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

Thursday, 12 March 2020 11:08

Biola and the Flu, 1919 Featured

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A few notes here on how the Bible Institute of Los Angeles experienced the devastating influenza pandemic (the “Spanish Flu”) one hundred years ago. Gleaned from online back issues of Biola’s classic old King’s Business magazine.

Because the King’s Business was only a...

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Tuesday, 25 February 2020 08:45

Praying (Hard) Theology: Litany of the Summa Featured

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Imagine studying the doctrinal theology of Thomas Aquinas and then turning it, in considerable detail, into praise.That’s what sixteenth-century Jesuit Francis Borgia did. He wrote a bookwhich is basically key sections of the Summa Theologia cast into the form of prayers. Litanies, to be...

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Friday, 21 February 2020 08:33

Chester, Delighting in the Trinity Featured

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Here is an old book review of an older book: Tim Chester’s Delighting in the Trinity: Why Father, Son, and Spirit are Good News came out back in 2005. When it was re-released in 2010, a popular website asked me to review it. That review was published but has since gone missing from the web...

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Wednesday, 29 January 2020 02:51

Spiritual Manifestation of the Son of God Featured

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Fletcher of Madeley (1729-1785), one of the first Methodist theologians, wrote a small spiritual masterpiece called Six Letters on the Spiritual Manifestation of the Son of God. It gets republished now and then: In a 1968 printing, Martyn Lloyd-Jones called it “undoubtedly a spiritual...

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Saturday, 25 January 2020 04:54

“Does it Render Men More Holy and Happy?” (Fletcher) Featured

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The important early Methodist John William Fletcher (1729-1785) wrote a short piece called Remarks on the Trinity, which has some, well, remarkable lines in it. On the Trinity.

Fletcher has much to say on the subject of the Trinity, but apparently he was specifically provoked to write by Joseph...

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Thursday, 23 January 2020 07:58

Leontius of Byzantium (Works) Featured

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Brian Daley has published (2017) his edition of Leontius of Byzantium’s Complete Works. in a handsome 600-page volume from Oxford Press (at a handsomely huge price, of course). It’s got Leontius’ Greek on the left pages and Daley’s English translation on right, plus a...

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Monday, 20 January 2020 01:06

Trinity and Ecclesiology Featured

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When theologians try to make a connection between the doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of the church, they take three main approaches: communion, mission, or structural analogy.

  1. Communion: This approach emphasizes the overlap between two vocabularies of communion: inner-trinitarian...

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Wednesday, 08 January 2020 09:29

Levy, Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation Featured

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Here’s a very short (350 words) review of Ian Christopher Levy’s book Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation (Baker, 2018). The review just came out in the Jan 2020 issue of Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology.

My Torrey colleague Greg Peters endorsed the book with...

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Monday, 23 December 2019 23:09

God was Always Ready for Christmas Featured

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Here’s a three-minute lesson I taught to the kids (ages 5-11) at church last week.

This is a wrapped Christmas package. It takes some planning to put together a Christmas present like this. You have to think of what somebody wants or needs, then go get it, then find a box the right size, then...

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Saturday, 30 November 2019 06:07

Voice of the Father (Hugh of St. Victor) Featured

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In his work On the Three Days, Hugh of St. Victor considers some pretty profound trinitarian theology, giving special attention to how the Father loves the Son. It’s a complex meditation, and maybe all I need to say is that it is very Augustinian, and very invested in recognizing that since...

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Thursday, 07 November 2019 07:18

Killer App: Theology.News Journal TOC Feed Featured

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Theology.News is a new website that Chris Woznicki, Jesse Gentile, and I are running. It’s a clearing house for all kinds of current activity in the field of academic theology, and with all kinds of user-reporters pitching in, it will be a great channel that people can use to stay current...

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Tuesday, 05 November 2019 00:34

Ratzinger on the Undiminished Trinity Featured

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imageHere’s a new book worth looking out for: The Theology of Benedict XVI: A Protestant Appreciation , ed. Tim Perry (Lexham, 2019). It’s just an interesting idea to call on Protestant witnesses to write about the theology of this very theological Pope, and Tim Perry pulled...

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Thursday, 31 October 2019 17:36

Class on the Third Person of the Trinity (LATC 2020) Featured

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In the spring semester —really in January 2020— I’ll be offering a short course on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology.

It’s a course based on the annual Los Angeles Theology Conference, and it’s the easiest course in the...

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Wednesday, 30 October 2019 05:16

Chalcedonian Box Featured

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When I lecture on christology, I often use an illustration that I call the Chalcedonian Box. It’s a diagram that emphasizes the theological boundaries around the mystery of the incarnation. As a visual aid, the box is easy to sketch on the spot (on blackboard, whiteboard, or flipchart paper)....

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019 15:54

Coptic Theology with Vince Bantu (Reading Theology African) Featured

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imageWe read a lot of classic theology from ancient Africa.

By “we” I mean the students in two programs: Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute and Talbot School of Theology’s Master of Arts, Classical Theology. Both programs are very Great Booksy, driven by the reading and discussion of...

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Saturday, 26 October 2019 16:01

Providence and Divine Action Book Featured

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imageHere’s a new book with eleven essays on Divine Action and Providence. As co-editor of the collection, I do hereby commend it for your consideration. I don’t know of another recent book that would serve so well as an introduction to the theology of providence.

The opening two chapters by...

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Sunday, 13 October 2019 15:16

Mission Statement Featured

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imageMy mission statement is to catalyze synergetic outputs in deliverable value propositions that innovatively embrace dynamic culture ecosystems better than my competitors.

Or is that my vision statement? I can never remember.

There are good mission statements out there, or least statements that avoid...

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 10:25

“David’s Creed” Featured

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imageBishop Edward Reynolds (1599-1676) wrote a long book on a short psalm, An Exposition of the One Hundred and Tenth Psalm. One reason for the book’s length is that Reynolds found in the words of Psalm 110 the entire Christian message. To be more precise, he located in that prophetic Psalm the...

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019 18:07

Classical Christian General Education Featured

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imageThe cover story of the September issue of Christianity Today is about Christian homeschoolers who read classic books by pagan authors. Yay!

It’s kind of a rambling article, but the author (Lou Markos of Houston Baptist University) has some fun with the irony, or at least the surprise, of...

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Saturday, 24 August 2019 09:16

The Bible in Socratic Instruction Featured

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imageThis is a brief talk I gave last week during orientation for Torrey Academy, our high school program. It addresses, for one particular, local audience, an issue with broader application: how should Christian teachers handle the Bible in a course of instruction that is Socratic?

The goal of Torrey...

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Tuesday, 06 August 2019 18:30

Hidden with Christ (Barth on Colossians 3:3) Featured

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imagePaul says in Colossians 3:

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ...

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Sunday, 04 August 2019 17:46

The Strong Uniqueness of the Incarnation Featured

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imageThere’s nothing like the incarnation of the Son of God. The union of divine and human in Christ is unique; it is a strongly unique kind of union. In fact, it’s so strongly unique that there is a theological tradition of highlighting its uniqueness by listing every other kind of union...

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Monday, 17 June 2019 20:05

Reading Barth with Kimlyn Bender

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imageKimlyn Bender has a fine new book out called Reading Karl Barth for the Church: A Guide and Companion. If you want to get the most out of reading Barth, but you don’t have a good teacher on hand or a class to sign up for, this book will equip you to pick up the Church Dogmatics for...

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019 16:32

Barth’s Theological Exegesis

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imageThis new book caught my eye: Freedom under the Word: Karl Barth’s Theological Exegesis(Baker, 2019).

Let me just admit that the first reason is personal: It’s got essays by three of my theology friends who are alum of the Torrey Honors Institute. Ben Rhodes (co-editor) wrote the...

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Sunday, 12 May 2019 13:56

CFP: LATC2020 on Pneumatology

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imageWe need some good papers on pneumatology.

In January 2020, the Los Angeles Theology Conference will take up the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, under the title “The Third Person of the Trinity.” We’ve already invited five plenary speakers to address this doctrine, and if you know...

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