Despite all of its bitterness, 2020 also shared its slice of sweetnesses. For me, I thank the Lord for concentrated time with our little family and extra bandwidth for reading and reflection. I enjoyed, learned, and grew through reading a number of books this year, and here are my top choices from 2020. Five were published in 20202, and six were books I read this year (several of which I wish I had read much earlier!).
Katerine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: Processessions and Persons. In full disclosure, I am reading this one slowly…
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. I argue that this tradition functions like…
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…
Actions follow faith. Everything we consciously do follows our beliefs about that thing. Every person believes something about every conscious action in their life. Those beliefs may be largely subconscious, they may form almost instantaneously, or they may simmer slowly and deliberately in our hearts and minds. But whether it’s changing lanes on Federal Highway or giving our life to Christ, we choose any specific action because we believe that it provides the best option for us. We enroll our kids in school, because we believe they need to learn, grow, and make friends. …
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…
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…
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 the semester leading up to our church launch, I had committed to teach a number of theology classes as an adjunct professor. This was in part because I’m…
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…
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. For this reason God highly exalted him and…
Walking with Jesus, @LauraSlavich, our kids, and the @CrossUnitedSFL fam in the warm breezes of sunny SoFla