February 19, 2024

If I had a minor in my doctoral work it was historical theology. I’m particularly fascinated with how history is written. At times there appears a bias designed to propagate a particularly desirable narrative. At first, the writing of history might not be motivated by a bias, but after further reflections and the discovery of more historical sources, a clear bias emerges. Throughout history, there are numerous examples such as Pelagius being accused of heresy in the fourth century, Luther’s... Read more

December 20, 2023

Much will be said this Christmas about whether or not there was an actual inn or if He was born in the home of a relative. We’ll speculate about the star the Magi followed; was it a super nova? We’ll even wonder if the choir of angels was a unique alignment of the planets or winged beings hovering in a night sky. We might question whether or not Jesus was born on December 25th or if it is actually a... Read more

December 13, 2023

Old Testament Prophecies about the Birth of the Eternal Christ A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD... Read more

December 6, 2023

You might think that there is as much myth surrounding St. Nicholas as the jolly old fellow we know today as Santa Claus. However, he actually was a real person. He was born sometime during the third century in the village of Patara on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. The Apostles Paul and Barnabas first brought the gospel to the area around 47AD when they visited the cities of Lycaonia (Acts 14:6-7). In fact, Paul actually visits the city... Read more

October 27, 2023

Several years ago, I was invited to address a group of seminary and university students on the subject of Christians and the Nation-State of Israel. What follows over the next couple blogs, is that address. Here is part 1: I approach this subject from a religious studies perspective.  I am interested in how people perceive themselves and how various phenomena affect their identity.  That being said, I have not given particular attention to the question of Israel.  However, I have... Read more

August 30, 2023

Don’t you like dealing in hypotheticals? Those sometimes frustrating “what if” questions? Not too long ago, Mike Frost posed such a question, “If Jesus planted a church, what would it look like?” At first, I thought it was a brilliant question. However, the more I considered it, the more his question provoked a reaction. I began to ask, “Would Jesus ever actually plant a church?” He’ll certainly build the church. That was his promise to the disciples (Matt 16:18). He’ll... Read more

July 29, 2023

I occasionally wonder if we make discipleship too complicated. The systems we create exhibit a complexity that is foreign to the New Testament. For instance, I’m not certain what all goes into dropping plastic eggs from a helicopter on Easter morning in order to attract families to church, but such a stunt amounts to a strategy of shark jumping to ensure more butts in seats, bucks in the bank, and brains entertained each week.  We reinforce systems that struggle to... Read more

July 26, 2023

The story of Christianity, in many ways, is a story about suffering. But this is true about new movements generally. It doesn’t matter if they are social, political, or religious. Some suffer due to nefarious practices—The People’s Temple or the Branch Davidians for example. Others suffer simply because they are new and different from what the majority culture considers acceptable—Wiccans and Druids for example. New movements break long-held social conventions, religious beliefs, or political platforms because a usually small group... Read more

July 19, 2023

Formal theological education often receives criticism for being so intellectually minded that it is of no practical good. I get it. I’ve seen the blank stares of students that were more than evidence for caffeine deprivation. Waxing eloquently about the Christology of the early Church Fathers, exegeting the cento of a Church Mother, even wrestling with the application of infinite game theory to modern missions doesn’t always excite the learner to deeper devotion to God—although I obviously think it should.... Read more

July 13, 2023

While visiting a country in South Asia some years ago, a church planter and friend recounted an event to a group of us. We were meeting to encourage our top leaders as they faced new forms of government persecution. And what better way to encourage young leaders than reading an epistle written to a church planter: 2 Timothy. Timothy, in Ephesus, confronted challenging times as Christians were being led astray by false teaching. Paul, in Rome, imprisoned for declaring Jesus... Read more

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