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The Miracle of Esther

Esther is a book of the Bible that does not refer to God explicitly even once. On the surface, it is a story about political intrigue, sex, and violence. Yet the rabbis of the Talmud lavish praise on this work, asserting that there are two portions of Scripture that would never cease to be relevant . . . . Continue Reading »

Authority, Given and Received

When Pontius Pilate warns Jesus that he has authority over life and death, Jesus reminds him, “you would have no authority over me, unless it had been given from above” (John 19:10–11). At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus assures his disciples that “all authority has been given to me in . . . . Continue Reading »

Free University Orthodoxy

During the debate over “biblical inerrancy” that raged among evangelicalism for several years in the late 1970s, I remember someone observing that Harold Lindsell’s 1976 book, The Battle for the Bible, which pretty much got that debate going, was more a theory of institutional change than it . . . . Continue Reading »

Christmas and a World Upside-Down

Biblical scholars generally agree that Luke’s Gospel was written at least a generation later than Paul’s first letter to the Christians at Corinth. Yet whatever the dating, and irrespective of scholarly disputes about whether “Luke,” the author of the eponymous Gospel and the Acts of the . . . . Continue Reading »

Enlightenment Bible, Church Bible

The following is taken from a paper that was delivered at a conference sponsored by the Center for Pastor Theologians on November 3.In his 2005 book, The Enlightenment Bible, Jonathan Sheehan describes changes in the Bible’s role in Germany and England between the late seventeenth and . . . . Continue Reading »

St. Paul and Consumer Society

According to many contemporary scholars, the apostle Paul didn’t object to “Judaizers” because they taught that salvation is achieved by works. He objected because Judaizers tried to reverse history by imposing the requirements of the old Mosaic covenant on Gentile Christians. Circumcision, . . . . Continue Reading »

Trashing Luther

Theological hobbyists of a hyper-Catholic sort continue to misconstrue Luther’s “errors.” Oh, I hardly think he was error-free, but (having recently been one) I know Lutherans who pretty much think he was essentially infallible. But I also know Catholics (me having recently become one) who . . . . Continue Reading »

The Most Objectionable Part of the Bible

We all hear about the supposed “God of Wrath” in the Hebrew Bible, and the supposed “God of Love” of the New Testament. Those who draw that distinction don’t know their Bibles very well. For the Hebrew Bible celebrates human sexual love, underwritten by the Hebrew Bible’s God, in its . . . . Continue Reading »

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