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The new December 2020 issue of Themelios has 240 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews. It is freely available in three formats: (1) PDF, (2) web version, and (3) Logos Bible Software


1. Don Carson | I’m So Grateful That I’m among the Elect

Carson explains that the doctrine of unconditional divine election should instill in us deep, enduring gratitude.

2. Daniel Strange | J. I. Packer—Fingerprints, Footprints and Reprints

Strange reflects on the life and legacy of the late Jim Packer and considers the impact of his seminal essay, “What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic on Penal Substitution.”

3. Eric Ortlund | The Wisdom of the Song of Songs: A Pastoral Guide for Preaching and Teaching

Ortlund explores the way in which the Song of Songs instructs its readers in wisdom with regard to romance and marriage, adorning and beautifying its subject through poetry, rather than through direct commands.

4. David M. Cook | The King’s Fear of the Lord as a Theme in the Books of Samuel

Evangelicals have long sought to understand the core difference between David and Saul. Cook examines four qualities of a God-fearing king set forth in Deuteronomy 17: obedience to the Lord, good treatment of others, a long rule, and a long dynasty. He contrasts Saul’s lack of these qualities with David’s example of God-fearing leadership. 

5. Andreas J. Köstenberger | Reconceiving a Biblical Theology of Mission: Salvation to the Ends of the Earth Revisited

Köstenberger considers recent scholarship on biblical theme of mission in the past two decades and discusses the revision of his book Salvation to the Ends of the Earth that seeks to highlight the organic interconnections among New Testament voices and leaders of the early Christian mission.

6. Daryn Graham | The Earthquakes of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Graham analyzes the effects of the earthquakes of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, testing Matthew’s precise evidence for these two particular seismic events against their contemporaneous geological, archaeological, and historical contexts in an historical manner. 

7. Daniel M. Gurtner | Hermeneutics and Historicity in the Matthean Crucifixion Narrative: A Response to Daryn Graham

Gurtner agrees with Daryn Graham on the historicity of the events in Matthew 27:51–54, while exposing some hermeneutical challenges in Graham’s treatment of the material. 

8. Obbie Tyler Todd | American Prophets: Federalist Clergy’s Response to the Hamilton–Burr Duel of 1804

More than any event in early American history, the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804 revealed Federalist clergy to be the moral guardians of American society and exposed the moral fault lines within the Federalist party itself. Todd explains that in the aftermath of Hamilton’s scandalous death, godly Federalists spoke prophetically to the American people, to politicians, and even to their own party, helping to end the menace of dueling in America.

9. Jenny-Lyn de Klerk | “Love One Another When I Am Deceased”: John Bunyan on Christian Behavior in the Family and Society

Responding to recent presentations of Bunyan as tyrannical, cold, and sexually immoral, de Klerk examines the context and content of Christian Behaviour, as well as relevant aspects of his life. She shows that Bunyan was giving instructions on what he considered to be a primary aspect of the Christian life, that these instructions called for a gentle, warm love both within and outside of the family, and that he sought to follow these instructions himself.

10. Ryan Fields | A Generous Reading of John Locke: Reevaluating His Philosophical Legacy in Light of His Christian Confession

Locke is often presented as an eminent forerunner to the Enlightenment, a philosopher who hastened Europe’s departure from Christian orthodoxy and “turned the tide” toward a modern, secularist orientation. Fields argues that such an understanding does not sufficiently account for Locke’s Christian faith as it relates to his philosophical project. A more generous reading of Locke requires further grappling with his later works, which demonstrate distinctly religious interests and provide greater clarity regarding his proper philosophical legacy.

11. Michael Berhow | Did the New Atheists Rationally Lack Belief?

Berhow critically examines the influential argument that atheism is not a positive belief system and therefore requires no justification to be considered rational. Such a claim implies that theists bear the full burden of proof when arguing about God’s existence. He provides an epistemological and a metaphysical critique of this argument, and then shows why theism is more reasonable than atheism.

12. Jonathan D. Worthington | Deep Motivation in Theological Education

Worthington explores the basic difference between “intrinsic motivation” and “extrinsic motivation.” Most scholars of education think intrinsic motivation is the most potent for deep learning. It is potent, and important for theological education. But there are actually four types of extrinsic motivation, the final of which is just as deep and potent and essential for transformative theological education as anything. 

Book Reviews:

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