Essay / Theology

Hit 'em With the Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages” is a great hymn, one of the best. Here is the bad news: It was written out of spite, by a bitter and narrow-minded young man who couldn’t keep his personal hatred from over-flowing into his prayers and songs. Here is the

Essay / On This Day

Aimee Semple McPherson's Penchant for System

Today (Oct. 9) is the birthday of Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), the bombastic and showy Pentecostal evangelist who made her mark on Los Angeles in the early decades of the twentieth century. At various times in my life, I’ve lived in the shadow of McPherson

Essay / On This Day

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850): Three Yadanas and the Threefold Cord

Today (August 9) is the birthday of Adoniram Judson, a great missionary who knew how to change his plans when the situation demanded it. For example, he intended to be a missionary to India, but when he got to India, missionaries were no longer welcome,

Essay / Theology

19 Books on the Church

The last few years, I’ve been reading and writing on ecclesiology. It’s a funny topic, one capable of being at one moment dull, at the next incendiary. There’s plenty out there that merely re-hashes standard material and parses terms ever more finely. Here, though, are

Essay / Theology

Church Membership: Salvation, Sacrament, Strategy, or Seriousness?

Here is a brief thought project prompted by several years of teaching the new members class at my home church (an Evangelical Free Church of America congregation that appeals to serious-minded conservatives). This is not the way I teach the subject in the class, but

Essay / Theology

Pannenberg Trinity Sermon: Transcendence in the Midst of Our Lives

Kent Eilers at the Theology Forum blog recently posted part of a 1972 sermon by Wolfhart Pannenberg. As Eilers points out, Pannenberg has a public image as a high-level academic theologian who cultivates dialogue with the most rigorous contemporary thought, so it’s hard to picture

Essay / Misc.

Sleep Talkin’ Theologian: “How Long Will Ye Linger Between Two Cabinets?”

There’s a man in England, Adam Lennard, who talks in his sleep. He speaks very clearly, says truly bizarre things, and is recorded by his wife’s voice-activated digital recorder. His wife has begun blogging his nightly oracles, and their blog is suddenly the Next Big

Essay / On This Day

Happy Birthday, Phoebe Palmer

Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) was born on this day (December 17). Palmer was an American Methodist lay theologian whose writings and speaking gave shape to the American Holiness tradition, with further influence in the Higher Life movement and Pentecostalism. Beginning in 1836, Palmer and her sister

Essay / On This Day

Caesarius of Arles

Today (August 27) is the day Ceasarius, Bishop of Arles, died in the year 542. He is most important because of things he didn’t write. Caesarius never wanted to be original, and he wasn’t. He was a conservator and transmitter of the Christian tradition as

Essay / Theology

Holy Holy Holy

All Christians believe in the Trinity, but some Christians believe in the Trinity better than others. There are some Bible-believing Christians who have all the basic biblical materials for trinitarian theology stored in their minds, but who have never assembled those materials to make the

Essay / On This Day

What Happened at Nicaea

The Council of Nicaea opened on this day, May 20, 325. What happened at that first ecumenical council? What was at stake theologically? The narrative of events and players is available elsewhere, but here is an account of the doctrinal dynamics. The council of Nicaea

Essay /

Posts About Today

While It Is Called Today (Explanatory post, March 2009) JANUARY January 1: Zwingli born, 1484. January 2: Therese of Lisieux born, 1873. January 3: E. Stanley Jones January 4 : Ussher January 5: Robert Morrison January 6: Spurgeon January 7: Athanasius on canon January 8: