The Connectional Table says Farewell to the Connection

In a recent vote (26-10 with one abstention), the Connectional Table of our UMC made rather plain that it is prepared to give up on our connectional and covenantal system entirely in order to satisfy the clamoring by a minority of United Methodists for gay marriage and the ordination of openly gay persons. Never mind that the Connectional Table does not in any way speak for our UMC, and whatever pronouncements they make have no juridical force whatsoever. Never mind… Read more

Life Goals— Have You Any?

I am on record (see my book Is There a Doctor in the House) in regard to how I ended up being a professor of NT. This post will not be about that. This post is about setting Christian goals for your life and working on them. One of the problems of course is that sometimes we make plans and set goals on the basis of what we are not good at, like a church in an overwhelmingly senior citizen… Read more

A Day at the Ole Ballpark

I freely admit it. I love baseball, and have since I was a child and my Dad used to take me to see the Greensboro Yankees. That was a long time ago in the late 50s and early 60s. I collected baseball cards, and watch ole Dizzy Dean sing the Wabash Cannonball on the Game of the Week on Saturdays, back in the day when ballparks had fences that were 500 feet from home plate, and home runs were really… Read more

A.D. The Bible Continues— Episode Seven

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the best of episodes, it was the worst of episodes. On the down side— we have the Emperor Tiberius and his mad relative Caligula visiting Jerusalem, something that absolutely never ever happened. Tiberius was a recluse, and even when Caligula was later Emperor, the only part of him that got near to Jerusalem but in the end didn’t make it was his statue. But that’s a… Read more

Houston Baptist and Old Friends

Houston Baptist University and Seminary is an up and coming school, and I was honored to be asked to come and give a plenary lecture there on ‘The Social Identity of the Earliest Christians’. The plenary lectures were held in the beautiful new chapel at the Seminary which has a huge organ and colorful stained glass window…. The chapel has rounded sides with huge clear glass windows to let the light in. On the night I was giving my lecture… Read more

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis a Life: Part Thirteen

Ben: I found your balanced analysis as to why there has been yet another resurgence of interest in Lewis’ writings right on target. The appeal to story, to narrative, to imagination to emotion is seen as much more winsome than dry rational apologetics. Do you think this is why Lewis’ A Grief Observed’ resonates with so many millenials, especially in terms of its honesty and expression of raw emotions? Alister: Yes, although there is more that needs to be said…. Read more

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis: A Life– Part Twelve

Ben: I find it interesting that those who most objected to Lewis’ orthodoxy and orthopraxy, past or present, on this side of the pond, were either real fundamentalists who especially despised his social practices, or those of a hyper-Reformed orientation who found his more gentle Arminian musings beyond the pale. Yet he continues to speak to a huge lay audience over here, especially those not enamored with denominationalism or dogmatic theology. It appears that lay theology tends to have more… Read more

American Mythology– You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be

When I was young (and foolish), I wanted to be Spiderman, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. I even once leaped off a large dollhouse in the backyard of a neighbor, to impress a girl. I broke my arm. It was a crystalizing moment for me at nine years of age. I realized there were limits to what I could be despite the Army poster then in vogue with the slogan ‘Be All You Can Be’. There were various… Read more

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis: A Life: Part Eleven

Ben: One of the upshots for me of reading your engaging book is that it confirms that I am a literary dinosaur fixated on close reading of primary sources, and a man of Renaissance reading habits, since I underline and star etc. real books still with regularity, including yours. I am wondering what you think Lewis would say to our Internet surfing and Googling students of theology were he asked to comment on this increasingly ubiquitous phenomena even in seminaries… Read more

Alister McGrath’s C.S. Lewis: A Life– Part Ten

Ben: I was a bit surprised to hear your analysis on p. 300 of Lewis being something of a Platonist, following, you suggest, the author of Hebrews. I don’t really think that works as an analysis of Hebrews since both the shadows and substance transpire on earth, and the really real is on earth and also in heaven. For instance the death of Christ is on earth as the sort of antechamber to heaven where Christ applies the blood and… Read more

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