Stay or Leave? How Should a Christian Missionary Respond to Death Threats?

I recently received an email from a former student living in a challenging country in the Middle East. He asked me a question that I would assume most of you have never had to answer. His question was: What do we do if we receive death threats? He asked this question because he remembered that … Continue reading Stay or Leave? How Should a Christian Missionary Respond to Death Threats?

Is it Possible Not to Sin? Can the Tongue be Tamed?

How can James write: “But no one can tame the tongue” (James 3:8 NAU) in one breath, and then in another write “this ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NRSV)? If no one can tame the tongue, why does James exhort his readers to tame their tongues, and blame them when they don’t? Is … Continue reading Is it Possible Not to Sin? Can the Tongue be Tamed?

Christian Hospitality

My wife is remarkably hospitable—far more than I. For ten straight years at her instigation, we invited all of my enrolled college students over every week during the academic year for dinner and spiritual conversation. (Fortunately, it never happened that they all showed up on the same evening. Whew!) We have scaled back a bit … Continue reading Christian Hospitality

When Have Been the Most Sorrowful Times of Your Life?

This probing question was asked me by a young man with whom I was spending regular mentoring times a few years ago. Now, I cannot answer the question for you today with specifics (though I tried to for my younger friend). But there is one insight about suffering that came out of that discussion that … Continue reading When Have Been the Most Sorrowful Times of Your Life?

How Accurate is the New Testament Text? A Simple Test for a Complicated Problem

People sometimes get up-tight when they first learn of the existence of variations in manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, but their concerns are baseless. The text of the New Testament is far-and-away the most attested and stable text of any ancient document. In fact, if you question the stability of the text of the New Testament, … Continue reading How Accurate is the New Testament Text? A Simple Test for a Complicated Problem

Quarrelsome, Argumentative, and Angry Church Leaders

“Which qualifications for leadership have you observed are the least-emphasized when church leaders are appointed to their offices?” This is a question I sometimes ask my students when I teach a class called Life & Letters of Paul. As my students read through the qualifications for overseers/elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, they … Continue reading Quarrelsome, Argumentative, and Angry Church Leaders

One Way to Stay Fresh as a Teacher

I know that quite a few teachers read this blog, so let me offer a suggestion for one way to stay fresh as a teacher. Here is my suggestion: Make improvements to a lesson immediately after you teach it. This suggestion, obviously, is for people who teach the same classes over-and-over again. It doesn’t apply … Continue reading One Way to Stay Fresh as a Teacher

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021

I read quite a few good Christian books in 2021. Here are seven of my favorites, plus a bonus book. Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm, by S. T. Antonio. What should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? Solid and readable Christian ecclesiology … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021

Modern Miracles: A Short Book Review

There is no better time than Christmastime to read a book about miracles, is there? I have just finished reading Craig Keener’s new book: Miracles Today: The supernatural work of God in the modern world. But this book is not about miracles that took place in the first century (see his outstanding two-volume tome Miracles … Continue reading Modern Miracles: A Short Book Review

Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption

In the Christian world, at least before the advent of modern telecommunications, church bells were the most common way of reminding Christians that a worship service was about to begin. But there is another kind of bell—a “bell that goes off in your head”—that is really useful when you read the Bible. For years I’ve … Continue reading Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption