September 30, 2013

This summer I was fortunate to have two chapters that I wrote published in an excellent volume from InterVarsity Press entitled Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics (edited by Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin). My first contribution was a historical and contemporary overview of the discipline of spiritual theology while the other was an overview of how to read spiritual texts from the Middle Ages along with what spiritual authors I think should be read from the medieval era. I would... Read more

September 30, 2013

Coming up in January is the 2014 Los Angeles Theology Conference. Registration is open, and you should start making plans now if you want to attend. The conference will be high-level theology by leading thinkers, with an exhibit hall filled with discounted books from major publishers, and it’s in sunny southern California in January… why wouldn’t you come? We have invited five plenary speakers who will work on the theme of “Advancing Trinitarian Theology” by extending the kind of arguments... Read more

September 27, 2013

Every now and then someone asks me for a list of my favorite books on the doctrine of the atonement. This is my list of favorite classics, to be followed by a list of contemporary works. Athanasius, On the Incarnation: for my money, this is the best intro text to the doctrine of the atonement ever written. If you get Athanasius, you’ll get the doctrine of the atonement. Anselm, Why God Became Man: this is probably the most important text... Read more

September 22, 2013

The church of St. Servatius in Siegburg, Germany has a treasure room full of medieval art and relics. Among the artifacts is a portable altar crafted around the year 1160 by the workshop of Eilbertus of Cologne. Eilbertus was a master craftsman of Romanesque metalwork and enamel decoration, a sturdy artistic medium which withstands the centuries with minimal fading or decay. The colors remain brilliant after nearly a millennium. But Eilbertus was also a skillful iconographer, whose fluency with the... Read more

September 15, 2013

Johannes Heinrich August Ebrard’s 1860 Commentary on First John is a bit florid and romantic in tone, not really well aligned with current literary sensibilities in the biblical-theological guild. But if you can handle the purple of the prose (and really it’s no worse than Spurgeon) it is also a powerful, sustained piece of theological interpretation of Scripture. Ebrard was a professor of systematic theology at Erlangen, who wrote in a rather astonishing range of fields: he published a two-volume Dogmatics, volumes... Read more

September 14, 2013

Here is a sermon I got to preach in chapel at Talbot School of Theology on September 10, 2013. I am in awe of the doctrine in 1 John 1:5 that “God is light.” It’s one of those biblical statements that makes perfect sense of everything else, but that somehow only came to expression in this one place. In that way, it’s like the priesthood of Christ, which is only made explicit in Hebrews but is demanded by so many... Read more

September 12, 2013

In April 2013 Biola held its third annual Imagination Summit. It was an in-house event this year, organized for faculty by faculty, to stimulate creative thinking about how to teach a generation of students who are, as “digital ethnographer” Michael Wesch argues, significantly different from the faculty. Even the youngest professor teaching in 2013 grew up in a partially analog world of technology. And though we may have successfully immigrated to the digital age, the students we’re teaching now are... Read more

September 11, 2013

(This is the opening section from a sermon I preached on Sept. 10, 2013 in Talbot chapel. Full video here.) In the first five verses of his first epistle, John seeks to sum up everything he ever heard, everything he ever saw, everything he came into contact with, about the person he wrote a whole gospel about: Jesus Christ. It’s a remarkable feat, because that gospel of John, that twenty-one chapter gospel, ended with a confession that there’s too much... Read more

September 10, 2013

There’s a great deal of gold to be found in the writings of early Christian monastic communities. I like to think of the Desert Fathers, who retreated to the barren places of Egypt in the third century, as spiritual sleuths investigating a brand new phenomenon – the Christian life. And in the course of their investigation, not only did they discover great heights of joy and richness, they also observed and documented the obstacles consistently encountered in the pursuit of... Read more

September 5, 2013

Brett McCracken’s new book Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism & Liberty is a vade mecum for cultured Christians. It’s for Christians who are either up to date enough that they’d never say vade mecum, or who are way past up to date and are trying to bring vade mecum back. A vade mecum is a handbook (literally a “go with me”) that a wayfarer would want to have along on a journey, and Christians are certainly on a journey... Read more

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