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Author Archives: lifecoach4God

About lifecoach4God

I am the Lead Pastor of Valley Baptist Church (Bay Area), born and raised in Huntington Beach, Ca,, and currently living in Novato, California. I am married to my best friend of 24 years - Dana - and five adult children; and five grand children. I have been a Teaching Pastor for over twenty years. I was privileged to study at Multnomah University (B.S. - 1988); Talbot School of Theology (M.Div. - 1991); Westminster Theological Seminary & Northwest Graduate School (D. Min. - 2003). I founded Vertical Living Ministries in 2008 with the goal of encouraging Christian Disciples and Leaders to be more intentionally Christ-Centered in how they live by bringing glory to God in nine key areas of life: personal spiritually, in marriage, in their families, with friends, vocationally, physical health, finances, discipleship, and mentoring .

24 CONTRASTS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

HOW CLASSICAL DISPENSATIONALISM VIEWED

THE ISRAEL – CHURCH DISTINCTION

 (Adapted from Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology: Vol. IV; C3)

24 CONTRASTS ISRAEL THE CHURCH
(1) THE EXTENT OF BIBLICAL REVELATION With respect to primary application, Israel occupies nearly four-fifths of the text of the Bible. The Church with respect to primary application, occupies slightly more than one-fifth.
(2) THE DIVINE PURPOSE Every covenant, promise, and provision for Israel is earthly. Every covenant or promise for the Church is for a heavenly reality, and she continues in heavenly citizenship when the heavens are recreated.
(3) THE SEED OF ABRAHAM  In view of the fact that Abraham is not only the progenitor of the nation of promise but is also the pattern of a Christian under, it is significant that there are two figures employed by Jehovah respecting Abraham’s seed—the dust of the earth (Gen. 13:16), and the stars (Gen. 15:5; cf. Heb. 11:12). The extent of this Abrahamic covenant is expressed in Romans 4:16: “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Aside from Ishmael’s line and the children of Kiturah concerning whom there is no revealed divine purpose, the children of Jacob, or Israel, and without reference to Esau, are counted as the physical seed (cf. Gen. 22:2; Heb. 11:17) of Abraham; for with these God has made covenants respecting their earthly privilege. Contrariwise, the heavenly seed of Abraham are not progenerated by Abraham, but are generated by God on the efficacious principle of faith; and, because of the truth that this faith was exercised specifically by Abraham (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-3, 17-24), those of like faith are Abraham’s spiritual seed. It is written, “So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Gal. 3:9). A vital distinction is drawn by the the Apostle between Israel after the flesh and that portion of Israel within Israel who are saved.Those who are saved are styled “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16), and the statement that “they are not all all Israel, which are of Israel” ( Rom. 9:6) is a reference to the same distinction. The use of these passages to prove Israel and and the Church to be the same is deplored in the light of the truth which these Scriptures declare.
(4) BIRTH Israelites become what they are by physical birth. They are each one begotten by parents and their inheritance is transmitted by human generation. Christians become what they are by spiritual birth. They are begotten directly by God and are therefore His legitimate offspring. Their inheritance is immediate in that each is a child of God.
(5) HEADSHIP Abraham is the head of the Jewish race, and they are properly designated as “the seed of Abraham.” Though born of Gentile stock, Abraham was set apart by God to the high honor of being the progenitor of the elect earthly people. Over against this it may be said of Christians, though when magnifying the element of faith they are called “Abraham’s seed” (Gal. 3:29), God is their Father and by the Spirit they are joined to Christ and He, the resurrected Lord, is their new federal Head.
(6) COVENANTS God has made unconditional covenants with His earthly people. He will yet make a new covenant with them when they enter their kingdom. That new covenant will govern their conduct and will supersede the Mosaic covenant of the Law (cf. Jer. 31:31-33; Deut. 30:8). This new covenant for Israel will be in four parts. These four features are the present blessings of the Church. This heavenly people are sheltered under a new covenant made in His blood. It is individual in its application and everlasting. It is individual in its application and everlasting. It guarantees every divine grace upon those who believe in Christ in Christ as Savior.
(7) NATIONALITY Israel belongs to the earth and to the world-stem. Though above all nations in Jehovah’s reckoning, they are still in the world as one of its nations. Over against this and forming the strongest contrast is the fact that the Church is composed of all nations, including Israel, and sustains no citizenship here, but instead the believers are strangers and pilgrims.
(8) DIVINE DEALING The fact that, in the present age, Israelites, like Gentiles, are shut up to their individual responsibility respecting claims of the gospel, doubtless misleads those who do not consider the wide range of human history which the Bible covers. They fail to realize that the present divine arrangement is exceptional and that God has in other ages dealt with nations—especially Israel—as a whole. The present arrangement is restricted to the one age in which responsibility is altogether personal.
(9) DISPENSATIONS The earthly people, though their estate may vary, are present in the earth in all ages from the beginning in Abraham on into eternity to come. The Church is restricted to the present dispensation. The dispensation now operative itself is characterized by her presence in the world. It was introduced for her sake; and is therefore unrelated to that which goes before or that which follows.
(10) MINISTRY Israel was appointed to exercise an influence over the nations of the earth (cf. Ps. 67:1-7), and this will yet do perfectly in the coming age; nevertheless there was no missionary undertaking and no gospel proclaimed. Israel maintained her self-centered worship. She faced inward toward the tabernacle or temple and all her benevolence was consumed on her own worship. Immediately upon her formation, the Church is constituted a foreign missionary society. It is her obligation to face outward and to those of her company is given the task of evangelizing the people of the earth in each generation.
(11) THE DEATH OF CHRIST That nation which demanded the death of Christ and who said by their officials, “His blood be on us, and on our children,” is guilty of that death; yet they will be saved as a nation on the ground of that sacrifice. A present and perfect salvation to the praise of God is the portion of the Church through the offering of the Lamb of God.
(12) THE FATHER To Israel God is known by His primary titles, but not as Father of the individual Israelite. In distinction to this, the Christian is actually begotten of God and has every right to address Him as Father.
(13) CHRIST To Israel, Christ is Messiah, Immanuel, and King with all that those appellations imply. To the Church, Christ is Savior, Lord, Bridegroom, and Head.
(14) THE HOLY SPIRIT Only in exceptional instances and for unusual service did the Holy Spirit come upon an Israelite, and the Spirit withdrew as freely as He came, when the purpose was accomplished. The strongest contrast is to be seen here, in that the Christian is indwelt by the Spirit; in truth, he is not saved apart from this relation to the Spirit (Rom. 8:9).
(15) A GOVERNING PRINCIPLE For fifteen centuries the Law was Moses was Israel’s rule of daily life. It is written: But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments” (Ps. 103:17-18). Unlike this, the members of Christ’s Body, being wholly perfected in Him, are under the beseechings and directions which grace provides.
(16) DIVINE ENABLE-MENT The law system provided no enabling power for its achievement. That system is declared to have failed because of the weakness of “the flesh” to which it was evidently addressed (Rom. 8:3). To the Church, however, as certainly as superhuman requirements are laid on her members, so certainly as superman requirements are laid on her members, so certainly supernatural power is provided for every demand. It is on this account the Apostle could say “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” The reason, of course, is that “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14).
(17) TWO FAREWELL DIS-COURSES Several days before His departure from the world, Christ addressed a farewell discourse to the nation of Israel which contemplated her future and that in its relation to His return (Matt. 23:37-25:46). Quite removed from this snd wholly different in all its features, Christ, the night before He was put to death, gave His parting message to the Christians. When these two addresses are contemplated side by side, it is seen that the widest distinction are indicated between Israel and the Church.
(18) THE PROMISE OF JESUS’ RETURN As seen in His words specifically addressed to Israel, Christ returns as her King in power and great glory, at which time she will be gathered from every part of the earth by angelic migration into her own land (Deut. 30:1-8; Jer. 23:7-8; Matt. 23:31). Over against these great events promised to Israel is the return of Christ for His own Bride, when He takes her with Him into heaven’s glory (John 14:1-3). The contrasts between these two situations may be drawn out to great lengths and with equally great profit.
(19) POSITION Isaiah declares, But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (41:8-10). Though individuals in Israel attained to great usefulness, as did the prophets, priests, and kings, yet they never reached a higher distinction than when they were servants of Jehovah. Contrariwise, the individuals who compose the Church are forever in Christ and are members in the family and household of God.
(20) CHRIST’S EARTHLY REIGN Those of the elect nation are appointed to be subjects of the King in His earthly kingdom (Ezek. 37:21-28). Those who comprise the Church are to reign with the King as His Consort in that kingdom (Rev. 20:6).
(21) PRIESTHOOD The nation of Israel had a priesthood. The Church is a priesthood.
(22) MARRIAGE As a nation, Israel is likened by Jehovah to His wife—a wife untrue and yet to be restored (Jer. 3:1, 14, 20; Ezek. 16:1-59; Hos. 2:1-23; Isa. 54:1-17; cf. Gal. 4:27). In marked distinction to this situation respecting Israel, is the revelation that the Church is to Christ as one espoused and to be married in Heaven (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-9).
(23) JUDGMENTS It is clearly predicted that Israel must come into judgment (Ezek. 20:33-44; Matt. 25:1-13). It is clearly declared that the Church will not come into judgment (John 5:24; Romans 8:1).
(24) POSITION IN ETER-NITY In his enumeration of the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem the writer to the Hebrews asserts that there shall be those present who are identified as “the spirits made perfect.” Such can easily refer to the saints of the OT who, while in this life, were styled just men. This designation occurs upwards of 30 times in the OT and always with reference to those who were in right relation to God. In this same enumeration of the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem there is recognition also of the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:22-24).
CONCLUSION In concluding this extended series of contrasts between Israel and the Church, it should be observed that, in certain respects, there are similarities between these two groups of elect people. Each, in turn, has its peculiar relation to God, to righteousness, to sin, to redemption, to salvation, to human responsibility, and human destiny. They are each witnesses to the Word of God; each claim the same Shepherd; they have doctrines in common; the death of Christ avails in its own way for each; they are alike loved with an everlasting love; and each, as determined by God, will be glorified.
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CHART OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE

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Chart of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture View

Definition: Christ will come for His saints.; afterward He will come with His saints. The first stage of Christ’s coming is called Rapture; the second stage is called Revelation.

Proponents: John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Erwin Lutzer, David Jeremiah, Charles Ryrie, John Walvoord, Ron Rhodes, Darell Bock, Robert Saucy, Warren Wiersbe, Charles Stanley, Adrian Rogers, Joel Rosenberg, Tim LaHaye, Mark Hitchcock, Michael Vlach, Michael Rydelnik, Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, Billy Graham, J. Dwight Pentecost.

Arguments For Pre-Tribulationilism Arguments Against Pre-Tribulation
The Bible says that Christians (the church) are exempt from divine wrath (1 Th. 1:10, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come). This exemption does not mean that the church does not experience trials, persecution or suffering. Christians are exempt from God’s wrath (orge), but the majority of passages dealing with the tribulation (thlipsis) refer to the tribulation that believers suffer. Exemption from wrath does not mean exemption from the wrath of the Tribulation, those who believe during the Tribulation would need to be raptured at conversion.
Believers are also exempt from the time of wrath recorded in Revelation 3:10, “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.” This is supported by the Greek preposition ek used in this passage. Normative meaning of ek is “out from the midst of” and does not require a snatching from trial. It can mean being kept from tribulation without being taken from trial. The normal preposition for “keeping away from” is apo.
All the positions on the Tribulation Rapture predict a Millennial kingdom. The pre-tribulation position calls for living, non-glorified believers to enter the kingdom, thus to repopulate the kingdom Zechariah 12:10-13:1; Romans 11:26). The 144,000 of Revelation can populate the earth during the time of the Millennium.
A clear distinction is made between the Rapture and the Revelation, an interval of time. This is consistent with the various Scriptures that discuss both of these events. The Rapture: John 14:1-14; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; 1 Th. 4:13-18; The Revelation, or the Second Coming of Christ: Zech. 14; Mat. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-27; Revelation 19. The “blessed hope” and “glorious appearing” are the same events (Rapture and Revelation). The NT speaks of one Second Coming, not two comings or a coming in two stages. The distinction may be in the nature of events, not in the time differences.
Christ’s return is imminent. Since Christ may return at any time, believers have an attitude of expectancy (Titus 2:13, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”). There are no preparatory warnings of an impending tribulation for the church-age believers (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1-3). Imminency for the apostles and the early church revolved around the second coming of Christ. Thus, the Rapture and the Revelation are coterminous, not separate (Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; James 5:7-8; 1 John 2:28). Also, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 may list events to be expected before the Rapture.
A literal Tribulation is given in Revelation 6-19. There is no mention of the church (argument from silence) in Revelation 4-18. Much language in Revelation 6-19 is figurative; the Tribulation may be as well. Argument from silence is inherently weak reasoning.
The Restrainer mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is the Holy Spirit indwelling in the church. He must remove her (the church) before the Tribulation begins. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling ministry is not equivalent to his restraining work. Also, this passage does not clearly equate the Restrainer with the Holy Spirit, or the removal of the restraint with the rapture of the church.
RAPTURE/TRANSLATION 2ND COMING/KINGDOM ESTABLISHED
Translation of all believers No translation at all
Translated saints go to heaven Translated saints go to earth
Earth not judged Earth judged and righteousness established
Not in the Old Testament Predicted often in the Old Testament
Believers only Affects all people
Before the day of wrath Concluding the day of wrath
No reference to Satan Satan is bound
Christ comes for His own Christ comes with His own
Christ comes in the air Christ comes to the earth
Christ claims His bride Christ comes with His bride
Only those who are saved see Christ Every eye sees Christ
Tribulation begins Millennial Kingdom begins
Imminent, any-moment, signless Follows definite signs like the tribulation

*Charts adapted from: Charts of Bible Prophecy by H. Wayne House and Randall Price. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2003 & The Truth About Christ’s Second Coming by Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy. Eugene, OR.: Harvest House, 1998.

 

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CHART OF TITLES FOR JESUS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

TITLE REFERENCE SIGNIFICANCE
Alpha and Omega Revelation 21:6 The Beginning and Ending of all things
Bread of Life John 6:35 The one essential food
Chief Cornerstone Ephesians 2:20 A sure Foundation of life
Chief Shepherd 1 Peter 5:4 Gives guidance and protection
Christ Matthew 16:16 The Anointed One of God seen in the OT prophets
Firstborn from the Dead Colossians 1:18 Leads us into resurrection
Good Shepherd John 10:11 Gives guidance and protection
High Priest Hebrews 3:1 The Perfect Mediator
Holy One of God Mark 1:24 Perfect and Sinless
Immanuel Matthew 1:23 God with us
Jesus Matthew 1:21 His personal name meaning Yahweh saves
King of Kings, Lord of Lords Revelation 19:16 The Sovereign Almighty
Lamb of God John 1:29 Offered His life as a sacrifice for sins
Light of the World John 9:5 One who brings hope and gives guidance
Lord Romans 10:9 Sovereign Creator and Redeemer
Lord of Glory 1 Corinthians 2:8 The power of the living God
Mediator 1 Timothy 2:5 Redeemer who brings forgiven sinners into the presence of God
Prophet Luke 13:33 One who speaks for God
Rabbi/Teacher John 3:2 A title of respect for one who taught the Scriptures
Savior John 4:42 One who delivers from sin
Son of David Matthew 9:27 One who brings in the Kingdom
Son of God John 20:31 A title of Deity signifying Jesus’ unique and special intimacy with the Father
Son of Man Matthew 20:28 A divine title of suffering and exaltation
Word John 1:1 Eternal God who ultimately reveals God
 

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Book Review of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.”

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“Insightful Thoughts From a Beautiful Follower of Jesus”

Book Review By Dr. David P. Craig

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (what a beautiful name) has written a delightful book highlighting her conversion to Christ and instruction on many topics that are thought provoking and insightful. Among the variety of topics covered in this book are evangelism; hospitality; education; homosexuality; church planting; male and female roles in complementarity; hermeneutics; dating; marriage; parenting; foster care; adoption; and worship.

The author writes in an entertaining way, and yet shares insights with tremendous depth and cogent logic. My wife and I have both enjoyed discussing the variety of topics brought forth by Butterfield and are grateful for her wisdom and biblical insight. Though we don’t agree with all of Butterfield’s conclusions we especially appreciated her honesty; critique of Christian legalism; and insights into reaching out to those who identify themselves in any way other than “Christian.”

As a pastor in a very secular community I was given many illustrations that will help me become better at reaching out to those who are “outsiders” of our church community. I am grateful that Rosaria has shared her “secret thoughts” publicly. As a result I think that my wife and I have been equipped to be “salt and light” in our community and will be more effective in our outreach to those who desperately need Christ (as do we) in our community.

Rosaria is to be commended for her service to our Lord as a Christian wife, mother, educator, evangelist, and disciple maker. Any follower of Christ would be encouraged in their pursuit of Christlikeness and better reflect His inner and outer beauty as a result of reading and practicing the wisdom articulated in this delightful book.

 

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Book Review on Stu Weber’s “Four Pillars Of A Man’s Heart”

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“Required Reading For Every Man”

Book Review By Dr. David P. Craig

I’m one of those guys who is always about ten to twenty years behind on the latest books, television shows and movies. Stu Weber’s book came out many years ago (In the 1990’s) but as I prepared for a men’s retreat I’ll be leading in a few weeks I think this book stood out more than all the others I read as a book I would whole-heartedly recommend to any man. I missed it when it first came out, but I’m sure glad I read it. I would argue that this book is more relevant today than when Weber first penned it.

Many Christian men are clueless today about what it means to be a man. If men take their cues from our culture they are in serious trouble. However, if they look to the Scriptures for guidance they will find exactly what they need to know about biblical manhood. Stu Weber provides an essential guide to biblical manhood in this book. He identifies what he calls the “Four Pillars of Biblical Manhood.” These pillars when functioning in balance make for a man who is strong and balanced in the way that God designed him to be.

The four pillars (all found in Genesis 2:15-18) in a man’s heart are that he is to be a provider (King); protector (Warrior); teacher (Mentor); and a connector (Friend). If he is out of balance in any of these areas it will lead to chaos. However, if he is balanced in these areas of his life with his relationships; work; and ministry it will result in a tremendous impact on his marriage; family; church; and community/nation.

Weber has written a book that is biblical; full of illustrations and applications; and that is theologically sound. He defines, identifies, and explains clearly God’s design for men in a way that is logical and practical. This is a book that any man of any age will find encouragement, hope, and motivation to be all that he was designed to be for the purposes of God as a man in his brief time on earth.

 

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Book Review Of Stu Weber’s “Tender Warrior”

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“God’s Design For Biblical Manhood”

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

I can hardly believe the speed with which God’s design for biblical manhood and womanhood has been decaying in American culture. I am so grateful for the legacy that my own parents have left behind for their four children, and multiple grand, and great grand children. My parents weren’t perfect by any means, but they were godly and strove to be biblical in every aspect of life which nowadays is saying a ton. In a culture where idolatry, selfishness, and any semblance of character and integrity are woefully lacking – this book offers much needed help for men who take God, marriage, parenting,, and friendship seriously.

Using personal examples, biblical examples, and principles based on God’s design for biblical manhood exemplified in Jesus, Stu Weber has written a very good biblical manual for men to help them think and act in accordance with God’s design for manhood. In a day where confusion reigns in regard to God’s purpose for men and women this book gives clarity and practical teaching on the purpose, calling, meaning, and design for manhood. I highly recommend Weber’s book as a helpful guide for men of any age.

 

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Book Review on Cabal’s and Rasor’s “Controversy Of The Ages”

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A Good Example of Civil Discussion on A Controversial Topic

Book Review by Dr. David P. Craig

As a pastor who tries to keep current with the latest discoveries and teachings in science and how they mesh with the Bible I found this book immensely helpful from a Christian perspective. The author’s do several things really well in this book:

(1) They give a good overview of the history of the interplay between science and biblical interpretation with a very interesting analysis of The Copernican Conflict; The Advent of Darwinian Evolution;  The Scopes Trial and its results; and the more recent controversy over the age of the earth.

(2) They present a consistent hermeneutic learned from Galileo that assumes biblical inerrancy, not inerrant interpretation and the objective truth that nature and and biblical revelation cannot be in conflict/disagree. There must be a striving for both theologians and scientists to pursue truth in special (biblical revelation) and nature (general revelation).

(3) They give a very interesting discussion of evolution and how it was received by both scientists and theologians within a short time following his completing his Origin of the Species. They discuss some of the main issues of conflict brought on by the acceptance of Darwin’s theory from its inauguration until modern times between theologians and scientists of note.

(4) They demonstrate that the resulting world view of Darwinian Evolution has resulted in many liberal theologians and scientists buying into “metaphysical naturalism, that everything interesting about the world reveals there is no God;” as well as how, “human experience rather than the Bible has become the ground of Christian knowledge.”

(5) Throughout the book the author’s give a helpful analysis of the three main views among Theologians and Scientists today as exemplified by Young Earth Creationists (as propounded by Henry Morris, Ken Ham, and Andrew Snelling) and their largest organization: Answers In Genesis; by Old Earth Creationists (as propounded in particular by Hugh Ross and those in his ilk), and its primary organization; Reasons To Believe; and lastly, the most recent organization that sings the praises of Evolution: BioLogos – with its influential proponents like C. Francis Collins.

(6) There is a fascinating discussion of flood theories, fossils, and dating mechanisms in dating the earth – pro and con for both old and young.

(7) One of the most helpful aspects of this book is its discussion of first, second, and third level doctrines that are essential to Christianity. The author’s refer to Albert Mohler’s “Theological Triage of three levels to ascertain theological urgencies.” For example, first level or essential doctrines to Christianity would include “doctrines such as the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, justification by faith, and the authority of Scripture.” Second order or level doctrines would include issues that often separate congregations and denominations like the mode and method of baptism and whether women can serve as pastors. Third level doctrines would include the eschatological unfolding of the plan of God (e.g. pre-millennialism, post-millennialism, a-millennialism) and issues like the one the authors are addressing. The authors apply the principle of theological triage to the three main views today with reference to science and theology. It is a very interesting and enlightening discussion of the relative unimportance of “age” with reference to the essentials related to the gospel and what makes one a Christian.

Cabal and Rasor have written a very civil book on the interplay of the various issues and views in regard to scientific and biblical interpretation. I think they have written a book that helps lay people like me understand the complexity of the issues and yet puts the “cookies on the shelf” so that one can see that though these issues are important – they are not essential to the gospel, but are nevertheless important and demand that extremists be balanced and listen to one another as everyone seeks to interpret all of God’s revelation (the written Word and the natural world) in a gracious manner that is always and ever in pursuit of God’s truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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