January 2, 2014

In just a couple of weeks, Fuller Theological Seminary will be hosting the second annual Los Angeles Theology Conference: Advancing Trinitarian Theology. Oliver Crisp and I, along with Katya Covrett of Zondervan Academic, have planned this major event which is almost upon us. It’s on January 16 and 17, 2014. Register at the permanent home site, http://latheology.com/ Of course the main reason to come is the theological content: Five plenary speakers and nine parallel sessions presenting high-quality trinitarian theology. But here’s another... Read more

December 31, 2013

Should a Christian pray for a longer life on earth? Never mind admitting that that’s what you want; the question is whether you have any grounds for asking God to give you more years of this life. In 1869, Methodist theologian William Burt Pope published a sermon for the new year, on the last line of Psalm 39: “O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” It’s not what you’d call a... Read more

December 20, 2013

Instrumental Christmas:  The Sanders household just wasn’t in the mood for the all-out onslaught of the familiar Christmas music in the early days of this December, so we put together a set of wordless wonders, and we sought out as many unfamiliar tunes as possible. It’s a nice change of pace (though if you want to see our other playlists, including the more traditional ones, you can find 9 of them here). The rough draft was overpowered by too much... Read more

December 18, 2013

Wolfhart Pannenberg is one of the most accomplished theologians of the twentieth century. His skill as a rigorous doctrinal thinker is well served by his mastery of historical materials on every Christian doctrine. Pannenberg’s first major publication was in 1963 (a multi-author set of essays entitled Revelation as History), and he completed a three-volume Systematic Theology in 1993. Along the way, he wrote a lot of other important books on Christology, metaphysics, science, and anthropology. That anthropology book, the somewhat... Read more

December 16, 2013

By far my favorite story about the celebration of Christmas is the Christmas truce of 1914. On the night of December 24th, entrenched and fully engaged in deadly combat, German soldiers in Ypres began to observe Christmas festivities. They lit candles, decorated a tree, and began to sing carols. After a short while, the British troops in the opposing trenches began to sing carols of their own. Singing led to laying down arms, and soon the soldiers who had been and... Read more

December 12, 2013

I’ve stopped saying “Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission.” Here’s why: When I teach about the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20), I underline its importance by showing that these are the last words Jesus speaks at the end of the gospel of Matthew. I love to explore how ideas and motifs from the beginning of the gospel are fulfilled here: the angel tells us at the beginning of Matthew that Jesus’ name will be... Read more

December 10, 2013

At a recent panel discussion (ETS 2013 in Baltimore), I was asked to say a few things about John Wesley’s view of the origin of evil. The first thing I wanted to say is that Wesley thought of the origin of evil as a classical question. By calling the question of evil’s origin “classical,” I mean that it is a problem that was clearly seen and carefully articulated by the Greek and Roman classics of pre-Christian philosophy and culture in... Read more

December 5, 2013

(From a paper I read at ETS 2013 in Baltimore, as part of a panel responding to “Hillbilly Thomist” Fritz Bauerschmidt’s new book on Thomas Aquinas.) The first helpful theological tool I found in Bauerschmidt’s version of Thomas Aquinas was an approach to teaching summed up in the motto contemplata aliis tradere. The second thing, even more helpful and of even broader application for contemporary theological work, is the scope and clarity Bauerschmidt gives to the category of fittingness, or... Read more

December 4, 2013

(From a paper I read at ETS 2013 in Baltimore, as part of a panel responding to “Hillbilly Thomist” Fritz Bauerschmidt’s new book on Thomas Aquinas.) The Oxford University Press series Christian Theology in Context promises to situate theologians in their cultures and histories, to “understand how theologies are themselves cultural products” and how theological texts are “forms of cultural power, expressing and modifying the dominant ideologies through which we understand the world.” The series description opens with references to... Read more

December 2, 2013

This morning, Fred Sanders and I participated in a chapel honoring C.S. Lewis’ life and works. Here’s a little reflection on a passage from Till We Have Faces: Be careful of the story you tell yourself. This is some of the best advice my husband has ever given me. And, as we listen to the words of Orual in the climax of Till We Have Faces, she is coming to terms for the first time with the story she has... Read more

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