Good Friday is a good day to think about kenotic Christology. Kenosis is a tranliteration of the Greek κένωσις, which relates to Philippians 2:7, the passage which states that Christ “emptied himself” (ekénōsen) or made himself nothing by taking on the form of a human being. Any view of Christ which affirms (1) that Jesus of Nazareth was truly God and (2) that Jesus “pre-existed” as the Son of God and the eternal Logos and that (3) Jesus of Nazareth… Read more

As Jesus and his disciples began their final entry into Jerusalem, prior to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, crowds gathered along the roads. This is the setting for the “Palm Sunday” accounts, told in each of the four Gospels. Matthew’s account includes a “fulfillment” quotation from Zechariah 9: “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you,     humble, and mounted on a donkey,         and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The reference to Zechariah, noting the… Read more

David Congdon is delivering a lecture at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities on March 13. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out (11:45-12:15 am). In anticipation of that lecture, I recently picked up Congdon’s Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology (Cascade, 2015). It’s a brilliant introduction to Bultmann’s theology and hermeutic, placing Bultmann’s thought within the web of inter-related themes and concerns. Congdon begins with a discussion of Bultann’s understanding of eschatology,  thereby showing how… Read more

My colleague and friend, Dr. Kenneth Reynhout, shared the following post on his Facebook page. I thought it was too substantive and timely not to share it here on my blog–so I asked his permission to do so. Ken has extensive experience with theological education in seminary contexts. Ken’s bio is below. We have three Protestant seminaries in the Twin Cities, each with its own character and distinguished legacy. I have some affiliation with all three of them, either as… Read more

Over six yeas ago now, my friend and then-colleague, Jeannine Brown, invited me to join her on a book project: a “two horizons” (biblical studies and theology) commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. That commentary is now completed and available for pre-order via Amazon or directly through the publisher, Eerdmans. The release date isn’t until late September–but hey, you can secure your copy now! Part 1 features a fresh translation and exegesis of Matthew (by Jeannine). Part 2 constitues our… Read more

As I worked through the arguments for and against the virgin birth, the single most important discovery for me was this: You can’t have it all. That is, you can’t have a virginal conception and an incarnation. In the first century, they could put the two together conceptually. It made sense, given their understanding of biology, procreation, and so on. Yes, the virgin birth (for the biblical writers and the early theologians) was predicated on a divine miracle. God interrupted… Read more

When I began researching the material for A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters, I knew I would find the material on the scientific phenomenon parthenogensis (asexual reproduction) fascinating. I didn’t know how much it would blow me away, though. Parthenogenesis is defined (via Wikipedia) as “a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization.” When I first starting writing the book, I thought parthenogenesis would lend at… Read more

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

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

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

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