May 19, 2005

As a college student, and over in Belgium on a mission trip where I learned so much about the bigness of the Church, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit daily and listen to John R.W. Stott preach.He said something that has never left me, and it pertains to what we are discussing in this series of blogs about Dark Thoughts.Here it is — and I paraphrase: “Anyone who speaks about hell as the fate of any human… Read more

May 18, 2005

Kevin Corcoran, from Calvin, writes in Books and Culture on a topic that many of my students have recently asked me about: hell. The questions came up well before McLaren’s book, which I’ll be working my way through shortly.Corcoran is asking a question that needs to be asked at some serious levels, both lay and professional. It is this: Can Protestants, and this defined in the rather traditional way, affirm some kind of sense of Purgatory or a post-mortem second… Read more

May 17, 2005

Robert Bellah is not the only social historian who has observed that Protestantism and individualism are related — and some have contended that the former gave rise to the latter, making America a “Protestant nation.” Andrew Delbanco’s The Real American Dream would be one such example.Perhaps so — maybe individualism is a Protestant thing. After all, what Protestants value the most is that Martin Luther withstood the pressures of Roman leadership by standing for (what he thought was) biblical theology…. Read more

May 16, 2005

Scholars and theologians alike today like to bang the drum of individualism, and I’ve done the same myself. It is a big drum, and it sounds loud, and most fear its power.Andrew Delbanco, for instance, in his happy little survey The Real American Dream, set out American history in three stages: an orientation to God, to Nation, and now to Self. Like others, he can quote the sorts of things that show up in Robert Bellah’s The Habits of the… Read more

May 15, 2005

We were up in Oregon (practice saying “Or-ee-gun” and not “Or-ee-GON”), went to be with Trinity Covenant, which is an absolutely splendid church — and I can say that about a lot of churches, and also about this one. Lots of good things going on; thriving at so many levels. Chris Haydon asked the community to deck out in red to symbolize the flame of the Holy Spirit, and I confess I’ve never seen so much red in a church… Read more

May 14, 2005

Up here in Oregon and last night had a session with high school students and then shifted to the “adult” body of the church for a Jesus Creed talk — and I spoke about what it is and how it fits into the six theories of the Christian life.Meeting God’s good people around this country has been a highlight of my life.Time and time again I am deeply impressed by the piety, kindness, and spiritual sensitivity of the elderly –… Read more

May 12, 2005

When I was teaching at TEDS one of my students showed up to class late, and then proceeded to tell me her “story”: she knew God wanted her to come to class on time, she knew Satan was against her getting to class, and some demons had gotten into her tank and sucked out all the gas. When I suggested that maybe filling up the tank earlier would have helped, she looked at me like I had denied God’s ability… Read more

May 12, 2005

Kris and I are off to Salem OR this weekend to speak to the good people at Trinity Covenant Church, pastored by Chris Haydon.I’ll try to get a blog or two in if we find access to the internet. Read more

May 12, 2005

Theologians at least since Luther, who was developing the rhetoric of Nicolas of Cusa, have often used what is called the via negativa. In essence, the via negativa is to describe something (say the Emergent movement) by saying what is not (say, not traditional Evangelicalism). Luther is known for his rhetoric about the theology of glory and the theology of the cross.First, this sort of rhetorical strategy typifies those who are forming their own boundary lines so that their own… Read more

May 11, 2005

I have been asked maybe fifty times in the last month this question: “What is driving the Emergent movement?” “Who am I,” I come back at ’em, “to answer that question?” But then like a truck in wet sand, I can’t avoid sinking into an answer. Here’s what I say, or something like it. And I’d like feedback so I can answer this question better.First, Emergent is a reaction to what the Church has to offer and what the Church… Read more

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