Monthly Archives: April 2010

  • “…he descended into hell” Part 2

    Last week we noted that Wayne Grudem thinks this phrase is spurious and welcomes its dismissal for three reasons: 1) the origin of the phrase is a late addition and spurious at best; 2) there is little Biblical support of the phrase; 3) there are passages that flatly contradict the phrase. In Part 7 we took up the first of the objections. Before getting to the point of this installment, an observation about reasons 2 and 3 is needed. Both points assume that we understand what this phrase means. In other words, before we can suggest whether or not there is Biblical support for this phrase and produce passages that flatly contradict it, we need to know what it is teaching. What, then, is the Creed teaching us to confess? Let’s examine and evaluate the interpretive history of this phrase.

    The … Read More »

  • “…he descended into hell” Part 1

    There are two things that get people’s attention when they confess the Creed. The first is the statement that Christ “descended into hell” and the second is the statement about the “holy catholic church.” Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago a woman informed the church that we are not a Christian church when she found that we confess the Creed and these two controversial statements. In an effort to maintain full disclosure, my desire to write this series stemmed from the questions I have received about these two phrases. With almost every confession of the Creed I am asked for further explanation of them. For that I am thankful because our confession of faith is to be a thoughtful one. So for those of you who have asked and for those of you who have never asked … Read More »

  • “He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried…”

    Isaiah offers a fixed date for his vision of God when he says that it took place in the “year that King Uzziah died” (Isa. 6:1). Amos does the same thing when he says, “The words of Amos…which he saw…two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The Creed does something similar when it notes that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. Some have found this specific reference odd and even offensive. But, as the fifth-century writer Rufinus wrote, “Those who handed down the Creed showed great wisdom in emphasizing the actual date at which these things happened, so that there might be no chance of any uncertainty or vagueness upsetting the stability of the tradition.” Furthermore, it emphasizes the fact that the crucifixion was an event that actually happened in history. We don’t believe in a made up story that happened, … Read More »

  • Good Friday

    The cross is the most pointed manifestation of the wrath of God in all the Bible. Sometimes we don’t grapple with this as much as we should. It is not uncommon to hear folks pitting the “God of the OT” versus the “God of the NT.” The God of the NT is a God of love, we are told, while the God of the OT is a God of wrath. That false dichotomy crumbles, however, when we rightly gaze upon the cross. The cross is also the most pointed manifestation of God’s love. We tend to emphasize this more and, if we are not careful, can be guilty of subtly embracing the aforementioned dichotomy. Of course this raises massive questions, questions like, “Are God’s wrath in conflict with one another?” This has … Read More »

  • Maundy Thursday

    Tonight we are here to walk with Jesus through one of the darkest nights of the church calendar. This was Jesus’ last night, a night which was marked by betrayal — by Judas and Peter —, his passionate prayer in Gethsemane, his arrest and the charge by the high priest that he was guilty of blasphemy.

    The title “Maundy Thursday” is derived from the Latin Mandatum Novum which means “a new commandment.”

    The title “Maundy Thursday” is derived from the Latin Mandatum Novum which means “a new commandment.” Maundy Thursday was the day that Christ uttered those powerful words, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn. 13:34). He did not issue this commandment in word only, though. Just prior … Read More »