Paul, U2, & Collapsing Historical Horizons

I’ve been considering competing hermeneutical postures recently. A few weeks ago I finished The Whites of Their Eyes, Jill Lepore’s brilliant analysis of the uses of the American Revolution.  Among other things, she describes the phenomenon of “historical fundamentalism.”  She has in mind the failure to recognize the historical distance between the 18th century and our […]

Read More…

“The Law came in…”

Too much salvation-history and far too much systematic theology is read into Romans.  I do realize, of course, that Paul writes about the promise to Abraham, Israel’s mission and failure, and the Law’s role on the stage of human history.  But it seems to me that we ought to give serious consideration to reading some […]

Read More…

Wright on Improvisation

Wesley Vander Lugt reviews N. T. Wright’s new book, Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today at Jesus Creed.  Wes is doing his Ph.D. in theology at the University of St. Andrews and considers matters related to improvisation and Christian identity at Reflaction. Good stuff, Wes!

Read More…

Wes Anderson, Fear, and Fathers Day

I love Wes Anderson films.  I’m captivated by the fantastical worlds he creates, the quirky characters, and the incomparable soundtracks. I’ve always been slightly puzzled by this, however, since a troubled father-son relationship drives each of his narratives. In Rushmore, Max Fischer is ashamed of his father and so adopts Herman Blume as a sort […]

Read More…

The Cross & the New World

“…in the way of the Cross, in the offering of His life, and in His death, the radical nature of the redemption which He brings and the utter novelty of the world which He proclaims are first brought to light.” Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 105-106.

Read More…

The Follies of Idolatry

Paul says in Romans 1:21 that humanity “became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools…” He then ties this folly directly to idolatry.  Paul’s vision of idolatry is complex and rich.  It involves at least two perversions. First, it perverts humanity’s role within creation in […]

Read More…

CEB on Faith

I’ve been dipping into the Common English Bible a bit and I really like the way it has translated hupakoēn pisteōs in Romans 1:5 and 16:26.  They render the phrase as “faithful obedience,” so that Paul’s apostleship “was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake.” Further, they’ve got “faithfulness” throughout the […]

Read More…

Barth & Kierkegaard on the ‘Otherness’ of the Gospel

Barth’s Romans commentary is loaded with broadsides against the church’s domestication of the gospel, making it just another worldly commodity.  Barth quotes Kierkegaard: “Remove from the Christian Religion, as Christendom has done, its ability to shock, and Christianity . . . is altogether destroyed.  It then becomes a tiny superficial thing, capable neither of inflicting […]

Read More…

Celebrity & Cruciformity

While packing up my office I came across my copy of Daniel Boorstin’s classic The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.  It’s an early account and critique of the rise of a new kind of advertising since the late 19th century.  Decades ahead of its time (it was first published in 1962) it winsomely […]

Read More…

Hijacking Spiritual Gifts

Paul says the following to the Roman church(es): “I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you, among you—each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine” (1:11-12). I found two things […]

Read More…