Jesus, Rabbinic Judaism & Personality-Driven Ministry Today

This is the concluding section of a research paper on “Rabbi Jesus & the Embodiment of Torah” exploring the Rabbi-Pupil relationships and dynamics in the ancient world — especially the role of charisma and personality in church teaching.  At First Church, Pastor Stern had the difficult task of succeeding the long-tenured and beloved Pastor Slick who…

ESSAY: Rabbi Jesus & the Embodiment of Torah

For that one strange person out there who may be interested, I’m posting a small portion of my first doctoral research essay exploring Jesus and Rabbi-pupil dynamics in the ancient world. Warning: Academic essays tend to be more technical and boring. ——————————— There’s no denying the fact that at the center of Jesus’ earthly ministry…

God’s ‘Man-centered’ Gospel & Glory

Human beings glorify God not by curling up in a helpless, hopelessly depraved blob just relieved that God is great enough for the both of us. Rather, God is most glorified in us when we, God’s image-bearers in the world, are living most in tune with God’s purposes for our lives, utilizing our God-given gifts and passions, flourishing in our God-directed pursuits, and accomplishing great things in the name of God and for the expansion of the Kingdom of God. 

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…