Jesus, Jonah, and Doubting God

Growing up in North Texas, you get used to tornadoes. Every April or May, tornado warnings seem to go off multiple times a week. For eight weeks, it feels like you spend more time in your closet or bathtub than anywhere else in the house. When my wife and I lived just north of Fort Worth, our fear of these uncontrollable storms was on red alert. Our area wasn’t just at risk of the occasional twister—we lived where many of... Read more

Writing Is a Terrible God

I heard a friend say recently, “I’m a writer. I would write even if no one read it.” Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I had dreams of writing fiction novels, and then later in life, I hoped for a career as a sportswriter. For a few years, I even considered a career as an English professor. I now write Christian books, articles, blogs, and other public forms of writing. I don’t know if I... Read more

The Best Introductions to the Book of Revelation

As I’m working on my Ph.D. in Revelation, I’m often asked about what books to read, what authors to trust, etc. While I think Beale’s massive commentary is the best out there and really enjoy Keener’s commentary, these are too technical and thick to recommend to most people. For any pastor, student, or layman who hasn’t read much on Revelation, I usually recommend four short and (relatively) accessible introductions: 1. Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation The title pretty... Read more

The Smorgasbord (8/4/17)

Thoughts: Nationalism plays itself out in a million ways, from overt idolatry to its sneaky, underlying affect on our hermeneutics. Weed it out. Give not even an ounce of glory to anyone but God. Theology is tied directly to defending the faith—we cannot defend a Christianity we do not understand. Quotes: “We live in a world of evaluations, assessments, and measurements, but Jesus turns his gaze deeper because he knows that what is measurable can be faked.” — Scot McKnight, Sermon... Read more

Should Pastors Read Widely? A Plea for Caution

As a pastor in varying roles over the years, I’ve been advised by mentors, friends, and everyone in between to read works outside of the field of Bible and theology. Most commonly, it’s recommended that pastors read non-Christian literature, poetry, fiction, and leadership/business books. The idea behind this advice is simple: reading other genres and disciplines helps expand your horizon as a pastor, writer, and leader. Reading non-Christians helps you better understand the culture you’re trying to reach. Reading poetry and... Read more

What Is the “Abomination of Desolation”?

On a recent episode of Word Matters, Trevin Wax and I discussed Jesus’s warning of a future “abomination of desolation.” This passage gets some of the end-times chart junkies’ wheels spinning. And it’s actually a passage that someone brought up to me when I was teaching at my local church recently, so I thought it’d be worth addressing on the podcast, because I know others have wondered about it. So here’s the passage: “So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of... Read more

James D. G. Dunn: Friend or Foe?

I was once banned from a “Reformed” Facebook group for arguing that N. T. Wright is, indeed, an orthodox Christian. Feel free to judge me for debating theology in a Facebook group. I deserve it. Though I disagree with Wright (in some respects) on the issue of justification, for example, I still argued that he is not a heretic. I quibble with some nuances, but he openly and clearly affirms what I find to be important aspects of justification and atonement—salvation... Read more

From Selling Drugs to Selling Bibles

The TV series Breaking Bad nearly made drug dealers look cool. Walter White was an everyday chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, began using his skills to produce and sell methamphetamine in order to pay for treatment and create a financial nest egg to leave behind for his family. As the über-popular show went on, White was involved in all sorts of elaborate encounters with police and criminals alike. He captivated audiences. If I told you this show... Read more

The Smorgasbord (7/21/17)

Thoughts: What does it profit a man to gain fans, yet forfeit his own family? Quotes: “All true theology worthy of the name is pastoral theology.” — Timothy George, Galatians (NAC) I often find the public reading of Scripture—competently executed—to be nearly as instructive and beneficial as its public exposition.” — Scott R. Swain Links: Here’s Michael Bird with a nice primer on the uniqueness of the Gospel of John. I love this sermon by JT English, explaining who and what the... Read more

This Ain’t Your Mama’s Book of Revelation

I didn’t grow up a Christian, but as soon as I began following Christ and attending a local church, I was almost immediately introduced to the Book of Revelation via the movie Left Behind. Like most Southern Baptist churches in the 90s, we talked a lot about the rapture, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and miscellaneous details we could supposedly understand by decoding Revelation’s bizarre language and imagery. Relatedly, I always remember being told I’d spend forever in Heaven, once I... Read more