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This article explores the thorny issue of the nature of worship through an exegesis of Romans 12:1 and an exploration of Paul’s wider thinking. It argues that according to Paul the worship of which God is worthy is not adequately expressed in symbols, rites, rituals, and token offerings, but rather in practical daily ministry to human need in the context of routine life and mundane activities― a life-ethos that serves the interests of God in the world.
Image- The Apostle Paul, by Rembrandt, 1657
Manuscript available here in PDF format January 2017
Alexander Campbell is arguably the most influential leader in the history of the American Restoration Movement. He became an iconoclast and reformer in the early years of his ministry and was a progressive thinker on issues such as war, education, and slavery, and some have considered him to be a liberator of women as well. However, his writings reflect an ardent devotion to biblical literalism which maintained and fortified a theology of women firmly rooted in traditional patriarchy, that is, male domination in the home, the church, and society.
Image- painting hanging in Bethany College Library. Used By Permission: TheRestorationMovement.com
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This is a revision of an essay presented to Professor Kenneth Cracknell at Brite Divinity School, 2001. Born in 1802, Horace Bushnell has been described as the greatest theologian of his generation and one of the most significant thinkers in American Protestantism. To Bushnell, the best and truest idea of Christian education is that children should grow up as Christians and never know themselves to be anything else.
Image- The young Horace Bushnell (portrait from ConnecticutHistory.org)
(Pennsylvania Literary Journal, May 2020)
Divorce was common in the ancient near eastern cultures that form the backdrop for early Christianity and the writings that became the New Testament. Among Christians, statements by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels are the primary source of doctrine and practice with regard to divorce and remarriage. However, there are many problems within the two long texts on this topic in Matthew and Mark. Among the uncertainties are: the meaning of the Hebrew expression ervat davar (something indecent) as grounds for divorce in Deuteronoimy 24:1; the meaning of the Greek term porneia and whether it is an accurate translation of ervat davar; why the concession appears only in Matthew; whether Jesus actually included that as a concession or if it was added by the writer; whether Jesus taught that marriage is a divine and unbreakable bond; what is the nature of adultery resulting from remarriage; whether celibacy is the only acceptable future for a divorced person; whether Jesus’ statements justify church restrictions and punitive actions in the lives of individuals; and what other teachings of Jesus suggest a more tolerant and supportive posture of the church toward divorced people.
Image- The Divorce of Catheryn of Aregon by Henry Nelson O’Neil
Biblical Inerrancy: An Anxious Reaction to Perceived Threat
(Pennsylvania Literary Journal, May 2021)
This paper is the first of a series that challenge the veracity of biblical inerrancy, which is a human contrivance to defend the Bible against perceived threat from enlightenment, scientific discovery, and biblical higher criticism. The assertion that the Bible claims itself to be inspired and inerrant is unfounded. The history of the Bible suggests that the writing of individual documents, with their sometimes questionable authorship, redaction and many revisions, translation, canonization, and transmission over centuries of time, all bear the marks of flawed human agency. For these reasons the concept of biblical inerrancy is rejected by mainstream Bible scholars. While the topic is hotly debated, in recent years many evangelicals have pushed for a revision of their faith and practice without the doctrine of inerrancy.
Image- Bible Cover- Public Domain
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This essay contains the writer’s personal reflections on a week-long dig conducted by Dr. Axel Hungerbuehler, science professor at Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico. The course is Geology 120-01 Paleontology Field Discovery. The dig site is on private property an hour’s drive from Tucumcari, in the Redonda Formation which specifically contains fossils from the Triassic Period (200 to 250 million years ago). This geological period, before the Jurassic, was the time of two major groups of creatures, Archaosaurs (reptilian) and Terapsids (mammal-like reptilians). Fossils found in the Redonda Formation include Archaosaurs such as the Aeotosaur and Phytosaur, and the much smaller marine reptile Keichosaurus.
Image- fossilized skeleton of a Keichosaurus, found in great abundance in New Mexico. Donated by Don Bryne, on display at Dinosaur Museum, Tucumcari, NM