Barth and Rahner both rejected using “person” to describe the Father, Son, and Spirit, opting instead of a translation of the Cappadocian phrase tropoi hyparxeos, three “modes of being” or “manners of subsistence.” William Hasker (Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God, 93-94)wonders what payoff they hope to gain, “over and above avoiding the suspicion of tritheism.” Answering that question, Hasker points out that Rahner and Barth use the phrase in a sense quite different from that of the Cappadocians. For the Cappadocians,… Read more

Pierre Manent offers a needed corrective to glib modern talk about Machiavelli’s “realism” (An Intellectual History of Liberalism). He acknowledges that “in political ‘reality’ there are murders, conspiracies, coups d’etat.” But that’s not the whole story: “there are also periods and regimes without murders, or conspiracies, or coups d’etat. The absence, so to speak, of these wicked actions is also a ‘reality'” (13). When we speak of the “realism” of Machiavelli, we have “accepted his point of view: ‘evil’ is… Read more

Christian hope has a Eucharistic shape, and Eucharistic hope is hope in Christ. Our hope is in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:19; Ephesians 1:12). Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Christ’s resurrection is the target of Abrahamic faith, he who hoped against hope for resurrection, for new life to come from his dead body (Romans 4:18). Hoping in God’s promise, he didn’t consider his own impotence looked for the impossible. Jesus is the one who reveals the… Read more

The Eucharist is a feast of faith; it is a love feast. It also embodies the third theological virtue. Hope is inherent to the Eucharist. In Luke’s account of the Last Supper, Jesus calls attention to the future reality of which the Supper is a sign. He expresses his desire to eat the Passover with the disciples before His suffering, saying that it is the last time he will eat it until “it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke… Read more

I’m taking a summer break from blogging. Be back shortly. Read more

This exhortation was delivered to the graduates of the 2017-18 Theopolis Junior Fellows Program on May 17, 2018. “Freely you received; freely give.” Jesus has been teaching, healing, casting out demons, raising the dead, cleansing lepers. Now He empowers His disciples to carry on the same work. Jesus authorizes His disciples as apostles, then sends them out to the twelve tribes. Their work won’t be easy. Jesus tells them to take nothing, but to depend on the hospitality of those… Read more

At a recent Theopolis intensive course, Pastor John Barach pointed out that Judges begins with the death of Joshua. Unlike the death of Moses, Joshua doesn’t leave behind a recognized successor. Joshua has no Joshua of his own. That may seem a crisis, but Barach suggested that it was a case of “it’s good that I go away.” Joshua’s death spreads out responsibility for Israel’s possession of the land. Israel won’t rely on a single leader; many leaders and judges… Read more

The structural center of the second half of Joshua is Joshua 18:1-7. It seems a pause in the distribution of the land, as Joshua gives instructions to the seven remaining tribes about how they’ll receive their inheritance. The reference to Yahweh’s tent of meeting in verse 1 is so light that we may miss it. But it’s crucial not only to Joshua 18 but to the whole of the book. The tabernacle is mentioned only a handful of times in… Read more

God appeared frequently to saints of the Old Testament. He came as a smoking oven and flaming torch to Abram (Genesis 15:17), and later as three men before Abraham’s tent by the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18). He showed Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:2), and to Israel in a fiery cloud (Exodus 16:10). When He appeared to Korah, the earth opened and swallowed the rebels, and He appeared to Manoah’s wife with the good news about… Read more

Many Christians today are squeamish about the book of Joshua, not least about things like Rahab’s confession that “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:8). Or the narrator’s claim that “when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the Lord had dried up… Read more

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