Paul the Programmer

I found this SMBC comic funny, even though its view of Paul’s proclamation is problematic. Paul didn’t even call his message or the movement it expressed “Christianity.” And he was adamant that the gospel he proclaimed was about grafting Gentiles into the tree whose roots were the ancestors of the Jews. Yet the programming analogy still has [Read More…]

Teach a Church to Think

If you haven’t been following the Religion Bulletin series “So You’re Not a Priest? Scholars Explain What They Do to Outsiders,” you should. Here is a quote from the recent post in the series by Justin Henry: [P]erhaps my approach does resemble that of one eminent theologian, Paul the Apostle. Nicholas Wright argues that Paul’s theology [Read More…]

“What I Received From The Lord”

I received this question via e-mail and thought it might be useful to share it publicly together with my answer: I was listening to a YouTube video when this came up. Paul says in 1 Cor 11:23 “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you”. I never really thought about this [Read More…]

A Fundamentalist Response to Paul

From Jacob Wright on Facebook comes this nice piece, imagining what a modern fundamentalist might be expected to say, if Paul said the kinds of things that he said in his time today: “APOSTLE PAUL EXPOSED!” A fundamentalist response to Paul’s preaching to the Athenians in Acts 17: In Acts 17, Paul is invited before [Read More…]

Jesus Crosses the Line

A while back, Morgan Guyton wrote: If I am following the lead of Paul the apostle of grace who championed the Gentiles, then I’m going to read the Bible with a slant to justify whichever outsider the insiders are defining themselves against in order to legitimate their privilege and power. Paul would have miserably failed [Read More…]

Philippians and Pharisees

I’m not sure why it never struck me before, but I just recently realized that Paul’s mention in Philippians about his being or having been a Pharisee ought to get more attention. Paul assumes that the Philippians know what a Pharisee is. Perhaps we can assume that he told them on some previous occasion. But it might also [Read More…]

Mythicism and Mysticism

Mythicism has done a pretty good job of spreading the idea that all the information Paul and others had about Jesus was gleaned from visions. That claim doesn’t fit the evidence. We certainly do have evidence that the genre of the apocalyptic vision was popular among Christians as among other Jews. But that is a literary [Read More…]

Mythicism: As Unlikely on Earth as it is in Heaven

I recently received a question in a comment on an older post about mythicism, and thought I would share my answer in a post, since I doubt that many people are still following the post in question, which is from three years ago. Mythicists often emphasize that Paul never explicitly says that Jesus was crucified [Read More…]

Salvation through Belief?

Discussing 1 Corinthians 15 in my Sunday school class a while back, I was struck by another way of understanding what Paul is saying in v17. Many have treated it as though Paul is saying that it is essential for salvation to believe in the resurrection. But it sounds to me that he is talking [Read More…]

Gets The Last Word, The Dark Side Does Not

As I was preparing the PowerPoint for my conference paper which I read yesterday, I looked for one that featured the famous quote from Yoda on the left. I didn’t expect to find it paired with a quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans. It was interesting to see these two sets of texts brought into [Read More…]


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