June 11, 2005

No one has summarized the “theories” of the Christian life any more succinctly than Richard Foster, in his textbook quality Streams of Living Water. He charts out six traditions, and I will look at each and how covenant path marking (aka, legalism) finds its way into each.My prefatory remark for all of this: each of these traditions is valuable (I believe in each one) and each of them is good for us, and in saying that each can develop covenant… Read more

June 10, 2005

David Klinghoffer, author of Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, belongs in a troika of authors. Michael Wyschogrod and Irving Greenberg are the other two.In Commentary magazine, the review of Klinghoffer by Hillel Halkin sets the record straight on the “two covenant” approach and he provides the argument many of us have been asking for: namely, the notion that Judaism and Christianity are essentially the same, with the latter faith designed by God to take the faith of the former into… Read more

June 10, 2005

Covenant path marking.In his recent, technical, and not always well-written monograph, Jesus and Jewish Covenant Thinking (break the bank!), Finnish scholar Tom Holmen offers a new category through which we can process our “theories of Christian behavior.” In essence, Holmen contends that Jews sought for genuine covenant faithfulness and, attached to that seeking, each new group and movement developed a set of covenant path markers. Covenant path markers are specific behaviors — Sabbath, circumcision, food laws, tithing, fasting, divorce, oath-taking,… Read more

June 9, 2005

A couple of posts and a couple of e-mails separate from the blogsite lead me to make some suggestions on what pastors should read. I’ve been asked what I think pastors should read, but I make these suggestions with some trepidation because I am not a pastor. So, see this as a conversation from a professor of Bible and theology to those who see their vocations in pastoral terms.Above all, a pastor’s vocation, fluctuating from one place to another, is… Read more

June 9, 2005

The recent Barna report, forwarded to me by my colleague, Ginny Olson, publishes its findings about books pastors are reading and who their favorite authors are.The question seems to be this: “What are the three books that had been most helpful to you as a ministry leader in the last 3 years?” This question, so it seems to me, shifts the question toward leadership books, but also in the survey are books about discipleship. So, maybe the question is a… Read more

June 8, 2005

For a long while Kris and I have been saying the prayers from Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours. It is hard for us on most mornings, but we do them nearly every evening. We took photocopies to Italy with us and read them from our room as we looked over the Umbrian hills.This fall I am scheduled to write a small book called Praying with the Church, which plans to be an explanation of how The Book of Common Prayer… Read more

June 7, 2005

Bob Robinson, in his collection of pieces about Emergent theology, calls our attention to a piece by Vince Bacote, Professor of theology at Wheaton, on Kuyper’s sense of common grace and Bacote suggests this idea undergirds the Emergent concern with a gospel that transcends (what I call) the Good Friday Only Gospel — that Jesus came to die for my sins so I could be forgiven and go to heaven.Kuyper sees common grace operating at several layers of our existence,… Read more

June 7, 2005

The recent discussion about the rhetorical nature of language about heaven and hell leads me to reflect some on a classic, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progess. Our BTS Dept at NPU is writing a monthly column in The Covenant Companion and mine (on Bunyan) is schedule to appear in August or September. (I just know the deadline.)Let me put Bunyan’s theory of the Christian life as this: it is rigorous life of life-as-life-before-God. That is, every moment of every day… Read more

June 7, 2005

In the most recent Commentary magazine, there is a fine article by Terry Teachout on culture and blogging. If you are not aware of this magazine, largely a conservative Jewish think-tank magazine, it has some of the finest expositions of the neo-conservative viewpoints around. Pieces by Norman Podhoretz, Editor-at-Large, are noteworthy. But so are many others.Terry Teachout is the magazine’s art critic; he has a splendidly-written biography of that crusty Baltimore writer, H.L. Mencken; and he also has a blogsite…. Read more

June 6, 2005

I had never heard of Orvieto, I confess, before Kris and I begain reading Rick Steves’ guide to Italy. It is one more of what Italy is full of: cities on the top of some hill, a city of stone buildings, stone, narrow walkways, and composed of what appears as an endless maze of little pathways.But every Italian city has its story, and most of the stories go back to the Medieval age. Orvieto’s story got its push when a… Read more

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