Two or three podcast interviews with me have “gone up” on the internet recently. On is an interview that happened at FaithLife/MobileEd (formerly Logos Software) in Bellingham, Washington when I was there in March. I’ve been notified that it is going up on iTunes and Sound Cl0ud. Here is the link: . However, I just discovered another interview podcast that I did at FaithLife that week in March. It is available on the web. It’s called “An Interview with… Read more

Why Hyper-Calvinism Is Consistent Calvinism I know, I know. I will be accused of being “uncharitable” simply for deconstructing Calvinism. Apparently what’s good for the goose is not good for the gander. I have at least twenty-five volumes about Calvinism by leading Calvinist theologians on my bookshelf (and these are only examples of contemporary Calvinism!). All contain attempted deconstructions of Arminianism—attempts to demonstrate its inner contradictions and its ultimate illegitimacy as biblical theology. I don’t consider that “uncharitable” so long… Read more

The Dialectic of “Nature and Grace” in Christian Theology I recently had opportunity to lead a group of post-seminary ministry residents (in residence at a large, urban church) in a day-long study and discussion of the relationship between “nature” and “grace” in the theologies of Athanasius, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. My assignment (and theirs) was to rediscover these three great teachers of the church and ponder their significance for us, twenty-first century Protestant Christians. In preparation for our day of… Read more

I rarely comment here on world events, but this one has me excited and hopeful. The presidents of the United States and Cuba have met in Panama and pretty much sealed the deal (pending congressional approval) for a renewal of diplomatic relations between their two countries. Hopefully this will open the door to greater freedom of travel and trade between the countries. But most importantly, I believe it will pave the way toward greater freedom in Cuba–especially freedoms of religion… Read more

Only God Is an “End in Itself” (But That’s Not the Whole Story) I put “end in itself” in quotation marks to indicate a technical phrase; I am not implying that God is impersonal. “End in himself” would be more correct. But people often talk about something as an “end in itself” meaning “for its own sake.” “Art for art’s sake” is a motto of the National Endowment for the Arts. However, many people regard certain activities, products, persons, organizations,… Read more

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… Read more

Against the Political Misuses of Words Both 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… Read more

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… Read more

The Shadow Of Uriah Our 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… Read more

Calvinist Attempts to Rescue God’s Character Considered and Refuted As 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”… Read more

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