August 11, 2019

The scriptures contain a number of food metaphors. I’ve been working for a few years on an article talking about them: “milk before solid food,” “feast upon the words of Christ,” etc. But there are also some good ones in recent LDS tradition. Notably, Elder Holland gave a great talk called “A Teacher Come from God.” The summary takeaway is that We must revitalize and reenthrone superior teaching in the Church—at home, from the pulpit, in our administrative meetings, and... Read more

July 30, 2019

I’ve updated this post with a new section and handout, after the overview. It treats the definition of “faith” in the NT. Let me open by saying, this is a wide-ranging and complex subject; I may well prove to be wrong on this or that point. You may well quibble with some of what I’ve written, and I may be missing important nuances here or there, and it’s a bit scattered and repetitive. Let’s get those disclaimers out of the way.... Read more

June 13, 2019

It’s been a long several months. I have passed my written and oral exams, and am on to writing my dissertation proposal. I’m currently traveling, and have a lot on my plate to get caught up on, but I hope to return to my weekly Gospel Doctrine writing (and other things) soon. Well, soonish. In the meantime, let’s talk about my dissertation and summer speaking. I’m very excited about my dissertation on creationism and biological evolution in the LDS Church after... Read more

March 10, 2019

“I confess that I am constantly appalled by the scarcity of my knowledge, and the one resentment I think I carry concerns the many pressing demands which limit the opportunity for reading.” President Gordon B. Hinckley, in The Voice of My Servants (BYU Religious Studies Center, 2010): 61. I have the opposite problem; right now I am doing nothing but reading. Due to time and stress related to preparing for my qualifying exams and dissertation proposal, I will not be... Read more

January 28, 2019

We’re in a new ward, and with the new meeting changes, talks sermons are assigned 6-8 minutes length. I was in the anchor spot, and so prepared to stretch or compress my remarks. I tend to prepare an outline (so there’s plenty of ad-libbing), with my stories, scriptures, or anything I want to read printed in full, so there’s no fumbling between papers or flipping through scriptures looking for the right page. One other speaker and I were on the stand... Read more

January 19, 2019

Arvo Pärt’s Nunc Dimittis, the Latin text of Luke 2:29-32, “Now dismiss…” Matthew and Luke provide us with two different but similar narratives, which are probably among the most familiar to any Christian. We typically combine these narratives together in our Christmas celebrations, art, creches, and cartoons, but they *are* different and separate. For example, Matthew talks about the visit of the wise men (not portrayed as visiting soon after the birth), but does not mention shepherds on the night of the... Read more

January 18, 2019

Arvo Pärt’s magnificent Magnificat, one of many songs based on the Latin translation of Mary’s “my soul doth magnify (magnificat) the Lord” in Luke 1:46ff. (Here’s a small ensemble version) Genealogies Both Matthew and Luke give us genealogies, and as moderns, we’re inclined to skip over them, or misunderstand what they’re trying to tell us. In fact, the one thing they are NOT telling us is the one thing we assume they’re telling us: a straight genealogical descent. And this is one... Read more

January 3, 2019

Let’s start the new year by reminding ourselves how little we know, with a brief quiz. (That’s the grouchy academic in me, throwing a surprise pretest on the first day of class.) 1) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John: which are apostles and which are not? 2) Describe the nativity according to Mark.  (HT: Ronan’s post.) 3) Which Gospel gives us the detail about the mean innkeeper, who turned away Joseph and Mary? If you want to see more such questions,... Read more

December 29, 2018

(Post 1, post 2) I’ve decided to gather together my other recommendations into one big incoherent post 🙂 If you’d like to join an online reading group to discuss the NT from a more academic perspective than every-other-week Gospel doctrine class, this LDS Facebook group will be reading through several good books along with the NT: Simply Jesus (NT Wright) and The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction (Yinger). I’d also call attention to BYU Studies’ Gospel Doctrine class index, the... Read more

December 25, 2018

(Originally posted here.) When the mission president announced to our small group of greenies that I was going to Strasbourg, I shrugged the resigned shrug of a missionary who knew nothing about anywhere but was willing to go anywhere. One of the sisters expressed jealousy; Strasbourg, she said, was one of the best cities in the mission. She was right, and it would not be a good thing. Strasbourg is and was beautiful pre-Christmas. Several weeks passed before I fully... Read more

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