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 »

Baptismal meditation

Luke 18:15-17: And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Fourth Sunday of Easter

Easter is about faith, and Easter is about hope. On the third day of creation, God separated the waters, so that the dry land appeared. When He covered the world with flood waters, His Spirit hovered and divided the waters again. At the Exodus, He separated the waters of the Sea of Reeds and formed . . . . Continue Reading »


Explaining the first article of the creed, Luther’s small catechism says taht “I believe that God made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members . . . also clothing and shoes . . . .” Is there a single Reformed confession or . . . . Continue Reading »

Promise, Justification, Sacrament

Oberman says that Luther moved toward his reformation insights by exploring what he described as the “theological grammar” of Scripture, which involved letting God define his own terms, on the assumption that nomina sunt ad pacitum Dei . Through this, he realized that the God of . . . . Continue Reading »