Why I Think Baptists (and “baptists”) Have It Wrong about the Sacraments

Why I Think Baptists (and "baptists") Have It Wrong about SacramentsFirst, some clarifications:This post is for baptists (including Baptists). "baptist" with a small "b" is the term Baptist theologian William McClendon coined for all churches with a similar ecclesiology (viz., voluntary membership, congregational polity, separation of church and state, etc.).Others are welcome to listen in.This post is about some baptists, not all.This post does not pretend to cover … [Read more...]

The Fundamental Difference between “Modern” and “Postmodern” Philosophies

The Fundamental Difference between "Modern" and "Postmodern" PhilosophiesModernity included a search for absolute, indubitable, rational certainty--based on logic and evidence alone. (Of course, many "modern philosophers" admitted such may be ultimately impossible for finite beings, but that didn't stop them from holding it as an ideal and continuing the search.)The first thing to note, however is that this was a search for certainty in what David Hume called the "synthetic … [Read more...]

Reflections and Questions about the Word “Denomination”

I realize this is not an entirely new subject here, but I have new readers and I am deeply involved in a research project related to this subject. So I am going to raise the question again: "Why do so many people think so poorly about the word 'denomination'?"As editor of the 14th edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States (Abingdon Press) I have the privilege of contacting denominations to ask what might have changed since the 13th edition or to get information from those … [Read more...]

The Conversation about Transgender Is Closed (For Now)

This morning I had 69 new comments to moderate. And many of them violated the rules I posted in my "Note to Potential Commenters" at the end of my post about transgender. Please feel free to continue discussing hell and other subjects I have talked about here, but due to time limitations I cannot moderate the discussion about transgender ("gender dysphoria"). Besides, it seems to me just about everything worth saying about it has been said and posted here. From this point on I will simply delete … [Read more...]

Saving Hell

Saving HellNow National Geographic has stepped into the evangelical debate about hell (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160513-theology-hell-history-christianity/) (I do not make URLs here hyperlinks because, for whatever reason, hyperlinks I include always lead to the wrong place. Please simply cut and paste the URL into a web browser to read the article “The Campaign to Eliminate Hell” at National Geographic’s web site.)We have discussed hell here many times since the birth of … [Read more...]

A Serious Question about the Meaning of “Transgender”

A Serious Question about the Meaning of “Transgender”I think everyone would be helped by a better, clearer understanding of what people mean when they say they are “transgender” and when non-transgender people talk about the phenomenon of what I will call (to coin a word) “transgendering.” (One person here has corrected my language—as happens frequently when stepping onto ground protected by the “PC police”—and informed me the correct term is “transitioning.” That term, however, is too vague, … [Read more...]

A Pentecost Sermon: The Holy Spirit…

The Holy Spirit: Shy Member of the Trinity?Today is Pentecost Sunday. That’s our Christian celebration of the birth of the church as recounted in Acts 2. You know the story. Jesus’s disciples and others were gathered in an “upper room” in Jerusalem after Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension. He had told them to go there and wait to be “endued with power from on high” that would then make them witnesses to him throughout the world. As they were gathered there, celebrating the Jewish feas … [Read more...]