John McKinley

Parable of the Trees

By John McKinley Feb. 8, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Marriage and Family, Spiritual Formation

The story that follows is a parable of human experience as essentially relational. People are individuals and vitally connected to others. Everyone lives according to relationships. The overemphasis on our individuality is misleading so that we ignore the ways that other people affect us in beneficial and disabling ways. This parable is an illustration of one sort of benefits and damages through being generated in families ...

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Guidance by the Holy Spirit?

By John McKinley Feb. 1, 2017 9:00 a.m. Church Life, New Testament, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Does God speak to Christians in dreams or in our hearts? If we have never had this experience, then are we missing something and should expect it? Is there a danger of relying on a personal word from God instead of looking to the definite word of God given as the Bible? ...

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The Marvel of Acton University

By John McKinley Jan. 24, 2017 9:00 a.m. Culture, Theology

The Acton Institute is a think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan to produce many initiatives connected with freedom of religion, economics, and politics. These three areas of thought and practice are usually segregated, but Acton brings them together. The largest initiative is the annual Acton University, a four-day conference in Grand Rapids to draw the strands together with diverse conversation partners ...

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3 Theses About Regeneration, Part Three

By John McKinley Jan. 4, 2017 9:00 a.m. New Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, Theology

The meaning of regeneration features in one of the ongoing disagreements between dispensational theology and covenant theology when we compare the experience of salvation before and after Pentecost. Covenant theology typically reasons that regeneration is necessary for saving faith (as in effectual calling and grace), so anyone experiencing saving faith was regenerate (e.g., Abraham, other OT saints). This reasoning is part of the assertions about the continuity of the people of God, the continuity of experience of salvation, and the combination of Israel with the church across history (resulting in the church’s replacement of Israel) ...

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3 Theses About Regeneration, Part Two

By John McKinley Jan. 2, 2017 9:00 a.m. New Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Regeneration (gennao anothen, “born again” or, “born from above”) is most clearly stated in John 1:12-13 and 3:3-8. While Nicodemus thinks Jesus is talking about a second birth (“He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” John 3:4, all quotations are from nasb), the alternate possible meaning of birth from above is better since the source of the birth of God that makes one a child of God is more important than the idea of simply being alive again. Perhaps best is to hold both ideas of enlivening spiritual renewal and birth from God (as the new source for one’s existence) ...

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3 Theses About Regeneration, Part One

By John McKinley Dec. 28, 2016 9:00 a.m. New Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, Theology

Regeneration seems to be one of those topics that theologians argue about while non-experts give little thought to it. Since this is a biblical topic that appears in nearly every book of the New Testament, we should consider this major theme closely and repeatedly. Regeneration is implicated not only in the term “born again,” but also in the many references to Christians as children of God, sons of God, the new self, new creation, having been made alive, and the new Christian familial identity as brothers and sisters to each other. I offer three controversial theses about regeneration to provoke consideration of this important doctrine ...

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Triggers for Change in Economics and Sanctification

By John McKinley Jul. 11, 2016 9:00 a.m. Spiritual Formation

When reading the book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor ... and Yourself,[1] one passage stood out to me as an important analogy for understanding God’s providential work in sanctification. We often wonder why God allows, directs, or initiates difficulties and trials in our lives. The Bible is full of these promises that we will have to face many troubles (e.g., Rom. 8:17; Acts 14:23; John 16:33). Paradoxically, Scripture also assures us that we can count such problems in a positive way since we understand that God is doing good to us by means of the negative things we suffer (James 1:2-5). I decline to give a facile explanation of the problem of evil (more needs to be said than what can be done here). I aim to take on difficulty of God’s providence in our sanctification by looking at the observation of Corbett and Fikkert about helping the poor in economic development ...

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