• Blog,  Devotional Musings

    A Message to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives

    I was going through old blog posts, and I came across this one from a few years ago. In 2016, I was invited to be “chaplain of the week” for the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. It was a fun experience, and I pray folks were encouraged by what I had to say. Below is a transcript of the brief devotion I gave at the end of the week. (NB: This post originally appeared on the Trinityhaus blog.) ______________________________________________________________________________ Thank you for allowing me to come and serve as your chaplain this past week. It has been an extraordinary blessing to me, and I only hope that my being here…

  • Biblical Studies,  Blog,  Theology

    About that “Mark of the Beast”

    Over at theLAB, I have written a follow-up piece to COVID-19 and The Mark of the Beast. In this new article, I offer reflections on the historical context surrounding “the beast” of Revelation, the number “666,” and a few other related items. One characteristic of many modern (popular) readings of Revelation is the tendency to skip over any historical research and jump straight to present-day application. As I say in my latest article, this is a big mistake. When we fail to consider the historical context of Revelation, we risk misapplying its message in ways that are rather embarrassing. At any rate, here’s the link to the article: “The Covid…

  • Biblical Studies,  Blog,  Devotional Musings,  Theology

    What Does Covid-19 Have to do with the “Mark of the Beast”?

    I am thankful to the folks at The LAB (Logos Academic Blog) for sharing my post “COVID-19 and The Mark of the Beast.” With the host of rumors and odd theories floating around the internet (not least on social media platforms), many sincere Christians are becoming increasingly concerned that “the mark of the beast” is somehow related to the pandemic (e.g., a vaccine, the quarantine). Much of the fear is based upon wrong assumptions about the book of Revelation and “the mark,” and I attempt to address some of these in my post. I’ve always had a passion to “bridge the gap” that exists between scholarship and the local church…

  • Biblical Studies,  Blog,  Philosophy,  Theology

    Musing on Gregory and Plato

    For all you philosophical-theological-Greek nerds out there, here’s something fun. As some have observed, Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Soul and the Resurrection is written in a way that mirrors Plato’s Phaedo.[1] A close reading of both show that this is correct. For example, Gregory utilizes the format so familiar to readers of Plato, namely, the dialogue. Gregory also follows Plato by musing on similar topics and themes throughout his work. It seems pretty clear that Gregory is quite familiar with Plato (as we all should be). What’s most fascinating, though, is how Gregory will take up some of Plato’s own thoughts and arguments and give them a slightly different spin. A close…

  • Blog,  Philosophy,  Theology

    Of Marketing and Ministry

    Some fifteen-ish years ago, I found myself racking my brain about what degree major to declare. It was a bit of a struggle. Sitting in my academic advisor’s office, I told him I wanted to “go into a ministry of some sort.” His immediate response was that I should go into marketing. After all, he said, “that’s what churches look for in ministers.” I declined. His response was sincere. But it was also fairly indicative, I think, of the mood that exists within large segments of American evangelicalism. In this realm, the “market model” is alluring and hard to resist (especially if you want to pastor a “successful” church, they…

  • Blog,  Theology

    Interview on Pastoral Theology

    Chandler Warren, a graduate student at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), recently interviewed me on the subject of pastoral theology. We touch on a number of things–defining pastoral theology, the role of Scripture in the life of the church, prayer, etc. It was a fun conversation. You can check it out here: Interview on Pastoral Theology.

  • Biblical Studies,  Theology

    Thinking About Genesis 1-2, Part 3

    Part 3: The Days in Genesis 1 Do Not Have a Literal Function, but a Literary Function In my my last post, I argued that a literalistic reading of the creation story in Gen 1 contradicts the creation story of Gen 2. To alleviate the tension between these two creation stories, I suggested in that post that we need to understand the “days” of Gen 1 literarily, not literally. In this post, I will point out what many scholars have noticed, namely, that there are strong clues within the literary structure of Gen 1 that reasonably lead us to believe the “days” are functioning in a (somewhat) poetic manner. By attending to…

  • Biblical Studies,  Theology

    Thinking About Genesis 1-2, Part 2

    Part 2: When Genesis 1 is read as a literal, historical sequence of events, then it contradicts Genesis 2. In my last post, I argued that it is not necessary to understand “day” as a literal, 24-hour day. I showed that it is possible to understand the “days” of Genesis 1 in a non-literal way. As we saw, the Hebrew word yom could be understood in a number of ways: as a 24-hour day, as a reference to daylight hours, as an unspecified amount of time, or in a literary and proverbial way. What I want to show in the next two posts is that a non-literal reading of Gen 1…

  • Biblical Studies,  Blog,  Theology

    Thinking About Genesis 1-2, Part 1

    Part 1: It is not necessary to interpret “days” as literal, 24-hour days. As I said in the introduction, I don’t have all the answers to questions about Genesis 1-2. I have much to learn, for sure. And so, I have decided to take a journey of sorts through these opening chapters of the Bible. And I want to invite you to come along with me to explore these fascinating passages. As we do, let’s ask ourselves, “What does the Bible actually say about the origins of ‘the heavens and the earth’”? Let us begin by addressing a very common interpretation of Gen 1. A lot of people (e.g. young…