Category Archives: sin

No Stream without a Source

Part II

In the most recent entry in this blog, I reacted to Brent Strawn’s, The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment by offering reflections concerning factors that may contribute to the phenomenon Strawn describes.  This second entry on the subject will examine some of the dangers for believers and for the church inherent in Continue reading No Stream without a Source

Because he could

Gen 32:28

Translating from one language to another always involves imprecision and a degree of informed speculation.  Such is especially the case with dead languages since the translator cannot have access to a native speaker for advice.  One passage in Genesis has long intrigued me because the almost universally accepted translation does not seem to fit the Continue reading Because he could

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?

“Be Angry and Sin Not”

Eph 4:26 (Ps 4:5 [4])

My parents had a mixed marriage of sorts.  My mother had Quaker and strict Methodist heritage; my father was (still is, he would say) a United States Marine.  Mother taught me that I should avoid conflict, bear insult and injury with quiet grace, and, above all else, maintain control of my temper.  In her view, anger was always and only as dangerous and Continue reading “Be Angry and Sin Not”

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

Poor Happens

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (John 9:2 NAS)

Poverty is not (proof of) sin.  Poverty is not a character flaw.  Poverty happens to people.

John’s Gospel records an episode in Jesus’ ministry in which his disciples revealed their sadly respectable conventionality.  Two prominent strands of theological tradition running throughout the Old Testament converged in their question concerning the identity of the sinner responsible for an unfortunate man’s blindness.

Continue reading Poor Happens