A scene from the Leben der heiligen Altväter (1482)

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

Pannenberg’s Trinitarian Theology (from Theology for the Future)

Andrew Hollingsworth has edited a set of ten chapters on Theology for the Future: The Enduring Promise of Wolfhart Pannenberg, with a foreword by Friederike Nüssel and an afterword by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. I wrote the fifth…

The Triune God (from Companion to Webster)

This excellent volume explores the theology of John Webster, in seventeen chapters by significant theologians. Here is an excerpt from my chapter on Webster’s approach to the doctrine of the Trinity: “There is only one Christian…

William Burt Pope (1822-1903): Primary and Secondary Creation

I wrote the chapter on William Burt Pope in this collection of essays on modern theologians and how they handled the doctrine of creation in light of science. It was great to be included among a…

“Wesleyan View”

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,…

Undiminished, Transcendent, and Relevant: Joseph Ratzinger on Teaching on the Trinity

I wrote the Trinity chapter, entitled “Undiminished, Transcendent, and Relevant: Joseph Ratzinger on Teaching on the Trinity,” in the book Benedict XVI: An Evangelical Appreciation of the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger, ed Tim Perry (Lexham Press,…

Book Symposium on The Triune God

This suite of responses to Fred Sanders’ book The Triune God (Zondervan, 2016) is from papers originally read at the 2016 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. This symposium publishes the papers by Wesley Hill,…

Foreword to Barrett, None Greater

(None Greater can be purchased from Baker Books or at Amazon) Usually when theologians find out they were wrong about something, they admit it readily enough. But then they cover their tracks. They revise their views…

Holy Scripture Under the Auspices of the Holy TrinityOn John Webster's Trinitarian Doctrine of Scripture

As he approached the monumental task of writing his own systematic theology, John Webster gave strategic attention to constructing a doctrine of Scripture that was adequate to support such a project. In contrast to some well-respected…

Foreword to Hongyi Yang, A Development, Not a DepartureThe Lacunae in the Debate of the Doctrine of the Trinity and Gender Roles (Reformed Academic Dissertation)

(Hongyi Yang’s book may be purchased from P&R, or at Amazon) The public controversy over trinitarian theology that culminated online in the summer of 2016 was a remarkable event. Academics and commentators, pastors and laypeople, experts…

Classical Theism Makes a Comeback

In recent years, there has been a change in the way theologians talk the doctrine of God. One way to describe the change would be to say that classical theism has made a comeback. By “classical…

Biblical Grounding for the Christology of the Councils

When theologians take up the crucial catechetical task of teaching about Jesus Christ, what principle of ordering should they follow? Which sub-topics within this rich field should be taught first, which ones postponed until later, and under what overarching categories should they all be gathered? In this article, I would like to commend one particular organizational schema for introducing Christology to students, and then demonstrate the advantages of that schema by offering a brief example of its key points. The method I recommend is this: follow the leading ideas of the ecumenical councils of the early church and then support them with biblical argumentation. Conciliar Christology is thus the framework for teaching Christology, with biblical material brought in to fill it out.

Biola in the American Evangelical Story

Douglas A. Sweeney’s The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movementis a masterpiece of concise storytelling. In introducing the movement, Sweeney combines an insider’s sympathetic understanding with an objectivity and sense of perspective about what to report. The result is a short, readable book that can serve multiple audiences well. I am particularly interested in using Sweeney’s American Evangelical Storyto help new Biola faculty understand their own institutional heritage more fully. If Biola is going to equip and empower its faculty for the task of integration, one of the resources it should provide is a grasp of the school’s identity that is not just superficial.

“Is There a Theology of California?”

In a previous chapter, I argued in favor of a localist approach to the work of systematic theology, and in particular to claim that such a thing was desirable in this particular locale, California. That chapter…

“California, Localized Theology, and Theological Localism”

Wallace Stegner once said, “Like the rest of America, California is unformed, innovative, ahistorical, hedonistic, acquisitive, and energetic—only more so.” As California becomes increasingly self-conscious as a social and political entity, an academic conversation is beginning…

“A Name, Names, and Half a Name,” in a symposium on Kendall Soulen’s The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity

For a 2014 book symposium in Pro Ecclesia, six theologians (Karen Kilby, Matthew Levering, Paul Hinlicky, Neil MacDonald, James Buckley, and me) responded to an important book by Kendall Soulen. Here is my contribution, along with…

Saved by Word and Spirit: The Shape of Soteriology in Donald Bloesch’s Christian Foundations

The late Donald Bloesch did not allocate one of the seven volumes of his Christian Foundations series to soteriology, so there is no single book to turn to in order to examine his doctrine of salvation. Earlier in his career, he did write entire books on the subject: in fact, close attention to the experience of piety and the Christian life was the main motif his first publications, and significantly dictated the formal and material decisions of his influential two volume Essentials of Evangelical Theology. Nor is Bloesch’s soteriology distributed evenly across all seven volumes of Foundations: it is focused in two volumes. Those two volumes are the books on Jesus Christ: Savior and Lord (1997) and The Holy Spirit: Works and Gifts (2000).

Redefining Progress in Trinitarian Theology: Stephen R. Holmes on the Trinity

In various ways, much of the best new work on the doctrine of the Trinity can be considered counter-revolutionary. Nicaea was more doctrinally holistic than merely a refutation of one heresy; Augustine was not merely as bad Colin Gunton alleged; Aquinas did not sever the treatise on the One God from the treatise on the Trinity; De Régnon was overly schematic with his East-West distinction, and so on. The new wave of counter-revolutionary trinitarianism begs to differ, and is finding ways to leap over the orthodoxies of the recent past to get back in touch with a longer narrative that makes more sense. Steve Holmes’s book is the feistiest of this new wave of counter-revolutionary trinitarianism, and serves as a kind of clearing house for all the recent moves, stating them more succinctly, more coherently, and more explosively.

Honest to God, a Voice from Heaven? Communicative Theism in Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology

At the 2012 ETS national conference, Mark Bowald emceed a set of critical interactions with Kevin Vanhoozer’s major work on the doctrine of God, Remythologizing Theology. These essays, by John Franke, Steve Wellum, Oliver Crisp, and…