Published during: June 2012

Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ

I read Schreiner’s Pauline theology (Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ – A Pauline Theology) over the course of six months, so this is going to be less detailed and more interested in the broader picture than some of my reviews.

An overview: Pauline theology at its best

In the last couple years, I’ve started tackling theology aimed at a more “academic” level and audience, as opposed to the popular-level theology I had typically read before that. This has been helpful to me as I’ve been more actively involved in teaching, especially in the last year or so. However, I’m still just getting going – something that only becomes more apparent as I read more. The sheer number of footnotes in Schreiner’s book boggles the mind; and truth be told this book wasn’t nearly as heavily footnoted as others. There is, as a wise man once wrote, no end to the writing of books, and therefore to the reading thereof as well. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Marriage and Depression

When Jaimie and I got married, she had been clinically depressed for at least six months; perhaps even as far back as the beginning of our ten and a half month engagement. (I was aware of this; she was in denial.) Four months after we got back from our honeymoon, she confessed to me that she no longer wanted be alive. The two and a half years since then have been a bumpy road, but by the grace of God we’re still here and doing well. Things are better now—not perfect, but better.

There are some resources out there—not enough, but some—for people walking through depression. There are far fewer for the people walking alongside them: a role that is, in many ways, just as difficult. To watch as a beloved family member—especially a spouse—deals with depression is incredibly painful and difficult. There is an enormous sense of powerlessness and frustration. We are often at a loss for words, for deeds, for any response at all. We desperately want to help, and most often find there is nothing we can do but pray. It is hard, and lonely, and people will sympathize with you even less than they do with your spouse.

So perhaps some of what I learned about walking alongside your spouse when he or she is struggling with depression will help others. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Our God Really Is Greater

Over at The Pangea Blog, Kurt Willems offers some provocative thoughts on Chris Tomlin’s “Our God is Greater”:

I agree with every line of this song. Nothing about it is theologically untrue in any way. But I think that singing “Our God is Greater” might make God seem less great….

To call God “great” is more than appropriate, but calling God “greater” invites a competitive and confrontational tone. So, in this sort of cultural climate, I make the claim that singing songs about how “our God is greater” actually makes God less great. Two reasons come to mind as to why this might be so.

The two reasons Willems proffers are: first, that it essentially proclaims that the Christian narrative should be central to society – a stance he clearly sees as imperialist and which he conflates with American nationalism; and second, that the proclamation of God as greater may be offensive, especially in an increasingly pluralistic and post-Christian culture.

I should note, right off the bat, that Willems thinks the theology of the song perfectly accurate (and says as much explicitly). More, I believe he is coming from the right direction as he approaches this question: he wants to make sure that God is most glorified and that people are drawn to him. We couldn’t agree more on those aims, but we differ quite a bit on whether this song, and the sentiments it expresses, will be salutary or detrimental in the pursuit of those goals. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Shepherding a Child’s Heart

Shepherding a Child’s Heart is one of the single strangest books I’ve read in quite some time. The good parts are fantastic, some of the best material I’ve ever encountered on child-rearing. The rest of it left me scratching my head, or wanting to bang it on a table. I rarely have so bipolar a reaction to a book; but then, books are rarely so apt to be described as having multiple personality disorder. Read on, intrepid explorer →