Theory and the Avant Garde

In his Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford), Christopher Butler points out that postmodern art and postmodern theory arose at different times and had different sources of inspiration. Postmodernism in art is evident in the postwar period as art becomes “deliberately less unified, . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon outline

Full Disclosure: I’m always borrowing from James Jordan, but this outline borrows from him more than most. INTRODUCTION We tend to read the Bible as if it were only about God working out our salvation from sin. But that is too narrow an understanding of God’s purposes in creation. As . . . . Continue Reading »

Prayer and Secondary causes

Prayer has an effect in the same way that all other causes have their effect. Prayer is just as much a cause as any other secondary causes in creation. Do you believe that hitting a ball with a bat causes the ball to fly through the air? But how can the bat cause the ball to fly if God predestined . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

Matthew 7:11: If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him. We have been looking this morning at how our prayers fit into God’s sovereign government of all things. But underlying that . . . . Continue Reading »


When he talks about prayer, Calvin emphasizes that everything in Scripture encourages us to pray. Our condition encourages us to pray: We have no good in ourselves, no hope for salvation in our own efforts; and therefore we must seek help from outside ourselves. The gift of Jesus encourages us to . . . . Continue Reading »

Matthew and Stephen

Assuming that Matthew was composed very early in the history of the church - in the early 30s, I suspect - it fits neatly into the early persecution situation of the church. As a retelling of Israel’s history, it mimics Stephen’s sermon, which presents the history of Israel as a history . . . . Continue Reading »

Partners with God

Albert Wolters suggests in an old Calvin Theological Journal article that Peter’s phrase “partakers of divine nature” should be understood covenantally, rather than ontologically. “Partaker” should be rendered “partner” and “divine nature” is . . . . Continue Reading »


David Daube suggests in his book on the New Testament and rabbinic Judaism that the image of the Spirit “overshadowing” Mary is ultimately drawn from the image of Boaz covering Ruth with the wing of his garment. The Lord spreads his skirt over Mary - who, like Ruth, calls herself the . . . . Continue Reading »

Wrestling with God

The story of Israel is the story of her repeated rejection of Yahweh’s emissaries, and thus of Yahweh himself. The gospel is the announcement that Yahweh will not allow Himself to be rejected: Resurrection is the I in the TULIP. Jacob, the first Israel, wrestled with everyone, and found he . . . . Continue Reading »

Typology and history

In his classic essay on the “Reasonableness of Typology,” GWH Lampe argued that critical scholarship reintroduced history into biblical interpretation: “In place of the unhistorical attitude which saw the Bible as a vast harmonious complex of prophecy and fulfillment, type and . . . . Continue Reading »