But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Scriptorium Daily - Apologetic Report

Daniel Treier’s new (third) edition of imageThe Evangelical Dictionary of Theology has just been published, and it’s a marvel. A big hardcover weighing in at just under 1,000 pages, it is a wisely-planned compendium of theology and spiritual life from an evangelical perspective. Every...

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Monday, 06 November 2017 15:30

Cover Story: Constellation of Truths

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The book I co-edited, Retrieving Eternal Generation, is releasing this month, and a few people have asked me about the cover. The beautiful, beautiful cover.

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There are a few reasons this cover features golden stars on a blue background.

One is that I saw an opportunity to make people look at mosa...

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Sunday, 05 November 2017 06:52

The Life in Christ, with Careful Distinctions

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In Book 1 of Nicholas Cabasilas’ classic The Life in Christ, he sings the praises of salvation at such a high pitch that you think he’s likely at any moment to say some things that only make sense as ecstatic speech rather than as good theology.

“They are no trifling gifts that God...

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Tuesday, 31 October 2017 17:14

Thiselton, Briefly, on the Holy Spirit

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image My review of Anthony Thiselton’s Shorter Guide to the Holy Spirit is out in the new issue of Theology Today. Here’s the most substantive paragraph from the review, which picks out an important contribution Thiselton makes:

There are a few theses running through all this material....

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Thursday, 26 October 2017 16:46

Anthropology Class for LATC18

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In mid-January of 2018, Fuller Theological Seminary is hosting the sixth annual Los Angeles Theology Conference. The topic is theological anthropology: The Christian Doctrine of Humanity.

As usual, I’m offering a class at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology in conjunction with LATC. The...

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Thursday, 19 October 2017 02:22

Cross in Pompeii and Ancient Theology

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In case you weren’t paying close attention, 2015 was a bad year for an old thesis.

You may have heard or read the claim that Christians in the first three centuries of the church didn’t use the cross in their art or worship—that it was a brutal symbol of persecution, and that they...

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We made our annual pilgrimage this year—not to a temple or a religious site (much as I would like to visit the Holy Land!). We made our annual trip northward to visit more of America’s National Parks on our way to see family in Washington and Idaho. This year, five nights in Yellowstone...

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Tuesday, 03 October 2017 14:29

Invisible Mission of the Trinity

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The Father sent the Son to save sinners. The main thing that should make us think of is, of course, the incarnation, in which the Son of God took human nature into personal union with himself and lived out divine sonship in the stuff of earth: as Jesus Christ, born of Mary, entangled in social and...

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Tuesday, 26 September 2017 04:15

Luther Contra Judaeos on the Last Words of David

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image I’m teaching a class session on Martin Luther’s amazing treatise “On the Last Words of David,” which is Luther’s most satisfying exposition of Trinitarian interpretation of the Bible. It really is a handbook of principles on how to interpret Scripture in...

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Saturday, 09 September 2017 08:49

3 Favorite Robert Jenson Moments

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image Theologian Robert W. Jenson died this week, after a very productive life of writing theology. His contributions to the field are numerous and wide-ranging, and yet his life-work had a remarkable coherence and focus. There’s an identifiable set of Jenson proposals out there to be dealt with...

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Monday, 28 August 2017 18:27

Rereading Ephesians

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imageI’m teaching Ephesians this semester at the Los Angeles Bible Training School, which I continue to call the best Bible Institute in Los Angeles. Well over a half century of urban ministry centered on the Bible, and the courses are free.

Whenever possible in any context, I teach the Bible using...

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Sunday, 27 August 2017 15:08

Karl Barth’s Ephesians Lectures

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imageWay back in 1921, Karl Barth taught a course on Ephesians. The lectures from that course have finally been published in English, and while they have some of the defects that are to be expected from a lecture script that the author never revised for publication, they do not disappoint. This short...

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Thursday, 24 August 2017 15:30

The Other Barth

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image It’s possible I’m the only systematic theologian in the world who was a big fan of Markus Barth before I even knew Karl Barth existed. True story, and it’s because of Ephesians.

I got saved in high school and then went to a state university to study drawing. I was more or less on...

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017 16:27

Let’s Proceed, I Reckon

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image The title caught my eye: “Processions, Human and Divine.” I am very (very!) interested in divine processions: the eternal generation of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge of these two processions is knowledge of the Trinity. But what are these “human...

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Monday, 21 August 2017 17:14

Readings in Luther and Calvin

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October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation’s symbolic beginning: Luther’s posting of his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg castle church.

To celebrate, three Torrey theologians are co-teaching an upper-division elective seminar on the Reformation. Matt Jenson, Greg...

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Sunday, 20 August 2017 17:30

Trinity and Atonement Essay

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imageAdam Johnson’sT&T Clark Companion to Atonement has just dropped like the hundred-plus chapter, hundred-plus dollar behemoth that it is. More on that later.

For now I’m just posting an excerpt from the chapter I wrote for it, entitled “These Three Atone: Trinity and...

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Tuesday, 15 August 2017 17:29

Save Us, Sententious Johnson

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image One of the amazing things about Samuel Johnson’s writing style is his ability to reduce any idea to an aphorism, a fresh little proverb that arises perfectly from the situation in front of him but reaches up to the heaven of abstraction.

Just about any page of Johnson will serve to illustrate...

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image What I love in theology is the big picture, the long lines of continuity. Whenever I read, I’m always looking for the unifying perspective that arises when a theologian finds an angle from which to behold the overarching unity that lets all the details settle into place.

What I dread most in...

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Monday, 14 August 2017 07:39

The Prayer and the Cry (Luther on Psalm 102)

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image The first line of Psalm 102 asks God the same thing twice: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.”

Or does it? Martin Luther, commenting on the psalm, takes the two requests as really distinct from each other: on the one hand there’s a prayer, and on the other...

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Friday, 11 August 2017 03:56

Online Course for The Triune God

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If you’d like to take a class with me on the doctrine of the Trinity, you don’t have many options. I teach in a small program for undergrads only, and they get most of my teaching time. So my classroom presence is pretty limited to Torrey Honors students.

[record scratch noise] UNTIL NOW!...

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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 15:04

The Ideal in Pride and Prejudice (Common Room)

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Check out this conversation on a Jane Austen novel: it’s a chat among two philosophers and an Old Testament prof, so it gets philosophical and theological (Aristotle and Proverbs are both invoked). But it’s also powerfully good reflection on a book that all three participants obviously...

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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 07:51

E.J. Pace’s Cartoons and Theology Graphics

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image The breaking news part of this post is that Biola library’s Christian Comics Collection, already the deepest archive of its kind, has recently acquired a large set of comics by cartoonist Ernest James Pace (1880-1946).

This is important because Pace was an early pioneer of Christian...

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Monday, 07 August 2017 08:30

Carl Beckwith on The Holy Trinity

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(The Holy Trinity is not 3 Lutherans, you jokers. That happens to be the series cover.)

My review of Carl Beckwith‘s 2016 book The Holy Trinity just appeared in the July 2017 issue of The International Journal of Systematic Theology.

It is a fantastic book, and I wanted to blog about it...

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Sunday, 25 June 2017 17:05

Thoughts While Reading Chalmers

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image The command to do good, and to be good, sounds very deep and powerful. It vibrates with all the seriousness of a divine voice of command. Whenever I see it turning the heads and hearts of young people, I regard it with a kind of veneration: what a miracle to see young people fall in love with...

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image Sometimes the doctrine of the Trinity is presented as if it is the solution to the problems that would surface in mere (unipersonal) monotheism.

A merely unipersonal deity, it is said, could not be love, and therefore only on the grounds of Trinitarian revelation could the message that God is love...

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