11 May 2022

Couples and Convention

Quick: what are the names of the popular members of the royal family who will one day serve as King and Queen of the United Kingdom? Now, what are the names of the famous married couple whose Depression-era gang became the scourge of the FBI? And finally, what are the names of the husband-and-wife pop duo that was so popular in the 60s and 70s that they go by their first names even to this

09 May 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 3)

Unfortunately, Cara explains that the rest of his article will focus on works-righteousness, and that he will not undertake an examination of Old Testament covenantal nomism. It is unclear why he chooses to do this, but to ignore the entire basis for NPP soteriology (and Cara explicitly admits that covenantal nomism is the basis from which NPP theology develops) is argumentative malpractice. Cara cites only extra-Biblical Jewish texts in an attempt to show that at

06 May 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 2)

To recap, Cara concludes that, in NPP soteriology, “Justification is no longer a once-for-all declaration that by grace alone God declares sinners to be righteous in his sight based on the work of Christ alone through the instrument of faith alone.” In stating this, Cara betrays a belief that justification is God stating that sinners are righteous even when we are not, because of Jesus’ work. The NPP belief is that justification is God stating

25 Apr 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 1)

I am by no means an expert—in fact, I’m probably not even “well-versed”—in the New Perspective on Paul and the various views that fall under that umbrella. My education on the NPP came experientially, as I began to sense a disconnect between what my Lutheran upbringing taught me and what Scripture says, especially the gospels. I came to see that the version of Lutheran salvific theology I was raised to believe was not in the

22 Apr 2022

Christians and Conspiracy Theories

“You’ve been vaccinated against COVID?” he said with a horrified gasp. “Don’t you know that the mRNA will cause your body to shed spike protein fragments, rendering people sitting next to you infertile while simultaneously introducing 5-G responsive nanoware that will leave your brain vulnerable to the influences of the deep state and the incoming Ko-Dan Armada?” OK, so the last part was a surreptitious nod to 1980’s nerd culture, but substitute George Soros or

13 Apr 2022

The Message of Mary of Magdala

People across the Christian West will celebrate Easter this coming Sunday. Which means, per usual, publications are offering their usual spate of think pieces about what really happened nearly thousand years with Jesus of Nazareth in Jerusalem. My favorite (read: most snarkily consumed) of these pieces are those which provide some sort of alternative reading of Mary Magdalene’s role among Jesus’ followers. Whether Mary was an important follower cast aside by the patriarchy or some

11 Apr 2022

Book Review: “On Gender and the Soul”

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “soul,” your mind probably leaps immediately to something resembling the folk conception of a “ghost.” We live in a culture saturated with images of humanlike spirits being swept up to heaven or down to the abyss, from Dante’s luminous Paradiso to the stormy hellscapes of Supernatural and What Dreams May Come. This soul/ghost inside us is imagined as a kind of ethereal doppelganger, capable of

06 Apr 2022

For the Love of Learning

The task of the Modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. – C. S. Lewis   Perhaps it is the essence of the (so-called) “learned” to grumble about the (so-called) “learner.” Sometimes, I am sure, the complaints come from a sense of superiority and a place of pride, but I would wager that the majority of the complaints come from good intentions being frustrated. Teachers are, more often than not,

09 Mar 2022

Does Existence Exist?

That is not the case when you say “is” alone, for it is by itself “nothing…” – Aristotle (De Interpretatione I, 3) ipsum esse nondum est.[1]– Boethius (De Hebdomadibus, rule II.) In a previous post I explored what I had called “the glimpse of being” to discover that there is a distinction between what something is (essence) and that something is (existence). The study of being—at least as the metaphysician takes it up—is the study

18 Feb 2022

We’re All Erastians Now

One way to frame post-Reformation church history is by what Robert Rodes (a Notre Dame law professor, not the Confederate) identified as an Erastian-High Church dichotomy or “tension” working itself out across then-already-dwindling Christendom. In a narrow, most historical sense, Erastianism represents the views of the eclectic layman theologian-physician, Thomas Erastus. Presented by the Swiss Calvinist—once a suspected as a Socinian but later exonerated—was a posthumously published proposal in 1589 not all that radical: sacraments,

11 Feb 2022

Book Review: “Tradition and Apocalypse”

If you’ve poked your head in on the academic discipline of “Religious Studies” within the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a tic that—to nonspecialists—seems rather odd: the frequent references not to “Christianity” as such, but rather to “Christianities.” (The horrifically ugly neologism “a/theologies” tends to show up too.) That pluralization is deliberate, and encodes a specific value judgment: there is no such unified thing as “Christianity” in general, with a coherent and discernible essence,

09 Feb 2022

On God and Hypotheticals: Further Thoughts

  “I do not think that we can possibly deny that there is some other way than the one we have spoken of, on the supposition that God can do what human reason cannot comprehend.” -Anselm of Canterbury “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” – Jesus of Nazareth I recently read with great interest Wesley Walker’s article entitled “The God of

21 Jan 2022

Karl Marx: Prophet of Authenticity, Part II

This is the second installment of a three-part series. Part I can be viewed here.  Inauthentic Man Marx’s final confidence notwithstanding, he (obviously) was taken up with the proximate, intervening problems standing in between man and his destiny. Namely, that modern man in the capitalist epoch of history is not living authentically. As a cog in the “automatic system” he is alienated from his labor which means that he is alienated from both himself and his

19 Jan 2022

The Return of the King (Part 6)

This post is the conclusion to a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) | The Long Pause (Part 3) | It Is Time (Part 4) | The Already and Not Yet (Part 5) The image above is a fresco from Etrurio, Italy. Painted during the Renaissance and later covered up, this tremendous piece of art was discovered at a winery and restored only a few

17 Jan 2022

“Let Justice Roll Down”: A Short Reflection on MLK and Amos 5:24

The words of Amos 5:24, “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” have been inscribed on the American mind through our annual remembrance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This favorite verse of King’s presents a beautiful image. However, because King is generally thought of primarily as a civil rights leader and not a Christian theologian, in

07 Jan 2022

The God of What-If: Deconstructing the Idolatry of Theological Hypotheticals

Note: This article originally ran at Earth & Altar. “Clearly, whatever you are, you are in your self; you are not derived from another. You are the very life by which you live, the knowledge by which you know, the goodness by which you are good, and so forth.” –St. Anselm, Proslogion, XII As finite beings locked into a linear timeline, it is easy to think about the “what-ifs” that could have been. Where would

10 Dec 2021

The Danger in Clinging to Life

As I sat in that room, which was filled with people who had more education and experience than me, I thought, “I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to be here.” At the time, I was an adjunct faculty member and this was my first time attending a faculty/staff meeting with the college president. It was well known that the institution was facing financial hardship, and the meeting was called to address concerns around potential

22 Nov 2021

Evangelicalism Is Moving Backwards in Some Ways

Contemporary Westerners seem to believe, at least most of the time, that society is either driving forward into new territory or staying the same. This idea is firmly reinforced by the popular terms “progressive” and “conservative”; the progressives drag society forward, and conservatives dig their heels into the ground, hoping to keep things exactly as they are. The same idea, from what I can tell, holds true within Western evangelicalism: progressives are trying to move

19 Nov 2021

What is it About Candles?

What is it about candles? There is no practical reason for them to exist in the developed world in the 21st century, much less for them to be as readily available as milk and dish soap. In the developed world, electric light has been available for 100 years, and we have brighter, more convenient, and more reliable sources of light. Candlelight is feeble compared even to the single bulb on the back of my cell

12 Nov 2021

Karl Marx: Prophet of Authenticity, Part I

In his new bestseller, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Carl Trueman argues that Marx, along with Nietzsche and others, contributed to the plasticity of man. Meaning that human nature is contingent, not static, and subject to the desires and will of man himself for its ultimate meaning, manifestation, and final end. In sum, it is the erosion of metaphysics and traditional ontology. Marx, capitalizing on his predecessors, represents an inward turn in