Liberty, Wild and Free

BCMVII6673The fourth of July has become my favorite national holiday. I love the sense of nationalistic pride that comes from hearing patriotic songs on the radio. I love the brilliance and boldness of the red, white, and blue of the American flag displayed everywhere. I love the tumultuous sound of military aircraft on display down by the river in our town in the late afternoon hours as we wait for the coming of the dark. And I love the sights and sounds, the lightning flash and thunderclap, of fireworks bombarding the night sky and penetrating into my soul. I love all these things for what they have come to symbolize for me and so many others: freedom.

But what is freedom? What is liberty? Can anyone really possess these things? Are not those who claim to be free simply delusional, ignorant of reality? Can I really be free if I am required to work to earn money to pay bills and eat and cloth myself and my family and stay alive? Is not liberty elusive, deceptive, unattainable, and so unsatisfying? Can anyone legitimately say that they are truly free? Continue reading

Reading Backwards

41pum5wfyul-_sy344_bo1204203200_I wrote a review of Richard B. Hay’s Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel. This was an excellent work that really caused me to reexamine some of my presuppositions when it comes to reading the gospels and the OT. You can find the review here:

https://www.westernseminary.edu/transformedblog/2017/06/29/reading-backwards-figural-christology-and-the-fourfold-gospel-witness/

Tell me what you think!

Eternal Relational Subordination and the History of the Church (Pt. 2)

57KRVGK2H9In the first part of this article I argued that evangelicalism is engaged in a civil war on the theological battlefield of Trinitarianism in regard to the heated and divisive issue of the eternal relational subordination of the Son. For an elaboration of this statement, see Part 1.  One common argument against the eternal subordination of the Son (ESS) is that it is a modern invention created in the 20th century by those who were looking for added theological support for discussions of gender and church roles. Opponents of ESS claim that using the eternal subordination of the Son  as a way to support gender distinctions within the church and marital relationships is heretical because it goes against the orthodox teaching of the church.

Is this accusation valid? In the previous article we saw that among church fathers of the patristic period there was no harmonious agreement either rejecting or accepting the eternal relational subordination of the Son from 1 Corinthians 15:27-28. But what about during the medieval, Reformation, and post-Reformation periods? The following is an examination of 1 Cor. 15:27-28 in post-patristic church history. At the close of this article I will offer some concluding thoughts and the implications of this study on the current Trinitarian debate. Continue reading

Stop Labeling Him “Doubting Thomas”

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In John’s gospel Thomas is absent from the larger group of disciples when Jesus makes His first appearance to them. As a result of this absence, Thomas does not see Jesus, and when the other disciples tell him what has transpired, he refuses to believe. In our day Thomas has been given the label “doubting” because of his lack of faith that Jesus had really risen from the dead. I would like to suggest that this label is misleading, over-simplistic, and ultimately unhelpful. Thomas has gotten a bad reputation in the church today for his doubt, but what if doubt wasn’t really the problem at all? Continue reading

Why is the Birth of Jesus Good News?

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“And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”    (Luke 2:8-11)

There’s a lot of good news at Christmas time. For children, there are shouts of joy for presents under the tree on Christmas morning or weather reports of giant snowstorms on the way and days off of school. For adults, announcements of Christmas parties, bonuses, time off, paid vacation!

But why is the birth of Jesus good news? Why do we, two thousand years later, celebrate the birth of a Jewish boy from a home of unimportant nobodies in an unimportant Podunk city in the ancient Middle Eastern nowhere? How does this event that took place so long ago have any bearing on our lives today? The angel’s words to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-11 help us understand. Continue reading

An Aerial View of Ephesians

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A few months ago I wrote a post called “Christ, the Cosmos, and the Church,” surveying some lessons I had been learning in the letter to the Ephesians. The past three Sundays I’ve had the opportunity to preach through the letter. I decided to do an aerial view of the letter. I wanted to look at Ephesians as a whole and see how Paul incorporates themes and elements throughout the entirety of the letter, rather than breaking it up into smaller, isolated portions and examining them alone. The following are several themes that came to the foreground in preparing the messages. Continue reading

What Can Only Be Known Through the Cross

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In John 17:1 Jesus prays to the Father and asks that He would glorify the Son. The reason Jesus asks this is spelled out in the following verses: 1. Jesus wanted to be glorified so that He could in turn glorify the Father (v. 1). 2. Jesus would accomplish this by completing the work He had been given to do, defined in v. 2 as giving eternal life to all whom the Father would give to Him. 3. Eternal life is defined as knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom God had sent (v. 3). To summarize, Jesus asks the Father to glorify Him so that He could glorify the Father by giving the knowledge of the Triune God (eternal life) to all whom the Father had given Him. Continue reading