Where Does Theology Really Matter?

Where Does Theology Really Matter?I recently had reason to re-read parts of Karl Barth’s final volume of Church Dogmatics (IV/4 “Fragment” on Baptism). In the middle of his critique of infant baptism he digresses into a complaint about how the churches don’t listen to their own theologians. He clearly didn’t expect his own Reformed denomination to adjust its belief or practice of baptism because of his devastating critique of infant baptism. One can almost hear the tears in Barth’s complaint … [Read more...]

Against the Political Misuses of Words

Against the Political Misuses of WordsBoth the political and religious left and the political and religious right do it. It’s become the strategy of choice for ideologues who want to manipulate public opinion for a cause. It’s a sure sign of demagoguery and ought to be called out. Unfortunately, it’s become so common we take it for granted and are swayed by it even as we try to resist it. It’s powerful even as it’s so obviously wrong. That others are doing it tempts us to do it also. Even goo … [Read more...]

Easter Ought to Mean Joy

Easter Ought to Mean Joy“The Lord is risen!” “He is risen indeed!” This traditional Christian call and response ought to be shouted with great joy! The resurrection of Jesus is good news for all people. It signals the hope (confident expectation) of life conquering death, not by the earthly powers of Spring but by the divine power of God breaking into and overcoming death and decay.According to the gospel Jesus did not merely “come back to life.” His resurrection was not his resuscitati … [Read more...]

Guest Good Friday Post by Austin Fischer

The Shadow Of UriahOur church staff is reading through the Psalms together. This week, I was assigned Psalm 17, and as usual (as our youth pastor likes to point out), David is telling God what to do.He starts out with his typical chutzpah: "Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry."David is confident his cause is just, his lips are truthful, and his way is peaceful (17:1-5). And he's confident Yahweh knows it. So because his cause is just and Yahweh knows it, he's confident … [Read more...]

Calvinist Attempts to Rescue God’s Character Considered and Refuted

Calvinist Attempts to Rescue God’s Character Considered and RefutedAs anyone who has read me or listened to me (on the subject of Calvinism) knows, my main complaint about Calvinism is that it undermines the character of God. Of course, I do not mean that God’s real character can be undermined; I mean the reputation of God’s character is undermined by Calvinism. And when I write or speak that way I am referring primarily, of course, to “high federal Calvinism” or “classical five point Calvini … [Read more...]

Remembering an All-But-Forgotten, Extremely Influential Theologian: Christoph Blumhardt

Remembering an All-But-Forgotten, Extremely Influential Theologian: Christoph BlumhardtMuch to their credit, a few historical theologians are trying to revive memory of German theologian-evangelist Christoph Blumhardt. My friend and co-author Christian Collins Winn (Bethel College, MN) is one of them. (He and I collaborated on our recently published book Reclaiming Pietism: Retrieving an Evangelical Tradition [Eerdmans, 2015].) In my opinion, however, Blumhardt is one of those great … [Read more...]

My Visit to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (March 26, 2015)

My Visit to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (March 26, 2015)Several weeks ago I received a nice letter from President Paige Patterson of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas—the largest seminary in the world. (It is one of six seminaries officially affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.) The letter expressed appreciation for some of my writings. Dr. Patterson also expressed a desire to meet me sometime, so I responded cordially and said I would b … [Read more...]