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The Abraham Myth

Evangelicals are debating the historicity of Adam, but they are too timid. It is time to reject fundamentalist distortions of the Abrahamic narrative just as decisively as we have abandoned literalistic readings of Genesis 1–3. Clinging to discredited biblical accounts of Abraham as if these . . . . Continue Reading »

Heavenly Treasure

The Ransom of the Soul: 
Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity
 by peter brown 
harvard, 288 pages, $24.95 In the opening pages of this book, Peter Brown declares that he will “compare two ages—the world of the early church in the late second and third centuries and the early . . . . Continue Reading »

In Praise of Irrelevant Reading

When I moved to England to start a Masters degree in theology, I knew I wanted to study St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Like many of my counterparts in the Reformed theological orbit, I was enthralled with questions of law and grace, election and final judgment. During my first year of undergraduate study, I’d sat out on the front lawn of the college green, sweating in the spring sunshine, reading N. T. Wright’s What Saint Paul Really Said. I was certain that the most important questions I could write about in my postgraduate study would have something to do with Jews and Gentiles in Christ in those dense later chapters of Paul’s Romans. Continue Reading »

Why San Francisco's City Church is Wrong About Sex

The senior pastor and elders of City Church, identified as the largest evangelical church in San Francisco, will no longer require members to abstain from homosexual practice, so long as the homosexual activity occurs in the context of marriage. According to a letter written by senior pastor Fred Harrell on behalf of the Board of Elders, “We will no longer discriminate based on sexual orientation and demand lifelong celibacy as a precondition for joining. For all members, regardless of sexual orientation, we will continue to expect chastity in singleness until marriage.”“Our pastoral practice of demanding life-long ‘celibacy,' by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your sexual orientation in any way, was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing,” the letter said. Continue Reading »

Jesus on Safari

It has been nearly ten years since Jaroslav Pelikan died and a full twenty-five since he completed The Christian Tradition, his five-volume, 2,100-page history of “what the church of Jesus Christ believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the Word of God.” Who was Jaroslav Pelikan, and why does his work remain so important for serious Christian scholarship today? Continue Reading »

What Newsweek Doesn’t Get About the Bible

Newsweek, in an article by Kurt Eichenwald, says that Christians who regard homosexual practice as sin (or who—horror!—favor prayer in public school) “are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians,” “hypocrites,” “Biblical illiterates,” “fundamentalists and political opportunists,” and “Pharisees.” To support his slurs, Eichenwald first tries to undermine reliance on Scripture as a supreme authority for moral discernment and then to show how Christians, oblivious to the problems with biblical inspiration, ignore its clear teaching. Continue Reading »

Salt of the Earth

Salt of the earth” is one of the best-known phrases in the Bible, but it’s more enigmatic than we realize. Salt has many qualities, and it’s not clear which one Jesus is highlighting. Does Jesus want disciples to preserve the world? Are disciples as necessary to the world as salt is to life? Are disciples the seasoning on a main course dished up by someone else? Continue Reading »

Infinite Circle

Gratitude: An Intellectual History? by peter j. leithart? baylor, 350 pages, $49.95 Peter Leithart’s Gratitude: An Intellectual History is a creative, insightful, and ambitious book. It takes its point of departure from the voluminous literature on the subject of the gift. Though the topic . . . . Continue Reading »

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