December 6, 2018

People associated with The Gospel Coalition (TGC) tend to emphasize “guilt” over honor and shame. More than a few writers seem wary of stressing honor-shame for fear of minimizing the importance of guilt. So, I was surprised and delighted to see D. A. Carson’s comments about shame in this month’s issue of Themelios. Read more

December 4, 2018

Sadly, missionary John Chau’s death to the North Sentinelese people will set back the effort to mobilize missionaries. That’s not entirely John Chau’s fault. It’s one natural consequence of “outcome bias.” Outcome Bias is a Plague among Missionaries Everyone who hears about John Chau’s fateful trip to North Sentinel Island has an opinion. The range of reactions is predictable. Rather than ascribe praise or blame to Chau’s efforts, let’s consider what we can learn and identify potential confusion that surrounds… Read more

November 28, 2018

At the Patronage Symposium in October, some of the participants discussed the meaning of pistis (i.e., faith) and its relationship to patronage, reciprocity, etc. This subject has several layers to it. In the process, I had what felt like an epiphany, a possible breakthrough about a highly debated issue. Read more

November 19, 2018

In the first post, I gave an overview of reciprocity in China. We then considered why the practice of reciprocity differs across cultures. These two posts highlight key ideas from my recent talk given at the Patronage Symposium. The video is available here. Click here for the PDF. We tend to classify Western cultures as “individualistic” and most non-Western cultures as “collectivistic.” In reality, even so-called “individualistic” (sub)cultures have “collectivist” tendencies. Why? Because humans are social beings. All people simultaneously… Read more

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

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