2.3 Plotinus, the Roman: Life of Jesus.Plotinus was next, and he evidently had little to add to the discussion. He stated that his counselors saw the Gospels as memoirs of some early Christians, perhaps the Apostles themselves, or as lives of Jesus. He said that he voted on this one with Aponarius.2.4 Eleazar, the Galilean: Didactic, kerygmatic Biography.From the notes that remain, Eleazar must have given a substantial presentation to the librarians. Theophilus took detailed notes of Eleazar’s statements and… Read more

It is not uncommon to hear a theologian or a philosopher or a student say this, “We have to bracket that thought or belief or conviction, in order to work on this problem, etc..” For instance, you will sometimes hear a scientist say he or she has to bracket his or her personal beliefs (about God and creation) when he or she does work in the laboratory. I’ve heard this, indirectly usually, with doctoral students who are working on the… Read more

We’ve had a look at what Aponarius, the Greek librarian had to say about the Gospels and now it is time to turn to Simon the Judean.2.2 Simon, the Judean: Haggadic BiographySimon declared immediately that, though he had never seen a book of the length of these books dedicated solely to one individual — reminding everyone that in his Jewish tradition history books were about the nation and community and not individuals alone, he did think that “gospel” could have… Read more

This post follows up on yesterday’s post about my favorite lecture that got away.The scroll was interesting for it contained the notes of the librarian’s discussions with other experts on where to classify certain books, including such books as what appears to be the letter of James, which Theophilus classified under “Homiles of the Jews,” and it also contained a record of receiving Romans, by a certain Paul from Tarsus. It classified Romans under the category of “Judaism: Christian Sect,… Read more

In this our last post on a generous orthodoxy that can genuinely shape a fourth way, I want to look at a basic premise of the younger generation and a premise that many of my generation find difficult to handle.I begin with a story. In the Spring of 1981, Kris and I and the kids were living in Nottingham England and I was doing research for my PhD at Nottingham University. I had a desk at home, and often studied… Read more

In the Autumn of 1989, I gave a lecture to my Synoptic Gospels class at Trinity that got suddenly out of hand. I never intended it to, and because it did get out of hand, I never gave it again. I prepared longer over this one than most, and had nearly forgotten about it until I was speaking recently in Ann Arbor. A pastor there was in that class at TEDS, heard the lecture, remembered that one student broke into… Read more

A genuine generous orthodoxy is conversational in style and in relationships. Conversation transcends everything we are and do. If we define “conversation” properly, it moves beyond “chatting” to become central to who we are and what we are aboutl.OrthodoxyThe first element of the conversational style is that Orthodoxy recognizes that the Triune God is essentially “conversational” in essence. That is, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit interrelate and interpenetrate one another in love and beauty and, in so doing,… Read more

If you’ve never entered this minefield (or mindfield), be careful because it is complex. But as good an introduction as I’ve seen can be found in Sean du Toit’s nice survey. Read more

Here is a letter from a pastor (a former student) to his congregation out in Manhattan, KS, named Steve Ratliff. Great guy; great pastor.Five Things I Love About This ChurchBy Steve RatliffPlease rest assured that I don’t have any illusions that Faith Evangelical Free Church is “the perfect church” or that we are the right church for everybody. I gave up such ideals long ago. We will always have tons of room for growth. Nevertheless, there are many things about… Read more

I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog or two, and I’ve had enough conversations with pastors and others who’d like a brief listing of this, that I’ve decided to make a separate post of it so it will be more readily available. I can never remember which post it was on.There are 5 “Ls” in missional love: genuinely missional followers of Jesus and communities of faith have these 5 “Ls.”1. They look and see needs.2. They listen to their community… Read more

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