Spies in Canaan from 1440 Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Resources

“Is There a Theology of California?”

In a previous chapter, I argued in favor of a localist approach to the work of systematic theology, and in particular to claim that such a thing was desirable in this particular locale, California. That chapter…

“California, Localized Theology, and Theological Localism”

Wallace Stegner once said, “Like the rest of America, California is unformed, innovative, ahistorical, hedonistic, acquisitive, and energetic—only more so.” As California becomes increasingly self-conscious as a social and political entity, an academic conversation is beginning…

The Promise and Prospects of Retrieval: Recent Developments in Trinitarian Theology

A brief account of how the movement of theological retrieval has affected contemporary trinitarian theology, circa 2014, for the Zondervan Academic Blog

Pagan Propitiation vs Biblical Propitiation

“Propitiation” is one of those five-syllable theological words that tend to break up polite parties. But it’s also a word that’s well worth the work of understanding, because whether we know it or not, all of us are walking around working on some sort of plan for propitiation. The big question is whether our plan is a Christian one. The Ancient Meaning Here’s what I mean: Propitiation is an ancient word, which we as Christians have in common with other world religions. To propitiate a god is to offer a sacrifice that turns aside the god’s wrath. Anyone who believes in a god knows that they need some way to stay on the friendly side of that god. So they give gifts to the god, or serve in the temple, or give alms. And if the god is angry with them, they pay a…

“A Name, Names, and Half a Name,” in a symposium on Kendall Soulen’s The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity

For a 2014 book symposium in Pro Ecclesia, six theologians (Karen Kilby, Matthew Levering, Paul Hinlicky, Neil MacDonald, James Buckley, and me) responded to an important book by Kendall Soulen. Here is my contribution, along with…

Saved by Word and Spirit: The Shape of Soteriology in Donald Bloesch’s Christian Foundations

The late Donald Bloesch did not allocate one of the seven volumes of his Christian Foundations series to soteriology, so there is no single book to turn to in order to examine his doctrine of salvation. Earlier in his career, he did write entire books on the subject: in fact, close attention to the experience of piety and the Christian life was the main motif his first publications, and significantly dictated the formal and material decisions of his influential two volume Essentials of Evangelical Theology. Nor is Bloesch’s soteriology distributed evenly across all seven volumes of Foundations: it is focused in two volumes. Those two volumes are the books on Jesus Christ: Savior and Lord (1997) and The Holy Spirit: Works and Gifts (2000).

Does Doubt Belong in Christian Education?A Common Room conversation

Every couple of years, my colleague Dr. Janelle Aijian and I stage a little argument about the status of doubt as a phenomenon in the Christian life. Here’s one we filmed, with Matt Jenson participating as…

John Wesley on Experiencing the Trinity

What John Wesley thought about the Trinity was wonderfully predictable. By that I mean that anyone familiar with the way Wesley’s mind worked can readily predict the character of his trinitarianism. Since his overall cast of thought was…

Redefining Progress in Trinitarian Theology: Stephen R. Holmes on the Trinity

In various ways, much of the best new work on the doctrine of the Trinity can be considered counter-revolutionary. Nicaea was more doctrinally holistic than merely a refutation of one heresy; Augustine was not merely as bad Colin Gunton alleged; Aquinas did not sever the treatise on the One God from the treatise on the Trinity; De Régnon was overly schematic with his East-West distinction, and so on. The new wave of counter-revolutionary trinitarianism begs to differ, and is finding ways to leap over the orthodoxies of the recent past to get back in touch with a longer narrative that makes more sense. Steve Holmes’s book is the feistiest of this new wave of counter-revolutionary trinitarianism, and serves as a kind of clearing house for all the recent moves, stating them more succinctly, more coherently, and more explosively.

The Theology of First John

A 2014 Torrey lecture in which I explain First John’s particular theological emphases, its rhetorical strategy, and how it functions as a kind of interpretive capstone of God’s revelation.

Theology on the Web

“The web…is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together,” says a character in Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. He was talking about “the web of our life,” but the same “mingled” character applies to the…

Honest to God, a Voice from Heaven? Communicative Theism in Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology

At the 2012 ETS national conference, Mark Bowald emceed a set of critical interactions with Kevin Vanhoozer’s major work on the doctrine of God, Remythologizing Theology. These essays, by John Franke, Steve Wellum, Oliver Crisp, and…

The L.A. Theologian

A lovely profile by theologian friend James Arcadi, attempting to make sense of some of the regionalist work I’ve done: It’s the middle of winter and 75 degrees and sunny at Biola University in La Mirada,…

The One Person of Jesus ChristG. Campbell Morgan Theology Conference 2013

Session from the 2013 G. Campbell Morgan Theology Conference, sponsored by Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute.

The God Behind the Gospel

When people get saved, they don’t usually notice that something trinitarian has happened to them.  But “something trinitarian” is precisely what goes on in salvation: Everyone who has saving faith has been drawn by the Father…

Review of Treier and Lauber’s Trinitarian Theology for the ChurchScripture, Community, Worship

The Trinity was forgotten for a period of “centuries of doctrinal tragedy,” until suddenly in the middle of the twentieth century, theologians rediscovered it. Several decades after that ecumenical rediscovery, evangelical theologians are finally catching up. “So goes…

John Wesley as a Happy Puritan

I recently finished writing a book on John Wesley, soon to be released in a new series from Crossway. The book is titled Wesley on the Christian Life: The Heart Renewed in Love. It was a delight…

“You’re a Calvinist, Right?”

I get this question a lot, from a certain kind of people: Calvinists who are excited about the gospel, discipleship, Bible study, and robust theology. We have so much in common that it sometimes comes as…