John Franke’s new book, The Character of Theology: An Introduction to Its Nature, Task, and Purpose, promises to be a study of theology that will enable (what I have elsewhere called) a purple theology. In other words, it is postconservative and postliberal. In this post I will look briefly at the first chapter, “Doing Theology Today.” This chapter is an exceptionally lucid place to begin for a theological student or a philosophical student. It surveys “where we are” and, in… Read more

The term “theology,” or even worse “systematic theology,” have bad names among Old and New Testament specialists. The primary reason for this is bad manners: these sorts of scholars intend to be specialists in history and exegesis and don’t want theological questions cluttering up their quest for what the text really says. In other words, and I confess to having participated in these bad manners myself on many occasions, the order is first Bible and only then (if ever) theology… Read more

A recent meandering through the new biographies at Barnes & Noble confronted me one more time with a bald fact of our time: people want to read biographies with salacious details or biographies of celebrities who have achieved — well, what do celebrities achieve? — or biographies of famous figures. I passed over Brooke Shields new book about how she struggled with post-partum depression, and I don’t want to minimize her pain but don’t we have some very fine books… Read more

In this final post on how Paul understands the ministry of the gospel in Colossians 1:24-29, we want to look at the goal and source of this ministry. Again, this is not about what pastors do or professional evangelists, but indirectly what each person is summoned to be and do — anyone, in other words, who is working with another. |inline Read more

I’m trying to get through my entire blogroll each week, but the book on prayer has kept me so busy I’ve not visited them all. Kris reads perhaps even more than I do, but I’ve found the following blogs this week to be especially interesting or provocative or courageous. |inline Read more

Lots of folks claim to be Cubs fans, but some of them are Parousiacs — that is, fans who hang on so they can participate in the final coming of ultimate victory when the Cubs win the World Series. Other fans are genuine. This morning, when Kris and I were walking around the lake at Independence Grove, I saw a man with a Cardinals shirt, and I said, “Go Cubs!” |inline Read more

In our last post, we looked briefly at how ministering the gospel is to take place. This post continues that. How are we to minister the gospel? |inline Read more

A 350 pound fat man wrestling with another 350 pound fat man so that the latter can manhandle a 215 pound quarterback standing still, or a sleek 200 pound man on the edge of life trying to hit a 95 mph fastball into the creases of a green velvet outfield and, when he does succeed, watching that ball slip into the corners of a ball park while time stands still and 40,000 fans go silent in anticipation of just how… Read more

The answers are this simple: 1. No Yankees. 2. No George Steinbrenner. 3. The Cubs. 4. Wrigley Field. 5. Ryne Sandberg. Read more

We’re back from Grand Rapids and the Civitas Lectures at Cornerstone University on After Evangelicalism. I heard some nice panel sessions, had lunch with Kris and Jim Kinney of Baker (where I heard the story of how they are bringing out a USA edition of The Life of the Christ in which I had a big hand and then I suggested an Emerging Church Commentary Series), then I gave my presentation on the emerging movement where I set the record… Read more

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