In the previous two posts, I laid out a different understanding of original sin, both systemically and individually. Today, my attempt is to address how Jesus saves us from the sacrificial scapegoating mechanism, addressed on Friday. [Side note: From this point forward, I run the risk of distilling the story of Jesus and de-contextualizing it to […]


In my last post, I discussed one side of the human “original sin” issue: systemically, we are bound to tribal ways of thinking, and we inherently blame and victimize outsiders to ease tensions within communities. In this post, I will address the individual aspect of sin. *** Along with the mimetic cycle of sacrificial violence, humans are […]


The general purpose of The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith is to provide an argument against the pervading influence of the doctrine and practice of biblicism in all arenas belonging to evangelicalism. According to Smith, the term biblicism means “a theory about the Bible that emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal […]


In my last post, we talked about the standard model in evangelicalism for atonement: namely, penal substitution. We are disobedient, deserving of punishment, and God saves us by taking the punishment for us. At the end of the post, I said that I disagreed. In this post and the next, I would like to lay […]


The purpose of this series is to create a general framework for how I think the atonement functions (in particular, why the death and resurrection of Jesus were necessary for the salvation of humanity) for humanity. My hope is to do so by taking into account Scripture, tradition, and experience while also maintaining an open dialogue […]


 Donald W. Dayton with Douglas M. Strong, Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage: A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014). Paperback / Kindle In 1973, some North American church leaders asked Billy Graham to use his influence with President Richard Nixon to try to stop the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. Graham […]


We live in a time when social issues like sexual freedom and abortion are front and center on the stage of American culture. Both of these social issues are dear to me. Several of my posts, along with series I have organized on this blog, address those two issues. There are other issues that are […]


Social conservatism in America is difficult to describe definitively. It is a political ideology that strives at its core to protect “traditional values” typically relating to the family unit. The family unit consists of institutions like marriage and fidelity, protection of life, childbearing and rearing, as well as desirous attitudes toward the production of family […]


I made myself watch the beheading video of James Foley. Not out of morbid curiosity or some sick desire for a Faces of Death show. No, I watched it because I need my faith to work in reality in all its glory and horror. Initially, when I wanted to write about the video, I was […]


I had a bit of a self-revelation this morning. It’s really nothing new, and probably something that happens to a lot of people in the Evangelical/post-Evangelical/millenial/trying-to-figure-out-how-to-follow-Jesus crowd. In a nutshell: I like to read lots of things about Scripture. I am not very good at reading Scripture. Encountering Scripture. Being changed by actually reading scripture. I don’t want […]

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It’s the end of an era, my friends: time for the last installment in the myth-busting postmodernism series. I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for this moment, so here it is: Postmodern myth #3: Postmoderns are skeptical when it comes to non-rationalistic accounts of the world. Always thought that to be postmodern means to be […]

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 James R. Payton Jr., Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic 2010). Paperback / Kindle Every now and then, I hear friends describe—denounce, really—some book as a work of “revisionist history.” What they mean by that appellation is that the book contains a false account of the past. And while they may or may not […]

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Richard Beck has written an incredible write-up on some possible moral foundations for Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. At the time, many used the argument of polygenism as the foundation for the notion that whites were supreme and slavery was justifiable. He writes: In short, the motivations behind The Origin of Species were moral. The Origin was published during […]


I’m still currently in the middle of my “Studies in the Prophets” class, which means I’m also currently in the middle of my research paper for the class. My paper will focus on the function of Old Testament prophets as it relates to our current understanding of the prophetic gifts, and much of the writing […]


In 1609 at the height of his career Jacobus (or “James” in English) Arminius died. Arminius’s life as a pastor and professor was surrounded with theological controversy. It was the same for those who sided with him on the issues of predestination and free will (among other things.) They were continually accused of heresy and […]


Evangelical scholar Stanley Grenz wrote in 1996 that its understandable for Christians to recoil in horror at postmodernism because it has ‘tossed aside objective truth, at least as it has classically been understood.’ According to Grenz, postmodern writers like Foucault, Derrida and Rorty reject correspondence theory (the notion that beliefs and statements are deemed to be true to […]


“We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life) Simplicity has been at the forefront of my mind lately. Simplicity, contentment, our tendency to be ravenous consumers, […]

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On frequent occasion I get the request to “Keep an open mind.” I have also been called “closed minded” too many times to count. I think that comes with the territory of conversing about deeply held beliefs and values with persons who hold opposing perspectives. However, I could let that fact be an excuse to […]