Exclusively Jesus, Inclusively All

Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life,” the only way to the Father, the only gate for his sheep (John 14:6; 10:7-10). But Jesus also has “other sheep who are not of this sheepfold” (John 10:16). There is “no other name” but Jesus “by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12). But the altars …

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The Bible, the Gospel, Jesus, and “The Word of God”

Ask Christians today what they think of when they hear the phrase, “The Word of God,” and they’ll probably say, “The Bible.” For many Christians the two are even synonymous: “The Bible” = “God’s Word,” and “God’s Word” = “The Bible.” The idea is that the Bible as a whole is a divine message for …

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Niebuhr or Wink? “The Paradox of Progressive Political Theology,” Yes—But “The Powers Can Be Redeemed”

Richard Beck has written a series of blog posts that have been churning in my thoughts for many days. The essential thrust of his posts is that progressive Christian political theology thinks it is Anabaptist when in actual fact it is Niebuhrian—or perhaps should be. Here’s how he states the paradox: Rhetorically, the political theology …

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You Know, “Love One Another” Really Is Enough

The 4th-century theologian Jerome tells a story about the Apostle John. John was old and frail, unable to walk, so his disciples would carry him into the gathering of believers on the Lord’s Day. Every week these were his words to the congregation: “Little children, love one another.” This went on week after week, until …

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Michael Pahl’s Handy-Dandy Handbook of Christian Words and Phrases

Have you ever had two people understand something you’ve said in two very different ways? It happens to all of us sometime. I’ve had it happen to me when I preach, more than once. This happens even when I use common Christian words or phrases derived from the Bible—maybe especially when I do so. It can …

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“Jesus Died for Our Sins”: Sketching Out Atonement

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’ death lately. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is the journey we’ve just been on through Lent, following Jesus to the cross. As I’ve thought about Jesus’ death, both recently and over the years, I keep coming back to the “gospel tradition” the Apostle …

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