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Photo Credit: dougwest403 via Compfight cc

“To do theology without history is to study cut flowers, not living plants.” So said Michael Blecker, and so I too affirm. In fact, this little series on the cross is governed by that maxim. We are looking at the development of thought concerning the Cross through 30 or so years of New Testament history.

The last post took us through the first ten chapters of the book of Acts, a time period covering up to ten or more years, depending on your chronology. This is the point at which I like to read the letter of James; i.e. sometime after the dispersion of the Jerusalem saints (compare Acts 8:2 with James 1:1). Please understand, however, that though James is traditionally believed to be one of the earliest New Testament writings, most people are not comfortable with placing it in the late 30’s or early 40’s. Nonetheless, I proceed. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: RGNodak via Compfight cc

In the last post I introduced a new study series on the Cross and the hermeneutic with which I am going to approach it. In the weeks to come, we’ll be looking at the progression of thought in the New Testament concerning the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice.

For instance, what did Peter say about the cross on the day of Pentecost, and how did his understanding broaden over subsequent years? At what point(s) in the Story are we introduced to new concepts and further dimensions of the work of Christ? These are the kinds of questions we’ll be analyzing for a while here on the blog. Let’s start at the beginning.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: Doug1021 via Compfight cc

The cross has been on my mind a lot lately. Specifically, I’ve been wondering what it means when Christians say “Jesus died for our sins.”

Atonement theories abound, as there are multiple ways of looking at the sacrifice of Christ. But what did the earliest believers believe?

One thing that’s helpful about New Testament chronology is how it enables you to look at the historical development of early Christian teaching. To move away from a static reading of Scripture is very enlightening. Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: automodelli.brasil via Compfight cc

As I type this post, I am enjoying a rare moment of quiet. The kids are in bed, my wife is away with her lady friends, and I’ve just settled onto the couch for a brief respite.

Life moves so fast, doesn’t it? Mine has been lately. Amidst a number of time-consuming projects and personal concerns, writing has been sporadic. At least concerning the projects, however, I am beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Continue Reading…

Being people of the Tent

January 23, 2016 — 13 Comments
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Photo Credit: YoshiSBX via Compfight cc

Long-time readers of this blog know that I offer a view of the Church which is essentially organic and founded squarely on Christ as Head over all. Of course, what you imagine when you read those terms and what I actually mean may be very different, so if you’re unsure you can always go back and read older posts or, better yet, contact me directly and we’ll talk about it.

Knowing this, you long-time readers may be surprised to find out that I am currently working with a local pastor to develop a network of small groups within our community (Did I tell you that already?). Most of the people who make up these groups are members of various institutional churches. Continue Reading…

What is patience?

December 3, 2015 — 2 Comments
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Photo Credit: Rense Haveman via Compfight cc

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23

Last Sunday, I was invited to speak to a group of Christians who have been going through a series on the fruit of the Spirit, exploring what it means for Christ to live in us.

On tap this week was “patience, kindness, and goodness” (Galatians 5:22), so I opted to talk about Christ as our patience. All spiritual fruit, after all, is only a manifestation of the character of Christ. He Himself is the sum of all spiritual things.  Continue Reading…

Broken homes & holidays

November 27, 2015 — Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: Eneritz Burgoa via Compfight cc

These are the unfiltered musings of my heart, nothing more and nothing less.

Holidays are both wonderful and terrible. Wonderful for the past memories we hold and the potential we have to make new ones. Terrible for the very same reasons.

Holidays are full of joy and full of hurt. Honestly, I wonder which way the scales tip when all of humanity is taken into account. I have my suspicions, but I can’t be sure.  Continue Reading…

God made who in His image?

November 5, 2015 — 3 Comments
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Photo Credit: notashamed via Compfight cc

You may already know (or you may be surprised to find out) that the Creation and Flood stories of the book of Genesis are not unique to ancient literature. That is, they are not the only ones, or the earliest, in existence. The Epic of Gilgamesh is one example of an ancient story depicting the Creation of the world that predates the Biblical account.

If this disturbs you, it shouldn’t. The Genesis account is different from other Ancient Near East creation stories in certain ways that make powerful statements about God. One of those ways came to my attention recently, and I’d like to share it with you.  Continue Reading…

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Photo Credit: dougclemens via Compfight cc

Years ago I worked at a garden center, where one of our best-selling items was a stone statue of Francis of Assisi. Surrounded by all manner of woodland creatures, the statue was true to the legends surrounding Francis. In fact, Francis felt a certain kinship to the birds of the air, and for that matter, to all living creatures. He would refer to the sparrow as “brother bird.” One story even tells of him taming a ravenous wolf through nothing but the gentle spirit of Christ he exuded toward the poor animal.

My God & My All: The Life Story of Saint Francis of AssisiSo I’ve always been intrigued by Francis. When I was offered a copy of Elizabeth Goudge’s My God and My All: The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, I couldn’t resist.

First, the negatives: The author is obviously enamored with Francis. She has nothing but arduous and flowery praise for all of Francis’ ways, even when those ways border on legalism or silly medieval superstition. I also would have liked more clarity on what is acknowledged, or at least believed to be, historical facts about Francis’ life, as opposed to what passes for legend. Some of the tales in this book seem obviously legendary (such as the taming of the wolf I mentioned above), yet Goudge recounts them as history. At least a disclaimer would have been nice. Continue Reading…

Dr. Michael Heiser of the Naked Bible blog & podcast

Dr. Michael Heiser of the Naked Bible blog & podcast

Today I’d like to introduce you to a few new resources for study, starting with the work of Mike Heiser. Mike is a scholar in the field of biblical studies and the ancient Near East and the “scholar-in-residence” of Logos Bible Software.

Mike’s podcast, The Naked Bible, has been a recent source of valuable information that I happened upon through a friend’s recommendation. Currently I am thirty-five episodes in and I must say the content has only gotten richer with each episode.  Continue Reading…