• Biblical Studies Needs Theology…

    Biblical Studies Needs Theology…

    I recently was told by someone that they didn’t need theology because they just needed the Bible. N. T. Wright responds in The New Testament and the People of God as follows: “Biblical studies needs theology, because only with theological tools can historical exegesis get at what the characters in the history were thinking, planning, aiming […]

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  • Missional Five – Part Five: Gospel

    Missional Five – Part Five: Gospel

    There are two traps that await the overwhelming majority of Christians: A church full of the already-convinced, preaching a message designed for seekers who aren’t there. (Joe Aldrich once called this “having a message but no audience” in Lifestyle Evangelism.) An “outside the four walls” ministry in our communities that does a lot of great serving, but […]

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  • So You Want to be a Scholar? Here’s What They Won’t Tell You…

    So You Want to be a Scholar? Here’s What They Won’t Tell You…

    So you want to be a scholar? You likely already are aware of the fact that you are going to be reading a lot and writing heavily footnoted academic papers while engaging in discussions about methodology while analyzing and assessing arguments. You’ve probably weighed the challenges to actually getting a job after you’ve finished graduate school and […]

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  • The Missional Five – Part Four: Serving

    The Missional Five – Part Four: Serving

    In previous posts in this “Missional Five” series, I have suggested that: “Being” is not superior to “doing”, or vice versa. Doing the works of the Kingdom (being missional) should be part of the natural fruit of being in the Kingdom. Living with a missional purpose is meant to impact all areas of our lives, […]

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  • On Trading Our “Discernment” Birthright for a Bowl of Stew…

    On Trading Our “Discernment” Birthright for a Bowl of Stew…

    The story of Jacob and Esau is well known (Gen. 25-27). Esau, the eldest son of Isaac, sold his birthright to Jacob, his younger brother, for a bowl of stew. It was a catastrophic failure on Esau’s part, as we read in Scripture that God hated Esau (Mal. 1:2-3) and he was unholy for such […]

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  • The Missional Five – Part Three: Engage

    The Missional Five – Part Three: Engage

    So far, we have described the idea of  “being missional” as both a lifestyle (not a program) and also having a sense of purpose in how we live in all areas of life (versus simply “being” as if that were more spiritual than “doing”). And we reminded ourselves that, as people “on mission” with Jesus, being missional is a function of […]

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  • The Missional Five – Part Two: Purpose

    The Missional Five – Part Two: Purpose

    In the first part of this series, Pastor Mike from the Main & Plain pointed out that being missional is a lifestyle, not just another church program. That’s a relief for most of us. We don’t want to be part of a church program. We do want to be missional as a lifestyle. It sounds less performance-oriented and more relational. But if […]

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Biblical, theological, & practical reflections from the trenches.

Biblical Studies

Biblical Studies Needs Theology…

Biblical Studies Needs Theology…

I recently was told by someone that they didn’t need theology because they just needed the Bible. N. T. Wright responds in The New Testament and the People of God as follows: “Biblical studies needs theology, because only with theological tools can historical exegesis get at what the characters in the history were thinking, planning, aiming […]

The Parable of the Barren Tree – Luke 13:1-9

The Parable of the Barren Tree – Luke 13:1-9

Luke 13:1-9 begins with stories about real events that happened in Jesus’ day. They were “News Stories” about the murder of worshippers in the Temple, and a tower that fell on some passers-by as they journeyed along a road. In both cases, Jesus asked – “Do you think these were worse sinners than others?”  His answers, on the […]

The Banquet Parables of Jesus – Luke 14:1-24

The Banquet Parables of Jesus – Luke 14:1-24

This is part one in a video series covering several of the parables of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Read the text, watch the video, share your comments. Enjoy! Luke 14:1-24 (ESV) 1 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. […]

Theological Studies

Is nature in conflict with scripture? – Some reflections on the Gungor drama.

Is nature in conflict with scripture? – Some reflections on the Gungor drama.

Well, last week was a typical week in a world where Christian celebrity, social media, and theological convictions collide. A well-known Christian musician voiced his evolving theological conclusions, convictions, and even doubts about things like a real first-couple named Adam and Eve, a six-day creation (which he was taught happened 6,000 years ago), and a version of […]

I Think the Word “Church” Should be Abandoned.

I Think the Word “Church” Should be Abandoned.

I attend a church. I am also a member of that church. In fact, I serve that church as a pastor. I often invite people to visit that church or to visit our church’s website. As you can tell, the church is a big part of my life. I love the church and spend a […]

Karl Barth Recognized Churchianity as Opposed to Community

Karl Barth Recognized Churchianity as Opposed to Community

Karl Barth writes: “When theology confronts the Word of God and its witnesses, its place is very concretely in the community, not somewhere in empty space. The word “community,” rather than “Church,” is used advisedly, for from a theological point of view it is best to avoid the word “Church” as much as possible, if […]

Reviews

Keeping Jesus in Seminary

Keeping Jesus in Seminary

Any seminary graduate (or attendee) worth his salt has been warned about the “danger” of attending the cemetery. We are told that if we attend theological education, we’ll lose our passion for Jesus and will embrace ideas that undercut the foundations of the Christian faith. Therefore, the argument goes, avoid that place like it is […]

Ken Wilson on Pauline Theology (part 5)

Ken Wilson on Pauline Theology (part 5)

In this post, I want to review and interact with Ken Wilson’s work in ALTMC on the Apostle Paul. In addition to several posts covering Ken’s introductory work (here, here, and here), I’ve posted my thoughts on his use of the Old Testament. Now I want to start looking at his work on the NT, specifically related […]

<em>A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89)</em>, by Allen P. Ross

A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42-89), by Allen P. Ross

Of the Psalms, John Calvin said that “the varied and resplendid riches which are contained in this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words.” Martin Luther stated that the Psalms are a “Little Bible, wherein everything contained in the entire Bible is beautifully and briefly comprehended.” Deitrich Bonhoeffer said that “the more […]

Practical Theology

Missional Five – Part Five: Gospel

Missional Five – Part Five: Gospel

There are two traps that await the overwhelming majority of Christians: A church full of the already-convinced, preaching a message designed for seekers who aren’t there. (Joe Aldrich once called this “having a message but no audience” in Lifestyle Evangelism.) An “outside the four walls” ministry in our communities that does a lot of great serving, but […]

So You Want to be a Scholar? Here’s What They Won’t Tell You…

So You Want to be a Scholar? Here’s What They Won’t Tell You…

So you want to be a scholar? You likely already are aware of the fact that you are going to be reading a lot and writing heavily footnoted academic papers while engaging in discussions about methodology while analyzing and assessing arguments. You’ve probably weighed the challenges to actually getting a job after you’ve finished graduate school and […]

Do Soup Kitchens Denigrate the Poor (and create a wall between “us” and “them”)?

Do Soup Kitchens Denigrate the Poor (and create a wall between “us” and “them”)?

I recently read a comment in a long thread that I found to be pretty insightful, which asserts exactly that. Jim Wright makes a pretty good case for the idea that the way we typically help the poor (while well intentioned and does meet a real, felt, and very practical need) none-the-less ends up creating […]

General

“A God to call Father” – A Father’s Day Reflection

“A God to call Father” – A Father’s Day Reflection

Have you ever heard someone refer to God as “The Man Upstairs,” or perhaps more piously, “The Lord?” Certainly, the Bible is full of titles and descriptions of God, which are appropriate to use when we refer to Him. But there is one sense in which God reveals himself which truly shows the depth of […]

Interview with Kevin Scott…

Interview with Kevin Scott…

A few months ago I posted a review of Kevin Scott’s absolutely fantastic book ReCreatable (review here). Kevin was kind enough to answer a few questions for us and I want to again encourage you to pick up his book! It’s excellent. ************************************ Luke: Kevin, thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions! If you wouldn’t mind, […]

A Broken Wall – A Poem on Ecclesiastes 10:8b

A Broken Wall – A Poem on Ecclesiastes 10:8b

This post will go on record as my first attempt to share some original poetry inspired by my own reflections on some texts that mean a lot to me. Here’s my first, entitled – “A Broken Wall.” Enjoy ——————- A Broken Wall by Kenny Burchard Ecclesiastes 10:8b “…whoever breaks through a wall, will be bitten by […]