Christianity


Confusion is Sovereign   Recently updated!

Warning: This short post is the definition of pedantic. I am going to quibble with the use of the word “sovereign” as applied to God by many Reformed theologians.  It is not surprising that exploring the topic of suffering and grace has led me to consider questions of humanity’s free will, predestination, and God’s sovereignty. For many, the origins and purpose of suffering are directly related to the latter, God’s control over all of creation and history. If God is truly “sovereign” then all events in our lives are controlled and dictated by God. God truly is sovereign . . […]


John Piper’s Warped & Harmful Teaching on Suffering   Recently updated!

A few caveats to begin. Although I have known of John Piper for years, I am just now coming to read his teachings on suffering and the sovereignty of God. The book by that name is graciously made available for free download on his “Desiring God” site and is worth reading; there are multiple authors with thought-provoking comments. It was published in 2006. Finally, I know that he and the other contributors are motivated by […]


Permission to Lament   Recently updated!

Shortly after Mack died our good friend and colleague Gary Knoppers gave me Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Lament for a Son. Gary included a brief note, offering his condolences and sharing that NW had been one of his “main profs” at Calvin and that Eric, the son who had died in a tragic accident, had been his friend and housemate. Gary died shortly before Christmas, taken far too early by cancer, but leaving an incredible legacy of […]


The Divine Perspective: Open Theism and Human Will 2   Recently updated!

[TLDR: Open theism is appealing, but, like Reformed theology today, it insists on looking at things from a human rather than divine perspective of history.] Ages ago, so long ago, in fact, that I do not remember the time or the day or even the year, I realized that I could not hold to a strict belief that God had ordained, structured, determined, and ordered, every final detail of history. Whether one calls it Calvinism, […]


Creedal Confusion 3   Recently updated!

I receive the daily devotionals from Richard Rohr and his “Center for Action and Contemplation.” I know many friends and a few family members who are appreciative of RR and his group’s work but I find it often very frustrating. I often agree with about 80% or more of what he writes. What often frustrates me is not not the 20% where I do not agree, but how arguments are set up and presented. Too […]


Why did the Son of God Suffer?   Recently updated!

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]


Christian Comedy? Prophetic?

I have been a stand up comedy fan for years. One of my first albums was a Bill Cosby and eventually I discovered Mike Warnke, a Christian comedian. Not the best choices, in retrospect. If you have been following the news at all you know about Cosby, but Warnke too was discredited, decades ago. Christian comedy may seem like an oxymoron, yet there are some very humorous folks out there and often with poignant observations. This […]


Talking About Death

Specifically, how do we talk about it when someone has died? This article was posted on Facebook by my friend Fr. Jody Howard. “People don’t pass away” by Peter W. Marty on Christian Century. The site has apparently been recycling this story periodically since it was published in 2017. It is well meaning. I passed on the chocolate dessert tray in the restaurant last night, tempting as it was. I dread passing through the TSA screening lines at […]


Remembering the Unknown 2

“It makes me a bit worried about what the next year will bring,” I said. “What does?” asked Elizabeth. “The fact that things are going so well.” It was Christmas Eve 2012 and we were finishing wrapping presents and a glass of port. I was reflecting on the fact that there had been three major areas of concern in the last few months that had been weighing on my mind and now, just before Christmas, […]