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John C. Holbert

Columnist

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John C. Holbert was born in Indiana, raised in Arizona, and educated in Iowa and Texas, receiving a Ph.D. in the Hebrew Bible in 1975. He has been a local church pastor in Louisiana, professor of religion at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and was Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology, where he joined the faculty in 1979. He retired from this faculty position in May, 2012. John is married to Diana, a retired minister of the United Methodist Church. They have two children: a son, Darius, and a daughter, Sarah. John has extensive vocal solo experience, having sung in musicals, opera, and oratorio. Darius has sung with the Texas Boys' Choir, and is now a studio musician in Los Angeles, writing for film and TV. He and John have written an opera, based on the book of Job, entitled “Job’s Truth.” Sarah lives in Los Angeles where she works for the ABC Channel. John has authored eleven books and many articles in scholarly and church journals. He was the editor for the Psalms and Canticles material of the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal. He has also served as Interim Senior Minister of two large United Methodist churches, 1st UMC in Fort Worth in the Fall of 1994 and 1st UMC, Dallas, in the spring of 1997. He has preached and taught in over 1000 churches in 40 states and 20 countries. In 2007, he was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Southern Methodist University. His first novel, King Saul, was published in 2014.

Opening The Old Testament

A Troubling Day? Reflections on Easter Sunday and Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

I used to revel in the rousing anthems and loud hosannas of Easter morning. Now, however, I wish to step outside the sanctuary and sit by myself, gazing longingly at an azure sky, and just be. The truth is, I find Easter Sunday rather troubling. Read More »

Theology's Greatest Hits: Reflections on Psalm 118 for Palm/Passion Sunday

"God's chesed endures forever." That is all we need to know, and that fact underlies all dealings with this God, even when the one we call Christ rides into Jerusalem to his terrible death and his glorious victory over death. Read More »

Yes, Virginia, You May Preach the Psalms: Reflections on Psalm 51:1-12

When I was in seminary, we were told that the Psalms were not a fit subject for a sermon, since they were in fact liturgical acts, not primarily theological ones. Let me answer that claim with a precise theological locution: hooey! Read More »

Of Snakes and Things: Lectionary Reflections on Numbers 21:4-9

What I thought might kill me became for me the way of healing. But I have still much looking at the bronze serpent to do if I am to continue my healing. Does my story in any way resonate with yours? Read More »

Let's Not Talk About That (Adultery)! Reflections on Exodus 20:1-17

It has been said that we need a far more rich and comprehensive theology of marriage if we are ever to tackle effectively the epidemic of adultery. I agree, but is there still place for a sermon on adultery? Read More »

A Covenant for All: Reflections on Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

With a God like this, none of us is past our day; this sort of God still has something for each of us, in spite of our doubts and cynicism, despite our biting laughter of despair. Read More »

Recent Articles

A Troubling Day? Reflections on Easter Sunday and Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

I used to revel in the rousing anthems and loud hosannas of Easter morning. Now, however, I wish to step outside the sanctuary and sit by myself, gazing longingly at an azure sky, and just be. The truth is, I find Easter Sunday rather troubling. Read More »

Yes, Virginia, You May Preach the Psalms: Reflections on Psalm 51:1-12

When I was in seminary, we were told that the Psalms were not a fit subject for a sermon, since they were in fact liturgical acts, not primarily theological ones. Let me answer that claim with a precise theological locution: hooey! Read More »

Of Snakes and Things: Lectionary Reflections on Numbers 21:4-9

What I thought might kill me became for me the way of healing. But I have still much looking at the bronze serpent to do if I am to continue my healing. Does my story in any way resonate with yours? Read More »

Let's Not Talk About That (Adultery)! Reflections on Exodus 20:1-17

It has been said that we need a far more rich and comprehensive theology of marriage if we are ever to tackle effectively the epidemic of adultery. I agree, but is there still place for a sermon on adultery? Read More »

A Covenant for All: Reflections on Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

With a God like this, none of us is past our day; this sort of God still has something for each of us, in spite of our doubts and cynicism, despite our biting laughter of despair. Read More »

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