U.S. military as Onramp for Understanding Honor-Shame Cultures

As strange as it may sound, the U.S. military provides a very effective illustration for helping Americans understand what a collectivistic culture is and how honor-shame dynamics influence almost every facet of a person’s life. Read more

Assessing Theology from a Historical Perspective

Ask 3 theologians their opinion on a doctrine and you’ll likely get 4 answers. Theology is multi-faceted; biblical interpretation is just step one. This is why I previously highlighted a process for assessing theological arguments. What is the role of historical theology, i.e. theologians throughout church history? This point might be the biggest hurdle preventing people from accepting unfamiliar but true ideas. History as Conversation and Culture Historical theologians are conversation partners. Nothing else. They merely are interpreters like ourselves… Read more

How to Assess Theological Arguments

As my students and I debated during a Systematic Theology I course, it realized how little people are trained to assess the relative strength of theological arguments. Consider the typical back and forth of theological discussions. Both sides present Bible verses to support their respective positions. Appeals are made to scholars, past and present, who agree with “us.” And, of course, the others’ view is minimized as “not necessarily true.” Perhaps, one uses a more sophisticated approach in accusing the… Read more

Does Myers-Briggs type affect how you experience shame?

Is there any relationship between your Myers-Briggs personality type and the way you deal with shame? One site, personalitygrowth.com, suggests how this might be true. I’ll give a few examples listed in the article but you will have to go there to see the rest. Tell me how and if it fits your M-B type. Every personality type deals with shame in different ways and some struggle to cope more than others. Here are the ways in which each Myers-Briggs… Read more

A Practical Approach to Biblical Contextualization (Session 4 Training Video)

Here is SESSION FOUR of 4 training videos I’ve released over the summer. This final session demonstrates how to apply our model of contextualization within specific ministry settings. This brief overview illustrates two kinds of contextualization––exegetical contextualization and cultural contextualization. In addition, practical implications for ministry strategy that stem from the discussion of the prior sessions will be drawn out. Below, I have links to the video, audio as well as the study guide. SESSION FOUR A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO… Read more

Interesting Stuff in Themelios (August, 2017)

The latest issue of Themelios is out. Here are a few articles and book reviews I think you might find noteworthy. Articles Wendell Berry’s “Risk”: In the Middle on Gay Marriage? by Jacob Shatzer Wendell Berry’s influence has grown in recent years as many people, Christians or not, have found his agrarian vision a compelling corrective to various modern problems. However, Berry publicly took what we might call a “middle road” on gay marriage. This position surprised (and disappointed) many… Read more

A Balanced Critique of Popular Missiological Methods

Few recent missiological articles are as practical and pleasurable as is George Terry’s “A Missiology of Excluded Middles: An Analysis of the T4T Scheme for Evangelism and Discipleship.” In critiquing T4T, he addresses various church planting methods. He provides a theological analysis; yet, his article differs markedly from others. Read more

The Power of “Popularity” in the Church

Few subjects are so paradoxical as popularity. “Popular” kids often are the most liked and disliked people in school. Youth seek it above anything else; as adults, popular kids don’t always fair well. Although adults bemoan the popularity contests of adolescence, these dynamics still exist in companies and organizations. Popularity is both helpful and harmful. These are a few observations noted in Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World (by Mitch Prinstein). In this post, I’ll highlight a… Read more

How does the Bible explain the gospel? (Session 3 Training Video)

There is one gospel yet many ways to present this message. Accordingly, in addition to framework themes, biblical writers use a number of “explanation themes” to clarify the significance of this good news. These themes complement each other as they serve different functions. The explanation themes help us answer four key questions routinely answered in discussions about the gospel. Read more

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