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Theology

We all grieve the mass murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue, but are we, as Christians, willing to acknowledge our own history of complicity in the hatred of Jews, which has fueled this violence? […] Read More

Does Calvinism justify domestic violence and abuse? One critic of Calvinism says no serious Calvinist would support such reasoning on the basis of their theology. […] Read More

Was Christian theology born in interfaith dialogue? Paul, the first Christian theologian, offers an intriguing suggestion about the relationship between theology and interfaith dialogue. […] Read More

Dogma can be an easy way to learn some of the Christian faith’s fundamentals, but trouble ensues when Christians insist on applying dogma dogmatically without understanding that nuances exist. […] Read More

What we traditionally call the “doctrine of atonement” has been a recent conversation topic around the theological table. It has been a helpful dialogue in bringing some familiar images and formulas into the clarifying light of careful reflection. Unlike “big” doctrines like that of the Trinity and Christology, the concept of atonement did not have […] Read More

Pope Francis addressed recently an ever-present challenge for local church leaders – the disconnect between the academy (seminaries, religion departments, divinity schools) and the local church. The theme of a papal address at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina was “church doctrine must never be isolated from a practical pastoral context.” “Not infrequently an opposition […] Read More

One of my favorite stories is told by Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983). Corrie was a Dutch woman of great faith who spent much of World War II hiding Jews from the Nazis. She and many of her family were sent to a concentration camp where her beloved sister, Betsie, died. Her father and other family […] Read More

Every once in a while, I meet someone who, while exhibiting every sign of being a true Christian, denies the traditional Christian doctrine of “creatio ex nihilo” – creation out of nothing. This belief that God is before all things, combined with the idea that God created in the beginning out of nothing is not […] Read More

Someone recently asked me to give some examples of how I would use hymns as teachable moments in a congregational setting. The question arose in response to previous articles I’ve written noting that hymn singing is problematic in contemporary American church life. For one thing, it has largely dropped away in favor of praise-and-worship choruses, […] Read More

While my Greek and Latin skills are now rusty from a lack of daily use, I remain fascinated with how root meanings of words, as well as prefixes and suffixes, reflect subtleties of meaning that add richness to our thought and precision to our reflections. For example, note the tendency to equate “agnostic” and “atheist” […] Read More