Theology

14 posts

Writing a book on theology.

Sparky passing along wisdom via Snoopy, as always. Charlie Brown: I hear you’re writing a book on theology. I hope you have a good title. Snoopy: I have the perfect title… “Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong?” By the way, I checked with my friend artist and cartoonist Michael Jantze and he verified that this is a legit Peanuts comic and not a “meme” hack.  

Suffering: “Our net of meaning is too small.”

To the ‘why’ of suffering we get no firm answer. Of course some suffering is easily seen to be the result of our sin: war, assault, poverty amidst plenty, the hurtful word. And maybe some is chastisement. But not all. The meaning of the remainder is not told us. It eludes us. Our net of meaning is too small. There’s more to our suffering than our guilt. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, (Grand Rapids, […]

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 […]

Confusion is Sovereign

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 . […]

The Divine Perspective: Open Theism and Human Will

[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, […]

Beautiful and Terrible Things — A Biblical Theology of Suffering and Grace

This is my most recent idea for the title of a work coming out of my recent writings and talks on suffering. (See the page A Biblical Theology of Suffering for those links.) The quote comes from Frederick Buechner and is oft cited. I have used it for years in graduation speeches. The fuller context is worth considering. It is in his collection of daily meditations, Beyond Words. This is from day 127 and the […]

“The being with Christ is not the moment immediately after death.”

On what is fast becoming a theme for this blog, here is another quote by Brunner on the resurrection. The being with Christ is not the moment immediately after death. For in the eternal world there is no next moment. In death the world of space and time disappears and it is just this which is the temporal aspect to which corresponds, from the other-worldly point of view, the being with Christ and the future […]

A Biblical Theology of Suffering – Some Conclusions

Concluding the text of the talk I presented at Cornell on 11 April 2015, “My God, my God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? A Biblical Response to Loss and Catastrophe.” I did not touch much upon NT texts for reasons stated (they related to a difference context than the one most of us find ourselves in. At a future date I will address those texts more directly. What do we do with our lot? The biblical view then […]

Sight

My voice

As a good academic I have spent the last 20 years or so feeling the constant compulsion to read and cite sources whenever I decide to write about a topic.1 In the last two years I have been writing for more directly about my views and convictions relating to such theological and textual issues as theodicy, suffering, and the resurrection. I was recently asked about my sources and I realized that I no longer cared […]