Essay / Theology

Two Rules for Theological Work

To keep the work of theology at its proper task, and to keep the theologian from getting distracted, and to keep the main thing the main thing (which is, after all, itself the main thing), there are a couple of helpful rules to observe. They

Essay / Theology

Standard Old-School Toolkit

This Easter season, my reading on the resurrection has included the relevant section from Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664)’s book Looking Unto Jesus. The resurrection portion of the 700-page book is about 80 pages long, and Ambrose takes his sweet time examining how Christ was “carrying on the

Essay / Theology

Articles of Theology

Thomas Aquinas knew how to articulate theology, in the double sense of how to be clear about theology and also of how to divide it up into articles. What’s an article? Well, I distinguish two meanings of article in Thomas Aquinas. The most important meaning

Essay / Theology

Every True Practitioner of Piety (Bayly)

Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety is a classic work of doctrine and devotion that demolishes the idea that there’s any division between the two. Those of us who simply love to read theology, more or less for its own sake, sometimes need to be reminded

Essay / Culture

When Mercy Looks Like Justice

A friend of mine is involved in a lawsuit, alleging that she was sexually harassed at work. But she has “some extended family and close friends saying that she’s taking this too far and that justice and vengeance is for the Lord only.” She’s trying to

Essay / Culture

Stan Freberg: “My Little World Was Coming Unglued”

This is a note for people who know who Stan Freberg was. For those who don’t, he was a mid-century multimedia guerrilla satirist. Maybe think of him as the Weird Al of the 1950s, but with major influence on advertising and cartoons as well. Go

Essay / Theology

Union and Communion of the Trinity

Puritan theology makes a very helpful distinction between union and communion: “Union is the foundation of communion,” says Sibbes. A union is an underlying oneness of some kind, but communion is an ongoing set of  responses, actions, habits, and disciplines by which fellowship is cultivated

Essay / Art

Lenten Reflections: The Temptation of Jesus

Day 24 – Friday, March 9 Scripture: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they

Essay / Theology

Father and Son and a Usage Note

When Jesus’ disciples asked him for instruction in prayer, he told them to begin, “Our Father in heaven.” As the Heidelberg Catechism points out (questions 120 and 121), there’s a tension built in to that opening gambit: “Father” indicates that God is like us in

Essay / Theology

R.A. Torrey and Karl Barth vs. the Ninety-Three

In the February 1918 issue of Biola’s magazine The King’s Business, editor-in-chief R. A. Torrey published a piece called “Evolution Discredited Again.” By 1918 it didn’t take much for Torrey to critique evolution: his science professors at Yale back in the 1870s had treated Darwinism as empirically

Essay / Literature

A Wrinkle in Time Among the Great Books

Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962. A few years ago, several Torrey professors had a panel discussion about this strange book that had stayed in print for 50 years, finding new audiences all the time. Now that the Ava DuVernay-directed Disney

Essay / Theology

The King’s Business, Feb 1918

Now that Biola’s magazine The King’s Business is all digitally available online (hurrah!), I’ve begun a leisurely reading program, going through the Bible Institute’s history on a 100-year delay. The magazine began in 1910, and by 1918 it was under R.A. Torrey’s editorial hand and was