Horton Reviews N. T. Wright's After You Believe

In Christianity Today. Is Wright correct when he asserts  “Basically, the whole idea of virtue has been radically out of fashion in much of Western Christianity ever since the sixteenth-century Reformation”? Could anyone read any of the Reformed literature from the 1530s . . . Continue reading →

Narcissism, Ignorance, and Bureaucracy: A Vicious Combination

Vitium. St Augustine helped us to understand Paul’s doctrine of sin by using the word vitium. It denotes a powerful corrupting force. We’ve translated it into English with the word “vice” but that word long ago lost its force. We refer to . . . Continue reading →

Of Virtues True And False: Niceness v Christian Virtue

Traditionally in Christian ethics there was said to have been seven virtues, the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and love from 1 Cor 13) and four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance). Our word virtue is derived from Latin words for strength. . . . Continue reading →

Aimee Gets Niceness

There’s a difference between niceness and kindness. A nice person is agreeable, delicate and subtle. While this is very helpful behavior that is useful to society, these can also be very manipulative traits. A kind person is benevolent, compassionate, gracious and favorable. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 42: Fiona’s Crisis

Heidelcast

The Heidelcast considers the case of Fiona, who was raised in a broadly evangelical congregation. In that tradition, the emphasis was on unity over diversity. The congregation tolerated different approaches to the sacraments and to the doctrine of salvation. What bound them . . . Continue reading →

When Nice Is The Highest Virtue

In an age when being nice is the highest virtue, publicly confronting error from a well-known Christian is perhaps the last taboo in contemporary evangelicalism. I am a pastor. I write things that a very small number of people here and there . . . Continue reading →

Office Hours: Sanctification And Virtue

One aspect of our new life in Christ to which modern evangelical and Reformed Christians have not always paid a great deal of attention is the matter of virtue. There are some good reasons for this. The medieval church came to think . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 92: Of Nice And Men (1)

Heidelcast

With this episode we begin a new series: Of Nice And Men. The argument, the thesis, of the series is that niceness is one thing and Christian virtue is another. Niceness is a pervasive ethos among evangelicals. The dictionary defines ethos as the a spirit . . . Continue reading →

Strangers And Aliens (15a): Turning The Other Cheek (1 Peter 3:8–12)

When a group faces external pressure, criticism, or perhaps even persecution of some kind it may lead to internal fractures and schism. The Apostle Peter was aware of this possibility among the congregations in (modern) Turkey. He has been urging them to respond appropriately to those outside the congregation but in this section he turns his attention to those within the congregation. How ought they to relate to one another? Continue reading →

As It Was In The Days Of Noah (27): 2 Peter 1:3–11 (part 2)

3His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, . . . Continue reading →

As It Was In The Days Of Noah (27): 2 Peter 1:3–11 (part 3)

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins (2 Pet 1:8–9; ESV). Continue reading →

As It Was In The Days Of Noah (28): 2 Peter 1:3–11 (part 4)

The Christian life is not the instrument of salvation. To attempt to make it so is a self-defeating move, since none of us, in this life, shall attain perfect sanctification. Thus, all of us fall short of the mark. This is undeniably true. In that case, we are left to going back to the dog’s breakfast of the late-medieval doctrine of congruent merit, the doctrine rejected by the entire Reformation, that God imputes perfection to our imperfect efforts unto justification and salvation. Continue reading →

As It Was In The Days Of Noah (29): 2 Peter 1:12–15

Peter knew that his pilgrimage was coming to a close. He says so in verse 14 in our passage: “I know that the removal (ἀπόθεσις) of my tent (σκηνώματός) is soon.” Continue reading →