Tag Archives | D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson on Assurance of Salvation

D. A. CarsonYesterday Andy Naselli highlighted six resources by D. A. Carson on assurance of salvation. It reminded me of Carson’s article “Reflections on Christian Assurance,” which is one of my favorites on the subject. Carson skillfully holds together what many tear asunder. If you haven’t read it, I’d strongly encourage you to. The balance he strikes is exemplary. I can’t speak to whether some of his other treatments are better, but this one is superb.

He originally presented “Reflections on Christian Assurance” as a paper at Tyndale House in June, 1990 as the Annual Biblical Theology Lecture. Two year later it was published in Westminster Theological Journal 54, no. 1 (Spring 1992): 1–29. In 2000 it was republished as “Reflections on Assurance,” in Still Sovereign: Contemporary Perspectives on Election, Foreknowledge, and Grace, ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Bruce A. Ware (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 247–76.

Here’s the outline of his article:

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New NSBT Book on the Trinity

Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John's GospelThere’s a new book on the Trinity that I’m looking forward to picking up in a couple of months. Andres J. Köstenberger and Scott R. Swain have coauthored Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel, volume 24 in the New Studies in Biblical Theology (NSBT) series, edited by D. A. Carson. It’s 224 pages and due to be released sometime in July.

Here’s how Köstenberger summarizes the book:

Part One situates John’s trinitarian teaching within the context of Second Temple Jewish monotheism. Part Two examines the Gospel narrative in order to trace the characterization of God as Father, Son and Spirit, followed by a brief synthesis. Part Three deals more fully with major trinitarian themes in the Fourth Gospel, including its account of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and mission. A final chapter discusses the significance of John’s Gospel for the church’s doctrine of the Trinity, and a brief conclusion summarizes some practical implications.

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The Pronunciation of “Propitiation”: The Mystery Solved

This is my final post on the pronunciation of “propitiation.” I promise.

The Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English language,” has the answer to the mystery behind Carson’s unusual pronunciation of “propitiation” as prō-pĭs-ē-ā-shŭn. As I suspected originally,1 it is an older pronunciation formerly used in England and France. Here’s the relevant portion from the pronunciation section: “Anglo-Norman propiciatiun and Middle French propiciation, propitiation (French propitiation, propiciation).”2

No doubt, then, Carson picked it up in French Canada or during his studies in England at Cambridge University.

See also the previous two posts:

HT: Mark L. Ward Jr., who sent me a PDF of the entry.


  1. In my original post, I said, “Just a guess, but I wonder if it is British or reflects Carson’s knowledge of French. (Carson grew up in French Canada and studied in England.)”
  2. Cf. also this: “Forms: lME propiciacioun, lME-15 propiciacion, 15 propiciacyon, 15 propiciatyon, 15 propitiacion, 15 propycyacyon, 15-17 propiciation, 15- propitiation.”

Update on the Pronunciation of “Propitiation”

I recently wrote about the various pronunciations of “propitiation” that are in use by pastors, theologians, and scholars, making particular reference to D. A. Carson’s peculiar pronunciation: prō-pĭs-ē-ā-shŭn.

According to the poll, the majority of the readers of this blog follow the pronunciation that I use: prō-pĭsh-ē-ā-shŭn. A couple prefer prō-pĭtchē-ā-shŭn or prō-pĭch-ē-ā-shŭn. But no one—at least from my limited readership—follows Carson’s prō-pĭs-ē-ā-shŭn.

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The Proper Pronunciation of “Propitiation”

While traveling to OH for my sister’s wedding last weekend, I had the opportunity to listen to D. A. Carson’s (Wikipedia | Theopedia)1 three-part series on the New Perspective on Paul (Theopedia): “The So-Called New Perspective on Paul Critiqued” (Pt 1 | Pt 2 | Pt 3 also here: Pt 1 | Pt 2 | Pt 3).2 He delivered it at Reformed Theological Seminary in 2005. It’s a helpful overview and introduction to the issues.3 If you don’t have a good grasp on the New Perspective, this is a good place to start.

PropitiationBut the New Perspective is not the subject of this post. During the course of the third lecture, Dr. Carson repeatedly referred to propitiation (Theopedia) when working through Romans 3. What struck me as odd was his pronunciation of the term. He consistently said prō-pĭs-ē-ā-shŭn (e.g., 48:54). Perhaps as intriguing was that he pronounced the verb form, “propitiate,” (correctly, in my view) as prō-pĭsh-ē-āte rather than the expected prō-pĭs-ē-āte.

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  1. See also Andreas Kostenberger’s ten-page biography of Carson.
  2. See Andy Naselli’s nice collection of Carson audio.
  3. See Adrian Warnock’s summary.

Is Παύσονται Deponent?

1 Corinthians 13:8 is a much disputed passage: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” In Greek it reads, “Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.” Not a few interpreters have pointed out that Paul switches verbs when he mentions tongues. Carson is convinced that we have nothing more than stylistic variation: “This view assumes without warrant that the switch to this verb is more than a stylistic variation” (Showing the Spirit, 66). I’m not so sure, but that’s beside the point of this post.

The real issue is that Carson argues that παύσονται is deponent: “The middle form may be used while the active force is preserved. At such points the verb is deponent” (Showing the Spirit, 66). But a deponent is not merely a verb that carries an active meaning in the middle voice. To prove a deponent middle, one must demonstrate the active voice has fallen out of use and that the middle has taken over the force of the active. Is this the case with παύσονται?

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Carson on 1 Cor 13:8–13—What Am I Missing?

On Sunday I’m teaching our Sunday school class on the subject of tongues. I’m basically going to do an overview using the paper I wrote for Dr. Reimers’s Pneumatology class. In doing a little review, I reread Gaffin’s article in Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views and found it insightful and solid. I then decided to take a look at Carson’s Showing the Spirit since I bought it recently for my Libronix Digital Library System. Carson takes issue with Gaffin on a few points, but I’m at a loss to understand one of Carson’s objections. Maybe you can help me see what I’m missing.

Gaffin says,

It is gratuitous to insist that this passage teaches that the modes of revelation mentioned, prophecy and tongues, are to continue functioning until Christ’s return. Paul is not intending to specify the time when any particular mode will cease. What he does affirm is the termination of the believer’s present, fragmentary knowledge, based on likewise temporary modes of revelation, when “the perfect” comes. The time of the cessation of prophecy and tongues is an open question so far as this passage is concerned. (Perspectives on Pentecost, 111; quoted in Showing the Spirit, 69 n. 57)

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