The Waters of Marah

North American popular culture, as brought into your home and heart by the North American media, is a very powerful force, and it seems that we too easily underestimate its transforming power. How else to explain the results of a poll undertaken by the Public Religion Research Institute regarding the popularity of the view that favours allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, and opposing policies that would give business owners the…

Another Coffee, Anyone?

After a break of many months, I am happy to announce that the Coffee Cup Commentaries podcast is starting again. There will be some changes, to which the new visual logo attests. It will still be found at Ancient Faith (of course) and will still offer every weekday a five to six minute casual exegesis of the Scriptures as we look at the text verse-by-verse and phrase-by-phrase. But the field has been…

The Feast of Byzantium

The Feast of the Elevation of the Cross does not primarily commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. That saving event is commemorated every year on Great and Holy Friday. Our feast of September 14 commemorates the finding of the Cross in the fourth century, when the bishop of Jerusalem took it in his hands, lifted it up (i.e. elevated it), crying out over and over again with joy, “Lord have mercy!” Until that…

Allegory and the Old Testament

It is safe to say that the allegorical method has fallen upon hard times in the scholarly world. What was once considered a discovery of the deeper meaning of the Old Testament text is now almost universally derided in the academic halls as the arbitrary and perhaps even perverse ingenuity of commentators with altogether too much time on their hands. To quote but one scholar’s evaluation of the method (as used for…

Why We Need a God of Wrath

Every age faces the temptation to remake the true God in its own image—or in other words, the temptation to idolatry. The brutal ages of barbarian northern Europe tended to refashion God into a kind of Christian Viking, a warrior God, one who disdained weakness, a God who did not allow Himself meekly to be nailed to a cross, but who boldly mounted the wood Himself. The same area of Europe much…

First Light

When Mary of Nazareth first emerged from her mother as a newborn infant and uttered her first newborn cries, few then present could have had any inkling what that child would mean to human history. After an extended period of infertility and difficulty in conceiving, of course her parents were delighted—even if the child was a girl and not a boy. The social stigma of childlessness had been removed, and there was…