Recent posts

Matthew Hartke describes himself on Twitter as a “Post-Christian Bible nerd endlessly fascinated with the historical Jesus and the origins of Christianity.” I had a bit of a debate with him a few years back in an Unbelievable podcast about whether Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet. I have some… (11 Sep 2020 | 0 comments)
Here are three missional challenges that the modern evangelical church needs urgently to get to grips with: 1) resist the extreme individualism and narcissism of western culture; 2) tell a compelling, up-to-date-and-beyond story about the living God, the communities that serve him in the name of… (8 Sep 2020 | 4 comments)
Writing to Timothy, Paul (presumably) says that a woman should learn quietly in all submissiveness and not be allowed to teach and “exert influence over” (authentein) men because “Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and has come into… (4 Sep 2020 | 0 comments)
Jesus did not tell moral fables. He was not a purveyor of uplifting Christian allegories that transcend time and space. He was a prophet in the mould of Isaiah or Ezekiel, telling disturbing, and sometimes deliberately disorienting, stories about the imminent impact of the kingdom of God on first… (1 Sep 2020 | 0 comments)
I rather overlooked the relevance of Jesus’ parable about an unforgiving slave in Matthew 18:23-35 for the recent debate about whether he interpreted the foreseen destruction of Jerusalem as God’s deliberate punishment of his people. When should we expect a day of the Lord? Why will… (29 Aug 2020 | 3 comments)
Much of Jesus’ Galilean ministry centred on Capernaum, so it comes as something of a shock to hear him denounce the city in rather forthright terms while things still appear to be going well. Admittedly, a warning note is struck early on when the faith of the centurion is taken as an ominous sign… (24 Aug 2020 | 5 comments)
I have argued that a “day of the Lord” in biblical terms happens not at the end of history but in history. It is a day when the God of Israel steps in to “judge” or “put right” a bad situation—to punish impiety and injustice, to deliver his people from their enemies, to re-establish his… (20 Aug 2020 | 19 comments)
In the popular Christian mind any reference to the “day of the Lord” or the “day of judgment” is likely to be conceived in final terms, as a transcendent event at the end of history. So when Paul says to the men of Athens that God has “fixed a day on which he will judge the world” (Acts 17:31), it… (17 Aug 2020 | 18 comments)
Where is God in a Coronavirus World? is really a piece of old school—the old “school” of C.S. Lewis—apologetics reworked for the COVID-19 era. This slight and simple book “concentrates on the problem of natural evil,” John Lennox says. In a time of crisis we look for solace and hope. Where… (13 Aug 2020 | 2 comments)
Jesus is teaching in the temple (Mk. 12:35-37). He poses a question: “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?” After all, David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ Jesus has taken Psalm… (28 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
The letter to the Hebrews is a Jewish-Christian text, perhaps an exclusively Jewish-Christian text. At its theological core is the argument that Jesus has become their heavenly high priest. But he is a high priest “after the order of Melchizedek,” which means that he is not only a priest, he is… (23 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
I can understand why the idea of the “cosmic Christ” has come back into vogue. It is a corrective to the hyper-individualism of much modern theology—and indeed of much popular culture. It stretches Christian spirituality to encompass an eco-mysticism that is not merely pantheistic. Its association… (20 Jul 2020 | 4 comments)
We have an online Communitas “Thinklings” event coming up this week, spread over a few days, to consider the question of church and mission after the pandemic. Brian McLaren helped us launch this informal theological forum nearly 20 years ago, and we’ve kept it going fitfully. Never before online… (13 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
In answer to Drew’s question, Daniel is in Babylon, Jerusalem is in ruins, the Jews have become an object of scorn and ridicule among the nations. He confesses the sins of his people and prays that God will be merciful, that he will bring his anger and wrath against the city to a swift end, and… (9 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
I made the point in my previous post that Paul’s teaching on marriage in 1 Corinthians is not stand-alone, timeless ethical exposition but a somewhat makeshift set of instructions to help the church navigate a difficult eschatological transition. I mentioned as part of my catalogue of… (6 Jul 2020 | 2 comments)
I thought that this was a rather good piece on marriage by the sociologist Mark Regnerus in Christianity Today. You have to be a subscriber to read it, unfortunately, or you could look out for his forthcoming book, The Future of Christian Marriage. Briefly, in the article he tries to give… (2 Jul 2020 | 1 comment)
I saw this comment in a Facebook thread about Black Lives Matter. The relation to its context was a bit obscure, but I think that the point being made is clear enough: “even though God’s kingdom is for everyone, Jesus’s ministry was principally devoted to the oppressed. A group of which He was… (24 Jun 2020 | 7 comments)
This is proving to be a tumultuous year for the world, and for the post-colonial western world in particular. Many people are hoping—myself included—that the coronavirus pandemic has woken us up to the damage that we are doing to our planet, and that the death of George Floyd has finally ignited a… (17 Jun 2020 | 5 comments)
The social unity and cohesion of the churches among the pagan nations was of utmost importance for the apostolic mission. Much of the teaching in the New Testament letters is given over to the issue. We mostly think of church unity as an end in itself, but the apostles also had an (14 Jun 2020 | 0 comments)
This is an attempt to address, at least in part, some difficult questions raised by Tim Peebles and Kevin Holtsberry in response to my recent reviews of books on coronavirus by Piper, Brueggemann, and Wright. The criticism seems to come down to two basic questions: Is coronavirus—even if we… (8 Jun 2020 | 3 comments)