Sermon notes

INTRODUCTION John’s gospel is about the character of God: He proclaims that God is light, and has no darkness at all (1:5). This gospel comes with the demand to walk in the light (1:6). What does that mean? THE TEXT “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

1 John 1:1: What our hands have handled. We often think fondly of how wonderful it would have been to be alive in Palestine when Jesus was around. We wouldn’t have to believe on the testimony of anyone else. We could have seen all those miracles with our own eyes. We wouldn’t have to . . . . Continue Reading »


At the beginning of his epistle, John emphasizes the eyewitness testimony of the apostles. They preach about things that they have seen and heard with their own ears and eyes, things they have touched. Since we haven’t done any of that, we rely on their testimony, and that is troublesome for . . . . Continue Reading »

Sunrise, sunset

Some thoughts on the sun/light symbolism in Genesis, inspired by a number of fine student papers on the subject. 1) The symbolism is set up in the first day of creation. Creation’s original state is dark, formless, and empty; and the work of creation produces a world that is bright, ordered, . . . . Continue Reading »

Petreides’ Hamartia

An epic poem by my son Christian. Sing goddess, of the procrastination of Peter’s son Christian and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon his GPA, hurled in its glory to the house of hated C’s, and his strong soul of a hero quailed at the thought of the righteous punishment . . . . Continue Reading »

Mad Hatter’s Tea

At the Retreat organized by the asylum reformer Samuel Tuke, the inmates would occasionally enjoy social occasions where the rules of etiquette would be strictly observed. In Tuke’s own description, they would “dress in their best clothes, and vie with each other in politeness and . . . . Continue Reading »

Pietist baptism

Johann Arndt (1555-1621), one of theleaders of German Pietism, wrote of baptism: “This is the true new birth and the new creature that appears before God’s face, pure and holy, cleaned and purified through the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit without any blemish. So perfect is this . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal Regeneration

In sorting through questions about efficacy of baptism, it’s important to realize that terms are used differently by various theologians. Chemnitz, for instance, claims that baptism has a twofold effect, “regeneration and renewal.” The very fact that he describes these as distinct . . . . Continue Reading »

Water and the Word

Baptism is made by word and water, Luther says. But the word is not the word of the minister that blesses the water, but the authorizing word of Jesus: “God’s word beside and with the water, which is not something we have invented or dreamed up, but is rather the Word of Christ, who . . . . Continue Reading »