10 Mar 2021

A Place of Hope and Healing (Part 2)

Additional Reflections on the Church as Hospital In Part One, I introduced the concept of the Church as a hospital and argued that the church should be a place of healing and hope. In this article, I want to further explore the metaphor of the Church as hospital by looking at what hospitals and churches are. Places of Care First, hospitals are places of care. Hospitals are places where you get taken care of, where

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12 Feb 2021

A Place of Hope and Healing (Part 1)

Reflections on the Church as Hospital In the past year, I’ve spent more time in and around hospitals and healthcare facilities than perhaps at any other point in my life. First came my bout with COVID this past summer, then came numerous visits to my orthopedic doctor to address some long-standing back problems, and, most recently, several emergent visits for an electrical problem with my heart. While hospitals are viewed in different ways by different

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24 Feb 2020

Further Thoughts on Keeping the KJV

A few months ago, I penned a piece encouraging contemporary Christians not to abandon the distinctive—if somewhat arcane—lyricism of the King James Bible. In the course of my argument, I mentioned Mark Ward’s recent book Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible, which argues that the modern church should migrate toward the use of more accessible translations. Ward himself was gracious enough to show up in the comments section of that piece,

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Image of a Bible on a shelf.
13 Dec 2019

The Bible Project

About three years ago I was scrolling through my YouTube recommendations feed, looking for new and interesting videos. Since I regularly view biblical and theological content, my feed often contains helpful resources (along with videos on college football or live music). As I scrolled, one particular video thumbnail caught my attention. The thumbnail contained an aesthetically pleasing animated image of Job. I clicked on the video and had my first exposure to The Bible Project.

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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

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21 Dec 2018

Spending Advent With Bob Dylan

Advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year. It is a season of expectation, preparation, and self-reflection. The Church meditates on the mystery of the Incarnation at Christ’s first coming while considering his second coming. So we turn our attention inward where, to the best of our ability, we disclose those parts of us requiring to be handed over to the Refiner’s Fire for purgation (Mal 3:2). In Advent the reality of divine judgment

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16 May 2018

The Refrain of the Kingdom

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3 NRSV). In music, a refrain is

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14 Mar 2018

Should I Hide When Mormons Come Knocking?

One of the great privileges of serving in the local church is the opportunity to hear intriguing questions from congregants. A couple of weeks ago, I had such an experience after talking about evangelism. The topic of door-to-door Mormon missionaries  came up, and eventually our conversation turned to how to interact with non-Christian missionaries—and if they should be shown any sort of hospitality at all. One participant in the conversation mentioned that they do not

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30 Oct 2017

Having the Goodwill of All the People

Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved (Acts 2:47 NRSV). This is the final article in a series of reflections on the early church as portrayed in Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series are available in the author’s archives. Acts 2:41-47 paints a compelling and attractive portrait of the early Christian church. Founded on the

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16 Oct 2017

Eating Food with Glad and Generous Hearts

They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts (Acts 2:46b NRSV). This article is part of a continuing series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. The first Christians in Jerusalem formed a community of faith wherein they met in private homes for corporate worship while also continuing to participate in the life of

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02 Oct 2017

Spending Time Together in the Temple

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple… (Acts 2:46a NRSV). This article is a continuation of a series of articles on Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. I teach classes on the Bible, world religions, and humanities at several community colleges in my area. Each semester I notice that students seem genuinely surprised when they learn about the Jewish roots of

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21 Aug 2017

Signs and Wonders

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles (Acts 2:43 NRSV).” Having analyzed Acts 2:42 in a four–part series of articles, this week we turn our gaze toward the subsequent verses that elaborate on the daily and weekly rhythms of the early Christian church. Acts 2:43-47 offers a briefly sublime account of the church after the day of Pentecost. The first believers shared all things in common and

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24 Jul 2017

Devoted to the Breaking of Bread

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV). This is the third article in a series on Acts 2:41-47. The first article can be found here, and the second article can be found here. Acts 2:41-47 offers an elegantly simple portrayal of the first Christian church. After Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, Luke tells us that the new believers were baptized

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14 Feb 2017

A Brief History of Communion (Part I)

Christians of all sorts partake of some form of communion. Known by different names—the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion, Breaking of Bread, Mass—and taken at different frequencies—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly—this practice involving bread and wine stands as a testament to both Christian unity as well as divisions. What do contemporary Christians believe about the Lord’s Supper? To begin answering this question, we must first look at the history of communion, beginning today with what the

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24 Dec 2015

On the Advent of Christ

“God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us….” –Oswald Chambers Tomorrow Christians around the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Messiah of Israel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of Creation, Son of God, Logos Incarnate, God-become-man. This advent—arrival—and incarnation of the Christ has rightly fostered much contemplation from Christians over the centuries. Ranging from nativity accounts to creeds, and from hymns to Charlie Brown Christmas performances, Christians throughout the

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05 Oct 2015

Seminal Christian Thinkers: Augustine on the Lord’s Prayer

All Augustine sermon citations are taken from Sermon 80, Edmund Hill Translation1 Prayer has always been central to Christian communities. In America today, most are familiar with the text of the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ teaches his disciples in Matthew 6 (cf. Luke 11). The fact that such an ancient text continues to find relevance in the lives of each new generation says something significant about its worth. Yet popularity includes inherent drawbacks. Although millions can recite the

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06 May 2015

Thou Hast Not Left Me Here Without Grace

O my crucified but never wholly mortified sinfulness! O my life-long damage and daily shame! O my indwelling and besetting sins! O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart! Destroy, O God, the dark guest within who hidden presence makes my life a hell.1 This the final post in a series focused on God’s forgiveness. Not that three articles are enough to cover the topic—far from it. However, they should help lay the groundwork for

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02 Apr 2015

What Day Did Jesus Die?

“When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable…. In some cases seemingly trivial points of difference can actually have an enormous significance for the interpretation of a book or the reconstruction of the history of

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11 Feb 2015

Hasting Days

The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God.1 During a recent reading of Eliot’s Choruses from “The Rock”, the busyness of my life came

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31 Dec 2014

Broken Or Crushed?

Milton’s Satan famously quipped that “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.” (b.1 l.254-255)1 The hubris required to make this statement is emphasized when Satan rejoices in his removal from God: “since he / Who now is sov’reign can dispose and bid / What shall be right: farthest from him is best / Whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme /

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