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Culture Articles

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Talbot faculty member, James Petitfils, and a panel of Talbot graduates who are now pastors in Southern California discuss how their Talbot education impacts their ministry today in valuable ways.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Talbot faculty member, James Petitfils, and a panel of Talbot graduates who are now pastors in Southern California discuss why a seminary education is so valuable for ministry today.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Las noticias a nuestro alrededor pueden ser bastante desalentadoras. Por alguna razón las noticias que se publican y tienen promoción tienden a ser las negativas y las que reflejan algún conflicto social. Para los medios de comunicación y para la sociedad en general las buenas noticias parecieran no ser atractivas y solamente las negativas pueden salir de la sombra de lo cotidiano para llamar nuestra atención. Desgraciadamente, el estar rodeados de malas noticias origina un ambiente negativo en el que la vida pareciera una maraña de conflictos que crece cada vez más y a la que no se le encuentra solución por ningún lado. Si a esta situación le agregamos los actos de terrorismo de grupos radicales que se escudan en la religión para cometer atentados deleznables contra inocentes y las posturas tan radicales de políticos y grupos sociales que impiden una sana conversación para resolver sus diferencias, es fácil caer en la desesperanza y la impotencia.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Talbot faculty member, James Petitfils, and a panel of Talbot graduates who are now pastors in Southern California discuss how local churches can better engage and love their communities.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Talbot faculty member, James Petitfils, and a panel of Talbot graduates who are now pastors in Southern California discuss the unique challenges of ministry in this region.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    A few months ago I wrote about José Bowen’s seminar and his book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2012). I shared that his main thrust was for teachers to use technology to deliver content outside of class sessions, and shift the use of class time to processing that information, promoting critical thinking and the application of knowledge to real life situations. There are three ideas from Bowen’s work that I think have the potential of deepening the impact of our teaching in the church. Over the next few months I’ll be writing a brief blog on each of the three ideas, beginning with ways of using technology to get students into the content of the Bible lesson/study before you meet, preparing them for a more active and deeper learning experience together.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Newsweek decided to begin the New Year by attacking people who hold a high view of Scripture. (“The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” by Kurt Eichenwald, January 2-9 issue.) Their lead article on the Bible contains so many untrue or partially true assertions that it seemed to me that some sort of concise and readable response needed to be offered. But it would, literally, require a book-length critique to adequately address all the mischaracterizations, factual mistakes, and suggestive statements propounded in this single article. So I have decided to simply read through the article, select an occasional assertion from the article that needs a response, and try to offer a straightforward and hopefully fair response. None of these responses should be taken by a reader as sarcastic; my goal has been to offer sober-minded responses to particular assertions in an article that is full of inaccuracies.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    I was raised in a church world in which “culture war” was a favorite metaphor of how the church relates to the nonchurch. We were God’s courageous moral infantry doing battle against those cunning cultists, those hateful homosexuals, those lying liberals, and those devilish Darwinists. If we listen with tuned ears to Christian radio, Christian literature, Christian blogs, and Christian conversations, it becomes clear: We Christians love the language of war. Over the last 30 years it has become our dominant metaphor for relating to culture; it saturates our vocabulary, shapes our politics, and soaks our worldview. But is culture war helpful? Is it biblical? Should we be jarheads for Jesus?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Readers of this blog may be interested in the short article I have written over at Reformation 21. The gist of my claim is that the person of Jesus Christ shapes our primary ethical response to torture and our attitude to its perpetration by our authorities. Person, that is, over procedure, particularly over fear based consequentialist reasoning that might allow in extremis the ends of security to justify the means of torture. I very minimally offer that the health of our moral imaginations as Christian citizens is attested to in our habits of corporate prayer.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace unos días tuve el privilegio de participar en el IV Congreso sobre la Reforma Protestante Española que tuvo lugar en la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad Complutense en Madrid, España. Este importante congreso internacional tuvo como tema principal la Reforma en Hispano América. Entre los participantes se encontraban profesores, historiadores y eruditos para dialogar acerca de la influencia del protestantismo en América Latina y su relación con la reforma española. Aunque el número de participantes no eran tan numeroso, el significado de esta reunión y los temas tratados son de suma importancia y son relevantes para nuestros días. Me gustaría compartir en este espacio algunas reflexiones sobre el pasado y el presente basadas principalmente en los temas tratados en este congreso.

  • James Petitfils — 

    Whether shock-and-awe biblical archeology, “lost” gospels found just in time for the Easter documentary season, or conclusive proof that the Nephilim of Genesis 6 were actually ancient aliens, the ol’ World Wide Web abounds with juicy rumors. While no one is talking about the big “John the Baptist Skull” story (because I just made that up 10 minutes ago), Facebook has recently been “abuzz” with an article published by the website, World News Daily Report, entitled “Newly-Found Document Holds Eyewitness Account of Jesus Performing Miracle.” This is the same website, incidentally, that broke the story, “Rancher Shoots Down UFO Near Area 51.” Despite the site’s self-identification as a “political satire web publication,” the article was posted and passed around social media hundreds of thousands of times. As a historian focused on the Roman Mediterranean, I’ll comfortably go on the record stating that this story is a pure and fantastic invention. Rather than debunking this particular Jesus rumor, however, I’d like to address a larger question facing many modern followers of Jesus: How should we respond when confronted with such “breaking news”? How might we advise those we disciple on these kinds of intriguing and quick-to-go-viral claims?

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    As indicated in a previous post, Talbot School of Theology will be well represented this year at the Evangelical Theological Society's national meeting [need link here]. For those unable to attend (most of you, I assume!), here is a video clip that touches upon some key ideas that I will be sharing in my plenary address. The interviewer is Dr. Jason Cusick, a pastor at Journey of Faith Church in Manhattan Beach, CA. The clip was shown in a church service as part of a series on the church and the family.

  • Aaron Devine — 

    I often think about home in a specific way. For a long time, home has been a safe place to come back to at the end of the day. It has been a place to establish a comfortable niche in the world as a respite, a literal financial investment in emotional well being. Home has been about rest and nurture, as it can be a place of ministry to family and friends. It also has been a place to launch out into kingdom ministry more broadly.

  • Alan Hultberg — 

    I recently previewed the upcoming Nicholas Cage film, Left Behind, based on the books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The film centers on the chaos that ensues after the instantaneous disappearance of millions of people worldwide due to the coming of Christ for his church, an event known as “the rapture.”

  • Nell Sunukjian — 

    ... The culture was restless in the ‘60s. And that restlessness was present in the church, too. Women lined up on both sides of the raging debates about the identity and purpose and worth of a woman—debate issues such as, a woman should be in the home rearing her children or a woman should be educated and in the work force; or, a woman is different from a man or a woman is just like a man.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    A family had a priceless family heirloom – a vase – that was passed down one generation to the next generation. One day, the parents of the family who had possession of the vase, left the teenagers at home while they went out shopping for the day. When they returned home, their children met the parents at the door, with sad faces, reporting: “Mother, Father… you know that priceless heirloom our family passes down one generation to the next… while our generation just dropped it”

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I recently read a fascinating book by Richard Nisbett, who compares and contrasts contemporary Asian and Western worldviews. It just so happens that the strong-group mentality of Nisbett’s Asian culture corresponds in some important ways to the mindset of people in the New Testament world.

  • John McKinley — 

    Occasionally I find myself in a conversation with a non-Christian friend. Sometimes, I have to pay close attention to the language I use if the talk turns to things related to God and ultimate reality. I do the same when I talk to my children about Bible things. I want to be understood, but the normal Christian terms are a foreign language to many people, Christians included. The terms are difficult to use when they don’t communicate.

  • Mitch Glaser — 

    Perhaps the real question our friends are asking is this: “What impact does our faith as Messianic Jews have on our support of Israel?” This is a fair question, and it is a reasonable assumption that most Jews who believe in Jesus support the Jewish state.

  • Ronald W. Pierce — 

    Just this month, after leading a two-week study tour with the Whittier Area Community Church, our group returned home on June 8, 2014. Most of us met a barrage of questions about “What’s really going on over there? Resulting conversations intensified when the latest surge of “Israel vs. Hamas” fighting erupted in the Gaza Strip about three weeks later ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    La semana pasada mi esposa, Angélica, y yo celebramos 16 años de casados. Angélica es, sin duda, la mayor bendición que he recibido y nuestro matrimonio ha sido el mejor y a la vez el más difícil tiempo de mi vida. Estoy profundamente agradecido por la dicha de haber encontrado el favor divino en mi esposa y puedo asegurar con toda certeza que soy feliz a su lado. También he de reconocer que el matrimonio no es fácil y caminar por la vida junto a otra persona por momentos pareciera una carrera de obstáculos. Esta combinación de realidades, aunque parecieran contradictorias, reflejan acertadamente mis años de casado y estoy seguro la de la mayoría de los matrimonios entre seguidores de Cristo.

  • Ben Shin — 

    It’s wedding season and there are many ways to celebrate on that special day for the bride and the groom. One of the best ways to celebrate this occasion is through the traditional toast that is given during the wedding reception. However, I’ve recently seen that what should typically be one of the high points of the reception just flops miserably... This is not what we should do to the bride or groom! I’d like to offer a few suggestions in this blog of what not to do in a toast and then what one should do in order to make the celebration a wonderful and meaningful one.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In 19th century England, Atheists knew more about the Bible than most Christians do today. So did Liberal Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Unitarians, and Agnostics. So claims Timothy Larsen in A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians (Oxford, 2011) ...

  • Ben Shin — 

    We have previously been working through some of the unique and distinct challenges that Asian-American couples face in regards to preparing for weddings and marriage. This blog has raised some of the issues that typically come out during pre-marital counseling sessions. The goal of this series has been to try and understand some of these cultural dynamics that may be vastly different from the many books that are out there on the subject of pre-marital counseling and marriage that may be written from a Western perspective. Some of these differences include dealing with parents, setting up appropriate wedding venues and services, transfer of authority between parents and spouses, guest lists for the wedding, and other potentially shame based challenges. This blog will now give some general and practical advice on how to resolve some of these tensions.