As we celebrate the Pascha of our Lord, consider Isaiah’s words in the fifty-third chapter. Because in this chapter, Isaiah points to the resurrection of the Lord. Here is a translation of Isaiah 53:10–12 from an early Greek translation of the Hebrew text (i.e., the Septuagint or the LXX): [Read more…] about The Nerdiest Easter (Pascha) Article You’ll Ever Read
Behr, John, ed. and trans. Origen: On First Principles. 2 Volumes. Oxford Early Christian Texts. Oxford University Press, 2017.
Origen of Alexandria (c.185–c.254) is one of the most influential and controversial figures in the history of the church. He remains controversial even today. For example, many accuse Origen of believing in the pre-existence of souls, of being an allegorist (the implication being that he doesn’t understand the Bible), and of castrating himself.
Yet these accusations are either false or overstate the case. Origen did not castrate himself. Instead, this accusation probably comes from a false charge made against him from his opponents. He did read the Bible allegorically, but he also read the Bible literally. And his view of the pre-existence of souls is complicated, but Origen seems to root the existence of souls within God’s foreknowledge (or plan in his Wisdom).
Origen deserves a critical reception, but we must do better at critiquing him for the positions that he actually held. One way to do this is by learning more about his life and writings, especially On First Principles (the book that I am here reviewing). [Read more…] about Review of Origen: On First Principles Edited And Translated by John Behr
Christian leaders seem to be falling away from the faith in record numbers. Either they fall away by their actions (the love of sin) or through their confession (the denial of the faith). Actually, they might fall away by doing both of these things. Why does this happen? It’s hard to pin down one reason, but Peter (and Jude) provide some indications of the spiritual motivation behind falling away.
It seems that falling away from the faith involves two things: denying God and embracing sin. [Read more…] about Why Are So Many Christian Leaders Falling Away?
We love movies. Since the advent of Hollywood, Western people (and now the world) have watched and enjoyed thousands of films. Some movies mark a high point of art (Citizen Kane), while others mark the need for a business executive’s desire to make money (The Emoji Movie).
Despite the possibility of a film becoming an artifact of human ingenuity, a genuine piece of art, many films in the 21st century do not attain to the status of “good art.” Most films come from the executive’s office and their aim is merely to entertain without also informing and transforming. [Read more…] about 4 Reasons Why Books Are Better Than Movies
The rediscovery of Sola Scriptura during the Reformation transformed the world and brought new vitality to the Western church. We rightly celebrate this. But a healthy belief in Sola Scriptura in no way contradicts the notion of creedal confessionalism. Far from it.
Creeds summarize the Bible’s message and help believers in their greatest pursuit, the pursuit of God. They do so by laying out the uncrossable boundaries of who God is. They tell us what we cannot say, so that we are freed to say an infinite amount of things about God.
In short, they give you the syntax to talk about God, to free you up to pursue knowing God. Here are a few thoughts on confessing creeds and pursuing God. [Read more…] about What We Lose If We Give Up Creeds
We hope for the resurrection of our body. We will shed our body of death and be enfleshed in a spiritual body, one lacking mortality and corruption. Put another way, we put on immortality and incorruptibility.
Given that we have this hope, how should we speak to people with disabilities? Should we tell them to place their hope in a new body? Or would we be ableist?
The answer to this question is important because it concerns the pastoral duty of Christians as well as the spiritual vitality of people with disabilities. It really is the question of: How should we counsel people with disabilities?
Here are three guidelines to help us avoid ableism and to judge rightly. [Read more…] about Is the Christian Hope for a Resurrection Body Ableist?