Jewish Context of the New Testament Story

Roberts_Fall of Jerusalem

This coming semester I’m teaching one of my favorite courses, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. In preparation I’ve already begun reading up again on things ancient Jewish. The books on the Second Temple period that I’m having students read as background are two brief introductions: Lester Grabbe, An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism (T [Read More...]

A thought for Christmas!

“No other God have I but thee, born in a manger, died on a tree” – Martin Luther. [Read more...]

Tom Wright Reviews Three Jesus Books

Over at the Times Literary Supplement, Tom Wright review three books on Jesus by Benedict XVI, Maurice Casey, and Bruce Fisk. He regards these books as pre-modern, modern, and post-modern. A rather amusing review of three very different books about Jesus. Wright concludes: Despite their radical differences, these three books share one positive feature and [Read More...]

Why I’m Not a Pagan … the Movie “Dragnet”

After the manifold comments from pagans in my last post on Christmas as a triumph over Paganism, I need to explain why I don’t find paganism an attractive religious option. The best way to do that is through a clip of the Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks movie Dragnet. Note carefully what P.A.G.A.N stands for! [Read more...]

December 25 means the Triumph of Christianity over Paganism

Yes, we’ve all heard the JW, Free Presbyterian, and Puritan arguments that the 25th of December was originally a pagan festival to celebrate the birth of the sun god Sol Invictus, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “the birthday of the unconquered sun,” therefore, Christians should not celebrate Christmas because it is a pagan holiday. There might [Read More...]

Apocalyptic and Salvation-History in Galatians

Further evidence that apocalypticism and salvation history cannot be played off against each other in Paul’s letters, this time from N.T. Wright on Galatians: “There is a current fashion in Pauline studies of playing off ‘covenantal’ categories against ‘apocalyptic’ ones. Since I have myself stressed the importance of ‘covenant’ in Paul, let it be said [Read More...]

Celebrating Advent with a Young Family

We’ve come to the beginning of the fourth week of Advent. We’ve been celebrating it with our two 4-year old twins, Zion and Mary. This week we hit about 4 of the 7 days, not too bad. The script for our Advent devotion is pretty simple: light the candles, read and talk about a Bible [Read More...]

Practices of the Church 3: Baptism

I’ve been reading John Howard Yoder’s book Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Community Before the Watching World. It was unintentional, however providential, that the book, which focuses on the mission and politics of the church, was chosen in close proximity to the engagement with Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert’s book What’s the Mission [Read More...]

Some thoughts on Canon and a Video by D.A. Carson

I’ve always mused over the question: Did the church “discover” or “create” the canon? On the one hand, the formation of the canon was not simply a haphazard or even political decision to impose a body of literature on a diverse church. There was already in circulation a body of literature – Evangelium, Paulinum, Apostolos, [Read More...]

Peter Hitchens’ Tribute to Christopher Hitchens

Over at MailOnline, Peter Hitchens (an evangelical Anglican) writes a tribute to his brother Christopher Hitchens, praising his brother’s courage. He writes about their childhood and how the two became closer in Christopher’s final days. We got on surprisingly well in the past few months, better than for about 50 years as it happens. At [Read More...]

The Pastor – My Favorite Book This Year

0323 The Pastor Eugene Peterson Message Bible cover

Eugene Peterson, the author of the Message, published this year a memoir of his 25 plus years of pastoral ministry titled The Pastor. It might very well be my favorite book I read this year. It is is one I’m recommending whenever I talk to pastor friends. I just had a friend text me this [Read More...]

Top 3 Apps for Teachers

I now use an iPad for my preaching and teaching. Here are my top three apps that you need to have: 1. Logos Bible. On my iPhone or iPad I can access all of my Logos resources such as translations, lexicons, commentaries, and books such by touching the screen. Totally rocks. It is great in [Read More...]

Richard Longenecker’s Personal Library for Sale

Over at Dove Booksellers, items from Richard Longenecker’s personal library are available for purchase. It includes some older and even rare books that look like they’d be a good addition to any collection. Some of the volumes on offer include: [Read more...]

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

British-born journalist and atheist writer Christopher Hitchens has passed away in Houston, Texas from a long illness with throat cancer. See the ABC News video and article here and the obituary in Vanity Fair. Any death is sad, more so when a man dedicates so much of his life to heaping scorn and mockery on [Read More...]

Bruce McCormack on the Diminishing Value of Reading Theology Blogs

Bruce McCormack (Charles Hodge Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary) wrote this on FB about the utility of reading blogs. I reproduce it with permission: There was a time, not so long ago, when theological blogs had the capacity to educate, to push the boundaries in a healthy way, to teach me what [Read More...]