Some twist of fate tossed me and my wonderful Jesus of Nazareth students into a brand new classroom outfitted with the wizardry of technology. Tuesday morning I entered the room, walked to the “rostrum” (not sure of the right word […]
This is the last of my posts on David Wells’ new book, Above All Earthly Pow’rs. I thought his criticism a bit relentless, and I found his conclusion a bit surprising, but I thought his emphasis on immigration as significant […]
You just have to be impressed by the number of times in Romans Paul pulls things together with this idea: therefore, “all” who believe (anyone/everyone) in the Messiah will be saved/justified. At times we emphasize the “saved/justified” part, but Wright […]
I’m asking for your cooperation today. First a question about women in ministry and then some guidelines for participation. The question: Why is it that, in denominations that have chosen to ordain women, ordained women are not being appointed or […]
David Wells, in his new book Above All Earthly Pow’rs, points a big finger at megachurches and seeker-friendly churches for their approach to ministry — for “doing church differently.” He points to five factors leading to this new approach, and […]
What does “If you confess with your lips Jesus Christ as Lord…” mean? Here Paul defines what a Christian is.
I frequent your website the “Jesus Creed” and greatly appreciate what you have to add regarding various issues of the Christian faith. I am currently reading your book Praying with the Church and find it delightful that you appreciate many […]
I’ve been asked by a handful of people to comment about the most recent article in Christianity Today called “Young, Restless, Reformed,” the cover story for September’s edition. Calvinism, the article records, is making a comeback among young evangelical (especially […]
The Law comes to its goal in the Messiah; one is place “in” the Messiah by “believing”. In the Messiah one finds “righteousness.” Thus Rom 10:1-4. In 10:5 Paul sets those verses in context with Moses, who said that “the […]
Last Friday we took an initial look at what I am calling Neo-Fundamentalism. Today we will look at the core driving force to Neo-Fundamentalism, but before doing that, we need to see its relationship to Fundamentalism.
After four days of editing my Mary ms, I’m about to write a brief note to my editor, Lil Copan, to tell her that writing in green instead of red doesn’t lessen the pain. Sure, sure, I’ll tell her, the […]
What does Paul mean when he says in Romans 10:4 that Christ is the “end of the Law”? Without getting into a massive hornet’s nest of stinging-bee theologians, I want to narrow the discussion to what Wright says about it […]
Gene Appel preached last night about fear, and he explored that theme through Mark 4:35-41. In this passage Jesus is asleep in a boat while his disciples worry. Gene made plenty of connections to real-life experiences of fear, but what […]
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and […]
Kris began the day on the back porch reading the newspaper. 25 or so minutes into her read she opened the back door to say, “I’ve found a movie for us tonight.” I asked, “What’s it called?” She said, “Invincible.”
Real church: check out this story from Don Johnson at Jibstay.
We have a desktop iMac and I write on a Powerbook G4. I use Entourage as my e-mail application, and the mail from North Park just shows up (like magic to me) at home in my Entourage account. But, today […]
Tuesday morning, in a short conversation with a colleague, we had a moment where we agreed on something we had never spoken to each other about. We have both observed the rise of a neo-fundamentalism. What struck both of us […]
In chp 10 of Joseph Epstein’s book, Friendship: An Expose, Epstein asks this question: What are the friendships between males like? What do you think of the following quotations?
Paul’s heart is for “Israel” (not specifically named in Rom. 10:1-4 but implicit); his prayer is for their “salvation.” Beyond the Exile, if we follow the motion of Paul, there will be Covenant Renewal, and that will occur in Christ.
We have a new colleague in our BTS Dept at North Park: Joel Willitts. Having figured out this blogging world a bit, I thought it might be a good time to record some thoughts of what I wish a veteran […]
Yesterday, sitting in the living room sipping on coffee and peeking out the picture window, I was waiting for the FedEx man to arrive at our home because the edited manuscript of The Real Mary was scheduled to arrive before […]
Paul’s logic is patently clear: Israel did not obtain righteousness (as a status before God) while the non-covenant people, the Gentiles, did obtain righteousness. Paul clarifies why “Israel” did not get it and why the Gentiles did:
Some students cheat. I heard a story yesterday from another North Park professor of two new ways students cheat, and each of them surprised me. Some students text message questions from the classroom to friends outside the classroom who, in […]
David Wells, author of Above All Earthly Pow’rs, was one of my teachers in seminary and the best lecturer I have ever heard. I was mesmerized by his sketch of theology, and will never forget his standard answer to questions: […]
The judgment of Exile, when “My people” became “Not my people” is undone when God acts to restore Israel to the Land. Paul, in Romans 9:25-29, quotes from Hosea to evoke God’s covenant faithfulness beyond the judgment of Exile. Paul […]
Not in mine. I am one of the only professors or preachers in the Western world today who has never done a PowerPoint presentation and who, in fact, doesn’t even know how to do one. I’ve got the software and […]
If you are interested in reading how 20somethings sometimes think about the church and how they think it falls way short of what it is supposed to be like, and if at the same time you want to see that […]
No one could dispute the force of Paul’s heavy hand in Romans 9:19-24. After advocating that God’s elective grace has been at work from the time of Abraham on, it is only natural (in Paul’s sense of the term) for […]
It came to my attention too late to do anything about it last semester, but I heard from a student or two by accident that a few students were sitting in the back of the class and surfing the net […]
I’m not sure how to describe Hope in the Dark. It is a book of pictures by Jeremy Cowart with some textual observations by Jena Lee. What about? Life in Africa. Visual, real, and not staged. You will not find […]
Let us just say that a friend of mine gently reminded me (on the phone last Friday) that this might be a good opportunity to ask a much-neglected question in Romans study: Who is “Israel” in Romans? I’m willing to […]
Kris and I were surrounded by Cardinal fans, kept our hope up and, sure enough, the Cubs won it in the 10th when Phil Nevin knocked the ball to the wall and drove in Jacque Jones. Other than seeing the […]
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all people, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with […]
My father taught high school in the 1950s in a small village in central Illinois named Roodhouse. One of his students, Bill Roberts, has become a respectable attorney in Springfield. His offices have a Sky Box suite at Wrigley Field. […]
Overstatement of the week: here’s what somone said when the animal activists won out and now Chicago is banning foie gras: “Given animal rights activists’ success getting foie gras banned in Chicago, Didier Durand, the chef and owner of Cyrano’s, […]
Because of some time teaching at a seminary and now at a college, I’ve been asked to reflect on the difference between teaching seminary students and college students. I haven’t taught seminary students in 12 years, and will get to […]
As I said last Thursday, Jarrett Stevens’ new book, The Deity Formerly Known as God, is a remake of J.B. Phillips’ famous Your God is Too Small. The book is definitely designed for the younger generation (than mine). The first […]
If this does breathe the air that eventually became Calvinism, I don’t know what does: “So then he [God] has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he [God] hardens the heart of whomever he chooses” (Romans 9:18).
We’ve been looking this week at emerging and orthodoxy. I stand in line with those who affirm orthodoxy, but I’m quite happy to have conversation with those who have their questions. But the importance of such conversation does not replace […]
Some titles of books work, and some don’t. Jarrett Stevens’ new book, The Deity Formerly Known as God (Zondervan, 2006), is a title that works. I’ll post on this book twice.
Paul begins exploring his major issue — God’s faithfulness and the place of Israel in God’s plan — by saying this: If you look at it, it has never really been just “flesh” that makes a person part of “Israel.” […]
What is the relationship of the emerging movement and the orthodox creeds? How do you think it relates or should relate to orthodoxy? Well, I don’t speak for anyone, but I’ll tell you what I think: it varies. (I’ll bet […]
Here’s a fool-proof method of keeping your desk clean, your kitchen counter tidy, your bedroom closet in order, and your e-mail box on the first page!
Paul’s anguish over Israel, though not stated until 10:1 and 11:11 and 11:23, is that they do not believe in Jesus as Messiah. Paul worries over Israel’s salvation and he worries the Gentiles in Rome will be glad to have […]
The word “orthodoxy” is slippery today, and many use it for something more than the historic creeds. Orthodoxy refers to the faith statements of the classical creeds. “Heresy” refers to teachings contrary to those creeds. This week we are exploring […]
Sunday I spoke at NorthBridge Church. They asked me to initiate a new teaching series on the Apostle’s Guide to Missional Living as taken from 1 Peter. It’s a great church to attend, so I was really honored to be […]
“Everything,” Tom Wright says in his intro to Romans 9–11, “about Romans 9-11 is controversial…. CH Dodd, notoriously, regarded it as an old sermon that Paul happened to have by him” (620). Many today, including Wright, think these three chps […]
For many in the emerging movement there is a good reason to express the Christian faith by appealing to the creeds: that reason is ecumenical. By appealing to the creeds one is able to get way behind and well beyond […]
From Bob, and I hope you’ll continue to pray for him and his heart, and Linda and those kids. I know I’m praying for him often.:
The 6th and 7th questions of Romans 8:31-39 is this: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” “Will hardship…?” The answer to the sixth question, again, is “Nobody!” The answer to the seventh one is “No!” The context […]
Here’s a letter from a reader: please think this over and if you have thoughts for Mike, please give them either here or at his site.Hey Scot, Looking for some advice from Christians with older children. Our church is a […]
Almighty God, who has given your only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of his godly life: Give me grace that I may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit and […]
This from RJS: It is amazing how the same things keep coming up – another quote from Franklin’s autobiography:
This “tag” records Kris’ comments; she was tagged by Lukas. 1. One book that changed your life: Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
I begin this week with the need once again to pray for Bob Robinson and his heart. See his story here.
Joseph Epstein’s Friendship: An Expose tackles a politically incorrect subject: the difference in friendship between men and women. So, let’s see what we really do think. I’ll give you some quotations from Epstein and you ponder them to see if […]
I was thoroughly impressed with Christopher Bryan’s Render to Caesar study of how the Bible understands power and empire. In this post, I want to draw together his major points, and I think you will see that much of the […]
Question #5: “Who is to condemn?” That’s a good question. Who might Paul have in mind?
Kris is the gardener in the family: she thinks about flowers and plants and trees; she waters them regularly so they don’t croak. I’m called in for two things: I mow and I do the heavy stuff. This Spring we […]
Sometime back I did a couple of posts about emerging evangelism to see where my thinking was on what I think is a pressing new issue: how to evangelize in a postmodern age to what I call the “Mr. Rogers […]
Romans 8:31-39 is a series of seven questions about the logic of love, the logic of God’s grace in Christ, and the assurance that comes to those in Christ. The deep structure is this: God’s promise leads to the believer’s […]
Some of you are facing a new reality, in fact a life change. Some of you are packing and buying and ordering U-Hauls or plane tickets for your son or daughter to go off to college. I will see such […]
Christopher Bryan is, if his prose any indicator, both a scholar’s curmudgeon — much on the order of Morna Hooker — and a happy person. He’s a scholar’s curmudgeon because he doesn’t buy trendy scholarship just because everyone likes it, […]
At the very center of the world’s redemption is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The intention of God is to call others into the “ambit” of his Son, or to call humans to be “in Christ.” When all is […]
By Steve McCoy: 1. One book that changed your life: D. Bohoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship. I read it in college and it has haunted my life. I’ve read most of it in German as well, and am moved everytime […]
What about universalism? Before I say anything, I want to ask if you think the following proposal by Spencer is universalist or if it is not more accurately a (very, very) “generous inclusivism”? Here are Spencer Burke’s central theses, and […]
This verse, the “God works all things together…” verse, needs nothing other than its verse as the title for today’s post. Favorite verses are neither easy to preach or write about. A few comments can be made:
Saturday’s post on plagiarism took me by surprise. Lots of chat for a Saturday. The challenge to preach and teach weekly, and often more than once, is far more challenging than most comprehend. I’m wondering what you do to keep […]
Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” Let’s continue the Christian and politics theme this week by looking at what the Bible says about empire and power. To do this, we will look […]
A genuine Christian experience in prayer is to come to the edge of the road and to recognize uncharted territory and not know the way — but, instead of turning back, cutting our way through the thickets and dense grasses […]
Grant to me, Lord, I pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that I, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ my […]
The NY Times ran an article about pastors swiping sermons from sermon sources, and then Out of Ur ran a piece which got some comments. (HT: Garry Poole) I’m wondering what you think. Here are my thoughts:
Barna on growing house church attendance and on the lack of relationships among pastors.
The conclusion to Randall Balmer’s Thy Kingdom Come is both a jeremiad and a plea — a critique of the Religious Right and a basket of suggestions of how evangelicals can move forward. There is no way to sum this […]
I’ve got a book that you need (or one like it): Ginny Olson’s Teenage Girls: Exploring Issues Adolescent Girls Face and Strategies to Help Them. Recently Kris and I were at a store, we went to the counter, and I […]
What are the obligations of friendship? What can a friend reasonably expect of a friend? I’ve not thought much about this, other than in the quiet moments of visceral responses when something happens in a relationship to a friend. So, […]
Three voices are groaning at the same time, and if you listen you will hear each. If you listen, you will hear not just a groaning but the groaning pains of a woman in labor trying to give birth. Who […]
Had the Apostle Paul lived to see the war of Rome with Israel in 66-73 AD, what would he have done? Here are some considerations:
Turning Lemons into Lemonade, Paraclete Press Announces an Innovative Book Sale Unlike Any Other! Pastors, youth pastors, and other ministry leaders are offered Paraclete’s best titles at outrageously low prices!
The third section of Spencer Burke’s A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity is called “Living in Grace: Mystical Responsibility.” Again, I’ll provide here the main lines of his thinking:
Within the emerging movement there has been a much-needed shift from emphasizing future redemption to present redemption. It is mistaken to speak of this as a shift from “heaven” to “kingdom,” and by the latter think one can equate kingdom […]
Environmentalism? Where do you stand? Are you green, dark green, light green, or something else? If your tendency is to move to another blog because this post is about something you are not interested in, well maybe you should hang […]
How do you know God’s will? Well, Mike Breaux — who is one of my favorite preachers — preached about this last weekend at Willow Creek and I think his points, even if not new, are spot-on:
Paul is willing to let the penny drop and one place he does is that the indicator that a person is God’s is if they have the Spirit — and one knows if one has the Spirit by the “witness […]
I sent the ms for The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus to the publisher (Paraclete) Friday, and now I await word from my fantastic editor, Lil Copan. The good news is that the book […]
Here’s my thesis: Republicans believe “what is good for me is good for the nation” and Democrats believe “what is good for the nation is good for me.” Christians think “how can I and how can we, as a community […]
Spencer Burke’s A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity is divided into 3 major sections. The second one concerns “Questioning What We Know: New Horizons of Faith.” Because Spencer does not operate rigorously with the law of non-contradiction, but instead operates with […]
Christian existence in the Spirit of God, Paul says in Romans 8:12-17, is learning to anticipate death by dying to the “flesh” in the here and now. Here’s a fine quotation from Tom Wright: