July 27, 2013

On page one of his 1996 book Christian Faith & the Theological Life, Dominican Romanus Cessario makes a distinction. “To acquire knowledge about God is one thing; to commit oneself to him is another.” The two ought to be related, one would hope:  it’s hard to say which spectacle is more sorry, a person who handles doctrinal facts without any personal relationship to the God those facts are about, or a faithful Christian who loves God but refuses to take... Read more

July 26, 2013

My new book, Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love (Crossway, 2013) is scheduled for August release, and is already available for pre-order (hint, hint). The book has received generous recommendations and endorsements from  a number of scholars who I sent the final draft to.  Of course I can’t help feeling gratified when people say nice things about me and my book, but in this case I got votes of confidence from some people who are among my... Read more

July 21, 2013

I’ve made it a habit to avoid movies starring Johnny Depp. There are many things I can put up with in an actor, but that special Depp brand of unctuous sex appeal is not one of them. After one last shot with the first Pirates movie, I pulled the plug on Depp, that is, until he was cast as Tonto in this summer’s The Lone Ranger. My own commitment to the masked kemosabe is such that I had to brave... Read more

July 16, 2013

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is widely recognized as the greatest theologian America has yet produced. He wrote epochal books and preached sermons that still echo in our cultural memory from the Great Awakening. One of the least important things he ever wrote is a fun bit of juvenilia known as “Of Insects,” a descriptive essay about spiders which can be seen soaring through the air. Recent scholarship has established the date of this letter as 1723, when Edwards was 20. But for... Read more

July 15, 2013

At the Torrey Honors Institute, we teach by questioning. The professors in the program gather with students around a great text, and inquire into the text by interrogating the students. We call the professors “tutors” to signal the fact that they are co-learners along with the students; master-learners who know how to get into books. The tools of our trade are questions, and we ask all types. Some are expository, some truly Socratic, some open-ended, some perplexing, some leading, a... Read more

July 8, 2013

Last December I helped plant a new church in La Mirada – Anglican Church of the Epiphany (ACE). Not only did I help plant it but I am the pastor of the church too. Needless to say life has gotten quite busy in the last seven months. I have pastored churches in the past, during my graduate school days and for a bit after I finished my PhD and before I came to teach at Biola University. This time it... Read more

July 1, 2013

Charles M. Stang, Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite: “No Longer I” (Oxford: OUP, 2012) (review copy courtesy of OUP) This is my kind of radical thesis–that that most exotic of Christian writers, Dionysius the Areopagite, is really, deep-down, Pauline. What makes things better is that the one putting forth the thesis, Harvard’s Charles Stang, knows what he’s doing. He knows the implications of such a claim, and he makes it carefully, confidently and conclusively, all without overindulging in apologetic haranguing. But let... Read more

June 28, 2013

My guess is that Antonin Scalia has newfound sympathy for Terry Lee Collins, that hapless anti-hero of the 2001 crime caper, Bandits. Chagrined at the predictable shenanigans of his co-conspirators, Terry carps, “You know the hardest thing about being smart? I always pretty much know what’s gonna happen next. There’s no suspense.” For the last several months the nation has been waiting to see what the Supreme Court would do with the gay marriage cases. Justice Scalia knew a decade... Read more

June 19, 2013

(For the sermon that this is an excerpt from, go here.) God has spoken so well in Christ that even the silence around his word is eloquent, informative, communicative. We can learn from that silence in many ways, but here is one way: Because of what God has definitively said, we know there are certain other things that God will not say, will never say, cannot say. Here are a few things God will never say. “I decided not to keep... Read more

June 18, 2013

(For the sermon that this is an excerpt from, go here.) God communicates. He speaks loudly sometimes, taking solemn oaths. He hints sometimes, giving us just enough information to draw us in. But what about God’s silence? What about the silent parts all mixed in with what he says? We want to learn to hear God well; with the kind of intimacy that hears everything that’s there: his word, his hints, his pauses, his emphases, and his meaningful silences. Hebrews... Read more

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