Prayer and the Inescapable of God’s Authority

God’s control in the process of salvation is often debated in Christian circles – a debate with a very long history. For those outside of the church, it seems like an oddity. Peter J. Thuessen’s recent book Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine,[1] for example, basically portrays the doctrine as a persistent theme inherited from […]

A Reflection on the Calling to Ministry

Here’s one of the most profound descriptions of the calling of a minister I have read. Theologian Oliver O’Donovan presented it in a sermon given on the anniversary of a fellow minister’s ordination: What vessels of transport does the word employ as it makes its sweeping voyage from one end of the world to the other? Not […]

Three Carols: A Case Study in Christianity & Culture

The Advent season is an excellent test case for considering the relationship between Christianity and culture. In particular, sentimentality presses in on the church from every side around Christmastime. A look at three carols demonstrates how tempting sentimentality in religion can be.   First, Isaac Watts’ “Joy to the World” moves from the Christmas announcement to reflect […]

Some Practical Points for Engaging Popular Culture

  Recently Ted Turnau wrote an article “On Being as Wise as Serpents” for a Welsh Evangelical site. The main points are as follows:   1)    Whatever else popular culture is, it is not trivial, because it is an expression of faith and worship. 2)    Not all popular culture is equally meaningful. 3)    Not every piece […]

Gospel-Shaped Worship, Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3   In our last exploration into worship, we noted that worship overflows into the rest of our lives – flavoring them by the presence of the Spirit. We noted the significance of the determinative nature of worship on the believer. In short, when we really enter God’s presence, we are really changed. […]

Contextualization & Faddishness

I finally began reading C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce recently. As the ghosts of a number of people arrive in the heavenly realm and receive one last chance to repent, one of them – apparently a theologian by trade – meets up with an old colleague who has already entered heaven. As they discuss the honesty […]

A Thought about Science and the Mind

  In Marilynne Robinson’s Absence of Mind, she tackles the “parascientific” reduction of the mind. She cites E. O. Wilson from his book Consilience saying, All that has been learned empirically about evolution in general and mental process in particular suggests that the brain is a machine assembled not to understand itself, but to survive. Because these […]

Inception: Desire & the Gospel

In Inception, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio’s character) explains the central premise of the film: “What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate.” Cobb and his colleagues can sneak into the dreams of other people, […]