Essay / Theology

Classical Theology Thesis

One year ago, Talbot School of Theology launched the Classical Theology Master of Arts. We’ve had a great first year: the right students, great collegiality, and a series of fascinating courses on Scripture (Sacred Page), great theologians (Master Practitioners), and major doctrines (Common Places). The

Biblia Pauperum (Ascension)

There’s a particular type of late medieval document that we call a Biblia Pauperum. We call it that because at some point in the nineteenth century scholars started calling it that, but “Bible of the Poor” is not very descriptive: there’s nothing about these books

The Joy of Psalmtooning

Psalmtooning? Well, I haven’t heard that word in about ten years. But I made it up, and I used to do it all the time back when my kids were little. Psalmtooning is a form of Bible study that encourages children to use their natural

Why It’s Hard to Trace “Trajectories and Continuities” (Muller)

In Richard Muller’s volume on the doctrine of God (vol. 3 of his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics series), he sets himself the task of reconnecting some broken links in the history of theology, links without which the doctrine of God cannot be grasped. It is a

Essay / Theology

A Welcome to the Plague (Samuel Shaw)

The 2020 pandemic almost immediately brought out of obscurity a substantial library of historical Christian writing on plagues and mass illnesses. Lots of writing that we might call “plague spirituality” has been sitting on the shelves of the church, just waiting for moderns to get

How It’s Supposed to End

When you make a plan to kill a public person, the kind of public person who is animated by a powerful inner force, you’d better make sure to kill him. But even if you succeed there’s that powerful inner force to deal with: what if,

Essay / Theology

Godforsaken For Us

Jesus calls out from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Strong words of weakness. The very first hearers misunderstood them: “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” But he wasn’t calling on Elijah, of

Essay / Theology

Biola and the Flu, 1919

A few notes here on how the Bible Institute of Los Angeles experienced the devastating influenza pandemic (the “Spanish Flu”) one hundred years ago. Gleaned from online back issues of Biola’s classic old King’s Business magazine. Because the King’s Business was only a monthly magazine

Essay / Theology

Praying (Hard) Theology: Litany of the Summa

Imagine studying the doctrinal theology of Thomas Aquinas and then turning it, in considerable detail, into praise.That’s what sixteenth-century Jesuit Francis Borgia did. He wrote a book which is basically key sections of the Summa Theologia cast into the form of prayers. Litanies, to be

Essay / Theology

Chester, Delighting in the Trinity

Here is an old book review of an older book: Tim Chester’s Delighting in the Trinity: Why Father, Son, and Spirit are Good News came out back in 2005. When it was re-released in 2010, a popular website asked me to review it. That review

Spiritual Manifestation of the Son of God

Fletcher of Madeley (1729-1785), one of the first Methodist theologians, wrote a small spiritual masterpiece called Six Letters on the Spiritual Manifestation of the Son of God. It gets republished now and then: In a 1968 printing, Martyn Lloyd-Jones called it “undoubtedly a spiritual classic”

Essay / Theology

“Does it Render Men More Holy and Happy?” (Fletcher)

The important early Methodist John William Fletcher (1729-1785) wrote a short piece called Remarks on the Trinity, which has some, well, remarkable lines in it. On the Trinity. Fletcher has much to say on the subject of the Trinity, but apparently he was specifically provoked