Rob Price's interests are in systematic and historical theology. He studied New Testament here at Talbot before venturing off to do research on Swiss theologian Karl Barth. In addition to core Talbot theology courses, Dr. Price teaches electives on major theologians and doctrines of the Christian faith.
For all the variety of Protestantism, we share a core identity. This identity was discovered by Martin Luther in the space of a few short years, and proclaimed with such prophetic power, exegetical clarity and deep pastoral insight that people across Europe began to recognize and adopt this identity as their own. The Protestant movement was born.
I’m not the only one who’s been reading Billings. Uche Anizor has been at it, too, and he’ll soon be posting comments here on specific chapters of Billings’s book. Meanwhile, I’ll add a few of my own on Billings’s foundational first chapter on union with Christ as the ground of our adoption.
Todd Billings is one of evangelicalism’s brightest up-and-coming pastor-scholars. From missions work in Uganda, to a Harvard Ph.D., to an adopted daughter from Ethiopia, Billings is advancing many of the projects dear to evangelicalism. You may have seen his wonderful cover article for Christianity Today (October 2011) on the theological interpretation of Scripture. In November 2011 he published the distillation of nearly a decade’s sustained reflection on a theme that is central to the gospel: the believer’s union with Christ.
Last week our son, Elijah (7) was given a drawing assignment: copy Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna of the Pomegranate (c. 1487). Operative word here: ‘copy’. Elijah, however, understood ‘interpret’. And so the heavenly shafts of light illumining Mary’s head were transmogrified into something rather less spiritual. So, taking a cue from Sanders’s Avant-Garde category…
Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor and primary author of the massive—18,000 pages!—and massively influential Encyclopédie, has been called “the pivotal figure of the entire 18th century.” One of the pivotal moments in Diderot’s own career came in his conversion from deism to atheism. And central to this conversion were the implications he drew from Newton’s formulation of the principle of inertia.
Wonderful heavenly Father, you taught us through the third psalm that, when we feel the threat of wickedness, it is to you we should flee for refuge. “Arise, O Lord! Deliver us, O our God!” So you taught us there to pray. But here in the fourth psalm you teach us patience, for your deliverance comes in your own good time.
It could have turned out badly. Back in spring 2010 I decided sight unseen to assign Fred Sanders’s The Deep Things of God as a textbook in my fall Theology I class. The publisher said that the book should be available by mid-August. That’s about one week before the start of the semester. What if there were delays? And regardless of delays, what if the book showed up and was lousy? What would I tell my students?
O Heavenly Father, how typical of us it is to look, not first to you, but straight at our many foes, and then shrink back from our difficult situations and listen far too readily to those who question your goodness to us. Forgive us, Father! Our foes and troubles and doubts are not our final reality. Jesus Christ is our final reality!
Lord Jesus Christ, almighty and risen from the dead, you are awesome! What is all the strength of this world compared to you? Who is there to challenge you? The greatest leaders from the most powerful nations of this globe, the very kings of this earth and every evil power they so often represent—what is the fiercest of this opposition next to your iron rule?
I need help praying. We all do. And our heavenly Father knows that. So he's placed his Spirit into our hearts and his word into our hands. The Good Book, and the Book of Psalms in particular, is the prayer book of God's people. It's part of how our Father helps us to pray. So I've tried writing prayers based on several of the psalms. In my church history classes, we begin class by reading a psalm and then praying—actually praying!—one of these prayers.
Hey, if you can summarize Luther in 1,000 words, Calvin should be no problem. Not that Calvin’s any less interesting than Luther, just less open. In tens of thousands of pages of his surviving writings, including several thousand personal letters, Calvin gives only the rarest hints of what’s going on inside. It’s pretty obvious, though, that so profound an exegetical and theological legacy could only have come from a heart aflame for God.
How do you introduce the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther in under 1,000 words—plus a picture or two? His life, his works, his doctrines, his impact? One standard biography (Brecht) runs 1,300 pages. I might omit a few things, but here goes.