Can a Christian be a Religious Pluralist?
Paul Knitter & Harold Netland
John 3:16 is undoubtedly among the most famous Bible passages of all time: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But what happens to those who do not believe in Jesus? Is belief in the person and work of Jesus the only way to please God and thereby gain everlasting life? Or might Christians allow for the possibility that other pathways can lead to gaining God’s favor as well? What happens to people who haven’t heard the Gospel of Christ, who haven’t understood it, or who, for whatever reason, have chosen to pursue God from one of the many other (explicitly non-Christian) religious alternatives? In short, Can a Christian be a religious pluralist?
Do relations of authority and submission exist eternally among the Persons of the Godhead?
Bruce Ware, Wayne Grudem, Tom McCall, Keith Yandell
The doctrine of the Trinity is at the heart of the Christian faith and takes into account questions of scriptural interpretation, theological synthesis, and philosophical reasoning. Determining the identities and roles of the persons of the Godhead is thus of great importance not only to the academician, but to the pastor, the layperson, the student and all who would seek to probe and comprehend the beautiful complexity of orthodox Christianity.
How and When Will All Israel Be Saved? A Theological Conversation on Scripture, End-Times, and Jewish Evangelism
Mitch Glaser, Douglas Moo, Willem VanGemeren, John Feinberg
In Romans 11 Paul makes the case that God has not cast off his people Israel, despite their rejection as a nation of Jesus, their Messiah. His final argument that God isn’t finished with Israel is that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:25-27). What did Paul mean and how will this come to pass? Who constitutes “Israel,” the biological seed of Abraham or his spiritual seed? Is the salvation in view spiritual, national, socio-economical, or all of these? Has this promise been fulfilled during the NT era by individual Jews and Gentiles turning to Christ and hence “filling up” the “all Israel?” Or is the promise to be fulfilled in the end-times at the return of Christ? If the latter, will only those biologically Jewish be saved, or will there also be a massive turning to Christ among the Gentiles? Whatever the answers to such questions, what are the implications for how Christians should understand the modern state of Israel? And, of most practical importance, how should one’s understanding of Rom 11:25-27 impact one’s attitudes toward and efforts in evangelizing Jews?
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Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church?
Jim Wallis & R. Albert Mohler
North American Evangelicals have recently experienced a revival of interest in issues of social justice. The growing sentiment among many today is that Jesus preached “good news to the poor,” and was indeed among the poor and marginalized. These Christians believe that the implications of these facts should renew the church’s understanding of the gospel and its mission. Rightly or wrongly, this interest in social justice is transforming the blueprint and vision of ecclesial ministry.
For others, this blueprint conjures up concerns about 20th century liberal Protestantism and a watering down of the gospel’s message of salvation. The defining mission of the church, for them, continues to be the sharing of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to all nations, generations, and social classes. The issue of social justice, though important, is not to be considered as an essential part of the mission of the church.
A basic question at the heart of the debate is this: Is social justice an essential part of the mission of the church?
Whose Commons? Which Good? The Church and the Pursuit of the Common Good
Jim Wallis & Jay Richards
In Carl F. H. Henry’s landmark work, The Uneasy Conscience of American Fundamentalism, he criticized Evangelicals (then “Fundamentalists”) for their isolationism, and their unwillingness to confidently confront the pressing social evils of our day from the theistic and redemptive standing of Christian theology. Over a half century later, Evangelicals either have failed to heed that warning, or still remain unable to answer the question adequately: What is the place of the Church in the Public Square? In this year’s Trinity Debate, Jay Richards and Jim Wallis will address this question of Christian social engagement through the subject of the Common Good. Specifically, each will present a proposal (and respond to the other) on the question, What is the common good? And how should the Church and Christians pursue it?
Paul on Justification: Is the Lutheran Approach to Pauline Justification “Justified”?
Douglas Moo (Wheaton College) & Douglas Campbell (Duke)
Martin Luther and other reformers viewed Pauline justification as primarily, if not exclusively, a forensic matter between us and God. We are justified before God, through faith in Jesus Christ, according to his finished work on the cross. If one believes the gospel message, then one is justified before God. Reconciliation (with God and with other humans) is a necessary implication of justification but is not part of justification as such. New perspectives on Paul have challenged this account of justification (both historically and exegetically). Rather than being merely a forensic matter focused on human salvation and its relationship to divine satisfaction, this approach suggests that Pauline justification is essentially about human liberation and the reconciliation of people one with another. Rather than being merely a forensic matter focused on human salvation and its relationship to divine satisfaction, this approach suggests that Pauline justification is essentially about human liberation and the reconciliation of people one with another.
Want to learn more about this debate, what’s being discussed, and why it matters? Follow Josh Jipp’s 5-part series on Sapientia.