When Should Doctrine Divide?

For various reasons I’ve been thinking lately about how Christians should relate to each other around secondary doctrines. What kinds of partnership and alliance are appropriate among Christians of different denominations, networks, and/or tribes? What kind of feelings and practices should characterize our attitude to those in the body of Christ with whom we have significant theological disagreements? What does it look like to handle with integrity and transparency personal differences of conviction that may arise with your church, boss, or institution? These kinds of questions have been a significant part of my own denominational and theological journey over the…

An Ortlund Update

A lot of you have asked about our plans this summer, so I thought I’d share an update on our blog to catch everyone up to speed. This summer we will be moving to the Chicago area where I have been awarded a resident fellowship for the 2017-2018 school year at the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in connection to The Creation Project. I will be conducting research with a view to writing a book on Augustine’s doctrine of creation, particularly in terms of how it can be retrieved to help contemporary discussion…

A Review of Adam and the Genome

Dennis R. Venema and Scot McKnight, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science (BrazosPress, 2017). $19.99. 224pp. The aim of Dennis R. Venema and Scot McKnight’s Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science is to harmonize the Bible and evolution, particularly with a view to recent genetic evidence and the challenge it poses to traditional beliefs about Adam and Eve. The first four chapters deal with the scientific issues and are authored by Venema, a professor of biology at Trinity Western University associated with the BioLogos Foundation; the next four deal with the Bible and are…

Just Babies Making Up a Game

One of my favorite passages in all of literature is Puddleglum’s response to the Lady of the Green Kirtle in The Silver Chair. The Lady (an evil sorceress) has several characters trapped underground, and with the help of a little magic is trying to convince them that Narnia and Aslan and the rest of the “Overland” do not actually exist. The characters are on the verge of giving in when Puddleglum stomps on the magic fire in these words: One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying…

Suffering is a Doorway, Not a Dead End

Suffering for Christ is the calling of every Christian. It is like a doorway we cannot get around, but must walk through. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22); “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12); “it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). There are lots of reasons to be modest about whatever suffering we are going through. For example: we don’t suffer as much…

The Problem of Evil is a Problem for Everyone

“If God is all-good and all-powerful, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world?” This question, the age-old “problem of evil,” is probably the single greatest argument of all time against the existence of God. The question has both a “global” and a “local” presence—it is a logical dilemma puzzled over by philosophers, and it is an emotional struggle that every sufferer will face. Its both academic and everyday. When we are with someone who is suffering, its probably best to avoid words altogether and stick with tears, silence, and prayers. In my pastoral role I have…

My Three Favorite C.S. Lewis Poems

C.S. Lewis’ prose is far more acclaimed than his poetry. But poetry was always important to him. He wrote poems continuously from age 14 until his death; his first publications were poetry (Spirits in Bondage, Dymer); his first prose publication was also filled with lyrics (The Pilgrim’s Regress); and arguably his greatest work (Till We Have Faces) began as a poem before it morphed into a novel. I love his poems. They demonstrate the same spiritual insight and facility with words that characterize his prose and make him my favorite writer. In the spirit of sharing them for a wider…