ed. The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation. J. Ligon Duncan III and David W. Hall argue for “The 24-Hour View”; Hugh Ross and Gleason L. Archer argue for the “Day-Age View”; and Lee Irons and Meredith G. Kline argue for “The Framework View.”
  • Preston Jones, ed. Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism Christianity. Greg Graffin is frontman, singer and songwriter for the punk band Bad Religion. He also happens to have a Ph.D. in zoology and wrote his dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism. Preston Jones is a history professor at a Christian college and a fan of Bad Religion’s music. One day, on a whim, Preston sent Greg an appreciative e-mail. That was the start of an extraordinary correspondence. For several months, Preston and Greg sent e-mails back and forth on big topics like God, religion, knowledge, evil, evolution, biology, destiny and the nature of reality. Preston believes in God; Greg sees insufficient evidence for God’s existence. Over the course of their friendly debate, they tackle such cosmic questions as: Is religion rational or irrational? Does morality require belief in God? Do people only believe in God because they are genetically predisposed toward religion? How do you make sense of suffering in the world? Is this universe all there is? And what does it all matter? In this engaging book, Preston and Greg’s actual e-mail correspondence is reproduced, along with bonus materials that provide additional background and context. Each makes his case for why he thinks his worldview is more compelling and explanatory. While they find some places to agree, neither one convinces the other. They can’t both be right. So which worldview is more plausible? You decide.
  • Kenneth Keathley, J.B. Stump and Joe Aguirre, eds. Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation? Discussing Origins With Reason To Believe and Biologos. Various issues are addressed from several scholars belonging to the Two Largest Old Earth organizations: Reason to Believe (Hugh Ross, founder) and Biologos (Francis Collins, founder). Note: there is very little discussion of a “Young Earth” position in this book.
  • J.P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger and Wayne Grudem, eds. Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. Thirty-One chapters by top Scientists, Philosophers, and Theologians who critique the primary sources and articulators of Theistic Evolution in the 20th-21st Century – a landmark book – approximately 1000 pages of material!
  • Alister McGrath, John Wilson, et. al. The Origins Debate: Evangelical perspectives on creation, evolution, and intelligent design (Christianity Today Essentials). For centuries, Christians have argued exactly what God did “in the beginning.” If this were only a question of science, it would not be so contentious. But theology and science shape one another, and there are few easy answers. This key collection of essays presents the current state of the debate, showing how faithful evangelicals have come to their respective views, and what is at stake for the church. Contents: Chapter 1: The Search for the Historical Adam – Richard N. Ostling; Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Scientists: A Young-Earth Creationist and an Evolutionary Creationist – Tim Stafford; Chapter 3: Augustine’s Origin of Species: How the Great Theologian Might Weigh In on the Darwin Debate – Alister McGrath; Chapter 4: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: The Furor Over Intelligent Design – Nancy Pearcey; Chapter 5: God by the Numbers: Math and the Theology of Origins – Charles Edward White; Chapter 6: What Good is Stardust?: The Remarkably Equipped Universe – Howard J. Van Till; Chapter 7: Your Darwin Is Too Large: Evolution’s Exaggerated Significance for Theology – John Wilson; Chapter 8: Living with the Darwin Fish: Another ‘Missing Link’ Won’t Destroy My Faith – Stan Guthrie; Chapter 9: The Evolution of Darwin: The Scientist’s Problem with God – Dinesh D’Souza; and Chapter 10: Science in Wonderland: Perspective (250 Million Years’ Worth) on the Evolution Controversy – John Wilson 
  • J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds, eds. Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds defend the view of “Young Earth Creationism”; Robert C. Newman defends the view of  “Old Earth Progressive Creationism”; and Howard J. Van Till defends the view called “Theistic Evolution.”
  • Gerald Rau. Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning. The debate over evolution and creation has raged for decades and shows no signs of letting up. Many promote one view as the only reasonable solution. But what are the main viewpoints, and just why do they disagree? In the midst of an increasingly intense dispute, Gerald Rau answers the important questions with level-headed clarity and evenhanded analysis. Rau lays out six models of origins, ranging from naturalistic evolution to young-earth creation. He shows how each model presupposes an underlying philosophy that adherents take on faith. With the sensitivity of a seasoned educator, Rau demonstrates how each model assesses the scientific evidence in relation to four different kinds of origins: the universe, life, species and humans. In an age of specialists, Rau sees the big picture. Mapping the Origins Debate cuts through the cacophony and the complexity to provide a lucid and charitable contribution to the conversation.
  • James Stump, ed. Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design  (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Ken Ham’s view is “Young Earth Creationism”; Hugh Ross gives the “Old Earth (Progressive) Creationism View”; Deborah B. Haarsma articulates the “Evolutionary Creation View”; and Stephen C. Meyer presents the “intelligent Design View.”
  • Todd Charles Wood and Darrel R. Falk. The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved Beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue About Creation and Evolution. The Fool and the Heretic is a deeply personal story told by two respected scientists who hold opposing views on the topic of origins, share a common faith in Jesus Christ, and began a sometimes-painful journey to explore how they can remain in Christian fellowship when each thinks the other is harming the church. To some in the church, anyone who accepts the theory of evolution has rejected biblical teaching and is therefore thought of as a heretic. To many outside the church, as well as a growing number of evangelicals, anyone who accepts the view that God created the Earth in six days a few thousand years ago must be poorly educated and ignorant – a fool. Todd Wood and Darrel Falk know what it’s like to be thought of, respectively, as a fool and a heretic. This audiobook shares their pain in wearing those labels, but more important, provides a model for how faithful Christians can hold opposing views on deeply divisive issues yet grow deeper in their relationship to each other and to God.

SOTERIOLOGY – The Study of Salvation in the Bible

  • David Basinger and Randall Basinger, eds. Predestination & Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). If God is in control, are people really free? This question has bothered Christians for centuries. And answers have covered a wide spectrum. Today Christians still disagree. Those who emphasize human freedom view it as a reflection of God’s self-limited power. Others look at human freedom in the order of God’s overall control. David and Randall Basinger have put this age-old question to four scholars trained in theology and philosophy. John Feinberg of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Norman Geisler of Dallas Theological Seminary focus on God’s specific sovereignty. Bruce Reichenbach of Augsburg College and Clark Pinnock of McMaster Divinity College insist that God must limit his control to ensure our freedom. Each writer argues for his perspective and applies his theory to two practical case studies. Then the other writers respond to each of the major essays, exposing what they see as fallacies and hidden assumptions.
  • Herbert W. Bateman IV., ed. Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews. Using the popular four-views format, this volume explores the meaning of the five warning passages in the book of Hebrews to both the original readers and us today. Each of the four New Testament scholars present and defend their view and critique the view of their interlocutors. This unique volume will help readers better understand some of the most difficult passages in all of Scripture. Contributors include Grant R. Osborne, Buist M. Fanning, Gareth L. Cockerill, and Randall C. Gleason.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Gregory A. Boyd defends the view called “Open-Theism”; David Hunt defends “The Simple Foreknowledge View”; William Land Craig defends “The Middle-Knowledge View”; and Paul Helm defends the “Augustinian-Calvinist View.”
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. Justification: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). When Paul wrote these words he seemed confident he had made himself clear. But for centuries the Pauline doctrine of justification has been a classic point of interpretation and debate in Christian exegesis and theology. And while in recent decades there have been moments of hopeful convergence among the various traditions of the Western church, the fine print often reveals more facets and distinctions than ever before. This volume focuses on five views of justification and calls on representative proponents to set forth their case and then respond to each other. The five views are: “Traditional Reformed” defended by Michael S. Horton;  “Progressive Reformed” by Michael F. Bird; “The New Perspective” by James D. G. Dunn;  “Deification, or Theosis” by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen; and  “Roman Catholic” by Gerald O. Collins and Oliver Rafferty. In addition, editors James Beilby, Paul R. Eddy and Steven E. Enderlein provide an extensive introduction to the issues informing this important debate. This distinguished forum of biblical interpreters and theologians offers a lively and informative engagement with the biblical, historical and contemporary understandings of justification. Justification: Five Views is not only a fascinating probe into Paul?s meaning, it is also a case book in theological method.
  • James K. Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds. The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). A long history of biblical exegesis and theological reflection has shaped our understanding of the atonement today. The more prominent highlights of this history have acquired familiar names for the household of faith: Christus Victor, penal substitutionary, subjective, and governmental. Recently the penal substitutionary view, and particularly its misappropriations, has been critiqued, and a lively debate has taken hold within evangelicalism. This book offers a “panel” discussion of four views of atonement maintained by four evangelical scholars. The proponents and their views are: Gregory A. Boyd: “Christus Victor View”; Joel B. Green: “Kaleidescopic View”; Bruce R. Reichenbach: “Healing View”; and Thomas R. Schreiner: “Penal Substitutionary View.” Following an introduction written by the editors, each participant first puts forth the case for their view. Each view is followed by responses from the other three participants, noting points of agreement as well as disagreement. This is a book that will help Christians understand the issues, grasp the differences and proceed toward a clearer articulation of their understanding of the atonement.
  • Chad Brand, ed. Perspectives on Election: Five Views. Perspectives on Election presents in counterpoint form five basic common beliefs on the doctrine of spiritual election (for example, predestination) that have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter is written by a prominent person within each tradition, and each writer has the opportunity to respond to each differing view. Despite the focus upon a topic that divides many people, editor Chad Brand says, “The goal of this book is to add clarity to the discussion and to further the discussion, insofar as it is possible, in an amiable manner.” Contributors and their views are the following: “Divine Election to Salvation” presented by Bruce A. Ware; “The Classical Arminian View of Election” by Jack W. Cottrell; “A Consistent Supralapsarian Perspective on Election” presented by RobertL. Reymond; “Universal Reconciliation and the Inclusive Nature of Election” presented by Thomas B. Talbot; and “Divine Election as Corporate, Open, and Vocational” by Clark Pinnock.
  • Gabriel J. Fackre, ed. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?  Three Views on The Destiny of the Unevangelized (Spectrum Multiview Series). What is the fate of those who die never hearing the gospel? Do Hindus, Jews, agnostics and others who do not profess faith in Christ really suffer damnation after death? These and similar questions have long been contemplated by people from every religious persuasion and every walk of life. But in a culture of increasing diversity and growing doubt in the existence of “objective truth,” it seems ever more pressing. In this book three scholars present the span of evangelical conviction on the destiny of the unevangelized. Ronald Nash argues the restrictivist position, that receptive knowledge of Jesus Christ in this life is necessary to salvation. Gabriel Fackre advocates divine perseverance, with the expectation that those who die unevangelized receive an opportunity for salvation after death. And John Sanders sets forth the inclusivist case–asserting that though God saves people only through the work of Jesus Christ, some may be saved even if they do not know about Christ. As each scholar presents his own case and responds to strengths and weaknesses of differing positions, readers are treated to a lively and informative debate. What About Those Who Have Never Heard? is a truly helpful book on one of today’s–and every day’s–most crucial questions.
  • Dave Hunt and James White. Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views. A centuries-old belief system is put to the test as two prominent authors examine and debate the subject of Calvinism from opposing viewpoints. James White, author of The Potter’s Freedom, takes the Calvinist position. Dave Hunt, author of What Love Is This, opposes him. The exchange is lively and at times intense as these two articulate men wrestle over what the Scriptures tell us about God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. This thought-provoking, challenging book provides potent responses to the most frequently asked questions about Calvinism.
  • Adam J. Johnson, ed. Five Views on the Extent of the Atonement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). For whom did Christ die? Who may be saved? are questions of perennial interest and importance for the Christian faith. In a familiar Counterpoints format, this book explores the question of the extent of Christ’s atonement, going beyond simple Reformed vs. non-Reformed understandings. This volume elevates the conversation to a broader plane, including contributors who represent the breadth of Christian tradition: “Eastern Orthodox”: expounded by Andrew Louth; “Roman Catholic”: expounded by Matthew Levering; “Traditional Reformed”: expounded by Michael Horton; “Wesleyan”: expounded by Fred Sanders; and “Barthian Universalism”: expounded by Tom Greggs.
  • R.T. Kendall and Rabbi David Rosen. The Christian and the Pharisee: Two Outspoken Religious Leaders Debate the Road to Heaven. The book reproduces a candid exchange of letters between two leading religious figures: an evangelical preacher and a senior Jewish rabbi. This groundbreaking publication is a rare opportunity to read the heartfelt correspondence of two prolific and acclaimed theologians, as they both seek to vigorously defend their own beliefs and allow themselves to be challenged by the claims of the other. As the discussion continues we see mutual respect grow and a strong friendship forged before the relationship is inevitably tested as they encounter points of seemingly irreconcilable differences. Though there are issues and beliefs which separate the two theological camps, this book shows how they share enough to not only get along, but form strong alliances.
  • Dennis L. Okholm and Timothy R. Phillips, eds. Four Views On Salvation In A Pluralistic World (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). John Hick proposes the “Pluralist View”; Clark Pinnock proposes the “Inclusivist View”; Alister McGrath proposes “A Particularist View: A Post-Enlightenment Approach”; and R. Douglas Geivett and W. Gary Phillips present “A Particularist View: An Evidentialist Approach.”
  • Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger, eds. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All three contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution. Carl Trueman (Westminster Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work secured the redemption of his elect alone. While infinite in value, Christ’s death was intended for and applied strictly to those whom the Father had elected unconditionally in eternity past. John Hammett (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) argues that Christ’s atoning work had multiple intentions. Of these intentions two rise to the fore: (1) the intention to accomplish atonement for God’s elect and (2) the intention to provide atonement for all mankind. Grant Osborne (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) argues that Christ’s atoning work provided atonement generally for all mankind. The application of that atoning work is conditioned, however, on each person’s willingness to receive it.
  • J. Matthew Pinson, ed. Four Views On Eternal Security (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Does the Bible support the concept of “once saved, always saved,” or can a person lose his or her salvation? How do the Scriptures portray the complex interplay between grace and free will? These and related questions are explored from different angles in this thought-provoking Counterpoints volume. The contributors each state their case for one of four prominent views on eternal security: “Classical Calvinist” (Michael Horton), “Moderate Calvinist” (Norman L. Geisler), “Reformed Arminian” (Stephen M. Ashby),  and “Wesleyan Arminian” (Steve Harper). In keeping with the forum approach of the Counterpoints series, each view is first presented by its proponent, then critiqued and defended. This fair and respectful approach allows you to weigh for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of the different doctrinal stances. By furnishing you with scholarly and thoughtful perspectives on the topic of eternal security, this book helps you sift through opposing views to arrive at your own informed conclusions. 
  • James R. White. The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and the Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free. Norman L. Geisler’s Chosen but Free sparked a firestorm of controversy when he labeled Calvinism “theologically inconsistent, philosophically insufficient, and morally repugnant.” White steps into the breach with his cogent response. His systematic refutation of Geisler’s argument will help you understand what the Reformed faith really teaches about divine election and how Reformed thought conforms to the gospel.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE – How to Practically Do Battle with the Enemy 

  • James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy, editors. Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views. Walter Wink, “The World Systems Model”; David Powlison, “The Classical Model”; Greg Boyd, “The Ground-Level Deliverance Model”; C. Peter Wagner and Rebecca Greenwood, “The Strategic-Level Deliverance Model.”

THEOLOGICAL METHOD – How to Do Theology and Communal Expressions of It

  • Kenneth Berding, ed. Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Walter C. Kaiser defends the view: “Single Meaning, Unified Referents”; Darrel L. Bock defends the view: “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents”; and Peter Enns defends the view: “Fuller Meaning, Single Goal. 
  • Gregory Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy. Across The Spectrum: Understanding Issues In Evangelical Theology (Second Edition). This new edition of a popular text presents an accessible yet comprehensive primer that helps readers understand the breadth of viewpoints on major issues in evangelical theology, with chapters using the popular three- or four-views book format. The authors carefully examine thirty-four positions taken by evangelical scholars on seventeen seminal issues. They lay out the biblical, theological, and philosophical arguments for each position in point-counterpoint fashion and discuss possible objections. The second edition retains the helpful features of the first edition–end-of-chapter “For Further Reading” sections and an extensive glossary–and adds an appendix that addresses thirteen peripheral issues in contemporary evangelicalism.
  • Ronnie Campbell, ed. Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews Worship the Same God? Four Views (Counterpoints Theology and Life).During a time of global conflict, the theological question of whether Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God carries political baggage. Is the God of ISIS the same as the God of Israel? Do Sunni Muslims and Protestant Christians pray to the same Creator and Sustainer of the universe? In this Counterpoints volume, edited by Ronnie P. Campbell, Jr., and Christopher Gnanakan, five leading scholars present the main religious perspectives on this question, demonstrating how to think carefully about an issue where opinions differ and confusion abounds. They examine related subtopics such as the difference between God being referentially the same and essentially the same, what “the same” means when referring to God, the significance of the Trinity in this discussion, whether religious inclusivism is inferred by certain understandings of God’s sameness, and the appropriateness of interfaith worship.The four main views, along with the scholars presenting them, are: “All Worship the Same God: Religious Pluralist View” presented by Wm. Andrew Schwartz and John B. Cobb, Jr.; “All Worship the Same God: Referring to the Same God View” presented by Francis J. Beckwith; “Jews and Christians Worship the Same God: Shared Revelation View” presented by  Gerald R. McDermott; and “None Worship the Same God: Different Conceptions View” presented by Jerry L. Walls) Additionally, essays by Joseph Cumming and David W. Shenk explore the implications of this question specifically for Christians wanting to minister among and build relationships with Muslims. Cumming stresses that finding common ground is key, while Shenk advocates for a respectful focus on differences.
  • John Jefferson Davis. Handbook of Basic Bible Texts: Every Key Passage for the Study of Doctrine & Theology. This volume provides the complete text of key Scripture passages that form the basis for theological study. The text used is the highly readable and modern New International Version. The verses listed are grouped by the classical categories of systematic theology (e.g., God, Christ, Salvation); on disputed points, verses from which the major theological views derive are given. Footnotes provide clarification and brief commentary on verses as appropriate. This work is intended to assist the theological student who might not take the time to look up the verses cited in systematic theologies, but it will also be useful to anyone seeking to better understand the major themes of Scripture.
  • Louis Goldberg, ed. How Jewish Is Christianity? 2 Views On The Messianic Movement (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Diverse perspectives about the messianic movement ― from six contributors. Are Messianic congregations necessary or should Jewish believers be incorporated into the Gentile church? This is the topic of the latest volume in the Counterpoints series. The question of how Christian Jews relate their Jewish practices and customs to the church has been an issue within Christianity since the first century. Contemporary contributors who have lived and wrestled with this issue present informed arguments and counter-arguments. The book concludes with a chapter on the future for Messianic Jews and a directory of messianic movement organizations. Contributors include: John Fischer (ThD, California Graduate School of Theology, PhD, University of South Florida) is a rabbi of Congregation Ohr Chadash and Chairman of Judaic Studies at St. Petersburg Theological Seminary. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum (ThM, PhD, New York University) has served with the Chosen People Ministries and Christian Jew Foundation in the past and is now the founder and director of Ariel Ministries. Gershon Nerel (PhD, Hebrew University, Jerusalem) has served as “Israel Secretary” for the International Messianic Jewish Alliance and has also been a member of the executive committee for the Messianic Jewish Alliance of Israel. David Stern (PhD, MDiv) is the translator of the Jewish New Testament from Greek to English to express its Jewishness; his version of the Tanak is the Complete Jewish Bible. Will Varner (EdD, Temple University) servers as professor of biblical studies at the Master’s College, CA, and the director of the Israel Bible Extension campus of this college in Israel.
  • Stanley N. Gundry, ed. Five Views On Law and Gospel (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). “The Non-Theonomic View” is presented by Willem A. VanGemeren; “The Theonomic Reformed View” is presented by Greg L. Bahnsen; “The Law As God’s Gracious Guidance For The Promotion of Holiness View” is presented by Walter C. Kaiser; “A Dispensational View” is presented by Wayne G. Strickland; and “A Modified Lutheran View” is presented by Douglas J. Moo.
  • Collin Hansen and Andrew David Naselli, eds. Four Views On The Spectrum Of Evangelicalism (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following views are presented in this dialogue: “Fundamentalism” by Kevin T. Bauder; “Confessional Evangelicalism” by R. Albert Mohler Jr.; “Generic Evangelicalism” by John G. Stackhuse Jr.; and “Postconservative Evangelicalism” by Roger E. Olson.
  • Gordon R. Lewis. Decide For Yourself: A Theological Workbook. The great Christian doctrines are worth thinking through for ourselves. That’s why Gordon Lewis has provided this concise and complete survey of the major truths of the Christian faith. But rather than just telling us what he has discovered in Scripture, he offers a theological workbook that helps us explore the evidence itself and to draw our own conclusions. He has organized the material around the main themes of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, humanity, creation, the church, and the end times. This unique text has been used by students of the Bible over the last three decades in the classroom, in the home and in the church. Its enduring quality continues to make it a valuable tool for all who want to develop a systematic theology for themselves.
  • Erwin W. Lutzer. The Doctrines That Divide: A Fresh Look at the Historical Doctrines That Separate Christians. Lutzer examines various controversies that exist within the broad spectrum of Christianity, presenting the historical background of the issue and the biblical understanding of the doctrine. Chapters include “Predestination or Free Will?”; “Why Can’t We Agree about Baptism”?; and “Justification by Faith.”
  • Gary T, Meadors, ed. Four Views on Moving Beyond The Bible To Theology (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The following models of methods are proposed: “A Principlizing Model” by Walter C. Kaiser Jr.; “A Redemptive-Historical Model” by Daniel M. Doriani; “A Drama of Redemption Model” by Kevin J. Vanhoozer; and “A Redemptive-Movement Model” by William J. Webb.
  • Stanley E. Porter, ed. Evangelical Theological Method: Five Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). How should one approach the task of theology? The question of methodology is increasingly one of interest among theologians, who recognize that the very manner in which we approach theology informs both the questions we ask and the conclusions we reach. This volume in IVP’s Spectrum Multiview series brings together five evangelical theologians with distinctly different approaches to the theological task. After presenting the approaches―which include appeals to Scripture, context, missions, interdisciplinary studies, and dogmatics―each contributor responds to the other views. Emerging from this theological conversation is an awareness of our methodological commitments and the benefits that each approach can bring to the theological task. Contributors:Sung Wook Chung, “Bible Doctines Conservative Theology: Codifying God’s Word”;  John R. Franke, “Missional Theology: Living God’s Love”; Telford C. Work, “An Interdisciplinary Theology Response”; Victor Ifeanyi Ezigbo, “A Contextual Theology Response”; and Paul Louis Metzger, “A Trinitarian Dogmatic Theology Response.”
  • James Stamoolis, ed. Three Views On Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Bradley Nassif answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Yes”; Michael Horton answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? No”; Vladimir Berzonsky answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? No”; George Hancock-Stefan answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Maybe”; And Edward Rommen answers the question, “Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Maybe.”

THEOLOGY PROPER – The Study of God: 

The Trinity, His Nature, Character & Activity in Our World 

  • Dennis Jowers, ed. Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). Paul Kjoss Helseth propounds the view that “God Causes All Things”; William Lane Craig propounds the view that “God Directs All Things”; Ron Highfield propounds the view that “God Controls By Liberating”; and Gregory A. Boyd propounds that “God Limits Control.”
  • Gregory E. Ganssle, ed. God & Time: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Series). Paul Helm proclaims the “Divine Timeless Eternity View”; Alan G. Padgett proclaims the “Eternity As Relative Timelessness View”; William Lane Craig proclaims the “Timelessness & Omnitemporality View”; and Nicholas Wolterstorff proclaims the “Unqualified Divine Temporality View.”
  • Stephen R. Holmes, ed. Two Views on the Doctrine of the Trinity (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology). The doctrine of the Trinity stands front and center of the Christian faith and its articulation. After a sustained drought of trinitarian engagement, the doctrine of the Trinity has increasingly resurged to the forefront of Evangelical confession. The second half of the twentieth century, however, saw a different kind of trinitarian theology developing, giving way to what has commonly been referred to as the “social Trinity.” Social—or better, relational—trinitarianism has garnered a steady reaction from those holding to a classical doctrine of the Trinity, prompting a more careful and thorough re-reading of sources and bringing about not only a much more coherent view of early trinitarian development but also a strong critique of relational trinitarian offerings. Yet confusion remains. As Evangelicals get better at articulating the doctrine of the Trinity, and as the current and next generation of believers in various Christian traditions seek to be more trinitarian, the way forward for trinitarian theology has to choose between the relational and classical model, both being legitimate options.In this volume, leading contributors—one evangelical and one mainline/catholic representing each view—establish their models and approaches to the doctrine of the Trinity, each highlighting the strengths of his view in order to argue how it best reflects the orthodox perspective. In order to facilitate a genuine debate and to make sure that the key issues are teased out, each contributor addresses the same questions regarding their trinitarian methodology, doctrine, and its implications. Contributors include: Stephen R. Holmes; Paul D. Molnar; Thomas H. McCall; and Paul S. Fiddes.
  • Robert J. Matz, ed. Divine Impassability: Four Views of God’s Emotions and Suffering (Spectrum Multiview Series). Does God suffer? Does God experience emotions? Does God change? How should we interpret passages of Scripture that seem to support one view or the other? And where does the incarnation and Christ’s suffering on the cross fit into this? The lively but irenic discussion that takes place in this conversation demonstrates not only the diversity of opinion among Christians on this theological conundrum but also its ongoing relevance for today. Views and Contributors: “Strong Impassibility” by James E. Dolezal, assistant professor in the School of Divinity at Cairn University; “Qualified Impassibility” by Daniel Castelo, professor of dogmatic and constructive theology at Seattle Pacific University; “Qualified Passibility” by John C. Peckham, professor of theology and Christian philosophy at Andrews University; and “Strong Passibility” by Thomas Jay Oord, professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University.
  • Bruce A. Ware, ed. Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views. Perspectives on the Doctrine of God presents in counterpoint form four basic common beliefs on the doctrine of God that have developed over the course of church history with a goal of determining which view is most faithful to Scripture. Contributors to this fifth book in the PERSPECTIVES series are Regent College J.I. Packer chair in Theology and Philosophy Paul Helm (Classical Calvinist perspective), editor Bruce Ware (Modified Calvinist perspective), Baylor University professor of Theology Roger Olson (Classical Arminian perspective), and Hendrix College assistant professor of Religion John Sanders (Open Theist perspective).

WORLDVIEW – A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world

  • Ronnie P. Campbell Jr. Worldviews and the Problem of Evil: A Comparative Approach. How does the Christian response to the problem of evil contrast with that of other worldviews? Most attempts at answering the problem of evil either present a straightforward account of the truth claims of Christianity or defend a minimalist concept of God. This book is different. Inside, you’ll examine four worldviews’ responses to the problem of evil. Then, you’ll hear the author’s argument that Christian theism makes better sense of the phenomenon of evil in the world equipping you to reach an informed conclusion. This book’s unique approach integrating worldviews with apologetics with theology will give you a better understanding of the debate surrounding the problem of evil, in both philosophy and theology. Learn to think cogently and theologically about the problem of evil and Christianity’s ability to answer its challenges with Worldviews and the Problem of Evil as your guide.
  • Myron B. Penner, ed. Christianity and the Postmodern Turn (Six Views). R. Douglas Geivett, writes, “Is God a Story? Postmodernity and the Task of Theology”; R. Scott Smith writes, “Christian Postmodernism and the Linguistic Turn”; Kevin J. Vanhoozer writes, “Pilgrim’s Digress: Christian Thinking on and about the Post Modern Way”; John R. Franke writes, “Christian Faith and Postmodern Theory: Theology and the Nonfoundationalist Turn”; James K. A. Smith writes, “A Little Story about Metanarratives: Lyotard, Religion, and Postmodernism Revisited.” 

COVENANT, DISPENSATIONAL, & REVELATORY THEOLOGICAL SYSTEMS COMPARED

A CHART COMPARING DISPENSATIONAL & COVENANTAL SYSTEMS

577515.jpg

Pattern of History:

Covenant Theology: Covenant of Works with Adam; Covenant of Grace with Christ on behalf of the elect (some distinguish between the covenant of Redemption with Christ and the covenant of grace with the elect).

Classical Dispensationalism: Divided into dispensations (usually seven); e.g., (1) Innocence (pre-fall), (2) Conscience (Adam), (3) Human Government (Noah), (4) Promise (Abraham), (5) Law (Moses), (6) Grace (Christ’s First Coming), (7) Kingdom (Christ’s Second Coming).

Progressive Dispensationalism: Divided into dispensations, of which four are prominent: (1) Patriarchal (Promise); (2) Mosaic (Law); (3) Ecclesial (Church); (4) Zionic (Millennium, the New Heavens and New Earth).

Revelatory View: Revelation and election initiatives succeeded by human failure to respond appropriately. Periods of transition then lead to further initiatives.

God’s Purpose in History:

Covenant Theology: There is a unified redemptive purpose.

Classical Dispensationalism: There are two distinct purposes, one earthly (Israel), one heavenly (church).

Progressive Dispensationalism: To manifest His glory in a progressive redemption that covers every sphere of creation and every structure of human relationship.

Revelatory View: The objective of self-revelation is pursued culminating in the revelation of a plan of salvation, whereby the goal of relationship may be achieved. It is a unified purpose, but not soteric throughout.

View of Biblical Covenants:

Covenant Theology: They are different administrations of the Covenant of Grace. Temporal promises are conditional and applicable to the church.

Classical Dispensationalism: They mark of periods of time during which God’s specific demands of people differ. Temporal promises are unconditional and are applicable to ethnic Israel.

Progressive Dispensationalism: The biblical covenants of promise (Abrahamic, Davidic, and New) are made originally to His people, Israel. Believing gentiles are included through Christ, who is the means of blessing for all who believe. All covenants have an “already-not-yet” structure.

Revelatory View: There are revelatory initiatives facilitated through various types of election. Temporal promises are conditional but remain applicable to ethnic Israel. The covenant is characteristically redemptive; ultimately soteric; but essentially revelatory.

Relationship of the OT Law to the NT:

Covenant Theology: Acceptance of OT teaching required unless specifically abrogated  by the NT.

Classical Dispensationalism: OT prescriptions are not binding unless they are reaffirmed in the NT.

Progressive Dispensationalism: Individual aspects of the Law are assessed canonically on a case-by-case basis. Christ completes and fulfills the law.

Revelatory View: OT legal passages function within the covenant serving a revelatory purpose that continues to be relevant. The law of Christ has been superimposed on the law of Moses.

Relationship Between Israel and the Church:

Covenant Theology: The church is spiritual Israel, in continuity with true Israel of the OT.

Classical Dispensationalism: The church is the spiritual people of God, distinct from Israel, the physical people of God.

Progressive Dispensationalism: Church = the unified community that receives God’s spiritual blessings in Christ. Israel = the national and political community in the midst of nations that ultimately will be blessed fully by God. Ultimately united in redemption.

Revelatory View: The Church is the people of God defined soteriologically. Israel, previously the revelatory people of God, now may cross over and become a subset of the soteriological people of God (now that their revelatory function is complete) if they respond by faith to the plan of salvation.

Old Testament Prophecy:

Covenant Theology: Refers to God’s people, the church.

Classical Dispensationalism: Refers to ethnic Israel.

Progressive Dispensationalism: Fulness of blessing to be given to believing Israel (and those in the nations who believe) in the final dispensation.

Revelatory View: Refers to ethnic Israel but conditional upon their faithful response.

Church Age:

Covenant Theology: God’s redemptive purpose continued to unfold.

Classical Dispensationalism: There is a parenthesis between past and future manifestations of the kingdom.

Progressive Dispensationalism: From Pentecost to the rapture, a phase in the progressive outworking of God’s wholistic redemption. It is not a parenthesis in the kingdom program.

Revelatory View: The period begun when the people of God are defined soteriologically as a result of God’s plan of salvation being reveled.

*Chart adapted from John H. Walton. Covenant: God’s Purpose, God’s Plan. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994. John H. Walton has proposed the “Revelatory View.”

Baptism and Christian Discipleship: The Case for Believer’s Baptism

*A CASE FOR BAPTIZING CHRISTIAN DISCIPLES (CREDO BAPTISM)037930_w185

All Christians throughout history have agreed, on the basis of Scripture, that baptism is important. Historically, baptism has not been understood to be an optional practice. It is commanded by God. But there has often been disagreement about whom baptism is for, how it should be done, and why it is significant. The dominant practice throughout church history has been to baptize infants by sprinkling or pouring water on them. In Catholic theology, this is done primarily to wash away original sin. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, however, baptism is understood primarily as the rite by which a baby or adult is joined to the church, the mystical body of Christ. Many forms of Protestantism also practice infant baptism, but they vary in their understanding as to what this practice accomplishes. For example, the theology of traditional Lutheran churches is similar to the Catholic understanding: Baptism washes away original sin. Presbyterian churches reject this understanding, however, believing instead that baptism is the means by which children are included in the covenant God made with his people, similar to what circumcision signified in the Old Testament.

Other forms of Protestantism believe baptism is reserved for people who have made a personal decision to believe in and follow Jesus. Some groups perform this ordinance by pouring water on a believer’s head, but most carry it out by immersing the person in water. Here, too, there is a variety of understandings. A few groups who practice adult baptism believe that baptism is God’s means of remitting sin in a believer’s life. Others hold to a more Presbyterian view, seeing it as the rite that publicly initiates a person into God’s covenant. The most prevalent understanding among those who practice adult baptism, however, is that it is an outward public testimony of God’s inward work. This is the most common view among Baptists. All of these issues are debated within evangelicalism, but the issue most debated is whether baptism should be performed on children of believing parents or only on people who have made their own decision to believe in and follow Jesus. Hence, this is the issue the two essays in this section address.

The Biblical Argument

Early on in church history, the church began to practice infant baptism. According to adherents of the believer’s baptism view, this was a mistake. Baptism is intended as the initiating rite into Christian discipleship and thus is intended only for people who are old enough to make a decision to believe in and obey Jesus Christ. Baptism is meaningless apart from a personal decision to follow Jesus. The New Testament supports this perspective. In contrast to the Old Testament, in which God entered into a covenant with an entire nation, in the New Testament, God’s covenant is with all believers. The class of those who are in covenant with God changed from a national class (the Jews) to a class of people who personally decide something (believers). Consequently, it made sense in the Old Testament to give the sign of the covenant (circumcision) to infants, since they were part of the nation with which God was covenanting. It makes no sense in regard to New Testament teaching, however, because God’s covenant is with believers, and infants cannot believe.

Throughout the New Testament, salvation is offered to and baptism is commanded of only people who can meet the conditions of repenting, believing, and obeying Jesus Christ. We see this even in the ministry of John the Baptist, who was preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Mark writes: “People from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him [John] and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5, emphasis added). The ones who were baptized were the ones who confessed their sins. Infants, of course, cannot do this. Hence, there is no reason to suppose that infants were among those whom John baptized. The same may be said about the ministry of Jesus. Though Jesus did not personally baptize people (John 4:2), his message was essentially the same as John’s. “The kingdom of God has come near,” he taught, so people must “repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15). What made a person a participant in the kingdom of God was his or her willingness to repent, believe, and obey the gospel. This is why Jesus’ disciples baptized only people who were old enough to be made disciples (John 4:1-2). The same point is reflected in Jesus’ Great Commission when he says, “Go … and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Baptism was intended to be part of the process of making someone a disciple and makes sense only in the context of disciple-making. It was not intended for people too young to be taught and to decide whether they wanted to obey all that Jesus commanded.

The truth that baptism is a part of disciple-making becomes even more evident in the ministry of the earliest disciples. They obeyed Jesus’ command to make disciples and therefore to baptize and teach them. In the first sermon preached after the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, Peter exclaimed: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him. Acts 2:38-39 Whereas in the Old Testament it meant something to be born a Jew, as opposed to a Gentile, in the New Testament, the only thing that mattered was whether a person repented and submitted to Jesus Christ. This is why the sign of the covenant was different. In the Old Testament, the sign was given to any male born a Jew. In the New Testament, it was given only to those who were born again into Jesus Christ (John 3:5). Only if one repents of sin does baptism into Jesus Christ mean anything. It is true that in this passage Peter promises that the gift of the Holy Spirit is promised not only to adults but also to their children. Those who practice infant baptism argue on this basis that baptism must be administered to children of believing parents. This interpretation reads too much into the text, however. Peter goes on to say that the promise is “for all who are far away,” but no one believes Peter was suggesting that we should baptize all Gentiles. The promise is for them in the sense that God wants to pour out his Spirit on them (Acts 2:17). But they become recipients of the promise-and we should baptize them-only when they make a personal decision to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. This is why Peter immediately adds that the promise is for “everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” It is not for everyone in general. It is for everyone who will repent and believe and thus for everyone whom God calls. The same holds true for Peter’s assertion that the promise is not only for adults but also for their children. God wants children to receive the Holy Spirit, but the promise is applied to them and we should baptize them only when they personally repent and believe. Baptism is an act of discipleship that can be entered into only by people old enough to be disciples. This is why every example of baptism in the New Testament involves a person old enough to decide to follow Christ. Never do we read about infants being baptized. For example, it was only after the Samaritans “believed Philip” as he preached the good news that “they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). It was only after the Ethiopian eunuch embraced the good news about Jesus that he was baptized (Acts 8:35-38). The apostle Paul was baptized after he encountered Jesus and obeyed the heavenly vision (Acts 9:18). Peter commanded Cornelius and his household to be baptized only after he saw evidence of their faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 10:44-48). It was only after God opened Lydia’s heart and she believed that she and her household were baptized (Acts 16:14-15). And it was only after the disciples of John the Baptist accepted Paul’s teaching about Jesus that they were baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5-6). Without exception, baptism follows faith and constitutes the first act of discipleship made by a responsible person who has decided to follow Jesus. Defenders of infant baptism argue that the references in Acts to households being baptized suggest that infants were baptized along with adults (Acts 11:13-14; 16:15, 30-34; 18:8). There is no reason to assume this, however. While all servants were included in a “household” in the ancient Roman world, children generally were not. This seems to be Luke’s perspective, for in the same context in which he speaks about households being baptized, he speaks about households being taught, believing, and rejoicing (Acts 16:32, 34; 18:8). Finally, some of the meanings given to baptism in the New Testament imply that it is intended only for people old enough to be disciples. For example, Paul says that baptism shows that “our old self was crucified with [Christ]” (Rom. 6:6) and that now we should “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Infants can hardly do so. Similarly, Peter says that baptism “now saves you” not as a literal washing “of dirt from the body” but “as an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:2 1). But how can an infant have a good (or bad) conscience? Baptism should be administered only to those who are old enough to make a decision to die to sin, walk in a new life, and enjoy a good conscience before God.

Supporting Argument

The importance of discipleship. History testifies to the truth that infant baptism produces nominal, apathetic Christians. If someone is considered a Christian by virtue of being born to Christian parents (or in a Christian state), then the urgency of stepping out on one’s own and making the radical decision to follow Jesus is compromised. This is not to suggest that all Christians baptized as infants are passionless or that the practice of infant baptism causes one to be passionless. But this practice invariably tends in that direction, and for obvious reasons. By contrast, the practice of adult baptism forces each individual to make his or her own decision to follow Christ.

Responding to Objections

1. Scripture passages oppose this view. Paedobaptists point to several clusters of texts that they believe support their practice. For example, they often point to the New Testament practice of “household” baptism. But as already shown, these passages do not require or even suggest that infants were baptized. Some try to support infant baptism on the basis of Paul’s statement that children are “sanctified” by believing parents (1 Cor. 7:14). But this passage says nothing about baptism. Paul is simply claiming that children are “set apart” -namely, for a unique godly influence-when their parents believe. Finally, some try to support infant baptism on the basis of Jesus’ practice of accepting and blessing little children (e.g., Mark 10:14-16). But again, this passage says nothing about baptism. Of course Jesus loved and accepted children! But he never tried to make disciples out of them. Why should we suppose, therefore, that he would approve of baptizing them?

2. This view ignores the continuity of the old and new covenants. Some argue that believer’s baptism ignores the continuity between the old and new covenants in general and their signs-circumcision and baptism-in particular. Admittedly, the covenant concept does connect the Old and New Tetaments, and the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled in the new covenant. However, those who baptize infants have failed to see the decisive shift in the new covenant as it relates to the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise. It is no longer a genetic connection that determines a child of Abraham but rather the conscious act of faith. Paul makes this unequivocally clear: Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed (Galatians 3:6-9). God’s elect people are no longer a nationality. They are a people who do something, namely, believe. Hence, while the sign of belonging to the covenantal community could be given to physical newborns under the old covenant, it should be reserved for spiritual newborns under the new covenant.

3. This view has been influenced by modern individualism. Some argue that the practice of believer’s baptism has been unduly influenced by Western individualism, which rejects the biblical view of familial corporateness within the saved community. In the Bible, it is argued, infants of covenant keepers were regarded as members of the covenant because people in biblical times, unlike people today, did not define individuals apart from their association with a community. In reply, it is not Western individualism that drives the believer’s baptism position. Rather, it is the New Testament’s concept of personal salvation. Each individual must be “born from above” just as each individual must be born from the womb (John 3:3-6). Believers are to belong to and be mutually defined by their involvement in the community of God’s covenantal people, but first they must individually decide to become disciples. According to New Testament teaching, the first act of obedience they perform as disciples is to be baptized.

4. This view runs counter to church tradition. Finally, the believer’s baptism position is often rejected on the grounds that it runs counter to the majority view throughout church history. Two things must be said in response. First, evangelicals cannot appeal to church tradition to settle an issue. The affirmation of sola scriptura means that Scripture is the sole authority on matters of faith and practice. Christians should not easily set aside traditional perspectives, but they can and must do so if traditional views disagree with Scripture. Second, while it is true that the infant baptism view has been the primary perspective throughout church history, it is also true that there is no explicit evidence of infant baptism until the second century and no evidence that it was dominant until much later. This is plenty of time for an aberration of Christian practice and theology to take place. Indeed, most evangelicals would agree that the dominant theology of baptism was becoming aberrant by the mid-second century, because Christians at this time were increasingly holding that baptism literally washed away sin and was necessary for salvation, a view almost all evangelicals reject.

*Article authored by Gregory A. Boyd and Paul R. Eddy. Adapted from Chapter 14: “Baptism and Christian Discipleship (The Believer’s Baptism View) in the Book Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002.

Are Women Called to Function as Pastors, Elders, or Overseers in the Church?

25437x_w185

Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner: A Complementarian Perspective on Women In Ministry 

I believe the role of women in the church is the most controversial and sensitive issue within evangelicalism today. This is not to say that it is the most important controversy, for other debates–the openness of God, and inclusivism versus exclusivisim, for example–are more central. Nonetheless, “the women’s issue” generally sparks more intense debate, probably because women who must defend their call to pastoral ministry feel their personhood and dignity are being questioned by those who doubt their ordination. Men who support the ordination of women are often passionate about the issue, both for exegetical reasons and because they feel compassion for women who have shared their stories with them (It is clear, e.g., that Craig Keener [Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and women’s ministry in the Letters of Paul. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1992] is influenced significantly by the sense of call many women feel). Most women who feel called to ministry have experienced the pain of speaking with men who have told them their desires are unbiblical.

I am as affected by the cultural climate as anyone, and thus would prefer, when speaking with women who feel called to pastoral ministry, to say they should move ahead and that they have God’s blessing to do so. It is never pleasant to see someone’s face fall in disappointment when they hear my voice on the matter. On the other hand, I must resist the temptation to please people and instead must be faithful to my understanding of Scripture. And I understand Scripture to forbid women from teaching and exercising authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:12). In this essay I will try to explain what is involved in this prohibition. Following the lead of others, I will view the complementation view, and I will call the view that believes all ministries should be open to women the egalitarian view.

History, Hermeneutics, and Terminology

Before I undertake an explanation of the biblical text, I want to say something about the history, hermeneutics, and accurate terminology.

History

Throughout most of church history, women have been prohibited from serving as pastors and priests (See Daniel Doriani, “A History of the Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, eds. Andreas Kostenberger, Thomas R. Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995], 23-67). Thus, the view I support in this essay is “the historic view.” I readily admit that those supporting the historic view have sometimes used extreme and unpersuasive arguments to defend their views, and that low views of women have colored their interpretations. Nor does the tradition of the church prove that women should be proscribed from the pastorate, for as evangelicals we believe in sola scripture. Nonetheless, evangelicals must beware of what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery” (C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy [New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1955], 207). The tradition of the church is not infallible, but it should not be discarded easily. The presumptive evidence is against a “new interpretation,” for we are apt to be ensnared by our own cultural context and thus fail to see what was clear to our ancestors. An interpretation that has stood the test of time and been ratified by the church in century and century–both in the East and the West and in the North and the South–has an impressive pedigree, even if some of the supporting arguments used are unpersuasive (Karen Jo Torjeson. When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity. Harper: San Francisco, 1993, 9-87; argues that women actually functioned as priests in the earliest part of church history. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter L. Liefeld [Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to Present. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987], 63, 89-127, who are egalitarian scholars, are more careful and persuasive in their analysis of the evidence).

Moreover, the view that women should not be priests or pastors has transcended confessional barriers. It has been the view throughout history of most Protestants, the various Orthodox branches of the church, and the Roman Catholic Church. All of these groups could be wrong, of course; Scripture is the final arbiter on such matters. But the burden of proof is surely on those who promote a new interpretation, especially since the new interpretation follows on the heels of the feminist revolution in our society. Despite some of the positive contributions of feminism (e.g., equal pay for equal work and emphasis on treating women as human beings), it is scarcely clear that the movement as a whole has been a force for good (See Mary A. Kassian, The Feminist Gospel: The Movement to Unite Feminism with the Church [Wheaton, ILL.: Crossway, 1992]; Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis, 155-96; Harold O. J. Brown, “The New Testament Against Itself: 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the ‘Breakthrough’ of Galatians 3:28,” in Women in Church: A Fresh Analysis, 197-211. From a secular point of view, see Nicholas Davidson, The Failure of Feminism [Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988).

Hermeneutics

A brief word on hermeneutics is also necessary. We are keenly aware that all interpreters are shaped by their previous experience and culture (For a helpful analysis of common hermeneutical errors on both sides, see Andreas J. Kostenberger, “Gender Passages in the New Testament: Hermeneutical Fallacies Critiqued,” WTJ 56 [1994]; 259-83). No one encounters a text with a blank slate, without presuppositions. A detached objectivity is impossible, for we are finite human beings who inhabit a particular culture and a specific society. On the other hand, we must beware of thinking we can never transcend our culture. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably read into texts what we already believe. If we are ensnared by our own histories and social location, then we can dispense with reading any books, though we may enjoy reading those that support our current biases. If we can never learn anything new and if we invariably return to our own worldview, then there is no “truth” to be discovered anyway. Every essay in this volume (Two Views on Women in Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2005) would simply represent the cultural biases of the contributors, and your response as a reader would be your own particular cultural bias. If we are trapped by our past, we may as well relish who we are–and conclude we’re simply wasting our time in reading anybody else’s opinion.

The idea that we are completely bound by our past is hermeneutical nihilism. Instead, awareness of our cultural background and presuppositions may become the pathway by which we transcend our past. People do change, and we can with diligent effort understand those who are different from us. Similarly, comprehending texts that are distant from us is possible, and we may even accept such a “foreign” world as the truth. Indeed, hermeneutical nihilism is really a form of atheism, for evangelicals believe in a God who speaks and who enables us to understand his words. The Spirit of God enables us to comprehend and embrace the truths of his word (1 Cor. 2:6-16), truths we rejected when we were unregenerate. Christians are confident that God’s word is an effective word, a word that creates life (John 6:63). Naturally, this does not mean Christians now have perfect knowledge, nor does it imply we will agree on everything; neither am I denying that some texts are difficult to interpret. We “know in part” (1 Cor. 13:12) until the day of redemption (Unless otherwise noted, Scripture citations are taken fro the New American Standard Bible [NASB]). And yet we can gain a substantial and accurate understanding of the Scriptures in this age. I approach this issue, therefore, with the confidence that God’s word speaks to us today and that his will on the role of women can be discerned.

Another hermeneutical matter must be discussed at this juncture. Occasionally the debate between the complementation and egalitarian views is framed as a choice between fundamental texts. For example, one author using the ordination of women as an illustration in discussing the millennium declares the following about the role of women: “The crucial question becomes which passages control the discussion: the passages where no limits seem to be expressed or those that do. Different sides take different positions based on whether they regard the nonrestrictive texts to be more fundamental to determining the view or the restrictive texts.”

Let me simply say at the outset that I reject the dichotomy expressed here. I do not believe the issue relates to which texts are “more fundamental” or which texts “control the discussion.” Such a view assumes that one set of texts functions as a prism by which the other set of texts is viewed. All of us are prone, of course, to read the Scriptures through a particular grid, and none of us escape such a tendency completely. But this way of framing the issue assumes that the decision on women’s ordination is arrived at by deciding which set of texts is more fundamental. If this perspective is correct, it is hard to see how one could possibly say that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is more fundamental than Galatians 3:28. The game seems to be over before it begins. I am convinced the complementation view is correct, not because 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is “more fundamental” or that it “controls the discussion” when interpreting Galatians 3:28. Rather, complementarians, in my opinion, have done the most justice to both Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 when these texts are interpreted in context. Neither text should have priority over the other; both must be interpreted carefully and rigorously in context.

I have often heard egalitarians make another hermeneutical statement quite similar to what is noted above. They will say Galatians 3:28 is a clear text, and the texts that limit women from some ministries are unclear (So Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Equal to Serve: Women and Men in the Church and Home [Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1987], 183-89). Then they proceed to say that clear texts must have sovereignty over unclear ones. Who could possibly disagree with this hermeneutical principle when it is abstractly stated? I also believe clear texts should have priority. However, the claim that Galatians 3:28 is the clear text begs the question. Both Galatians 3:28 and texts that limit women in ministry yield a clear and noncontradictory message. Those who preceded us in church history did not think that 1 Timothy 2:11-15 was unclear and that Galatians 3:28 was transparent. Our ancestors did not perceive the same tension between the two texts that many feel today. The texts strike us as polar because a modern notion of equality is often imported into Galatians 3:28. My own position is the main point of Galatians 3:28 and texts that limit the role of women is clear. I am not arguing that every detail in texts like 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is transparent, but the basic teaching is not hard to understand, nor is the main truth in Galatians 3:28 difficult to grasp.

Terminology

A word about terminology is also in order. Even though I use the phrase “ordination of women” for convenience, the real issue is not ordination but whether women can function in the pastoral office. The language of ordination is not regularly used in the NT of those who serve as leaders in the church. The NT presbyteroi (“elders”) and episkopoi (“overseers”) who serve as leaders in the early church. That elders and overseers constitute the same office is evident from Paul’s address to the Ephesian leaders at Miletus (Acts 20:17-35). In verse 17 they are designated as “elders,” while in verse 28 the same group is described as “overseers.” The term “elders” probably designates the office, while the term “overseers” refers to function–the responsibility to watch over the church. Verse 28 also contains a pastoral metaphor, for the overseers are responsible to poimainein (“shepherd”) God’s flock . Here we have an indication that pastors, overseers, and elders refer to the same office.

Titus 1:5-9 also supports the idea that “elders” and “overseers” refer to the same office. Paul charges Titus to appoint elders in every city (v. 5) and then proceeds to describe the requisite character (v.6). In verse 7 he shifts to the word “overseer.” The singular use of the word “overseer” (episkopon) does not designate another office but is generic. The “for” (gar) connecting verses 6-7 indicates a new office is not in view, since Paul continues to describe the character required of leaders. Indeed, the very same word (anenkletos, “above reproach”) is used in both verses 6 and 7, functioning as further evidence that “overseers” and “elders” refer to the same office. Peter’s first letter (5:1-4) provides confirmatory evidence as well. Peter addressed the elders (presbyterous) in verse 1, calling on them to shepherd (poimanate) the flock. The participle episkopountes (“overseeing”) is also used (verse 2), and so I conclude that shepherding (pastoring) and overseeing are the responsibilities of the elders.

Nor is it the case that elders and overseers were exceptional in the NT. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church planted on their first missionary journey ([Acts 14:23] – The appointing of elders in “every church” indicates a plurality of leadership in local churches. So also Acts 20:17 refers to presbyterous tes ekklesias, showing that there were plural elders for a single church. This is the most plausible way of reading Philippians 1:1, as well as the other texts regarding elders). “Overseers and deacons” (Phil. 1:1) comprise the two offices in Philippi. Leaders in the church at Jerusalem are designated as “elders” (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4). We have already seen that Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders in Crete (Titus 1:5). The qualifications and responsibilities of overseers and elders are explained in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and 5:17-25. Peter’s reference to “elders” (1 Pet. 5:1) indicates that elders were appointed in churches in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bitynia (1 Pet. 1:1). When James refers to the leaders of the church, he calls them “elders” (Jas. 5:14). This brief survey reveals that elders and overseers were common in the NT church. Elders are not limited to Paul’s letters but are also found in the writings of James, Peter, and Luke. Geographically, elders and overseers stretch from Jerusalem to Philippi to Crete. The terminology, of course, is not fixed. Leaders of churches are also referred to without the use of the titles “elders” or “overseers” (1 Cor. 16:15-16; Gal. 6:6; 1 Thess. 5:12-13).

My thesis in this essay is that women were not appointed to the pastoral office. Sometimes we ask, “Are women called to the ministry?” I used that very language in introducing this essay. But such language is too imprecise. All believers, including women, are called to ministry. There are a multitude to ministries women can and should fulfill. Similarly, the question is not whether women should be ordained, since ordination in not the central issue in the NT. The question I want to raise is quite specific: Are women called to function as pastors, elders, or overseers? My answer to this question is no, and this essay will explain why.

The Dignity and Significance of Women

We are apt to misunderstand the Scriptures if we immediately delve into texts that limit women from the pastoral office, for the dignity and significance of women is consistently taught in the Bible. Genesis 1:26-28 teaches that both men and women are made in God’s image, and together they are to rule over the world God created. Not only are both males and females made in God’s image, but also they are equally made in his image. No evidence exists that males somehow reflect God’s image more than females. Stanley Grenz provides no evidence for saying that contemporary complementarians deny that both men and women equally share God’s image (Stanley J. Grenz with Denise Muir Kjesbo, Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry [Downers Grove, IL.: Intervarsity, 1995], 169. Amazingly, Grenz cites Ruth Tucker, who is an egalitarian, in support but cites no primary sources to prove his charge). Anyone who has read the literature knows that such an allegation is not true of the vast majority of complementarians.

The dignity of women is often portrayed in the OT. We think of the courageous life of Sarah (Gen. 12-23), the faith of Rahab (Josh. 2), the commitment of Hannah (1 Sam. 1-2), the devotion of Ruth (Ruth 1-4), Abigail’s gentle but firm rebuke of David (1 Sam. 25), the humble faith of both the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17) and the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4), and the risk-taking faith of Esther (Esth. 1-10). As the author of Hebrews writes, “time will fail me” (Hebrews 11:32) were I to narrate the lives of these OT women and others I have skipped over.

It has been noted often and rightly that Jesus treated women with dignity and respect and that he elevated them in a world where they were often mistreated. He displayed courage and tenderness in speaking to the Samaritan woman when it was contrary to cultural conventions (John 4:7-29). The compassion of Jesus was evident when he raised from the dead the only son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17), for that son would have become her sole means of support. He lovingly healed the woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage of blood for twelve years (Mark 5:25-34) and delivered the woman who had been unable to stand up straight for eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17), even though he was criticized in the latter instance for performing such a healing on the Sabbath. Jesus’ tender firmness toward women in bondage to sin was remarkable, as is evidenced in the stories of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) and the sinful woman who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus healed women who were hurting, such as the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30) and Peter’s mother-in-law (1:29-31). When suffering agony on the cross, he was concerned for his mother’s welfare and requested John to care for her (John 19:26-27).

Jesus often used women or the world of women as examples in his teaching. He commended the queen of Sheba (Matt. 12:42), likened the kingdom of heaven to leaven which was put in dough by a woman (13:33), told the parable of the ten virgins (25:1-13), and defended his ministry to sinners with the parable of the lost coin of a woman (Luke 15:8-10). The necessity of steadfastness in prayer is illustrated by the widow who confronted the unjust judge (18:1-8). Jesus upheld the dignity of women by speaking out against divorce, which particularly injured women in the ancient world (Mark 10:2-12). Nor are women simply sex objects to be desired by men, for Jesus spoke strongly against lust (Matt. 5:27-30). Jesus also commended the poor widow who gave all she owned–more than the rich who gave lavish gifts out of their abundance (Luke 21:1-4).

Women were also prominently featured in the ministry of Jesus. His ministry was financed by several women of means (Luke 8:1-3), and it is likely that some of these women traveled with him during at least some of his ministry. Jesus commended Mary for listening to his word, in contrast to Martha, who was excessively worried about preparations for a meal (10:38-42). The account is particularly significant because some in Judaism prohibited women from learning Torah, but Jesus encouraged women to learn the Scriptures. His close relationship with Mary and Martha is illustrated by the account of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44) and his anointing for burial by Mary (12:1-8). The devotion of women was also apparent in their concern for Jesus, even on his way to the cross (Luke 23:27-31; cf. Mark 15:40-41). Finally, Jesus appeared to women and entrusted them to be his witnesses when he was raised from the dead (Matt. 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18), even though the testimony of women was not received by courts. What is particularly striking is that Jesus appeared to women first, showing again their significance and value as human beings.

The importance of women was not nullified by the early church after Jesus’ ministry. Women participated with men in prayer before the day of Pentectost (Acts 1:12-14). Widows who were lacking daily provisions were not shunted aside, but specific plans were enacted to ensure their needs were met (6:1-6; 1 Tim. 5:3-16; see also Jas. 1:26-27). Tabitha was commended for her loving concern for others (Acts 9:36-42), and Luke features the conversion of Lydia, who worked as a merchant (16:14-15). Concern for women is illustrated in the eviction of the demon from the slave girl (vv. 16-18); her owners were concerned for profits (vv. 19-21), but Paul desired her salvation and deliverance.

All of these confirm the teaching of Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Some scholars see this verse as containing an early baptismal formula, but the prehistory of the text need not detain us here). Both women and men, slave and free, are valuable to God. Women are made in God’s image and thus possess dignity as his image bearers. The fundamental purpose of Galatians 3:28 in context is to say that both men and women have equal access to salvation in Christ. The Judaizing opponents had rocked the Galatian churches, causing them to wonder if one had to be circumcised to be saved (5:2-6; 6:12-13). Paul reminded them that one belongs to the family of Abraham by faith alone (3:6-9, 14, 29). One does not need to become a Jew and receive circumcision in order to qualify for membership in the people of God. Nor are the people of God restricted to males. Anyone who believes in Christ, whether male or female, is part of God’s family.

Klyne Snodgrass argues that Galatians 3:28 cannot be confined to salvation but also has social implications (Klyne R. Snodgrass, “Galatians 3:28: Conundrum or Solution?” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen [Downers Grove, ILL.: InterVarsity, 1986], 161-81). Jews and Gentiles, for instance, now relate to each other differently because of their oneness in Christ. I believe Snodgrass is correct. The main point of this verse is that all people, including both men and women, have equal access to salvation in Christ. Nonetheless, it also true that such a truth has social consequences and implications. However, we must read the rest of what Paul says to explain accurately what these social implications are. It is extraordinarily easy to impose on the biblical text our modern democratic Western notions of social equality (Rebecca Merrill Groothuis [Good News for Women: A Biblical Picture of Gender Equality. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997], 46 – falls into this very error in defining equality. She does not derive her definition from Scripture but from classical liberal thought. For a persuasive critique of Snodgrass and egalitarian interpretations of Galatians 3:28, see Kostenberger, “Gender Passages,” 274-79; and the insightful work of Richard W. Hove, Equality in Christ? Galatians 3:28 and the Gender Dispute. Wheaton, ILL.: Crossway, 1999). As we proceed, we will attempt to discern Paul’s own understanding of the social implications of Galatians 3:28.

The late F.F. Bruce’s understanding of Galatians 3:28 was fundamentally flawed, for he red into it his own philosophical conception of equality: “Paul states the basic principle here; if restrictions on it are found elsewhere in the Pauline corpus…, they are to be understood in relation to Galatians 3:28, and not vice versa” (F.F. Bruce, Commentary on Galatians [NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982], 190. Judith M. Gundry-Volf would draw different conclusions than I would from Galatians 3:28, but she rightly argues that this verse does not abolish all gender differences. See “Christ and Gender: A Study of Difference and Equality in Galatians 3:28,” in Jesus Christus als die Mitte der Schrift: Studien zur Hermeneutik des Evangeliums, eds. C. Landmesser, H.J. Eckstein, and H. Lichtenberger [BZNW 86; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997], 439-77). Bruce’s assertion begged the question. He assumed all the verses to be interpreted through the lens of Galatians 3:28, but thereby he ensured that his own notions of equality would be read into the verse. Nothing Paul writes elsewhere can qualify or limit his view of Galatians 3:28.

Let me apply Bruce’s logic to the issue of homosexuality (I am not saying that the issues of women in ministry and homosexuality are of equal clarity or importance, for I am persuaded that anyone who thinks homosexuality is acceptable is no longer evangelical. The scriptural teaching on homosexuality is clearer than its teaching on the role of women. Nonetheless, the very principle propounded by F.F. Bruce could logically lead to the result I point out above). What if I were to say, “Galatians 3:28 is Paul’s fundamental statement on what it means to be male and female. Any verse written elsewhere on the matter must be read in light of Galatians 3:28. Therefore, those verses in Paul’s letters that proscribe homosexuality are to be read in light of Galatians 3:28. Paul says that whether one is male or female is of no significance to God. Therefore, whether one marries a male or female is irrelevant.” Evangelicals would rightly protest that such an exegesis reads modern notions of sexual relations into the text. My point is that precisely the same kind of question-begging exegesis is being employed in egalitarian interpretations of Galatians 3:28. Women have equal access to salvation, and there are social consequences to this truth, to be sure, but we need to read Paul and the rest of the Scriptures to determine what these implications are.

At this juncture we need to remind ourselves of the teaching of Galatians 3:28. The Bible does not teach that men or masters or Jews are somehow closer to God. Males and females, masters and slaves, and Jews and Gentiles all have equal access to salvation. It certainly follows that we should treat every human being, whether male or female, with dignity and respect. We also proclaim the gospel to all people groups and both genders in the hope of their salvation.

Since men and women have equal access to salvation, they are also joint heirs “of the grace of life” (1 Pet. 3:7). Peter teaches here that both men and women have an equal destiny; both will receive an inheritance on the day of the Lord. The Bible does not teach that women will have a lesser place in heaven. Men and women are equally heirs of the salvation God has promised.

WOMEN IN MINISTRY

It would be a fundamental mistake to so concentrate on the Scripture passages that limit women in ministry that we fail to see the many ministries in which women were engaged during Bible times. My purpose in this section is to show the variety of ministries involving women and also to explain how such participation in ministry does not contradict the view that women are prohibited from serving in the pastoral office.

The Scriptures clearly teach that women functioned, at least occasionally, as prophets. In the OT, Miriam (Exod. 15:20-21), Deborah (Judg. 4:4-5), and Huldah (2 Kgs. 22:14-20) are prominent. Anna in the NT also functions like an OT prophet, since she exercised her gift before Jesus’ public ministry (Luke 2:36-38). In Peter’s Pentecost sermon he emphasizes that Joel’s prophecy has been fulfilled and that the Spirit has been poured out on both men and women (Acts 2:17-18). Philip’s four daughters were prophets (21:9), and women in Corinth apparently exercised the gift as well (1 Cor. 11:5). The spiritual gift of prophecy belongs to women as well as men (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10, 28; Eph. 4:11). Egalitarians often argue that prophecy is actually ranked above teaching (1 Cor. 12:28), and thus if women have the right to prophesy, they must also be able to teach and preach because they possess all the spiritual gifts.

To handle this issue adequately, we must define the gift of prophecy. Some define prophecy as preaching (See, e.g., J.I. Packer [Keep in Step with the Spirit. Old Tappan, N.J.: Revell, 1984, 215], who essentially defines prophecy as “preaching.” Packer is a complementarian. For this notion of prophecy, see also David Hill, New Testament Prophecy [London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1979], 213; Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians. NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000, 960-61; Craig L. Blomberg, “Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian: Gender Roles in Paul,” in Two Views on Women in Ministry, eds. James R Beck and Craig L. Blomberg. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001, 344-45). It is true that those who prophesy proclaim God’s word to the people of God. On the other hand, identifying prophecy as preaching is misleading, since those who preach the Scriptures use the gift of teaching in their exposition. Women are banned from the pastoral office, since one of the fundamental roles of elders is preaching that involves teaching men (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9). Even though prophets declare the word of God, the gift of prophecy should not be equated with the regular teaching and preaching of God’s word.

In 1 Corinthians 14:29-32, Paul indicates that prophecy involves spontaneous reception of revelation or oracles from God (For studies of prophecy that support this basic view, see David E Aune, Prophecy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983]; Wayne A. Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians [Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1982]; Graham Houston, Prophecy: A Gift for Today? [Downers Grove, ILL.: Intervarsity, 1989], 82-86; Christopher Forbes, Prophecy and Inspired Speech in Early Christianity and Its Hellenistic Environment [WUNT 2/75; Tubingen: Mohr, 1995], 218-21; Max Turner, The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts, rev. ed. [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1996], 185-220). This is evident from verse 30, for a revelation is suddenly given to a prophet who is seated. Clearly a prepared message is not involved, for the person sitting down receives a revelation from God without warning and stands to deliver this spontaneous word of God to the congregation. Such a definition of prophecy fits with Agabus’s prophecies in Acts. The Lord revealed to him that a famine would spread over the world (11:27-28), and he also prophesied that Paul would be tied up and handed over to the Gentiles (21:10-11). These prophesies are hardly prepared messages but are oracles that come supernaturally from God.

The oracular nature of prophecy is also evident in the prophecies of Deborah (Judg. 4:4-9) and Huldah (2 Kgs. 22:14-20), for they deliver God’s specific word in response to particular situations. From this I conclude that prophecy is not to be equated with the teaching required of those serving as elders/overseers/pastors. It also follows that prophecy is distinct from the gift of teaching. Teaching involves the explanation of tradition that has already been transmitted, whereas prophecy is fresh revelation (See TDNT, 6:854, S.V. “prophets“; Heinrich Greeven, “Propheten, Lehrer, Vorsteher bei Paulus,” ZNW 44 [1952-53]:29-30; Forbes, Prophecy and Inspired Speech, 225-29; Turner, Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts, 187-90, 206-12).

It is not the purpose of this essay to resolve whether prophecy still exists as a gift today (For a discussion of this issue, see Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views, ed. Wayne A. Grudem [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996]). What must be observed is that the presence of women prophets does not neutralize the prohibition against women serving as pastors. God has raised up women prophets in the history of the church, but it does not follow that women should serve as elders or overseers of God’s flock. In the OT, women served occasionally as prophets but never as priests (For development of this argument, see Gordon J. Wenham, “The Ordination of Women: Why Is It So Divisive?” Chm 92 [1978]: 310-19). Similarly, in the NT, women served as prophets but never as pastors or overseers or apostles. Not a single NT example can be adduced that women served as pastors, elders, or overseers. When we examine 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 in more detail later, we will also see that Paul instructs women to exercise their prophetic gift with a submissive demeanor and attitude, since man is the head of a woman (v. 3).

Another difference between prophecy and teaching must be noted. Prophecy is a passive gift in which oracles or revelations are given by God to a prophet. Teaching, on the other hand, is a gift that naturally fits with leadership and is a settled office, for it involves the transmission and explanation of tradition (Previously I argued that a women’s gift of prophecy was not exercised as publicly as it was by men [see my “The Valuable Ministries of Women in the Context of Male Leadership: A Suvey of Old and New Testament Examples and Teaching,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem [Wheaton, ILL.: Crossway, 1991], 216. I know have some reservations about the validity of this argument.). I am not arguing that prophecy is a lesser gift than teaching, only that it is a distinct gift.

Isn’t there a flaw in the above argument? For women have the gift of teaching, just as men do. When the spiritual gifts are listed (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10, 28-30; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), no hint is given that women lack the gift of teaching. In fact, Priscilla and Aquila together instructed Apollos more accurately about the things of the Lord (Acts 18:26), and the listing of Priscilla first may signal that she was more learned than her husband. Paul also testifies to the powerful ministry of this couple, calling them fellow workers in the gospel and referring to a church that met in their home (Rom. 16:3-5; 1 Cor. 16:19; cf. 2 Tim. 4:19). Some egalitarians also point to Titus 2:3, where the teaching of women is commended.

In many respects I agree with egalitarians here. Sometimes complementarians have given the impression that women are unintelligent and that they lack the ability to teach. Such a view is clearly mistaken, for some women unquestionably have the spiritual gift of teaching. Men should be open to receiving biblical and doctrinal instruction from women. Otherwise, they are  not following the humble example of Apollos, who learned from Priscilla and Aquila. Moreover, women should be encouraged to share what they have learned from Scriptures when the church gathers. The mutual teaching recommended in 1 Corinthians 14:26 and Colossians 3:16 is not limited to men. Sometimes we men are more chauvinistic than biblical.

Nonetheless, the above Scripture texts do not indicate that women filled the pastoral office or functioned as regular teachers of the congregation. All believers are to instruct one another, both when the church gathers and when we meet in smaller groups of two or three (1 Cor. 14:26; Col. 3:16). To encourage and instruct one another is the responsibility of all believers. But such mutual encouragement and instruction is not the same thing as a woman’s being appointed to the pastoral office or functioning as the regular teacher of a gathering of men and women.

Complementarians can easily go too far and think that women cannot teach them anything from Scripture, when the example of Priscilla says otherwise. On the other hand, a single occasion in which Pricilla taught Apollos in private hardly demonstrates that she filled the pastoral office. Let me use an example from today. If a member of my church named Jim took aside another person in my congregation and explained something from the Bible to him, it does not follow that Jim was actually functioning as a teacher or pastor in our church. Other information would be needed to clarify Jim’s precise role. Egalitarians can be tempted to read more into the Priscilla account than it actually says. And egalitarians are sometimes disingenuous about Titus 2:3, for the context reveals that Paul encourages older women to instruct younger women (See Grenz, Women in the Church, 129). It is eisegesis [reading into the text] to use this text to defend the belief that women can teach men in pastoral ministry, for the ministry of older women to younger women is what is commended here.

Paul celebrates the contributions of women in ministry. One of his favorite terms for those who assist him in ministry is synergos (“co-worker,” “fellow worker”). The lineup of coworkers is impressive: Timothy (Rom. 16:21; 1 Thess. 3:2; Phlm. 1), Apollos (1 Cor. 3:9), Urbanus (Rom. 16:9), Titus (2 Cor. 8:23), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Aristarchus (Col. 4:10; Phlm. 24), Mark (Col. 4:11; Phlm. 24), Jesus Justus (Col. 4:11), Epaphras (Phlm. 24), Demas (Phlm. 24), and Luke (Phlm. 24). But coworkers are not limited to men. Pricilla is called a synergos (“fellow worker”) in Romans 16:3. Euodia and Syntyche are commended as coworkers in Philippians 4:3, and Paul says they struggled together with him spreading the gospel.

Paul also often uses the verb kopiao (“to labor”) to designate those involved in ministry (1 Cor. 16:16). Indeed, the term kopiaomm often describes his own ministry (1 Cor. 4:12; 15:10; Gal. 4:11; Phil. 2:16; Col. 1:29; 1 Tim. 4:10). In some texts, leaders are said to labor, or work hard (1 Cor. 16:16; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17). What is remarkable is that a number of women are noted by Paul as having worked hard: Mary (Rom. 16:6) and Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis (v.12). Egalitarians conclude from this that women functioned as leaders in the early church.

We ought not to miss the point both egalitarians and complementarians agree on: women were obviously significantly involved in ministry. And they worked hard in their ministries. But the evidence does not clearly indicate that women functioned as leaders, for the terms are fundamentally vague on the matter of leadership. We know women worked hard in ministry, but these terms do not tell us they functioned as pastors. The flaw in such reasoning is easily apparent if we consider the case of the apostle Paul. Let me construct a simple syllogism:

Paul the apostle often describes his ministry as labor, or hard work. A number of women are said to labor in ministry. Therefore, women functioned as apostles. The logical flaw here is immediately apparent, for “labor” is not unique to or distinctive of apostles. People can labor in ministry without being apostles. Similarly, women labor in ministry without necessarily functioning as leaders. In my own church, many women are working hard and laboring in the ministry, but they do not fill pastoral leadership roles. The reader should note carefully what I am not saying. I am not arguing that the terms “fellow worker” (“co-worker”) and “labor” (“work hard”) clearly exclude women from pastoral leadership. I am merely saying the terms do not demonstrate they functioned as such.

Did women serve as deacons in the NT period? The debate centers on Romans 16:1 and 1 Timothy 3:11. Many complementarians are persuaded that women were not deacons. Unfortunately, the text is unclear, so certainty is precluded, and we are limited to a study of two verses! On balance I think women did serve as deacons, and I believe we should encourage them to fill this office in our churches. The word for “deacon” (diakonos) often refers to service in general, with no specific office being intended. Nevertheless, it seems that Phoebe filled an office in Romans 16:1, for she is spoken of as a “deacon of the church at [TNIV, “in”] “Cenchreae” (NRSV). The addition of the words “of the church at Cenchreae” after diakonos suggests an official position, for it appears she filled a particular role in a specific local church.

It is possible 1 Timothy 3:11 refers to the wives of deacons instead of women deacons, but a reference to women deacons is more likely for a number of reasons. First, the women in verse 11 are introduced with the term “likewise”–the same term used to introduce male deacons in verse 8, so it is most reasonable to think Paul is continuing to describe offices in the church. Second, some English versions translate the word gynaikas (“women”) here as “wives” (KJV, NKJV, NIV), but the Greek language does not have a separate word for “wives” and the term could just as easily be translated “women” (NASB, NRSV, RSV, TNIV). In fact, the reference would clearly be to wives if Paul had written “their wives” (requiring simply the addition of the Greek auto) or “the wives of deacons” (requiring simply the addition of the Greek diakonon). Since neither of these terms is used, women deacons rather than wives are probably in view (In support of a reference to wives, see George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles [NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992] 170-73). Third, the qualifications for these women are identical or similar to the qualifications of male deacons and elders. The similarity of qualifications suggests an office, not merely a status as the wives of deacons. Fourth, why would Paul emphasize the wives of deacons and pass over the wives of elders, especially if elders (see below) had greater responsibility in the act of governing the church? Failure to mention the wives of elders is mystifying if that office carried more responsibility. A reference to women deacons, however, makes good sense if women could serve as deacons but not as elders (more on this below).

I conclude that women did serve as deacons in the NT and that they should serve as such in our churches today. We see once again that women were vitally involved in ministry during the NT era, and churches today are misguided if they prohibit women from doing what the Scriptures allow.

But if women served as deacons when the NT was written, how can they be prohibited from governing and teaching roles today? One of the problems in contemporary church is that many churches have deviated from the biblical pattern in which there were two offices: elders/overseers and deacons (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13). In many modern churches the deacons function as the governing board of a church. This is unfortunate, for deacons are nowhere identified with or made a subcategory of elders in the NT. The offices of deacon and elder are distinct.(I discussed the evidence for elders previously in this essay).

And appointing women as deacons does not affect the validity of the complementation view at all, for elders/overseers–not deacons–are responsible for leadership and teaching in the church. Two qualities demanded of elders, namely, being able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9) and governing the church (1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17; Acts 20:28), are nowhere required of deacons. The elders, not the deacons, have the responsibility for the doctrinal purity and leadership of a church. The deacons are responsible for ministries of mercy and service in the church, and they do not exercise leadership in teaching and governing the church. It is significant, then, that 1 Timothy 2:12 prohibits women from teaching and exercising authority over men. Notice that women are prohibited from doing the two activities that distinguish elders from deacons (teaching and exercising authority). I conclude, then, that women can and should serve as deacons, but they should not occupy the pastoral office, which involves teaching and exercising authority (Some people appeal to the NT accounts of Stephen and Philip and argue that their ministries show that deacons functioned as leaders and were not restricted to “service” ministries [Acts 6:1-8:40]. Let me make a few brief comments. First, we’re not absolutely sure Stephen and Philip functioned as deacons, for the title is not used of those appointed in Acts 6:1-6, though the noun diakonia is used of the need [v. 1] and the verb diakonein [v. 2] of the task to be fulfilled. On balance, I think the Seven were deacons, but certainty eludes us. Second, the preaching ministry of Stephen and Philip hardly proves it is part of the ministry of deacons to preach, for the Seven are appointed so that the Twelve will not abandon the ministry of the word [vv. 2,4]. Third, simply because some deacons did more than required [Stephen and Philip served and preached], it does not follow that all deacons can or should teach and preach. Luke features Stephen and Philip precisely because they were exceptional).

Egalitarians are convinced women did serve as leaders in the early church. They identify Junia as a woman apostle in Romans 16:7. Some women functioned as leaders because John wrote in his second letter to “the chosen lady” (2 John 1), and this lady is understood to be an individual woman leading the church (See Aida B. Spencer, Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry [Nashville: Nelson, 1985], 109-12; Tucker and Liefeld, Daughters of the Church, 74-75). Others think women served as elders because Paul refers to women elders in 1 Timothy 5:2 (cf. Titus 2:3). Many egalitarians point to Phoebe in Romans 16:2, understanding the word prostatis to refer to a leader (See Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 238-40; Spencer, Beyond the Curse, 113-17). Still others say women must have functioned as leaders because churches met in their houses, and as the patrons of these houses they would have been leaders–for example, Mary the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12-17), Lydia (16:13-15), Chloe (1 Cor. 1:11), Priscilla (Rom. 16:3-5), and Nympha (Col. 4:15) [This appears to be the view of Grenz, Women in the Church, 90-91].

The arguments of egalitarians in the preceding paragraph are unconvincing. Some argue that women should preach because they bore witness to the resurrection. We should reason, however, that Mary Magdalene was qualified to be a leader because Jesus appeared to her (Contra Grenz [Women in the Church, 79], who also supports women as leaders on the basis of Rhoda’s telling the others that Peter was at the door of the house [Acts 12:14]!). Nor is there any evidence elsewhere that she functioned as such. Seeing the risen Lord and bearing witness to his resurrection was a great joy and privilege, to be sure, but it doesn’t logically follow that such women should serve as leaders or teachers. Indeed, if Jesus had appointed female apostles, then it would be clear that all ministry roles are open to women. We know however, that Jesus appointed only male apostles. Now I do not believe a male apostolate settles the issue on the role of women. But if Jesus were as egalitarian and bold and radical as egalitarians make him out to be, it is passing strange he did not appoint any female apostles, especially since these same egalitarians see Paul as commending female apostles (Rom. 16:7). Jesus seems to accommodate to the culture more than Paul–when he could have made a bold statement that would resolved the whole issue definitively. A male apostolate does not prove that women should not serve as leaders, but when combined with the other evidence, it does serve as confirmatory evidence for the complementarian view.

Nor is it at all compelling to say that women patrons functioned as leaders of house churches. No convincing evidence supports such a view. Does anyone really believe that Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the leaders of the church in Jerusalem simply because the church met in her house (Acts 12:12)? Acts makes it clear that the leaders were Peter, John, and James the brother of the Lord (in addition to the other apostles and elders). No correlation can be drawn between the church’s meeting in Mary’s house and the assuming of a leadership role.

Similarly, not even a hint is given of Chloe’s functioning as a leader in Corinth. The church, in fact, is exhorted to be subject to the house of Stephanas (1 Cor. 16:15-16), and Chloe is left out. Nor is it persuasive to define prostatis as “leader” in Romans 16:2. What Paul says in this verse is that the Romans should parastete (“assist”) Phoebe wherever she needs help because she has been a prostatis (“helper”) of many, including Paul himself (For further discussion on Phoebe, including a bibliography citing alternative views, see my Romans [BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1988], 786-88). The play on words between parastete and prostatis is obvious. Phoebe is commended here as a patroness. Paul is scarcely suggesting she functioned as his leader or as the leader of the church. Paul did not even agree that the Jerusalem apostles were his leaders (Gal. 1:11-2:14) and so it is impossible to believe he would assign such a role to Phoebe!

The evidence that women served as elders is practically nonexistent and unpersuasive. For example, it is obvious in Titus 2:3 that the office of elder is not in view, for Paul refers to older men (v. 2), older women (v. 3), younger women (vv. 4-5), and younger men (v. 6). The mention of the various age groups reveals that Paul refers to age rather than office. The same applies to 1 Timothy 5:2. In verses 1-2 Paul gives Timothy advice about how to relate to older men, older women, younger men, and younger women. Any notion of office has to be read into the text here, and virtually all commentators agree that age (not office) is intended. Nor does “chosen lady” in 2 John refer to a woman leader or elder (Grenz, Women in the Church, 91-92. Grenz admits the evidence is ambiguous, but he fails to inform the reader that virtually all the commentators agree a specific woman is not in view. The sources he mentions [see his p. 242, nn. 95, 96] are a commentator from 1888, another commentary without a date, and Spencer, Beyond the Curse. The standard commentaries all stand in agreement against him. See, e.g., Raymond E. Brown, The Epistles of John [AB; Garden City, N.J.: Doubleday, 1982] 651-55; Stephen S. Smalley, 1,2, 3 John [WBC; Dallas: Word, 1984], 318; John R.W. Stott, The Epistles of John [TNTC; Grand Rapids: Erdmans, 1964], 200-201). Almost all commentators agree it is a reference to the church as a whole. The plurals in verses 6, 8, 10, and 12 indicate that John writes to the church as a whole, not simply to one person. Referring to the church as a “lady” comports with the rest of Scripture, for both Paul and John describe the church as Christ’s bride (Eph. 5:22-23; Rev. 19:7). And Israel is also portrayed as a woman in the OT (Isa. 54:1; Jer. 6:23; 31:21; Lam. 4:3, 22). readers would naturally understand the metaphor of the church as a lady to refer to Christ’s church. The distinction between the lady and her children should not be used to say a woman was the leader and the children were the congregation. The lady designates the church as a whole, and the children refer to the individual members of the church.

The support for women serving as elders or leaders vanishes when closely examined. The most plausible argument for the egalitarian view comes from the example of Junia, for she and Andronicus are identified as apostles in Romans 16:7 (For a careful assessment of the evidence, see Andreas J. Kostenberger, “Women in the Pauline Mission,” in The Gospel to the Nations: Perspectives on Paul’s Mission, eds. Peter G. Bolt and Mark Thompson [Downers Grove, ILL.: InterVarsity, 2000], 221-47. For further discussion on Junia see John Thorley, “Junia, A Woman Apostle?” NovT 39 [1996]: 18-21; Richard S. Cervin, “A Note Regarding the Name ‘Junia(s)’ in Romans 16:7,” NTS 40 [1994]: 464-70; Schreiner, Romans, 795-97). But the verse is far too ambiguous to make a case. It is hermeneutically akin to finding support for baptism for the dead from 1 Corinthians 15:29, for the purpose of the verse is not to speak to women in leadership roles. The text is ambiguous at three levels: First, is Paul referring to a man or a woman? Second, are Andronicus and Junia(s) outstanding in the eyes of the apostles, or are they outstanding apostles themselves? Third, is the term “apostle” used as a technical term, or is it used nontechnically to refer to missionaries? Scholars continue to debate whether the reference is to a man or a woman (Junias or Junia). If it is the male Junias, then we have a contradiction of the name Junianus. Personally, I believe a woman is in view. This was the majority view in the history of the church until at least the thirteenth century. Moreover, a contradiction of Junianus is nowhere else found in Greek literature, and so I think we can be confident Junia was a woman.

Second, is Paul saying Andronicus and Junia were :outstanding among the apostles,” or “outstanding in the eyes of the apostles”? The former is the view of almost all commentators. Michael Burer and Daniel Wallace, however, recently conducted an intensive search and analysis of the phrase, compiling evidence to support the idea that “noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles” is the best translation (Micahel H. Burer and Daniel B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Reexamination of Romans 16:7, “New Testament Studies 47 [2001]: 76-91. See now Richard Bauckham who has raised serious objections about the interpretation of the evidence proposed by Wallace and Burer in his Gospel Women: Studies of the named Women in the Gospels [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002], 172-80).

Their research indicates it is unlikely that Junia is identified as an apostle here, and hence the verse says nothing about women serving in the apostolic office. Further research, however, may indicate Burer and Wallace are mistaken, and support the conclusion that Junia is identified as an apostle. If women served as apostles, can any leadership role be ruled out for them?

But here a third consideration arises. Paul is not assigning Andronicus and Junia a place with the Twelve. The term apostolos is not always a technical term e.g., (2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25) [See Wolf-Henning Ollrog, Paulus ind seine Mitarbeiter: Untersuchungen zu Theorie and Praxis der paulinischen Mission [WMANT 50; Ne ukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1979], 79-84). It can also be used in a nontechnical sense to refer to missionaries. Biblical commentator Rudolph Scnackenburg wrote, “The apostles referred to in Romans 16:7 without further qualification, could hardly have been anything else but itinerant missionaries” (Rudolph Schnackenburg, “Apostles before and during Paul’s Time,” in Apostolic History and the Gospel, eds. W.W. Gasque and R.P. Martin [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970], 294 so also E. Earle Ellis, Pauline Theology: Ministry and Society [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989], 66).

In the Apostolic Fathers, apostolos is used of itinerant evangelists (Did. 11:3-6; Herm. Vis. 13.1; Herm. Sim. 92.4; 93.5; 102.2). If Junia was an apostle, she probably functioned particularly as a missionary to women. Ernst Kasemann observed that “the wife can have access to the women’s areas, which would not be generally accessible to the husband  (Ernst Kasemann, Commentary on Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980], 413; so also Peter Stuhlmacher, Paul’s Letter to the Romans [Louisville, Ky.: Westminster, 1994], 249). In the culture of Paul’s day, the reading of Kasemann and Schnackenburg is much more likely than the modern view that Junia was an apostle in the technical sense. To sum up, the verse does not clearly identify Junia as an apostle, and even if this view is incorrect, “apostle” is not used in a technical sense.

Egalitarians, however, detect a contradiction when complementarians say women can function as missionaries but not as pastors. I think Romans 6:7 and Philippians 4:2-3 indicate that women did indeed function as missionaries, and complementarians should celebrate and encourage such a ministry. But I fail to see the contradiction, for the very same Paul who celebrated women missionaries also prohibited them from serving as pastors/overseers/elders. If there is a contradiction, it exists in Paul himself, and no evangelical would want to say this. Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit, barred women from the pastoral office and permitted them to be missionaries.

Many women missionaries in the history of the church have agreed with the complementation view, and once a church was planted in a particular mission field, male leaders were appointed. I am not, however, baptizing everything women missionaries have done in the field throughout history. Very likely some roles were fitting and others were questionable. We derive our view of what women missionaries can and should do from Scripture, not from what they have done. We would not want to claim that everything male missionaries have done has been right either. Nonetheless, many women missionaries throughout history have actually held the complementation view and ministered and preached the gospel in such a way that this view was not violated.

DIFFERENT ROLES FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN THE FAMILY

Established in Genesis 1-3

We have already seen that men and women equally are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27) and are thus of equal value and significance as God’s creatures. But I would also contend there are six indications in Genesis 1-3 of a role differentiation between men and women. By role differentiation I mean Adam has the responsibility of leadership and Eve has the responsibility to follow his leadership. Before explaining these six points I must make a crucial comment: Equality of personhood does not rule out differences in role. For moderns, the tension between these two truths (equality of personhood and differences in role) is nearly unbearable. For instance, the basic point of Rebecca Merrill Groothuis’s book Good News for Women is that one cannot logically posit both equality of personhood and differences in role. Groothuis, however, simply reveals that she imbibes the modern enlightenment view of equality, which insists that equality must involve equality of function. Anyone familiar with American society knows that this notion of equality continues to exert tremendous influence.

The biblical view, however, is very different. God is not an equal opportunity employer–at least as far as installation into ministry is concerned. God decreed that priests could come only from the tribe of Levi, but all Israelites had equal worth and dignity before God (See James B. Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981], 44-45). Similarly, the pastoral role is reserved for men only, and yet women have equal dignity and value as persons created in God’s image. Groothuis and other egalitarians are faced with the daunting prospect of saying that Israelites who could never serve  as priests are of less dignity and value than those who were qualified for the priesthood. (Grenz [Women in the Church, 152] faces the same problem. Complementarians are spared such a problematic conclusion, for we acknowledge that a permanent difference in role (the tribe of Joseph could never serve as priests) does not mean those who cannot fill that role (descendants of Joseph) are of lesser worth or dignity. The six indications Adam had a special responsibility as a leader are these:

1. God created Adam first, and then He created Eve.

2. God gave Adam the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

3. God created Eve to be a helper for Adam.

4. Adam exercised his leadership by naming the creature God formed out of Adam’s rib “woman.”

5. The serpent subverted God’s pattern of leadership by tempting Eve rather than Adam.

6. God approached Adam first after the couple had sinned, even though Eve sinned first.

I am not suggesting every one of these arguments is of equal weight or clarity. Arguments two and five, for example, are plausible only if the other arguments are credible. They cannot stand alone as decisive arguments for the interpretation proposed. Each argument needs to be investigated briefly.

Adam Was Created Before Eve

First, the responsibility for leadership belonged to Adam (and hence to males) because Adam was created before Eve (Gen. 2:7, 21-24). I am unpersuaded by those who argue that Adam was neither male not female–a sexually undifferentiated being–before the creation of Eve (Phyliss Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1978], 80, 98). When Yahweh fashioned the woman out of man, he made a person who was suitable for man (v. 18), and Adam recognized her as a fitting counterpart (v. 23). What the text emphasizes is the creation of Adam first and the act of the woman being formed from man’s rib (vv. 21-23). Nothing is said about ha-adam suddenly becoming male. Nor does the creation account in Genesis 2 abandon the theme of equality, for, as Adam said, the woman was “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (v. 23). The man and woman were united in a love relationship as partners (v. 24).

The narrative in Genesis 2, however, adds a dimension that is missing in chapter 1(I believe the two creation accounts are complementary, not contradictory). Contemporary scholars rightly emphasize that the narrative was written carefully and artistically to convey a message to readers (See Robert Altaer, The Art of Biblical Narrative [New York: Basic Books, 1981]). The discerning reader observes that the man was created before the woman and that the woman was even fashioned from part of the man. The narrator writes with great skill, summoning us to ponder thoughtfully the elements of the story. Why does the narrator bother to tell us the man was created first then the woman? That the woman shares full humanity and personhood with the man is evident, as we have already seen, from 2:23-24. But if the only point of the story were the equality of men and women, then creation at the same point in time would be most fitting. An egalitarian message would be communicated nicely by the creation of man and woman at the same instant. I believe the narrator relays the creation of man first to signal that Adam (and hence males in general) had a particular responsibility to lead in his relationship to Eve. Correspondingly, Eve had a responsibility to follow Adam’s leadership.

Egalitarians object to this interpretation by saying such logic would lead us to think that animals should rule over human beings, since animals were created before humans (Paul Jewett, Man as Male and Female: A Study of Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975], 126-27). This objection has always struck me as a clever debating point instead of a substantive argument. The narrator did not worry about readers drawing such a conclusion, since it is patently obvious human beings are distinguished from animals, insofar as humans are the only creatures made in God’s image (1:26-27). But readers would be inclined to ask this question: “Why is the human race differentiated into male and female, and why is the male created first?” A more serious response could be that females were created last as the crown of creation, and if anything, females rather than males would assume leadership. Such a reading would fit the pattern of Genesis 1, where human beings are created last and are responsible to rule the world for God. This latter reading suffers, however, from imposing the narrative pattern of Genesis 1 on Genesis 2. Instead, the Hebrew reader would be disposed to read the second creation account in terms of primogeniture (See Hurley, Man and Women in Biblical Perspective, 207-8). The firstborn male has authority over the younger brothers after the father dies. The reversal of primogeniture explains why stories of Jacob’s primacy over Esau (cha. 26-36) and Joseph’s rule over his brothers are so shocking (chs. 37-50).

Egalitarians of course, face another problem with their particular reading of Genesis 2–a canonical one. Paul forbids women to teach and exercise authority over a man because Adam was created before Eve (1 Tim. 2:12-13). Many egalitarians, when interpreting Genesis 2 fail to mention 1 Timothy 2:12-13. The most natural reading of the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 supports the complementation interpretation of Genesis 2: men bear the responsibility to lead and teach in the church because Adam was created before Eve (see also 1 Cor. 11:8-9).

The Command Was Given to Adam, Not Eve

Second, the command to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was given to Adam, not to Eve (Gen. 2:16-17). This argument for male leadership is not decisive but suggestive. God likely commissioned Adam to instruct Eve about this command, signaling Adam’s responsibility for leadership and teaching in the relationship. Closely connected is the injunction given to Adam to cultivate and take care of the garden of Eden (v. 15). It is possible, of course, that nothing should be made of the fact that the prohibition in verses 16-17 was given only to Adam. On the other hand, the story could have been constructed so that the command was given to the husband and the wife. I believe the narrator is providing a hint of male leadership by revealing the restriction was communicated only to Adam.

Eve Was Created to Be a Helper

The third indication of male leadership is that Eve was created as a “helper” (ezer) for Adam (vv. 18, 20). The standard egalitarian objection is that Yahweh is often designated as Israel’s helper, and yet he is clearly not subordinate to Israel (Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, 90). Yahweh surely is Israel’s helper in that he saves and delivers Israel–so how can complementarians possibly think that describing Eve as Adam’s helper supports the case for male headship? If anything, it seems the argument could be reversed. Yahweh was Israel’s helper and leader. The objection appears to be a strong one, and it has the merit of precluding a simplistic argument for the complementation view.

The egalitarian interpretation, however, is also in danger of promoting a simplistic argument that is not contextually grounded. Anyone who has read the OT knows that Yahweh was often portrayed as Israel’s helper, and thus the term “helper” alone does not signify male leadership in Genesis 2. And yet words are assigned their meanings in context, and in the narrative context of Genesis 1-3, the word “helper” signifies that Eve was to help Adam in the task of ruling over creation. Indeed, in some contexts in the OT, the word “help” designates those who assist a superior or ruler in accomplishing his task. (See David J. A. Clines, “What Does Eve Do to Help? and Other Irredeemably Androcentric Orientations in Genesis 1-3,” in What Does Eve Do to Help? and Other Readerly Questions in the Old Testament, ed. David J.A. Clines [JSOTSup; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990], 31-32). For instance, in 1 Kings 20:16, thirty-two kings who have less power than Benhadad helped him in war. Indeed, the verb “to help” is used of warriors who helped David militarily (1 Chron. 12:1, 22-23), and it is clear that David was the leader and they were assisting him. Similarly, David exhorted leaders to help Solomon when he was king (22:17), in which case there is no doubt these leaders were assisting Solomon in his leadership over the nation. An army also helped King Uzziah in a military campaign (2 Chr. 26:13) Yahweh pledged he would nullify those who helped the prince in Jerusalem (Ezek. 12:14; cf. 32:21), and those who helped were obviously subordinates of the prince. These examples show that context is decisive in determining whether the one who helps has a superior role or inferior role. Egalitarians cannot dismiss the complementation view simply by saying that Yahweh helped Israel, for in other texts it is clear that leaders were helped by those who were under their authority.

I believe there is contextual warrant in Genesis 1-3 for the idea that women help men by supporting the leadership of the latter. If we read Genesis carefully, we see that the rule of human beings over creation, which is a call to careful stewardship (not exploitation), is combined with the injunction to have offspring who will, in turn, exercise dominion over the earth for God’s glory (1:26,28). One of the ways women help men, therefore, is by bearing children, as David J.A. Clines rightly argues. I am not suggesting this is the only way women function as helpers, but the difference in roles between men and women is established at creation in that only women bear children. We are not surprised to learn that the curse on Adam focuses on his work in the fields, so that thorns and thistles grow as a consequence of his sin (3:17-19). Correspondingly, Eve is cursed in her sphere, so that she experiences pain in the bearing of children (v. 16; Ibid., 33-36). It is important to notice that the distinct role of women–bearing children–is not the result of the fall. The consequence of the fall is an increase in pain during childbirth, but the actual bearing of children, which is the distinct task of the woman, was established before sin entered the world.

A contemporary observation is appropriate here. The support of abortion rights by radical feminists is closely linked with the goal of changing the role of women. Radical feminists rightly perceive that pregnancy and giving birth to children distinguish women from men. If women are liberated so that sexual relations are severed from motherhood, then women can enjoy the same rights as men. I would contend that such feminist aspirations run counter to God’s created intention, for God himself decreed that women, and not men, would bear children.

Once again, a canonical reading of Scripture confirms the interpretation adopted here. In 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, Paul reflects on the narrative in Genesis 2, for in 1 Corinthians 11:8 he observes that man did not come from woman, but woman from man. Then in verse 9 he declares, “For indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” How do we explain Paul’s words in this verse? I think it is quite likely he was reflecting on the word “helper” in Genesis 2:18, 20. We know the creation account in Genesis 2 was in his mind, and the notion that woman was created “for the man’s sake” is almost certainly a Pauline commentary on the word “helper.” The woman was created for Adam’s sake to help in ruling the world for God’s glory. Such an interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:9 fits the context of that chapter nicely, since man is designated here as the “head” of the woman (v. 3). We have strong Pauline evidence, therefore, that “helper” refers to the subordinate role of women.

The Woman Was Named by The Man

I am now prepared to assert my fourth argument from Genesis–the naming of the woman by Adam. A prefatory comment is in order. For clarity each of the arguments presented is separated from the other, but we need to remember that each one is closely linked in the narrative. For example, the narrator linked the naming of the animals with the man’s need for a helper (2:18-20). The narrator wanted us to perceive that a suitable helper was not found among the animals. Adam needed a partner who was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh (v. 23) to assist him in his task of cultivating and caring for God’s garden. A unique creative work of God was needed in order to provide a woman for him. Adam perceived, when naming the birds, wild animals, and domestic animals, that none of these were suitable partners. The intertwining of the various parts of the narrative actually functions as an argument for the complementation view, for we must see that the word “helper” appears in a context in which animals are named by Adam.

What is the significance of the naming of the creatures God made (vv. 18-20)? The link in the text is obvious, for this was certainly one of the means by which Adam exercised his rule over the creatures according to God’s mandate (1:26, 28; 2:15; See Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, 210-12). God exercised his rule and sovereignty in calling the light “day” and the darkness “night” (1:5), and in naming the firmament “heaven” and the dry land “earth” (vv. 8,10). Similarly, Adam exercised his rule, under God’s lordship, by naming all the animals. Even today the scientific study of species consists in classification and naming. We distinguish dogs from cats and whales from seals. Naming the animals was not a whimsical and arbitrary game for Adam. He named the animals so that their names corresponded to their nature. It is significant that Adam named animals, and not vice versa! The narrator signals that Adam was beginning to fulfill God’s mandate to exercise dominion over the world and God’s garden.

The naming of the woman occurs in 2:23, suggesting that Adam had the responsibility for leadership in the relationship. It would be easy to misconstrue my argument here. I am certainly not suggesting Eve was comparable to the animals! The very point of the narrative is that she was remarkably different, wholly suitable to function as Adam’s helper. Contrary to the animals, she was taken from the man and was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. The man instantly and gladly perceived the difference (v. 23)! As noted before, the mutuality and equality of man and woman are also communicated in the narrative.

Nonetheless, the leadership role of Adam is also reflected in the narrative. He perceived she was different from the animals and qara (“called”) her by name ‘issa (“woman,” v. 23), using the same verb for the naming of animals in verses 19-20. The assigning of a name to the woman in such an abbreviated narrative is highly significant. Yahweh could have reserved such a task for himself and removed any hint of male leadership. Of course, the woman is remarkably different from all the other creatures God made, but Adam’s naming of the woman signifies that he bears the leadership role. There is no exegetical warrant for assigning a different significance to the naming of the animals and the woman. We need to be very careful here. In both instances naming is a symbol of rule, but it would be unwarranted to deduce that the rule is precisely the same or that women are like animals. The entire narrative illustrates there was both continuity and discontinuity between Adam’s rule over woman and his dominion over God’s creatures.

The most significant objection to this interpretation is found in the work of Phyllis Trible (See Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, 99-100). She says the notion of naming is only present when the verb qara (“call”) is joined with the noun sen (“name”), pointing to a number of texts in which “name” is joined with “call” (e.g., 4:17, 25-26). The naming of animals, according to Trible, signified Adam’s power and authority over them, but no parallel can be drawn to 2:23, since the woman was not named there. Trible’s argument is unpersuasive (Contra Trible’s view, see Clines, “What Does Eve Do to Help?” 37-40 [esp. 39, n. 3]. George W Ramsey [“is Name Giving an Act of Domination in Genesis 2:23 and Elsewhere?” CBQ 50 [1988]: 24-35, maintains that naming is linked only with discernment, not domination. But this view ignores the connection between the injunction to rule the world and the act of naming). She is correct that the noun “name” is usually linked with “call” in naming formulas, but she mistakenly concludes the noun “name” must be present in order for naming to occur. Such a conclusion demands more precision from language than is warranted, for we must not demand in advance that naming occurs only when a pattern is followed. The repetition of the verb qara (2:19-20, 23) links the naming of the woman with the naming of the animals, so that the reader naturally recognizes the parallel between the two accounts. Adam perceived she was “woman” precisely because she was taken from the man, revealing that his classification was in accord with reality and that he understood the remarkable difference between woman and the animals.

Trible’s more substantive objection is that calling this person ‘issa (“woman” [v. 23]) cannot be equated with naming, for “woman” is “not a name; it is a common noun, not a proper noun. It designates gender; it does not specify a person” (Cited in Clines, “What Does Eve Do to Help?” 100). Trible’s comment reveals she misunderstood the parallel between the naming of the animals and the naming of the woman. When Adam named the animals, he did not give them personal or proper names. He classified the animals into distinct groups, presumably distinguishing between, say, lions, tigers, and bears. He did not name any tigers “Tony.” He identified them as tigers over against bears.

So too, it is completely irrelevant that a personal or proper name is lacking for the woman in verse 23. In naming the woman, Adam was classifying her–in effete, distinguishing her from the other creatures named. He recognized her distinctiveness and aptly captured it with the name “woman,” thereby noticing how closely related she was to himself as a man. To conclude, male leadership is communicated by the naming of the woman, and the parallel with naming the animals stands, even though the biblical narrator hardly suggests animals and women are parallel in every way (Incidentally, Trible’s view that the naming of Eve [Gen. 3:20] is an inappropriate act of male dominance [God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, 133-34] is unconvincing, for the text provides no clue that an abuse of power is involved. Instead, his word is linked in the narrative with the promise of life [vv. 20-21]. For a critique of Trible see Clines, “What Does Eve Do to Help? 39).

The Serpent Tempted Eve, Not Adam

The fifth indication of male leadership is that the serpent, which was exceedingly astute, approached Eve rather than Adam in the temptation (3:1-7). Thereby he subverted the pattern of male leadership, as Paul himself hints at in 1 Timothy 2:14. I don’t want to make too much of this argument, and my case hardly depends on it. I acknowledge forthrightly it could be incorrect, but in any case it would not affect the other arguments presented. I mention it because I am persuaded that what actually occurred (and what did not occur) in the narrative is significant.

Adam Was Rebuked before Eve

Finally, the responsibility of men is indicated by the fact that Adam was rebuked before Eve (Gen. 3:8-12). If God were truly egalitarian, Eve would have been reprimanded first, since she ate the fruit before her husband and presumably convinced Adam to eat of it as well. Yahweh spoke to Adam first because he bore primary responsibility for what occurred in the garden. In Romans 5:12-19, Paul confirms this reading of the narrative, for the sin of the human race was traced to Adam, not to Eve. I am not suggesting Eve bore no responsibility for her sin. Yahweh censured her actions as well and judged her for what she did (vv. 13, 16). Greater responsibility, however, is assigned to Adam as the leader of the first human couple.

Before the Fall

It is crucial to see that these six arguments relate to the relationship between Adam and Eve before the fall. God instituted role distinctions between men and women before sin ever entered the world. Even the two arguments I presented from Genesis 3 depend on a role difference established before the fall. If Adam and Eve possessed different roles before the fall, then the distinct roles of men and women are not the result of sin; they would stem from God’s intention in creation–and everything God created is good. Male leadership is not the result of the fall, but it is God’s good and perfect will for man and woman.

The doctrine of creation is of enormous significance for the debate on the roles of men and women. From Jesus himself, we know marriage is to be permanent because permanence in marriage was God’s intent in creating us male and female (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:24; Matt. 19:3-12). We know homosexuality is prohibited because it counters God’s creational intent (Rom. 1:26-27). We know food is to be eaten with thanksgiving because God created it (1 Tim. 4:1-5). Similarly, we know role differences between men and women are not the result of the fall but are part of the fabric of God’s good and perfect created order.

Sin has entered the world and distorted how men and women relate to one another. Men transgress by turning their responsibility to lead into a privilege so that they tyrannically abuse their authority or abdicate their responsibility and descend into abject passivity. Women try to subvert male leadership by contesting their leadership or by responding with an obsequiousness that is not fitting (My view here depends on my interpretation of Genesis 3:16, which I do not have space here to explain. See Susan T. Foh, “What Is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 [1975]: 376-83). Similarly, we can see how sin has thwarted God’s intent that a man and woman should remain married for life, with the result that divorce is all too common. But role differences, like the permanence of marriage, remain God’s intention. And such differences in role are good and beautiful and, through the redemption accomplished by Christ, can be lived out today in a beautiful, albeit not perfect, way.

Confirmed in Marriage Texts

We are debating the role of women in ministry in this book [essay] not whether husbands and wives have different functions within a marriage. And yet this latter issue cannot and must not be neglected for the biblical teaching about the family forms the fabric and background for what is said about women in ministry. If role differences exist in the family, they plausibly exist in the church as well. Indeed, in 1 Timothy 3:15, Paul compares the church to God’s household, and in 5:1-2, Paul exhorts Timothy to treat other church members as he would a father or a mother, a brother or a sister (For an illuminating study on the relationship between the church and the family, see Vern S. Poythress, “The Church as Family: Why Male Leadership in the Family Requires Male Leadership in the Church,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 233-47). We must note that Paul does not instruct Timothy to treat everyone with undifferentiated sameness. The wise person responds differently when speaking to an older man rather than to a younger man, in a way that shows more deference and respect for the older man’s experience. If God has assigned husbands a particular responsibility as leaders of their homes, it would make sense he has also ordained that men should bear responsibility in the leadership of the church. Ministry and family should not be segregated rigidly from one another. The two spheres interpenetrate, and what is true of the one is generally accurate in the other.

When we examine the biblical texts on husbands and wives, it is clear husbands have a responsibility to exercise loving leadership, and wives are called on to submit (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18-19; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:1-7) Space precludes a detailed analysis of these texts, and thus only a few major issues can be addressed here, particularly those areas where egalitarians question the complementation view. We should note at the outset that husbands are exhorted to love their wives, to refrain from all bitterness, and to treat them gently. The Bible nowhere suggests the husband’s leadership is to be used as a platform for selfishness or abuse of his wife. Rather, the husband should pattern himself after Christ, exercising a loving leadership on the wife’s behalf. I want to add only that the love and tenderness of a husband is still exercised in leadership. Christ served the church by giving his life for it, and yet he remains the leader and Lord of the church. We ought not to think, therefore, that the leadership of husbands is canceled out in the call to serve.

Many egalitarians appeal to Ephesians 5:21 (“Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ”) to support mutual submission in marriage, but the argument is unpersuasive (See, e.g., Grenz, Women in the Church, 115, 178; Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 159, 168-72). When the verse is interpreted in context, it is doubtful mutual submission in marriage is intended. Verse 21 is transitional, bridging the gap between verses 18-20 and the household exhortations in 5:22-6:9. It is doubtful, though, that the content of 5:21 should be read into the exhortations that follow. Otherwise, Paul would be suggesting that parents and children (6:1-4) and masters and slaves (vv. 5-9) should mutually submit to each other. It is highly implausible that parents would be encouraged to submit to children, or masters to submit to slaves (Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, 158). While such an idea may appeal to some people today, it would scarcely enter into the mind of someone writing almost two thousand years ago. We look in vain for any clear indication elsewhere in the Scriptures that parents should submit to children, or masters to slaves (Keener [Paul, Women and Wives, 186-88] acknowledges that mutual submission is not demanded of children, showing his inconsistency, for if this is the case, Ephesians 5:21 does not function as the introduction to all of 5:22-6:9. Nor do I find persuasive Keener’s view [Paul, Women and Wives, 206] that 6:9 teaches submission for masters. The persistent fact is that husbands, parents, and masters are never told to submit to wives, children, and slaves, respectively). Nor do the Scriptures ever call on husbands to submit to their wives, but they consistently summon wives to submit to their husbands.

How, then, should we interpret Ephesians 5:21? Two interpretations cohere with the complementation view. Paul may have in mind the relationship we have with one another in the church (see vv. 19-21), one in which believers mutually submit to one another. These words cannot be imposed on the marriage relationship but refer instead to a corporate setting in which believers praise God in song and submit to one another in the community (I am not suggesting, incidentally, that husbands never follow the advice of their wives. Wise husbands do so often. Some complementarians interpret verse 21 to say that only some members of the congregation submit to others [e.g., Wayne Grudem, “The Myth of Mutual Submission as an Interpretation of Ephesians 5:21,” in Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, ed. Wayne Grudem [Wheaton, ILL.: Crossway, 2002], 228-29; cf. also Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, 139-41]. Such a reading is possible but unpersuasive, for typically the pronoun allelois refers to all members of the congregation [see Ernest Best, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Ephesians [ICC; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998], 516. A call to submit to one another as brothers and sisters in the church does not yield the conclusion that husbands should submit to wives or that parents should submit to children. Verse 21 refers to the corporate life, where all members are enjoined to submit to one another. Daniel Doriani’s article [“The Historical Novelty of Egalitarian Interpretations of Ephesians 5:21-22,” in Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, 203-19] indicates that many scholars throughout the history of the church have understood the text in the way I suggest here). Alternatively, but perhaps less likely, Paul refers to the submission of some to others in the church. According to this view, the subsequent context indicates who is to submit to whom–wives to husbands, children to parents, and slaves to masters. (Peter O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians [PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999], 400-404, and previous note above).

Others contest the complementation view by disputing the meaning of kephale (“head”). Egalitarians typically define it to mean “source” instead of “authority over” (See, e.g., Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family, rev. ed. [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985], 215-52; Berkely and Alvera Mickelsen, “What Does kephale Mean in the New Testament?” in Women, Authority and the Bible, 97-110; Catherine Clark Kroeger, “The Classical Concept of Head as ‘Source,'” in Hull, Equal to Serve, 267-83. For another complementation view, see Richard S. Cervin, “Does kephale Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority’ in Greek Literature? A Rebuttal,” TJ 10 [1989]: 85-112. For the weaknesses in Cervin’s view as well, see the second article listed under Grudem in the next note). The meaning of the term kephale can be established only by careful analysis of its use in biblical and extra biblical literature. Wayne Grudem and Joseph Fitzmyer have demonstrated that “authority over” in many contexts is the most likely meaning of the term (See Wayne Grudem, “Does kephale [‘Head’] Mean ‘Source’ or ‘Authority Over’ in Greek Literature? A Survey of 2,336 Examples,” TJ 6 [1985]: 38-59; Grudem, “The Meaning of kephale (‘Head’): A Response to Recent Studies,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 425-68, 534-41; Grudem, “The Meaning of Kephale (‘Head’): An Examination of New Evidence, Real and Alleged,” JETS 44 [2001]: 25-65; Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “Kephale in 1 Corinthians 11:3,” Int 47 [1993]: 52-59). It may well be, however, that kephale in some contexts denotes both “authority over” and “source,” as Clinton Arnold argues (See Clinton E. Arnold, “Jesus Christ: ‘Head’ of the Church [Colossians and Ephesians],” in Jesus of Nazareth: Lord and Christ. Essays on the Historical Jesus and New Testament Christology, eds. J.B. Green and M. Turner [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994], 346-66). The definitions “authority over” and “source” make sense of Colossians 2:19 and Ephesians 4:15, where Christ as the Head both reigns over and provides for the church.

In any case, even if kephale should be defined only as “source” (which is very unlikely), it would still support male leadership. Let me explain. In Ephesians 5:22-24 Paul exhorts wives to submit to their husbands in everything. What reason is given for such a command? Paul provides the rationale in verse 23 (note the hoti): “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.” If the word kephale means “source” then Paul exhorts wives to submit because their husbands are their source. So even if kephale means “source,” wives are to fill a supportive and submissive role, and husbands, as the “source,” are to function as leaders.

The same argument prevails in 1 Coritnhians 11:12-16. If kephale means “source,” then women are to defer to their source by adorning themselves properly. The idea that the source has particular authority hearkens back to Genesis 2:21-25, where the woman comes from the man (see 1 Cor. 11:8). Similarly, children should obey their parents because parents are the source of their existence. Nonetheless, the meaning “authority over” cannot be exorcised from Ephesians 5:22-24, for the call for wives to submit to their husbands as the church submits to Christ indicates that the authority of Christ as Head is in view (cf. Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18; 2:10). I am not denying there may be an idea of source as well, since husbands are to nourish and care for their wives, just as Christ has tenderly loved the church. In any case, the husband’s special role as the leader of his wife cannot be explained away in Ephesians 5:22-33.

A few egalitarians have maintained that the word “submit” (hypotaso) does not cannot the idea of obedience. For instance, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull suggests that hypotaso means “to identify with” rather than “to obey” (See Hull, Equal to Serve, 195). Certainly there is no suggestion that husbands should compel their wives to submit. Submission is a voluntary and glad response on the part of wives, and husbands are commanded to love their wives, and husbands are commanded to love their wives, not to see to it that they submit. Nor is it fitting if a wife’s submission is conceived of in terms of a child’s obedience to parents, for the relationship of a husband and wife is remarkably different from the relationship between a parent and a child. Indeed, Paul can speak of the mutual obligations husbands and wives have to one another (1 Cor. 7:3-5), emphasizing that the husband ultimately does not have authority over his own body and that the wife has authority over his body. Complementarians have too often made the mistake of envisioning the husband-wife relationship in one-dimensional terms, so that any idea of mutuality and partnership is removed and wives are conceived of as servants (or even as slaves) of husbands. Such a militaristic conception of marriage is foreign to the biblical perspective, and 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 reminds us that mutuality also characterizes the marriage relationship. Indeed, any marriage relationship that lacks a sense of mutuality has serious problems!

On the other hand, we cannot dismiss the particular calling of the wife to submit, and such submission does involve obedience. In the Bible, submission is required to God’s law (Rom. 8:7), to the government (13:1, 5; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13), of slaves to masters (Titus 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:18), and of younger people to their elders (5:5). The submission of Christ to the Father (1 Cor. 15:27-28) and of demons to Christ (Eph. 1:21; 1 Pet. 3:22) is also described.

The above examples illustrate that the concept of obedience is involved in submission. Indeed, 1 Peter 3:5-6 removes any doubt, for Peter commends the holy women of the past, who were “submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham.” Notice the “just as” connecting the word “submissive” to the verb “obeyed.” When Peter describes the submission of Sarah, he uses the word “obey” to portray it. Such submission should not be construed as demeaning or as a denial of a person’s dignity or personhood, for Christ himself submits to the Father (1 Cor. 15:27-28)–and as the Son, he did what the Father commanded, yet there is no idea that the Son lacks dignity or worth. To say those who submit are of less worth and dignity is not a biblical worldview but a secular worldview that pervades our highly competitive society (Most egalitarians deny that there is any sense in which the Son submits eternally to the Father. See, e.g., Gilbert Bilezikian, “Hermeneutical Bungee Jumping: Subordination in the Godhead,” JETS 40 [1997]: 57-68. But Craig S. Keener [“Is Subordination within the Trinity Really Heresy? A Study of John 5:18 in Context,” TJ 20 [1999]: 39-51], who is himself an egalitarian, properly suggests that the eternal subordination of the Son, rightly understood, is supported biblically). The example of Christ also clarifies that the obedience and submission of wives to husbands is not comparable to the obedience children should render to parents; after all, husbands and wives are mutual partners in a way parents and children are not.

It is possible, though, that the submission required of wives is an example of cultural accommodation? In the contexts where wives are exhorted to submit to husbands we also see that slaves are commanded to submit to their masters (Eph. 5:22-33 and 6:5-9; Col. 3:18-19 and 3:22-4:1; Titus 2:4-5 and 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 2:18-25 and 3:1-7). Evangelical egalitarians accept as the word of God Paul’s admonitions to slaves. In the culture of Paul’s day, submission to masters was fitting, for societal revolution is not the means by which a culture is transformed. Indeed, in Paul’s day, people would reject the gospel if they felt it was overturning cultural norms. So, it is argued, Paul counsels submission to wives “so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:5; see Alan Padgett, “The Pauline Rationale for Submission: Biblical Feminism and the nina Clauses of Titus 2:1-10,” EvQ 59 [1987]: 39-52. This view has been advanced further and developed hermeneutically by William J. Webb, Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis [Downers Grove, ILL.: InterVarsity, 2001]. For my response, see Thomas R. Schreiner, “William J. Webb’s Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: A Review Article,” SBJT 6 [2002]: 46-64). Similarly, slaves are to live responsibly “so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10).

In our culture, however, the same norms do not apply. Our contemporaries will reject the gospel, it is claimed, if women do not have the same rights as men, just as it would be a hindrance to the gospel if we recommended slavery. Egalitarians put the point even more sharply. If we insist wives should submit today and women cannot serve as pastors, then we are also recommending the reinstitution of slavery? Many Christians in the 1800s appealed to the Bible to defend slavery, and many egalitarians think those who defend the complementation view on women’s roles are making a similar mistake today (For this thesis, see Willard M. Swartley, Slavery, Sabbath, War and Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation [Scottsdale, Pa.: Herald, 1983]; Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 184-224; Kevin Giles, “The Biblical Case for Slavery: Can the Bible Mislead? A Case Study in Hermeneutics,” EvQ 66 [1994]: 3-17 [unfortunately, Giles [p.4] relinquishes the Bible’s authority in social relations]. See the critique by Yarbrough, “The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 189. For the ongoing debate see Giles, “A Critique of the ‘Novel’ Contemporary Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 Given in the Book, Women in the Church. Part I,” EvQ 72 [2000]: 151-67; Giles, “A Critique of the ‘Novel’ Contemporary Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 Given in the Book, Women in the Church. Part II,” EvQ 72 [2000]: 195-215; Andreas J. Kostenberger “Women in the Church: A Response to Kevin Giles,” EvQ 73 [2001]: 205-24; Giles, “Women in the Church: A Rejoinder to Andreas Kostenberger,” EvQ 73 [2001]: 225-43).

We must admit this objection is a thoughtful one. I believe egalitarians are correct in saying some of the commands and norms in Scripture are the result of cultural accommodation. Slavery is not God’s ideal, and yet the Scriptures regulate and transform cultures in which slavery is practiced. The Bible does not recommend revolution to wipe out existing institutions but counsels a transformation from within. Paul, for instance, did not require Philemon to give up Onesimus as his slave, but he expected the relationship between the master and slave to be transformed by their unity in Christ so that Onesimus would be treated as a brother in the Lord and not merely as a slave. If egalitarians are correct in saying that the admonitions to wives and the retractions on women in ministry are analogous to the counsel given to slaves, then I would agree that the restrictions on women are due to cultural accommodation and not required of believers today. Nevertheless, I think egalitarians make a crucial mistake when they draw a parallel between exhortations given to slaves and those given to wives. The marriage relationship is not analogous to slavery, for slavery is an evil human institution regulated by Scripture. Marriage, on the other hand, is a creation ordinance of God and part of God’s good will for human beings (Gen. 2:18-25). Thus, the parallel between marriage and slavery does not stand (Craig Keener [Paul, Women and Wives, 208-9] objects that the issue is whether a wife’s submission to her husband is permanently mandated, not the ordinance of marriage itself. But I would contend Paul’s argument in Ephesians 5:22-33 demonstrates that the marriage relationship mirrors Christ’s relationship to the church. In addition, Genesis 2-3 indicates that role distinctions between husbands and wives was God’s intention in creating man and woman).

The weakness of the parallel between slavery and marriage is obvious when the relationship between children and parents is introduced. In the household passages, Paul exhorts husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves (Eph. 5:22-6:9; Col. 3:18-4:1). The inclusion of parents and children is instructive. Those who say the admonition to wives is culturally bounded by appealing to the matter of slavery must also (to be consistent) say the admonition for children to obey their parents no longer applies today. But there is no doubt that children are mandated by God to obey parents, and such a command is not harmful for children but is part of God’s good intention for them (Of course, I am not denying that sin has affected the relationship between parents and children, with the result that no parents raise their children perfectly, and, in fact, some parents do great damage to their children). Bearing and raising children is, from the time of creation, part of God’s good intention for human beings (Gen. 1:28). Similarly, the marriage relationship stems from God’s creational intent (2:18-25). The same cannot be said for slavery! Both the marriage and parent-child relationships hearken back to creation, but slavery does not, and hence the appeal to slavery as a parallel to the relationship between men and women fails (Nor is it clear from Titus 2:3-5 that wives submit only in order to avoid cultural scandal in Paul’s day. Padgett [“The Pauline Rationale for Submission”] provides no clear basis by which we can discern whether the admonitions are culturally dated or transcendent, for in these very verses, Paul also summons wives to love their husbands and children, and to be kid, sensible, and pure. These commands are given for the same reasons as the command to submit to husbands, namely, so that the gospel will be honored. But, of course, no one would think these commands no longer apply today).

The analogy Paul draws between Christ and the church and husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 also demonstrates that exhortations for husbands and wives are transcultural. Husbands are to pattern their love after Christ’s love for the church, and wives are to submit in the same way the church submits to Christ. Verse 32 adds a crucial dimension to this argument. Paul remarks, “This mystery if great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” What Paul means is that the relationship of a husband and wife mirrors an even greater reality, namely, the relationship between Christ and the church. It is not the case that marriage was instituted first, and then God decided marriage would function as an illustration of Christ’s relationship to the church (For an analysis of this theme, see Andreas J. Kostenberger, “The Mystery of Christ and the Church: Head and Body, ‘One Flesh,'” TJ 12 [1991]: 79-94). Instead, from all eternity, God envisioned Christ’s relationship to the church, and he instituted marriage as a picture or mirror of Christ’s relationship to the church. The husband represents Christ, and the wife represents the church. We must beware, of course, of pressing the typological parallel too far, for a husband does not die for the wife or cleanse or purify her. But the typological relationship indicates the wife’s submission to the husband is not merely a cultural accommodation to Greco-Roman society. Such submission mirrors to the world the church’s submission to Christ.

Correspondingly, the husband’s loving leadership is not a reflection of a patriarchal society but intended to portray Christ’s loving and saving work for his church. The institution of marriage and the responsibilities of husbands and wives within it are not culturally limited but are God’s transcendent intention for all time, since all marriages should reflect Christ’s love for the church and the church’s submission to Christ. Few believers ever think of their marriages in such terms, indicating that a secular mind-set has infiltrated our view of marriage as well. How glorious and beautiful and awesome it is to realize our marriages reflect Christ’s love for the church and the church’s loving response to Christ.

DIFFERENT ROLES FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Women Prohibited from Teaching Men: 1 Timothy 2:11-15

It is not surprising discover that, just as there are distinct roles between husbands and wives in the family, different roles between men and women are also mandated in the church. Women should not fill the role of pastor/elder/overseer. The fundamental text on this matter is 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (Some scholars believe Paul is addressing husbands and wives rather than men and women here. So, e.g., Gordon P. Hugenberger, “Women in Church Office: Hermeneutics or Exegesis? A Survey of Approaches to 1 Timothy 2:8-15,” JETS 35 [1992]: 341-60. Such a view is not contextually convincing. For a refutation, see my essay “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15: A Diologue with Scholarship,” in Women in Church: A Fresh Analysis, 115-17). This text is a battleground in current scholarship and entire books are being written on it (From the egalitarian point of view, see Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992]; Sharon H. Gritz, Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus: A Study of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in Light of the Religious and Cultural Milieu of the First  Century [Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991]). In this essay I summarize my understanding of the passage. For a thorough  treatment, I refer readers to a book I co-edited (Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. A new edition is forthcoming, and I have used some of the wording from this new edition in a few of the footnotes below. For a recent attempt to support an egalitarian reading, see J.M. Holmes, “Text in a Whirlwind: A Critique of Four Exegetical Devices at 1 Timothy 2:9-15” [JSNTS up 196; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000]. For a convincing rebuttal, see Andreas Kostenberger’s review: RBibLit [www.bookreview-s.org/pdf/974_506.pdf], 2001).

Before examining 1 Timothy 2:11-14, I want to comment on verses 9-10. Some ask why we forbid women from functioning as pastors when we do not prohibit women from wearing jewelry (Alvera Mickelsen, “An Egalitarian View: There is Neither Male nor Female in Christ,” in Women in Ministry: Four Views, eds. Bonidell G. Clouse and Robert G. Clouse [Downers Grove, ILL.: InterVarsity, 1989], 201).  Let me say this: if the Scriptures (rightly interpreted) banned the wearing of jewelry, then we should cease wearing it. The Bible, not our culture, must reign supreme. On the other hand, we must interpret the Scriptures in their historical and cultural context. They were written to specific situations and to cultures that differed from out own. The prohibition regarding the braiding of hair and the wearing of jewelry would not surprise Paul’s readers, for such admonitions were part of the common stock of ethical exhortation in the Greco-Roman world (See Stephen M. Baugh, “A Foreign World: Ephesus in First Century,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis, 47-48; Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 103-7).

Discerning why a command was given is appropriate, precisely because culture has changed. We must distinguish between the principle and the cultural outworking of a principle. We do not practice the holy kiss today (1 Cor. 16:20), but we still derive a principle from it, namely, to greet another warmly in Christ–perhaps with a warm handshake or a hug. We do not demand that people with indigestion drink wine (1 Tim. 5:23), but we do think taking an antacid is advisable for those who suffer from stomach pain. Similarly, the principle in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 is that women should dress modestly and without ostentation (For a more detailed discussion of 1 Timothy 2:9-10 see my essay “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 114-21). As a complementation, I do not believe we should try to revert to the culture of biblical times; I do believe we should follow the moral norms and principles taught in the Bible.

So as we study 1 Timothy 2:12, we must discern how its admonition applies to us today. In verses 11-12 Paul exhorts the women to learn quietly and submissively, forbidding them to teach or exercise authority over a man. It has often been observed that Paul departs from some of his contemporaries in encouraging women to learn the Scriptures. The influence of Jesus, who instructed Mary (Luke 10:38-42), is obvious here. Nevertheless, the emphasis in this context is on the manner in which a woman learns, i.e., quietly and submissively. Paul assumes women should learn; what concerns him is that some of the women in Ephesus are arrogating authority to themselves and are not learning with submission. The prohibition in verse 12 further explains verse 11. Paul does not allow women to teach or to exercise authority over a man.

Andreas Kostenbergerhas conclusively shown that the two infinitives–didaskein (“to teach”) and authentein (“to exercise authority”), which are connected by oude (“nor”)–refer to two distinct activities. (See Andreas J. Kostenberger, “A Complex Sentence Structure in 1 Timothy 2:12,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis, 81-103). He establishes this case by consulting verbal forms connected by oude in biblical and extra biblical literature. He also discovered that the two distinct activities are both viewed either positively or negatively when connected by oude; whether the activities are positive or negative is established by the context. Kostenberger rightly notes that the verb didasko (“to teach”) is a positive term in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim. 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:2), unless the context adds information to indicate otherwise (Titus 1:11). When Paul wants to use a verb to designate false teaching, he uses the term heterodidaskaleo (“to teach strange or false doctrines”) [1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3]) (I.H. Marshall [A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. ICC; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1999, 458-60] is unpersuasive in seeing a negative connotation in the terms).

Kostenberger’s study is significant for our understanding of 1 Timothy 2:12. Paul prohibits two distinct activities–teaching and exercising authority. Both teaching and exercising authority are legitimate activities in and of themselves. He does not prohibit women from teaching and exercising authority as if these actions are intrinsically evil. Both teaching and exercising authority are proper activities for believers, but in this context he forbids women from engaging in such activities. Kostenberger helps bring clarity to the debate on the meaning of the verb auhtentein (“to exercise authority”) in verse 12. In 1979 Catherine Kroeger proposed that the verb meant “to engage in fertility practices,” but scholars of all persuasions dismiss this view(Catherine Clark Kroeger, “Ancient Heresies and a Strange Greek Verb,” RefJ 29 [1979]: 12-15). Now the Kroegers propose that verse 12 should be translated, “I do not allow a woman to teach or to proclaim herself the author or originator of a man” (See Kroeger and Kroeger, I Suffer Not a Woman, 103. Linda L. Belleville proposes a translation similar to the Kroegers in some respects [Women Leaders and the Church: Three Crucial Questions [grand Rapids: Baker, 2000], 177. Philip B. Payne [“The Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: A Surrejoinder,” in What Does the Scripture Teach about the Ordination of Women? [Minneapolis: unpublished paper, 1986], 108-10] lists five different meanings for the infinitive, which does not inspire confidence he has any definite sense of what the infinitive means). Three careful and technical studies have been conducted on authentein, and all three demonstrate that the most natural meaning for the term is “to exercise authority” (George W. Knight III, “Authenteo in Reference to Women in 1 Timothy 2:12,” NTS 30 [1984]: 143-57; Leland E. Wilshire, “The TLG Computer and Further Reference to Authenteo in 1 Timothy 2:12,” NTS 34 [1988]: 120-34; H. Scott Baldwin, “A Difficult Word: Authenteo in 1 Timothy 2:12,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis, 65-80, 269-305. See my summary and more detailed analysis of this word in my essay “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 130-33). Scott Baldwin, in particular, has examined virtually every use of the term and carefully separated the verb from the noun, for many scholars mistakenly blend the verb and noun together in their study of the term. Of course, it is just possible in context that a term with a positive meaning (“to exercise authority”) could have a negative meaning (“to domineer”; See, e.g., Carroll D. Osburn, “Authenteo [1 Timothy 2:12],” ResQ 25 [1982]: 1-12). But at this juncture Kostenberger’s work applies again, for he has shown in his study of the sentence structure that both terms are either inherently positive or inherently negative. Since the term “teach” has no negative sense into “exercise authority.” I realize the discussion of this point has been rather technical, but my conclusion is this: technical study has verified that complementarians have rightly interpreted this verse. Paul prohibits women from teaching or exercising authority over men 87 (Some egalitarians have appealed to the phrase oukepitrepo [“I do not permit”] to support their case, arguing that the indicative mood demonstrates the exhortation is not even a command and that the present tense suggests the exhortation is merely a temporary restriction to be lifted once women are qualified to teach [see, e.g., Philip B. Payne, “Libertarian Women in Ephesus: A Response to Douglas J. Moo’s Article, ‘1 Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning and Significance,'” TJ 2 [1981]: 170-72; Grenz, Women in the Church, 127-28]. Both assertions are incorrect. Paul often uses indicatives to introduce commands. E.g., the famous admonition to give one’s whole life to God [Rom. 12:1-2] is introduced with the indicative parakalo [“I exhort”] It is linguistically naive to insist commands must be in the imperative mood [see 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1; Phil. 4:2; 1 Tim. 2:8; 5:14; 2 Tim. 1:6; Titus 3:8]. Nor can one appeal to the present tense to say the command is merely temporary. The same argument could then be used to say Paul desires believers to give their lives to God only for a brief period of time [Rom. 12:1] or he wants the men to pray without wrath and dissension merely for the present time [1 Tim. 2:8], but in the future they could desist).

We have seen previously that prohibiting a woman from teaching or exercising authority over a man applies to the tasks of an elder, for elders have a unique responsibility to teach and rule in God’s church. But on what basis does Paul forbid women from teaching and exercising authority? His words in verse 13 provide the reason: “For it was Adam who was created, and then Eve.” The gar (“for”) introducing this verse is best understood as a ground for the command, since a reason naturally follows the prohibition (Egalitarians often understand this verse to be merely an illustration. So Gritz, Mother Goddess at Ephesus, 136; Witherington, Women and the Genesis of Christianity, 194-95; David M. Scholer, “1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the Place of Women in the Church’s Ministry,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, 208; Alan Padgett, “Wealthy Women at Ephesus: 1 Timothy 2:8-15 in Social Context,” Int 41 [1987]: 25; Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 115-17. In defense of this verse functioning as a reason for the command, see Douglas J. Moo, “The Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15: A Rejoinder,” TJ 2 [1981]: 202-3). Women should not teach men or exercise authority over them because this would violate God’s intention in creation. Since Paul appeals to creation, the prohibition transcends culture. Paul disallows homosexuality because it contravenes God’s created order (Rom. 1:26-27). Jesus asserts the permanency of marriage by appealing to creation (Matt. 19:3-12). There is no suggestion in the 1 Timothy passage, therefore, that the prohibition is temporary, nor is there any indication that the resurrection is somehow due to human sin or to the limitations of women. The restriction on women stems from God’s creation mandate, not from the cultural situation at Ephesus.

Egalitarians often argue the restriction can be explained by the lack of education among the women in Ephesus, or alternatively they suggest these women were duped by false teachers–and thus the women would be allowed to teach once their doctrinal deficiencies were corrected (For documentation of the egalitarian view, see my essay “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 137). Both of these views are unconvincing. Paul could have easily written this: “I do not allow a woman to teach of exercise authority over a man as long as she is uneducated and unlearned.” He gives no indication, however, that lack of education is the problem. In fact, egalitarians skate over the reason given (Paul’s appeal to the created order) and appeal to one not even mentioned (lack of education; see Royce Gordon Gruenler [“The Mission Lifestlye Setting of 1 Timothy 2:8-15,” JETS 41 [1998]: 215-38] argues that the subordination of women is explicable from the missionary situation in 1 Timothy. But he doesn’t really engage in an intensive exegesis of the text, nor does he persuasively demonstrate that the prohibition is due to mission. Once again, Paul could have easily communicated such an idea, but he did not clearly do so). Furthermore, as Steven M. Baugh points out, it is not the case that all women were uneducated in Ephesus (See Baugh, “A Foreign World,” 45-47). Indeed, we know from 2 Timothy 4:19 that Priscilla was in Ephesus, and she was certainly educated.

Nor is the second attempt to explain away 1 Timothy 2:12 any more persuasive. Paul could have written, “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. For she is being led astray by false teachers.” There are multiple problems with this hypothesis. First, why does Paul only mention women, since we know that at least some men were being duped by the false teachers as well? It would be insufferably sexist to prohibit only women from teaching and exercising authority when men were being led astray as well (See D.A. Carson, “Silent in the Churches’: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 147). Second, the theory requires that all the women in Ephesus were deluded by the false teachers. Paul gives no indication the restriction applies only to some women, but it is incredibly hard to believe that every single woman in Ephesus was beguiled by the false teaching. Third, egalitarian scholars have been busy remaking the background to the situation in verses 11-15, but their reconstructions have been highly speculative and sometimes wildly implausible. For example, in their work on 1 Timothy (I Suffer Not a Woman) the Kroegers allege that Ephesus was feminist; they appeal to later evidence to vindicate their thesis and ransack the entire Greco-Roman world to sustain it. They have rightly been excoriated in reviews for producing a work that departs from a sound historical method (See Steven M. Baugh, “The Apostle among the Amazons,” WTJ 56 [1994]: 153-71; Albert Wolters, “Review: I Suffer Not a Woman,” CTJ 28 [1993]: 208-13; Robert W. Yarbrough, “I Suffer Not a Woman: A Review Essay,” Presb 18 [1992]: 25-33). They fall prey to Samuel Sandmel’s warning against parallelomania, and they would have been wise to apply the kind of sober method recommended in John Barclay’s essay on reconstructing the teaching and identity of opponents (See Samuel Sandmel, “Paralelomainia,” JBL 81 [1962]: 2-13; John M.G. Barclay, “Mirror Reading a Polemical Letter: Galatians as a test Case,” JSNT 3 [1987]: 73-93. See also Jerry L. Sumney, “Identifying Paul’s Opponents: The Question of Method in 2 Corinthians” [JSNTSup 40; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990]. For a sensible and cautious description of the opponents in the Pastorals, see Marshall, Pastoral Epistles, 140-52; cf. also William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles [WBC; Nashville: Nelson, 2000], lxix-lxxxvi). Bruce Barron blithely appeals to second-century gnostic sources and gives no indication that appealing to later evidence is a problem (See Bruce Barron, “Putting Women in Their Place: 1 Timothy 2 and Evangelical Views of Women in Church Leadership,” JETS 33 [1990]: 451-59). In Paul, Women Teachers, and the Mother Goddess at Ephesus, Sharon Gritz argues that the Artemis cult is responsible for the problem in Ephesus. Her work is much more careful than that of the Kroegers, but at the end of the day she does not provide any hard data from the letter to substantiate her thesis (See my “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 107-12, for a discussion of the setting of the text).

Speculation runs rampant among those defending the egalitarian thesis. I challenge egalitarians to demonstrate from 1 Timothy itself the nature of the false teaching instead of from later and external sources. I conclude egalitarians have not yet provided a plausible explanation for Paul’s argument from creation in 2:13; in fact, they often complain that Paul’s argument in this verse is unclear and hard to understand (For documentation, see my “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 136. Jerome D. Quinn and William C. Wacker [The First and Second Letters to Timothy. ECC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000], 227, rightly remark that the brevity of the words in verse 13 demonstrates that the truth presented here was both familiar and intelligible). Yet most Christians throughout church history did not think the verse was so obscure, nor do I think it is hard to grasp. I would suggest the verse seems difficult because it runs counter to our own cultural intuitions. But the Scriptures exist to challenge our worldview and to correct our way of looking at the world.

In verse 14, Paul gives a second reason for the prohibition. Women are forbidden to teach because Eve was deceived, and not Adam. Egalitarians occasionally appeal to this verse to say women were responsible for spreading the heresy in Ephesus, and that is why they are prevented from teaching (For a detailed discussion of this verse, see my “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 140-46, though I am less certain about my previous interpretation of this verse). When we read 1 Timothy and the rest of the Pastoral Epistles , however, the only false teachers named are men (1:20; 2 Tim. 1:15; 2:17). The only evidence were influenced by the heresy, not that they were purveyors of it (2 Tim. 3:5-9). Nor does 1 Timothy 2:14 suggest that women were disseminating false teaching, for to say that one is deceived is not to say one is spreading error, but only that one is being led astray by it. What the verse highlights is what transpired in Eve’s heart, namely, deception, and nothing is said about her giving Adam faulty instruction.

Nor is it plausible to say this verse highlights Eve’s ignorance of God’s command, and then to conclude the women of Ephesus are prohibited from teaching because of a lack of education. The problem with this interpretation is that deception does not equate with lack of education, for the latter is remedied through instruction while the former has a moral component. Nor does it make sense to say Eve was ignorant of God’s command given to Adam. If she were ignorant because Adam had failed to inform her of the command, then the blame would surely rest with Adam. Alternatively, if Adam muddled the command and explained it poorly to Eve, this would scarcely fit with an injunction that encouraged men to teach rather than women. Presumably, Adam explained the prohibition to Eve, and it is hard to see how she could not have grasped it, since it is quite easy to understand what was forbidden. If Eve couldn’t understand it, then she was inherently stupid–which would explain why men should teach. But the deception should not be equated with stupidity. Paul is not saying Eve somehow lacked education or intelligence. He argues that she failed morally and was deceived by the serpent.

Egalitarians often allege they have a better explanation of verse 14 than complementarians. I maintain none of their explanations are persuasive, for there is no evidence in this verse that women were banned from teaching because they were spreading heresy, nor is there any indication they were uneducated, for deception cannot be equated with a lack of education.

What, then, is the point of 1 Timothy 2:14? Let me acknowledge at the outset the difficulty of the verse. I believe the complementarian view stands on the basis of the clarity of verse 13, so that resolving the interpretation of verse 14 is not crucial for the passage as a whole (Craig L. Blomberg [“Not Beyond What Is Written: A Review of Aida Spencer’s Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry,” CTR 2, 1988: 414] intriguingly suggests verse 14 should be read with verse 15 instead of functioning as a second reason for the injunction in verse 12. On this reading, Paul says the woman will be saved, even though Eve was initially deceived. There are at least three weaknesses with this view [cf. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 142]: (1) the kai in verse 14 naturally links verse 14 with verse 13; (2) the structure of verse 13 nicely matches verse 14, for both verses compare and contrast Adam and Eve in an a-b a-b pattern; and (3) Blomberg’s view does not account well for the reference to Adam in verse 14. Any reference to Adam is superfluous if the concern is only the salvation of women. But the reference to both Adam and Eve fits with the specific argument in verse 12 that women are not to teach men. In my view Blomberg does not answer these objections convincingly in his response to Mounce’s objections [see his essay, “Neither Hierarchicalist nor Egalitarian: Gender Roles in Paul,” in Two Views on Women in Ministry, eds. James R. Beck and Craig L. Blomberg [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001], 367). In the history of the church, some have argued that women are less intelligent or more apt to be deceived than men. The idea that women are less intelligent is not taught elsewhere in Scripture, and Paul does not argue from lack of intelligence but from the experience of deception. Others suggested the point is that Eve was deceived first, and Adam was deceived afterward (Paul W. Barnett, “Wives and Women’s Ministry [1 Timothy 2:11-15],” EvQ 61 [1989]: 234). As Paul writes to his trusted coworker, he knows Timothy will reflect on the Pauline teaching that sin has been transmitted through Adam (Rom. 5:12-19). So even though Eve sinned first, sin is traced to Adam, pointing to male headship.

We can combine the above interpretation with the observation that the serpent took the initiative to tempt Eve rather than Adam, thereby subverting the pattern of male leadership (See also Gruenler, “The Mission-Lifestyle Setting,” 217-18, 20-21). I argued in a previous essay that perhaps Paul is suggesting women are more prone to deceit than men, but this view has the disadvantage of suggesting an inherent defect in women, for the language of deceit in Scripture always involves a moral failing. Thus, I think Paul likely is reflecting on the fact that the serpent subverted male headship by tempting Eve rather than Adam (Due to space limitations, I am bypassing the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:15. For my view, see “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” 146-53. I do not believe my specific interpretation affects the major teaching of the text in a decisive way [contra Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 118; Scholer, “1 Timothy 2:91-15 and the Place of Women,” 196]. For an alternate interpretation see Andreas J. Kostenberger, “Ascertaining Women’s God-Ordained Roles: An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:15,” BBR 7 [1997]: 107-43). And yet sin is still traced through Adam, even though Eve was deceived and sinned first. On this view verse 14 supports the command in verse 12, providing an additional and complementary reason for male leadership in the church.

Women Exhorted to Prophesy with a Submissive Demeanor: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

One of the most controversial NT texts regarding men and women is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (For further discussion, see my essay “Head Coverings, Prophecies and the Trinity: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 124-39). Several issues need to be examined here, beginning with the custom that is in view. How did Paul want the women to adorn themselves? We must admit immediately that complete certainty eludes us. Scholars have suggested veiling, the wearing of a shawl, or the tying of hair atop the head so that the hair didn’t fall loosely onto the shoulders (Supporting a shawl or veil is Gordon D. Fee, The Epistle to the Corinthians [NICNT; grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 506-12; Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 22-31; Cynthia L. Thompson, “Hairstyles, Head-Coverings, and St. Paul: Portraits from Roman Corinth,” BA 51 [1988]: 99-115. Supporting hairstyle is Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, 254-71; David E. Blattenberger III, Rethinking 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 through Archaeological and Moral Rhetorical Analysis [Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen, 1997). Whatever the custom was, the failure of Corinthian women to abide by it was considered disgraceful. The behavior of the Corinthian women was as shocking as if they shaved their heads altogether (v.6).

Even if we cannot specify the custom, why would Paul be concerned about how the women adorn themselves?  (Bruce W. Winter [After Paul Left Corinth. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001, 121-41] argues that the injunction to veil demonstrates that wives and not women in general are in view here, supporting this with evidence from the culture of Paul’s day. Winter’s arguments are quite attractive, but further research and discussion are needed to establish this claim. I have some hesitancy about his view because it is unclear from the text itself that only wives are in view, though perhaps Winter is correct in saying that the reference to veiling indicates such is the case).  We have already noted that honor and shame come to the forefront (vv. 4-7, 13-15). Those who repudiate the custom bring dishonor on their heads. The word “head” in verse 5 is probably a play on words, for the women who adorn themselves improperly bring dishonor on themselves and their husbands. It is evident the women’s adornment impinges on the relationship between men and women, since Paul introduces the whole matter by saying, “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ” (v.3).

I noted previously that the word kephale (“head”) may have both the idea of “authority over” and “source.” The meaning “authority over” is clear in many texts, and whether the term ever means “source” is difficult to discern. Nevertheless, svn if one adopts the translation “source” male leadership cannot be expunged from the text. Paul is concerned about the way women adorn themselves, because shameful adornment is a symbol of rebellion against male leadership. A woman who is properly adorned signals her submissiveness to male headship. That woman was created to assist and help man is clear from the Pauline commentary in verses 7-9: “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.” We should note the woman is required to adorn herself in a certain way because she came from the man, showing that even an argument from source does not exclude male leadership (I am not suggesting kephale means only “source” here; both “authority over” and “source” are probably involved. My judgment on this issue represents a change from my “Head Coverings, Prophecies and the Trinity,” 124-39).

Paul does not merely impose restrictions on women. He encourages women to pray and prophesy in church if they are properly adorned (v. 5). Complementarians who regulate such prayer and prophecy by women to private meetings fail to convince, because the distinction between public and private meetings of the church is a modern invention; in Paul’s day, the church often met in homes for worship and instruction. Moreover, it is evident that 11:2-14:40 relates activities when the church is gathered together. Paul commends women’s praying and prophesying in church, but he insists on proper adornment, because such adornment signals submission to male leadership.

It is also crucial at this juncture to reiterate what was said earlier. The permission to prophesy does not mean women fill the office of teacher or pastor/elder/overseer. When women pray and prophesy, they must adorn themselves properly, thereby indicating they are supportive of male leadership in the church. Paul encourages women to speak in the assembly, but he forbids them from functioning as pastors or from exercising a regular gift of teaching men.

We should also notice the programmatic nature of verse 3. God is the head of Christ, which signifies that God is the authority over the Christ. The Father commands and sends, and the Son obeys and goes. Even though the Son obeys the Father, he is equal in essence, dignity, and personhood with the Father. A difference in role does not signify a difference in worth. Some scholars are now actually arguing that the Son submits to the Father, and the Father submits to the Son. Stanley Grenz posits such a thesis in defense of the egalitarian view (See Grenz, Women in the Church, 153-54). Amazingly enough, he does not provide any biblical evidence to support his assertion; he simply claims the Father also submits to the Son. There is no evidence in the Bible that the Father and Son mutually submit to one another. Grenz’s interpretation is concocted out of nothing and proposed to the reader as though it were rooted somewhere in the Bible.

The parallel between Christ’s submission to the Father and the deference of women to men is important. For right after Paul sets forth the distinct role of women in verses 2-10, he reminds his readers that both men and women are equal in the Lord (vv. 11-12). Some scholars have interpreted verse 11-12 as though Paul were now denying the male leadership taught in verses 2-10 (Scholars often appeal to verse 10 to support the idea that women have independent authority in prophesying. This interpretation was proposed by Morna D. Hooker [“Authority on Her Head: An Examination of 1 Corinthians xi.10,” NTS 10. 1964: 410-16] and has been adopted by most egalitarians [see, e.g., Keener, Paul, Women and Wives, 38-42]. But there are serious problems with this view [see my “Head Coverings, Prophecies, and the Trinity,” 134-37). Such a reading is unpersuasive.

Paul returns to the differences between the genders in verses 13-16, and in verse 16, he reminds the Corinthians that all the other churches practice the custom the Corinthians are resisting (Judith M. Gundry-Volf [“Gender and Creation in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16: A Study in Paul’s Theological Method,” in Evangelium Schriftauslegung Kirche, ed. O. Hofus, Gotingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997], 151-71, argues that Paul integrates creation, culture, and eschatological life in Christ in a complex fashion in these verses so that he, in effect, supports patriarchy and equality simultaneously. On the other hand, I disagree with her claim that verses 11-12 partially mute the patriarchy of the previous verses. On the other hand, her own proposal is overly complex and doesn’t offer a clear way forward in the debate). The text beautifully balances differences in roles with equality of personhood. Egalitarians have sometimes claimed that Paul corrects in verses 11-12 the focus on submission in verses 2-10. More likely, the themes of submission and equality are complementary. Women and men are equal in the Lord, and yet distinct roles are also demanded. Paul saw no contradiction on this point–and neither should we.

Should women wear veils or shawls today? A minority of complementarians think they should (See e.g., Bruce Waltke, “1 Corinthians 11:2-16: An Interpretation,” BSac 135 [1978]: 46-57; Robert Culver, “A Traditional View: Let Your Women Keep Silence,” in Women in Ministry: Four Views, 29-32, 48). But we must remember that the Bible was written in the context of particular historical and cultural circumstances we do not necessarily imitate today. As I noted before in the cases of the holy kiss and drinking wine for indigestion, we must distinguish between the principle and the cultural outworking of a principle. Thus, the principle in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is deference to male leadership. In our culture, such deference is not signaled by wearing a shawl or a veil, or by tying one’s hair into a bun atop the head. Women should participate in the ministry, read the Scriptures, and pray in church with a demeanor that illustrates submission to male headship, but they should not be required to wear veils, for to do so confuses the particular cultural practice with the principle.

Am I trying to escape the scandal of the biblical text? In actuality, I believe there is a custom in Western society that is somewhat analogous to the first-century situation. In some cases, women today who refuse to take a husband’s last name signal that they are “liberated.” I realize there are exceptions (e.g., famous athletes or authors who may want to retain name recognition), but I believe if Paul were alive today, he would encourage women who marry to take the last name of the their husband, signaling thereby their deference to male leadership (I am not claiming that taking a husband’s last name should always be required. Our culture may change. In some cultures, retaining one’s maiden name may show respect for one’s father. I am merely suggesting that, in some cases, women are making a statement about their view of gender relations by not taking their husband’s last name). Is it possible the same hermeneutical method I have applied to 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 could be related to 1 Timothy 2:11-15? In one of my classes, a woman once said to me, “Is it possible the admonition not to teach or exercise authority over a man has an underlying principle we have missed, so that women can teach and exercise authority over men without denying the principle of 1 Timothy 2:11-15?” I replied, “Of course it is possible. But in this case, it seems the principle and practice coalesce 112 (See Kostenberger, “Gender Passages,” 270. John Stott [Guard the Truth: The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus [BST; Downers Grove, ILL.: InterVarsity, 1996, 78-80; argues that submission to authority is transcultural but teaching is a cultural expression of the principle that does not apply the same way in our culture. Kostenberger [1-2 Timothy and Titus. EBC, rev. ed.; Zondervan, forthcoming] rightly responds that “v. 13 provides the rationale for vv. 11-12 in their entirety rather than only the sub-mission-authority principle. Moreover, teaching and ruling functions are inseparable from submission-authority, as is made clear in the immediately following context when it is said that the overseer must be ‘husband of one wife’ [i.e., by implication, male; 3:2] as well as ‘able to teach’ – 3:2″). Please explain to me what the principle is in the text if it does not relate to women’s teaching the Scriptures and exercising authority over other believers.”

I have never read any author who has successfully explained what this “other principle.” might be. Thus, I am persuaded we fulfill the admonition of 1 Timothy 2:12 when we prohibit women from filling the pastoral office and when we restrict them from regularly teaching the Scriptures to adult males (Craig Keener [Paul, Women and Wives, 19] thinks that if one abandons the head covering then the limitation imposed by 1 Timothy 2:12 must be surrendered as well. But I believe I am following Keener’s very principle of trying to discern the principle in each text [see Paul, Women, and Wives, 46].

The Principle of Submission Applied to a Particular Situation: 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36

The entire matter of principle and practice comes to the forefront in this difficult text. Gordon Fee has argued the verese are a later interpolation, but this view has been decisively refuted by Don Carson and Curt Niccum114 (See Fee, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 699-705; Carson, “Silent in the Churches,” 141-45; Curt Niccum, “The Voice of the Manuscripts on the Silence of Women: The External Evidence for 1 Corinthians 14.34-35,” NTS 43 [1997]: 242-55. See also Keener’s fine survey of interpretive options [Paul, Women and Wives, 70-100]. Philip B. Payne [“Fuldensis, Sigla for Variants in Vaticanus, and 1 Corinthians 14.34-5,” NTS 41 [1995]: 240-62; argues that evidence from Codex Fuldensis and “bar-umlaut” siglum in Vaticanus indicate that verses 34-35 are a later interpolation. Nicccum demonstrates, however, that the evidence adduced by Payne does not really support an interpolation). On first blush the passage seems to prohibit women from speaking in church at all, but this is an unpersuasive interpretation. In 1 Corinthians 11:5, Paul has already permitted women to pray and prophesy on the church. He would not bother to explain in such detail how they should adorn themselves if he thought women should desist from speaking altogether! What, then, is Paul prohibiting here? Scholars have suggested a plethora of interpretations that need not be conversed here. For instance, some have said that the text is contradictory, others that women were interrupting the worship service with questions, and still others that women were banned from assessing and passing judgment on the prophecies uttered by the prophets  (For a survey of options and the view that the judging of prophecies is forbidden, see Carson, “Silent in the Churches,” 145-53. For a survey that reaches another conclusion, see Forbes, Prophecy and Inspired Speech, 270-77). Virtually all acknowledge that the specific situation that called forth these words is difficult to identify. It seems most likely the women were disrupting the service in some way (we cannot recover the specific circumstances due to paucity of information), and Paul responds to their disruptive behavior.

Still, we cannot simply say the verses are restricted to the local situation at Corinth. The admonition here relates to what is practiced “in all the churches of the saints” (14:33). Paul summons the women to submit, for this is what the nomos (“Law”) requires (v. 34). Paul does not specify any particular verse from the OT, but “Law” in Paul virtually always refers to the OT, and here we probably have a reference to the teaching of Genesis 1-2. We may have some uncertainty about the particular situation in Corinth, but the principle enunciated here fits with the rest of Scripture. The women are not to speak in such a way that they arrogate leadership. As in all other churches, they are to behave submissively, so that the leadership of the church belongs to men 116 (Keener [Paul, Women and Wives, 87] agrees with me that the principle in the text is submission, though he would apply the text differently to today).

CONCLUSION

The Bible speaks with one voice on whether women should fill the pastoral office, and it also seems to me it forbids women from regularly teaching men and exercising authority over them. I realize, of course, that even those who ares with my exegesis may disagree on how this would be worked out in the myriad of specific situations that arise in life (I simply could not address the diversity of practical questions in this brief Title: Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism). I want to affirm in closing that the Bible also indicates that women were vitally involved in many other ministry roles in both the OT and NT. Complementarians should celebrate and advocate women’s filling such roles. We must also constantly remind our egalitarian society that differences in function do not signify differences in worth. The world may think that way–but the church knows better.

Source: Thomas R. Schreiner (He is the James Harrison Professor of NT Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds an Mdiv and ThM from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary), “Chapter Four – Women in Ministry: “Another Complementary Perspective.” Two Views On Women in Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2005.

BOOK REVIEW: FOUR VIEWS ON THE HISTORICAL ADAM

In Search of the Historical Adam

Four Views on the Historical Adam

Book Review by David P. Craig

In this counterpoint book the subject of the Historical Adam takes center stage. There are four views presented: (1) No Historical Adam – presented by Denis Lamoureux, Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph.s College in the University of Alberta; (2) A Historical Adam: The Archetypal Creation View – presented by John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College; (3) A Historical Adam: Old Earth Creation View – presented by C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary; and (4) A Historical Adam: Young-Earth View – presented by William D. Barrick, Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s College.

The format of the book is as follows: Each Professor writes on essay addressing three essential questions: (1) What is the biblical case for your viewpoint, and how to you reconcile it with passages and potential interpretations that seem to counter it? (2) In what ways is your view more theologically consistent and coherent than other views? (3) What are the implications your view has for the spiritual life and public witness of the church and individual believers, and how is your view a healthier alternative for both? Upon answering these questions each scholar counters followed by a rejoinder from the presenter. At the end of the book there are two essays representing two different stances on the debate and impact on the Christian faith by Greg Boyd (Senior Pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota) and Philip Ryken (President of Wheaton College and the former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia).

I Appreciated the personal testimony of Denis Lamoureux’s pursuit of truth in the fields of science and theology. He has definitely wrestled with and struggled with all the issues at hand – as a non-believer, as well as a believer in Christ. Lemorourex concludes that his view of evolution disallows for belief in the historical Adam that is revealed in the Scriptures. He argues at length that the reality of history conflicts with modern science. He believes that ancient science (the view of the biblical writers) conflicts with modern science and therefore what we have in the Bible is God accommodating inerrant spiritual truths.

In summary “Lamoureux rejects scientific concordism, the idea that God chose to reveal through the Scriptures certain scientific facts and that modern science, properly understood, can be aligned with the Bible. To the contrary, he says the authors of Scripture had an ancient perception of the world, apparent in their belief in a three-tiered universe, their view of the ‘firmament,’ and elsewhere. When it comes to humanity’s biological origins, the biblical authors likewise had a primordial understanding. They held to ‘de novo creation,’ the belief that God created man and everything else directly, immediately, and completely, that is fully mature.”

Lamoureux argues that Adam did not exist, but that Jesus Christ is a historical person who died and rose again for our sins. He attempts to show how modern science has changed his views on interpreting the Bible through understanding distinctions between ancient and modern science, language accommodation, and his rejection of concordism.

I found his essay to be interesting, but unconvincing. I especially struggled with his weak theological explanation of the historical “Adam” from the lips of Jesus and the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. I also struggled with his interpretation of Genesis 1-11 as not being historical. Lastly, I found his interpretation and methodology in arriving at his conclusions insufficient – leaving me with more questions than answers. I agree with C. John Collins assessment of his essay when he writes, “Lamoureux has followed a style of reasoning that is oversimplified, specifically in that he generally poses either/or questions with only two options; he does not consider whether there are alternatives.”

In contrast to Lamoureux, John Walton believes that Adam was a historical person. He believe’s that the primary emphasis of the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern literature is to demonstrate that Adam (and Eve) are archetypal representatives of humanity. He believes that Genesis 2 is not about the biological origins of Adam and Eve. He argues that Adam and Eve may not even be the first humans who came into existence or the parents of all humankind. Walton doesn’t reject or accept evolution, but his view does allow for evolution and an old earth. I found Walton’s essay to be difficult to follow and his discussion of archetypes to be interesting, but not totally sustainable.

C.J. Collins, like Walton, agrees that Adam and Eve were real historical persons. He demonstrates in his essay with great theological precision how a real Adam and Eve are necessary to demonstrate our need of Savior (the second Adam – Jesus) to save us from the sin we inherited as legitimate children of Adam’s race.  He does a wonderful job of showing that the story line of the Scriptures reveals three major truths: (1) Adam and Eve as a pair represent humankind as one family; (2) Adam and Eve were created supernaturally by God; (3) Through Adam and Eve came forth sin. As a result all humanity is guilty before our creator God for our experience as sinners, and in need of redemption from the perfect Adam – the Lord Jesus Christ.

An interesting aspect of Collins’ view of Adam is that he may have been the chieftain of his tribe, i.e., there were perhaps many more people around when Adam and Eve were around. He is also critical of theistic evolution because it fails to account for the special creation of human beings as made in the image of God. He does not believe that a literal twenty-four hour days in Genesis One is required to maintain inerrancy.

Michael Barrick, expounds the most traditional of the four views presented. He argues for the supernatural creation of Adam by God, who is the father of all mankind. Barrick gives the most emphasis of the four views to the significance of Adam in understanding and applying the gospel. He holds to a literal twenty-four days and young earth perspective. He holds to a high view of the Scriptures and believes his view best accounts for the consistent testimony of the biblical authors (Moses and Paul) with Jesus’ teaching. Barrick’s essay argues that when science and the Bible have a conflict – science must always concede for Scripture is inerrant and totally authoritative on all matters it addresses.

In the concluding section of the book Greg Boyd and Phil Ryken (Theologian/Pastors) address the following issues raised by the other essayists by answering the following six questions: Does Adam’s existence or nonexistence (1) affect the rest of the Christian faith and those doctrines Christians have historically affirmed throughout the centuries? (2) shape a Christian worldview, especially the biblical story line from creation, fall, and redemption, to new creation? (3) have an impact on the gospel, or how the gospel is preached and applied, specifically in church? (4) have influence on how we live the Christian life and ‘do church’ as the body of Christ? (5) make a difference in our evangelical witness to a watching world? and (6) What is at stake in this debate for evangelicals in the church today?

Of the four views presented I found myself in the most agreement with Barrick, followed by Collins, then Walton, and lastly by Lamoureux. I think that Barrick’s essay was the easiest to read because it was the essay that took the passages of Genesis at face value – literally. The other three essayists seemed to have to do a lot of hermeneutical gymnastics to make their views work. This is a complicated issue. I appreciated the grace reflected by Lamoureux, Collins, and Walton in particular. Barrick came across more defensive and dogmatic than the other three. At the end of the day, this book deserves a wide reading. It shows the immense complexities of hermeneutics, science, theology, history, and inerrancy. I appreciated what each writer taught me – I gained new knowledge and insights on all five of these topics. I had many questions answered, and yet still have many unanswered questions. My hope is that this book will continue to spark theologians and scientists to work together in the pursuit of truth. I am grateful for the time invested by all the contributors and heartily recommend this book. It is a challenging read, but well-worth the effort.

BOOK REVIEW: FIVE VIEWS ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY

IS THE BIBLE TRULY WITHOUT ERROR?

FIVE VIEWS ON BIBLICAL INERRANCY

Reviewed By David P. Craig

Four primary topics are treated in this multi-view book: (1) God and his relationship to his creatures, (2) the doctrine of inspiration, (3) the nature of Scripture, and (4) the nature of truth.

Instead of allowing the author’s to simply give a defense of their positions – each scholar tackles the same outline and passages from their own perspective with reference to the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy (ISBI). Therefore, specific scriptures are handled to demonstrate each view along the lines of three specific categories: (1) The factuality of Scripture, (2) canonical coherence, and (3) theological coherence.

The scholars therefore all interact with the following texts: Joshua 6, Acts 9:9 compared with Acts 22:9, and Deuteronomy 20 in relation to Matthew 5. Joshua 6 was chosen since current details of historical and archaeological evidence have called into question the accuracy of the text’s account of the destruction of of Jericho. The Acts passage which describes Paul’s conversion was chosen due to the apparent discrepancy between what the witnesses saw and heard during this event. For theological coherence the author’s grapple with the question “How is it that Deuteronomy 20 instructs Israel that the complete extermination of Yahweh’s enemies is a matter of Israel’s purity before and obedience to Yaweh, while Jesus subsequently says faithfulness to God requires nonretaliation and sacrificial love of enemeies (Matthew 5:38-48)?”

The scholars addressing these biblical, theological, and historical concerns are two biblical scholars (Michael Bird and Peter Enns), two systematic theologians (John Franke and Kevin Vanhoozer), and one historical theologian (Albert Mohler). Part one consists of Mohler’s and Enns’ essays in a section entitled “Perspectives on Inerrancy and the Past.” In part 2 Michael Bird (hailing from Australia) addresses “Inerrancy from an International Perspective.” In part 3 Kevin Vanhoozer and John Franke represent “Perspectives on Renewing and Recasting Inerrancy Today.” Each essay is then responded to by the other four scholars.

Albert Mohler’s essay was disappointing in that his argumentation was circular and sophomoric. Of all the essays in the book I was looking forward to his the most. It seems that he didn’t put the time into the essay that was necessary. He simply wholeheartedly agreed with ISBI and did a poor job with the biblical material. His historical study of inerrancy was limited to the mid-late 1900’s.  Mohler’s essay was answered in broad strokes and an a priori apologetic that was redundant and unconvincing. Mohler does a much better job in his essays of response – especially in his response to Enns. I wish that the editors would have chosen a biblical scholar in place of Mohler (with his same postion) – because his handling of the biblical material was particularly simplistic and weak. It just seemed like Mohler’s schedule was too busy to put the necessary scholarship into his essay. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Mohler’s assessment of biblical inerancy when he says, “I do not believe that evangelicalism can survive without the explicit and complete assertion of biblical inerrancy…The afirmation of biblical inerrancy means nothing more, and nothing less, than this: When the Bible speaks, God speaks.”

Peter Enns came across as just plain “ticked off” at the whole idea of biblical inerrancy. He gave a plethora of reasons why he doesn’t think ISBI is a fair or accurate document. He does not adhere to inerrancy (as defined by ISBI) and calls it “erroneous.” The closest he comes to arriving at any position on the Bible is when he writes: “Scripture is a collection of a variety of writings that necessarily and unashamedly reflects the worlds in which those writings were produced. The implication of this metaphor is that an understanding of those historical settings can and should affect interpretive conclusions.”

Enns handling of the biblical material was influenced primarily by liberal scholarship. He believes the Jericho episode didn’t happen due to the archaeological evidence. He believes Paul’s conversion reports are blatant contradictions. Lastly, he thinks that the God of the Old Testament as described in Deuteronomy is different than the God portrayed in the New Testament. He writes, “Israel’s depiction of God vis-a-vis the nations unmistakably, and understandably, reflects the ubiquitous tribal culture at the time.”

Mohler writes of Enns, “So, taking Peter Enns at his word the Bible contains numerous passages that not only fail the test of historical accuracy (even to the point of questioning whether the exodus took place), but also present a false and dangerous misrepresentation of God’s very character and will.” The overall response of the other essayists was similar to my own own response. I felt that Enns was overly critical of Scripture, and didn’t really give a constructive or positive view of Scripture at all. It felt like his whole essay was reactionary and destructive. There was really no positive argument given. It was a lot like reading the “new atheists” – a lot of attack and very little evidence or support for their own view.

Michael Bird’s essay was perhaps the most interesting of the five. If he ever loses his job as a theologian he could become a night club comic. He provides humor in his essay and in his responses to the other essayists (especially humorous is his response to Enns). Bird has the difficult task of reflecting the idea of inerrancy outside of the USA. He covers a lot of ground and shares where he agrees and disagrees with ISBI. He provides a very balanced essay in his response to ISBI, his historical reflections on inerrancy around the globe, and his biblical argumentation – brief but very cogent and clear. One of the highlights of Bird’s essay was this gem, “The goal of revelation is not knowing facts about God but also enjoying fellowship with God.” Overall Bird’s essay is very witty, theologically insightful, and interesting.

Kevin Vanhoozer’s essay argues for what he terms “A Well-versed inerrancy.” He basis his definition largely on the historic tradition of Augustine. Vanhoozer proposes this definition of inerrancy, “to say that the Scripture is inerrant is to confess faith that the authors speak the truth in all things they affirm (when they make affirmations), and will eventually be seen to have spoken truly (when right readers read rightly).” The bulk of Vanhoozer’s essay buttresses his definition of inerrancy with a particular interest in the terms “truth” and “language” and he ties these concepts to the writings and concepts developed by Augustine. His essay utilizes careful language and sophisticated theological and philosophical depth that one would expect of a top-notch systematic theologian. Vanhoozer handles the biblical passages with tremendous theological and exegetical skill.

Vanhoozer gives the practical importance of a well-versed inerrancy with these words: “Implicit in my definition of inerrancy is that we be not only literate readers who rightly see what proposition an author is proposing (the literal sense) and what kind of attention to this proposition is required (literary sensibility) but also right-minded and right-hearted readers who respond rightly to each and every communicative act of Scripture (Spirit-given literacy) Ultimately, a well-versed approach to inerrancy constitutes nothing less than a standing requirement that the community of Scripture’s interpreters become persons capable of understanding, loving, and participating in the truth.”

I love the conclusion to Vanhoozer’s essay where he quotes Augustine’s approach to the veracity of the Scriptures: “And if in these writings I am perplexed by anything which appears to me opposed to the truth, I do not hesitate to suppose that either the manuscript is faulty, or the translator has not caught the meaning of what was said, or I myself have failed to understand.” Of all the essays, I found Vanhoozer’s to be the most theologically profound and exegetically sound.

John Franke does not believe that the ICBI should serve as the standard-bearer for inerrancy. He offers an alternative model – what he calls a fallibilist perspective, “inerrancy functions only within the limits of language alone. It applies to Scripture only in the context of the original settings in which the texts that we have were constructed, and its affirmations and teachings cannot be abstracted from those contexts and offered as absolute truth, because only God knows and is Truth…this means that the ultimate truth and inerrancy of the Bible are finally contained not in the particular narratives and teachings of individual texts but rather in relation to its intended purpose and function in the economy of God…the Bible is that language the Spirit appropriates and employs to effect the social construction of the Christian community.”

Therefore, for Franke, the Bible is essentially fallible because it was written by fallible human beings. He expects that the Scriptures will contain errors and in his discussion of the biblical passages he is not troubled in the slightest by the historicity of the conquest of Jericho, nor the historic details of Paul’s Damascus Road vision. He seems more concerned about the big picture than the little details of the Bible. In doing so – he never quite tells us what inerrancy is. He never tells us what truth is. I found his essay to be confusing, fragmented, and unconvincing in regards to his theology, epistemology, and exegesis.

On the whole this is a fascinating multi-view book. The terrain covered is theologically rich, historically insightful, and exegetically helpful. The final chapter written by Stephen M. Garrett and J. Merrick was just what the doctor ordered. It helped bring synthesis, clarification, as well as a much needed explanation of the continuity and discontinuity on the spectrum of issues presented throughout the book. I highly recommend this book for everyone who loves God’s Word and is seeking to know, love, and live out His truth as revealed in the Scriptures.

BOOK REVIEW: “BAPTISM THREE VIEWS”

HOW SHOULD WE PRACTICE BAPTISM IN THE CHURCH?

Baptism 3 Views

Book Review by David P. Craig

In this multi-view book we have three views presented: (1) Believer’s Baptism (credobaptism – “credo” being from the Latin for “I believe”) – presented by Dr. Bruce Ware, professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky; (2) Infant Baptism (paedobaptism – “paidos” from the Greek for “child”) – presented by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, the Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina and professor of systematic theology at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas; and (3) The Dual-Practice Baptism View – presented by Dr. Anthony N. S. Lane, professor of historical theology at London School of Theology in Northwood, England. The book was edited by David F. Wright (1937-2008), professor of patristic and Reformation Christianity at New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland – and after his death in 2008 by Daniel G. Reid, the senior editor for reference and academic books at IVP Academic.

The structure of the book is that each scholar gives his argument for his own position using biblical, theological, and historical support. After each presentation – the other two author’s counter, and the presenter responds to the two counter arguments. Such is the case for each presentation.

(1) Bruce Ware argues for credobaptism – “only those who have already become believers in Christ should be baptized and that this baptism should be by immersion in water.” In his biblical defense of believers’ baptism he gives an abundance of linguistic and contextual support for baptism by immersion from the New Testament (NT – from this point on). He then shows that every clear instance of baptism in the NT relates to the baptism of those who have repented of sin and come to faith in Christ. In this section he highlights and discusses eleven passages from the book of Acts where Luke presents a clear and unambiguous depiction of baptism as being performed only on believers. Next he shows the absence of non believers’ baptism in the NT. He then presents a case against infant baptism from its absence in the NT.

In the theological section of his essay he gives a thorough presentation of the meaning of the new covenant and what remains the same and what has changed from the OT to the NT. He writes, “If the NT writers genuinely saw a parallel between physical circumcision and infant baptism, it is utterly remarkable that they never said so in the NT….As I endeavor to explain, the fact that circumcision functioned at two levels, both for the ethnic and national people of Israel and for the spiritual reality of being separated unto God, indicates that the sign and seal of baptism simply is not meant to be seen as parallel to circumcision…That is not to deny any relation between circumcision and baptism. Where circumcision and baptism are parallel is exactly where Colossians 2:11-12 see them as parallel, namely, in the spiritual reality to which each of them points…In short, the parallel between circumcision and baptism in the new covenant is not between physical circumcision and infant baptism; rather, the parallel is between spiritual circumcision of the heart and baptism, which signifies regeneration, faith and union with Christ…So then, since only the actual spiritual reality is in view when one is baptized, the sign and seal of baptism relates only to those who have experienced this spiritual reality, that is, to believers in Jesus Christ. The new covenant encompasses only those who know the Lord, those who have been united with Christ, those in whom the Spirit has come to dwell through faith. As such, baptism, the sign and seal of this reality (i.e., not of the promise but of the reality itself), applies rightly only to believers in Jesus Christ.”

One of the most interesting quotes from the historical arguments in his essay comes from a passage in Justin’s Apology quoted in Stander and Louw on what was required by a person before he was accepted for baptism in the early church (100-165 A.D.), “firstly, the person had to believe in the truth of the Christian doctrine; secondly, he had to undertake to live accordingly; thirdly, the baptismal candidate had to undergo a period of devotion and fasting in which he had to request God to forgive all his past sins…Since only mature persons could satisfy these preconditions, it undoubtedly excludes the possibility that infants were involved in these activities.” Examples like this one show that infant baptism did not develop in any significant way until the fourth century.

Dr. Ware concludes his essay giving two practical ramifications that believers’ baptism provides for the health and well-being of the church: “First, the practice of credobaptism has the potential of providing a young Christian a wonderful and sacred opportunity to certify personally and testify publicly of his own identity, now, as a follower of Christ…Second, the practice of credobaptism grounds the regenerate membership of the church…If membership in the new covenant and hence in the church comes via infant baptism, yet salvation comes only by faith, then it follows that paedobaptist churches are necessarily afflicted with the problem of a potentially significant number of unregenerate church members.”

(2) Sinclair Ferguson argues for paedobaptism – “baptism is the sign and seal of the new covenant work of Christ and is analogous to circumcision, which was the sign of the old covenant of Israel. The biblical continuity between the covenants demands that infants of believers be baptized in addition to those who come to Christ at any age. The mode of baptism is not at issue.” Dr. Ferguson’s essay traces the evidence for infant baptism starting with the historical evidence from the post-apostolic period onward; then provides a biblical and theological perspective (redemptive-historical). Lastly, he draws some conclusions about the baptism of the infants of believers.

In the first part of his essay Ferguson draws upon a snapshot of instances where infant baptism is practiced by the early church: (a) records of mortality – some dating back to the turn of the third century; (b) works of theology – Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage refer to infant baptism in their writings; (c) evidence from liturgy compiled by Hippolytus of Rome (d. ca. A.D. 236). It’s interesting that none of these practices give a theological reason for the practice of infant baptism.

Ferguson writes, “Was the title to baptism of these children grounded in either (1) the faith of their parents/sponsors?–which would be somewhat akin, as we shall see, to a covenantal approach to infant baptism–or (2) was the confession of the parents/sponsors viewed as an expression of the ‘faith’ of the infants themselves?–which would be in keeping with the wording of later inscriptions describing the deceased infant as being ‘made a believer’ at the point of baptism.”

In the second part of the essay Ferguson discusses the importance of covenant signs in the Bible: (a) Noahic covenant – the sign of the rainbow (Gen. 9:12-16); (b) Abrahamic covenant – the sign of circumcision (Gen. 17:11); and (c) Mosaic covenant – the Sabbath day (Ex. 31:16-17). Ferguson comments, “In their own context each of these covenant signs pointed forward to a fulfillment in the new covenant in Christ…This background shows that the physical signs of baptism and the Lord’s Supper which Jesus instituted belong to a larger pattern and should be interpreted in the light of this biblical-theological tradition. Baptism cannot be fully understood abstracted from this matrix.”

Ferguson gives the following definition of baptism from the Westminster Confession of Faith: “Baptism (and all the biblical sacraments) are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and his benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him: as also, to put visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.”

Then Ferguson explains how the sign of circumcision in the Old Covenant is transferred to baptism in the New Covenant: “Baptism functions in relationship to the new covenant in Christ in a manner analogous to the function of circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant. In a word, baptism has the same symbolic significance in relationship to fellowship with God as did circumcision…Baptism signifies all that is in Christ for us; it points us to all that he will do in us and all that we are to become in him…Baptism is not primarily a sign and seal of faith, but to faith.”

In Ferguson’s biblical-theological defense of infant baptism he grapples with the following issues: (a) how circumcision is fulfilled in Christ for the nations; (b) how union with Christ is expressed in baptism; (c) the baptism of Christ and what it means for us; (d) how baptism expresses the fellowship of God within the Trinity; (e) how baptism functions as a sign and seal; (f) divergent views of infant baptism – contrasting the catholic view and subjectivist view (Protestant); (g) How baptism signifies and seals the covenant of grace; (h) the covenant principle and practice of infant baptism; (i) the harmony of paedobaptism with the New Testament mindset; (j) the implications of baptism.

(3) Anthony Lane argues for the dual practice view – “affirms both adult, or convert, baptism and either paedobaptism or adult baptism as legitimate options for those born into a Christian home.”

He begins his essay by sharing his experiences (the only one of the author’s to share his personal baptism experience) of being baptized in the Anglican church at the age of three, as well as being a part of baptistic churches for the past thirty years. He writes, “At a later stage I read George Beasley-Murray’s Baptism in the New Testament. This Baptist author persuaded me that New Testament baptism was no so much believers’ baptism as converts’ baptism. Thinking about this made me realize that Baptist and paedobaptist practice are alike modifications of this. At the same time I was concerned about the fact that my children appeared to be believers but were not yet baptized, a situation I could not square with the New Testament. The suggestion that such children should take communion until they were old enough for baptism struck me as hopelessly confused. So Beasley-Murray (with help) moved me away from the Baptist position.”

In his biblical analysis of baptism he writes, “If we look at these passages (he sites 14 passages from the book of Acts) and ask what was expected to happen, we find four things that repeatedly occur: repentance, faith, baptism, and reception of the Holy Spirit.”

Lane’s essay hones in secondly on the historical development of what he calls “conversion” baptism (he gives the greatest amount of ink to this section). He takes what he calls a “seismological approach” from the 5th century and back tracks to the New Testament. He believes that there is enough evidence to advocate for both paedobaptism and believers baptism in the early history of the church.

The third part of Lane’s essay focuses on theological and practical considerations of performing dual-baptism. Lane explains, “It must always be remembered that for those raised in a Christian home, baptism, is not an isolated event but simply one stage in a lengthy process…The New Testament practice of baptism was converts’ baptism, the immediate baptism of those who come to faith as part of their initial response to the gospel. This needs to be modified for children born into a Christian home, either into infant baptism or into baptism at a later date. The New Testament evidence for how such children were treated is not unambiguous. Both approaches can be defended on biblical grounds. No grounds exist for insisting on one to the exclusion of the other. This policy of accepting diversity is the only policy for which the first four centuries of the church provide clear evidence.”

In the final analysis for Dr. Ware credobaptism is primarily “a sign of our faith and act of obedience and commitment to Christ.” For Dr. Ferguson paedobaptism is primarily “a sign of what we receive from Christ.” For Dr. Lane paedo or credo baptism (together with faith and in a subordinate role) is primarily “an instrument by which we embrace Christ and his salvation.”

Each essay tackles the issue of baptism quite differently. I would say that Dr. Ware (credobaptism) does the best job with the biblical evidence and with an exegesis of baptism. Dr. Ferguson gives a very articulate presentation of the theological reasoning behind paedobaptism. Dr. Lane (dual-view) does the best job of presenting an early history of baptism. In my opinion the one who does the most balanced job in handling the biblical, historical, and theological evidence for his position is Dr. Ware.

No matter where you stand on the issue of baptism you will definitely learn a lot from this book. The author’s have done their homework and have written with theological acumen and a cogent articulation of the pro’s and con’s of each view. The one thing I would have liked to have seen at the end of this book is a concluding essay from the editor, or perhaps theologians’ from the three different strands articulated in the book. Another helpful asset would have been a question and answer section from the editor to each author. However, for greater insight into the issues of baptism from three great communicators – one would be hard pressed to find a more balanced presentation on baptism than contained in this “Three Views” book. I recommend this book for pastors, students, and Christians on all sides of the equation. It will help clarify one’s position, perhaps change your position, or stir within you a desire to search the Scriptures, Theology, and Church History for further study. The author’s are firm on their presentations and yet charitable and balanced – which is a good model for those wrestling with this important biblical subject.

Book Review: Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? 4 Views

How Does God the Holy Spirit Work Through His Church Today?

Book Review By David P. Craig

AMGFT? 4 Views

This will be one of the longest book reviews I’ve ever written. I’m writing it as much for me (to sort through what I read) as anyone else. I want to give an overview of the positions in the book, their presenters, and the pros and cons of each position as represented by the presenters. Then I would like to close this review with the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments that were presented  and whether or not there was any resolution.

The essential issues addressed in this book by four presenters and one facilitator is related to these important questions: “How is the Holy Spirit working in churches today? Is he really giving miraculous healings and prophecies in tongues? Is he giving Christians new power for ministry when they experience a ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ after conversion? Is he driving out demons when Christians command them? Or are these events confined to a distant past, to the time when the New Testament was being written and living apostles taught and governed–and worked miracles–in the churches? There are many Pentecostals who say that Christians should seek to be baptized in the Holy Spirit after conversion, and that this experience will result in a new spiritual power for ministry. But other evangelicals respond that they already have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, because it happened the moment they became Christians, Who is right? What are the arguments on each side?”

In addition to these questions there are many differences over what spiritual gifts are currently in operation today. “Can people have a gift of prophecy today, so that God actually reveals things to them and they can tell these revelations to others? Or was that gift confined to the time when the New Testament was still unfinished, in the first century A.D.? And what about healing? Should Christians expect that God will often heal in miracles when we pray today? Can some people still have the gift of healing? Or should our prayer emphasis be that God will work to heal through ordinary means, such as doctors and medicine? Or again, should we mostly encourage people to see the sanctifying value of sickness and pray that they will have grace to endure it?

Lastly, questions related to what is speaking in tongues? How should they be practiced in the church (if at all)? And should evangelism and ministry be accompanied by demonstrations of God’s miraculous power? These and many more questions and issues are addressed by the presenters.

The presenters consist of two Theologians that would lean toward the cessasionist category. Some well-known schools that have traditionally represented cessationism include: Westminster Theological Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, and The Master’s Seminary. Cessationists argue “that there are no miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit today. Gifts such as prophecy, tongues, and healing were confined to the first century, and were used at the time the apostles were establishing the churches and the New Testament was not yet complete.”

Representing the Cessationist position is Dr. Richard B. Gaffin. He has been a long time Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Dr. Gaffin has written a book defending this position entitled Perspectives on Pentecost: Studies in New Testament Teaching on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R, 1979). Gaffin has degrees from Calvin College (A.B.), and Westminster Seminary (B.D., Th.M., Th.D.), and is also a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

The next position discussed in the book is called the “open but cautious” position. The open but cautious position is described this way by the editor: “These people have not been convinced by the cessationist arguments that relegate certain gifts to the first century, but they are not really convinced by the doctrine or practice of those who emphasize such gifts today either. They are open to the possibility of miraculous gifts today, but they are concerned about the possibility of abuses that they have seen in groups that practice these gifts. They do not think speaking in tongues is ruled out by Scripture, but they see many modern examples as not conforming to scriptural guidelines; some also are concerned that it often leads to divisiveness and negative results in churches today. They think churches should emphasize evangelism, Bible study, and faithful obedience as keys to personal and church growth, rather than miraculous gifts. Yet they appreciate some of the benefits that Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave churches have brought to the evangelical world, especially a refreshing contemporary tone in worship and a challenge to renewal in faith.”

Representing the “Open but cautious” view is the Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology from Talbot School of Theology, Dr. Robert L. Saucy. Dr. Saucy has taught for more than 40 years at Talbot and is the author of numerous books related to eschatology and the church including: Unleashing God’s Power in You (with Neil T. Anderson; Bridgetree, 2012); The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010); Scripture: Its Power, Authority and Relevance (Nashville: Word, 2001); and The Church in God’s Program (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974). Dr. Saucy earned his degrees at Westmont College (A.B.), and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., and Th.D.). He is a member of a Conservative Baptist Church.

The third view presented is called the “Third Wave” view. It is a  continuationist view of the miraculous gifts. Wayne Grudem explains this position as follows: “Third Wave people encourage the equipping of all believers to use the New Testament spiritual gifts today and say that the proclamation of the gospel should ordinarily be accompanied by ‘signs, wonders, and miracles,’ according the the New Testament pattern. They teach however, that baptism in the Holy Spirit happens to all Christians at conversion and that subsequent experiences are better called ‘fillings’ or ’empowerings’ with the Holy Spirit. Though they believe the gift of tongues exist today, they do not emphasize it to the extent that Pentecostals and Charismatics do.”

The presenter of the “Third Wave” view is Dr. C. Samuel Storms. He is currently the pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In the past he has been an associate of Dr. S. Lewis Johnson’s at Believer’s Chapel in Dallas, Texas; a pastor at Christ Community Church in Ardmore, Oklahoma; and an associate pastor with Mike Bickle in Kansas City, Missouri at the Metro Christian Fellowship. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and has also been a professor of theology at Wheaton College. Dr. Storms has earned his degrees from The University of Oklahoma (B.A.); Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.); and The University of Texas (Ph.D.). Dr. Storms has authored numerous books including: The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts. Ventura: Regal, 2013; Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election. Wheaton: Crossway, 2007; and Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist. Enjoying God Ministries, 2005.

The term “Third Wave”  was coined in the 1980’s by the Fuller Seminary professor of missions – Dr. C. Peter Wagner. Dr. Wagner has designated the first wave of the renewal of the Holy Spirit – The Pentecostal renewal  (Which began in 1901). The charismatic renewal followed on the heels of the Pentecostal renewal in the 1960-70’s. Perhaps the best-known proponent of the “Third Wave” position was John Wimber the leader of the Association of Vineyard Churches and the pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, California.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic views are very similar but have some differences. Wayne Grudem explains, “Pentecostal refers to any denomination or group that traces its historical origin back to the Pentecostal revival that began in the United States in 1901, and that holds the following doctrines: (1) All the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the New Testament are intended for today; (2) baptism in the Holy Spirit is an empowering experience subsequent to conversion and should be sought by Christians today; and (3) when baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs, people will speak in tongues as a ‘sign’ that they have received this experience. Pentecostal groups usually have their own distinct denominational structures, among which are the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, and many others.”

Charasmatic, on the other hand, refers to any groups (or people) that trace their historical origin to the charismatic renewal movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s and seek to practice all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament (including prophecy, healing, miracles, tongues, interpretation, and distinguishing between spirits). Among charismatics there are differing viewpoints on whether baptism in the Holy Spirit is subsequent to conversion and whether speaking in tongues is a sign of baptism in the Spirit. Charismatics by and large have refrained from forming their own denominations, but view themselves as a force of renewal within existing Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. There is no representative charismatic denomination in the United States today, but the most prominent charismatic spokesman is probably Pat Robertson with his Christian Broadcasting Network, the television program “The 700 Club,” and Regent University.

Representing the Pentecostal position is Dr. Douglas A. Oss. He also demonstrates where the Pentecostal and Charismatic positions differ. Dr. Oss is currently Professor of Biblical Theology and New Testament Interpretation at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. Dr. Oss has earned degrees from Western Washington University (B.A), Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Westminster Theological Seminary (Ph.D.). He has published articles in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Bulletin for Biblical Research; Grace Theological Journal; Westminster Theological Journal; and Enrichment Journal. He also translated 1 and 2 Corinthians for the New Living Translation and served on the Translation Advisory Committee for the English Standard Version.

The general editor and author of the introduction and conclusion of the book is Dr. Wayne Grudem. Dr. Grudem is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona. He received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.Div. and a D.D. from Westminster Seminary, Philadelphia, and a Ph.D (in New Testament) from the University of Cambridge, England. He has published over twenty books, including his newest book, The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution, which was published in August 2013 and his magnum opus: Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Zondervan, 2009). He has also written a layman’s version of his doctoral thesis entitled The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today (Crossway, 1988). He was also the General Editor for the 2.1 million-word ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year and World Magazine book of the year, 2009).

In each essay the four authors address from their own view the following five topics: (1) baptism in the Holy Spirit and the question of postconversion experiences; (2) the question of whether some gifts have ceased; (3) a discussion of specific gifts, especially prophecy, healing, and tongues; (4) practical implications for church life; (5) dangers of one’s own position and that of the others. After each essay the three other presenters respond with an eight-page response. At the end of the book Dr. Grudem evaluates each position citing the pro’s and con’s of each, and then brings out the areas of agreement and disagreement. He also offers some guidelines for continued dialogue and solutions leading toward consensus.

In an interesting point Grudem says, “People have asked me why these four men who all believe the same Bible and all have deep love for our Lord could not reach agreement on these things. I tell them that it took the early church until A.D. 381 (at Constantinople) to finally settle the doctrine of the Trinity, and until A.D. 451 (at Chalcedon) to settle disputes over the deity and humanity of Christ in one person. We should not be surprised if these complex questions about the work of the Holy Spirit could not be resolved in two days!” Point well taken.

In reading the book one gets an immediate sense of the complexities related to miraculous gifts. Ultimately it all comes down to interpreting the biblical data. The author’s all leave no stones unturned in their theological and exegetical presentations. They all present well written essay’s with good arguments. Obviously, they all can’t be right. However, the spirit with which they write is right. They articulate their arguments cogently and compellingly and yet all recognize that their own view has deficiencies and weaknesses. However, each scholar makes an excellent case for his view.

As for the areas of disagreement there were many. The big idea conveyed by Gaffin and Saucy is that Jesus and the Apostles miracles were unique in relationship to God’s Redemptive Historical Plan (Gaffin) and God’s working in the new covenant program of God (Saucy). Gaffin came at his view through the lens of the Redemptive Historical method of interpretation (He is a Covenant Theologian). Whereas Saucy as a Progressive Dispensationalist had a little different take on the uniqueness of the miraculous events that took place during this period of history. Both Gaffin and Saucy believe that we no longer have Apostles and that the fact that we no longer have Apostles and a ‘closed canon” matters significantly in why the miraculous gifts operated differently in the New Testament, then they do today (if at all). Thus for Gaffin and Saucy there is definitely a distinction drawn between then and now with reference to the expectation of miracles. They argue extensively both theologically and exegetically to demonstrate the significance of the new covenant, the openness and closing of the canon, and how the Apostles’ and Christ’s ministry were needed and specific to that time of Redemptive History (New Covenant) – and therefore, no longer necessary today.

On the other hand both Storms and Oss make solid exegetical and theological cases for why the miraculous gifts should continue today. They argue from Joel and Acts specifically – that these are indeed the last days, and that there is no particularly good reason (biblically or theologically) why we don’t need the miraculous gifts any less now, than they did in the New Testament. They make the case that the cessation of gifts is simply not taught at all in the New Testament. I think the biggest problem they have is in regards to “Apostles” and where do they fit in today?

The primary weaknesses of Saucy and Gaffin’s arguments are with reference to “Why” miraculous gifts have ceased. They also do an inadequate job of explaining the myriad of these miraculous realities today – with virtually no comments about the plethora of miracles taking place in the 10/40 window for instance.

As for Storms and Oss they do an inadequate job of dealing with Saucy and Gaffin’s arguments with reference to consistency in their interpretation with reference to the gift/office of “apostleship”. If there are no longer apostles than how are the other miraculous gifts substantiated?

All the author’s were particularly weak in bringing out specific examples of the miraculous gifts today – both examples, and their practice or function in their own churches. Of course this wasn’t so much an issue for Gaffin as a cessationist, and for Saucy as a ‘non-expectant-continuationist’. However, I would have liked to seen more interaction with the miraculous experiences and claims of those representing the continuationist perspective. Sam Storms provided some examples, but Oss provided precious little in this regard.

Each author gave a huge amount of weight and space in their writing to the theological/exegetical basis for their views and very little to the experiential/practical basis for their positions. I would have liked to have seen more balance here. Especially because the title of the book was “Are Miraculous Gifts For Today?” I think the book would have been longer, but more balanced and really dealt more with the ‘today’ aspect of miraculous gifts rather than just the “then” aspect.

The areas of disagreement highlighted by Grudem fall under various categories:

“(1) Expectation. Because of differences in understanding the way in which the Holy Spirit ordinarily works during the church age, the authors differed significantly in their expectations of how we should expect the Holy Spirit to work in a miraculous way to heal, to guide, to work miracles, to give unusual empowering for ministry, and to bring things to mind (or reveal things to us).

(2) Encouragement. Because of differences in understanding what we should expect the Holy Spirit to do today, the authors also differed in how much they think we should encourage Christians to seek and pray for miraculous works of the Holy Spirit today.”

(3) There was disagreement on what to call ‘prophecy’ today and whether or not it should be considered ‘inspired’ of God. According to Dr. Saucy, God can bring things to mind today, but this should usually be called personal guidance not prophecy. Dr. Gaffin beleives that the gift of prophecy was restricted to the giving of Scripture and ended when the New Testament canon was completed.

(4) “Although all the authors agreed that God can still work miracles (including healing), Storms and Oss maintain that people today can have that gift, Gaffin limits it to the apostolic age, and Saucy, while open to the gift today, would examine claims to miracles with great care and caution (he felt that, historically speaking, miracles seem to be especially prominent in church-planting situations).”

(5) “Regarding the gift of speaking in tongues plus interpretation, according to Gaffin and Saucy these two gifts, when put together, constitute Scripture-quality revelation from the Holy Spirit. Gaffin believes that these gifts only functioned during the ‘open canon’ situation when the New Testament was incomplete. When asked what is happening in the lives of Christians who claim to speak in tongues today, Gaffin is not sure but believes this activity is probably just an ability to speak in nonsense syllables. He is also open to being shown from Scripture that this activity is helpful to certain people in their prayer lives, though he would still not call it the gift of speaking in tongues. To Saucy, while Scripture does not rule out tongues today, many modern expressions do not conform to the scriptural practice or purpose of tongues…

Storms and Oss, on the other hand, hold that speaking in tongues is not a revelation from God but a form of human prayer and praise–it is the Christian’s own human spirit praying to God through syllables that the speaker does not understand. Storms and Oss believe this gift continues today. Oss adds that tongues is prompted by the Holy Spirit, can also be used by God to convey a message to the church, though not a Scripture-quality word. Both Storms and Oss also hold that the gift of interpretation is simply the ability to understand what the tongue-speaker is saying in those words of prayer and praise.”

(6) “Regarding any empowering work of the Holy Spirit after conversion, Oss calls this ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ the first time it happens; the other authors use different terms such as empowering or filling or anointing by the Holy Spirit.”

(7) “Though all the authors agreed that there may be several purposes for miracles, both Gaffin and Saucy see the initial authentication of the gospel message in the first century as the primary purpose of miracles, while Storms and Oss believe that other purposes, such as bearing witness to the gospel message in all ages, ministering to the needs of God’s people, and brining glory to God even in the present day, should receive equal emphasis.

(8) The empowering work of the Holy Spirit after conversion. “While Oss sees a pattern in the book of Acts whereby Christians experienced a single empowering work of the Holy Spirit (or baptism in the Holy Spirit) distinct from conversion, and sees speaking in tongues as the sign that signifies this, the other authors do not see such a pattern or encourage Christians to seek such a single experience distinct from their conversion and distinct from experiences of empowering that may occur multiple times throughout the Christian life.”

(9) The greatest area of disagreement was to what degree we should see the New Testament as a pattern for church life today by way of imitation. “Storms and Oss, throughout our converstaions, continued to emphasize that in all areas of life (such as evangelism, moral conduct, doctrine, church government and ministry, etc.), we should seem to take patterns of the New Testament as patterns we should imitate in our lives today. They challenged Gaffin and Saucy to explain why it was only in the area of miraculous works of the Holy Spirit that they were unwilling to take the New Testament as God’s pattern for us today.”

(10) Church life. “Churches holding to the views advocated by Storms and Oss include much more teaching and encouragement of people to pray for, seek, and exercise miraculous gifts (healing, prophecy, tongues and interpretation, miracles, distinguishing between spirits, and perhaps some others). But churches holding to views expressed by Gaffin, and to some extent by Saucy, do not encourage people to seek or pray for these gifts and do not ordinarily provide ‘space’ for them to occur either in large assemblies or in smaller home fellowship groups in the life of the church.”

In my opinion there were pro’s and con’s in each position presented. The value of this book is that each position is presented within a theological framework (whether Redemptive-Historical or Dispensational), exegetically based, historically nuanced, and given its modern significance. I think the presenters gave the most attention to the theological and exegetical elements. They gave lesser attention to the historical and current or practical ramifications of the issues. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t spend more time showing how their views actually function in their own ministries.

However, anyone can learn a lot from the presentations and the presenters. I appreciated the irenic spirit that was displayed throughout the writing. The positions were attacked non-ad hominem. The ideas and interpretations were attacked – not the men themselves. There was a spirit of gentleness and respect maintained throughout. All five authors spent two days in Philadelphia together in discussion and prayer after they had written and responded to one another’s essays.

I began my journey reading this book holding to an “open but cautious” position. I don’t think my position changed that much. However, I actually learned to appreciate each position more than I did before reading the book. I think I developed a greater understanding of each position, as well as a greater respect for each view. Grudem even comments at the end of the book that he believes that all five of them felt like they could all be elders in the same church – that would be very interesting indeed!

Though the authors clearly disagreed strongly on the continuation vs. non-continuation of the miraculous gifts for today, there was a consensus of affirmation on many things: (1) Agreement that God does heal and work miracles today; (2) An affirmation that God the Holy Spirit empowers Christians for various kinds of ministry, “and this empowering is an activity that can be distinguished from the inner-transforming work of the Holy Spirit by which he enables us to grow in sanctification and in obedience to God”; (3) Agreement that God the Holy Spirit guides us (but more study is needed in how the Holy Spirit uses our impressions and feelings); (4) Unity on the fact that God in his sovereignty can bring to our mind specific things, “not only (i) by occasionally bringing to mind specific words of Scripture that meet the need of the moment, but also (ii) by giving us sudden insight into the application of Scripture to a specific situation, (iii) by influencing our feelings and emotions, and (iv) by giving us specific information about real life situations that we did not acquire through ordinary means (though Dr. Gaffin holds this last category is so highly exceptional that it is neither to be expected nor sought; he prefers a term other than ‘revelation’ to describe these four elements). On this specific point there was the least agreement among the four authors.”

I highly recommend that Christians read this book for the following five reasons: (1) You will learn much about Christian history – in particular about the Redemptive Historical Method of biblical Interpretation from both a continuationist (Oss) and non-continuationist perspective (Gaffin). (2) You will learn how to argue for a position without using ad hominem arguments. Oftentimes when Christians debate on these issues it all comes down to attacking experiences or one’s sanctification status. All the author’s do a wonderful job treating one another as brother’s in Christ and speak the truth in love with gentleness and respect. (3) You will appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of each argument. You will see that these issues are more complex than you think. They involve weighty matters of hermeneutics, historical theology, biblical theology, systematic theology, exegesis, and real life application. (4) You will appreciate both the intellectual and emotional realities of your relationship with and understanding of the Holy Spirit. (5) You will appreciate the diversity and unity that we can have as Christians even when we agree to disagree. I think the presenter’s were all wise, thoughtful, thorough, clear, articulate, and humble. No one came across as having arrived. As they discussed the Holy Spirit I believe they were also manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. This book is a great example of the way Christians should approach differences – with dialogue, in humility, and pursuing the truth in community.

Booklet Review: Four Views of the End Times by Timothy Paul Jones

Comprehensive and Concise Primer on End Time Events

 There are so many differing views and interpretations related to Biblical prophecy and the end times. Dr. Jones has provided a great service to the church by providing a clear, short, and very complete guide to the key Bible passages, definition of terms, key views, and the strengths and insights on four of the most popular views on the end times: Dispensational Premillennialism, Historical Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism and objectively gives the answers the following questions for each view:

What does this view emphasize?

What does this view teach according to the main proponents (historically and modern) of the view?

What Scriptures are used to support this view?

When has this particular view been popular in church history?

Who are the most prominent Biblical Scholars (past and current) who hold to this particular view?

How does this particular view interpret the book of Revelation?

There is also a printable PDF available that charts each particular view, as well as a concluding section that answers how each of the four views answer the following crucial questions related to the end times:

Will Jesus return physically?

When will Jesus return?

Do the rapture and second coming occur at the same time?

Will there be a great tribulation?

Will Christians suffer during the tribulation?

Will there be a literal 1,000-year millennium?

Who is saved during the millennial period?

When was this particular view most held historically?

If you are looking for an objective, concise, and comprehensive overview of the end time views – this is a great place to start. I especially recommend this little booklet for people who have never studied “eschatology” (the study of the end times) before. It will be a good objective guide for you to see the “big picture” and then be able to hone in on more specific studies related to eschatology when you see the major players (scholars) that hole to the particular views, so you can do more study on your own.