Reading the Virgin Birth as Legend (or Creative Hagiography)

One of the sources I found most useful as I researched for my book, A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters, was a very thorough, informative, book on the subject by Andrew Lincoln: Born of a Virgin? Reconceiving Jesus in the Bible, Tradition, and Theology.  It was the weight of the arguments he presents in that book that tilted my own position in a different direction from whence I began my theological journey on the question. He argues… Read more

Why We Don’t Need an Immaculate Conception

Today (December 8), Catholics worldwide celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. You might not know that the Immaculate Conception isn’t about Jesus’ conception, but of Mary’s. No, Mary wasn’t conceived of a virgin. Rather, the “immaculate conception” refers to the Holy Spirit removing all sin from Mary’s soul when she was conceived in her mother’s womb. This miracle—a retroactive application of Christ’s saving work—made her a pure, untarnished vessel; she was born without original sin and guilt, and that made her worthy, some… Read more

Update on the Official Release of A Complicated Pregnancy

The “official” book release date for A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters, is a few days away (December 1), although Amazon has been sending books out for a few weeks now. For anyone interested in the book as a resource for an Advent study, a free study guide is also available for download on the publishers website: http://fortresspress.com/acomplicatedpregnancy Flunking Sainthood also has recently posted an interview. Thanks to Jana Riess for her good questions!… Read more

Saved By Faith and Hospitality (A Brief Book Note for Thanksgiving)

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I thought it a good time to pick up my copy of Joshua Jipp’s recently released book, Saved By Faith and Hospitality (Eerdmans, 2017). I’ve only read through chapter one, but it gave me enough grist for thought to write a brief post (perhaps I can blog through the volume chapter by chapter, or at least in sections). Jipp’s thesis is bold, clear, and timely in terms of applicability for the church’s witness in this… Read more

Liberal or Liberation Theologians on the Virgin Birth?

In Thinking About God: An Introduction to Theology, Dorothy Sölle describes what she sees as the difference between liberal theology and liberation theology.   She explains that a crucial difference between the two approaches is that that liberation theologians explicitly utilize the present social (and economic, etc.) context as a valid location through which theological and scriptural interpretation is done–but in particular, the location of the poor as a privileged perspective (i.e. God’s preferential option for the poor has an… Read more

Kierkegaard on the Incarnation: God is Like an Artist

I recently stumbled across a quote from Kierkegaard, in his journals, where he reflects on the incarnation via an analogy. God is like an artist who inserts himself into the work of art. Here one rightly sees the subjectivity in Christianity. Generally the poet, the artist, etc., is criticized for introducing himself into his work. But this is precisely what God does; this he does in Christ. And precisely this is Christianity. Creation is really fulfilled only when God has… Read more

Endorsements of “A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters””

With the release of my forthcoming book, A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters,  closer on the horizon, I thought I’d share the endorsements it’s received–as a bit of a preview. I think very highly of each of these scholars and I’m honored by their confidence in the book. Incidentally, I’m also completing a study guide to accompany the book. If you’re interested in using the book for a group study, complimentary copies of that… Read more

10 Very Good Books on the Reformation and Martin Luther

As we anticipate the celebration of the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation, I put together a “top ten list” of some of the best (and mostly recent) books on the history, theology, and legacy of the Reformation. This list is, perhaps predictably, tilted a bit heavily to Luther and the Reformation in Germany. A different or supplementary list could be provided that gives the best books on Calvin, Zwingli, the Radical Reformers, etc. This list includes some books that… Read more

The Political Power of Bible Translation (Tyndale’s New Testament)

One of the first things you learn in seminary–assuming you pay attention–is that all translations are interpretations. There’s no better illustration of that than what we find in Peter Marshall’s impressive tome, Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation. As the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation approaches, we here all sorts of things about Luther and the 95 theses. But what sometimes gets overlooked is the role that Bible translations–both pre-Luther (Wyclife) and during Luther’s time (Tyndale)–played in setting… Read more

Would You Use the Flag as a Strainer? (What the Anthem Conflict is Really About)

Let’s talk about the flag and the anthem. But let’s try to get closer to the bottom of all the brouhaha–the indignation directed toward the simple action of taking a knee during the national anthem. American football is supposed to be, you know, American–like apple pie. But these players who are choosing to protest racial injustices are disturbing our (existential) peace. It’s un-American (they say)! It’s un-patriotic (they say)! Why does a seemingly innocuous and certainly harmless peaceful protest elicit… Read more

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