One Degree of Glory to Another: Andy Davis on Growing Toward Christ

God saves us for his glory and then calls us to live for his glory.

Okay, but how? What does a God-pleasing life look like? Is he happy because of what we do, or is he happy because of what Jesus has done? What’s the relationship between justification and sanctification, and why does it practically matter?

In his thick new book, An Infinite Journey: Growing toward Christikeness, Andrew Davis explores our growth in grace from a wide array of angles. The result is a lucid, compelling survey of Scripture’s teaching on an all-embracing, all-important topic.

I corresponded with Davis, a Council member of The Gospel Coalition and pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, about the Christian journey, lopsided emphases, introspection, and more.


“The modern evangelical movement has been far more concerned about evangelism than about discipleship,” you observe. What’s been the practical fallout of such an unequal emphasis?

God has set before the church two infinite journeys—the internal journey of sanctification (by discipleship), and the external journey of evangelism/missions. These two journeys are completely interdependent—symbiotic. We grow most in sanctification when we’re actively involved in evangelism/missions, and we’re increasingly effective in evangelism/missions the more conformed we are to Christ. So no Christian or church can focus on one over the other and remain healthy for long.

The long-term effects of evangelical churches being numbers-driven and focused on immediate decisions has been the immaturity and the susceptibility of many to worldliness, the lack of perseverance in evangelism/missions when trials come, and the …

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Justification and Sanctification: What’s the Problem?

Bryan Chapell, Kevin DeYoung, and Rick Phillips explore the tricky and controversial connection between justification and sanctification.

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Proper Passion: A Lesson from Trent

Unbridled passion may spin out of control and inadvertently frustrate the purpose for which it was intended

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You Asked: Why Is Faith Not a Work?

Why is faith not a work? New Testament passages seem to conflict on whether it is or not.

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Was Jonathan Edwards Slippery on Justification?

Those who are looking for someone just to repeat ad infinitum the form of words of the past will always find Edwards a little uncomfortable, if not confusing.

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A Justification Debate Long Overdue

A record crowd of more than 2,500 turned out in Atlanta this week for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, focused on “Justification By Faith.” The conference’s main event—three papers and debate over justification between New Testament scholars Frank Thielman, Tom Schreiner, and N. T. Wright—might be about three years too late to slow the spread of controversy over justification that has gripped evangelicals. Unfortunately, a planned face-to-face discussion between John Piper and Wright fell through when Piper took an extended sabbatical. But the novelty of pairing Wright on a panel with Schreiner, another key critic, still riveted an audience that enjoyed more than two hours of sustained debate over New Testament texts, Greek terminology, and ancient Near Eastern and Roman society.

Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison professor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opened the long-anticipated exchange by delivering a paper on Wednesday night called “Justification: The Saving Righteousness of God in Christ.” He engaged in a direct and sustained critique of Wright, even as he labored to show common ground with the man he described as a groundbreaking thinker. He acknowledged that Wright is fundamentally correct that first-century Jews incurred the judgment of exile in the form of Roman oppression due to their sin. When Wright responded to Schreiner on Friday morning, he expressed surprise over their agreement on this point.

Schreiner also agreed with Wright that evangelicals who hold to sola scriptura recognize no other authority, including tradition, as final. But Schreiner identified three …

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D.A. Carson Interview Series

We are grateful to our friends at The Center for Gospel Culture not only for their ministry as a whole, but for a recent interview series they did with D.A. Carson. Here are three short-form videos covering the following three issues: biblical theology, justification, and evangelicalism.

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Justification’s Double Liberation

Our tendency in our evangelical universe is to articulate justification by faith alone morally, for the past (conversion) and future (entrance into heaven), without applying the soothing salve of justification emotionally and psychologically, for the present. We embrace Christ for forgiveness of sins but move on to other ideas and strategies when it comes to our emotional life and the daily pressures that do not lie directly in the “moral” realm. This is a great mistake and a recipe for worried, half-hearted Christians, dabbling their toes in an ocean of grace, thinking they’ve hit bottom.

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Ligonier Ministries has done the church a great service by aggregating helpful resources on the doctrine of Justification and the New Perspective on Paul. From Ligonier:

For the past few decades, a paradigm shift in New Testament scholarship has led some researchers to question whether the church has rightly understood first-century Judaism and the apostle Paul. In the name of a “New Perspective on Paul,” certain men are calling for a reassessment of the traditional Pauline understanding of the doctrine of justification, the nature of good works, and other elements essential to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prominent among these figures is N.T. Wright, bishop of Durham and theologian who in his voluminous writings is demanding a new reading of Paul, even claiming that the Protestant Reformers misunderstood the apostle.

These accusations cannot be easily brushed aside, for they strike at the heart of our entire understanding of salvation. With an aim to analyze the merit of Wright’s claims and expose both the strengths and weaknesses of his approach, the editors of Tabletalk magazine have put together this collection of tools to help Christians discern the errors behind the approach of N.T. Wright. It is our hope that you will find these resources helpful in understanding the biblical doctrine of salvation and for making an informed assessment of the work of Wright and other New Perspective thinkers.

Check out the resources here. Thank you, Ligonier!

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The White Horse Inn and The Book of Galatians

The White Horse Inn is doing a series of broadcasts on the book of Galatians. According to their Website, it looks like parts 3-5 are coming up. Now is the time to catch up on parts 1 and 2 (below).

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