Personhood According to Pannenberg

Wolfhart Pannenberg is one of the most accomplished theologians of the twentieth century. His skill as a rigorous doctrinal thinker is well served by his mastery of historical materials on every Christian doctrine. Pannenberg’s first major publication was in 1963 (a multi-author set of essays entitled Revelation as History), and he completed a three-volume Systematic [Read More…]

With the Current, Not Across It

I’ve stopped saying “Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission.” Here’s why: When I teach about the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20), I underline its importance by showing that these are the last words Jesus speaks at the end of the gospel of Matthew. I love to explore how ideas [Read More…]

The Classical Question of the Origin of Evil

At a recent panel discussion (ETS 2013 in Baltimore), I was asked to say a few things about John Wesley’s view of the origin of evil. The first thing I wanted to say is that Wesley thought of the origin of evil as a classical question. By calling the question of evil’s origin “classical,” I [Read More…]

Fittingness: How Conveniens

(From a paper I read at ETS 2013 in Baltimore, as part of a panel responding to “Hillbilly Thomist” Fritz Bauerschmidt’s new book on Thomas Aquinas.) The first helpful theological tool I found in Bauerschmidt’s version of Thomas Aquinas was an approach to teaching summed up in the motto contemplata aliis tradere. The second thing, [Read More…]

Contemplata Aliis Tradere: Aquinas according to Bauerschmidt

(From a paper I read at ETS 2013 in Baltimore, as part of a panel responding to “Hillbilly Thomist” Fritz Bauerschmidt’s new book on Thomas Aquinas.) The Oxford University Press series Christian Theology in Context promises to situate theologians in their cultures and histories, to “understand how theologies are themselves cultural products” and how theological [Read More…]

The Praise of Perelandra

Excerpt from a chapel on the stories of C.S. Lewis, at Biola on Dec. 2, 2013. I want to read to you a passage from the second book of Lewis’ Space Trilogy, from the book Perelandra. Though it’s from the final pages of the book, you don’t need any spoiler alert, and there’s no need [Read More…]

First Lines of Theology Books

Joan Didion once said that the first line of a book is the decisive part. “What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.” Didion was talking [Read More…]

God Went Bowling

There’s a little song called God Went Bowling by a band called the Swirling Eddies. It was on their 1994 album Zoom Daddy, and it features an oompah beat driven by accordion. Over it all is the snide vocal of Terry Scott Taylor, the songwriter whose mad genius has found outlet via at least three [Read More…]

Hiding A Few Words

When I published The Deep Things of God in 2010, I made a mental note to myself that I should eventually use this blog to let readers in on a fun little bit of extra information about the book. Then I lost the mental note somewhere on the mental desktop of my mental office. Now [Read More…]

Mysteries to Themselves

The fallen angels in Paradise Lost are of course shockingly wrongheaded in their estimation of God: Lucifer and company, while in heaven, thought they could beat God in a fight, and some of them continue to think so even after they find themselves greatly diminished and in hell. It’s hard to imagine what metric they could [Read More…]