1 Corinthians & Celebrity-ism

This semester I’m teaching 1 Corinthians and using Anthony Thiselton’s shorter commentary as one of the course texts.  In his introduction he describes the culture of Corinth as consumer-oriented and self-promoting—shaped by celebrity-ism. His comments about the ethos of Corinth brought to mind Daniel Boorstin’s brilliant book, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.  […]

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Spontaneous vs. Intentional Prayer

In light of commending A Book of Prayers earlier, I thought I’d reflect a bit on intentionality when it comes to prayer. Typically, when evangelicals consider spirituality, they place a high priority on spontaneity, equating it with authenticity.  Especially when it comes to prayer we are largely resistant to anything planned or intentional.  “Ritual” in prayer […]

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New Prayer Book from IVP

A Book of Prayers came in the mail the other day from IVP.  Their new catalog has some excellent new and forthcoming items in it, but this one especially caught my eye and I was happy to get my hands on it. If prayer is our conscious and intentional engagement with God, and if Scripture […]

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Ephesians, not Romans, Represents Paul’s Theology

I’ve been claiming that Romans is a pastoral letter from Paul written to resolve a developing conflict in the Roman church (or, network of house churches).  Paul’s arguments, therefore, are directed to that end—to bring about unity among all those in Christ, both Jewish and non-Jewish. This letter is often regarded, however, as Paul’s systematic […]

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God’s Universal Sovereignty & Church Unity

In Rom. 3:29-30, Paul makes a second argument for the unity of all Jesus-followers in the Roman church. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through […]

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Faithful Readings of the Law Foster Unity

Paul wrote Romans to make a case for the unity of all Jesus-followers in Rome.  All those in Christ, Jewish and non-Jewish, are siblings in God’s one new family by the Spirit. In Rom. 3:27-31, Paul sums up his case for unity using two arguments that undermine claims of Jewish privilege in God’s new family. […]

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Justification & the Unity of God’s People

In Rom. 3:21-26 Paul advances his argument that the church must be unified and competing factions must reconcile and “welcome” one another in Christ (Rom. 14:1; 15:7).  Just as no one has an inside track with God based on ethnicity, all Christians in Rome (Jew and non-Jew) are set right (“justified”) with God as a […]

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No One Has An Inside Track With God

Paul wrote Romans 1:18-3:20 to the Roman church with a pastoral intention.  He’s not necessarily laying the groundwork for a gospel presentation here, nor is he theologizing in the abstract about the sinful condition of all humanity.  It isn’t wrong, of course, to draw theological conclusions from Romans 1-3 about universal human sinfulness, but we […]

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Conference on Creation in Scripture

Debates and discussions over the relationship of Scripture to science and the character of creation in Scripture have caused no small stir among evangelicals recently.  Grand Rapids Theological Seminary is hosting a one-day conference in March to provide a venue for presentations and conversations on these matters. In addition to GRTS’s own David Turner, John […]

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Paul, Habakkuk, & Faithful Improvisation

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul says the following: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who is faithful, to the Jew first and also to the Greek; for the righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith(fulness) unto faith(fulness) (ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν), […]

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