Category Archives: church

Hermeneutics, Consistency, and “Christian Values”

The concept of “Christian values” is playing a prominent role in the public arena today, but my Facebook® feed lately suggests very little agreement among those who call themselves Christian concerning the identification of these values or the definition of them individually. No one should wonder that people outside the church view it with suspicion Continue reading Hermeneutics, Consistency, and “Christian Values”

“Blessed are the peacemakers” – Matt 5:9

Saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace – Jer 8:11

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with nine “Beatitudes” that readers often unfortunately reduce to platitudes.  The seventh, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” for example, can sound like a call to passivity and placidity:  “Blessed are those who accept life with serenity, remaining calm, preserving calm, spreading calm.”  Both the context and Continue reading “Blessed are the peacemakers” – Matt 5:9

A Time of Testing

“For it is the time to begin judgment with the household of God;if we are first, what will be the end of those who not believe in the gospel of God?”

1 Peter 4:17

New Testament scholars identify 1 Peter, along minimally with 2 Peter, Titus, Hebrews, and Revelation, as “persecution literature,” literature produced during a period in which Christians faced oppression and persecution simply because of their faith. Typically, such literature admonishes believers, tempted to escape persecution by renouncing their faith, Continue reading A Time of Testing

What Now?

“For God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of sound judgment” (2 Tim 1:7)

I went to vote first thing this morning on the way into the seminary for an early meeting.  I cast my ballot. When I asked, the precinct workers reported that turnout was up somewhat over recent elections even at the early hour. I stuck my “I Voted” sticker on my lapel.  I left. Continue reading What Now?

A Little Leeway

1 Kgs 19:14; Exod 4:1; Acts 5:38-39; Amos 9:7

On a recent rainy weekend following a particularly demanding work for both of us, my wife and I spent a significant portion of Saturday afternoon watching a “Matlock Marathon” on cable TV. I found it amusing that, quite formulaically, the moment came in every episode we saw when Matlock would stop cross-examining the witness (invariably the true Continue reading A Little Leeway

Take Some Time

Jer 28

When my children were still at home, one of them would sometimes find me sitting at my desk apparently doing nothing. Inevitably, he or she would ask what I was up to; invariably I would answer,”Working.” I remember several such encounters very well because the child in question would also, without exception, express disbelief. Continue reading Take Some Time

My Confession of Faith

For Now

In a few weeks, I begin my twentieth-eighth year teaching, my twentieth at BTSR.  The realization has given me occasion to reflect on a number of matters.  How has my thinking changed?  Has my faith deepened? Continue reading My Confession of Faith

Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Exod 2:24; Judg 2:16; Luke 17:12-19

This time of year means preparation for facing first year students. Most have never engaged in rigorous academic study of the Bible. They come to seminary as I came to my undergraduate religion major, innocently expecting that the Bible says what they have always thought it said and that serious study of it will only confirm what they Continue reading Grace: Transactional or Transformational?

Crossword Two Down – A Seven Letter Word for “Nostalgia”

Amnesia

“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt for free, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic…Now we languish; there is nothing in sight except manna.”  (Num 11:4b-6)

Beginning in Exodus 19 and continuing through all of Leviticus and on to Numbers 10 (all or significant parts of three of the five books of the Torah), the Bible records the Continue reading Crossword Two Down – A Seven Letter Word for “Nostalgia”

Tradition

“…what I in turn had received” (1 Cor 15:3, NRSV)

 

I grew up wanting to believe that I was not much like my Dad, although I was not a very vigorous rebel.  I remember sitting across the table from Dad and thinking, “Boy, are you wrong about that,” without saying a word.  Beginning in my twenties and accelerating in my thirties when I became a father myself, I began to realize, for example, that my Continue reading Tradition