Exhortation, Commissioning

John 12:24: Jesus said, Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. We are not ordaining you today. We are not laying hands on you. But we are commissioning you to a ministry in the church of . . . . Continue Reading »

Exhortation, Fifth Sunday of Easter

Easter is about hope, not only hope for the future, but hope realized in the present. The Lord promised that Abraham’s seed would be like the stars of heaven. The point was not simply that Abraham’s seed would be numerous, though they are and will be. The point was that Abraham’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Mix and Match

A candidate for ministry who holds to a Lutheran view of the real presence and a Calvinist view of double predestination would be welcome in neither Lutheran nor Reformed churches. What does that say about Protestantism? Are the different doctrinal and confessional systems so airtight that this . . . . Continue Reading »

Road to Wittenberg

Why are liturgical/sacramental Calvinists always accused of heading toward “Rome”? Why is it never said, “He’s on the road to Wittenberg”? To ask the question is to answer it: “Road to Wittenberg” sounds so, well, so Protestant , and hardly serves the . . . . Continue Reading »

Death, Deeper Death, Resurrection

The story of the Bible is the death and resurrection of the Christ, but often there is an important nuance to this story-line. The house of Ahab is not destroyed during the reign of Ahab, but during the reign of his son Jehoram, the best of the Omrides (2 Kings 3:2). After the death-reign of Ahab . . . . Continue Reading »


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 »