November 13, 2020

Can God Change without Changing? Prior to the 20th century, almost all Christian theologians held firmly to the traditional doctrine of the immutability of God. It was interpreted by most as meaning that God cannot have new experiences; nothing can affect God. God is perfect being and any change in God would be toward greater perfection or less than perfection—both logically impossible for an already perfect being. (Here “perfect” meant metaphysically as well as morally.) This is now often called… Read more

November 11, 2020

Distinguishing between a Movement and Its Ethos People ask me how I can still call myself “evangelical” in light of the fact that about eighty percent of white American evangelicals say they support Donald Trump (who is still, as I write this, president of the United States). Many of my progressive evangelical friends and acquaintances threw off the label during the last four years (2016-2020). My answers have been simple and I do not understand why people don’t understand them…. Read more

November 6, 2020

What Is a “Miracle?” Recently I blogged here rather pessimistically that theology might be dead. By that I meant that Christian theologians’ ideas, even consensus ones, those arrived at virtually across the spectrum, do not seem to trickle down into pulpits or pews. Today I want to give an example. I often ask Christians “What is a miracle?” The typical response is “A violation of natural law.” Now, of course, I mean this “typical response” is from Christians who have… Read more

November 3, 2020

Some Random Thoughts on Another Election Day in the U.S.A. It’s November 3, 2020, another major election day in America. This day comes around every four years; every four years, on the first Tuesday of November, we, American citizens, elect our president and some members of our Congress. (Senators serve for six years.) This is probably the most tense election day I can remember, although I remember others that were also tense. But there are new elements of tension today… Read more

October 31, 2020

Are “Patriot Churches” Real Churches? *Here, in this essay, I am not thinking of or writing about any particular individual, congregation, or organization. I am only addressing the idea and phenomenon of so-called “Patriot Churches” in the United States of America.* The question I want to address is whether a true “Patriot Church” is really a Christian church. I have no patience for people who object that no one has the right to say that any congregation that calls itself… Read more

October 27, 2020

Does Theology Even Matter Anymore? Toward the untimely end of his life, my friend and co-author Stanley J. Grenz was worrying about whether theology matters anymore. He was saying privately, to me and a few friends, that he felt theology’s time was over and that Christianity was entering into a post-theological phase. And not “phase” as in “passing phase” but permanent phase, new era, new stage. He talked about the “end of theology.” We had many discussions about this. I… Read more

October 22, 2020

Why I Do Not Think of God as “Infinite” Many people, many Christians included, think that God must be, by definition, infinite. There are, however, many different meanings of “infinite.” The word itself implies to most people, educated and uneducated alike, some idea of limitlessness. It leads the mind onto a path of “perfect being ontology”—a big, fat, scholarly concept that more or less means God must be incapable of change of any kind (immutable, impassible, “actus purus”). If one… Read more

October 18, 2020

How I Tried on Fundamentalist Christianity and Found It Didn’t Fit If you’re reading this, you need to look back at my immediately preceding post about how I tried on liberal Christianity and found that it didn’t fit—assuming you didn’t already read that one. When I say that I “tried on” fundamentalist Christianity I don’t mean quite the same thing as “tried on” liberal Christianity. I was born into a kind of fundamentalist Christianity—although it was a peculiar kind that… Read more

October 14, 2020

How I Tried on Liberal Christianity and Why It Didn’t Fit You know the experience. You see a sweater (or other piece of clothing) at a store and you like it a lot and you really want to own it. It’s not exactly your size, but you convince yourself maybe it will shrink or stretch and you buy it and try wearing it during the first cold days of winter. You like it a lot, well, sort of. It’s fashionable,… Read more

October 10, 2020

What Should “Church” Be Like? Answering the Question My immediately preceding post here was a diatribe against what I call the “new paradigm” churches in America—mostly non-descript, unaffiliated, white, mostly suburban (attended mostly by white suburbanites even if the building stands in the city’s urban center), mostly seeker-sensitive, usually concerned with getting large numbers of people to attend, usually led by “hip” pastors (of whatever ages) who mostly preach good advice but not the gospel in all its dimension, often… Read more

Browse Our Archives