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.