A group called “Presbyterians and Presbyterians Together” has formulated a public call to Presbyterian and Reformed pastors and theologians to engage in theological debate with charity, patience, and fairness. For those interested in reading the statement, or signing it, check out . . . . Continue Reading »

Reformation and System-building

In discussing the Reformation, Oberman contrasts the via antiqua with the via moderna . Both believed in universals, preconceived ideas that enable humans to “select, interpret, and order the chaotic messages transmitted by the senses.” They differed on the origin and nature of those . . . . Continue Reading »

David and Jonathan

Commentators in recent years have often opted for a homoerotic interpretation of David’s relation with Jonathan. Yaron Peleg of George Washington University has another explanation: Jonathan was a “woman” (JSOT 30.2). Oh, so now we know! Goofy as it may sound, Peleg’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Descartes, Soul and Body

Some highlights from a recent TLS article on Descartes by Desmond Clarke: 1) Personally, Descartes was a mess. An exile from France for most of his life, he never held any paid position except for a brief stint in the military. He was unmarried, nearly friendless, depressive. Irascible and . . . . Continue Reading »

Voluntarism, Intellectualism, Creation

The voluntarist/intellectualist debate has always seemed sterile, but it’s worth asking why it was so important for the medievals. Where’d it come from? It appears to me to come from a faulty understanding of creation, in which creation/nature has a semi-independent status. Consider: . . . . Continue Reading »

Comic Sabbath

Keeping the Lord’s Day is the sign that we already enjoy by anticipation the final, eschatological rest. It is a confession of faith in cosmic comedy, the confidence that in the end all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well. . . . . Continue Reading »

Keeping days

Everyone else, I’m sure, has already noticed this, but I’m slow: If, as many commentators argue, Paul’s practical concern in Romans is to encourage Gentile believers to accept their Jewish brothers (as reflected in Romans 14), then the discussion of the keeping of days and of . . . . Continue Reading »

Gift and Justice

Thomas Aquinas argues that a return gift of gratitude must exceed the original gift. His reasoning is as follows: The original gift is gratuitous because it is not paying any debt; the return gift is obligatory because of the initial gift; but the return gift should also have a gratuitous element; . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Fifth Sunday of Easter

INTRODUCTION Hezekiah is one of the great heroes of Kings. His response to his sickness shows his faith in Yahweh, and Yahweh’s favor to him. But he shows his treasures to a Babylonian delegation, a prelude to Babylon’s later invasion. THE TEXT “In those days Hezekiah was sick and . . . . Continue Reading »