Movie Review: Noah

Noah was a film that I was anxious to see. I wanted to see how Hollywood would portray something as tragic as the Flood and the piety of Noah. Noah was a total bust. I won’t re-tell the movie version because it’s such a hit at theaters that by now many people already know or have seen the movie. But I did want to use the movie as a backdrop to talk highlight some parts of the account in Genesis 6-9. (more…)

The Function of Philosophy and Theology

Scott_OliphintI came across what seems like a simple question “Logic to interpret Scripture or Scripture to interpret logic?” The question on its face seems simple. The question makes some poor assumptions and therefore while simple in form, it’s simplicity exposes poor thinking. In the assumptions that are given, it poses logic against Scripture. From the questioner’s point of view, when you are interpreting one, you are therefore not using the other. I want to use their terms to illustrate the problem with the question.

When you use your logic to interpret Scripture. It is therefore by implication that Scripture therefore cannot at the same time interpret your logic. When you are using logic to interpret Scripture, what you are doing in reality, is using your thinking and rationalizing to determine if something is true or false.


Don’t Let Your Nurse Perform Heart Surgery

pTRU1-2788808dtToday a friend and I had lunch with an attorney. During the meal we chatted mostly about his legal services. He wanted to give our church a place to refer families if/when they needed legal assistance. He was a Christian who was more than just knowledgeable about the law but an expert. He has earned three different graduate degrees and is a adjunct professor of law at a local school of law. When we asked him a question, he would give an articulate response with qualifications that each had qualifications. The man was clearly an authority in his field that had come from his education and experience.

Later in the conversation he commented on the importance of a lawyer over a paralegal. It was at this point I made the connection in my mind to education for pastors. He commented that when people are in legal troubles, sometimes to save money, they go to a paralegal. Paralegals are fine when they are under the supervision of an attorney but when they aren’t, as he pointed out, “It’s like going to a nurse for heart surgery.” I nodded my head in agreement, but in my mind I was making a connection that he couldn’t have intended. (more…)

John Frame: Critique of Libertarianism


Reading through John Frame’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian BeliefI was reading through his section on Human Responsibility and Freedom. In this section he has a section that critiques libertarianism. He has 15 points which I think are helpful. He begins with R.K. McGregor Wright’s definition of libertarianism (No Place for Sovereignty pp 43-44) : The belief that the human will has an inherent power to choose with equal ease between alternatives. This is commonly called “the power of contrary choice” or the “liberty of indifference.” This belief does not claim that there are no influences that might affect the will, but it does insist that normally the will can overcome these factors and choose in spite of them. Ultimately, the will is free from any necessary causation. In other words, it is autonomous from outside determination.” (more…)

Reformer of Basel: Johannes Oecolampadius

Johannes_OecolampadiusIn the discussion of Reformed liturgies and worship there are many men that will enter the discussion. One of those that is of significance that may go overlooked is Johannes Oecolampadius (1482-1531). In another sense, his significance is also that he is arguably regarded as the spiritual father of Calvin and the entire Reformed Church. Among other things, Oecolampadius initiated church discipline, challenged Roman Catholic doctrines using his extensive knowledge of patristics, and reinstated the office of elder. 

I think Oecolampadius will be a man to be explored deeply as scholarship grows in the area of the Reformation history. Perhaps one of those benefits will be that some of his works will finally be translated into english. For example, none of his commentaries on Genesis, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Romans, Colossians, Hebrews and 1 John are in english. 


The Work Ethic of John Calvin


John_Calvin_2I have been teaching a class on Reformed worship and the formulations of Presbyterian liturgies. This class will have to have the story of Calvin and Geneva to make sense of how some of these liturgies were made. A source on the life of John Calvin I found helpful and well-written is John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey. Clearly there is more read than can be taught in a single Sunday School class. Thus for this post I wanted to highlight the work ethic of Calvin. It was a work ethic that would serve as an example of how much we can do in a week.  (more…)


not-all-questions-created-equalI received a question from J. I thought I would post the answer here and then others could benefit from my response.

Here’s the question: I was reading Hebrews 4 where is says how Gods work was done and rested on the 7th day. And it encourages us to be diligent to come to that rest.

I have always been confused on the 7th day of “rest” remember it and keep it holy. Could this possibly mean continue to work until we enter the Rest meaning presence with God in heaven? Not saying that it is wrong to rest, but I have always had a hard time thinking that God wants us to rest one day a week and that being holy. Yes church meeting is a necessity but isn’t the presence of God in heave more Holy and more restful.

Am I way off or is this something worth looking more into?




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