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Is “Consistent Preterism” Really Consistent?

Our church is working through I and II Thessalonians, and I recently had the privilege of preaching on II Thessalonians 2:1-12, which is the passage about the infamous “man of lawlessness” whom most people identify more popularly as the “anti-Christ” (terminology from I John) and often also as the “Beast” of Revelation 13. My general strategy for the purposes of preaching was to emphasize application of the principles rather than speculation about the details, although I did wrestle a bit in my study with the more contested issues, particularly the identity of the man of lawlessness and the nature of…

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5 Principles for Studying the Trinity

The Trinity has been “trending” lately in the blogosphere. I think that is a good thing insofar as theological debate often leads to greater theological clarity. Rather than wade into the contested areas, I thought it might be helpful to offer a broader, more constructive post for those of us (like myself) who, particularly in light of the controversy, see our need to keep “beefing up” our understanding of the Trinity. So here are 5 basic principles that I have reflected on in my own study of the Trinity that may be helpful for others. I have in mind especially…

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Why Study Anselm?

For the past four years, I’ve been pursuing a PhD in historical theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. I graduated this past Saturday. The whole experience has been very rewarding, and I’m grateful that the Lord opened the door for me to do it. I don’t take that for granted. I had abandoned the dream of doing a PhD and committed myself to local church ministry, and then surprisingly God opened the door to do this one on the side, while continuing on in ministry. For me, the degree wasn’t really about any job requirements, but simply about learning, and wanting…

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The Overcoming of Prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird

When Harper Lee passed away a few weeks ago, I pulled out my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird (Grand Central 1960) and re-read it for the first time since 1999. I haven’t followed the controversy about Go Set a Watchman very closely, but I had to read To Kill a Mockingbird in 8th grade, and then again in 9th grade when my family moved. I liked it the first time, loved it the second time, and now appreciate it even more 17 years later. I was also surprised how much I remembered all these years later. How can you…

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If God Made the World, Why is it So Old?

According to standard geological timeframes, we human beings are a thing of yesterday. I remember reading somewhere (I cannot remember where) that if earth’s history were compressed into a 24-hour day, then all of human history would comprise roughly the last two seconds of that day (not two minutes). Amazing. From the perspective of sheer time, Planet Earth has had much more to do with sponges swaying in the ocean or spiders scurrying along the forest floor than human beings engaging in relationship and art and worship. As a Christian theologian, I have really wrestled with this. Sure, our relatively…

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7 Ways to Fight Distraction During Prayer

I’ve been trying to pray more this year. But prayer does not always come easily to me. I often find (can you relate?) that I sit down to pray with the best of intentions, only to suddenly catch myself, a few moments later, daydreaming about yesterday’s conversation, tomorrow’s meeting, or next week’s vacation. Most of us have experienced this, and the rest of us are liars! Distraction can be a huge hindrance in our prayer life, but I am also discovering that it provides an opportunity for growth. Here are seven strategies for fighting distraction, and harnessing it to deepen…

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Three Ways Movies are Searching for the Gospel

I love movies. I always have, but for some reason I’ve grown more and more fascinated with movies in the last three or four years—the massive industry that stands behind them, the intricacies and subtleties that make for good acting and good narration, and most of all, the power of stories to communicate at such a deep, complex, emotional level. I can’t wait for Star Wars next week. Maybe part of it is living in Southern California. The other week Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler were filming part of their new movie The House right here in Sierra Madre, and as I walked…