March 20, 2014

The time has come for us to move platforms, which means the time has now arrived for you to update your RSS feeds and email subscriptions accordingly. We are very grateful to our friends here at Patheos for hosting us the past few years. Joining forces was an experiment, one that they made easy to say “yes” to and their kindness and support made difficult to leave.  We appreciate everything they are doing here and encourage you to keep up with them.... Read more

March 3, 2014

The Winter 2014 issue of Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology features a 58-page symposium on Kendall Soulen‘s important 2011 book The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity: Distinguishing the Voices. That seems like a lot of pages of commentary, but they are well deserved: Soulen’s book is both a solid accomplishment in its own right and a catalyst for further conversation. I’m enthusiastic about this book, so I was glad when editor Joseph Mangina invited me... Read more

February 18, 2014

Athanasius of Alexandria (4th century), always trying to put the best face on the writings of Origen (2nd century), once cautioned readers that Origen sometimes wrote dogmatikos (expressing his actual considered opinion and judgments), but at other times this “labor-loving man” wrote gymnastikos, as if trying out ideas, “as if inquiring and by way of exercise.” It is in the spirit of trying things out that I present this little blog essay –recalling that the word “essay” itself means something not... Read more

February 17, 2014

Among the host of ways Virgil modifies and develops Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the changes wrought to the underworld are arguably the most substantial. A complex geography forms of punishment, rivers, the abyss and the “places of delight” fills what was a much simpler and more monotonous landscape in Homer. Beyond the setting, Virgil explores his underworld in conjunction with a cosmology fed by “Spirit and a Mind infused through all the members of the world,” which in turn funds a view of reincarnation... Read more

February 5, 2014

Christoph Barth’s 1991 “theological introduction to the Old Testament,” God With Us, organizes the theology of the Old Testament not around doctrines, but around divine acts. Christoph selects nine divine acts, to be specific. Here are my summaries of how he develops them. Not much commentary from me, just summary of what Barth selects under each heading. 1. God created heaven and earth. Creation is the first mighty act of God confessed, just as the Pentateuch and the Apostles’ Creed begin... Read more

February 4, 2014

Karl Barth once remarked that if he could be accused of founding a school of Barthians, then at least its membership was limited to his two sons, Markus and Christoph, who were professors of New and Old Testament respectively. Not a bad academic family legacy for a systematic theologian! Markus Barth (1915-1994) was a pretty well-known scholar, but Christoph Barth (1917‑1986) was more obscure because he published less, and spent much of his career teaching in Indonesia. He lectured in Jakarta and... Read more

February 3, 2014

One the happiest parts of my life at present is the view out my office window. My second-story window in Sutherland Hall at Biola University looks down on a little sunlit courtyard with a fountain. The branches of a tree touch the window, and through-out the day, the sunlight filters through the leaves illuming and shining through some and casting shadows on others. Watching the sunshine outside his window gave joy to Andrew Murray. He wrote, “From my breakfast-table I... Read more

January 15, 2014

In systematic theology, three doctrines stand out as mega-doctrines, as conceptual clusters that are right at the center of understanding the faith. Those three classic doctrines are incarnation, Trinity, and atonement. Those three classic doctrines also happen to be the doctrines that we are taking up in the first three years of the annual Los Angeles Theology Conference.  Our first year (2013) was on Christology: Ancient and Modern,  and our second year (2014) is Advancing Trinitarian Theology. So next year, 2015, the time... Read more

January 9, 2014

 I’ve been meaning to write something about this, but every time I read this paragraph, I just want to keep quoting it rather than saying anything about it. So here, in his own words, is W. B. Pope on God’s love and the atonement: There is prevalent among professedly orthodox theologians a tendency to ascribe to the Eternal God a certain all-commanding attribute of LOVE which is so described as to undermine the foundations of the doctrine of the Atonement.... Read more

January 3, 2014

Courtesy of Open Biola, here is video of a lecture I gave in December 2013 for students at the Torrey Honors Institute. The title of the one-hour lecture is “The Theology of First John,” and while that accurately captures the main task, the lecture also spends a fair bit of time motivating and orienting readers so they can engage the text well. There are tips on how to benefit from, rather than suffer from, the repetitive and non-linear character of... Read more

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