Tertullian’s Challenge to Marcion

This week I’ve been reading some Tertullian when I’ve had the chance. Gotta quote his opening to book five from Against Marcion: If you challenge us to your belief, (pray) tell us what things constitute its basis. Either prove the truth of what you believe, or failing in your proof, (tell us) how you believe. [Read More...]

Lent – The School of Repentance

Alexander Schmemann in his book Great Lent refers to Lent as the “School of Repentance”. Writing for an Orthodox readership, Schmemann has something nevertheless to say to us all Christians. We are approaching again the Great Lent-the time of repentance, the time or our reconciliation with God. Repentance is the beginning and also the condition [Read More...]

An Invitation to Lent


As I’ve posted previously with reference to Advent, I have decided to orient my spiritual life this year around the Christian liturgical calendar. As I said before, I am 40 years old, I’ve grown up in the church, I have a Ph.D. in New Testament, I’m a pastor, and as crazy at it sounds I [Read More...]

New Covenant Commentary Series Now on Logos

I just heard that the New Covenant Commentary Series is now available on Logos Bible Software. You can get the volumes on Romans (Craig Keener), Ephesians (Lynn Cohick), Colossians/Philemon (Michael Bird), and Revelation (Gordon D. Fee) for $79.95. More volumes to come including Scot McKnight on Matthew and David deSilva on 2 Corinthians. [Read more...]

Joel Watts reviews the “Progressive Reformed View”

Over at Unsettled Christianity, Joel Watts offers a fairly positive review of my essay in Justification: Five Views. He is “almost persuaded” by me. Doh, I was so close on this one! Oh, and Leslie reviews Mike Horton’s essay too. [Read more...]

What difference does Predestination or Freewill have on ministry effectiveness?


While there is certainly many ways to answer this question, Stephen Tomkins in his recent biography of John Wesley reflects eloquently on the fundamental difference between George Whitefield (a strong Calvinist) and Wesley. The fundamental difference between Wesley and Whitefield was not the theological one that so exercised them both and sadly caused conflict in [Read More...]

The Barthian (Mis-)Appropriation of Paul in Galatians

Karl Barth was a true Paulinist. Paul’s theology is the essence that runs through Barth’s veins. For years I have been fascinated with J.L. Martyn’s Galatians commentary precisely because it is so stridently Barthian and it attempts to resolutely prosecute the significance of Paul as an apocalyptic thinker. Graham Stanton heralded J.L. Martyn’s Galatians commentary as [Read More...]

Feminization of the Conquered


In general support of the earlier post by Mike Bird, I offer this piece of evidence. Although not directly related to the act of crucifixion, it is widely known that the Romans portrayed their conquered in feminine ways. Consider the picture here. It depicts a conquered people under the hand of a victorious Roman emperor. [Read More...]

Prayer of the Fifth Week after Epiphany

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Messiah; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [Read more...]

Christianity and Gender

Lots of stuff on the net about John Piper’s claim that Christianity has a masculine character (see whole thing here). Piper himself claims that “Theology and church and mission are marked by an overarching godly male leadership in the spirit of Christ with an ethos of tender-hearted strength, contrite courage, risk-taking decisiveness, and readiness to [Read More...]

Christ Crucified Makes Christ Feminine

I’ve never been a radical feminist. I don’t believe in reading “against the grain” of the text because it is apparently oppressive to women. I don’t get artistic works that portray a crucified woman. I don’t believe that marriage is a form of legalized rape. You get the point. However, I think it important to [Read More...]

Pastoring Emerging Adults


Richard Dunn and Jana Sundene have written an important book about ministry among emerging adults: Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults: Life-Giving Rhythms for Spiritual Transformation (IVP, 2012). The term Emerging Adulthood has been coined by sociologists (e.g. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett) and refers to that segment of young adults that largely mystifies most churches, the [Read More...]

Prayer for Fourth Week after Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us peace; through Jesus Messiah our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [Read more...]

D.A. Carson on UK Churches (contra Mark Driscoll)

Mark Driscoll seemed to think that the lack of mega-pastor celebrities in the UK is a litmus test of spiritual decline in the UK (I’m biting my tongue, restraining my fingers on key board, and will say no more about what a stupid criteria that is for spiritual vitality). During my time in the UK, [Read More...]

John Wesley’s Advice on Preaching


Be sure to begin and end precisely at the time appointed. Sing no hymn of your own composing. Endeavour to be serious, weighty, and solemn in your whole deportment before the congregation. Choose the plainest texts you can. Take care not to ramble from your text, but to keep close to it, and make out [Read More...]