November 13, 2018

I’ve said before that patronage might be the most misunderstood and overlooked aspect of traditional cultures. This is why I’m thrilled that the talks from the recent Patronage Symposium in Beirut have now been released. Accordingly, for the next few posts will make up a mini-series touching on various aspects of the topic. Today’s post gives an overview of the talk I gave at the Patronage Symposium. FYI–– a video of my talk is now available on YouTube! It is… Read more

November 7, 2018

For some reason, few people seriously consider how honor and shame influence the biblical doctrine of atonement. Most scholarly writings are cursory theological treatments, not rigorous exegetical treatments. Fortunately, the tide is slowly changing. Read more

October 31, 2018

Why has America grown more individualistic? Many people describe American culture (and the West more generally) as individualistic. Elsewhere, I’ve explained why such individualism is detrimental to the church. If so, a question is worth asking, “Why has America grown more individualistic?” The answer no doubt is multi-faceted. For instance, we might point to increased wealth, philosophical shifts, abuses in power, or Christianity’s emphasis on individual dignity. In light of the upcoming mid-term election in the States, I will focus… Read more

October 24, 2018

A previous post noted four ways that Paul challenges the fear and shame that potentially grew in Timothy’s heart. In 2 Timothy 1, he appeals to Timothy’s identity, the gospel, his hope, and others’ positive and negative examples. This post highlights two more strategies in 2 Timothy 2 for combatting shame. Reinforce and Reframe Paul begins chapter 2 by reinforcing his prior comments. For example, he makes a series of identity statements in vv. 1–6, linking identities with their practical implications…. Read more

October 17, 2018

Shame has significant theological and practical importance. Paul spends the entire letter of 2 Timothy attempting to preclude Timothy’s own growing sense of shame. By examining Paul’s approach, we’ll be better equipped to strengthen others and overcome any fear and shame that linger within our hearts. Read more

October 10, 2018

A saying I often repeat is this: “Even heretics aren’t idiots.” In other words, we can learn something from anyone, including those whom we disagree with at a fundamental level. This lesson is not must be learned, and we frequently learn it the hard way. Read more

October 3, 2018

Few people are atheists for intellectual reasons. In a recent article, Lisa Gungor explains her husband’s spiritual struggle and slide into atheism. Her comments are refreshingly candid, reflecting all too typical thoughts of many others. Read more

September 26, 2018

Two things usually escape our notice: cognitive biases and theological syncretism. This is not surprising. When you’re generally unfamiliar with an idea, you’re less likely to understand it. What does this mean for us? We are unable to account for our biases and so succumb to theological syncretism rather than healthy contextualization. Definitions and Interpretations The seedbed for my thinking comes from Aaron Chalmers’ exceptional article “The Influence of Cognitive Biases on Biblical Interpretation” (BBR, 26.4). As I argue in… Read more

September 19, 2018

What happens when human relationships move online? How does the web affect our response to praise and shame? We first need to understand why “people” don’t writing posts. Read more

September 12, 2018

Wendel Sun says “union with Christ” is central to New Testament theology. To make that assertion, one had better defend it from the Bible. Otherwise, we should dismiss it such claims as being mere personal preference, a theologian’s “pet doctrine.” Read more

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