Category Archives: free will

Making Theological Trouble for Ourselves or Why I am not a Calvinist

Rom 8:28

I heard it again last week, the platitude people use in the face of tragedy:  “We do not know the mind of God.  What we see as bad may, in fact, be part of God’s mysterious plan.  God is in control.”  People seem to need either to comfort themselves over the fact that life is always uncertain and often painful, or to protect God, or their idea of God, from Continue reading Making Theological Trouble for Ourselves or Why I am not a Calvinist

Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

Exod 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10

A reader and long-time friend emailed me this week with a question concerning the statement in the Decalog that God “visits the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate [God]” (Exod 20:5; Deut 5:9; my translation; cf. also Exod 34:6-7; Deut 7:9-10; Jer 32:18; and Ps 105:8=1 Chron 16:15).  On its face, this Continue reading Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

Biblical Humanism

“The world come of age is more god-less and perhaps just because of that closer to God than the world not yet come of age.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letter dated 18 July 1944

Years ago, when I was interim pastor of a small church in Tennessee, a woman in the church stopped me in the hallway between Sunday School and worship to ask for prayer.  I am terrible with names, so, anticipating that she had news of illness, death, or difficulty in the life of a church member, family member, or friend, I took out the note pad I kept in my Continue reading Biblical Humanism

An Easter Confession

“Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29 and par.)

Yesterday churches across the world experienced the highest attendance levels that they will experience all year.  Attendance next Sunday, at least in the West, however, will confirm the trends indicated in the surveys about religion and the statistics concerning denominational decline.  For many reasons, some clearly identifiable and others

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The Sovereignty of God and the Sears Catalog

On Genesis 17

Some years ago, Dennis came to my office to talk about how his study of the Bible had reshaped his understanding of God.  He related an episode in his life just a few years earlier involving the purchase of a swing set for his young daughter.  His church background had emphasized the sovereignty of God, including the notion that God’s

Continue reading The Sovereignty of God and the Sears Catalog