Having seen the previous Mad Max movies, I decided, reluctantly, to go see the most recent installment of that franchise, coming many years after ‘Beyond Thunderdome’. I was reluctant because I don’t like extremely violent movies anyway, or movies that glorify violence, and the previews I had seen didn’t encourage me to think this movie could rise above that sort of primal threshold of acceptability. I was wrong. This movie is not just another excuse to show things being blown… Read more

Ben: When I took second and third century church history with Bruce Metzger at Princeton, several things stood out to me as reflecting a change from first century Christians and their writings: 1) the beginning of a rising tide of anti-Judaism, including in sects like Gnostics, but also in the mainstream church (perhaps because the church was largely Gentile at this point); 2) the decline in general of eschatological fervor in the church and related to this; 3) the beginnings… Read more

Ben: Let’s talk ecclesiology for a moment. Irenaeus was by no means just a writer, he was a bishop in ‘Gaul’. What was his vision of the church and church structure, including his vision of church leadership. Is he an example of ‘early Catholicism’ or does he have some other vision of church structure? What about his vision of the women teachers and prophetesses in the second century? How does he view them? Jackson: If by ‘early Catholicism’ you mean… Read more

Our home boy and U.K. fan, George Clooney, has made a lot of different and different kinds of films to say the least. Disney, however, he has not done…. until now. He teams up with Hugh Laurie in this film to provide us with something of homily about fixing things in this world before instead of a utopia we end up with a dystopia on earth. But how can one fix the future in the present? Well naturally one has… Read more

Ben: What, in your estimation is the real importance and contribution of Irenaeus in church history? Are their salient ideas and actions of his that were game changers or made a big difference in the formation and defense of orthodoxy in the second century A.D.? How would you weigh his contribution over against other second century writers such as Justin Martyr or Polycarp, or Papias or even Tertullian in the last half of that century? Should we see Irenaeus as… Read more

In some ways, Episode Eight is the best episode of the series thus far. It centers on the dramatic events recorded in Acts 8 and 9. The portrayal of Peter and John’s clash with Simon Magus and the portrayal of Saul’s Damascus road vision, the vision to Ananias, and the conversion and baptism of Saul of Tarsus are all well done in various ways. There is more than enough drama in those two story lines to suffice, but unfortunately we… Read more

Ben: In NT studies one often hears the old canard that you can’t find the Trinity in the NT. I myself think you can certainly find the assertion or direct implication that Father, Son and Spirit should all be called God and Lord in the NT, so at least we have the raw data for Trinitarian thinking in the NT. How does Irenaeus think about this subject, and would you say he is mainly indebted to the Scriptures in his… Read more

Ben: Irenaeus these days is mostly known as a heretic hunter, and even mentions the Gnostic Gospel of Judas which has recently been the subject of major TV discussions on CNN and elsewhere. Why exactly does Irenaeus have such an allergic reaction to all things Gnostic? Jackson: The simplest answer is that he thinks they are bad readers of scripture. The secret knowledge the Gnostics claimed to possess from Christ unlocked, they claimed, the true meaning of scripture, a complicated… Read more

Dr. Jackson Lashier is a former Asbury student, and a John Wesley Fellow whom I helped mentor along the way. He teaches now in Kansas. His important doctoral work at Marquette was on the Trinity, and it has been published in the prestigious Brill series of monographs last year (256 pages, and don’t ask the price!, which is typical of Brill). —— Ben: First of all congrats on getting your dissertation published, and by published I don’t mean self-published. Well… Read more

Without question one of my favorite artists, with whom I share a Chapel Hill and Boston connection, is James Taylor. One of my all time favorite concerts was the most recent time I’ve seen him in St. Louis with Carole King on the Troubadour tour. But here is a real treat, a new song which will be on his new album due out in June and James answering some questions about a variety of things. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/122163600/music-icon-james-taylor-debuts-angels-of-fenway Read more

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