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...]

Largely Ignored Forms of Oppression

Largely Ignored Forms of OppressionFor many years now I have been a rare evangelical advocate of liberation theologies--which does not mean an uncritical advocate. The very first piece I ever had published was a review of a book about liberation theology. That was in (I think) Eternity magazine (now defunct) in the mid 1970s. While in seminary I took a course in liberation theology and was captivated by its concerns while remaining cautiously critical of some of its methods and … [Read more...]

Why I Think Baptists (and “baptists”) Have It Wrong about the Sacraments

Why I Think Baptists (and "baptists") Have It Wrong about SacramentsFirst, some clarifications:This post is for baptists (including Baptists). "baptist" with a small "b" is the term Baptist theologian William McClendon coined for all churches with a similar ecclesiology (viz., voluntary membership, congregational polity, separation of church and state, etc.).Others are welcome to listen in.This post is about some baptists, not all.This post does not pretend to cover … [Read more...]

The Fundamental Difference between “Modern” and “Postmodern” Philosophies

The Fundamental Difference between "Modern" and "Postmodern" PhilosophiesModernity included a search for absolute, indubitable, rational certainty--based on logic and evidence alone. (Of course, many "modern philosophers" admitted such may be ultimately impossible for finite beings, but that didn't stop them from holding it as an ideal and continuing the search.)The first thing to note, however is that this was a search for certainty in what David Hume called the "synthetic … [Read more...]

Reflections and Questions about the Word “Denomination”

I realize this is not an entirely new subject here, but I have new readers and I am deeply involved in a research project related to this subject. So I am going to raise the question again: "Why do so many people think so poorly about the word 'denomination'?"As editor of the 14th edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States (Abingdon Press) I have the privilege of contacting denominations to ask what might have changed since the 13th edition or to get information from those … [Read more...]

The Conversation about Transgender Is Closed (For Now)

This morning I had 69 new comments to moderate. And many of them violated the rules I posted in my "Note to Potential Commenters" at the end of my post about transgender. Please feel free to continue discussing hell and other subjects I have talked about here, but due to time limitations I cannot moderate the discussion about transgender ("gender dysphoria"). Besides, it seems to me just about everything worth saying about it has been said and posted here. From this point on I will simply delete … [Read more...]