Persecution and Scripture Memorization

In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization

Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

There must be something in the water of the Sea of Galilee. Otherwise, how can you explain why so many people allegorize stories from the life of Jesus that take place on or around the Sea of Galilee? (What is allegorizing, you ask? Allegorical interpretation draws meanings out of a Bible passage that the biblical … Continue reading Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom

Have you ever been present when God’s manifest presence breaks into a prayer time, a sermon, a worship service, or a Bible study? This happened quite unexpectedly one morning during a summer class I was teaching—yes, in a college classroom. I was discussing Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). What was it, anyway? … Continue reading Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom

Was there One John or Two in the Early Church? What Did Papias Think?

Early in the second century A.D., Papias, one of the Apostolic Fathers, penned an interesting paragraph about which my students sometimes ask.  In particular, students are sometimes curious to know whether Papias is referring to one John (that is, the Apostle John), or to two Johns (the Apostle John and a different elder named John).  … Continue reading Was there One John or Two in the Early Church? What Did Papias Think?

The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?

Paul boldly and famously asserts: “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14). But what does he mean by “the love of Christ”? If you’re willing to put up with a bit of Greek-grammar jargon, check out this golden nugget in a paragraph from Maximilian Zerwick’s grammar of New Testament Greek. Zerwick writes: …the … Continue reading The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?

How to Remain a Truly Christian University

A couple years ago, I read Owen Strachan’s excellent book, Awakening the Evangelical Mind: An Intellectual History of the Neo-Evangelical Movement. He has some good words for how to keep evangelical universities, well … evangelical. These three paragraphs are worth the three minutes it will take you to read them: The evangelical colleges and universities that are … Continue reading How to Remain a Truly Christian University

It Must Have Been So Painful

Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I … Continue reading It Must Have Been So Painful

How Many Herods Are There in the Bible?

A few years ago, I wrote a post for the Talbot Faculty Blog that employed as its starting point a then-popular, very silly song (What Does The Fox Say? Who is the Fox Anyway?). The person referred to as “the Fox” in the Bible is Herod Antipas, so I was actually writing about him. But … Continue reading How Many Herods Are There in the Bible?

I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection

Last year, I was at home with my family on Good Friday because of Covid-19. My home church streamed a somber and beautiful online service. One of our church leaders led a soul-searching time of reflection on the passion narrative, interspersing six pre-recorded readings from the biblical text with solemn songs led by our worship … Continue reading I Abandoned My Lord: A Good Friday Reflection

Muslim Insider Movements and the Church: An Interview

Muslims are coming to Christ all around the world. But what should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? I recently read an outstanding book dealing with the central biblical-theological and missiological questions surrounding this central question: Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm. The book's author, … Continue reading Muslim Insider Movements and the Church: An Interview