Spinning the Cross

David Hayward's latest cartoon will probably be controversial in some circles. But on one level, it reflects a very mainstream understanding of what happened in the early church. Jesus' followers thought he was destined to be king and restore the kingdom of David. They were so persuaded that, when the Romans crucified him, their belief [Read More...]

Abiding Questions

In working on my conference paper on lightworld visitors to Jerusalem in the Mandaean Book of John, I've been looking up related passages in the Nag Hammadi texts. Below is a passage from “The Sophia of Jesus Christ,” which always strikes me, because the response of Philip on behalf of the disciples describes something that [Read More...]

Did Paul Have a Distinctive Christology? Did He Think of Jesus as a Pre-Existent Human Being?

In a recent blog post, Larry Hurtado noted Morton Smith's observation that Christology never turns up as an issue between Paul and the more conservative Jewish Christian groups that he interacted with directly and indirectly, centered in Jerusalem. And so this seems to confirm that Paul did not take a Jewish Messianic figure and turn [Read More...]

Hebrews 9: A Bloodbath

Hebrews 9 is the source of a couple of popular “memory verses” in conservative Evangelical circles. It was interesting to explore it in my Sunday school class today in a way that got at some key questions, both in terms of the exploration of the meaning of the text in its original context, and how [Read More...]

Christ’s Elementary Word

Yesterday in my Sunday school class we discussed Hebrews 5:11-6:3. After a bit of discussion of the penchant in some Christian circles (although by no means all) to be content with an immature understanding of and approach to their faith, and a declining focus on education in some churches and denominations, we turned our attention [Read More...]

He Learned Obedience

There is material in Hebrews 4-5 that is particularly striking when considered in relation to some of the classic creedal formulations of Christian orthodoxy, as well as other popular ways of Christian thinking about Jesus. We reached this section Sunday in my Sunday school class, and I wanted to share some thoughts on the passage. [Read More...]

If the Doctor met Jesus

I came across this image on a Christian meme Facebook page: It had to get a mention here, since it brings religion and Doctor Who together. But I’m not impressed with what it does at the intersection. If the Doctor were to encounter the historical Jesus, surely he would have been the Galilean exorcist, teacher, [Read More...]

Would You Answer?

Someone drew this to my attention on Facebook: Presumably the answer is this: If I were Jim Caviezel and got a call from my agent, of course I would answer! “Person of Interest” can't last forever.   [Read more...]

Jesus the Greaser?

I just saw this image on Facebook: I may have to show it to my classes in the future. When the concept of Messiah first comes up, I ask if anyone knows what it means. Usually there is someone who knows that it means “anointed” or “anointed one.” Then I ask what it means to [Read More...]

Were You There?

The question “Were you there?” probably has two resonances for Christians. It is the title of a famous spiritual. And it is a phrase that Ken Ham encourages people to ask in science classes. One of them is an invitation to bridge the distance between past and present. The other closes that bridge in a [Read More...]

Adam: Assumed or Accentuated?

The attempt at anĀ alliterativeĀ title hopefully will not obscure what this post is about, which is an attempt to clarify my thinking about Adam in Paul’s letters. This is a follow-up to my earlier post, in which I explained some of the reasons for concluding that Jesus and Paul were not literalists, which in turn emerged [Read More...]


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