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. Read more

Josh Whedon is a director I have admired for his Firefly series, and several of his cinema projects. In the case of Avengers: Age of Ultron he is all in— both the writer of the script and the director of the mayhem. I suppose its appropriate that May begins the summer blockbuster season with Mayhem. And there is indeed mayhem aplenty in this two hour and 21 minute film (certainly one of the longest, if not the longest of all… Read more

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

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

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

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