CS Lewis and George MacDonald on Theological (un)Certainty

This image was on a Facebook meme, so I am not sure of the source of the quotes. The one from Lewis is in keeping with various other analogies which he has made in The Problem of Pain. [Others have pointed out that the quote above is from his Reflections on the Psalms.] There is a passage in his chapter “Divine Goodness” (pp. 32-33) that also provides an analogy with dogs that speaks to this […]

Let’s be honest, why did Jesus die on a cross?

We are fast approaching Good Friday and the interwebs is filling with people post and reposting essays about the crucifixion. The ones that always nag at me are those that seek to argue that Jesus’ death was not somehow an atoning sacrifice offered for our sins.1 The usual objection is based upon a rejection of penal substation or any of the other various models of atonement theory. The link provided has a very nice summary […]

C. S. Lewis on God’s Sovereignty, Free Will, and Suffering

It turns out, judging by the notes in the margin, I had read C. S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain some time ago. I did not remember having done so, but perhaps it impacted my thinking more than it did my memory of the actual reading of it. Or perhaps I had already come to similar conclusions before I read his book. I have no way of knowing. Below are a few quotes from that […]

What does God’s love do?

A friend recently shared this quote from James Finsley and I am still not sure what I think of it. On some levels, it rings true. We are not protected from the vicissitudes of the world, the “effluvia of the fall,” as Carson calls it. But then, I am not sure. Please leave your thoughts and comments. “The love of God will protect you from nothing, but it will sustain you in all things.”  

The Utter Unacceptability of Death

My SEC colleague from Vanderbilt this week graciously gave me the gift of a slim volume by a former professor of his. The book is A Boy Thirteen: Reflections on Death (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975), by Jerry A. Irish. Their 13 year old son Lee died of meningitis in 1973, the second of their three sons to die within 4 years. The younger son had been born with a serious heart defect and died before […]

Beautiful and Terrible Things Book Contract

I am very pleased and proud to announce that I have signed a contract with Westminster John Knox Press to publish Beautiful and Terrible Things! The publication date is Fall 2020. I am so thankful for everyone who has and continues to engage with me on matters relating to the biblical theology of suffering and grace. This book is intended for all audiences and your feedback, pushback, and questions are integral to the refining and […]

Ash Wednesday: Do not give up, take up!

Ash Wednesday First reading Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 Psalm Psalm 51:1-17 Second reading 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 Gospel Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 Ps. 51:15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. Amen. Today is Ash Wednesday, marked literally and figuratively by the ashes that will be placed upon our foreheads as a sign and reminder of our mortality. It is the beginning of Lent, which is the season of forty days and forty […]

Targum Lamentations Thesis in eBook

I have finally finished editing my doctoral thesis (from 20 years ago!) to make it accessible in ePub format! I have made no substantive edits to the text, so any errors present in the earlier version remain (the PDF is still available here). There are some quirks. The fonts seem to have come through ok, but where Hebrew/Aramaic/Syriac text is followed by a footnote the footnote sometimes(?) ends up at the end of the word, […]

Ruth in a time of Depression

This week the Daily Office readings take us through the Book of Ruth and today (Wednesday) we begin chapter two. The chapter opens with a bit of foreshadowing, letting us know that “Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.” I have written elsewhere that Boaz is a marginalized figure in the Book of Ruth, who has a key role but is […]