September 5, 2023

What Are “Miracles” and Is Belief in Them Contrary to Science? It seems the word “miracle” is being stretched out of shape. I hear it all the time on TV. I have developed the view that there are three meanings (uses) of the word “miracle” in today’s American culture: 1) something surprising to an individual or small circle of people, 2) something truly amazing to a large number of people, 3) something whose only cause could be God (or possibly... Read more

September 1, 2023

Is Orthodoxy a Necessary Feature of “Evangelical?” I was recently asked if I agree with church historian David Bebbington’s “quadrilateral” of features of evangelical Christianity. They are, not necessarily in the right order,: biblicism (a special regard for the Bible as the inspired Word of God written and authoritative for everything related to salvation), conversionism (belief that an authentic Christian life and salvation begin with a decision to repent and trust in Jesus Christ alone), crucicentrism (a special emphasis on... Read more

August 30, 2023

Finally Finishing “Why?” Chapters 22 & 23 I apologize for letting this go so long. This is for you who have the book “Why? On Suffering, Guilt, and God” by A van de Beek (vdB). Chapter 22 is “Participation with God.” There vdB embraces a somewhat relativist Christian ethic: “[n]o matter how far a given choice was beneath the standard of Jesus Christ, if there was no better choice, it was the correct choice.” (336) He ends with the claim... Read more

August 28, 2023

Announcing a New Book Discussion: The Upside Down Kingdom I have sometimes been asked the title of my favorite book of Christian ethics. Without hesitation I can say “The Upside Down Kingdom” by Donald Kraybill. For those of you who want to read along and discuss the chapters, I will wait two weeks in case you prefer to order a hard copy of the book. It is, of course, available on Amazon for Kindle. This book is a classic of... Read more

August 25, 2023

To My International Readers: What Is Happening Here? I know what it is like to watch American news outlets talk about what is happening in other countries. They usually offer very little insight, just “facts” that leave me shaking my head in wonder. I have lived “abroad,” as we say, and know what it is like to live in a country you think you know about from US news and other information and find out there’s so much more to... Read more

August 23, 2023

Announcing My New Book: Unsafe Sects Publisher Wipf & Stock (Cascade imprint) has just let me know that pre-ordering is now open for my latest book titled Unsafe Sects: Understanding Religious Cults. Here is the link to pre-order it: Book Details How does my book differ from the run-of-the-mill books about cults? Well, for one thing, I argue that many orthodox churches have cultic features, even if they are not outright cults, because they 1) have authoritarian leaders, 2) practice... Read more

August 20, 2023

A Christian Metaphysic? Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said in Religion in the Making that whereas Christianity has always been a religion seeking a metaphysic, Buddhism is a metaphysic generating a religion. In the poorly titled book Essentials of Christian Thought: Seeing Reality through the Biblical Story (Zondervan) I argued that the Bible contains an implicit metaphysic. My suggested title for the book was Biblical Narrative Metaphysics. Strangely enough, the marketers at HarperCollins (which owns Zondervan) nixed that title. What is... Read more

August 17, 2023

Heaven Is for Real? A few years ago, a six year old child, son of an evangelical pastor, reported seeing heaven during a coma. His report of heaven was extremely detailed and matched almost perfectly what his church taught about heaven. His report resulted in a best-selling book and then a movie. I read the book and saw the movie, mostly due to pressure from people who kept asking me about them. Many of you will know the case I’m... Read more

August 13, 2023

God and Time I know I’ve addressed this issue before, but it still interests me. Why can I NOT think of God without thinking of time? And I mean God in time and time in God. Oh, perhaps not time as we experience it, but temporality in the sense of passage of moments: past passing into present passing into future, present passing into past, etc. I simply can’t. Is that something wrong with me or…? I well remember the first... Read more

August 10, 2023

C. S. Lewis: Saint or Sinner? As usual, I will first let you know why I am able competently to speak/write about this subject (viz., C. S. Lewis). Of course, I never met him. He died on November 22, 1963 when I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade. Why do I remember that so well? Because he died on the same day that President John Kennedy was assassinated. It’s an essay date to remember. (Do I remember... Read more

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