Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas: Can Their Christian Political Ethics be “Bridged?”

Preface: These two lectures--one posted today (Monday, Feb. 27, 2017) and the other to be posted later this week--were delivered at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas on Feb. 23 and 24 of this year (2017). I promised to post them here partly because some people were only able to hear one of the two lectures and they do constitute one lecture in two parts."Can a Bridge Be Built between the Christian Political Ethics of Reinhold Niebuhr and Stanley Hauerwas?"The … [Read more...]

Innocent until Proven Guilty? Or Guilty until Proven Innocent?

Innocent until Proven Guilty? Or Guilty until Proven Innocent?All my life I’ve heard the mantra “innocent until proven guilty” as one expression of our American justice system. It means, of course, “until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law by a jury of one’s peers.” And, I learned, as I grew older, there are exceptions. A defendant can, for example, plead guilty or he can request his case to be heard and decided by a judge instead of a jury.However, underlying a … [Read more...]

What Do I Mean by the “Supernatural?”

What Do I Mean by the “Supernatural?”My new book The Essentials of Christian Thought mentions throughout the necessity of the dimension of the “supernatural” for Christianity. To my way of thinking, a Christianity without the supernatural is not authentic. The book is an exposition of what I call “narrative biblical metaphysics”—an attempted archaeology of the Bible’s implicit perspective on reality. I acknowledge, of course, that the Bible is not a book of philosophy or even theology; it … [Read more...]

Does (Can) the New Testament Church (“Ekklesia”) Exist Today?

Does the New Testament Church (“Ekklesia”) Exist Today?As everyone who has read my blog for very long knows, one of my favorite Christian theologians is Emil Brunner (1889-1966). When I was in seminary (1970s) his three volume Dogmatics was widely used as the primary textbook for courses in systematic theology in American seminaries—including the one I attended and graduated from. Later I discovered that is Dogmatics was really mostly a compilation of his thoughts in earlier monographs on … [Read more...]

Announcing My New Book…

Announcing My New Book: The Essentials of Christian Thought: Seeing Reality through the Biblical Story by Roger E. Olson (Zondervan) Today I received in the mail two “advance copies” of my latest book entitled The Essentials of Christian Thought: Seeing Reality through the Biblical Story (Zondervan, 2017). Here is what theologian Alister E. McGrath of Oxford University says about it: “Olson offers his readers a timely and powerful defense of a distinctively Christian metaphysics … [Read more...]

The Main Point of the Christian Doctrine of Sin: We Are All “Damaged Goods”

The Main Point of the Christian Doctrine of Sin: We Are All “Damaged Goods”My previous two essays posted here are about the Christian idea of sin—especially the Christian idea of the “fall” into sin. My main focus in them was “fallenness,” not individual sins themselves. Traditional Christianity of all tribes and types has always emphasized a distinction between sin as a condition of being fallen away from communion with God and from our true nature and sin as individual wrong decisions a … [Read more...]

Sex, Money and Power: How We Confirm the Biblical-Christian Doctrine of “Original Sin”

Sex, Money and Power: How We Confirm the Biblical-Christian Doctrine of “Original Sin”Whether or not the Adam of Genesis 3 and Romans 1 (among other biblical references) was an actual historical person from whom all people are descended is debatable and probably will always be debated—especially in light of modern science. I will not say it doesn’t matter; what I will say is that what matters more is the traditional biblical-Christian belief that all human beings—with the one exception of … [Read more...]