Best Books– Part Three

Ian Howard Marshall was someone I could identify with quite readily. He was an Evangelical and he was a Methodist and he was a NT scholar as well. One of his earliest books (1969), based on a thesis was Kept by the Power of God, which made sense of all the apostasy and perseverance texts in the NT. This is still one of the best studies on this particular subject. Howard was a real churchman as well, frequently preaching here and there in Methodist Churches, and he became President of the … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Genealogy— Were Luke and Matthew on the Same Ancestry Page?

One of the more controversial aspects of the Gospels is the two genealogies we have for Jesus, one in Mt. 1.1-17 the other in Lk. 3.23-38. While there are a few similarities between the two (e.g. they both mention that Jesus is the 'so-called' son of Joseph), they are mostly different, and they serve very different purposes. Some Bible students along the way have tried to suggest that we have Mary's genealogy in Luke, and Joseph's in Matthew, but this solution simply doesn't work, since Joseph … [Read more...]

Finding Jesus— Episode Three

You may be surprised to hear me say so, but the third episode of Finding Jesus, about the Gospel of Judas, was the most effective of those which have aired thus far. It's a very fair probing of what we ought to think about Judas (some pros, mostly cons), and the subsequent traditions about Judas, including the late second or early third century document called The Gospel of Judas. Kudos to David, Mark, Candida and others who made it so.A cautionary word is in order about the entire … [Read more...]

Best Books– Part Two

Towards the end of my college years, I read a book that I really loved, recommended by Dr. Boyd--- Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Prophets (two volumes). I still love it. For the first time I began to see the prophets as real flesh and blood people, real passionate believers, and I learned about their pathos, what really moved and exercised them. The books focused on their sense of divine love, on 'hesed' and what it meant. Suddenly the prophets were not just predictors, but people in love with … [Read more...]

Second Best— The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

It is, under any circumstances, quite difficult to catch fire twice with the same story line. Lightning, as it turns out seldom strikes twice in the same place. Yet, if you have a compelling cast, a good storyline, some wit and some wisdom, and an interesting enough setting it does happen once in a while. On the cast front, and the setting front 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' gets the nod as a worthy sequel. Unfortunately, the second movie doesn't quite do the job on the plot front, … [Read more...]

Best Books— Part One

The journey has been a long one for me. It's taken reading several thousand books over the years. It really began back in high school when I read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. That really stuck with me. So did Leslie Weatherhead's little book on The Will of God. I remember a book on the Shroud of Turin which was fascinating too. Of course I also read all the Tolkien, and Lewis, and Williams, and Sayers volumes I could manage starting in high school and continuing through college. … [Read more...]

Thank God for Professionals!

In honor of my sister's birthday, I pass along this story from alert reader Jim Horn...A flustered woman hurried to the pharmacy to get medication for her sick child, got back to her car and saw that she had locked her keys inside. She found a rusty coat hanger on the ground, looked at it and said to herself, "I don't know how to use this." Not knowing what to do, the woman bowed her head and asked God for help. Within a few minutes a rough-looking, tattooed man on an old … [Read more...]

Snowmaggedon hits Kentucky just before Fat Tuesday

Valentine's weekend. Warm thoughts, cold everything else. Only we were headed to Boston for a long weekend and a conference. Except the blizzard came to town, and I don't mean the DQ blizzard. We never got to Boston, and watching the Valentine's Day massacre on the highways and byways around Boston, and the 79 freaking inches of snow pile up, we were glad we never got there. So..... instead, Boston came to us. Over a foot of dry powdery snow, and then of course single digits, and sub-zero … [Read more...]

Uncommon Sense– Part Seven

Ah retirement, the desideratum of millions of Americans. And in the culture of entitlement of course, if someone takes away your retirement, well, those are fighting words. Retirement is of course a totally modern, not a Biblical concept. The idea that you should be able to live out your golden years traveling around in a gas-guzzling Winnabago, spending your grandchildren's inheritance, is of course just another bit of nice narcissism promoted by our culture. There is nothing Biblical … [Read more...]