Donald Macleod

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Joy changes everything

It’s often important to assure despondent Christians that Jesus himself sometimes plumbed the emotional depths.  But it’s equally important to guard against the opposite extreme, as if joy were a... Read more about 'Joy changes everything '...

Why is there religion? and why are there so many of them?

We live in a world where four-fifths of the population worship gods other than the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in such a world the Christian... Read more about 'Why is there religion? and why are there so many of them?'...

Subordinationism (out of the blue!)

In the present parlous and precarious state of British theology it’s hard to imagine a controversy suddenly erupting over the question whether within the eternal trinity the Son is subordinate... Read more about 'Subordinationism (out of the blue!)'...

Troubled by the Cross: a meditation on John 14.1 - 6

Few words in the Bible are better known or more often quoted than these, but for all their timelessness they were addressed to a very specific situation.  The demeanour and... Read more about 'Troubled by the Cross: a meditation on John 14.1 - 6 '...

Is everything foreordained?

Probably the most distinctive tenet of Reformed theology is that ‘God did freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass’ (Westminster Confession, III, I).  The doctrine is often contemptuously dismissed,... Read more about 'Is everything foreordained?'...

Can we tell everyone, 'God loves you'?

According to The Marrow of Modern Divinity the Christian evangelist can say to every man, ‘I have good news for you.’  Does this include the news, ‘God loves you’?  Read more about 'Can we tell everyone, 'God loves you'?'...

Is Government policy a major contributor to mental illness?

The recent Report to the NHS in England by the Mental Health Taskforce has led to a sudden flurry of interest in mental illness by both the media and politicians, and the interest is to be warmly welcomed.  While serious psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia are relatively rare, few of us are exempt from such mental illnesses as anxiety and depression.  These obviously vary in seriousness, but for thousands of people they mean being plunged into a dark, bottomless despair from which, no matter how hard they try, no effort of their own can bring deliverance.  The mood lies beyond the reach of reason and argument, disables from all activity and in too many cases takes away even the will to live.

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The help of God in every step

Dark shadows fall over the closing pages of John’s Gospel. For our Lord himself, there is the shadow of the cross; for the disciples, the shadow of his imminent departure.  He is leaving them to return to the Father, and they are utterly distraught.  It is to this distress that Jesus addresses the words of John 16:7, ‘It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’

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Adoption: A New Father and a New Nature

Martin Luther, whose tormented conscience and anguished thinking launched the Protestant Reformation, once remarked, ‘If the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost.’  It is hardly surprising, then, that there is a voluminous Protestant literature on justification.  The doctrine of adoption, by contrast, has been largely neglected.  Yet the two are inseparably linked. 

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Does Systematic Theology need 'Prolegomena'

Before we enter the domain of Systematic Theology and proceed to address the great doctrines of Christianity, are there certain Prolegomena that must be addressed first?  There is certainly a tradition to that effect.  Bavinck, for example, devotes the whole of the first volume of his four-volume Reformed Dogmatics to Prolegomena,[1] and Barth likewise concerns himself with ‘The Task of Prolegomena to Dogmatics’ at the very beginning of his Church Dogmatics.[2]  Barth is acutely conscious, however, that the term is ambiguous.  At one level ‘Prolegomena’ means what theology has to say first.  It pauses to introduce itself, declares its presuppositions, announces its intentions, identifies its sources and lays down its norms.  But at the same time it makes clear that it is beholden to no other discipline, and rests firmly on its own foundation and its own first principles.  In such Prolegomena the method itself is theological.  The existence of God, for example, and the authority of scripture, are not first established on philosophical grounds and only then explored theologically.  Instead, theology proceeds on its own foundation, taking its very first step on the basis of faith in divine revelation.

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