Friday, December 15, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 11

This is part 11 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, Part 7 here, Part 8 here, Part 9 here, and Part 10 here


So at this point you may be asking, “Brian, why did you take all the time and effort to read this book, and then write a detailed critique?” Good question.

As I mentioned in the first installment of this review, when pointing out errors in doctrine, teaching, and interpretation of the Bible, I usually opt for simply dealing with the erroneous teaching itself, and leave names out of it. After all, discernment is about much more than simply having a list of approved and disapproved authors and preachers. It’s about being able to tell when even a normally sound and reliable teacher is off on a particular subject. But in this case, since the first nine sections of Cahn’s book were all based on a faulty interpretation of the biblical Jubilee, and since I have seen Cahn’s works recommended more than once in the Pentecostal circles I am part of, I felt it imperative that I address this particular book head-on. When the error is this basic in its failure to exegete the Scriptures correctly, and is this pervasive in the book in question, it is time to name names. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy about Alexander the metalworker who had caused much harm, and called out Demas for loving this present world (2 Tim. 4:10, 14–15), and names Hymenaeus and Alexander who rejected the faith (1 Tim. 1:19–20).

As Dr. Vic Reasoner says in his review of The Josiah Manifesto posted on Amazon, “I agree with Cahn’s concerns about our culture, but not with his mishandling of Scripture.” I cannot in good conscience recommend Cahn as a reliable source when it comes to interpreting Scripture. To recommend his books to others, without substantive warnings about the problems his interpretations present, would be tantamount to tacitly approving of his hermeneutic, implying to others that Cahn’s methods are a proper way to read and interpret the Bible.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 10

This is part 10 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, Part 7 here, Part 8 here, and Part 9 here


I must admit, I was greatly surprised when I got to this part of the book. For the most part, the speculative language of sentences that start with “Could…” or “Is it possible…” that pervade the earlier sections of the book are absent from this seven-part manifesto. It literally felt like this part of the book was written by a different author.

In the first part of the manifesto, Cahn writes:

So too as American and Western civilization have turned away from God and monotheism, in its place has risen a form of revived paganism. The metamorphosis can be seen in its worship of nature, its deification of the material world, its desanctification of life, its religious syncretism, its moral relativism, its sexualization of popular culture, its abuse of life, its fragmentation of reality, its worship of images, its embrace of alternate spiritualities, and its overturning of biblical standards, values, and precepts. (190)

I can shout a hearty, “Amen!” to that statement. And while it is saddening and perplexing to see this downturn in Western society, we shouldn’t be surprised by it. Jesus himself told us to expect such things as the time of His return draws closer. Also, if we look at the Greco-Roman world of the first century, we can see that in spite of facing all of these same difficulties, the early church “turned the world upside down” through proclamation of the gospel and faithful embodied witness (Acts 7:6). Many in the church today say they want to experience the power the early church saw. Maybe it will take facing what the early church faced (which is strikingly similar to what believers in the majority world are facing presently) to make us dependent on the Holy Spirit again.

Monday, December 11, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 9

This is part 9 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, Part 7 here, and Part 8 here


 This section of the book focuses on the announcement of the Dobbs decision that actually reversed Roe v. Wade. Cahn first makes a claim that the New York Times, in its reporting on the matter that mentioned Ginsburg’s death and Barrett’s joining the Supreme Court, “unwittingly connected the overturning of Roe v. Wade with the two Hebrew holy days, the two Days of Awe, and the two soundings of the trumpet” (158)—with the two trumpets being the start of the Feast of Trumpets when Ginsburg passed, and the blowing of the shofars at The Return at the same moment “the Trump” was sounding Barrett’s nomination to fill Ginsburg’s position.

He then talks about the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple by the Jews returning from exile. According to the prophet Haggai, after a period of neglect, they returned to work on the rebuilding of the Temple on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month (Hag. 1:15). Cahn calls this “the pivotal day, the turning point, the day of breakthrough and victory, when the strategies of the enemy were nullified, when the obstructions and war against God’s plans were overturned, and when the purposes of God prevailed” (161). He then goes on to talk about how the Dobbs decision was handed down on June 24, 2022—the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month. Elsewhere in the book, Cahn makes the effort to translate between the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars. Yet here, he just takes the numbers of the month and day from the Hebrew calendar uses them as a direct correspondence. He wants to “have his cake and eat it too,” using whatever calendar math will fit the conclusion he wants people to draw. This is numerology, not sound biblical interpretation.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 8

This is part 8 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, Part 6 here, and Part 7 here


 In this section of the book, Jonathan Cahn writes about an event in Washington, D.C., that he helped to plan and organize. The event was called “The Return,” and was scheduled to take place on the National Mall on September 26, 2020. Cahn writes:

There were signs of something unique concerning The Return. The sacred assembly called for in Joel takes place against the backdrop of a plague that had come upon the land. So The Return would take place against the backdrop of a plague on the land.


The context of the most famous of verses on national repentance , 2 Chronicles 7:14, is this: “When I...send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray...” Again, the conte4xt specifically mentioned a plague. We were now in that context. The plague had come. Now it was time to humble ourselves and pray. (136)

I certainly believe that God wants His people to humble themselves, pray, and turn from wickedness. But Cahn here seems to be equating the people of God with the modern nation-state of America. This is something he does in all his books, according to what I have seen others write in reviews of them. But the people of God is represented in the New Covenant by the Church—by those who literally are called by the name of Christ—Christians, as I wrote about here several years ago.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 7

This is part 7 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, Part 5 here, and Part 6 here


 In this part of the book, Jonathan Cahn continues to do what he has done previously in this book (and, from what I understand, in his previous books): make the United States out to be a “new Israel,” taking events from the Old Testament and forcing parallels to historical and contemporary events in America. He begins by talking about Moses, the first great national leader of ancient Israel, who was born at a time when the Hebrew boys were being slaughtered under orders from the Pharaoh. “So it was a child born in the midst of the Egyptian slaughter who, years later, would be used to break the ancient powers that carried it out. Is it possible that a child born of the American slaughter would be used to break the modern powers that carried it out?” (126)

Cahn then proceeds to point out that Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s final appointee to the Supreme Court, was conceived and born in the middle of the “critical three-year window” between the introduction of legislation to legalize abortion in New York state and the Roe v. Wade decision. He claims that “without her coming onto the court at that exact time and without the casting of her vote as she did in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson, Roe v. Wade would never have been overturned” (127). He speculates that she was “likely conceived in the same month the case that would overturn Roe v. Wade would also arrive at the same court” (128). As for the month of Judge Barrett's conception, there was a 1 in 12 chance of her being conceived in the same month (but decades earlier) that Dobbs arrived at the Supreme Court. It is also interesting that since the month of her birth didn't line up nicely to fit Cahn's penchant for patterns, he had to go and guesstimate the month of her conception, so he could pin one more piece of red yarn on his wall connecting the events. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 6

This is part 6 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here, and Part 5 here


 In this part of the book, Cahn tries to draw parallels between the events of spring 2020 and the Passover, the Jewish celebration of liberation from slavery in Egypt, which is celebrated in the spring. He writes, “One of the unique aspects of Passover is that it focuses on the coming of a plague. So in April of 2020, the ancient holiday that tells of the coming of a plague fell in the midst of the coming of a plague” (108). He then goes on to state that Passover involved a lock down, and in fact was “the first recorded national lockdown in world history” (109).

There are a few things we should note here. First, the death of the firstborn in Egypt wasn’t so much a plague like the previous judgments. Those took place over a period of time, after which Pharaoh had a chance to entreat Moses to pray to YHWH and ask Him to take away what was tormenting the Egyptians. , which took place over time, and . The death of the firstborn was an immediate, all-in-one-night, event, which could not be lifted afterward through an entreaty by Moses to YHWH. To compare the COVID pandemic, which grew in impact over time, to the death of the firstborn, which happened all in one night, is really not valid. As for Passover involving a lockdown, the “lockdown” in Egypt was only for the children of Israel, who were commanded to stay inside the homes marked with the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorposts. It wasn’t the whole nation of Egypt, and it wasn’t for an extended period. Again, Cahn picks broad things that at first glance may appear to support his narrative, but he conveniently ignores the finer details that cause his analogies to break down.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 5

This is part 5 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here


 This is one of the book’s shorter sections at only fourteen pages (though somehow Cahn manages to make six chapters out of those pages, which gives you some idea of the organizational of his writing style, which we will address further in a later part of this review). Cahn is still discussion abortion in America (a theme that weaves its way throughout the book due to the weight of the topic), this time focusing more specifically on the courts and Roe v. Wade, rather than the legislative legalization of abortion discussed in previous chapters.

Cahn puts the initial meetings of Norma Leah McCorvey (AKA Jane Roe) and Texas attorney Henry McCluskey as happening sometime in late January 1970, and then links that to the plague of COVID-19 arriving in late January 2020 (with language of a “Jubilee month”). He then goes on to link the initial filing of Roe v. Wade in the Texas court system in March 1970 with the March 2020 “state of emergency, lockdown, and paralysis” caused by COVID (92). I realize I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but the Jubilee was not about one event happening fifty years after another event. It was at the bottom of this page that I made a note that Cahn’s fixation on cycles sounds much more like a Far Eastern or Buddhist outlook on time than it does a Judeo-Christian one. (After I had read this section of The Josiah Manifesto, I read where Dr. Vic Reasoner points out the same thing in his article “The End-Times Theology of Jonathan Cahn” in the fall 2023 issue of The Arminian, Vol. 41, Issue 2. Reasoner writes, “Parallels do not prove that history is replaying. The circular view of history is pagan.”). And by this point, one begins to realize how much of this book must be discarded due to this repeated error. Even though some of the social issues Cahn deals with are certainly concerning and worthy of attention, his repeated abuse of the biblical idea of the Jubilee destroys any shred of credibility he may have possessed.

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 4

This is part 4 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here 


 In chapter seventeen, Cahn starts to discuss what I understand (from reviews of his other books) to be the case he presents in The Paradigm. He writes:

In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul writes of the fall and judgment of the ancient Israelites. Then he adds, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition…”

Behind the English word examples is the Greek word tupos. Tupos can also be translated as a pattern, a model, a template, a prototype. In other words, what happened to ancient Israel as recorded in the Scriptures happened and was recorded as examples, as patterns for future generations. (69)

First off, the standard transliteration of the Greek word τύπος is typos, not tupos. The Greek letter upsilon, unless it is followed by another vowel, is transliterated with the English letter y in every standard textbook of biblical Greek I am familiar with. Secondly, according to most books and articles about biblical interpretation, typology is about persons or events in the Old Testament foreshadowing persons or events in the New Testament (and usually the inspired NT writers point out the correspondence between the OT type and the NT antitype). But the use of typology is restricted to the biblical canon. We are not free to look at an Old Testament person or event and say that it was a pattern or template for something happening in our modern age, in a nation that is not God’s covenant people (no matter what Cahn and others try to claim about the geopolitical United States being in some sort of covenant relationship with God).

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 3

This is part 3 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here


 In this section of the book, Cahn starts to write about abortion in the United States. He accurately states, “The biblical view that all are made in the image of God and that all human life is sacred and of immeasurable worth was absent from paganism” (37). He also writes, “When a nation or civilization begins emptying itself of God, there is ultimately nothing left to protect it weakest and most helpless, its children, from being abused or murdered” (38). So far, so good.

Cahn makes reference to President Lincoln’s linking the blood shed by both Union and Confederate soldiers in the Civil War to the blood drawn from slaves by the lash of the whip. He goes on to write:

So in view of the fact that the Scriptures identify the killing of children as among the most grievous of evils and one that especially invokes national judgment, and in view of the fact one of these judgments is that of a plague or disease—we must apply Lincoln’s question to the plague that came on America and the world. Could it have come in the context of judgment? And as in the case of ancient Israel, could such a judgment be linked to the blood of its children? (40-41) 

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 2

This is part 2 of a multi-part review and critique of Jonathan Cahn's latest book published in 2023. You can read Part 1 here


The first "Jubilee" Cahn writes about concerns Felix, the leader of the Spanish-language ministry at Cahn’s New Jersey congregation, Beth Israel. Cahn had invited Felix to be his interpreter on a ministry trip to Cuba. The theme of the meetings Cahn was to lead was “¡El Jubileo Viene! The Jubilee Comes!” Cahn writes that it was only after they were on the Caribbean island that he discovered Felix himself was of Cuban descent. He had been born on the island, and his family had fled to the United States following Castro’s takeover of the nation. As they traveled across the island, they ended up on a farm, which they discovered was owned by Felix’s grandfather. Cahn writes, “In the ancient law of the Jubilee, God ordained that each shall return to his own possession. And now Felix had returned to his own possession….As was ordained in the Jubilee, he had come back to that which he had lost.” (19)

Was Felix’s visit to the farm that once belonged to his family a modern-day example of the biblical Jubilee? According to the Jubilee as outlined in the Torah, the person or family who had been forced to sell their lands out of economic necessity was supposed to actually take possession of the land again—to begin to live on and farm that land again. But Felix did not return to live on his ancestral land in Cuba. He was just there for a visit. So while in one sense he may have “returned to his possession”—the property that once belonged to his family—this was not an example of the Jubilee as set forth in Leviticus.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Problematic Manifesto of Jonathan Cahn — Part 1

This is a review and critique of a long book, with lots of errors to discuss, so this will be a multi-part series. Rather than waiting to start publishing the review after completely finishing writing it, I decided to go ahead and start releasing it in sections as I finish writing the review of each part of the book, using the author's own major section divisions. 

Normally on this blog, when pointing out errant interpretations of Scripture or bad doctrine, I focus solely on the interpretation or teaching that is bad, and leave the name of the author/preacher/teacher out of it. It's not about the person, it's about the teaching.

But in this case, because the issue involves a writer who, according to reviews I have read of his other books, utilizes the same poor interpretive techniques in most, if not all, of his writings, and because the interpretive error is the very foundation of the book, I felt I had to choice but to make it clear who the perpetrator of exegetical malfeasance is, and to deal with the contents of the book by name.

Since 2011, with the publication of The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn has been a popular author within Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. Part of his appeal seems to be that he is a Jewish believer in Jesus (a Messianic Jew), and many people seem to believe that his being a rabbi gives him some special insight or authority when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture that Gentile scholars of the Bible lack. Cahn has not been without his critics and detractors over the years, though many of the criticisms against his books have come from cessationists and others who generally attack any and all things Charismatic. This may lead those within the Pentecostal/Charismatic camp to dismiss the criticisms out of hand due to the sources from which they come.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Never Trust a "Prophet" Who Lacks Basic Reading Comprehension

The following was posted on social media on November 20, 2023, by the resident "prophet" at a well-known California church:

The Law of Faith

Everything in the spirit realm works by the law of faith whether someone is operating from the dark side (the second heaven) or from God’s Spirit (the third Heaven). In fact, what gravity is to the natural realm, faith is to the spirit realm. The Hebrew writer described it like this, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) He went on to say, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3)
This is profound; the invisible became visible by the force of faith. This means that the way we transfer things from the third Heaven to the visible world is through the law of faith. This is spiritual intelligence – the revelation of the way things transfigure from spiritual hypotheses to tangible dynamic realities.
Faith is the foundation of spiritual intelligence! We have all heard the idiom, “That guy is so heavenly-minded that he is no earthly good!” Actually, the reason some spiritual people are of no earthly good is that they are dreamers with no faith. It’s faith that actualizes dreams, on-ramps visions, and overcomes visible obstacles!

First, I don't know where this person gets the idea that the second heaven is "the dark side." According to the study resources at Blue Letter Bible, the second heaven is the celestial heaven, or outer space, where the sun, moon, and stars exist. (The first heaven is the earth's atmosphere, and the third heaven is the realm of God and the angels.) Anyone who has taken a basic biblical survey class should know this simple fact about ancient Israelite cosmology.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Why Determinism -- Whether Theistic or Naturalistic -- Leaves Us in an Epistemic Vacuum

Here's how this works out.

If God is determining everything--not only actions, but also the beliefs we hold--then we have a significant problem with being able to determine whether the beliefs we hold are true.


If God is determining everything, and someone believes that God is determining everything, then that person's belief conforms to reality. No problem so far.


If God is determining everything, yet someone believes that God does not meticulously determine all things, then that person holds a false belief. However, that false belief was itself determined by God. Additionally, the false beliefs of the Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, atheist, and Satanist are also held by them because God so determined things. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Does a real gift truly expect nothing in return?

I recently saw the statement below posted on social media.

That sounds very nice. After all, what could be more noble that unlimited generosity?

The problem is, the statement simply isn't true.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Have Tongues Ceased?

In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion on social media concerning the announcement and promotion of a conference to be hosted by John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in October 2024. The title of the conference is Cessationist, and is associated with a documentary film of the same name that debuted in September 2023 at the G3 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The announcement of the upcoming conference has made waves not only in the United States, but among many of my Facebook friends in Latin America.

The topic became part of a discussion in a Facebook group I am a member of (where the primary topic is the doctrine of soteriology, and debates between Calvinists, and Arminians and other non-Calvinists, such as Provisionists). One commentor made the claim that 

tongue speakers have been tested by linguists and their so-called tongues were not languages but gibberish. Second many former Charismatics have admitted that modern tongues can be of the devil. Also it's a learned behavior and or it's an emotional experience. What's really telling is no charismatic or Pentecostal can ever tell me what language they are supposedly speaking. It's nothing more than gibberish. It's not biblical tongues!! Tongues and all sign gifts have ceased!

I asked the commenter if he had a citation for these studies by linguists, and he said he did have sources, and had cited them in a paper in his seminary studies. I asked for a copy of the paper, which he sent to me. In this blog post, I will address the arguments he made for the cessation of tongues, and point out how his arguments fail to make his case.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Accuracy and Credibility as a Teacher, Take 2

Almost five years ago I wrote a post about the importance of accuracy as a teacher of the Bible and Christian doctrine, and how that impacts one's credibility in this important ministry. I've come across some things lately that have prompted me to post this follow-up.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a nerd. In junior high back in the early 80s, I was a computer nerd before computers were cool and part of every household. I taught myself to program in BASIC with a book from Radio Shack, and lots of Friday mornings sitting in front of a TRS-80 Model I at the store in the neighborhood strip mall (the manager would let me come in and tinker while my mom was getting her hair done at the other end of the shopping center). In high school, I was the math nerd. In college, I majored in computer and information sciences, with a minor in mathematics. 

Friday, September 1, 2023

I Don't Think That's How It Works

I recently saw this meme on Facebook:

This image communicates a sentiment popular among many dogmatic dispensational premillennialists. I've heard and read it communicated in phrases such as, "You can hang around for the tribulation if you want. I'm leaving on the first load." Or, "There are varying opinions as to the timing of the rapture of the church. You may see it differently, but I plan on being on the first flight out."

Misappropriating Scripture for Partisan Purposes

I recently saw the following image shared by two Facebook friends on the same day (both of whom I knew growing up in church).

I've written before (here and here) about the importance of making sure we look at the actual context of a verse of Scripture before trying to take it and apply it to our own situations.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

On Pelagianism, Montanism, Wokism, and "Theological Transgenderism"

It seems that we have lost the ability to actually discuss and debate ideas based on their substance. No one wants to take the time to actually comprehend the other side, to talk to people who hold a different perspective and make the effort to understand how they reached their conclusions. Everyone is looking for the hot take that will provoke the most reaction and gather more likes, followers, and retweets. Why bother with reading primary sources, reflecting thoughtfully, and making a cogent, reasoned argument about the topic at hand? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Tim Keller on Faith and its Object

Today I was listening to an episode of Russell Moore's podcast, where Dr. Moore gave a tribute to noted New York pastor Dr. Timothy Keller, who passed away last Friday, May 19, 2023. After talking about his friendship with Keller, Moore played a couple of segments from interview he had done with Keller in the past.

In one of the recorded interview segments, Dr. Keller spoke about how the object of our faith is more important than the strength of our faith. One can have a massive amount of faith placed in the wrong person or thing, and be far worse off than someone with a weak faith that is, however, trusting in the right person or thing.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Book Review: Why the Gospel? by Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates' latest book, Why the Gospel?: Living the Good News of Jesus with Purpose continues to build on the foundation laid by his previous three books: Salvation by Allegiance Alone (2017), Gospel Allegiance (2019), and The Gospel Precisely (2021). In particular, "Why the Gospel?" picks up on some key themes introduced in the short small group book "The Gospel Precisely" and develops them with a more thorough theological study, while maintaining the accessibility of that short book and of "Gospel Allegiance."

Saturday, May 13, 2023

On Turtles, Giraffes, and Bad Motivational Quotes

A few days a go I saw a post on Facebook that said:

If you're a giraffe and you get criticism from turtles, just remember they are reporting the view from the level they are on. #Perspective

A lot of the comments said things like, "Amen," "Great word," and "Beautiful!" On the surface of it, the saying sounds like good advice, especially in the context of the giraffe being in a position to physically see things the turtle cannot.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Grace and Faith in the Apostle Paul's Context


Take 1 cup deSilva, 2 tablespoons Bates, a teaspoon of Gupta, a dash of Barclay and a pinch of Streett. Mix thoroughly in a ceramic bowl from the first century Greco-Roman world, and serve with a side of nerdish humor.

I mentioned in my talk that one proof of my nerdiness was that the handout I gave the class had one full page of bibliography.

Here are the resources I listed:


Honor,Patronage, Kinship, and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture by David A. deSilva.

Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King by Matthew Bates.

Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses forSalvation in Christ by Matthew Bates.

Paul and the Gift by John M. G. Barclay

Paul and thePower of Grace by John M. G. Barclay (shorter, less technical version of Paul and the Gift)

Caesar and the Sacrament: Baptism: A Rite of Resistance by R. Alan Streett

15 NewTestament Words of Life: A New Testament Theology for Real Life by Nijay K. Gupta


“Patronage andReciprocity: The Context of Grace in the New Testament” by David A. deSilva



Dr. David deSilva, Cultural World of the New Testament, Lecture 3, Patronage andReciprocity

Dr. David deSilva, Cultural World, Lecture 4,Hebrews--Patronage and Reciprocity

Interview with John M. G. Barclay, author of Paul and the Gift

Anotherinterview with Barclay, which came out just 1 week before I’m teaching this class (doesn’t God have great timing in putting things in our path?)


The Perils of Sloppy Wording

In his best-selling book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, author Peter Scazzero writes:

When we leave reality for a mental creation of our own doing (hidden assumptions), we create a counterfeit world. When we do this, it can properly be said that we exclude God from our lives because God does not exist outside of reality and truth. (pp. 181-192 of the updated 2017 edition)

Now, I get what Scazzero is trying to say here. When we refuse to recognize the truth and reality of the way things are, but create our own preferred version of "reality" in our minds, we separate ourselves from God's truth and limit our own healing and wholeness until our thinking comes back into alignment with reality and the truth of God's word.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Things the North American Church Can Learn from the Global Church

I have tried to make it a practice over the past few years to read at least one book each year by a Christian writer from a non-American/European background. I have read So Great a Salvation: Soteriology in the Majority World,   a collection of essays on soteriology by Asian, African, and Latin American scholars. I also read Un Testimonio Visible: Cristología, Liberación, y Participación by Jules Martinez-Olivieri, a Puerto Rican theologian.

This week, I finished Faithful Disobedience: Writings on Church and State from a Chinese House Church Movement, a collection of essays and sermons by Wang Yi and other Chinese house church leaders. The steadfastness and resilience of these brothers and sisters, and their refusal to compromise even in the face of repeated, suffocating persecution, is inspiring and convicting at the same time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Book Review - Songs of Resistance

R. Alan Streett's previous book, Caesar and the Sacrament: Baptism: A Rite of Resistance, demonstrated how Christian baptism functioned as an oath of a new allegiance toward King Jesus, forsaking former allegiances to other authority figures and structures such as Caesar and the Roman Empire.

Streett's new volume, Songs of Resistance: Challenging Caesar and Empire, takes the next step to demonstrate how the songs sung by characters in the four Gospels, and the portions of epistles often thought to be early hymns included by the apostolic authors, demonstrated resistance to and protest of the corrupt worldly power structures of the day.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Attitudes Toward Churches and Spiritual Leaders

This past Sunday, this line from my pastor's sermon stuck with me:

“Unresolved anger towards one spiritual authority leads to a bad attitude towards all spiritual authority." -- Rod Loy

Often, we see people who had a bad experience in a certain kind of church (progressive, Evangelical, Pentecostal/Charismatic, etc.) react to their bad experience with complete and total suspicion of anything and everything they were taught in their previous church. 

Someone who formerly went to a prosperity gospel church may end up seeing every discussion about tithes and offerings as an abusive attempt to promise financial blessings in exchange for giving to the church.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Is It of God?

For the past couple of weeks, we've all been seeing a lot of discussions on social media regarding what started on February 8 at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. Some have called it a revival, others have called it a spiritual renewal, and others have simply named it a surprising move of God. Debates over what to call it have often had to do with whether or not it fulfills certain definitional lists of characteristics, and usually the debaters' lists don't include all of the same elements.

But here, I want to go past the arguments over which term is most accurate, and get to a more fundamental question: Is what is happening from God?