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