December 8, 2018

Christians often avoid rethinking traditional doctrinal beliefs because of the fear of what they will lose. But the fear of loss prevents them from imagining what they might gain. When I wrote a book last year on the topic of the virgin birth, A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why it Matters, I intended to write a book setting out a progressive Christian case for affirming the traditional notion of the virgin birth. But in the process,… Read more

July 14, 2018

“Everything changes” is a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately in my circles. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve noticed there hasn’t been a whole lot of activity recently. In January of this year, I took on a new role at the seminary where I teach (United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities): Academic Dean. I still carry a teaching load, but the majority of my role now is administration. As I expected, the transition has meant that I’ve… Read more

March 30, 2018

Good Friday is a good day to think about kenotic Christology. Kenosis is a tranliteration of the Greek κένωσις, which relates to Philippians 2:7, the passage which states that Christ “emptied himself” (ekénōsen) or made himself nothing by taking on the form of a human being. Any view of Christ which affirms (1) that Jesus of Nazareth was truly God and (2) that Jesus “pre-existed” as the Son of God and the eternal Logos and that (3) Jesus of Nazareth… Read more

March 24, 2018

As Jesus and his disciples began their final entry into Jerusalem, prior to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, crowds gathered along the roads. This is the setting for the “Palm Sunday” accounts, told in each of the four Gospels. Matthew’s account includes a “fulfillment” quotation from Zechariah 9: “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you,     humble, and mounted on a donkey,         and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The reference to Zechariah, noting the… Read more

March 5, 2018

David Congdon is delivering a lecture at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities on March 13. If you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out (11:45-12:15 am). In anticipation of that lecture, I recently picked up Congdon’s Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology (Cascade, 2015). It’s a brilliant introduction to Bultmann’s theology and hermeutic, placing Bultmann’s thought within the web of inter-related themes and concerns. Congdon begins with a discussion of Bultann’s understanding of eschatology,  thereby showing how… Read more

February 17, 2018

My colleague and friend, Dr. Kenneth Reynhout, shared the following post on his Facebook page. I thought it was too substantive and timely not to share it here on my blog–so I asked his permission to do so. Ken has extensive experience with theological education in seminary contexts. Ken’s bio is below. We have three Protestant seminaries in the Twin Cities, each with its own character and distinguished legacy. I have some affiliation with all three of them, either as… Read more

January 26, 2018

Over six yeas ago now, my friend and then-colleague, Jeannine Brown, invited me to join her on a book project: a “two horizons” (biblical studies and theology) commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. That commentary is now completed and available for pre-order via Amazon or directly through the publisher, Eerdmans. The release date isn’t until late September–but hey, you can secure your copy now! Part 1 features a fresh translation and exegesis of Matthew (by Jeannine). Part 2 constitues our… Read more

December 23, 2017

As I worked through the arguments for and against the virgin birth, the single most important discovery for me was this: You can’t have it all. That is, you can’t have a virginal conception and an incarnation. In the first century, they could put the two together conceptually. It made sense, given their understanding of biology, procreation, and so on. Yes, the virgin birth (for the biblical writers and the early theologians) was predicated on a divine miracle. God interrupted… Read more

December 22, 2017

When I began researching the material for A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters, I knew I would find the material on the scientific phenomenon parthenogensis (asexual reproduction) fascinating. I didn’t know how much it would blow me away, though. Parthenogenesis is defined (via Wikipedia) as “a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization.” When I first starting writing the book, I thought parthenogenesis would lend at… Read more

December 15, 2017

One of the sources I found most useful as I researched for my book, A Complicated Pregnancy: Whether Mary Was a Virgin and Why It Matters, was a very thorough, informative, book on the subject by Andrew Lincoln: Born of a Virgin? Reconceiving Jesus in the Bible, Tradition, and Theology.  It was the weight of the arguments he presents in that book that tilted my own position in a different direction from whence I began my theological journey on the question. He argues… Read more

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