Calvinism and the Assurance of Salvation

In earlier blog posts, I discussed the resurgence of “New Calvinism”in evangelicalism and described some of its main tenets and implications.  In this long-delayed continuation of the series, I want to raise the issue of assurance of salvation. … [Read more...]

Fourth Annual “Austin Grad—First Things” Lecture

The fourth annual “Austin Graduate School of Theology – First Things Lecture” is now complete.  Once again, the event was a great success.  On Monday evening, October 8, about 130 people braved the heavy rain to hear Ephraim Radner, Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. The lecture topic was “Ecumenism in a Post-Christian Society.” … [Read more...]

Is Theology a Science?

A friend of mine in Russia asked me whether theology can be considered a science.  And I suspect that, lurking behind this question, is the question whether theology should have a place as a discipline or field of study at a modern university.  This video is a brief response to the question and related concerns. … [Read more...]

“One Is Too Small a Number” and Other Lessons I have Learned

  A chapel talk originally delivered at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, September 10, 2018. My vocational journey can be summed up in four lessons I have learned: to pray and seek guidance for direction; one is too small a number to ever achieve success; grasp tradition with one hand, while seeking new ways to express those traditions; and look for a need in your community or church and try to fill that need. I learned these four lessons as I sought to find a way to use music in ministry and especially in the development of the Timeless Psalter/commentary project. … [Read more...]

“Ecumenism in a Post-Christian Society” Austin Graduate School of Theology – First Things Lecture

  I am pleased to announce the fourth annual Austin Graduate School of Theology – First Things Lecture, to be held in Austin, Texas, on Monday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m.  This year’s speaker will be Ephraim Radner.  Radner is Professor of Historical Theology at Wycliffe College, an evangelical seminary of the Anglican tradition at the University of Toronto. Austin Graduate School of Theology is excited to cooperate in this lecture once again with First Things, which is one of the most widely read and influential religious journals in the United States.  As an ecumenical endeavor—featuring regular contributions from Roman … [Read more...]

New Issue of Christian Studies Now Available!

Consistent with Protestant churches, Churches of Christ have rejected the five so-called false sacraments and accepted baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the proper sacraments of the church.  Last year’s issue of Austin Grad’s faculty journal, Christian Studies, was focused on the theme of baptism.  As a follow-up to those reflections, the new issue of Christian Studies (available online here) is devoted to the “Eucharist,” the early church’s favorite word for holy communion.  To distinguish it from the self-centered meal that the Corinthian Christians were celebrating, Paul called this meal the “Lord’s Supper,” reminding the … [Read more...]

The Letter and Spirit of Biblical Interpretation: A New Book

featured-image

When people have asked me what I am reading about, or which course I am teaching this fall, or what my most recent book is about, and my answer is the “history of interpretation,” I have noticed a facial expression that, as a historical theologian, I have become accustomed to seeing.  Their look, or sometimes their accompanying explanation of it, conveys the message that both history and interpretation are sufficiently boring on their own, and the combination of the two must be dreadful.  To ask about the history of biblical interpretation, however, is to ponder very important questions for our own day. … [Read more...]

What is “the Way”? Part 2: Rediscovering the “Ancient Way” of Hebrew Hope

featured-image

In order to grasp the deep roots of "the Way" in Israel’s past, I will ask you to sequentially follow a series of clues in Scripture. By following these hints and allusions, we will peel back the temporal onion to reveal the core significance of the early Christian’s self-description as "the Way." So, returning to Paul’s words in Acts 24:14–16, we find the language of ancient philosophic practice overlapping with unmistakably Hebraic emphases.   … [Read more...]

The Story Behind Psalm 61, “God Enthroned Forever”

featured-image

This is the fourth in the series of stories behind some of the songs from Timeless: Ancient Psalms for the Church Today Psalter/Commentary. Ruth Ann Somervell describes in some detail the process she goes through in composing and the inspiration she felt from psalm 61 and Sarah Shipp’s lyrics. Timeless is a commentary set of all new translations and commentaries on the psalms by established Old Testament scholars for the layperson. Timeless also includes 2–3 new musical settings following each psalm to enhance worship and reflection, study and devotion. Timeless books may be purchased through acupressbooks.com, Amazon.com, or … [Read more...]

Postman Still Delivers: Amusing Ourselves to Death

featured-image

Back in January, I had the privilege of speaking at the Northwest Expositor’s Seminar just outside of Portland, Oregon.  In addition to the main topic that I was invited to address, I was also asked to be prepared to recommend and briefly summarize a few books that are outside my field of scholarship.  In reality, almost nothing that is non-fiction is really irrelevant to a historical theologian.  But I get the idea—something not directly about church history or Christian theology.   In fact, I quite enjoyed the preparation and came ready to talk about some of my favorite books.  Sadly, and for no apparent reason, I … [Read more...]