On Making God the Room….

 We hear a lot about 'making room for God' from the pulpit, as though God is someone we need to squeeze into our overly busy schedule. I feel about this the same way I feel about the whole 'God is my co-pilot' stuff. In neither case is the conception of how we ought to relate to God anywhere near the mark. In fact it would be more accurate to say we should make God the room, than make room for God.What I mean by this is that God should be not merely the reference point but the whole … [Read more...]

God’s Friday

When it comes to Good Friday, we tend to hear a lot of sermons about the soteriological benefits of Christ's death for us all, which is of course appropriate. What we do not hear a lot of sermons about is what the cross tells us about either the character of God and why the cross is necessary in the first place. For example, if we consider the last matter first, if the death of Jesus was not absolutely the necessary and sufficient means of atonement for our sins, then it's hard to imagine God … [Read more...]

Mandatum Thursday

 If you are wondering where in the world the phrase Maundy Thursday comes from, wonder no more. It actually comes from the phrase Mandatum Thursday, or loosely translated 'mandate' or 'commandment' Thursday. It refers to the commandment from John 13 which you see in the picture above. Unfortunately, it was assumed that John 13 is about what transpired on Thursday of Holy Week, but historically this is probably incorrect. There is not footwashing episode on Thursday according to all … [Read more...]

The Durham Chronicles are Coming!

  I have been named scholar in residence at John's College at the University of Durham (not to be confused with Duke) in Durham England. So I will be returning to my alma mater for the Spring or Easter term beginning today, Maundy Thursday. I will be writing a series of posts about my adventures and misadventures at my alma mater beginning soon. Stay tuned!! … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Thirteen

While the conclusion of this weighty tome is but six pages long (on which see the coda below) the final essay is not (pp. 290-317). Jean Francois Landolt (yet another colleague of Marguerat at Lausanne) focuses on Paul as an exemplary figure in his letters (see 1 Thess. 1.6; Gal. 4.12; 1 Cor. 4.16; 11.1; Phil. 3.17) and wants to compare that image with Acts, asking whether Acts also presents Paul as a exemplum. All this is fine and dandy, but Landolt also wants to take Romans 7 as … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel– Part Twelve

The issue of Paul working with his hands, which comes up in a variety of Pauline texts, and also in Acts (cf. Acts 20.33; 2 Thess. 3.7-10; 1 Tim. 5.17; 2 Tim. 3.7-10, and also the general discussion in 1 Cor. 9), is treated in the translated essay by Yann Redalie (pp. 282ff.). The elders in Ephesus are exhorted to follow Paul in regard to this practice, which is part of the largely exhortation towards imitatio Pauli. The motive given for such imitation in Acts 20 is so that the weak may be … [Read more...]

The Lust for Certainty

 In an uncertain time, in an uncertain world, where the epistemic foundations of knowing have been undermined by post-modern philosophies of meaning (its all in the eye of the beholder, we create our own meanings. Objective reality does not break through our cloud of unknowing), it is only natural that there have been deep seated needs expressed for certainty, and perhaps especially religious certainty. Consider the cartoon below. Where I see this lust for certainty on … [Read more...]

Paul and the Heritage of Israel— Part Eleven

However we evaluate the historical merits of Acts, and I am on record of thinking highly of them, the portrait of Paul in Acts is most certainly a construct, a selective portrayal, that leaves out of account many things, for example that Paul wrote important letters. Thus, it is appropriate to ask the question of Acts what sort of portrait is Luke trying to convey, and how much does it comport with what we can deduce from Paul's own letters, and indeed, other sources. Scholars today are more … [Read more...]

What Marriage is and Isn’t

There is a first rate article on the nature of marriage from a legal point of view on the CNN website. Here is the link---http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/20/opinion/george-gay-marriage/index.html?iref=allsearchThe article is written by three persons legally competent to analyze the legal pros and cons of legalizing gay marriage. Here is how the article begins.....Editor's note: Robert P. George is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton … [Read more...]