How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference


What is the essence of Christianity?

I read Roger Olson’s blog from time to time. He has recently written a couple of posts asking, “What is the Essence of Christianity?” We need to address these simple but fundamental questions from time to time.

I know, it’s been a while, what with Covid and a major writing project to complete….

What Olson is interested in is not what modern Christianity empirically is—the sort of account that a sociologist of religion might come up with—but in the normative definition. “By inquiring into the essence of Christianity we are asking about what Christianity ought to be in order to be authentically itself.”

If the “chief end of man” is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, as the Westminster Catechism asserts in its opening clause, why is there no mention of this in the creation narratives? Eh? Humanity is created, as male and female, and is instructed to fill the earth, subdue it, and assert… (27 Jul 2021 | 0 comments)
In Mark 6 Jesus sends the twelve out in pairs to call people to repentance, cast out demons, and heal the sick (Mk. 6:7-13). Perhaps because of their mission, the name of Jesus becomes widely known. Herod hears about it, and he comes to the conclusion that John the Baptist has been raised from the… (21 Jul 2021 | 3 comments)
Stefan Paas is a Dutch missiologist. Pilgrims and Priests: Christian Mission in a Post-Christian Society (2019) is a modified English version of a book originally published in Dutch. It is his attempt to answer the “big question” that logically precedes any missiological enquiry, namely, “… (13 Jul 2021 | 2 comments)
People who believe in the “internal consistency of Scripture,” Craig Bartholomew says, are likely to be troubled by a handful of sayings in the Synoptic Gospels that seem “at first glance” to mean that the “second coming” would happen during the lifetime of at least some of the immediate group of… (1 Jul 2021 | 11 comments)
This may not add up to very much, but I’ll give it a go…. The “gospel of Jesus Christ” begins, according to Mark, with the appearance of John baptising people from Jerusalem and Judea in the river Jordan. Mark sees this as some sort of fulfilment of what was “written in Isaiah the … (24 Jun 2021 | 1 comment)
Does Paul identify Israel’s Messiah with God in Romans 9:5? I’ve examined this passage a couple of times (see links below) and have been more or less of the opinion that the grammar says perhaps, but the development of thought says no. Since we’ve been looking at Brian Simmons’ The… (21 Jun 2021 | 1 comment)
I continue with my thankless defence of Brian Simmons’ The Passion Translation against the battalion of “highly respected scholars” that Mike Winger has “hired” to wage war against it. Why do I do it? I don’t know. Partly because in an internecine theological spat like this there is… (19 Jun 2021 | 0 comments)