13 Sep 2019

Whose Testament Is It Anyway? Hearing the Authentic Voice of the Old Testament

The emergence of the academic discipline of “biblical studies” is a post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment phenomenon that developed in opposition to dogmatic theology.  Within that discipline, emphasis on the historical-critical method has caused preoccupation with either proving the historical accuracy of the text, as seen in the biblical archaeology movement, or getting “behind” the text, as seen in the quests for the Historical Jesus or Paul within Judaism. While each approach does offer some valuable insights into

Wesley Walker 3
Image of hospital building
19 Aug 2019

Idols of Modern Society

“When Israel was a child, I loved him,     and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them,     the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals,     and offering incense to idols.” (Hosea 11:1-2 NRSV) The prophets Hosea and Amos were active during roughly the same era in the history of ancient Israel (8th century BCE). Both prophesied primarily to the northern kingdom of Israel during a time of

Jarrett Dickey 0
A tin pail with ripe summer blueberries
23 Jul 2019

Amos’ Basket of Summer Fruit

“This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit” (Amos 8:1 NRSV). A couple summers ago we took a family vacation to the Indiana Dunes. We had a great time playing on the beach and climbing dune mountains at the local state park, while also hiking trails and observing bird life at the national lakeshore (which was recently upgraded to our nation’s newest national park). On our last morning in the area,

Jarrett Dickey 0
01 Feb 2019

The Realization of Ancient Promise

“The only second century Christian who understood Paul was Marcion, and he misunderstood him.” -Franz Overbeck Over the summer, I met a man at a conference for homeschool families who had some books in Hebrew. I assumed he was a seminary student, so I engaged him in conversation, asking him what books he was carrying. His response startled me some: “My family and I have decided to keep Torah.” For whatever reason, this is an

Wesley Walker 1
07 Jan 2019

Exile and Restoration

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined.” Isa 9:2 NRSV The prophet Isaiah lived at an unusual point in the history of the Israelite people. His prophetic ministry overlapped the Assyrian conquest of Israel in 722 BCE and their subsequent siege of Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19). The beginning chapters of the book

Jarrett Dickey 0
06 Aug 2018

The Mystery of the Gospel

In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 3:5-6 NRSV). Ephesians 3 opens with a brief description of Paul’s commission as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul begins by calling himself a

Jarrett Dickey 0
07 Jun 2017

Because of joy I am exposed

Because of joy I am exposed 2 Samuel 6:16-23 When God has brought me home to Him by coming home to me, I will be unable to listen to you, even if you weep. I have to go and thank Him. God has come into the city of my soul; each breath is like an exile freed. The truth no longer grieves me. My laughter is like tambourines. I will continue to dance with swinging

Daniel Hyland 1
03 Apr 2017

After Baptism

In January I began teaching a series of evening Bible studies on the early Christian church as depicted in the book of Acts. Each week we began by re-reading Acts 2:41-47 as the focal point of our ongoing study. Over the course of our time, we dissected the practices, rituals, structures, and leadership patterns of the early church. Most of our study was free from debate and controversy. However, when we finally came to the

Jarrett Dickey 1
29 Mar 2017

To Enter Gilead

To Enter Gilead Judges 12:5-6 For the refugees of the Syrian crisis. My infant daughter doesn’t have a word for thirst. The words she knows, we make her say. We require what she has. But when she points, panicked with need, we relent. Things were different for Ephraim. The Jordan ford was watched– there was no deliberating. To enter Gilead was pass-fail. When they couldn’t say the shibboleth, they died for it. —Commentary— In the

Daniel Hyland 2
24 Mar 2017

“I Will Betroth You to Me in Lovingkindness”: God’s Hesed in the Book of Hosea as an Apologetic Tool

According to Richard Dawkins: The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.1 One example he finds grievous is the jealousy of God in the Old Testament, which he attributes to insecurity.2 The caricature Dawkins’ describes is a deified infant, violently

Wesley Walker 1
15 Jul 2016

“Here I Am”: An Old Testament Theology of Call

Exodus 3-4 is one of the most breathtaking passages in the Bible. God calls to Moses from a burning bush. Moses’ initial response assumes a submissive posture, “Here I am” (the Hebrew word is hineni). However, upon hearing God’s request that he go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from slavery to Pharaoh, Moses doubts God’s choice. Even after seeing multiple miraculous signs from God confirming the call, Moses makes excuses for himself, “Pardon your

Wesley Walker 0
27 May 2016

The Shadow of the Sacred

The Shadow of the Sacred I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to tour Israel and visit a number of historical and sacred sites. And as I fully anticipated from the beginning, the trip’s most memorable moments by far were found within the city of Jerusalem. Seated at the intersection of three different faith traditions—Jewish, Christian, and Islamic—the city has been contested for centuries, and currently exists in an uneasy “status quo” arrangement predicated on mutual

John Ehrett 1
29 Sep 2015

The Gift of Ceremony

The way a congregation worships is very important. It is part of their identity and serves as a public demonstration of their beliefs. The use of liturgical rites and ceremonies is one of the means by which a church makes a confession of faith, both to their members and the greater public, and it makes sense that differences in practice can fuel dissent and controversy. However, even while these rites and ceremonies set congregations apart

Nicholai Stuckwisch 0
21 May 2015

Why the Fall Makes No Sense

A Baffling Story Christians need a coherent account of the Fall, but our forebears have not given us one. If they had, 20th century biblical scholars would not have written things like this: “The sheer irrationality of the command, not to eat of the tree, and of the threat to deprive of life if it was eaten, has had great effect on the history of understanding. . . . God . . . is placed

Micah Tillman 8
29 Jul 2014

Be Warned, Anti-Semitism is Rising

Several weeks ago, on Saturday, a couple of hashtags that expressed admiration for Hitler and his Jewish genocide were trending on Twitter, including #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong.1 These expressions are not limited to the internet; they are also being heard in public, with demonstrators in Paris vandalizing property and chanting, “Death to Jews,” and, “Hitler was right.”2 Right now there are many who are upset over Israel’s ground war against Gaza, but in this anger hatred

Stuart Kerr 3
09 Jul 2014

Conflict Management

Seven years ago, some of my friends got into a bit of a dispute with the powers-that-be at my college. (I have been told I have a gift for understatement). The nature of the dispute was incredibly personal, of the sort that is impossible to bring to anyone’s attention without making oneself intensely vulnerable. Talking to the dean of student life meant opening up to her judgment and allowing her to see things that were

Pepper Darlington 3