Essay / Education

How to Use a Book Instead of Receiving It

In his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis describes the difference between reading a book to encounter what is in it, and using a book for other reasons. There are lots of other reasons to use a book, some petty and some profound,

Essay / Theology

Deeper Simplicity (Dialogue with Dolezal)

Late in 2016 I wrote a blog post on divine simplicity for the Pro-Nicene Theology series at Zondervan Academics’ Common Places blog (now available as part of a free mini-e-book). My goal was to show the biblical support for the doctrine of divine simplicity (simplicity was

Essay / Education

Torrey Cambridge 2017: Great Booklist in a Great Place

Every July, about forty students and three professors from the Torrey Honors Institute take a trip to Cambridge for an intensive four-unit class. It’s Torrey Cambridge, and it’s a blast. The curriculum each summer is anchored in a short book of the New Testament, and

Essay / Theology

When Bad Books do Good Things

It was while he was a student at Yale that R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) became a Christian. He describes it as a time when he was “leading a very reckless life” which involved, among other things, drinking heavily as a seventeen-year-old college kid. By his own

Essay / Theology

Teaching the Trinity in Haiti

In January 2017 I got to teach about the Trinity at a Bible Institute in Haiti. I did it in partnership with More Than Bread, a ministry committed to training Haitian pastors with biblical and theological knowledge. In a developing country with obvious hardships and material

Essay / Theology

Pro-Nicene Theology (Free E-Book)

Short story: here’s a free theology book to download. Long story: In late 2016, Mike Allen and Scott Swain edited a blog series at Zondervan’s Common Places devoted to Pro-Nicene Theology. Pro-Nicene theology is trinitarianism, of course, but it’s not just the doctrine of the Trinity

Essay / Theology

God’s Omniscience as Law and Gospel (Sermon)

Earlier this month I got to preach in a chapel service at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology. I preached from Psalm 139 about divine omniscience, which has been much on my mind for the last few months. God knows everything about us, and the Bible

Essay / Theology

Make Good People Wish It Were True (Pascal)

After 9 hours of discussing Pascal’s Pensées with juniors in the Torrey Honors Institute this week, I feel (yes, in my heart, which knows many things reason cannot know) that he is a subtle author indeed. His fragmentary apologetic for the Christian religion, though in form it’s

Essay / Theology

Was Revealed, Is Revealed

Once upon a time, the triune God revealed the triunity of God. Before that time, God was triune but wasn’t saying so. Maybe there were hints and undertones here and there in the ways and words of the triune God throughout the Old Testament, but

Essay / Theology

Christmas is a Time for Family

Like most people I know, I have some very special Christmas memories, and many of them revolve around presents: the treasure-hunt gift that culminated in my first basketball, wrapped and hidden in a garbage can, or the tiny little present hidden on the tree itself

Essay / Theology

Absolute and Relative Regarding God

This post is just me preemptively sorting out some terminological confusion in academic trinitarian theology, so if you read it and then find yourself asking, “who cares?” you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The answer is, “seven people care.” So if you’re one of

Essay / Theology

Angels Speaking Creation Maybe

So I was in church and we were singing that nineteenth-century hymn “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and that one line “you who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth” got me thinking about how I’ve sometimes wondered who the implied speaker is in