What Is an “Evangelical?”

What Is an “Evangelical?”To learn quickly and simply what an “evangelical Christian” is you can do no better than peruse the web site of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) at www.nae.net. There, on the web site’s “front page” you will find links to such defining tools as the NAE Statement of Faith and answer to “What Is an Evangelical?”The NAE does not claim to speak for all evangelical Christians, but it is far and away the most important and historically influential organiza … [Read more...]

Am I “Neo-Orthodox?”

Recently a student with whom I am very friendly (i.e., no adversarial relationship) informed me that he was warned--by someone not entirely supportive of his studying with me--that I am "neo-orthodox."The context of his well-intentioned comment was our class discussion of the theologies of Barth and Brunner. I was explaining what I regard as strengths and weaknesses of their theologies and together we, the class, were talking about how social context inevitaby shapes (not determines) … [Read more...]

Is American Society Descending into “Anomie?”

Is American Society Descending into “Anomie?”I learned a new term while studying theology in Germany years ago: “anomie.” Wolfhart Pannenberg liked to use it to describe a social and cultural condition of loss of meaning. Technically it means “no law,” but Pannenberg and others used it for a broader social condition.According to Pannenberg, and I agree with him, transcendence is necessary for healthy community; a society that loses its sense of transcendence eventually descends into eithe … [Read more...]

Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?

Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?Okay, I got your attention. That was almost my only intention with the question that forms the title of this essay. My main intention was to raise the question of the biblical figure of the “Antichrist” and its relevance for today’s Christianity.As with my previous blog post (about demon possession and exorcism) the concern underlying my question about the relevance of the biblical figure of the “Antichrist” for today’s Christianity is my concern about how f … [Read more...]

Should Western Christians Rediscover Exorcism?

Should Western Christians Rediscover Exorcism?I am well aware of how shocked some of my readers will be by my asking the question. Am I not a modern/postmodern, enlightened Christian? Well, I ask myself that, too. But somehow I can’t avoid at least raising the issue and I’ll explain why.What do I mean by “Western Christians?” Exorcism is not at all unknown even in mainline Christianity in much of the Global South and that is where Christianity is most vital. Most Christians in those parts … [Read more...]

Is Christianity a “Religion Searching for a Metaphysic?”

Is Christianity a “Religion Searching for a Metaphysic?”Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead famously declared that while Buddhism is a metaphysic searching for a religion Christianity is a religion searching for a metaphysic. In a forthcoming book from Zondervan (precise title yet to be decided) I argue that he was wrong; Christianity does have a metaphysic and it is not borrowed from an extra-Christian source. It is basically the same metaphysic as the Hebrews and it is implicit in the Bib … [Read more...]

Ask a Theologian a Question

Ask a Theologian a QuestionThe famous and very influential Baptist radio preacher Vance Havner once said "Happy is the Christian who has never met a theologian." Of course, he must have meant something like "professional theologian" because he was a theologian in some sense. Everyone who undertakes to interpret a sacred text such as the Bible is automatically a theologian on some level. In fact, I would go so far as to say everyone who thinks about God is in some sense a theologian. But, of … [Read more...]