The Fathers of the Church and the Creation Stories

No one interested in the history of Biblical interpretation can ignore the role of the Fathers of the Church. It seems clear that many (though not all) of the Fathers of the Church interpreted the narrative of Genesis literally, as sequential history, and that accordingly most of them regarded the world—including the sun, moon, and stars—as no more than about 6000 years old. They also believed that the sun revolved around the…

Personalism, Small Churches, and Building Community

When was the last time you heard a sermon or read an article or blog post on Romans chapter 16? Apart from Rom. 16:1, which describes Phoebe as “a diakonos of the church which is at Cenchrea” (the darling verse of those advocating the restoration of an order of deaconesses), most people pretty much ignore the whole chapter, which consists largely of a list of names of people in the Roman church…

The Wrath of God and Christian Apologetics

Many people today feel that the notion of a wrathful God is unworthy and should be scrapped. In particular, they feel that the notion that God could be wrathful means that God is somehow touchy, irritable, easy to alienate, and profoundly unloving and, well…unlovable. That is because we all know of all people who are broken like this and who are touchy, irritable, easy to offend, judgmental and unloving, and they are…

The Wrath of God and Divine Impassibility

It is fascinating how the ever-changing needs of the times often call us to tread again the same ground once covered by the Fathers. In their day the need was to show how the Scriptural account of God’s self-revelation was consistent with a more Hellenistic and philosophical view of the impassable divine nature. Such a project was required in their day if they were to commend the Hebrew Scriptures which the Church…

Justifying Genocide and Building a Better World

I have just finished watching a brief ten minute video on Youtube from 2008 entitled, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Nazi”, originally entitled “Happy Nazis”. It is a chilling documentary which compares two photo albums received by the US Holocaust Museum. One set of photos shows some of the upper level leaders and some women workers at Auschwitz in happy and light-hearted moments of fellowship and camaraderie, such as sing-alongs. Another…

Taking It Personally

As a rule I do not share personal things on my blog. I consider that my office as a presbyter/ teacher obliges me to transmit the teaching of the Church and deal with challenges to it when they arise. My personal feelings, life, and relationships are irrelevant to my ministry and my blog, and so I try to keep them quite separate. How I feel about individual persons, therefore, is no one’s…