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, 14 May 2020 10:50

The Antinaturalism of Late Postmodernity

Written by
Among the definitions offered for Modernity and Postmodernity, I would argue that a definition involving ‘nature’ gets to the core.  Modernity elevated science to the head of departments in the university. Postmodernity has responded by rejecting the study of nature, with its objectivity, and repl...

Read more

“Yitsak, don’t you think it is time to sell the wood around the neighborhood?”  “I can’t, Esther!  Shlomo isn’t back yet with the donkeys.”  “Why did you let him take the donkeys?  What’s a boy want with donkeys?  People need their firewood for dinner.  How will they get their wood for the fire?”  “...

Read more

Introduction The purpose of this essay is to examine Paul’s teaching on the Church in Ephesians and Colossians with reference to his use of the metaphor of the body.  The study benefits from considering Hippocrates and, especially, Galen’s writings on the body.  Paul could have been aware of Hipp...

Read more

Thursday, 26 March 2020 13:27

Dimensions of Grace in Ephesians

Written by
Ephesians captures many dimensions of God’s grace.  I offer an overview here with quotes from the English Standard Version. <!--[if !supportLists]-->1.     <!--[endif]-->Goal of the Mission of the Triune God: a. God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing, chose us...

Read more

Wednesday, 04 March 2020 04:24

The Diversity Dialogue

Written by
Professor Rapp stopped by the cafeteria on his way to the faculty meeting.  He wanted a cup of coffee and, since he had some extra time, thought he might treat himself to a walnut cranberry muffin as well.  It seemed just the thing for a cold, snowy, day in New England.  Shortly after sitting down,...

Read more

In part one of this essay, ‘Understanding Romans 3.21-4.25’, I argued that Paul’s understanding of the righteousness of God is through our faith in Jesus Christ, not Christ’s faithfulness, in the phrase ‘faith of Christ’ (Rom. 3.22 in particular).  As I look more at his use of the Old Testament, Gen...

Read more

So, the ‘United’ Methodist Church in the USA is going to split—that is, if everyone can carry the apparently amicable divorce agreement all the way through the process at the General Conference in May this year.  My goodness, this has been a long time coming!  Ecclesiastical wheels have no oil. I re...

Read more

Thursday, 19 December 2019 05:41

Let's Reform Christian Missions

Written by
Let’s reform Christian missions.   One day, our family was together in the car and my father happened to mention a problem with one of the missionaries serving in our mission.  My older brother commented, ‘It seems that the only requirement to be a missionary is to be able to crawl across the borde...

Read more

Saturday, 14 December 2019 03:06

Ministry, Not Leadership: The Call to Renunciation

Written by
One of the differences between understanding Christian ministry as ministry versus leadership is that ministry in Scripture is thought of in terms of renunciation.  Since the 1980s, the language of ‘leadership’ has largely replaced the language of ‘ministry’, at least in Protestant, Evangelical circ...

Read more

In Romans 3.21-4.25, Paul presents two passages from the Old Testament as proof for his argument that God reckons righteousness to those who have faith in Jesus Christ.  I am well aware that this simple statement needs to be argued point by point, since alternative, scholarly views have...

Read more

Saturday, 23 November 2019 00:45

The Need for Church Leaders

Written by
The following conversation was heard somewhere in central Florida on a rainy afternoon under an awning at a soda fountain. Mickey: So, as I understand it, you think the Church needs leaders? Donald: Yes. Mickey: And you think that what we need to do is train more leaders for the Church? Donald:...

Read more

Monday, 28 October 2019 14:41

Is Diversity a Christian Virtue?

Written by
It is no surprise that many Western Christians have hopped onto the ‘diversity train’; it is yet another example of Christians being shaped by culture rather than shaping culture.  The morality of tolerance of Postmodernity has morphed into the morality of diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion...

Read more

Friday, 11 October 2019 01:00

What is the Goal of Missions?

Written by
Two goals in missions are often affirmed as non-negotiable.  They sound contradictory and can even work against each other.  But they are, nevertheless, both wrong in their own right.  The first goal is: nationalise (or indigenise) the mission.  The second goal is: pursue multicultural ide...

Read more

Thursday, 03 October 2019 00:31

A Process of Punishment vs. A Process of Forgiveness

Written by
One of the great developments in our post-Christian, Western culture is the absence of forgiveness.  Instead of a process of forgiveness we are left with a process of punishment.  The two religions in the world that have put forgiveness at their centre are Judaism<!--[if !...

Read more

In Jesus’ High Priestly prayer to His Father in John 17, he prays for several things, including unity.  While anecdotal, it certainly seems that most Christians think of this chapter in John’s Gospel as primarily about unity.  This is, however, one of several themes in the prayer.  Moreover, the pa...

Read more

In Ephesians, Paul has an interesting turn of phrase when he speaks of ‘learning’ (manthanō) Christ and being ‘taught’ (didaskō) ‘in’ Him: Ephesians 4.20-24 But that is not the way you be  learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,...

Read more

The calling of Christian counsellors and pastors is a spiritual calling and a missionary calling, rooted in the very Great Commission of Jesus to 'teach [disciples of Christ] to obey everything that He has commanded [in the Word of God] (Matthew 28.18-20).  This calling for nurturing ministries...

Read more

Answering this question is full of challenges, but I would like to suggest that there is such a thing as ‘right’ music for congregational worship.  The question is, ‘Will I, or anyone, convince anyone else about this?’  After all, if ‘beauty’ is in the eye of the beholder, and if worship is one’s gi...

Read more

Was there a crisis over a supposed ‘delay’ of Christ’s reappearing—His Second Coming—in the early Church?  Did the early Church set itself up one way only to have to reorient itself later in the 1st century when believers’ initial enthusiasm about an imminent return of Christ was thwarted?  The purp...

Read more

Several conundrums in the Hebrew Scriptures are resolved in the New Testament.  They are such that they require solutions that are not offered in the Hebrew Scriptures but that are offered in the New Testament.  Ten of these will be noted here. First, the Hebrew Scriptures present God as one and...

Read more