Why We Gather (RJS)

I had the privilege of attending a Celebration of Life (i.e. memorial service) earlier this summer for my uncle, '54 MDiv Northern Seminary, for 35 years a bivocational pastor in rural Illinois. Growing up I knew him as my uncle the pastor, this is what shaped his identity.  His work as a teacher and school counselor was secondary to his Christian vocation and calling. Retirement took him out of the pulpit and out of that small town, but not out of the church.  Nor did it  change his calling as a … [Read More...]

Justification is about Unification

So says James Thompson in The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering the Community Conformed to Christ. That is to say, justification transcends personal standing before God and speaks to the unification of Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free, males and females, and barbarians and Scythians in the one Body of Christ, the church.Thompson begins with a common observation that a traditional (if not the traditional) view of justification is that it is entirely individualistic. As in the hy … [Read More...]

Yes, that’s the central issue that divides

From Roger Olson: Review of New Book about Calvinism and Arminianism: Jerry Walls’s Does God Love Everyone: The Heart of What Is Wrong with CalvinismYesterday I was asked by bright, eager, young Christian student of theology to identify “the one major difference between Calvinism and Arminianism.” Without hesitation I identified it the way evangelical Arminian philosopher Jerry Walls does in this book (published this year by Cascade Books, in imprint of Wipf and Stock): the character of God. … [Read More...]

Speaking of the Devil

By Jonathan StormentI want to start a series on Spiritual Warfare for the next few weeks. The series is part review of a great new book I read, and part autobiographical on how helpful I find spiritual warfare terminology as a pastor in a local church.Full Disclosure: I go to church with … [Read More...]

The Church and the Better Place

John Nugent, in his book Endangered Gospel: How Fixing the World is Killing the Church, comes now to a decisive point in  his proposal: how does the church related to God's vision of the "better place"? Recall that Nugent sketches three views, none of which is as robustly biblical as the proposal he … [Read More...]

A Story Carved In Stone (RJS)

(Image from Wikipedia: credit) The evidence for an ancient earth - far, far older than the <10,000 year timeline defended in young earth creationism - is abundant and independent of any hypothesis concerning the mechanism of biological evolution. There are only two reasons to doubt the great age … [Read More...]

Introducing Leslie Leyland Fields

This post introduces to Jesus Creed readers one of my favorite authors, Leslie Leyland Fields. Author of numerous books, including Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers as well as Crossing the Waters. She and her family live in Kodiak Alaska and are commercial fishers -- on an island off an island! She … [Read More...]

A Dictionary All Bible Readers Need to Use

We live 2-4,000 years removed from what can be called Bible times. Think just for a minute of all that has changed:Life expectancies, relationships of husbands and wives and children and parents and “citizens” and leaders; food and drink; cultures and religious festivals and worship centers; the … [Read More...]

Church Leaders: Distrust and Obey?

By Michelle Van Loon, patheos.com/blogs/pilgrimsroadtrip at michellevanloon.comThere are some very good reasons for church leaders not to trust a congregant. Some are obstructionists, determined to resist all change. Others engage in politicking and clique-forming. Still others enter the church w … [Read More...]

(Un)Distorting a Theology of Grace

When it comes to theology and to practice, grace is sometimes ignored. Yes, of course, those who ignore grace believe in it but either their theology or the practice ignores it. Others use grace against others, what I call grace grinding. That is, grace is used to drive home and drill in to another t … [Read More...]

Baptism, Death, and Funerals

From Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon, Holy Spirit: Stanley is a communicant in a congregation whose baptistery is in the form of a large cross making possible baptism by immersion. ...Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Stanley's church has determined that when a member of the … [Read More...]

Olympians at Prayer

Source: 1. The U.S. women’s relay teams praying live on camera after winning both the 4X100 and the 4X400 meter relays.Not only did our U.S. women's relay team dominate the 4X100m and the 4X400m relay races, but they prayed live on camera immediately after their win. Allyson Felix, who ran in bo … [Read More...]

Grant, O merciful God

Grant, O merciful God,that your Church,being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit,may show forth your power among all peoples,to the glory of your Name;through Jesus Christ our Lord,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,one God,for ever and … [Read More...]

Weekly Meanderings, 20 August 2016

Great sports story I saw this week about Archie Manning: Buddy didn’t tell his son that he loved him—it wasn’t in his makeup to reveal the bedrock of his emotions—but Archie understood that his dad was his second-biggest fan, just behind his mom, who had attended every game in every sport that he ha … [Read More...]

A Three-Act Play? in the Bible? Where?

By John FryeDavid, the poet-warrior-king wrote a fascinating three act play. It is referred to as David’s “shepherd psalm,” yet it is so much more than that. Psalm 23 is a miniature drama of redemption. Here I part company with Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. While Act 1 is definitely set … [Read More...]

The Renegade Pastor

One of the big surprises of our recent tour of Turkey and Greece, and we are hoping Turkey will calm down to welcome tourists again, was meeting some folks I had not met. One of whom is Nelson Searcy, a leader and networker extraordinaire, who wrote The Renegade Pastor. The subtitle both defines … [Read More...]

Women Re-run

CNN:Confirmed: US relay team given re-run After lodging an official appeal, the United States 4x100 relay team has been offered a chance of redemption.Allyson Felix had been handing over to English Gardner at the second exchange when she was nudged by a Brazilian sprinter.The Brazilian … [Read More...]