Some Problems I Have With Penal Substitution Theology of Atonement

If penal substitution is true, God is not unlike other ancient, blood-thirsty god. In church we often sing worship songs with themes and phrases that say, “there is none like you!” I believe those songs are beautiful, because it’s true– there is no God like our God. But if penal substitution is true, God isn’t unique at all– God would be just like every other ancient god who had a thirst for blood. I mean, how is a god who… Read more

A Mom’s Kids Targeted At IKEA By Human Traffickers? Highly Improbable

A now viral Facebook post by Southern California mom, Diandra Toyos, reports that she and her children were stalked by probable human traffickers while shopping in IKEA. The post has now been shared over 100,000 times on Facebook. I saw it float through my newsfeed by multiple people, and had many readers email me directly to ask my opinion. Human trafficking is a hot topic and one that I’ve written about extensively, in addition to having four years doctoral work… Read more

Being A Good Friend Reminder: Suicide Rates Go Up In Spring

So, there’s this myth about suicide– and the myth is that depressed or grieving people who contemplate suicide are most at risk around the holidays. Turns out, that’s not accurate– the annual suicide rate actually begins to spike right now, with the bloom of spring. It may seem counterintuitive based on what we’ve been taught, but it’s true. Holidays can actually give one hope, purpose, reason, and even a distraction. For many families, even if there is a lack of… Read more

Iranian Refugee Victim of Anti-Muslim Hate-Crime, Isn’t Even Muslim

In Portland, Oregon, an Iranian refugee came home from a few days out of town to find his home had been horrifically vandalized while he was away. And, I’m not talking just some spray paint on the outside of his garage door– the house was broken into, and every room in the house had been vandalized. From slashing his couch, to spray paint on the walls and mirrors, the racist vandals wanted to send a message: Muslims are not welcomed here…. Read more

To The Guy Who Threw Rocks And A Bible Through The Mosque Window

This morning I woke up with the above headline in my newsfeed– which is shocking since we supposedly live in a country where we’re told that Christians are the ones on the receiving end of anti-religious persecution. As reported by KKTV, an unidentified man vandalized the mosque at the Fort Collins Islamic Center around 4:00am on Sunday, breaking windows and throwing a Bible into the mosque. While the individual who did this is just one person, and even though at this… Read more

For The People Who Say “The Moral Laws In The Old Testament Still Apply To Us”

Anyone who has ever read the Old Testament knows there’s a lot of laws listed in those books– over 600 to be exact. In many circles of Christianity there’s often much debate as to what degree, if any, a Christian ought live by these laws. In the past when I have suggested that Christians are not obligated to abide by any of these laws at all, commenters will often quickly object, saying that “Jesus didn’t abolish the law.” While that fact… Read more

Lessons From Judas: Learning Good Remorse from Bad Remorse

I think every character in the Bible has worthwhile things we can learn from, and Judas is no different. Read more

No, The Bible Doesn’t Say The Earth Is Only 6,000 Years Old

Fundamentalists of the “young earth” variety will often claim that the earth is just 6,000 years old. Their reasoning? The Bible says so. In fact, I’ve been following Ken Ham lately, and some of the stuff being put out by Answers in Genesis (Ken has blocked me on Facebook, FWIW) to see if they’ve had any new arguments. I’m continually amazed at how the young earth view of the universe is considered a foundational bedrock of their Christian faith. In… Read more

Rethinking Judas: Maybe He Wasn’t A Bad Guy, But Was Just Like You And Me

Growing up we learn that Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus, and that’s true. What is also true is that Judas, I believe, is profoundly misunderstood. The truth is, while he did screw over Jesus, I don’t think Judas was a bad guy– I just think he made a tragic miscalculation, like we all do at times. As I’ve said over the years, the cultural context where the story takes place matters. Jesus and the disciples were living under a… Read more

5 Things You’re Reading, When You’re Reading The Bible

I love the Bible. It’s why I spent eight years of my life in seminary, why I’ve served as a church pastor even when they couldn’t afford to pay me, and is why even now I end up finding Greek flashcards in the most random places in my house. But my love for the Bible includes honesty. When we love someone or something, it’s easy to grow to see them the way you want to see them in your mind, often… Read more

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