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

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

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

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