MARK’S ENDING

The final chapter of John’s gospel reports the risen Christ meeting his disciples at the Sea of Galilee. I suggested that this might in fact have been the oldest version of the Resurrection story, predating the more famous encounter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Jerusalem garden. Some scholars have also raised the possibility [Read More...]

The New Prophecy

“Having assumed the form of a woman,” a late second-century prophetess announced, “Christ came to me in a bright robe and put wisdom in me, and revealed to me that this place is holy, and that it is here that Jerusalem will descend from heaven.” Epiphanius, a fourth-century bishop on Cyprus and categorizer of alleged [Read More...]

History Surprises

Those who profess to dislike history may as well profess to dislike people.          ~Everett Ferguson I like people.  I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them–whether they are dead or alive.  For me, meeting new people from the past and growing in my understanding of them make history fun. [Read More...]

The Quaker Contribution to Religious Liberty

As I noted in a recent post for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Founding Fathers were quite familiar with the concept of religious exemptions from laws. In the eighteenth century, among the groups most often calling for such exemptions were the Quakers. The Quakers were pacifists who would [Read More...]

THE EMPTY TOMB

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Beyond debate, the Christian church was founded on Christ’s Resurrection. What can surprise though is how interpretations of that event differ even within the New Testament itself. As I think over these ideas, I’d like to state an issue, and ask for a response. And I really am asking: this is not a rhetorical question. [Read More...]

THEY GATHERED AROUND A COAL FIRE

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In this coming Easter season, I will be thinking of coal fires, anthrax, and anthracite. The coal fires, especially, are critical to our understanding of the New Testament accounts of the Resurrection. Like all good fires, they shed light – specifically, on how the Gospel of John was composed and edited. Let me explain those [Read More...]

The Visions of John of Patmos

St. John the Evangelist on Patmos, ca. 1479

A man named John found himself “on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” While “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” he heard a loud voice instruct him to “write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.” Presumably, like [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Pentecostal Edition

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In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Attorney General of the United States John Ashcroft, a prominent advocate of the war in Iraq, wrote a song called “Let the Eagle Soar” (you can listen to it here).  It is a deeply patriotic song, one he liked to mix with morning prayer meetings at [Read More...]

The Art of the Book Review

Writers who publish books will soon find their books subjected to reviews. Although good book reviews are enormously helpful for keeping up with what’s happening in one’s field, for individual authors they can be frustrating, perplexing, and even paralyzing. Negative reviews can send writers into chasms of bitterness and personal resentment against the reviewer, or [Read More...]

Embryos Unbound

April’s First Things boasts not one but two worthy articles on embryos.  I agree with much in each.  One, “The Ancients on Abortion” by Sarah Klitenic Wear, gives a history lesson on ancient embryology to observe that Greeks then—not unlike Americans now—debated whether souls were present before or after birth.  The other, Jennifer Lahl and [Read More...]


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