Ecclesiology Is Not a Disease. Informed Churches Help Guard Against Spiritual Diseases, Part I

Exploring Ecclesiology--for Use with Patheos Blog

Contrary to what the word might sound like, ecclesiology is not a disease. Ecclesiology entails the doctrinal study of the church. The proper study of the church can help inform churches so as to nurture health and guard against spiritual diseases. This post originally appeared as “Between the Lines: a Conversation with Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger–Part 1” at The Brazos Blog on 2/17/2014. The post reflects facets and values of the book I co-authored with Brad Harper titled Exploring Eccle … [Read more...]

The Voiceless’ Voice


This piece was originally published at The Christian Post on 7/12/12. I am reposting it in view of The Justice Conference Portland proceedings and its rightful emphasis on loving solidarity with people in their suffering. The "voiceless"  have voices. Are we listening?Sometimes I hear people say we are to be the voice of the voiceless. I certainly appreciate their commitment to advocating for those on the margins. Still, “the voiceless” do have voices. I don’t need to speak for them; rather, … [Read more...]

Sins of Commission and Omission: Reflections on King, Edwards, King David and Us

©iStock Photo

This article includes two responses from Christian friends who take further the pressing issues addressed in this post.***************Over the years, I have noted criticisms Evangelicals make of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My glowing praise and affirmation of King over the years has raised questions and criticisms, too. In my experience, Evangelicals have often been quick to point out King’s acts of infidelity and plagiarism in his doctoral work without attending to and celebrating suff … [Read more...]

Should Prostitution Be Legalized?

station, brothel and bar Nevada Joe at state Route 160

I oppose legalizing prostitution. While I appreciate the concern of those who believe that legalizing prostitution will bring about more favorable conditions for prostitutes, I am not convinced. In fact, I believe the opposite is the case most if not all the time (See the Prostitution Research & Education website for detailed information regarding prostitution, including resources on the effects of legalized prostitution).It is argued that legalizing prostitution will make it possible … [Read more...]

Life Together in the Land of Lewis and Clark: Reflections on Donald Miller and the Northwest Church


This piece was originally published at Christ & Cascadia on 2/18/14.The Pacific Northwest is known in many circles as the land of Lewis and Clark. These two men were rugged trailblazers, progenitors of rugged individuals, and risk-taking entrepreneurs. Their spirit is in the air and in the variety of scents and tastes in cafes and bistros, tea rooms, and microbrew pubs. We even find their entrepreneurial spirit alive in our churches. Moreover, the same individual and entrepreneurial … [Read more...]

Ideological Totalitarians—Kiss and Make Up


Fundamentalism comes in all shapes and sizes. Not only have I met conservative Christians and Muslims who are fundamentalists, but also I have met liberal fundamentalists. A fundamentalist spirit is present in those who will not seek to collaborate with people on the other side of an issue. The fundamentalist mentality is reflected in “Take no prisoners—or else.”Here I call to mind USA TODAY religion columnist Tom Krattenmaker’s book, The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Gene … [Read more...]

Moving Beyond Extremes to Gospel-Centered Love


Extreme positions often get the biggest hearing. It seems like you have to be liberal or conservative or pro-choice or pro-life to get people to listen. People so easily close their ears and hearts and shut the door when complexity enters the conversation.I am pro-life. In fact, I am pro-all life. Please allow me to unpack what I mean. It is important to care for the sanctity of human life for the unborn. But what about bringing those little ones into the world? Shouldn’t our care for the s … [Read more...]