God Goes to War Against His People

The great rhetorical “armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6:10-18 is drawn from Isaiah 59:17. Many Christians are familiar with the Ephesians text, but likely have not given much attention to Isaiah. The prophet speaks to God’s own people, those who look to God for salvation but have become a people of violence and complacency […]

Read More…

Bono is America’s Pastor

I attended U2’s 30th anniversary Joshua Tree concert Saturday night in Chicago, the same city in which I saw them in October 1987, though at a much smaller venue than Soldier Field. It was a blast to see them with my brother-in-law Paul and my friend and teaching colleague Jonathan, both long-time U2 fans. I […]

Read More…

Evangelical Leaders and Donald Trump Are Cut from the Same Cloth

Endorsements of Donald Trump by the leaders of evangelical organizations, such as Jerry Falwell, Jr. and James Dobson, have mystified outside observers and have frustrated many evangelicals. Based on my experience in several evangelical organizations led by a singular figurehead, I believe that many of these leaders do not merely see him as the preferable […]

Read More…

Scribes & Pharisees Call Out the Church

Mark 2:1-3:6 contains a series of five episodes in which the scribes and Pharisees raise questions about Jesus’ behavior. In four of the five episodes, they direct their questions to Jesus. But in vv. 15-16, they question the disciples. While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 6

Paul’s gospel, then, is thoroughly political, but not “political” according to the corrupted status quo of what we call politics in our 21st century American culture. Paul doesn’t call for the church to try to agitate for power and influence, and certainly wouldn’t tolerate rhetorically denouncing other people or fellow Christians in the name of […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 5

The church’s politics can be seen in at least three concrete ways. The Lord’s Supper was a political practice that reflected the sort of community that embodies the death of Jesus Christ. How is this so? When the world eats its meals, it gathers rich with rich, poor with poor, people from this side of […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 4

I’ve claimed thus far that Paul’s gospel is political, and I’ve already given some hints about the basic shape of his outlook. But what are the more specific political contours of his thought? Just how does this work out when we turn to the sorts of things he actually wrote to churches? First, as I’ve […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 3

It would be an outrageous understatement to say that when he saw the exalted Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul’s perspective changed. Of course, it did. But we must take some time to unpack just how it changed and what aspects of it were transformed. First, when Saul saw the resurrected and ascended […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 2

Paul’s thought is most fundamentally shaped by the Scriptural narrative of the Creator God and his call of Israel as his special possession. The God of Israel created the world and everything in it. He spoke a creative word, ordering the world and placing humanity within the garden of Eden. God charged Adam and Eve […]

Read More…

The Politics of Paul, Pt. 1

*In the election cycle in 2012, I participated in several discussions bringing biblical and theological perspectives to bear on politics. I wrote several posts stemming from my reflections on Paul’s political vision. I’m going to re-post them over the next few days. Over the last half-century or so, evangelical Christians have envisioned the relationship between politics […]

Read More…