Radical Gospel Solidarity

I’m teaching a two-week course on Romans, so I’m dipping back into Barth’s commentary here and there. On Paul’s barrier-destroying gospel: “God can be known only when those of the highest rank regard suffering with the whole social order of their age and bearing its heavy burden as the noblest achievement of which they are […]

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Oliver “The Enforcer” Crisp to Fuller

Knowing how this might upset trans-Atlantic relations, Her Majesty’s Special Forces asked me to keep a lid on this for a while.  It’s apparently out, however, that Oliver Crisp is joining the faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary. Crisp’s unique brand of bare-knuckle theological brawling is well-known, especially his treatments of Jonathan Edwards and Christology.  Less […]

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Theology & Sport

I love sports and love talking about sports.  I follow several of them quite closely and have found that it’s an area of human experience ripe for theological reflection. It’s particularly enlightening to relate justification by faith to sport.  This has to do with the character of sport as both serious and unserious. It’s intuitive […]

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The Gospel According to Barth

“[The Gospel] speaks of the Creator who shall be our Redeemer and of the Redeemer who is our Creator.  It is pregnant with our complete conversion; for it announces the transformation of our creatureliness into freedom.  It proclaims the forgiveness of our sins, the victory of life over death, in fact, the restoration of everything […]

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The Gospel’s Devastation and Renewal

Barth is doing something quite unique in his Romans commentary.  He draws upon Romans as Scripture to do in his own day what Paul’s text did in its original situation.  He’s not merely trotting out the exegetical details so that Paul’s text lies safely “back there” in the first century.  The exegesis is indeed essential, […]

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Athlete, Know Thyself!

I’m always fascinated by athletes’ self-perception.  It’s a rare person who has a sober and accurate self-conception, but the challenge of self-knowledge for athletes is greatly multiplied. Most professional athletes grow up with excessive adulation.  Their handlers make a living by stroking their client’s ego.  But the most deceptive factor is the relationship of age-related […]

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Being Confused with Barth

Despite attempts to fix it, the Amazon.com page for my Paul book continues to revert to a description of Barth’s Dogmatics.  I’m sure this is due to Amazon’s inability to distinguish between the power of Barth and my interpretation of Paul.  Delusions aside, I just hope he’d be kinder to me than he is in […]

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Karl Barth’s Romans Commentary

I begin teaching Romans on Monday.  Looking back through Barth’s commentary reminds me of its devasting and renewing power.  He powerfully employs dialectic and paradox to speak of God, Jesus, the gospel, the cross, and faith. A paradox of the cruciform God: “God gives life only through death” (p. 105). A paradox of the cross: “The cross is […]

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Sarah’s Birthday

Sarah and I went to Seattle last week for her birthday and had an absolutely lovely time.  Just a few highlights: We drank our morning coffee at Le Panier and watched the stalls open up at Pike Place Market.  We ate lunch at Matt’s in the Market, where I had the best burger of my […]

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First Audience(s) of the New Testament

The documents of the NT, with a few exceptions, are addressed to communities and not to individuals.  Many of us know this and it may not be too shocking, but the significances of this reality must continue to transform how we envision Christian identity. Nobody in the first century had a Bible.  Most people in […]

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