(Podcast 5.18.18) 5 Questions About Molinism

Source: (Podcast 5.18.18) 5 Questions About Molinism


(Podcast 5.17.18) Flashback Edition: Election from the Perspective of Second Temple Judaism (w. Dr. Chad Thornhill)

Source: (Podcast 5.17.18) Flashback Edition: Election from the Perspective of Second Temple Judaism (w. Dr. Chad Thornhill)

What is Molinism?

Source: What is Molinism?

By: Brian G. Chilton | May 15, 2018


When it comes to theology, many issues are not discussed among most ordinary Christians. For instance, few people will speak of the aseity of God on most Sunday mornings. However, when it comes to the issue of divine sovereignty and human freedom, the first theological question I get asked as a minister is; Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian? My answer muddies the waters for most because I respond by saying, “I am neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.” “What?,” they reply, “You have to be one or the other.” I say, “No necessarily. I am a Molinist.” The blank stares I receive says it all. “You are a what?!? A mole in mist?” “No,” I would say, “a Molinist.”

So, what is Molinism? This article will provide three answers. First, we will discuss the founder of Molinism. Second, we will discuss the acronym associated with Molinism. Finally, we will discuss the three areas of divine omniscience including middle knowledge.


  1. The origins of Molinism: Luis de Molina.

Molinism is derived from the theological works of 16th century Jesuit priest, Luis de Molina. While the Protestant Reformation was in full swing, Molina was sympathetic to the movement yet did not depart from the Catholic church. It appears that Molina may have known of Luther’s writings as well as Calvin’s. But, the primary theologian that Molina engaged was one Thomas Aquinas. Molina desired to come to a solution as to how one can formulate God’s sovereignty in a world where free creatures exist. While Calvin emphasized God’s sovereignty and Arminius emphasized human freedom, Molina sought to find a balanced approach. Thomas Aquinas was held to both divine sovereignty and human freedom, but it was not certain how the two could blend. Molina would add a concept that would offer a solution.


  1. The acronym of Molinism: ROSES.

Calvinists have the famed (or infamous depending on whom you ask) TULIP. Arminians have the DAISY. Molinists have a flowery acronym, too. Molinists are true romantics at heart as their acronym is ROSES.

R = Radical depravity. Radical depravity takes the place of the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity. Radical depravity holds that humans are depraved to the point that they cannot save themselves. However, this depravity does not remove one’s divine image given to them by the Creator. Thus, the human being is unable to save oneself, however this does not mean that he or she could not respond to God’s grace when given.

O = Overcoming grace. Overcoming grace replaces irresistible grace. Rather than holding that a person cannot respond to God’s grace, Molinists hold that God’s grace is able to overcome the depraved human condition leading to a place where the person can respond positively or negatively to God’s free offer of grace.

S = Sovereign election. Sovereign election replaces the unconditional election portion of TULIP. Molinists hold that God knows each person so completely that he knows how each person will respond in certain circumstances (e.g., Pharaoh’s hardened heart in Exodus). Thus, God elects to save those whom he knows will respond to his grace, but this knowledge does not come from the person, but rather within the mind of God. God knows everything about everyone before anything was created. See point three for a further description of the Molinist’s view of divine sovereignty.

E = Eternal assurance. Rather than emphasizing the perseverance of the saints, which can be construed to mean that not everyone who makes a profession of faith will persevere, the Molinist (at least many Evangelical Molinists) holds that a person’s salvation is assured because of the working of God in the person’s salvation. God’s promises are always true.

S = Singular redemption. The last S of Molinism’s ROSES replaces limited atonement in TULIP. This doctrine holds that Christ’s death was powerful enough to cover the sins of the world, but only applies to those who respond to God’s grace by faith. Thus, Christ’s atoning work was sufficient to save the world, but efficient to save only the elect.


  1. The lynchpin of Molinism: Middle Knowledge.

Molinism deepens our understanding of God’s omniscience (that is, God’s knowledge). Thomas Aquinas posited that God had natural knowledge—knowledge of the potentials of the world (the way things operate)—and free knowledge—knowledge of what will come (otherwise known as simple foreknowledge. Molina asked, “How does God know what will come given the libertarian free will (that is, a person’s ability to choose x versus y) of free creatures?” Thus, he postulated that God has middle knowledge. Middle knowledge is the understanding of what free creatures would choose given certain circumstances. Molina emphasized that this understanding did not come from the world, but rather from within the mind of God. Molina states,

“It is not simply because things exist outside their causes in eternity that God knows future contingents with certainty; rather, before (in our way of conceiving it, but with a basis of reality) He creates anything at all, He comprehends in Himself—because of the depth of His knowledge—all the things which, as a result of all the secondary causes possible by virtue of His omnipotence, would contingently or simply freely come to be on the hypothesis that He should will to establish these or those orders of things with these or those circumstances; and by the very fact that through His free will He established in being that order of things and causes which He in fact established, He comprehended in His very self and in that decree of His all the things that were in fact freely or contingently going to be or not going to be as a result of secondary causes—and He comprehended this not only prior to anything’s existence in time, but even prior (in or way of conceiving it, with the basis of reality) to any created thing’s existence in the duration of eternity.”[1]


So, the three modes of divine knowledge in Molinism are:

  1. Natural knowledge. The way things could be.
  2. Middle knowledge. The way things would be given free decisions made in certain circumstances.
  3. Free knowledge. The way things will be in the future.


Molinism deepens our understanding of God’s omniscient knowledge. Given that God knows the length of days and the number of hairs of a person (Lk. 12:7), it is not difficult to think that God would completely know what a person would choose to do. There are Scriptural reasons to back up God’s middle knowledge (a great example is found in God’s knowledge of Pharaoh’s reaction to his grace in Exodus). A future article will address some of the examples of God’s middle knowledge found in Scripture.


Brian G. Chilton is the founder of Bellator Christi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.


© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

[1] Luis de Molina, “On Divine Foreknowledge,” Concordia  IV.49.8, in On Divine Foreknowledge: Part IV of the Concordia, Alfred J. Freddoso, trans. (Ithaca, NY; London, UK: Cornell University, 1988), 115-116.

(Podcast 5.10.18) Message: “Bringing God Glorification through Saintly Unification (Part 1)” (Acts 15:1-35)

Source: (Podcast 5.10.18) Message: “Bringing God Glorification through Saintly Unification (Part 1)” (Acts 15:1-35)

Check out this review of The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life: Ethical and Missional Implications of the New Perspective

Here is a review by Brian: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2365652616

True Love Must Be Reciprocated

Source: True Love Must Be Reciprocated Please visit the link at Bellator Christi.com to leave any feedback to this article.

By: Brian G. Chilton | April 30, 2018


Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who was infatuated with a person who did not necessarily share the same sentiments. In fact, it was not certain what the other person really desired in their relationship. I will not mention anything more about this situation out of respect to those involved. This situation has cause me to do a lot of thinking about love, what it is, and what it entails. It seems to me that for true love to be genuine it must be reciprocated. That is, it must be accepted by both individuals in the relationship. We can learn a lot about love from God’s triune relationship.

I. Love is reciprocated in the Triune relationship.

When attempting to explain the triune nature of God, Norman Geisler uses the example of the genuine spirit of love to explain this difficult theological concept. Geisler’s illustration is not original to him, rather he took it from Augustine of Hippo. The following is Geisler’s depiction of love in the triune relationship of God:

“Augustine suggested an illustration of how God is both three and one at the same time. The Bible informs us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Love involves a lover, a beloved, and a spirit of love between lover and loved. The Father might be likened to the Lover; the Son to the One loved, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love. Yet love does not exist unless these three are united as one. This illustration has the advantage of being personal, since it involves love, a characteristic that flows only from persons.”[1]

Seeing that God is love (1 Jn. 4:16), the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a demonstration of perfect love in its purest form. Love is not force. Love is accepted and flows from person to person. There is a lover—one initiating the love, a beloved—the one receiving the love from the lover, and the spirit of love—a mutual received love between both parties. In the case of the triune relationship, this love is mutually given and received by all three members of the Godhead. We can learn a lot about love from God.

II. Love is reciprocated in human relationships.

God is the perfect demonstration of love as we noted in the previous section. The loving example of the trinity is carried over into healthy loving human relationships. How so? Healthy relationships involve two people who mutually love one another. Let’s consider a hypothetical example of person A (we’ll call Adam) and person B (we’ll call Barbara). Say Adam loves Barbara and expresses his love towards her. Yet, Barbara does not love Adam in return. Adam tries and tries to make Barbara love him, but she does not return his emotions. Is this true love? Absolutely not! Adam’s love is not reciprocated.

Let’s consider another case. Say Barbara loves Adam, but Adam doesn’t return the favor. Barbara manipulates Adam into a relationship. They get married, but Adam never has the feelings for Barbara that she has for him. This relationship is not one based on love, but rather control and manipulation. True love must be reciprocated.

For Adam and Barbara’s love to be genuine, Adam must express his love to Barbara. Barbara must receive his love. Therefore, Barbara will express her love to Adam and her love will also be openly received. This hypothetical relationship notes how that true love requires a lover (one sending the love), a beloved (one receiving love), and a mutual spirit of love between the two.

III. Love is reciprocated in divine/human relationships.

Since genuine love is seen in God’s eternal triune relationship and that true love is reciprocated between two consenting individuals, then it only makes sense that God instill his love upon us not by force, but by reciprocation. That is to say, God freely offers his love to individuals. He doesn’t force his love on an individual. Remember, forced love is not genuine love! God says through his prophet Ezekiel, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? . . . Instead, don’t I take pleasure when he turns from his ways and lives?” (Eze. 18:23).[2] Jesus says that “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn. 3:15). In this case, God is the lover and human beings are the beloved. But, the love must be reciprocated.

Can individuals seek God on their own? Absolutely not! God’s grace must be extended to them first. This truth is seen in Jesus’s description of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Jesus notes that the Holy Spirit will “convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (Jn. 16:8-9). In this case, we see that God is the lover, human beings are the beloved, and the Spirit working to produce this love is the Holy Spirit. Forced love is not love, though. God does not force a person to salvation. He freely gives his love and his love must freely be received, otherwise it is not true love.


When I counsel couples looking to get married, I always tell them that if they want to love one another, they must first know God because God is love. Because God is love and demonstrates perfect love, we should not be surprised to find that love is exuded in human relationships when it mimics God’s love. Theological systems need to also accept this understanding of love. Genuine love must have a lover, a beloved, and the spirit of love. Otherwise, a relationship may exist, but it is not a true loving relationship.

[1] Norman L. Geisler, “Trinity,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 733.

[2] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

About the Author

Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.


© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

(Podcast/Blog: 4.23.18) Navigating the Waters of Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Follow the following link to hear the podcast: (Podcast/Blog: 4.23.18) Navigating the Waters of Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

By: Brian G. Chilton | April 23, 2018

One question has plagued people, especially believers, for millennia: Why do bad things happen to good people; especially those who have trusted God? This question has been around since before the time of Christ. This question has especially hit hard in our community. We lost a young and kind man by the name of Jamie Lanier. Jamie was in his early 40s and was involved in a fatal ATV accident in West Virginia while helping his friends clean up debris.

Jamie Lanier

Jamie’s early demise brought the question in full view. Why did God allow this man to die at such an early age while allowing worse people to seemingly live life to their fullest? Dr. Amy Downey of Tzedakah Ministries shared a powerful passage of Scripture that offers some interesting insights to this question. She mentioned Isaiah 57:1-2 which reads, “The righteous person perishes, and no one takes it to heart; the faithful are taken away, with no one realizing that the righteous person is taken away because of evil. He will enter into peace—they will rest on their beds—everyone who lives uprightly” (Isa. 57:1-2, CSB). Isaiah grants three comforting truths to help navigate these difficult waters.


I. Sign of a Fallen World (57:1).

Isaiah notes that the righteous do perish in their world, and many do not even pay their passing any mind as “no one takes it to heart” (57:1). A double problem is found in the text. First, the righteous do often suffer. Second, many do not reflect on the issue as they are caught up in the world as it is. Yet, the prophet goes on to say that the reason the circumstances are as they present themselves to be is “because of evil” (57:1). The CSB footnote claims that an alternate reading is “taken away from the presence of evil.” Either way, the truth is still found that this world is not as it should be.

The world is fallen because of sin. Humanity decided that they would rather rule themselves than to obey God (see Gen. 3). The root of sin is pride (Pr. 21:4). This fallenness has changed the dynamic of the world itself. God in his sovereignty gave us Proverbs along with Job and Ecclesiastes. Proverbs describes how the world should work: Good things should come to good people; the bad should be punished; and those that work hard should be rewarded. But, that doesn’t always work out. That’s where Job and Ecclesiastes comes into play. Job describes how a righteous man had everything taken from him. God’s response was, trust me in the good times, as well as in the bad. God knew more than Job, even the spiritual war taking place around Job.

Thinking that the world is fallen may not give comfort in itself. The comfort comes when one surveils the larger picture. Consider the following points.

 II. Security of a Faithful Word (57:2).

            God promised through Isaiah that the righteous person would “enter into peace” (57:2). This peace is describing the peace that comes from the afterlife awaiting those who trust in God and his promises. If we were to only look at the things of this world, we would have a right to become depressed. But, the story does not end there. God has a wonderful and wondrous eternity in store for those who are in Christ. That is why the Scripture states that “the death of [God’s] faithful ones is valuable in the LORD’s sight” (Ps. 116:15). Why? Because the saints who die in the Lord will receive peace and the blessings that God provides. God is faithful in his promises. He always has been. He always will be.

III. Swearing of a Future Warrant (57:2).

            The latter part of verse 2 notes that the faithful will “rest on their beds—everyone who lives uprightly” (57:2). Salvation changes a person. God transforms a person thoroughly. Therefore, the person will not be the same as they once were. God did not promise that everyone will enter into this peaceful eternity he described through Isaiah. Rather, only the righteous—that is, the people of faith—would. This implies two things: Faithful believers (good people) will receive good things in eternity, whereas evil people will receive full justice. God is going to fix the problems of this world. This truth is fully expressed in Christ Jesus.


I close with an additional insight that I would like to share. It actually comes from a story in the late 1990s (c. 1997). When I attended Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, NC, I was impressed by the preaching of the institution’s president Dr. Randy Kilby. Dr. Kilby was an incredible speaker. When he was in the Spirit, he would take out his handkerchief and spin it around as if it were a Terrible Towel and he was a Steeler’s fan at Heinz Field. At the age of 40, Dr. Kilby died from a massive heart attack after preaching a message at a church in Lenoir, NC. His funeral was held at Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, NC. His godly mother looked down at his body lying in the casket and said, “Son, what worse fate did God save you from?” That question has resonated with me even now 21 years after the fact. Perhaps God does take the righteous early at times to save them from something worse that could have come. Here, we address God’s use of factuals and counter-factuals as Molinists often do.

In the end, we have to trust God. When we endure times that do not make sense, we don’t need to focus on the things we don’t know about God, but rather on the things we do know about him. We know God is worth trusting because he is good (Ps. 145:9), he is loving (1 Jn. 4:8), he is all wise (Dan. 2:20), and he is all-knowing (Ps. 94:11). This is the measure of true faith: Not that we trust God when he makes sense, but that we trust him when he doesn’t.


Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.


About the Podcast

The Bellator Christi Podcast is a production of BellatorChristi.com and is protected under Creative Commons copyright. All rights reserved. The theme song is “Crucified,” written by John and Michaela Lemonis, performed by Crosby Lane, and produced by Mansion Entertainment (https://crosbylane.com). The views expressed on this podcast may not represent those of Bellator Christi or its affiliates. Be sure to subscribe to BellatorChristi.com to receive all the articles and podcasts in your inbox for free. Also, be sure to check out The Bellator Christi Podcast on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher and Google Play to subscribe for free.

© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.

(Podcast 4.15.18) 30 Days to Jeremiah and Lamentations w. Dr. Gary Yates (Full)

Source: (Podcast 4.15.18) 30 Days to Jeremiah and Lamentations w. Dr. Gary Yates (Full)

The previous version of this podcast had a download error where the entire podcast was not aired. Follow this link to listen to the podcast in its entirety.

(Podcast 4.13.18) 30 Days to Jeremiah and Lamentations (w. Dr. Gary Yates)

Source: (Podcast 4.13.18) 30 Days to Jeremiah and Lamentations (w. Dr. Gary Yates) Be sure to listen to this week’s edition of The Bellator Christi Podcast. This is one you don’t want to miss as we discuss Dr. Gary Yates’s latest book 30 Days to Jeremiah and Lamentations.

Don’t Be Overcome by Statistics, Overcome Statistics with the Gospel

Source: https://www.christianpost.com/voice/dont-be-overcome-by-statistics-overcome-statistics-with-the-gospel.html

By: Brian G. Chilton | April 10, 2018

Let’s be honest. We in the Christian world are inundated with bad news. We are bombarded with news about how the Millennial Generation is far more unbelieving than Generation X. In full disclosure, I was born at the end of what would make me a Gen-Xer. Nevertheless, pastors especially are concerned with lower numbers of people in their pews, statistics that show that giving is much lower than in times past, and denominational numbers that are dismal. I am identified as a Southern Baptist. I have heard reports that the SBC baptismal rates are the lowest they have been for quite some time.

Hearing these numbers cause great concern. As one who loves peace and security, I find myself asking some questions that are noble, like—”Will the next generation know about Christ? Will there be an evangelical presence in future generation?”, and some questions that are admittedly more selfish, like—“Do I have job security as a pastor? Will I have enough time in ministry to retire? What will I do if I lose my position?”. Be honest. If you are in ministry, you have probably asked similar questions.

However, I have had a statement that the apostle Paul gave the Romans on my mind a lot here lately. Paul wrote, perhaps his magnum opus, to the church in Rome. Roman Christians were facing uncertain days as they were often met with persecution. In AD 49, Emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. The Christian Jews were met with strife over their trust in Christ by fellow Jews. For the Christians left in Rome, they were Gentiles who were bombarded by various other competing worldviews. In the midst of this turmoil, Paul encourages them by saying, “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).[1] How can these words apply to our situation? First, let’s look at the reactions that people often have when met with opposition.

  1. Reactions to Negative Statistics.

            As an observer of people, I have noticed three negative reactions and one positive to the problems facing the church. We’ll call the three negative reactions the denying mule, the withdrawn ostrich, and the whipped pup, while the positive reaction is noted as the conquering lion.

            The Denying Mule. A mule can be a stubborn animal. If it is content to not do something, it is difficult, if not downright impossible, to get the animal to that thing. In like manner, some Christians will hear the negative statistics that are given and will deny that things are as bad as the statistics portray. Why? It is because the person is content to keep things as they are and is unwilling to change ministerial practices regardless of what may come. This is an unhealthy practice.

            The Withdrawn Ostrich. Ostriches are classically portrayed as sticking their heads in the sand when concerned. I have been told that ostriches do not actually do such a thing. However, for our analogy, we will use the famous scene. For some Christians, they are overly concerned with the bleak news, but they are unwilling are perhaps too afraid to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Therefore, instead of facing the challenges, they withdraw themselves to people like themselves and ignore the outside world. Again, this is an unhealthy practice for the evangelical Christian.

            The Whipped Pup. The third practice is that of a whipped pup. This is likened to an unfortunate puppy who has been met with horrid treatment by even worse people. We have taken in pets before that attach themselves to us, because we treat them well, but are afraid of anyone or anything else. Some Christians are like this whipped pup. They feel defeated and think that there is no hope. They feel anxious and concerned, but do not know how to improve the situation at hand. This too is an unhealthy practice.

            The Conquering Lion. The healthy response is likened to a conquering lion. This animal has confidence and faces any circumstance with the attitude and trust that he can make a difference and can see positive things take place. The conquering lion is the attitude the modern Christian needs to have. It may surprise you to know that even the United States has met times where Christianity wasn’t as strong as it was at other times. God would raise up individuals to bring change. Examples include John Wesley, George Whitefield, D. L. Moody, and more recently Billy Graham.

  1. Ways to Overcome Negative Statistics.

            So, how do we overcome the statistics? Rather than placing an unhealthy focus on the statistics, I suggest that we take four attitudes moving forward.

            Power of Prayer. First, we need to remember that there is great power in prayer. Do you think that the power of prayer has ceased? Has God changed? Remember, God does not change, he is the same God that he has always been (Heb. 13:8; Rom. 11:29; and Num. 23:19). God hears our prayers (1 Jn. 5:14). So, if God has not changed and he still hears our prayers, why are we not praying more, asking that God does something great in our lives and in the church to change the direction that we’re going?

            Gospel Focus. We cannot ignore the statistics. However, I do not think we should make statistics our primary focus. Our primary focus should be on Christ and on fulfilling his Great Commission. We cannot control what other people do. However, we can control where we place our focus. What if every Christian and every church took the gospel seriously and tried to share their faith by both their actions and words? Why, we might see another Great Awakening sooner than we thought.

            Divine Trust. Also, we must not be consumed by the negativity all around us. We must trust God in all things and understand that he does have a great plan for us and for all of history. It’s also in Romans that Paul notes that “all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Trust in God and in his direction.

            Genuine Love. Finally, we must not lose the focus we should all have on love. Do we really love the lost? That is a serious question we must ask ourselves. Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35). Can people see Christ in us by the love we have? If not, we need to first have a revival within ourselves.


Statistics are important. They serve as a gauge to illustrate the spiritual condition of our time. However, we cannot be consumed by the negative statistics we read and hear. For us to have a revival, no amount of human tactics will do any good. Rather, to have a true revival, God must move. He must move within us as we are the hands and feet of Jesus. So, to borrow Paul’s statement in Romans 12:21: Don’t be overcome by statistics, but overcome statistics with the gospel of Jesus Christ!


Brian G. Chilton is the founder of BellatorChristi.com and is the host of The Bellator Christi Podcast. He received his Master of Divinity in Theology from Liberty University (with high distinction); his Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Gardner-Webb University (with honors); and received certification in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Brian is currently in the Ph.D. program in Theology and Apologetics at Liberty University. Brian has been in the ministry for over 15 years and serves as the pastor of Huntsville Baptist Church in Yadkinville, North Carolina.


© 2018. BellatorChristi.com.



[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

(Podcast 4.9.18) Message: “Messiah’s New Living Kingdom” (Isa. 11:1-16)

Source: (Podcast 4.9.18) Message: “Messiah’s New Living Kingdom” (Isa. 11:1-16) What will the new creation be like? Will animals exist in heaven? Find out on this edition of the Bellator Christi Podcast. Please click on the link to hear the podcast and to leave any comments.


Book Review: “Illustrated Bible Survey: An Introduction” (Kline)

This article was originally posted at Book Review: “Illustrated Bible Survey: An Introduction” (Kline) Please leave all comments and replies on the link provided.

By: J. D. Kline | 4/9/18

Ed Hindson and Elmer L. Towns. Illustrated Bible Survey: An Introduction. Revised Edition. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2017. $49.99. 624 pages.


Hindson and Towns “provide a college-level textbook” that is “ideally suited for undergraduate students, layman and pastors” (see back cover) interested in examining the “authorship, background, message and application” of all sixty-six books of the Bible (Genesis-Revelation) (xi). With this being their purpose for writing, Hindson and Towns brings forth a marvelous study, combining “nearly one hundred years” of teaching experience and a wealth of Biblical knowledge (xi).

Illustrated Bible Survey includes “More than 200 full-color photographs, maps, charts and illustrations” (see back cover) in addition to introductory level treatments of subjects like, “How we Got the Bible” and the important task of “How to Read the Bible” (v). Of course, each chapter closes with a list of helpful resources for further reading and study questions, making this textbook a text to be studied and enjoyed.

While similar to The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey, Illustrated Bible Survey: An Introduction, also includes a survey of the Old Testament making this an unprecedented resource for Biblical studies at this level. Moreover, what I found appealing to this text is how the authors include an introductory chapter on both the Old and New Testaments prior to surveying the actual books, giving background (context) to the purpose and nature of the Bible as a whole. The authors even went so far as to provide an important chapter on, “The History Between the Testaments” (v. see also 331-338). The reason I believe this is essential material for learning goes back to how we are to employ proper and sound hermeneutics; or, how we read and interpret the Bible correctly. Knowing this information really brings the Biblical text to life; allowing us to gain new perspectives to the people and culture in which our faith came, in addition to the Biblical texts historical nature and how God revealed Himself to us throughout salvation history. Having this background in mind guides how we properly interpret the Bible as a whole and as individual sections – considering the historical and grammatical context – in drawing contemporary theological conclusions and doctrine.

I would be remiss not to mention the fact that Illustrated Bible Survey was not only authored by two, very knowledgeable and talented Bible teachers, but also edited and reviewed by some of today’s leading Biblical scholars: John Cartwright, Gabriel Etzel, Ben Gutierrez, James A. Boreland, and Gary Yates (one of my heroes). All in all, there are sixteen Biblical scholars who participated and contributed in the making of this Bible survey. In my opinion, this book, alone, gives one eager learner the information necessary to develop and appreciate a greater understanding of the Bible. In fact, for its level of study, this resource is unprecedented in its class and essential reading for any serious student of the Bible. I highly recommend it!


The strengths of this book is the amount of scholarly participation in putting this book together. Yet, the information contained in this book, while challenging, is simple to follow and understand. In this way, I believe that the authors met their goal of writing “a college-level textbook that is accessible to students and layman alike” (xi).

Biblical scholarship has met its fair share of critics over the past century or more to include the rise and influence of the Jesus Seminar. As a result, the reliability of the Bible and its message is often questioned, even drifting erroneously into liberal waters. Illustrated Bible Survey is an answer to those charges made by liberal scholars – who deny its historicity and undermine its claim as God’s revelation – confidently bringing the Bible back to its evangelical roots. As Hindson and Towns rightly proclaim,

For us the Bible is not merely a combination of ancient documents, historical details, and religious information. It is the living Word of God that still speaks to the minds, hearts, and souls of men and women today. It confronts our sin, exposes our selfishness, examines our motives, challenges our presuppositions, calls us to repentance, asks us to believe its incredible claims, stretches our faith, heals our hurts, blesses our hearts, and soothes our souls (xi, xii).


The benefits of this text is the fact survey’s the entire Bible. It challenges the student without information overload and bogging the reader down with technical jargon. As a visual learner who gets distracted rather easily, the books aesthetical appeal (color print, maps, charts, etc) is sure to keep the reader engaged and interested, as it did for me, especially through some of the less appealing topics. Moreover, the illustrations are helpful in bringing the ancient world to the reader; adding depth and perspective to the historical nature of the Biblical narrative.


I give this book a five star rating and encourage every serious Bible student to buy their copy.

About the Author

J. D. Kline is a Hospice Clinical Chaplain and a regular contributor of Bellator Christi.com. Jason graduated with a Master of Divinity from Liberty University and received his Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is a full member of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. Jason proudly served his country in the United States Air Force and is a proud husband and father to his wife and three children. His current research involves the soul and how a sound theology of the soul influences the counseling process.

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