Apocalyptic Literature: 4 Views

How does one approach reading and interpreting the strange, other-worldly Book of Revelation? Here’s a short introduction and overview of the four main approaches often used.  INTRODUCTION Interpreting Revelation and other apocalyptic literature, like any specific genre, demands its own set of prescribed rules.  Yet, when we approach the task of shedding light on the mysterious…

Loosening the Helmet: Narrative & Communal Dimensions of Salvation

In this essay from 2004, I seek to expand our understanding of salvation emphasizing the significant roles of both narrative and community in one’s conversion. Many years ago, seemingly in a different life,  I found myself on a bus full of zealous Christians headed to a San Diego music festival to pass out gospel tracts on the street corner. Only after…

Stanley Hauerwas & the Church as God’s New Language

An old seminary essay from 2004. I was eager to probe the writings of Hauerwas and looking for an excuse to dig into my recently purchased Ante-Nicene Fathers collection. For a 24 year old, I think I was on the right track. “Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.” (2 Corinthians 3:2…

Moltmann & the Parousia: Who Exactly is Coming Again?

This academic essay explores the character of Christ’s Second Coming in light of the Jesus-shaped theology of Jurgen Moltmann.   Introduction For most of Christian history, the doctrine of the parousia of Christ (his “coming” or “effective presence”, i.e., Second Coming) in glory and judgment has been neglected and pushed to the margins of Christian theology and…

ESSAY: A Theology of Suffering (2001)

This essay was my first attempt in college at grappling with the issues related to Theodicy, that is, the problem of reconciling the existence of an all-powerful, all-good God with the presence of evil and suffering in the world.  Like many, my first exposure to this issue led me to the more traditional view influenced…

BOOK REVIEW: Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification

Enjoy a book review of Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification edited by Donald Alexander.  The 5 representative views include the Lutheran, Wesleyan, Reformed, Pentecostal and Contemplative traditions. SUMMARY OF VIEWS I. Lutheran View. Gerhard O. Forde emphasizes the centrality of Christ’s righteousness as imputed to the believer for their justification.  Sanctification is not something…

ESSAY: A City on a Hill: A Biblical Theology of Missions

“Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” – St. Francis of Assisi   Modern readers tend to take the above statement as a kind admonition towards acts of charity and service in the name of Jesus.  But, they are usually quick to make clear that the primary means of evangelizing is…

ESSAY: Love, Justice & the Kingdom: A Christian Social Ethic (2002)

I wrote this essay many years ago.  Some of my views related to Christian involvement in the political realm have changed a bit. But it’s still worth a read.  -JB INTRODUCTION From the beginning, the question of how Christians should relate to the rest of society has continually been raised and reevaluated.  In retrospect, it…