My blog posts most visited in 2017

I pay very little attention to analyzing traffic to my blog during the year but, at the end of the year, I find it interesting to check on what posts on my site have brought the most visitors that year. My life got busy in unexpected ways in 2017, so I got very few new posts written, but people kept finding me through searches which took them to things I had written previously. I do … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

First and second death: similarities and differences

The significance of death as God’s punishment of humans for sin We don’t read far in the Bible before we encounter the reality of human death. It comes in Genesis 2:16, when God commands Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because, if he does, he will die “in that day.” From this, we gather that death was not natural for God’s image bearers, but their immortality was … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Should we be concerned about the shrinking church in western Christianity?

I hear a lot of hand-wringing about the decline in church attendance in western nations, and I have often shared that concern. But Brett McCracken has redirected our concern considerably by looking at the situation from a different perspective than the one I often hear. He is speaking specifically of Christianity in the US, but I think that his diagnosis applies more broadly. What he proposes is that we are observing “the dying away of … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Mission | Leave a comment

The perspective on Adam in intertestamental Jewish literature

  I am following with great interest the discussion going on within evangelicalism regarding the relationship between biblical teaching and evolutionary theory. In this regard, Ben Witherington’s series of comments on Adam and the Genome, by Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight has been fascinating. I am particularly attending to the discussion of the historicity of Adam as progenitor of the whole human race because I still think this to be of great importance in both … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology (theological), Books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The purpose and duration of the conscious suffering of the wicked

Matthew 25 and the difference between traditionalism and annihilationism Traditionalists often cite Matthew 25:46 as irrefutable proof that Jesus taught that the wicked would be eternally consciously tormented. In that section of Matthew, Jesus tells us that “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory” (25:31) and all the nations will gather before him and “he will separate … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Should our kids be playing hockey on Sunday?

Recently, I received an email message from a nephew with a question that I know many Christian parents have asked. Sabbath observance The message was short and sweet, and its questions are important. Why don’t we honour that commandment?  Is there something in the New Testament that ‘overrides’ that?  Jesus healing?  Is hockey on Sunday bad?  Going to a restaurant? My answer Hi _______, You ask an important question, and I’m very pleased that you … Continue reading

Posted in Ethics | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The most read posts on my blog site in 2016

During the year, I pay very little attention to the stats regarding activity on my blog site but, at the end of the year, it is always fun to see which of the posts I’ve written drew the most interest during the past year. In previous years, I’ve listed the top 10, but this year I checked two analyses (Google Analytics and my web host, Siteground) and I did not get completely the same results. … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Of what did the Son of God empty himself in becoming human?

The mystery of the incarnation Christmas 2016 is now over, and once again we have joyously celebrated one of the great moments of redemptive history, the incarnation. In the memorable words of the apostle John, “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (Jn 1:14 NRSV). The baby born in Bethlehem was no mere man; he was God (Jn 1:1), and he had always existed “with God” (Jn 1:2). But he became one of us, … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Christology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

An Introductory Guide for Readers of N. T. Wright’s Books

I’ve only read a small fraction of what N. T. Wright has written but I always thoroughly enjoy his work, and I find it thought provoking, informative, and very helpful. He is one of God’s great gifts to the church in our time. In honor of his birthday on December 1, The Englewood Review of Books provided a very nice “Introductory Reading Guide” to N. T. Wright’s work, for people who are not familiar with … Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged | 2 Comments

Locating N. T. Wright’s eschatology on the spectrum of views concerning hell

While jogging this morning, I listened to an interesting  Q & A with Tom Wright on “Unbelievable?” A question arose about Wright’s view of hell and he enunciated his usual view of the dehumanization of the wicked, who eventually cease to bear the image of God. I got to thinking of the splendid triangle developed by the leadership of Rethinking Hell, and it occurred to me that Wright’s portrait of dehumanization might actually be more … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments