Join us for a guest lecture: The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel

At noon on Wednesday, April 4, Austin Graduate School of Theology will host a brown-bag lecture by Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University on the topic “The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel.” Everyone interested in the subject is welcome to bring a lunch and join us in the Hocott Student Commons. … [Read more...]

The Chronicler as a Writer

What is the Chronicler up to as a writer? He quotes Bible passages, expands them homiletically, he omits sections not of interest to him, and he interprets them according to his approach as a theological preacher in the post-exilic era. Not unlike what we do! The Chronicler takes the Bible and ancient historical documents, and he interprets them for the discouraged community of believers in the Persian Empire. … [Read more...]

The Power of the Biblical Story

Dr. Allan J. McNicol has recently published his latest book, The Persistence of God's Endangered Promises: The Bible's Unified Story, from Bloomsbury Publishing. For Many years, Dr. McNicol has taught a Biblical Theology course that students at Austin Grad have found to be indispensible for understanding the story of God and his creation. This book offers an encapsulation and extension of a lifelong project of study and devotion. Click here to order Allan McNicol's New book, The Persistence of God's Endangered Promises. See the bottom of this post for a promotional code offering significant discount pricing! I love the brief … [Read more...]

Blessed with Nothing: The Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-30

  The story of the rich young man in Matthew 19 has often been appropriated for the church in a moralistic way. It generally goes something like this: We each have our own thing—something that has become, perhaps, an idol. The thing for this rich young man that blocked him from eternal life was his material wealth. This got in the way of truly loving his neighbor. What is that thing for you, which you need to give up? Mine is coffee and Oreos (not at the same time). There, I said it. That’s not a terrible application. It is certainly something worth reflecting upon. But I think there is more to this story than … [Read more...]

A Minister’s Sin: Treading the Path toward Redemption

  In the life of the church we become well-acquainted with sin (How is that for an encouraging way to start this post?). This is especially true for church leaders and ministers. For the sinner, we encourage confession and repentance, and for the church, a path toward redemption and reconciliation by way of forgiveness – all of which we see enacted through the practice of baptism. Oftentimes, for the “outsider sinner,” the non-Christian who comes to begin this journey, the church is quick to joyfully accept their confession and welcome them into the body (Daniel Napier and Todd Hall both note the “rush to the water” in their … [Read more...]

The Greatest Invitation from God to Israel and to Us Today

Mike Cope tells the story of how Don Jackson, an elder in the church, served part of his career in government as senior U.S. liaison officer to the Court of Saint James. Listen to his personal description of being invited into the presence of the queen of England: “I was aware of a commotion outside of my office window at the American Embassy in London. I looked out the window and saw a royal carriage painted red and gold and drawn by four magnificent , matched, dapple-gray horses, and accompanied by a troop of Royal Grenadiers. I returned to my desk, and shortly my secretary appeared at the door and said, "You have a guest." She stepped back … [Read more...]

What the Servant of Isaiah 53 Set in Motion

One of the pleasant features of retirement from ministry is that I finally can concentrate closely on everything that takes place in the flow of the service.  For some of you this doesn’t sound quite right.  But I confess.  I am like a lot of others.  When you have some clear responsibility to fulfill, those duties are never far from your mind. So I haven’t always paid the closest of attention to the talks given by those who preside at the table.  But during the last several years it has become different.  I now listen carefully and I have learned a few things.  One of the clearest impressions is the … [Read more...]

Simple reminders make all the difference (Isaiah 51)

Christopher O'Keefe is a student in the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program. Sometimes, a simple reminder can make all the difference. My first semester at Austin Grad was such a time. My bachelor’s degree is in mathematics. And as you can probably imagine, a degree in mathematics is a world apart from a degree in theology. During my years studying math, I probably wrote no more than two or three small writing assignments. Writing was not a strength. In fact, writing was pretty scary at the time. When I entered the theology program at Austin Grad, I didn’t realize how writing intensive the program would be. About half-way … [Read more...]

Isaiah 49: Thinking Big about Your Important Mission

A man, driving a very expensive sports car, found himself lost in an impoverished area of a major city.  As the man sat in his parked car attempting to gain a sense of direction, he was approached by a young boy.  The boy said, “Mister that is a really nice car.  Are you lost?” The man replied, “My brother gave me this car as a gift and yes I am lost”. Then the man made the boy the following offer, “If you will help me find the street I am looking for, I will give you a ride in my car.”  … [Read more...]

Isaiah 48: Hearing through the Noise

I have been accused from time to time in our house of not being a very good listener.  And I plead guilty to the charges.    Listening can be a mighty challenge in a world of distraction and noise.  But listening can also be difficult when we experience sorrow and trial.  … [Read more...]