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    How Does the Gospel Work?

    “Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates…” – Martin Luther “About a quarter before nine, while [Luther’s commentary] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, […]

    Reading Proverbs Wisely

    Yes, you read the title correctly — I wrote “reading Proverbs.” Stay with me for a bit, it’ll be fine. I know many a Mockingbird reader has read Proverbs before, but if you’re reading the Bible with anything like a (Lutheran) Law/Gospel hermeneutic, then it’s fair to say that Proverbs isn’t exactly at the top […]

    The Ethics of Authenticity

    I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure. – Eric Liddell Stop me if you’ve heard this story before…. A young underdog struggling to find their voice in a backwards town where they don’t seem to fit in. They want to […]

    Johnny Cash and Our Culture of Mercilessness

    There I was, standing in front of a class of undergrads discussing Johnny Cash’s legendary “Live at Folsom Prison” and getting absolutely zero response from the students. Cash has long been dead by now and I wondered aloud whether he was too far afield for this group 18-22 year olds. As I continued to pick […]

    What is Faith?

    Leave it to the Mockingcast to awaken me out of my summer-long blogging slumber. On it, they discussed a hilarious McSweeney’s article called “I am the Universe, and Humans are Interpreting my Signs.” The idea of the post is simple: God (or “the Universe”) is a living God who is regularly involved in the everyday […]

    Judged by a Jury of Peers: How Much Repentance Is Enough?

    Depends who you ask, of course. But truth be told, no one really asks this question. Repentance just isn’t thought of as a quality which has shades of meaning; either one repents or one doesn’t, and there is nothing in-between. If there is a debate about repentance, it has to do with its definition. Is […]

    A (Qualified) Defense of Narrative

    This is a follow-up to a recent piece titled The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)—offering the other side of the coin. Paul wasn’t much of a storyteller. For him, the advent of Christ was principally a revelation of something unforeseen at a human level. It was an invasion of liberation into an […]

    The World Is Not a Story (According to Paul)

    The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world are not all they’re cracked up to be. However much we want to believe we live a coherent narrative, where the endless succession of events of life have clear meaning, the stories we tell are invariably based upon the (mistaken) premise that we have a […]

    Modern Bible Wars: On Scripture, Authority, and the Law-Gospel Hermeneutic

    I didn’t live through the “Bible Wars” of the 20th century (thank God), but their effects still reverberate into the many debates today. Those who hold to scriptural authority, usually defined as inerrancy or divine inspiration, view it as a bulwark against the tendencies of mainline Protestantism to discard the witness of scripture in favor of […]

    Through Thick N’ Thin: Imputation in Paul

    To survey much of theology and biblical scholarship nowadays, you’d think that “imputation”, or the idea that God gives/reckons a moral status of righteousness to the otherwise ungodly believer, is a passé relic of former ignorance. On the biblical studies side, N.T. Wright has made half of a career out of refuting imputation. Peppered throughout […]

    Is Jesus Really God?

    I’ve waded through the arguments and read the commentaries, and most scholars agree. When it comes to the question of the divinity of Jesus, it seems there is one, inescapable conclusion: Jesus isn’t God. Whoever you imagine God to be, Jesus isn’t him (or, if you prefer, her). The standard, unsatisfactory, argument goes something like […]

    The Gospel of Inclusion? An Assessment

    If you hang around certain circles of the church long enough, it’s hard to miss the central role the idea of “inclusion” plays in their daily life and theology. Everyone, it is said, is included in the community, a maxim usually contrasted with more judgmental versions of Christianity. This takes a number of forms, depending […]