In my paper for this year’s annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I argue that a Protestant principle of sola Scriptura can provide a methodological guardrail against tendencies toward what I’m calling either cataphatic “indulgence” or apophatic “indigence” in constructive theological labor. Here I draw from Kevin Vanhoozer’s essay on sola Scriptura in Biblical Authority After Babel, which defines Scripture as clear, self-sufficient, and self-interpreting, yielding a canonical “practice of using Scripture to interpret Scripture” which nevertheless avoids a narrow biblicism (solo or nuda Scriptura) and engages robustly with the catholic tradition. …
In a recent article, Florida pastor Tom Ascol argues that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) should elect a local church pastor for its next President. Ascol pushes back against the selection of a denominationally employed “bureaucrat.” The article implies or asserts a number of problems with a denominationally employed leader.
Ascol argues that denominational bureaucrats (by which he largely means the administration and faculty of the SBC seminaries) traded orthodox theology for something unbiblical, leading to the need for the reformation of the SBC in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Ascol also correlates the bureaucratic organs in Washington (what some call the “Deep State”) with current employees of SBC entities. Some of these employees promote positions Ascol considers unbiblical, refusing to stiffen their spines and stand for the gospel. Instead, Ascol argues, these employees work for us, the pastors and members of SBC churches, who “own the institutions” and “pay their salaries.” …
On September 11, 2001, as waves of terror from the collapse of the twin towers pulsed across the continent, my friend Shawn and I packed up his 1987 Honda Civic to start the drive from Northern California to the Canadian border. No, we weren’t fleeing for fear. We had long been planning a gap year at Capernwray Harbor, a small Christian training center embedded on an island in British Columbia’s cold Pacific waters. At Capernwray, I lived in a cabin with half a dozen other men. Sean was from Seattle, Thomas and Marcus were from Germany, Cyriac was from India, while Chad and Steve were the resident Canadians. The months after 9/11 juxtaposed with these friends and others who introduced me to a global church embedded into a global community. I was both more proud than ever to be an American, and less arrogant than ever about my American identity. More significantly, this diverse clustering of Christians from the nations impressed me as a glimpse of the reality of Christ’s transnational and pan-national bride: “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. …
now faintly dappled by spots,
backgrounded a decade times five;
this cloud of witness would testify
to a life’s time labored
in the shadow of friends,
once fresh and now weathered
some folded and stained,
spines cracked (despite care).
Ears attentive could overhear
old discussions in marginal marks.
Except they all lay now in boxes
for flesh, paper, and bone;
buried in dirt or the dust of a room
unwanted by any,
The heartbreaking story of Ahmaud Arbery broke over the nation this week, with millions seeing a video of him being shot by two white men in February. These men, father and son Greg and Travis McDaniel, claimed that Arbery looked like someone who had been caught burglaring on home security video. They saw him running through their neighborhood, armed themselves, chased him down, and when he tried to defend himself, they shot him and killed him in the middle of the street. The video is sickening, as Arbery stumbles and collapses, breathing his last.
A wave of outrage and lament has broken out across social media, and the shooters have finally been arrested. Among the many voices of lament, a few have raised a fairly standard list of questions, “Why is this such a huge deal?” “Why don’t we lament the killing or murder of every person, white or black?” “How you do know this was racism and not merely self-defense?” …
I was sixteen days into the season I’d been dreaming about for a decade and a half. After spending almost nine years pastoring an established church, I was now a full-time church planter. Everyone said I would feel like a bird with unclipped wings, uncaged and free to fully follow God’s call. But just over two weeks into this season of free range ministry, a door with iron bars imprisoned me. …
In light of the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, many churches, ours included, have suspended physical church gatherings. This is an unprecedented situation and leaders, church leaders included, are writing the playbook in real time. While many have argued for suspended church gatherings, others have argued against it. Here I want to argue why a church should suspend church gatherings in light of the coronavirus and COVID-19, and to provide responses to a few arguments for why a church might want to continue to gather.
First, Christians are called to love their neighbors. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Part of loving our neighbors means seeking their peace and welfare. We are ultimately concerned for their eternal destiny with God, and we are also concerned with their life in this world. We are not of the world, but we are in the world. And in the world we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, if we can stop the spread of disease to those who are vulnerable in our community, then we are acting not in fear but in love. …
To celebrate my 39th birthday today, here are 39 quotes on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son of God.
“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross. …
Many evangelicals have defended supporting Donald Trump by drawing a parallel between Trump and the Persian king Cyrus. Many are confused and are not sure if this is a legitimate parallel. Does the story of Cyrus support (or even demand) voting for Trump? To answer let’s first look at the story of Cyrus.
Under the rightful rulers of David’s lineage, the people of God nevertheless sinned and fell in idolatry over and over. In response and after many warnings, God disciplined them for their idolatry. He sent many of the Israelites into exile for 70 years, with the temple being destroyed in 586BC. Many of the Israelites were resident aliens in Babylon. In 539 BC Cyrus defeated the reigning king of Babylon in the midst of establishing the largest empire in ancient history to that point. Unlike previous emperors, Cyrus believed that the best policy for ruling a diverse empire was tolerating the religious and cultural practices of the different people in the land. We see from the book of Isaiah that Cyrus was led to these policies by the providential direction of God. …