Archives For Wyatt Graham

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones–C. S. Lewis

Picture by Albert Bridge

In his introduction to Athanasius’ On The Incarnation, C. S. Lewis engages in something of an apologetic for reading old books. Lewis felt reading old books was essential, even though the wisdom of reading old books is not always self-evident. But it is a good idea to read old books, and you should value reading them for they will benefit you in numerous ways.

There are a number of bad reasons to avoid reading old books, which you should never use as an excuse to avoid reading old works of literature. I list four of them here, quoting Lewis liberally to make the point.   Continue Reading…

The last two weeks have witnessed the break out of a civil war between complementarian Trinitarians. One side affirms the eternal functional subordination of the Son (EFS), while the other side affirms only the economic subordination of the son (classical or non-EFS). Put more simply, one side argues that the Son has eternally submitted to the Father, while the other side asserts that the Son only submits to the Father in history.

I chronicle the beginning of the civil war here, providing context for the rest of this article in which I detail the on-going debate during June 11th to June 21st. During this period, the war intensifies. On June 13th Lewis Ayres and Michel Barnes, reputable patristic scholars, weigh-in on the Trinitarian debate, assaulting the position of Ware and Grudem (EFS). The patristic hammer weakens the EFS side, but they counterattack on the 14th and 20th. Continue Reading…

Over the last two weeks, Christian blogs have been ablaze with debates about the Trinity. These debates have centered on how the Son relates to the Father. One side argues that how the Son submits to the Father in history is the same way God the Father relates to the God the Son in eternity. The other side argues that the way the Son submits to the Father in history is not the way God the Son relates to the Father in eternity.

The first position goes by at least three names: eternal function subordination (EFS), eternal relational subordination (ERS), or eternal relational authority-submission (ERAS). More specifically, it argues that the way the Son differs from the Father by submitting, while the Father to the Son by exerting authority. This relationship is how these two members of Trinity differ in eternity.

For EFS proponents, the submission of the Son does not indicate any inferiority between two essentially. Actually, submission is an honorable role that does not require an ontological difference between the Father and Son. Further, this analogy between the Father and Son makes sense of human relations, relations between husband (authority) and wife (submission). 1 Corinthians 11:3 provides justification for this position: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” Continue Reading…

david harp

The book of Psalms begins with the pillars of God’s authority and the reality of his glory. Psalm 1 tells us that blessing comes from wisdom and worship, while Psalm 2 describes God’s authority while it gives a warning for those who would revolt against him.

Then comes Psalms 3–9. Here the book shifts focus, and begins to tell a story of glory lost and glory realized through the life experiences of David.

Psalm 3 introduces the first title in the book of Psalms: “A Psalm of David when he fled from Abshalom his son” (3:1; cf. 2 Sam 15–19). The psalm highlights many people who surround David (3:2, 3, 7, and 8). At the same time, David calls to Yahweh to awake, save him, strike the chin of his enemies and smash their teeth (3:8). As subsequent psalms detail, David particularly feels the burden shame, lamenting the loss of his glory while many enemies surround him.

Continue Reading…

February 26, 2015

Worry & Happiness

by Wyatt Graham

It’s pretty easy to worry when choices confront us. Worry can cripple, wound, or otherwise prevent us from experiencing the joy of our salvation. And sometimes there are no clear answers in the murky world in which we all live.

In 1931, Montagu Norman, the head of the Bank of England, had to decide how to save the economy: would he drop the gold standard and adopt bill economy or keep the gold standard and risk running out of it? Both options were possible, but the stress got to him and Montagu had a nervous breakdown. While vacation, his office made the decision and killed the gold standard. While none of us will have the same responsibility, we can easily fall into the sways of anxiety and depression due to stress, to the crippling effect choices have on us.   Continue Reading…

August 15, 2014

Law and Grace

by Wyatt Graham

Schütte_&_Pöppe_Fabrik_hauswirtschaftlicher_Maschinen_Hannover-Linden_Rechnung_1909-01-16_Rückseite_Detail_IIIIIIIIIIBalancing God’s grace with his commands can overload even the most sincere Christian. And it’s not only lay believers who struggle with this balance. Recently, Christian leaders vigorously debated how to balance law and grace in the Christian’s life. Some argued that Christians should live their life solely by grace, while others advocated that both grace and law should guide a person’s life.

You’ve probably experienced the practical side to the debate in your life. Recall sinful behavior that you struggle with, and which you want to overcome. Perhaps you struggle with pornography, recurring anger, or even slothfulness. Whatever your struggle is, you’ve probably tried many different ways to overcome it. Do you rely on grace and turn to God’s commands in the Bible or create a system of rules that guide your eyes away from your ailing sin? Or, do you turn solely to God’s grace to overcome this sin? Put another way, do try to find some command in the Bible to tell you what to do, or do you rely on God’s grace even if you accidentally do something against God’s will?

I have seen both tactics take place in lives of people around me. I have observed people struggling with bitterness run to Scripture and locate all of the verses that directly apply to that area and hang them around the house, and start to memorize them. These verses often are commands to put off, followed by a command towards the opposite godly trait. After creating these “rules”, grief and remorse can often roll down upon them and refuse to leave—taunting them that they the uttermost sinner who will only ever wallow in this sin and never conquer it.  Continue Reading…

Ideally, churches and seminaries work together in a mutually beneficial way. Like minded churches start a seminary. In turn they send their ministers to that seminary so that their future pastors receive rigorous theological education. When this relationship works, churches thrive. But when a schism cuts between a seminary and its churches, the churches wither.

This unfortunately happened in the 1960s when liberal theology cut a schism between the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and the Southern Baptist Convention. While the convention stayed its conservative course, its flagship seminary drowned in Liberalism. SBTS had abandoned its confessional roots, which date back to its founding in 1859. This meant that it had also shirked its ties to the churches who founded and supported SBTS.

During this liberal domination of SBTS, teachers disavowed the bodily resurrection of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, and other key tenets of the faith. Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, anecdotally remembers that there was a vivid opposition against the Gospel at Southern. Continue Reading…

November 5, 2013

Introducing the King

by Wyatt Graham

He would ride on a royal steed. This king would come with purple draping his shoulders to oust the invaders and bring freedom to his people. When the king returns, he would establish his kingdom and destroy his enemies. At least, this is what many expected Jesus to do.

According to the Gospels, many Jewish people had a basic misunderstanding of the nature of Jesus’ first coming. While they expected a military leader, Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). In other words, the means by which Jesus accomplished his mission was totally different than many first-century believers imagined.

But just because these believers misunderstood the means by which Jesus would accomplish his mission, this doesn’t mean that they misjudged the goal of his mission. I believe that most faithful believers would have grasped the goal of the Messiah’s mission, because of the clarity of Old Testament.

Continue Reading…

September 10, 2013

Polycarp: Dying Well

by Wyatt Graham

No one can escape death and dying, and at one point all of us will have to consider what it means to die well. The importance of dying well can be summed up in the venerable words of Captain Kirk, “Has it ever occurred to you that how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life?” As Christians, we of all people should embrace the importance of finishing well. Consider Hebrews 3:14: “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.” For a believer, finishing well is part of what it means to be a partaker of Christ.

This is why many believers have considered not only what it means to die but how to die. Although it may sound like a morose subject to consider, Christians through the ages have pondered how a believer ought to die. Continue Reading…

In college I can remember questioning the sincerity of my faith. The conflict warred in my mind between being redeemed by faith in Jesus, while still sinning on a daily basis (cf. Rom 7:21-25). Thankfully, through prayer, Scripture reading and Martin Luther, I came to realize that the Christian life embraces the reality that we are simultaneously justified and yet a sinner. Reflecting back on that period of time in my life, I wish that I had read more of the second century pastor, Irenaeus. His pastoral ministry focused on helping believers gain assurance of faith. The sage wisdom of Irenaeus is only strengthened by a knowledge of the time in which he lived. Indeed, we first need to hear his story to truly hear the words of the man.

The narrative of Irenaeus’ public ministry begins with blood. In 177 AD, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius authorized a mass execution of Christians in city of Lugdunum (modern day Lyons, France). Although he lived there, Irenaeus happened to be traveling during the executions. On his return, he found the Christians of that city laid low, with key members decapitated or crucified. It was at this macabre time that Irenaeus became Bishop of Lugdunum, ministering to a persecuted, hurting and needy congregation. His difficulties only continued from here. Continue Reading…