Some Recent YouTube Dialogues

I’ve been too swamped for much blogging lately because over the summer I was traveling a bit and finishing up a book project, and also because over the summer and into the fall I’ve been doing a lot more stuff on YouTube. For the rest of this fall, I’m just focusing on my church, my family, and finishing up a few remaining items of research in my project of engaging ecumenical theology. In 2022 I’m hoping to draw that research into a book, and then launch into a new study project of various cultural issues (gender, CRT, issues of justice,…

The Fascinating Story of Patristic Baptism(s)

One of the things that I emphasized in my video on baptism in the early church a few months back is how fascinatingly different much patristic baptismal practice is from all churches today. Three-year catechetical preparation, nude baptisms, solemn renunciations of Satan, Eucharistic celebrations with milk and honey—it’s such an interesting and colorful history! As I mentioned in the video, studying baptism hit me at an emotional level, especially because of the frequent reality of persecution associated with it. Baptism connotes something of the wonder of the gospel, the church, and the drama of Christianity in confrontation with a hostile…

Why God Makes Sense In a World That Doesn’t

I’m excited to share the endorsements for my forthcoming book, Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn’t: The Beauty of Christian Theism. I’m deeply grateful to each of these seven people who were kind enough to read and endorse the book amidst their busy schedules. I don’t take that for granted! Thank you! If you’re interested in learning more about the book, I include the table of contents below. It releases in October and is available for pre-order now. “In a few short years, Ortlund has become one of the world’s leading Christian scholars. This book delivers on…

Why I’m Engaging Catholicism on YouTube

The biggest surprise of my YouTube ministry thus far has been getting pulled into the orbit of Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant dialogue. I did not expect that, and it has not previously been a particular area of emphasis for me. However, I’ve been amazed to discover (1) how much hunger there is on YouTube for such conversations, and (2) how relatively weak the Protestant side is on YouTube, particularly in relation Roman Catholic channels. For whatever reason, the volume of Catholic content and Catholic viewership on YouTube is absolutely massive. And lots of Protestants considering converting to Catholicism are taking to YouTube with…

Church Fathers Who Denied the Immaculate Conception

Recently I had the privilege of participating in a discussion with some Catholic brothers over at the Reason and Theology channel on our respective views of the virgin Mary. Thank you, Michael, Erik, and William for having me! For anyone interested, we are talking again on February 9. I thought it might be useful to compile some of the quotes I referenced that I regard as countervailing data among the church fathers with respect to the third Marian dogma, the immaculate conception of Mary. That way those following the debate can look them up for themselves. I know there is…

Why YouTube? Four Reasons, and Some Reflections Thus Far

About a month ago I started a YouTube channel. It’s something of an experiment for me, but here are four reasons (or “hunches”) that motivated me: 1) There are lots, and lots, and lots (and lots) of people who will neither attend a church service nor read a theology book, but nonetheless are interested in ultimate, philosophical, and religious questions. For better or worse, people are taking such questions to YouTube. So YouTube is a mission field. It’s a strategy to engage people by going where they already are. 2) It seems to me that theology is pretty sorely underrepresented on…

There Is More to Life Than We Knew

One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes comes from a little-known letter. In 1958, Lewis was savoring the remaining time he had with his wife, Joy, who was ill. He wrote to a friend, “my situation is not easy to describe. My heart is breaking and I was never so happy before; at any rate there is more in life than I knew about” (quoted in Alan Jacobs, The Narnian, 285, italics mine). At the time Lewis wrote these words, his own health was starting to fade. He was five years from his own death. He had lived a very…

Should Churches in California Defy Government Restrictions? A Response to John MacArthur

Yesterday John MacArthur released a video update to his church family. As is well-known, Grace Community Church has chosen to defy the state order issued by Governor Newsome banning indoor worship services. At 10:35-10:50 of the video, MacArthur states: Churches are shutting down—large churches shutting down until, they say, January. I don’t have any way to understand that other than they don’t know what a church is, and they don’t shepherd their people. He further intimates that pastors and church leaders who choose not to resist the Governor’s order lack the courage to direct the church to her calling in…

Why Augustine on Creation?

Several people have asked about my book on Augustine’s doctrine of creation, and what kinds of readers might be interested in it, so I thought I’d provide a little bit of context for what the book is about, who it’s for, why I wrote it, etc. This is a book that came out of our year in Chicago. We spent the 2017-2018 school year living on campus at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where I worked at the Henry Center as a research fellow in connection with the Creation Project. Basically that meant that my job was to write. It was…