Is the Bible a Rule Book?

Yesterday I wrote an extensive word about the public lecture of Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon at Elmhurst College on Wednesday night, April 27. There is so much that Gagnon said that is worth repeating but for now I will give one simple illustration. After an hour plus on the subject of sexual ethics and purity he noted that many … Read More

Challenging Same-Sex Marriage

"Challenging Same-Sex Marriage" was the title of Dr. Robert. A. J. Gagnon’s address last evening at Elmhurst College (IL). I was priviledged to be present among the 250 or so students and area attendees for a most amazing evening. For those who do not know, Dr. Gagnon is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PCUSA), where he … Read More

How Western Culture Undermines Faith

I have been reading a good bit by Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He has authored over forty volumes, as well as scores of essays. No modern pope has written so much theology. One theme rises to the surface again and again in his writings: the tense realtionship that exists between church and culture. Following Vatican II, in the … Read More

The Danger of Being Precise

A long time friend, who followed me as the pastor of my second church, wrote me today. He noted that he was tired of wasting time being "theologically precise." Not that theology is bad, he noted, or even inherently wrong. My friend confessed that precise theology became "my idol." He added that this penchant for precision led to his "being … Read More

More on Faith and Filibusters

It is regularly claimed, by some conservative Christians, that the "judiciary is out of control." I confess I would hate to be a judge in the present environment. Your are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If your life is not in jeopardy (think Atlanta a few weeks ago) then your career might well be. Or maybe … Read More

Pardon Me, I Don't Get It

Today was dubbed "Justice Sunday" by a number of conservative Christian organizations. A nationwide television simulcast was hosted by folks at Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, among others. The point of justice being promoted here is about stopping the filibuster in the Senate that has kept Bush judicial appointees from an up or down vote before … Read More

The End of Responsibility

I often read John Leo, a columnist for U. S. News & World Report. Leo is both balanced and reasonable. I believe his "On Society" column in the April 25 issue is extremely important. It is titled "The End of Argument." Leo shows that both the left and the right have engaged in a kind of public rhetoric that is … Read More

Just the Facts

A once popular program, in the days of black and white television, was a detective show called Dragnet. The famous sargeant on the program had a simple line that he used all the time to interrogate people: "Just the facts, Mam, just the facts." I have thought about how often we think that truth is simply getting the facts right. … Read More

Recommending a Systematic Theology Book

This morning I wrote an email to a very good friend who had written to ask me to recommend a systemtic theology book for a resource section that will appear in a booklet he recently wrote that will be published by a national ministry. I wrote the following letter: Dear Brother: I have been thinking a bit further re: systematic … Read More

The Loss of a Champion for Church Renewal

Dr. James Heidinger, the president of Good News, a renewal ministry in the United Methodist Church, wrote the following note this evening to members of the Association for Church Renewal (ACR), a group related to mainline Protestant renewal ministries: Our dear friend and colleague in renewal, Diane Knippers, died this afternoon a little before 2 p.m. She had been failing … Read More