Justification of the Ungodly Again

Joe Rigney writes to point out that NT Wright’s interpretation of Romans 4:5 (namely, that “justification of the ungodly” is equivalent to “bringing nations into Abraham’s family”) runs up against a problem in Romans 5:6, where Paul tells us that “at the . . . . Continue Reading »

Justification of the Ungodly

I’m still absorbing parts of NT Wright’s recent JSNT essay, “Paul and the Patriarch: The Role of Abraham in Romans 4.” A couple of his points are very compelling. First, he disputes what he calls a “customary” way of understanding Paul’s reference to . . . . Continue Reading »


The Greek word hilaterion has been one of the most disputed Pauline terms in the past century. Traditionally translate as “propitiation” or “propitiatory sacrifice,” many recent scholars have disputed the notion that Jesus died to appease an angry Father. In a 2000 article . . . . Continue Reading »

Stand as one

Isaiah 50:7-9 is structured chiastically. On either side of verse 8 are declarations that “Lord Yahweh will help me” (vv. 7, 9; the clause is identical in Hebrew). In verse 8 itself, we have this structure: A. Near my vindicator B. Who brings a case? C. Let us stand as one B’. Who . . . . Continue Reading »


Another reflection on the debate between Douglas Wilson and Andrew Sullivan: The argument that homosexuality is “unnatural” is not going to get much steam going either. Sullivan waxed on and on about multi-sexed plants and sex-changing fish. Once one accepts Darwinian evolution, this . . . . Continue Reading »

No debts

Residing as we do in a monetary economy, we immediately and thoughtlessly translate biblical warnings and cautions about debt into financial terms. “Owe nothing to anyone” (Romans 13:8) means “don’t take out a thirty-year mortgage.” It’s much more likely that . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

Romans 12:20: If you enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. As Pastor Appel has pointed out this morning, food and feasting are weapons of God’s kingdom. Jesus undermines Pharisaical boundary markers by eating . . . . Continue Reading »

Thanks for strangers

Edward Vacek ( Spirituality and Moral Theology: Essays from a Pastoral Perspective , 103): says that “Gratitude essentially has a ‘for me’ or ‘for mine’ quality. We can, properly speaking, give thanks only when we or persons whose lives we share have been benefited. We . . . . Continue Reading »