On Forbearance, Tolerance, and Concord—the Constantinian Model


I intend soon enough to do a full review of Peter Leithart's interesting book Defending Constantine but for now,  I want to focus on one aspect of his approach to religious matters that deserves closer attention.  When Constantine had gained power, beyond his military command,  he and Licinius  issued a proclamation now called the Edict of Milan.  This was an important edict of what we would call religious tolerance, and it set in motion a situation in which there would be no more persecution of … [Read more...]

The Mysterium Tremendum—- A New Novel by Paul Doherty


Paul Doherty is nothing if not a prolific novelist.  I honestly can't keep up with all the different novels and series he keeps writing under the names of P.C. Doherty or Paul Doherty.   How exactly he is doing this whilst still a middle school teacher is also a mystery.  And speaking of a mystery his latest one called  The Mysterium (out in October 2010 in the U.K.)  is a fine addition, the 17th, to his series which features super sleuth and medieval clerk to King Edward   Hugh Corbett.What … [Read more...]

Mary, Mary Extraordinary—- an Easter Sermon


I had just gotten off the bus in a tiny coal mining village in County Durham England, when I saw the Methodist Chapel steward running down the hill to meet me.   It was Easter Sunday and I was scheduled to preach in that little chapel.   The steward came up to me, somewhat breathless and said,  “I’m ever so sorry but Mr. Witherington  I need to ask you a question.”    I said “Shoot”  and he replied “No nothing so drastic as shooting, just a question.”    I said “Go ahead.”    He said “You do beli … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book— Final Chapter, Final Reflections

In the final chapter of this book  (pp. 319-55),  the Pope discusses the titles of  Christ.  Immediately he makes an interesting observation--- that the title Christ became a name very quickly, and this was appropriate since Jesus and his office or tasks were inseparable.  In others words, he wouldn’t have been who he was if he had not done what he did.  Doing and being were deeply intertwined in Jesus.   For example,  had he not died on the cross, he would not have been the Savior of the world.  … [Read more...]

Rob Bell on the Resurrection

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Obama's Message at the Easter Prayer Breakfast

Here is an excerpt of President Obama's  Easter Prayer Breakfast message-----To all the faith leaders and the distinguished guests that are here today, welcome to our second annual -- I’m going to make it annual, why not?  (Laughter and applause.)  Our second Easter Prayer Breakfast.  The Easter Egg Roll, that’s well established.  (Laughter.)  The Prayer Breakfast we started last year, in part because it gave me a good excuse to bring together people who have been such extraordinary influe … [Read more...]

Larry Hurtado on the Resurrection


The conviction that God had raised Jesus from death and exalted him to heavenly glory seems to have erupted soon after Jesus' death, and it was central in earliest faith of the Jesus-followers thereafter.  A few notes about this in connection with Easter Sunday 2011.The conviction was that it was Jesus of Nazareth who had been raised.  That is, there was a direct connection between the crucified figure who had been active in Roman Judea and the figure of earliest Christian f … [Read more...]

A Day at the Races—- Keenland

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Call me a little slow but I have lived in Lexington for sixteen years and never had a day at the races, at Keenland, which is only 10 minutes from my house.   I have owned two horses in the past which my girls rode, but never had a day at the races.  Nor have I been to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby either,  something I hope to fix soon.   You might think there are reasons--- like I don't believe in gambling.  True enough, but you don't have to gamble to enjoy watching beautiful animals race.  … [Read more...]

The Pope's First Jesus Book–Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine (pp.  287-318) is called Two Milestones on Jesus’ Way,  but in some ways I suppose one could call them two millstones in Jesus’ way---- one is the partial confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi the other the Transfiguration, which Peter didn’t entirely understand either.   Right out of the box,  the Pope offers the interesting observation that Banias,  the shrine of the Greek god Pan, was in fact set up by Herod the Great, and later changed by his son into Caesarea Philippi.  Bania … [Read more...]