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”
Do Unto Others
Read in tandem, Genesis 1 and 2 state perhaps the most fundamental polarity of human existence. Genesis 1 describes God’s creation of humankind in God’s very own “image and likeness.” It is difficult to imagine a more definitive declaration of the dignity and significance of being human. Humans bear God’s image; every human being is like God. Of Continue reading Dirt to Dust
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
The political season began in earnest yesterday. It seems to me that politics represent “an attractive menace” for Christians. What can be more important than determining the values and policies that govern everyone’s everyday lives? Christians must be interested and involved. On the other hand, of course, lie the temptations to exercise control over others, to mistake temporal concerns for eternal, to compromise the core of Christian identity, and a host of others. I addressed these concerns in a series of lectures entitled “Baptist Polity, Biblical Theology, and Responsible Citizenship” delivered as the Solon B. Cousins Lectures at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond March 29-30, 2016. Below is an excerpt outlining what I believe to be the principle temptations. The full text of the lectures is available under the “Sermons and Lectures” tab on this website.
And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is coming before me because the earth is full of violence (hamas) because of them. Now I am about to destroy them along with the earth. (Gen 6:13, my trans.)
The Priestly authors of portions of the Genesis narratives of the beginnings of the human race did not clearly elucidate their understanding of humanity’s responsibility for “subduing” the earth, but they did include statements that rule out any notion that this responsibility could include exploitation. In the Genesis 1 creation account, for example, Continue reading Hamas!
“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
“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
“The chief end of [humankind] is to glorify God.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Readers of the Bible will recognize the title of this entry as a paraphrase of Genesis 1:26, the statement of God’s intention to create humankind. The paraphrase echoes a position often taken by critics of religion (Sigmund Freud, and more recently Christopher Kitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others), namely, that human beings simply project a super-human