Essay / Theology

Universal Fatherhood of God: No! and Yes…

There’s a 5-page essay on “The Fatherhood of God” in the 1952 book The Faith: A Symposium of Bible Doctrine. The book, though it never clearly says so, is a collection of essays by Plymouth Brethren writers, and includes among its 25 chapters nice work

Essay / Theology

UnTrinitarian Discouragement (Sibbes)

Richard Sibbes’ (1577–1635) book The Bruised Reed is an extended meditation on discouragement. Sibbes has penetrating insight into how grace and disgrace are always mingled in the life of the Christian. Following his wise counsel can deliver you from unrealistic optimism on the one hand

Essay / Culture

Black Lives Matter at Biola, 1957

I recently learned that the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, through its monthly magazine The King’s Business, took a stand against racial segregation in 1957. This 1957 broadcasting of Biola’s institutional position was neither so early as to be cutting-edge, nor so late as to be

Essay / Theology

Sanctify Christ in Your Hearts (Sermon)

Here is video of a sermon I preached a few days ago at my home church, Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada. It’s got all the usual stuff in it: medieval images, cartoon word balloons, Conan the Barbarian quotes, WWII stories, a Star Wars

Essay / Theology

“Against You Only”

Why does David say to God, “against you only have I sinned,” when the occasion of his saying so (Psalm 51) is  the time “when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba”? Perhaps David’s awareness of his sin against God

Essay / Education

Theology Conferences Part II of II: The Vices

In my first post, I sought to paint a constructive vision of academic conferences, but that is far from all there is to say—for a conference is a vice-saturated affair, and it’s worth knowing that ahead of time. One of the most superficial and natural

Essay / Theology

It Should Go Without Saying

Theologian Karl Barth was teaching Christian doctrine in the University of Bonn in 1934 when the word went out that all civil servants had to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler. That is, not a pledge of allegiance to the flag; not a promise

Essay / Education

Theology Conferences Part I of II: A Brief How-To Guide

If you are interested in an academic career, welcome to the world of conferences. For all their weaknesses, these are one of the main heartbeats of the academy. Over two posts, I will do my best to pass along what I have learned, thus speeding

Essay / Literature

The Flowering Crown

This post was featured on Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts’ Lent Project on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, and can also be found on Dr. Johnson’s website.  The crown of the thorns is a symbol of cruelty and oppression—but a poetic one.

Essay / Literature

The Chamber of Victory: Harry Potter and the Atonement, Part II

The Chamber of Secrets picks up where The Sorcerer’s Stone left off, continuing its provocative and creative exploration of salvation. There are angry demands for punishment (144; and the dismissal thereof (330)), an “heir” which will purge the school of unclean Mudblood filth (151, 224),

Essay / Education

“Learning, by Means of Important Texts, to Read” (Barth ’48)

A note here on how Karl Barth viewed his teaching in the late 1940s in Basle. Barth was deep into writing Church Dogmatics III, and as usual he was developing the voluminous text of the Dogmatics out of the four hours of lectures he was

Essay / Theology

René Girard 1923-2015

René Girard passed away November 4, 2015, to the great loss of the broader theological community. Though championed by theologians seeking alternatives to traditional views of the atonement, there is much for the evangelical community to appreciate and appropriate in this thought, particularly when it comes