June 17, 2024

Us for Them: Chapter 3: The Coddling of the Church Yes, I know, the full title of Chapter 3 is “The Coddling of the American Church.” WordPress doesn’t allow that many bytes in the subject line. Those who are reading the book with me and who have read this chapter may comment. Others may ask questions. Austin Fischer blasts American Christians for sorting themselves according to political preferences. He focuses his ire especially on the churches where people increasingly seek... Read more

June 14, 2024

What Were They Thinking? I’m something of an expert in historical Christian theology. Not as much as some scholars, but I’ve studied, written about, and taught historical Christian theology for forty plus years. I come now, finally, to admit that I just don’t understand how some Christian theologians of the past could think the thoughts they did and teach the ideas that they did teach. The only ones I will ask about here are those who at least SEEMED to... Read more

June 12, 2024

What Does “Far Right” Mean? The European Union recently held elections for its parliament. The big news is that the allegedly “far right” parties gained many seats. According to many news commentators, this is bad news for Europe and possibly for the world. Rarely, however, do they explain what they mean by “far right” or “extreme right.” What makes a political party or politician “far right?” The same can be asked about the label “far [or extreme] left.” What does... Read more

June 10, 2024

Us for Them: Chapter Two: Cats Must Also Fail Disagree if you wish, but I enjoy Austin Fischer’s way with words. I’ll never forget his turn of phrase in Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed about God’s love not being a “glory machine.” (That was a slam at Calvinism.) I found a similar phrase, actually a sentence, in this chapter of Us for Them: “If your faith needs enemies, you need a better faith.” (31) This whole chapter sparkles with delightful,... Read more

June 8, 2024

The Enneagram: A Christian Tool? I begin this blog post with a degree of fear and trepidation because I very close Christian friends and loved ones who a “fans” of the Enneagram. I also know many Christians who believe it is a tool of Satan. I know very few people who are very familiar with the Enneagram who are neutral about it. For those of you who do not know, the Enneagram is a personality inventory often used by spiritual... Read more

June 6, 2024

RIP Juergen Moltmann: The Last World Class Theologian Juergen Moltmann died this month (June, 2024) at age 98. He was my most important theological “conversation partner” even though I did not agree with everything he said or wrote. I read almost every book he wrote, including some in German, and spent quality time with him. I considered him a friend. Why do I say he was the late “world-class theologian?” Because, when he was alive and active in writing and... Read more

June 3, 2024

Us for Them: Book Discussion: Chapter 1 Here I begin a series of comments on Austin Fischer’s new book Us for Them: Seeking Higher Ground in the Cultural Holy Wars (Wipf & Stock, 2024). The chapter is titled Justice + Friendship. I invite those who have read the chapter to participate in discussion (following the rules below). Others may ask questions. Austin is my friend and former student. I am very proud of him which doesn’t mean we agree about... Read more

June 1, 2024

I Ask Again: What Would It Take? A historical event: an American former president has been convicted by a jury of felonies. Thirty-four of them. And the result is millions poured in to his campaign coffers. What would it take for Trump’s die-hard supporters to give up their support? Is there anything that would accomplish that in them? It seems not. So I ask myself Why? Why do so many Americans support Trump seemingly unconditionally? He’s an adulterer, a liar,... Read more

May 31, 2024

New Book Discussion Begins Monday, June 3 You still have time to purchase (digital book by download) Us for Them: Seeking Higher Ground in the Cultural Holy Wars by Austin Fischer, lead pastor of The Vista church in Temple, Texas and author of two important previous books including Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed (which I have reviewed here before). The first chapter is Justice + Friendship: An Invitation to Middle (crossed out) Higher Ground (pp. 1-19). I assure you this... Read more

May 28, 2024

Why We Believe the Bible Is God’s Word Written First, who is the “we?” By “we” I mean Christians who think like I think. I’m not alone. Second, a complete answer to such a big question can never be offered in a blog post like this. Third, this answer is not intended to be a rationalist apologetic for the Bible, even though it may be part of one. We do not believe in “proof” outside of a priori and purely... Read more

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