Category: Theology

In Apologetics Encounters, Be Winsome or Lose Some

    As a Christian thinker and apologist, I have talked with many non-Christians about my Christian faith over almost the past four decades. Some of these apologetics discussions have taken place in formal debates, others on television and radio, still others on social media, and many in personal face-to-face discussions. Sometimes I reflect back on these discussions and wonder how…

A Fourth Branch of Christendom?

Historic Christendom is generally thought of as consisting of three main branches: Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism.1 Yet as a serious student of Christianity I would like to propose that a reasonable case can be made that there is now a fourth branch of Christendom to go along with the three traditional ecclesiastical bodies.2 Not everyone will agree with my assessment but let…

What Is the Relationship between Judaism and Christianity?

Since I teach courses in comparative religions at Biola University and through Reasons Institute, people sometimes ask me what I think about the relationship between the biblical religions of Judaism and Christianity. And in that specific context, I’m also asked about Messianic Judaism. In fact, some time back I was contacted on social media by a Messianic Jew who is very supportive…

How Did the Son’s Incarnation Impact the Trinity?

The doctrines of the incarnation (Jesus Christ as God in human flesh) and the Trinity (one God in three persons) are two of historic Christianity’s most distinctive teachings. In fact, these two doctrinal truths separate the historic Christian faith from the two other major Middle Eastern monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam.1 Yet these biblically revealed doctrines contain great mystery,…

How Close Are the Middle Eastern Monotheistic Religions’ Views of God?

Among the world’s major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are known as the great monotheistic traditions. But exactly how close are these religions in their specific conception of God? And is it possible that adherents of these religions worship the same God? The traditional conceptions of these three religions have significant common ground, which includes the following:  theistic in philosophical…

Responding to Islam’s Objection to the Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity (one God in three persons) is one of historic Christianity’s most distinctive teachings. This view of God’s nature separates the Christian faith from the two other popular Middle Eastern monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam. Traditional Jews and Muslims deny the Trinity and affirm a unitarian view of God (a single God who is one…

How Christians Can Unite Despite Disagreement

Could the doctrinal differences among Christians be a legitimate reason to reject the truth of historic Christianity? Some skeptics think so. In fact, some secular critics of Christianity think the faith is hopelessly divided. Even many Christians say they are turned off by what they perceive as bickering among the various branches and denominations within Christianity. Because of these historic…

Finding One’s Place in Christ’s Universal Church

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” —Matthew 16:18  Many Christians have had to transition to a new church. Such a change can be fraught with emotion, uncertainty, and difficulty. I know. I’ve recently made such a change. Is there a…

Promoting Unity While Discussing Doctrinal Differences

A friend of mine who is an atheist said that when he looks at the differences within Christendom and the squabbling among denominations, he finds greater reason to conclude that Christianity is false. Upon careful inspection, I think that theologically conservative Christendom holds most doctrinal matters in common. This unity is powerfully illustrated historically in what are called the ecumenical creeds of Christendom (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene…