November 8, 2016

  Christian universalism has become an important player in modern Christian theology, with an increasing number of sympathizers and amount of discussion pertaining to it, both among scholars/theologians and laity.¹ In fact, I think that universalism hits enough theologically attractive notes to possibly make it slated to become one of the most dominant Christian theologies of the 21st century—or perhaps the dominant one, at least among Protestants. (The possibility of a Catholic universalism is much less clear.²) If anyone’s unfamiliar with Christian universalism, the central tenet of… Read more

October 26, 2016

  Recently, in a few different articles,¹ I’ve drawn attention to a few uncritical arguments that’ve been used to bolster the idea of the harmony between religion and science, a.k.a. “accommodationism.”² Now, before saying anything else—and as I reiterated in my most recent article on the issue—I agree that a world in which, say, the majority of Christians affirm scientific consensuses is far preferable to one in which they don’t.³ Further, it’s not the idea of the harmony between religion and science in general that’s… Read more

October 22, 2016

  October 22 marks one of the most significant dates in American religious history; certainly in the history of the Second Great Awakening—that era of Protestant revivalism and millenarianism from the turn of the 18th century to the mid-19th century. It was October 22, 1844 that the Millerites, the impassioned followers of the Baptist preacher William Miller, looked forward to as the day of the Second Coming of Jesus, as had been predicted by one of Miller’s devotees, based on complicated calculations from the Biblical book of Daniel. The Millerites had first come… Read more

October 13, 2016

  C. S. Lewis, the consummate 20th century Christian intellectual and defender of Christianity, once rather famously dubbed Mark 13:30¹ the “most embarrassing verse in the Bible.” Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. This line, spoken by Jesus himself, appears near the tail-end of what’s become known as the Olivet Discourse. As might be surmised, there was already contention over its meaning in Lewis’ own time. (The essay in which C. S. Lewis gave… Read more

September 27, 2016

(Or, more specifically, A Response to John Stamps’ “St Symeon the New Theologian and the Quest of the Historical Jesus”)   John Stamps has written a provocative piece (“St Symeon the New Theologian and the Quest of the Historical Jesus”) over at Eclectic Orthodoxy—one of the absolute best, consistently historically-rich and just all-around cerebral blogs on Christianity from the Eastern Orthodox tradition; or really, for that matter, from any tradition. As his title suggests, the central figure in Stamps’ post is Symeon the New Theologian, a late 10th/early 11th century Byzantine monk… Read more

September 26, 2016

The most recent issue of Scientific American has an article entitled “Creationism Invades Europe” that seems to imply a fairly recent outbreak of Young Earth creationism in various European nations—significant due to creationism often being understood as a particularly American phenomenon. The authors of the piece put creationism’s European ascendancy in the larger context of the past couple of decades, that For years, although creationists were growing in number in European countries and gradually developing an influence in schools and local communities, they mostly… Read more

September 25, 2016

  (A Response to Christopher Hays & Co.)   Over the past week, Biblical scholar and theologian Peter Enns “hosted” a three-part series on the parousia, a.k.a. the second coming of Jesus, that takes its starting point from some of the arguments put forth in a new collection of essays entitled When the Son of Man Didn’t Come: A Constructive Proposal on the Delay of the Parousia. I’m going to spend a little time here going over all three posts on Enns’ blog, and then respond to… Read more

September 21, 2016

Through ‘virtual unwrapping,’ a burned and crushed scroll is read without opening it. Read more

September 19, 2016

An important new volume of essays, Enoch and the Synoptic Gospels: Reminiscences, Allusions, Intertextuality, is being released this week. (Table of contents and relevant links can be found at the end of this post.) This is the first volume to collect some of the papers given at the 2013 Enoch Seminar conference, and is to be followed next year by the volume The Early Enoch Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels. The focus of these volumes is, as the titles suggest,… Read more

September 18, 2016

  The past few years I’ve been pretty active in a community of predominantly progressive Christians—or progressive at least in relation to the kind of notorious fundamentalist Christianity now normally associated with Protestant evangelicals.¹ The latter, unfortunately, has all too often been a representative straw-man for Christianity in general; and as a consequence of such I think it’s been the driving force behind a lot of historical misunderstanding, on several different sides here. However, in contrast to this contingent of fundamentalism (wherever it might be located), among the other things that many people of this progressive community affirm is the… Read more

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