Top 50 Blogs by Theology Professors

Written by L.G. at 11:53:PM ON 10TH DECEMBER, 2010
You might think that professors would have little time for blogs, but it appears that many theology professors use their blogs to announce news, to test out new theories about religious faith, practice, experience and spirituality, and for communicating with students and peers. While not all the professors listed in our top 50 blogs by theology professors focus entirely on theology in their blogs, the authors are at least current in their updates. And, they often are engaging, sometimes controversial, and many have been blogging away in the blogosphere for quite some time.


An Unsettling God : The Heart of the Hebrew Bible

An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible

An Unsettling God : The Heart of the Hebrew Bible by Walter Brueggemann is an honest reading. It is an honest grappling with the text of the Old Testament. John Goldingay's remarks however summarize this reading succinctly. He notes, ""An unsettling God? 'An unsettling Walter Brueggemann' some of my students would say." This book is a real look by a real scholar concerning the peculiarities of the Old Testament concerning YHWH as a dialogical character and His partnership with Israel, the human person, the Nations, and Creation.

This text itself is a condensing of Brueggemann's larger work, "Theology of the Old Testament". In the Preface he lets us know that "The big idea of this book is that the God of ancient Israel is a God in relationship, who is ready and able to make commitments and who is impinged upon by a variety of "partners" who make a difference in the life of God." (pg. xi) Indeed a God in relationship "pervades the Old Testament".

In the first chapter Brueggemann suggests Christians "in the present time" are to undergo a "recovery of the  Jewishness in our ways of reading the text." (pg. 6) He says that "a recurring Christian propensity is to give closure to our readings and interpretations, it is recurringly Jewish to recognize that our readings are always provisional, because there is always another text, always another commentary, always another rabbinic midrash that moves beyond any particular reading." He also discusses Martin Buber and his likewise dialogic reading of the text. There is truth to this but we cannot leave it here. Even as we read the text, all the while understanding a dialogic nature, and then re-read the text again and again over time we still glean truths that emerged from our initial readings. The meaning is then found in a relational aspect since much of the Scriptures appear to be pregnant with meaning. This should not mean however that there is no discernible meaning even at first reading.

He goes on to discuss how God is a God in pathos. God's pathos, "concerns the engagement of YHWH with Israel and with the world, and therefore YHWH's vulnerability and readiness to be impinged upon." (pg. 9) He mentions the work of Abraham Heschel concerning YHWH's pathos. He then writes, "the peculiar character of this God is as available agent who is not only able to act but is available to be acted upon." (pg. 9) He also notes the work of Jurgen Moltmann and the ways Christian theology has "asserted the apatheia of God...by acknowledging the suffering of the Son in which the Father does not participate." (pg. 10) Moltmann believes that "it is necessary to talk in trinitarian terms" concerning "what happened between Jesus and his God and Father on the cross..." He also notes "The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son." (pg. 11)  Brueggeman agrees here and says that "Moltmann's statement is completely congruent, in the categories of Christian theology..." For Brueggeman God is "deeply at risk in the drama of fidelity and infidelity in the world." (pg. 11) 

In chapter five Brueggeman goes on to point out that "YHWH takes creation--the whole known, visible world--to be YHWH's partner." He points to Genesis 1-2 as obvious example and says others not so obvious.  He cites various passages in this chapter including Psalm 19:1-4; Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 104:14-23. He defines creation as "the network of living organisms that provides a viable context and home for the human community...an outcome of YHWH"s generous, sovereign freedom." (pg. 138) Often times we do not take into account God's role with creation. Brueggeman rejects Creation ex nihlo and posits that God "ordered the 'preexistent material substratum.'" (Pg. 138)

He goes on to note that creation includes "human creatures but not especially human creatures--are looked after, cared for, sustained, and protected by the generous guarantees that the Creator has embedded in the creation." (pg. 139) YHWH gives the "blessing of life" as "guarantees for all creatures" (pg. 141) and wisdom compels us to give attention to things that "keep the world generative." (pg. 141) 

Speaking of a "Renewed Creation out of Hopelessness" Brueggeman brings our attention to Hosea 2:2-23. He notes that on the basis of this text that "the future to be given by YHWH, it is no longer possible to keep distinct the future of Israel and the future of creation..." (pg. 157) He takes us into many texts but cites Isaiah 65:17-25 and says that the "new creation now promised concerns not only Israel, not only the entire human community, but also all of creation, so that hostilities at every level and in every dimension of creation will be overcome." (pg. 160)

Brueggeman concludes that there is a "basis for a genuine alternative to the nihilism of the modern world...This testimony of Israel, echoed by Christianity, not only gives different answers--it insists on different questions, wherein the answers offered are...tenuous...the intramural quarrels in the church, and the ancient alienations between Christians and Jews, are unconscionable...when this lean, resilient tradition stands as a fragile alternative to the embrace of the Nihil." (pg. 176)

This book is not for the faint of heart, or the "weekend warrior". If you are a student of the word and want to dive into the heart of the Hebrew Bible then read this book. You may not agree with everything but you will learn something.


Former Justices O'Connor & Souter on Cameras in the Court


Linda Greenhouse, commented that "Of course, not too many people get the chance to actually see the Court in action...Here we are on C-SPAN. C-SPAN has kind of has a dog in that fight of wanting to bring the Court into the living rooms of America." Justice David Souter comments, "A fight which I hope C-SPAN loses."


HCSB : Online Study Bible Resource

The Holman Christian Standard Bible has a new website. It is still in beta version. The HCSB is a fresh translation using optimal equivalence. It is offered freely as well as notes and commentary. Other great resources also available. 

Larry Hurtado and Devotion to Jesus

From Larry Hurtado's blog:

"I’m pleased to report that my essay, “EARLY DEVOTION TO JESUS: A REPORT, REFLECTIONS AND IMPLICATION” is published in Expository Times 122/4 (2010): 167-76. I have placed the manuscript on the “Essays, etc.” page of this blog site.
The essay reports on some 20 years of involvement in the historical investigation of earliest devotion to Jesus, giving major results, and also a few brief observations and exhortations for Christianity today."

Those who are interested in early Jesus studies will enjoy this essay. Click here to read.

Icons of Evolution 10th Anniversary: Archeopteryx


Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality

"Fining your way back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality" is what Mere Churchianity is all about. In over 200 pages Michael Spencer, aka. Internet Monk attempts to show us our need for us to become more Christo-centric. He also wrote the famous essay in the Christian Science Monitor called "The Coming Evangelical Collapse". This book is the only book Spencer wrote before dying of cancer on April 5, 2010. Frank Viola, author of Jesus Manifesto, says "As someone who has been writing for years on the supremacy of Jesus Christ and its relationship to his church, I found the Christ-centeredness of this book to be profoundly refreshing. We have lost a choice servant of God in Michael, but heaven is the richer. I'm thankful that he left us this excellent contribution."

Spencer introduces the book with "The Dairy Queen Incident". This title immediately got my attention since Dairy Queen is also in my home town and I also eat there quite a bit after services. Texas is DQ country. At any rate, he recounts a story of him as a youth pastor while his youth group and he frequented the local DQ. As is often reported, sadly, the youth group was not very friendly and damaged their witness. Later Spencer received a letter from a girl who worked at the DQ. The note, among other things, noted "your youth group invaded and abused our restaurant...you probably don't know that I am a member of you church, but for the past year I have been an atheist...Christians like you have convinced me that God is a myth, an excuse used by religous people to mistreat others..." The letter says much more but you will have to buy the book to find out!

The atheist here makes a great point. It is a stark reality to those who forget the Christian life is not about human lordship but Christ Lordship. As humans we make a mess of things when Christ is not Lord. In the book Beyond Opinion Alister McGrath notes, " One of the fundamental factors leading to the rise of atheism is a perception that belief in the divine does not lead to a morality that is clearly superior to that offered by secular culture.” (pg. 25) It is important that the modern church move towards a more Christological focus not only in theology but also in practice.

Spencer notes, "American Christianity has evolved into a movement that Jesus would not recognized if he were to show up next Sunday." (Spencer, pg. 24) More than likely Spencer is right. Many churches would probably expel Christ or Paul if they were to show up on Sunday. Our Western sensibilities would be incensed. He also notes that the "evangelicals are in the midst of a kind of exodus...Evangelical churches haven't lost a culture war or forgotten how to be relevant. They have become a movement that has so little to do with the centrality of Jesus..." (Spencer, pg. 25) Without naming names Spencer calls out the "motivational speaker" type pastors that are telling audience how to "improve their lives with a positive attitude and relentless efforts to be nice...this pastor leads millions of people every week to believe that Christianity is about you getting everything you want the way you like it so that you you you you.." (Spencer, pg. 29) You get the point here, right?

Some readers may see this book as radical and well they should. No one usually agrees with EVERYTHING they read either. We cannot underestimate our dilemma though. It is a radical change we need. A radical turning but in the direction of Christ and His Lordship over heart and culture. Spencer says "Christianity can be spelled out in a few words: Jesus is God. Lord and God." (Spencer, pg. 35)

We need personal transformation by the authentic Christ of Scripture. Not a prosperity gospel or a blab it and grab it religion. We don't need another pastor telling us about a positive mental attitude every service either. Spencer notes that he is "swimming in a sea of mediocrity, worshiping in a church captivated by consumerism...I need some truthful talk--not safely scripted chitchat--about what it means to follow Jesus...I need to see and know real human beings who have walked the path of hard choices and hard times in order to remain faithful to Jesus." (Spencer, pg. 45)

If you want to be challenged, read this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Press as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Trinitarian Art [HD]

Apostolic Identity in The Bible and Culture

Why is there a need for Apostolic Identity? Maybe it would be helpful to use an illustration but first ponder how our world interprets Scripture. Or, how they have interpreted Jesus? For example, in his book Be Intolerant Ryan Dobson offers this rendering of culture. 

Does this sound familiar? 

And Jesus said unto His disciples, “Go into all the world, teaching all men to live any way they want, and urging each to find his or her own path to God. Let not any one of you make someone feel inferior or victimized because of your beliefs. Above all, be tolerant. Verily, verily, I say unto you that what you believe and how you live do not matter, so long as you are sincere.”
Leaving that place, Jesus led His disciples to Jerusalem where they broke bread at Club Upper Room. There He addressed them again, saying, “I am one of the ways, one of the truths, and just one possible life. If you are basically a good person, you’re okay in my book. And if you choose to come to the Father (or Mother, if you prefer) through Me, that’s cool. Now go forth to live according to whatever feels good to you.”
And there was much rejoicing.[i] 
Actually, Jesus was very exclusive and said something very different. In John 10:7-11 Jesus says that He is the “truth”; “the gate”; “whoever enters through me will be saved”; “I am the good shepherd”. In John 14:6 again Jesus says something different. He says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV) Jesus alone was born of a virgin conception (Matthew 1:18-25); Jesus alone is God Incarnate (John 1:1-18); Jesus alone lived the perfect, sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21); Jesus alone died a substitutionary death (Romans 3:21-26); and Jesus alone was resurrected from the dead as the victor over death and hell (Revelations 1:18). The Apostle Paul, in no uncertain terms, says in Romans 8:9 “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (ESV) 

The Bible:

In our times there is a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11-12; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Timothy 2:15). Most people do not DESIRE sound doctrine but they readily follow after false teachers and false prophets who only proclaim what people want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Every believer, every teacher, every preacher, every person must be about proclaiming the Word of God! We are never given the right or liberty to teach or preach our own ideology, or traditions. We are to preach and teach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:2) and therefore we limit our doctrinal teaching to the Biblical record and not speculation.

The central focus of Scripture is Jesus. The Old Testament which anticipates and prophecies of a coming Messiah is the prerequisite to the New Testament which fully declares God manifested in the Flesh! (1 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, the core of our teachings and the heart of our theologies must be about Jesus Christ and the teachings of His disciples.

The Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God. It will not lead us into error and it has been inspired by God Himself by way of human writers or holy men of old. The Bible is our landmark, it is our constant. 

The only way God could reveal to us His Word was by way of a specific cultural setting in actual time and space. This fact does not detract or take away from the truth of His Word. We do not attribute Scriptural authority to the customs of the Bible rather we must discern and uphold timeless Biblical principles that transcend culture. These principles and moral laws do not change but remain in all times, places, cultures or circumstances. For example, dietary laws (Leviticus 11) are not binding today but were abolished by Christ (Mark 7:18-19). However, the principle they taught of separating the clean from the unclean, or the holy from the unholy remains. 

Not wearing clothing mixed with wool and linen found in Deuteronomy 22:11 doesn’t teach a moral purpose but rather it serves to teach the principle of separation. NT believers fulfill these principles by our separation from the world and those things spiritually and morally unclean. We do not simply disregard or completely abandon the teachings of the OT but we examine each teaching to see how it fits into the overall plan of God. We take into account how it fits into his progressive revelation for mankind as He calls us to greater spiritual truths, and even a higher standard of morality and holiness. This is why it is dangerous to ignore passages just because we do not understand them or because there isn’t a second passage that says the SAME thing. Our goal is to bring out the meaning of ALL Scriptural statements and NOT to cancel out their significance. The Scriptures have been preserved for our learning and salvation.

The Culture:

Mark Twain, in his writings about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, alluded to a gilded era. Who would ever whitewash a fence for an apple core? Twain saw that gilded notion that we are getting something for our money and time but in reality we are getting nothing. Culture offers us cheap imitations - gilded realities.

We must take culture into account but culture NEVER abolishes the Biblical principle. Instead, we distinguish between essential truths and cultural expressions. For example, Abraham arranged the marriage of Isaac but that was an ancient Eastern custom. Lot would have sacrificed his two daughters to protect the angels he knew as guests because this was an ancient Eastern custom of protecting your guests at your own expense.
Paul discusses slavery and even instructs slaves to work diligently for their masters but this is not the Bible condoning slavery. Rather it is God giving us practical guidelines for those who were living in those conditions.

Culture cannot be our benchmark. Matthew 16:26 says, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (ESV) Jesus desires for His followers to live in the world, to serve, and to witness but not get caught up in the godless pleasures of life and culture. Our relationship to culture is an indicator of our relationship with God. 

1 John 2:15 tells us that “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (ESV) and James 4:4 says that “”friendship with the world is enmity [hostility] with God…” (ESV) John also said “Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13 KJV) and “ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (KJV)

What is Apostolic Identity? 

We must maintain our Apostolic Identity but what is our Identity? Is it holiness? Is it speaking in tongues? Our Identity is more than one or two things. It's a package deal. I have found that these 6 points set us apart and identify us as Apostolic's to our culture. I have not found where any of them are optional for Apostolic's.

1. The Oneness of God (Deuteronomy 6:4) Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad. 

2. The New Birth Experience (Acts 2:38). Faith and Repentance with Baptism by the Spirit and water baptism in Jesus name. 

3. Lifestyle of Holiness (inward and outward) (Leviticus 18:2; 1 Peter 1:14-19). The holiness of God is the basis and the compelling necessity for our sanctification. In Remaking the Modern Mind, Carl Henry noted that a persons “concept of God is determinative for all other concepts; it is the Archimedean lever with which one can fashion an entire world view.” 

4. Worship (Psalm 150 – “let everything praise the Lord”) Heartfelt worship. Worship is something that penetrates every area of our life. Worship is not just dancing or leaping but it is also a lifestyle. We ARE worshippers – we don’t just worship.

5. Gifts of the Spirit and Miracles (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) For the edifying and instruction of the Body. 

6. Discipleship and Evangelism (Genesis 1:27-28; Matthew 28:18-20) 

In the Genesis account God commissioned humanity to multiply themselves in number, and fill the earth. However, there is something startling new with the beginning of the Apostolic Age of the Holy Spirit. Here Jesus commissions the disciples to multiply themselves in number by discipleship and evangelism throughout the earth. Notice, the first commission spoke of spreading human life globally, the new commission was aimed at spreading eternal life globally!

While teaching his theology class at Grace Theological Seminary, Dr. John C. Whitcomb, held up a magazine with a photo of seminary students, attempting to evangelize their community, at a local shopping center. The students stood there with their hands in the air and finger pointing straight up. This was their message. “We don’t know what it all means…but we are in contact with whoever is up there…” 

Although there are some things that we may never be able to explain or make perfect sense of there are things that we can know for sure. In his book, Why One Way? John MacArthur states, “Authentic Christianity starts with the premise that there is a source of truth outside of us.” 

Jesus is Truth. In the Gospel of John Christ states that it is the “truth” and knowing “truth” that sets us free (John 8:32). Truth is liberating. Later in the Gospel Jesus would go on to call Himself “truth” in John 14:6. The same Greek word for truth is used in both passages. Jesus is Truth. 

Jesus is Light. John the Baptist was a forerunner to Christ. A witness to the light (John 1:7-8). John 1:9 says “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (ESV) 

When a person, who has been accustomed to darkness, comes into the light their iris restricts due to the amount of light entering the pupil. This is called adaptation in ocular physiology. Light then exists whether we can or will allow ourselves to see it. Truth is much the same way. Yet, it exists regardless if we see it or not.

We must "consider every question in both ways--both by "looking at" it and by "looking along" it. An example is falling in love. Whose opinion on falling in love would matter the most to you? A man who had fallen in love with a woman who is enjoying and looking along the light of love or the opinion of a scientist or sociologist who are only contemplating or looking at love? We can look at light and it can blind us momentarily; however, we can also look along the light as well and it illumines us or our surroundings.

The latter, is when the light is invisible because you no longer see the light but see "by" the light. C.S. Lewis noted, "Light is not something you see; it's something you see by." It is by God's light that we can read Scripture and understand culture. 

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:9 (ESV)


Evidential Faith: Debate: James Anderson and Glen Burt

Evidential Faith: Debate: James Anderson and Glen Burt: "The Oneness of God and The TrinityDebate When? Monday and Tuesday, January 17 & 18 Where? Eastview United Pentecostal Church. Lufkin, TX T..."


This is not my father's Pentecostalism by Roger E. Olson

Here are some excerpts. Click here to read from Olson's blog.

‎"in the 1970s–many Pentecostals were not open to their young people seeking higher education."
‎"I suspect that IF “this Pentecostalism” had been around when I was in my twenties I could have remained Pentecostal."


The Narnia Code by Michael Ward

The Narnia Code

The Narnia Code is authored by Michael Ward on C.S. Lewis and the code or hidden meaning behind the seven part series: The Chronicles of Narnia. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. There are over 157 pages of intrigue and discussion concerning The Chronicles of Narnia; literature that has literally had a long lasting influence on our thinking. I personally have read many of Lewis' works and have always admired his life's story. Reading this book is a must for Lewis fans.

Some Lewis scholars have suggested this series was linked to classical virtues (e.g. faith, hope, love, justice, prudence, temperance, and courage). Others suggested they all had the unifying theme of the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy, and pride). Ward suggests that "none of these ideas proved to be the solution to the riddle." (Ward, pg. 13)

Ward insists that the code is in the seven planets (Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, and Venus) that played a big part in Lewis' life-long interests and study of Middle Ages and Renaissance literature. Ward recounts that Lewis himself said most of his books were written "tous exo" (Greek) which is to say for "those outside". Lewis consciously uses this type of method so, as Jesus did with his parables, "those outside" may always be seeing and never perceiving. (Ward, pg. 11) Often times while reading the parables of Christ a first reading only reveals a certain level of meaning or understanding whereas a second or third reading will reveal much more.

George Sayer, a close friend of Lewis, said that Lewis or Jack, as he was also called, "never ceased to be secretive." (Ward, pg. 12) In fact, the movie Shadowlands is all about Lewis who got married and told no on what he had done for the most part of a year. Even his close friend, J.R.R. Tolkein, who did not like the Chronicles series, did not know. C.S. Lewis was known for his secrecy and wrote many books, even one of his last books, under different pen names (e.g. Clive Hamilton, N.W. Clerk).

Although chapter two does not discuss the seven planets it does discuss an issue that I wanted to share in this review. Chapter two is called "The Beam of Light" and Ward cites Psalms 36:9 here which says, "in your light do we see light." (ESV) Ward recalls Lewis' work "Meditation In A Toolshed" where he is making the point that we should "consider every question in both ways--both by "looking at" it and by "looking along" it. (Ward, pg. 17) An example given to illustrate this is falling in love. Whose opinion on falling in love would matter the most to you? A man who had fallen in love with a woman who is enjoying and looking along the light of love or the opinion of a scientist or sociologist who are only contemplating or looking at love? We can look at light and it can blind us momentarily; however, we can also look along the light as well and it illumines us or our surroundings. The latter, is when the light is invisible because you no longer see the light but see "by" the light. As Ward points out, Lewis's point was simply this: "Light is not something you see; it's something you see by." (Ward. pg. 19) It is by God's light that we can see thereby.

During the Middle Age period each planet, in the pre-Copernician world, had its own special symbol or influence. Ward makes the point, in the remainder of the book that each Chronicle contains symbolisms of each planet. Lewis felt that the universe, as it was understood in pre-Copernician times, was "tingling with life" whereas in post-Copernician times the Classical Physics have given us a universe more like a machine. This tingling of life referred to the way that we have viewed the planets and stars as something special.

What does this have to do with Christ? As Lewis has noted, Christ is the cosmic glue which holds our universe together. (Ward, pg. 20)  Ward notes that "from the very start of the Bible, the stars have great significance...Creation story...God creates the stars "for signs and for seasons"...God makes the sun to "rule the day" and the moon to "rule the night" (Genesis 1:14, 16) (Ward, pg. 38) It was the Star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to Jesus; in Judges the stars are portrayed as angels; in Revelations 1:16, 20, 2:1 the Son of Man is holding the "seven stars in his right hand". Ward, who even lived in Lewis' old home and has lectured on him for years, believes that Lewis used the "symbolism of the seven heaven in this world as he wrote the Narnia books...each Chronicle...would embody and express the spiritual quality of on of the seven planets." (Ward, pg. 42) Below I will briefly list each Chronicle and its corresponding planet.

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Jupiter
  2. Prince Caspian - Mars
  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Sun
  4. The Silver Chair - Moon
  5. The Horse and His Boy - Mercury
  6. The Magician's Nephew - Venus
  7. The Last Battle - Saturn

Since this is a review and not a spoiler I will discuss only one of the Chronicles and its planet - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. This year (December 2010) Walden Media, who has already produced two of the Chronicles, will also produce their third film about this series, the Dawn Treader specifically. As previously mentioned, Ward believes this Chronicle is about the Sun.

In this Chronicle Caspian, Lucy and the others find a pool on a mysterious island. At the bottom of this pool they can see a life-sized figure of a man made of gold! Even as Edmund edges close to the water the tip of his boots turn to gold. Even the spear Edmund places into the water turns to gold! Everything the water touches turns into gold. The story gets better. Caspian picks up a spray of heather and dips it into the pool. Immediately it too turns into purest gold! Caspian begins to be stricken with greed and attempts to claim the land for himself and even renaming it "Goldwater Island". Edmund has a different plan than Caspian and a tussle erupts. It is at this point that, on the horizon, a huge lion begins to walk at a slow pace..."Nobody dared to ask what it was. They knew it was Aslan!" (Just as the disciples knew Jesus in John 21:12)

As Aslan appears bright and shining as if he was in the bright sunlight even though the sun was in fact gone. Aslan is clearly being portrayed here by means of Sun imagery. The pool that turns everything into gold is seen to be the evil of alchemy. This is why later Reepicheep would call the place "Deathwater Island" instead of Caspian's "Goldwater Island". The evil and desire of worldly riches is overpowering and creates division amongst the characters in this story. Only when they look toward Alsan do they become free of this greed for gold. "Aslan's riches bring life, not death." (Ward, pg. 72)

Lewis teaches us a powerful lesson that can be found in Psalm 19:10. God's ways are "More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb." It is the riches of God that can fill our longings with the purest and finest gold!



Reifying “Natures” = Two Persons by Jason Dulle

Here is an excellent article from Jason Dulle, M.A. from Theosophical Ruminations

Oneness Pentecostals (OPs) have always struggled to explain the duality of activity and consciousness we see portrayed in Scripture between the Father and Son.  The Father is doing one thing, while the Son is doing another; the Father knows all things, while the Son knows only what the Father reveals to Him; the Father is prayed to, while the Son prays.  How can this distinction of activity and consciousness be explained other than in terms of multiple persons?  Admittedly, that would be the most obvious and natural explanation.  And yet, because we are persuaded that the Biblical affirmation of monotheism extends both to God’s essence and God’sperson, OPs have sought an alternative explanation that is Biblically and philosophically sound.

The standard way of explaining the distinction of activity/consciousness between the Father and Son is to appeal to a duality of natures.  The human nature of Jesus is said to do X, while the divine nature of Jesus (the Father) is said to do Y.  On this account, Jesus’ prayers can be explained as the human nature praying to the divine nature.  What I find interesting about this explanation is that it simply swaps the word “person” for “nature.”  What Trinitarians refer to as “two persons,” we refer to as “two natures.”  Functionally speaking, the two phrases are equivalent, for both admit the presence and distinction of two metaphysically distinct entities.  On the Trinitarian view, there are two metaphysically distinct persons in communion with one another, whereas on the OP view, there are two metaphysically distinct natures in communion with one another.  The only substantive difference is that on the Trinitarian view both entities are divine, whereas in the OP view one is divine and one is human.

The problem with the traditional OP explanation is two-fold.  First, while OPs have tried to avoid the conclusion that God is “two persons,” they have ultimately turned Jesus into two persons.  His human nature is understood as a separate person from the Father; a human person.  In Jesus, then, there are two persons: one who is divine, and one who is human.  But this is de facto Nestorianism.  On this view, God did not truly become man, but merely came to dwell within a human person who is ontologically distinct from the divine person.

Secondly, natures are impersonal, and thus cannot be the source of personal activities such as thought and prayer.  A nature just refers to a set of essential capacities demarcating what kind of thing someone or something is.  Natures cannot think or act.  Natures do not pray or speak; only persons are capable of doing these things, utilizing the capacities of their nature to do so.  In attributing some activities to Jesus’ human nature, and others to the divine nature, we have reified natures so as to give them personhood.  For OPs, natures have all the attributes and carry out all of the functions of persons, but we dare not call them “persons.”  Given the fact that natures are impersonal by definition, the distinction of activity and consciousness between the Father and Son cannot be explained by an appeal to natures.  Only persons are capable of doing what we see the Father and Son doing in Scripture.  Does this commit us to the Trinitarian view, then?

No.  We can make sense of the distinction of activity and consciousness between the Father and Son if we understand the one divine person to be conscious of Himself in two distinct ways: as God in His cosmic mode of existence, and as man in His human mode of existence.  On this construal, the divine and human natures are not the locus of activity, but rather the cause of activity.  In His cosmic mode of existence, the one divine person functions according to His divine nature, causing/allowing Him to be conscious of Himself and act in a divine manner.  But in His incarnate mode of existence, the one divine person functions according to His human nature, causing/allowing Him to be conscious of Himself and act in a human manner.  In each case it is the person, not the nature, who acts.  The distinction of natures simply allows the one divine person to be conscious of Himself, and act in two distinct modes simultaneously.

Click here to go to the article @ Theosophical Ruminations


The Deity of Christ by Frank Bartleman (1926)

The Deity of Christ
What Think Ye of Christ?
Is He God or Man?

Click here to read online or download.

Excerpt from introduction:
This little volume has been prayerfully collected and written to meet the oncoming, terrible onslaught against, and the denial of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in these last, evil days of apostasy from the true and living faith. It might be truthfully titled forty volumes in one, for it is the condensed testimony and teaching of a vast number of the very best Christian scholars, dating from the early church fathers down to the present day, on this most important and vital subject of our Christian faith. In fact it contains the very essence of Christian belief concerning the doctrine of the Godhead, both from a theological and a Scriptural standpoint.
It is a book especially to be recommended as of helpful value to scholars, and in fact to all who desire a clearer- understanding of this most sacred and profound subject. May the faith of many be built up, strengthened, and restored through its perusal, is the sincere prayer of its author and compiler.

Los Angeles, California
March, 1926

Click here to read online or download.

1867 Sermon on Baptism in Jesus Name by William Crowther

This sermon, represented by the images below, was delivered August 27th, 1867
at the Artillery Street Chapel in London. 

This sermon is provided by The Acts of the Apostolic Faith in Jesus Christ, Inc.

Front Page:

pg. 3

pg. 4

pg. 5

pg. 6

pg. 7

pg. 8

pg. 9

pg. 10

pg. 11

pg. 12

pg. 13

pg. 14

pg. 15

pg. 16

Michael Brown: Calvinism Or Arminianism?

Dr. Michael Brown, a former Calvinists turned Arminian and member of SEA, presents both sides of the debate between Arminianism and Calvinism in 4 sessions. The goal is for his church to better understand the leading points and opposing points of view to prepare them for conversations concerning this issue. It has a tendency to be a divisive topic. But Dr. Brown presents both in such as way as to equally impress and convince.

Dr. Brown's presentation may be accessed in 4 You Tube videos (though there is no live video) or 1 MP3 audio file. Click here to read more, listen or download at the SEA website (Society of Evangelical Arminianism).



The Kingdom Life - Alan Andrews General Editor

The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation

The Kingdom Life, by NavPress is a well done hardback book. The design and layout are also excellent. There are over 314 pages of practical theology that is meant to be translated to daily living. The study of theology must be more than simple head knowledge but must move into our discipleship and spiritual formation. Alan Andrews is general editor. Other authors in the book are Dallas Willard, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, Keith J. Matthews, Bill Hull, Keith Meyer, Peggy Reynoso, Paul Fuller, Bruce Demarest, Michael Glerup, Richard E. Averbeck and Christopher Morton. The foreword is by Rick Warren. 

The Kingdom Life receives praise from Michael J. Wilkins who says "This book is sorely needed.". David Fitch from Norther Seminary says "It is not another book on how to do discipleship as a program; rather, it reexamines the theology and practice of discipleship in light of the lordship of Christ and the life we have in His Kingdom." The books points out that the "word kingdom is used more than 150 times in the New Testament" and that "in democracies, people have a difficult time understanding the full implications of living under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ." (pg. 7) Although America is not only a democracy the point carries that we should look afresh at life in the Kingdom of His Lordship.

"Where is the kingdom of God?" the book queries. The simplified answers is "The kingdom of God is wherever Jesus is king! If Jesus is king in your heart, then the kingdom of God is within you." (pg. 7) Jesus is king in heaven and in our hearts but when "the reign of Christ is fully realized on earth, then the kingdom of God is on earth." (pg. 7)

The book is split into two parts. Part one is "Process Elements of Spiritual Formation" and part two is about "Theological Elements of Spiritual Formation." In this review I will only highlight a couple chapters that were my personal favorites - "The Gospel of the Kingdom and Spiritual Formation" by Dallas Willard and "The Bible in Spiritual Formation" by Richard E. Averbeck.

In chapter one Willard rightly notes, in simple and concise fashion, that "The simplicity is that we discover all of the complexity of the kingdom by simply following Jesus. As we follow Him, we are also formed in Him." (pg. 30) Often this point is overlooked but we cannot keep looking for the pie in the sky or the "next" miracle around the corner that will get us where we need to be. No! It is in becoming a true follower and disciple of Christ. As we do this Christ will lead us and teach us for "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:3 NIV).

Willard goes on to note that "we are called to well informed action in the process of our own spiritual growth." (pg. 31) The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are essential for our growth but trusting them to follow through is not in question. We must be mindful of our part in participating in The Kingdom Life. Much of the book focuses on "our part" in the journey. He also notes that "When you line up with the laws of God, you are lining up with what God Himself is doing." (pg. 38) Willard also points out the trinity of evil which he defines as the world, the devil, and the flesh. (pg. 47)

In chapter ten Averbeck begins with the premise that "Spiritual formation is based upon the Bible as God's reliable and authoritative revelation...our primary source of truth..." (pg. 275) As part of our spiritual formation we must move the Scriptures from simply being words on pages or simply historical narratives. As he notes, "The Scriptures are living and active in penetrating, exposing, and transforming our hearts and lives as the Holy Spirit brings to bear upon us individually and together." (pg. 275) 

In a practical sense, "if you love someone, you take what he or she says seriously." (pg. 276) This is probably where the great disconnect lies in our culture. It is to see the Bible as what God would say to us, and if He is truly Lord then we are also living in His Kingdom. We must take the Bible seriously in our times because it is a "divine revelation for spiritual formation". (Pg. 279) Averbeck cites 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and points out that "Timothy could rely on Scripture both to say what is true and to use as his divine authority in teaching..." (pg. 279) 

Averbeck also notes one of the presuppositions of every reader of the Scriptures. This is something we must bear in mind as we study and read the Word of God. He notes that "People are so bound up within their matrix of cultures and communities that they do not read the Bible apart from that set of circumstances. As with individuals, he experiences of communities profoundly shape how they read the Bible." (pg. 284)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


In the Form of God

In the Form of God by Randy Brown @ Studies in Scripture

Philippians chapter 2 tells us that Jesus is in the form of God.
Phi 2:6-8 KJV 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The Greek word for ‘form’ is ‘morphe’.
3444 morphe {mor-fay’}
Meaning: 1) the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision 2) external appearance
Jesus was the ‘morphe’ of God; the external appearance of God. Jesus was the appearance of God because he had the very nature of God- he was God Himself.
The Greek word for ‘equal’ is ‘isos’.
2470 isos {ee’-sos}
Meaning: 1) equal, in quantity or quality
The Scriptures tell us there is no one equal with God.
Isa 40:25 KJV To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
Isa 46:5 KJV To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
Isa 46:9 KJV Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there isnone like me,
Since there in none that is equal with God, and Philippians 2:6 says that Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal with God, Jesus must be God.
Even though Jesus is God, and it was His prerogative to do as He willed, He did not hold on to these prerogatives. Instead, He was willing to lay His prerogatives aside and take on the form of a servant in order to become the sacrifice for our sins. Did He have to? No. He did this by His own grace. By His grace He willingly took on a human nature and submitted Himself to death on the cross.
Doesn’t this make two ‘persons’ in the Godhead? Doesn’t Jesus have the same nature as the Father? This wasn’t a divine ‘Son’ emptying Himself of divine attributes and becoming incarnate. While Jesus did ‘empty’ Himself of His divine prerogatives, He did not stop being God. He did not turn deity into humanity. He did not stop being the Father to become the Son. He was God manifest in flesh. He took upon Himself humanity, but He still had His divine nature. He had two natures- God and man. He is equal to God because He is God. The term ‘equal’ means that His nature is the nature of the Father. He never lost His divinity or attributes.
His dual nature explains how Jesus was exalted.
Phi 2:9-11 KJV 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God exalted the man Jesus. The name of Jesus is above every name because it is the name of God manifest in flesh. The name of Jesus is the saving name.
Act 4:12 KJV Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Jesus is both God and man. Our God became a man to become our sacrifice for sins. Jesus is our God and savior.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)