Calvinism and God-ordained Suffering: A Follow Up

This is for those who have been following the recent discussion thread about what a Calvinist care-giver should say, if he or she chose to express a classical Calvinist view of God's sovereignty, to a suffering person who asks "Why is God letting this happen to me?"You may recall that one of my most faithful and valued blog visitors and frequent commenters said I was wrong and even misrepresenting Calvinism.What I said the Calvinist care-giver should say, in a nutshell (so not all that … [Read more...]

A Question to Calvinists

A Question to CalvinistsOne of my most faithful blog visitors and participants signed off recently, telling me in a message not to be posted that he would no longer read my blog. He is a self-identified Calvinist and accused me of misrepresenting Calvinism here. The offending statement was in my recent post about Christian Caregiving. There I gave an example of what a Calvinist chaplain (or other Calvinist Christian caregiver) should say to a suffering person who asks “Where is God in my s … [Read more...]

What about “Contextual Theologies?”

What about “Contextual Theologies?”  The term “contextual theologies” has come to be used in several ways. Here, by it, I mean theologies, accounts of God and matters related to God, that claim to be Christian but 1) fairly radically diverge from so-called “Western theologies,” and 2) propose alternatives to traditional “Western” orthodoxy based on cultural contextualization that goes beyond style to substance.  Many contemporary Christian theologians are supportive of each pe … [Read more...]

Should Pastors Be Trained in Mental Health Care-giving?

This is a follow-up to my most recent post about Christian care-giving that focused especially on hospital chaplains (although much of what I said could apply to any form of Christian care-giving). It seems serendipitous if not more that today's (Sunday, September 14) newspaper carries a front-page story entitled "Seminary grads lack psych training." As often happens, the headline doesn't exactly fit the story. To get the "whole story" you have to read the whole … [Read more...]

What Is the Duty of a Christian Care-giver (Such as a Chaplain)?

What Is the Duty of a Christian Care-giver (Such as a Chaplain)? I recently had a fascinating discussion with a couple hospital chaplains about theology and what I would call “therapeutic ministry” to the suffering. By “the suffering” I mean those who are ill or wounded and their grieving loved ones.  Let me preface what follows by saying how much I admire chaplains; they have extremely difficult jobs and, for the most part, carry them out very well. I could not do what the … [Read more...]

What Is “Marcionism?” My Response to a Ludicrous Accusation

What Is “Marcionism?” My Response to a Ludicrous Accusation It has recently come to my attention that some critics are accusing me of “Marcionism.” A few commenters here have thrown that wild accusation at me—based on my questioning the literal interpretation of some Old Testament “texts of terror.”  Anyone who throws that accusation at me is either ignorant of what I have said or ignorant of the meaning of Marcionism or both.  By all credible accounts, Marcion, t … [Read more...]

Wolfhart Pannenberg R.I.P.

One of the last theological giants passed away September 5 (2014). Wolfhart Pannenberg was without doubt one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. He was born in Stettin, Germany (now part of Poland) in 1928. He was in poor health for the past several years.I had the privilege of studying with Pannenberg in Munich, where he taught theology at the University of Munich, during the year 1981-1982. I wrote a major part of my Rice University Ph.D. dissertation under his … [Read more...]