Category: Macleod, Donald

I can – in Christ

We hear much these days about self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence.  Much of this talk promotes idolatry of the self: ‘believe in yourself’, proclaim the self-help gurus.

As Christians, we have a vastly richer, stronger, and enduring basis for our confidence, although it is one that goes largely unnoticed and untapped.

Our confidence is in Christ, and it is based on our union with him.

Gospel proclamation itself requires confidence: confidence that we have something to say and confidence to say it. …

Christ had a human mind


Whereas the Christian doctrine of the incarnation first came under threat from docetism, which denied that Christ had a real human body, Apollinarianism soon followed, with its denial that that he had a real human psychology.

Apollinaris was, by all accounts, a deeply spiritual man whose theology was in many respects perfectly orthodox.  But he was condemned as a heretic by the Council of Constantinople in 381.  He taught that although Christ took on a human body, he did not take on a human mind.  …

Christ had a human body

The term ‘docetism’ (from the Greek dokeo, meaning ‘to seem’) covers a range of speculations concerning the person of Christ.  The common feature of the Docetists was an insistence that God could not become man.

At the time of the early church, its main representatives were Cerinthus, Ebion, Marcion and Valentinus.  Their teachings were examined and rebutted by men such as Irenaeus (Against Heresies) and Tertullian (On the Flesh of ChristAgainst Marcion).…

Jesus’ cry of dereliction

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; see also Matthew 27:46)

Six hours after he was nailed to his cross, the dying Jesus shouted out these awesome words.  They are quoted from Psalm 22, showing that what Jesus suffered is not without some kind of parallel in the lives of others.

‘This is the hardest of all the hard sayings.…

Adam and the Fall

Donald MacLeod writes:-

Do not forget that God pronounced man, the apex of his creation ‘very good’ too. Modern theories of sin, in so far as they deal with the origin of sin at all, assume that man must have been sinful from the very beginning. It is, according to such theories, ‘only natural’ to sin. Sin is inevitable; a central and unavoidable part of our nature. But Scripture does not teach this at all.

The Bible’s story of the Fall is, apart from all else, a relief from the problems inherent in such a doctrine.…

Sacrament and mystery

The word ‘sacrament’, explains Donald Macleod,  comes from the Latin sacramentum, which referred to the oath taken by a Roman Soldier.  It has therefore been suggested that the Lord’s Supper is the taking of an oath to Christ and an entering into an obligation of loyalty to him.  There is, no doubt, truth in this.  But the word sacramentum is not a biblical word, and cannot therefore the recruited for theological purposes for a meaning that is not sanctioned by Scripture itself.…

Conviction precedes conversion?

It has often been thought, in evangelical circles, that Christian conversion is normally preceded by intense conviction of sin and awareness of one’s perilous state outside of Christ.  This has been documented Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley in their recent book, Prepared by Grace, for Grace: The Puritans on God’s Ordinary Way of Leading Sinners to Christ, and is discussed here by Donald Macleod.

The template is summarised by Jonathan Edwards: ‘God makes men sensible of their misery before he reveals his mercy and love.’  It is true that thinkers such as Edwards taught that there was a great variety in the degree of conviction that people experienced.  …