How Does Jesus Speak to Our Modern Religious and Social Context?

I am currently reading, rather slowly I confess, through the Gospel of Mark. It is a fast-paced narrative a rooted in oral tradition, something easily forgotten by modern readers. At the beginning of the second century CE this Gospel was affirmed in several texts as the work of Mark. It was also attributed to Peter, who was his companion. Because this … Read More

The 110th Birthday of One of the Greatest Christians of the Last Century

Today, February 4, is the 110th birthday of the German pastor, theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. When I arrived at Wheaton College, as a transfer student in January of 1969, one of the first great joys I experienced was finding the story of Bonhoeffer for the first time. The classic book, The Cost of Discipleship, was my introduction. Later I … Read More

The Priority of Christ, Part Two

One of my deepest concern for Christians today, expressed in my post yesterday, is not widely shared by many in the North American church, whether Catholic or Protestant, mainline or evangelical. In fact, I have discovered only a few single-minded souls (e.g. friends such as Leonard Sweet, Joseph Girzone, David Bryant come to mind here) who are currently speaking prophetically … Read More

The Priority of Christ, Part One

In 1956 a group of British theologians chose to honor the twentieth century’s greatest theologian, Karl Barth, with a collection of Essays in Christology. They chose this theme because Barth was a champion for high Christology but also because but because the editors and contributors believed the very heart of Christian theology was Christology, the doctrine of Christ. I believe we … Read More

The Gospel of the Kingdom (8)

The Gospel writers plainly want us to see that faith trumps force. The cross exposes Rome as “en evil bully who uses death as a weapon of fear and terror to dominate its subjects” (Heaven on Earth, 201). On the cross, in his horrific death, Jesus secures a real, cosmic and earthly victory over the kingdoms of this world without … Read More

The Gospel of the Kingdom (7)

What we have seen, especially in Matthew 16, is that the church and the kingdom are not the same thing. The church preaches the kingdom. In the words of a 20th century theologian the church is the outpost of the kingdom in a neighborhood or community. The church serves the kingdom’s mission. As a messianic voluntary association the church “carries … Read More

The Gospel of the Kingdom (6)

When Jesus spoke about the church, right in the middle of his teaching about the kingdom of God (Matthew 16), what did he mean when he used the word “church”? Before you answer too quickly consider the importance of biblical words and how we have become accustomed to use them thoughtlessly in many instances. This is genuinely true when it … Read More

The Gospel of the Kingdom (5)

Last week I began a series of blogs that grew out of my reading of Professor Alan Streett’s excellent new book, Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 2013). I believe this is a perfect study aimed at everyday evangelical Christians who need to grasp the centrality and importance of … Read More