Sharing the Eucharist Before a Lecture on the Eucharist

Today I sprung a surprise on my students.  When the students in my “Church, Ministry, and Sacraments” class arrived, they found the chairs and tables stacked up, the floor filled with pillows and bean bags, and a modest agape feast prepared for them.  We then had the Lord’s Supper, sang “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, I [Read More...]

Henri Blocher on Original Sin

French Reformed Theologian, Henri Blocher, has an interesting take on “original sin”.  Blocher contends that we undergo the fact of death in solidarity with Adam like children who share in the sin of their father. Yet we do not undergo the penalty of Adam as if it were ours. Rather, by sharing in his consequences [Read More...]

Christological Heresies in Picture Form!

I’m proof reading my systematic theology volume Evangelical Theology before I ship it off to my editor. One of my young padawan’s, the talented Miss Kirsten Mackerras, has done some drawings for me presenting Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Apollinarianism, and Hypostatic Union in picture form. Such a pictorializing enterprise I know is fraught with dangers, but I [Read More...]

Counter-Imperial Gospel: Only “One King”

As I read more of Greco-Romans sources, I’m increasingly convinced that the gospel would have been perceived as counter-imperial. Paul’s colleagues in Thessalonica were mobbed because: “They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus” (Acts 17:7).  This story reminds of an an episode from Caligula’s life described by [Read More...]

A “New Perspective on the Gospel”, the King Jesus Gospel 4

In the third chapter of his new book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, Scot McKnight makes the bold claim that evangelicals (he doesn’t exclude Catholics and Orthodox) have gotten the understanding of the gospel upside down, an understanding that has created unwanted effects. To make the point, Scot presents a hierarchy [Read More...]

Writing Style 10

Global clarity and coherence is the subject of the 11th lesson in the book classic book on style by Williams and Colomb, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Here’s an excellent tip on revising one’s writing: Budget your time for both drafting and revision so that you spend most of it on beginnings: the introduction [Read More...]

A “New Perspective” on the Gospel, the King Jesus Gospel 3

Scot McKnight in his new book The King Jesus Gospel contends that evangelicals today are really “soterians” (“salvationists”) instead of truly evangelicals. He means by this that most have equated the word “gospel” with “salvation”. But the two words, says Scot, are different. His argument is that biblically the concept of “gospel” is a much [Read More...]

The Marcan Parables

Michael Jensen has a good post on the Marcan parables (good exegetical observations for a Systematics guy!). He writes: The parables are important to Jesus’ teaching in Mark because they goad the reader to listen and understand. They proclaim a division in Jesus’ listeners between those inside and those outside. In them the judgement of [Read More...]

Board of Correction

I can’t believe I actually found a picture of the infamous “Board of Correction”. I admit my recollection may be off. I must have been 7 or 8 years old and my family went on a summer vacation to Maine to visit my Uncle Mike and Aunt Carol and my cousins. Somewhere along the way [Read More...]

A “New Perspective” on the Gospel, the King Jesus Gospel 2

As “Exhibit A” that something is wrong with our understanding of the gospel, Scot McKnight in his new book The King Jesus Gospel relates this story: I received this email form a reader with this question: “I know you’re probably busy. If you have the time, I have a question about the gospel. I noticed [Read More...]

A “New Perspective” on the Gospel, the King Jesus Gospel 1

My very good friend and colleague Scot McKnight, recently hailed my no less than Tom Wright as “one of the most powerful and able New Testament scholars on the American scene–and, in a measure, on the world scene”, is about to drop an atomic bomb in the middle of the already besieged city of American [Read More...]

To Change the World 4

James Hunter in his book To Change the World addresses the “real problem” with the prevailing view of culture behind the tactics of Christian efforts of every stripe to change the world. In his analysis the problem is a combination of German idealism, individualism and Christian pietism. The idealistic nature of the view is to [Read More...]

To Change the World 3

James Hunter contents the approach taken to cultural change by Christians of every stripe is ultimately ineffective because it is based on a faulty view of culture. In his book To Change the World, he argues that the common view of culture is that culture is created as humans live out their ideas and values. [Read More...]

Book Notice: Early Christian Letters for Everyone

Tom Wright Early Christian Letters for Everyone: James, Peter, John and Judah London: SPCK, 2011. Available at The next installment in Tom Wright’s “For Everyone” Series are the Catholic epistles of James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Judah (a.k.a. Jude). They are written in Wright’s normal sermonic prose, easy to read, full of gems [Read More...]

Tiberius and Roman Divorces

I came across this interesting passage in Suetonius’ Twelve Caesars last night: Married women guilty of adultery, though not prosecuted publicly, he [Tiberius] authorised the nearest relations to punish by agreement among themselves, according to ancient custom. He discharged a Roman knight from the obligation of an oath he had taken, never to turn away [Read More...]