What Is a Person?

What is a person? This is no easy term to define. I talk and write quite a lot about personhood and personal relationships and the need to guard against treating persons as things or commodities. But what is a person? One of my professors in Trinitarian theology once remarked that one cannot define “person(s)” when talking about life within the divine Trinity; the term “person” in such contexts is undefinable. Karl Barth preferred to write of “modes of being” (Seinsweise; not to be confused with … [Read more...]

From Indulgences to Indulgent Love: Beyond Johann Tetzel and Marilyn Manson

"As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs." You may have come across this statement attributed to Johann Tetzel, papal seller of indulgences. Whether or not Tetzel ever uttered these words, Christians have often thought of salvation as a financial transaction. Is salvation a financial transaction? Does the Bible speak in these terms?Romans 6:23 states, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6: … [Read more...]

How Hegelian Is Christianity?

How Hegelian is Christianity? The reader might think this is an odd question in that Christianity was around a very long time before Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel arrived on the scene (1770-1831). The question is intended to provoke thought concerning Hegel's assessment of Christianity. For Hegel, Christianity illustrates what his philosophy makes explicit about ultimate reality.Unlike Christian Aristotelianism with its emphasis on God as an unmoved mover, Hegel portrayed God as the moved mov … [Read more...]

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

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

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?

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...]