On Friendship

Reading on Martin Luther this week, I was struck by a passage in which Luther argues that God’s forgiveness in Christ is not just found in sermons preached but ‘in every corner’; more specifically: They not only find the forgiveness of sins in the congregation but also at home in their houses, in the fields […]

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Faith and Doubt

In the first chapter of the letter from James, he says this about the one who has faith, in contrast to doubt: “But let him ask [for wisdom] in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person […]

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Donald Trump, the American Dream, and the Chinese-Indonesian Dream

The most disturbing thing about Donald Trump, at least to me, is not his stance on specific policies, his rhetoric on freedom or the obviously racist undertones of his speech. Rather, it is the way in which he weaves in talk of God into his political engine to pander to the ‘Christian’ voters of America. […]

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On Predestination

Predestination, as I see it, is foundational to a proper understanding of the Gospel. More specifically, it is in affirming that God predestines those who would be saved that tells us that God saves us out of sheer grace alone. This is what is taught, it seems to me, by Paul in Romans 8-9, and […]

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Calling and Sufficiency

I was having coffee with a good friend a few days ago as we thought about how best we can work together in the Jakartan context. He asked me in a wise manner: what do you feel most passionate about? What are you good at and in what role do you see yourself most comfortable in? […]

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On Jakarta, Corruption, and Compromise

To anticipate a series of seminars on Work and Identity that we are to organize in Jakarta, next year, I and a friend of mine came up with this paragraph as we reflected on why such a series would be needed here: Corruption mars the political scene of Indonesia for the past five decades; the little changes […]

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Justification: Calvin vs. Trent

As a sequel to my previous article on Lutheran-Catholic differences on the doctrine of justification, in this article I will introduce Calvin’s critique of the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent (the official Catholic definition of the dogma of justification), showing that the heart of the dispute between Calvin and Trent lies in their different understandings of […]

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An Evaluation of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification

Pope Francis visited America. Protestants and Catholics alike love this pope. Great. I’m glad to see that. I’m all for ecumenical dialogues and reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics. However, the way it is often done today, namely, avoiding conflict and pretending that there are no significant points of disagreements between the two branches of Christianity, will […]

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The Ghost of Apollinarism in Chinese Churches Today

Introduction A few years ago, a friend wrote to me from Jakarta. His pastor taught that Christ’s humanity is uncreated, which bothered him, because he had always believed that Christ has a human soul that is created. However, he was unsure about his own view, for logically it would lead to the conclusion that Christ […]

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Pixelated Gospels Reloaded

Intro In part 1, I argued that popular gospel presentations championed by many modern evangelicals are sub-biblical. The biblical gospel is holistic, God-centered, and redeems all creation with those who are in Christ as (self-sacrificing) agents of blessing. On the other hand, those popular gospel presentations reduce the gospel to an individual quest for an […]

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