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Theology Articles

  • John Hutchison — 

    This week the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School have grabbed our attention for understandable reasons. The atrocity of killing 26 people, mostly children in their first grade classroom, is inconceivable to all who think about the event. Though I do not know any of the families affected, as a parent and grandparent, I have felt deep sorrow since that time, and have prayed for those who had such great losses. One of the classes I teach for Biola’s School of Education is predominantly elementary school teachers. An assignment was already posted on Friday for interaction in an online discussion group, but I sensed the need to “change the subject” and invite these teachers to talk about the day’s events. One of the elementary school teachers was really struggling that day, and wrote her concerns and questions in the blog. She expressed her heartache for the parents and their children, and her desire to present God as a God of love and compassion. Yet, she was stuck on the question, “How could a loving God allow something like this to happen?” Realizing none of us can fully explain the “whys” of tragedy in our world, I decided to respond with the words that follow:

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “Al mundo paz nació Jesús” es el inicio de un popular villancico navideño que resume magistralmente esta temporada de fiesta por la llegada del Hijo de Dios entre nosotros. La navidad celebra el cumplimiento de la promesa de la venida del Príncipe de paz (Is. 9:6). La segunda persona de la trinidad se hizo hombre y habitó entre nosotros para después darnos vida a través de su sacrificio expiatorio en la cruz. Por lo tanto, la navidad es un acontecimiento digno de celebrarse.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Con Campbell’s new book, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012, 479 pages, $34.99 softcover) is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. I predict that scholars and serious students of the Bible will be referring to this book for years to come. The reason is simple: Campbell has meticulously and even-handedly taken one of the Apostle Paul’s central themes, union with Christ, and has painstakingly examined it both through an exegetical and a theological lens.

  • Rob Lister — 

    Crossway has just released a book I wrote on the doctrine of divine impassibility. The title is God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I just returned from the Evangelical Theological Society annual meetings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I picked up a copy of D. A. Carson’s new little book, Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (Crossway). On the taxi ride from the airport to the conference, I briefly tried to share the Lord with a taxi driver named Hassan. We were about a minute into the conversation when Hassan commented rather ardently, “We Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet, and not the son of God.” I explained to him that Christians don’t believe that God had physical relations with Mary that led to her pregnancy, as many Muslims assume and consider blasphemous. The problem for dialogue with Muslims like Hassan is that many Muslims think that is precisely what we Christians mean when we use the expression “Son of God” in reference to Jesus—which, of course, we don’t. So what if you were a Bible translator in a Muslim country and knew that many of your readers would make the same assumption that Hassan did about the expression “Son of God”? Perhaps you should change the words “Son of God” to something else that is proximate in meaning but less offensive. Or maybe you shouldn’t…

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “Bueno, pero Dios sigue estando en su trono” es una frase que he escuchado bastante veces en los últimos días. Los que la pronuncian generalmente lo hacen con un tono de resignación al ver que las cosas no se han dado como inicialmente esperaban. Me da la impresión que recuerdan que Dios está en control de las circunstancias solamente como un premio de consolación al ver que su candidato perdió las elecciones o enfrentan otras decepciones en la vida. Tristemente en estos casos, estas personas se olvidan que nuestro Dios siempre es victorioso, siempre está en control y que nada ni nadie obstruye su soberanía sobre todo. Dios no debería ser el premio de consolación de los perdedores sino el premio mayor de todos los días sin importar lo que esté sucediendo a nuestro alrededor.

  • K. Erik Thoennes — 

    The recent statistics released by The Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life showing a decline among Americans who consider themselves religious are sure to alarm many concerned about the spiritual state of the nation. For evangelicals, the most potentially jarring of these statistics shows that for the first time in its history the United States does not have a Protestant majority. The study found that about 20% of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15% in the last five years. The sobering reality in all this for evangelicals is that, although our churches continue to grow, our evangelistic effectiveness has significantly lagged behind the US population growth. This study is a clear challenge to evangelicals to live up to our name and proclaim the good news in a culture where we can no longer assume common theological foundations. Evangelical Christians have to learn to preach the gospel in a culture where we are no longer part of the Protestant majority. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. A few observations about the data shows that the picture is not as bleak as it may seem.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El Espíritu Santo es esencial para la vida y enseñanza cristiana. De hecho, no creo exagerar al afirmar que sin la ayuda y poder del Espíritu Santo todos nuestros esfuerzos tanto para agradar a Dios como para enseñar a otros a hacerlo carecen de sentido y, por lo tanto, los resultados son insignificantes. Desgraciadamente, en muchas ocasiones el Espíritu Santo es olvidado, minimizado o incluso relevado a solamente una teoría teológica que creemos porque se encuentra en la Biblia, pero que no tiene ninguna relevancia en nuestra vida diaria. De hecho, llegué a escuchar a un profesor de un seminario afirmar que muchos cristianos de forma práctica creen que la santa trinidad está compuesta por el Padre, el Hijo y las Santas Escrituras. De esta manera, la presencia del Espíritu Santo es totalmente olvidada.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Insofar as Jesus Christ is emplaced in glorified resurrection embodiment at the Father’s right hand in heavenly session, that place shapes and orients all other place claims.

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    Many of you have probably heard of The Book of Mormon—not the book itself, but the Broadway musical that garnered nine Tony awards in 2011, including Best Musical, and earned a Grammy as well. It tells the story of two bright-eyed American Mormon missionaries who attempt to bring their good news to a remote village in Uganda racked by war, poverty, AIDS, and famine. (From the summary on Wikipedia). It is a powerful—albeit raunchy—satire of religion from the creators of that epitome of high-brow, cultured entertainment, South Park. I have not seen the musical myself, but I have viewed several segments on YouTube, and found myself (I admit it!) snickering at the delicious lampoon of Mormon doctrine, marveling at the music and vocal performances, and also deeply challenged by the message of the show.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “El que espera, desespera” dice un refrán popular. Esperar algo no es satisfactorio para nadie y en ocasiones las salas de espera en oficinas y consultorios se convierten en salas de tortura para muchos que, como yo, son impacientes y perciben el tiempo de espera como un tiempo perdido. Esta creencia común puede percibir a la esperanza como algo negativo y algo no muy deseado.

  • Nell Sunukjian — 

    I wince when I look at the photo. Don and I are standing in the sun with our firstborn son, flanked by Don’s elderly grandparents. Grandpa has just lifted up our son toward heaven to give thanks. All of us are beaming with joy. And I am wearing a very short dress.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Below is an excerpt from a commentary I'm writing on the Greek text of Philippians. The section I've copied is a rough first draft treating a key Christological phrase from 2:6. The commentary will be part of a series called The Exegetical Guidebook to the Greek New Testament (B&H Publications). It's aimed at seminary grads and pastors who have actually learned and retained their Greek...like Talbot students, we hope! You can get the abbreviations from Murray Harris's volume on Colossians, but they should be familiar to NT students (e.g., TDNT = "Kittel," etc.). Enjoy!

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    Since becoming Dean, I have been repeatedly asked, “what is your vision for Talbot?” The following is a concise summary my convocation address that was delivered September 3, 2012 in which I address this question.

  • Ashish Naidu — 

    I am delighted to announce the recent publication of my monograph titled, Transformed in Christ: Christology and the Christian Life in John Chrysostom, in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series, by Pickwick Publications (Imprint of Wipf and Stock).

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I turn sixty years old this October. Talbot School of Theology has kindly given me the Fall semester off to mourn this milestone in my life. But what’s to mourn? I’m just that much closer to seeing Jesus face-to-face! So, I decided, instead, to celebrate my chronological landmark.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Check this out. A quote from a kid who came to Christ at Hume Lake last week. It doesn't get any simpler, or any more profound, than this:

  • Kenneth Way — 

    I want to announce a new resource, as well as make a shameless plug, for small group Bible studies and Sunday School classes. It’s a DVD providing four 15-minute sessions about the book of Psalms. It is part of the new Deepening Life Together video series published by Baker Books, LifeTogether and Lamplighter Media.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Do you remember the “just say no to drugs” campaign waged a number of years ago? (The slogan “just say no” continues to be used in schools across the country.) The assumption of the slogan was that kids could simply say “no” whenever faced with temptation. Is that true? Can we simply say “no” whenever we are tempted?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    We had quite a lively conversation in my Apostolic Fathers class the other evening after reading The Epistle of Barnabas. (BTW, it was not written by the biblical Barnabas; and the attribution to Barnabas may not even be original, so you don’t need to assume that this author is “pretending” to be Barnabas). “Barnabas” was committed to the interpretive procedure known as allegorical interpretation.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I’m still teaching my summer class on the Apostolic Fathers. We just had a discussion in class about the Shepherd of Hermas. Hermas claims to have had lots of visions and appearances of angels (one in the form of a shepherd—thus the name of the work) who tell him what to do and what messages he should deliver to others.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    As one who is kind of obsessed with questions of method in theology, I found some summary comments by T. F. Torrance on the relation of history and tradition to theological formulation helpful. He writes: No scientist ever begins his work de novo; while he works with the methodological questioning of what he has already known he builds on knowledge already achieved and engages in a movement of advance. But it is one of the worst characteristics of theological study, whether in biblical interpretation or in dogmatic formulation, that every scholar nowadays thinks he must start all over again, and too many give the impression that no one ever understood this or that until they came along.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    A frequently asked question from my graduate advisees is this: How do you keep up with the latest scholarship in your discipline? Or, how do you stay on the “cutting edge” in your academic field? There are at least five maintenance disciplines that come immediately to my mind.

  • John McKinley — 

    I heard recently that the Jewish and (East) Indian mentalities expect life to be full of difficulties and pain as a matter of course. The American mentality expects the opposite: a happy life overall, and usually an improvement over the previous generation. Americanism includes the idea that we may, through hard work, ingenuity, and divine blessing, avoid pain and lack that others suffer. Some American Christians have even preached that material prosperity in this life, including healing of all physical ills, is God’s will for His people. Reality, however, counts against the so-called prosperity gospel.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    After a semester of teaching an undergrad course on Scripture and Tradition, a number of things emerged in our discussions that might be worth reflecting on regarding the Bible and its interpretation.