best book on evolution and faith I’ve read in years (or, constructing a cathedral in your mind)

I bet you thought I was going to talk about my book The Evolution of Adam. Fooled you. ******** I’ve been around this block for a few years now. Generally speaking, the debate over the compatibility of evolution and Christianity, especially among evangelicals, lacks the input of scientists who not only practice their discipline but who have [Read More...]


did Jesus know everything?

Last week I read a little book by New Testament scholar Raymond E. Brown Jesus: God and Man. It’s a short little book, 2 chapters in fact, each of which first appeared in journals in the mid-1960s, about the time I was going to first grade with my Monkees lunch box. In the first chapter, [Read More...]

blog background

On blogging. An interview with King Solomon

I recently sat down with King Solomon, and he was kind enough to share some thoughts with me about the power of words–whether spoken or typed. Although he himself personally has never blogged, he does try to keep up with the blogosphere, and he’s formed some opinions on how people speak to each other of Yahweh. [Read More...]

please don’t panic or cause chaos in the streets, but I have an announcement about my blog

Dear Readers, Sometime in the next week or two, I will be leaving Patheos and moving my blog to an independent site, The Bible for Normal People (peteenns.com). Although I will miss Patheos–which has been nothing but an encouraging and supportive host for my blog for the past 4 years–I am very excited about this [Read More...]

historical criticism and Christian truth are not–and cannot be–enemies

The quote below is from an article by German Old Testament scholar Konrad Schmid, “What Is the Difference Between Historical and Theological Exegesis?” pp. 2-3 (my paragraph formatting; available here). The article looks at an important and perennial issue in Christian theology: the always complex and often tense relationship between the historical study of scripture and scripture as the source of Christian [Read More...]

Peter Leithart, Biblical Criticism, and oh for heaven’s sake, seriously?

Recently, Peter Leithart expressed in satire his deep misgivings about the practice of historical criticism. His bottom line seems to be that historical criticism of the Bible is a big, big, big mistake. He really, really, really doesn’t think much of it. Not much at all. I hope I’ve read Leithart accurately here. Truth be told, after [Read More...]

let’s talk about sexual purity and evangelical anxiety, shall we?

Today’s post is a book review of Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence, by Sarah Moslener. The review itself isn’t by me but by someone who actually knows what she’s talking about: Dr. Margaret Kim Peterson, Associate Professor of Theology at Eastern University in Saint Davids, PA. Peterson’s Ph.D. is in theology and ethics from [Read More...]

the challenge of teaching Bible to young Christians (or, true growth is painful)

  I’ve been teaching the Bible to students for 20 years now. That’s pretty amazing to me. The only things in my life that have lasted for 20 years have been family, Yankees, and mortgage. I’ve taught at the seminary and college levels, and there are huge difference between them, of course. But teaching Bible in [Read More...]

the (or at least “a”) problem with evangelical white churches

Below are some words of wisdom from Harvie M. Conn (1933-99) from his book Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace. Conn was one of my theology professors in seminary, who spent 12 years as a missionary in Korea to women in prostitution, seeing them as victims of sinful societal structures rather than simply “sinners.” For too long evangelical [Read More...]

The Historical Adam: It’s Time to Stop Hiding Under a Theological Security Blanket

Over at Books and Culture, I have been participating in a roundtable discussion concerning the historical Adam. The occasion is the launch of Karl Giberson’s latest book Saving the Original Sinner: How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World.  Taking part in the discussion are 7 [Read More...]

listen to what the Spirit says to my blog commenters: a vision

While painting my kitchen nonstop in high heat since Sunday and not having brushed my teeth for 2 days–because I was on a roll–I fell into a heat-induced trance, where I washed my brushes in the cat litter and I swear I saw a velociraptor running through my backyard. Then a voice came to me. “Listen, blogger, [Read More...]

Jesus’s crucifixion: not exactly a selling point in the ancient world

If you’re living in the Mediterranean world of the 1st century and you want to promote your religion, a “crucified god” is not your headline. Yet that is exactly what we find in the New Testament. I’m reading a little book my Martin Hengel, Crucifixion, written about 40 years ago. Hengel (d. 2009) was a scholar [Read More...]

Jon Stewart on the Charleston shooting: sort of like a prophet

Last night I watched this clip of Jon Stewart commenting on the tragic shooting in Charleston. And I thought to myself, “This is what prophets do.” No, Stewart isn’t exactly like a biblical prophet–although I think personalities like Jeremiah or Ezekiel were quite good at holding an audience and had no problem using the shocking and [Read More...]