Showing posts from 2021


My Top 10 Books of 2021

I like to read books, and people like to read Top 10 lists. In celebration of these two facts, here is my annual Top Books list for 2021. (previous lists: 2020 , 2019 , 2018 , 2015  ... yes, I missed a few years) Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self - I feel like a parody of myself for putting this book at the top of my list. Oh well, it's that important. Carl Trueman traces the modern conception of the self, beginning with Rousseau (a starting point he admits is mostly a function of having to start somewhere). He has a shorter and more popular-level version forthcoming . I will probably buy that to give to some folks, but if you want to contemplate how unusual our plastic understanding of personhood is, then pick up the original. The material is dense, but Trueman is an excellent writer, so reading through is an achievable task.  Hearers & Doers  - In this book, Kevin Vanhoozer gives pastors and church leaders a vision for building disciples fit for following Christ using the

A Controversial Claim

 Dick Lucas, commenting on Colossians 3:18,  “All this is not to say that the woman will always find the sacrificial giving of herself in loyalty to another congenial. But if we are right in seeing this entire ethical section as a sustained exposition of the rule of Christ, the significant truth about a Christian woman’s relation to her husband is that it mirrors her commitment to her Lord. What Paul is really explaining is what it means to call Christ Lord. In his concept there is no possibility of a married woman’s surrender to a heavenly Christ which is not made visible and actual by some submission to an earthly husband. To claim (as I have heard it said) that the discovery of a new loyalty to the Lord made it imperative (apart from exceptional circumstances) to be disloyal to a husband is to enter a pseudo-spiritual world of double-think.” (R. C. Lucas, Fullness & Freedom: The Message of Colossians & Philemon, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,

Why Pray?

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash A Response to “Thomas Aquinas’s Understanding of Prayer in the Light of the Doctrine of Creatio Ex Nihilo ” by Rudi te Velde Introduction In his paper, “Thomas Aquinas’s Understanding of Prayer in the Light of the Doctrine of Creatio Ex Nihilo”, Rudi te Velde begins with the premise that to pray when one believes in an omnipotent God by whom all things were created and on whom all things - including prayer - depend, creates certain practical and philosophical problems which must be remedied. To put it as he does on page 50, “What is the use of prayer if God’s causality with respect to the world is from all eternity determined and not liable in any way to change?” St. Thommy to the Rescue To help walk through this issue, te Velde interacts with the thinking of Thomas Aquinas, particularly his work Summa contra Gentiles. Here Thomas distinguishes between primary and secondary causes. God is the only being or reality who exists outside of the created r

Singing Subversively

  Photo by Trevin Rudy on Unsplash An (appreciative) Response to Michael W Martin and Bryan A Nash Introduction In their paper, “Philippians 2:6-11 as Subversive Hymnos” , Michael W. Martin and Bryan A. Nash argue that, though contested of late, the categorization of Philippians 2:6-11 as a hymn is correct. They do this by comparing the ancient rhetorical theory of hymnos with the text in question, and then looking at the key difference: Christ is praised for some most unusual reasons. The Marks of a Hymn Examining ancient textbooks which address the genre of hymnos, Martin and Nash first point to four markers which allow the identification of the hymnos genre (95-109). Species of rhetoric. There is a close relation between genres of hymnos and encomion , thus hymnos is set apart by the next three markers. Subject. Whereas encomion takes as its subject man, hymnos is dedicated to a god.  Length. Here both hymnos and encomion share length, as opposed to epainos , which are brief. For

Williamson on Roe

 This article over at National Review is more than worth your time. Moving, clear, profound.

Broken For You

 The following post is adapted from a Communion Meditation given at Remsen Bible Fellowship on 11/7/2021. Remembrance In Luke 22:19, Jesus tells us that when we come to the communion table we are to do so, "in remembrance of me." In this post, I want us to fix our minds on, to remember, one particular passage . Let's examine the words of Jesus in John 19:28-29.   "28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth." (ESV) As we briefly consider these verses, I want to organize our thoughts under two headings, plan and pain. Plan First, plan. Note in verse 28, John tells us that Jesus spoke. His words were not mere incoherent cries., they were words intended to bring a particular result - the fulfillment of Scripture. Psalm 69:21 says,   "for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drin

His Day Approaching

  Text       28        “And it shall come to pass afterward,        that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;                    your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,        your old men shall dream dreams,        and your young men shall see visions.              29       Even on the male and female servants        in those days I will pour out my Spirit.  30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls. Introduction and Author The book of Joel opens by telling us that the word of the LORD came to Joel, the son of Pethuel (1:1). His name means, “Yahweh is God,” and little el

Movin, Movin, Gone

                                                                    Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash A Response to “A Gospel on the Move” by Eric D. Barreto Introduction In his paper, “A Gospel on the Move: Practice, Proclamation, and Place in Luke-Acts,” Eric D. Barreto argues that from the narrative coming to us as the twin books of Luke and Acts we can draw imaginative tools useful for understanding and evaluating the world around us today. He extends this specifically into the area of border and imigration policy, encouraging his reader to embrace a disruptive and Jesus like stance toward including outsiders in our conception of family and those who belong. Appreciation Barreto asks an important question in his third paragraph on page 175, “how do we move from narration to injunction, from storytelling to ethics, and from narrative to action?” This is an important hermeneutical question. If James urges us to be doers and not mere hearers of the word (see James 1:22), then the qu

Help Some Folks

 Hey all, I know I don’t have a ton of readers these days, but if any of you are so inclined as to help a couple in need, some folks I used to know just lost their home in a wildfire and could sure use a helping hand:

Brief Introductions

  Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash Introductions to Amos, Nahum, and Zephaniah Amos Author and Date Authorship of the book has traditionally been ascribed to the prophet Amos. Nothing is known about Amos other than what he reveals in 1:1 and 7:14, that he is a herdsman and dresser of sycamore figs, hailing from Tekoa. He was neither a prophet nor a priest, but was entrusted with a series of messages from the Lord (7:14-15).  The fact that he prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel indicate that his prophecy occurred between 765-750 B.C. Audience and Message This book is directed toward the northern kingdom of Israel, and the beating heart at the center of the book is God himself. The name Yahweh occurs by itself and in combination with other terms over 80 times in the book. The focus of Yahweh and His speech in the book is to warn Israel that the coming day of the Lord is sure, but it is surely bad news for them, rather than the good news they had

Review - Dark Sky by C.J. Box

  Dark Sky by C.J. Box My rating: 5 of 5 stars It wasn't The Great American Novel, but it was fun, thrilling, and even thoughtful at a few points. I enjoy the Joe Pickett character immensely. View all my reviews

When Does Edom Die?

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash A Response to “The Setting of Obadiah” Introduction In his paper The Setting of Obadiah ( Hassler, Mark A. 2016. “The Setting of Obadiah: When Does the Oracle Concerning Edom Transpire?” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 59 (2): 241–54. ) Mark Hassler seeks to answer the question of his subtitle: When Does the Oracle Concerning Edom Transpire? The answer to this question matters because it shapes one’s whole interpretation of the prophecy. The Oracle’s Fulfillment Hassler lays out the three primary options for the timing of Edom’s humbling, as predicted in Obadiah’s vision. He gives props and cons for both a 9th century B.C. fulfillment and a fulfillment in the 6th century B.C. The main issue he raises with both of these timings is that there is no historical record of anything close to what Obadiah describes actually happening to Edom in these centuries (see pages 243-246).  What Hassler then goes on to argue is that this vision aw

Having the Right Fear

Photo by Jessica Delp on Unsplash An Exegetical Paper on Isaiah 8:11-22 Text 11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”  16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they