“The confidence proper to a Christian is not the confidence of one who claims possession of demonstrable and indubitable knowledge. It is the confidence of one who had heard and answered the call that comes from the God through whom and for whom all things were made: ‘Follow me.'”
– Lesslie Newbigin, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995), 105
Talk of church discipline today often brings to mind “images of witch trials, scarlet letters, public humiliations, and damning excommunications.” However, each of the Protestant Reformers, in their own way, recognized the importance of church discipline. John Calvin went so far as to say that the neglect of church discipline would contribute to the “ultimate dissolution of the church.” If Calvin could “discern frightful devastation beginning to threaten the church” in sixteenth century Geneva, what would he say about today’s Western Protestant Christianity, where the reigning ideal of tolerance and the omnivorous appetite of the market have combined to eviscerate the church of any remaining sense of its disciplined character? Continue reading Discipline Is Not a Dirty Word
The events of 2 Samuel 11-12 depicting the encounter between David and Bathsheba and its fallout mark “the great turning point of the whole David story.” According to its traditional superscription, Psalm 51 was composed by David following his dramatic confrontation with the prophet Nathan. This great penitential psalm has rightly occupied a cherished place in the life of worship and prayer of the Christian church through the ages. In many traditions, it is corporately read or sung on Ash Wednesday. Reflecting upon the psalm leads Robert Barron to observe the somewhat counter-intuitive connection between saint and sinner in the Christian faith: Continue reading On Saints and Sinners
In his continuing commentary on the story of David dancing before the ark of the covenant in 2 Samuel 6, Robert Barron observes that there is another aspect of the passage that is puzzling to modern readers. Namely, how on earth could anyone dance before the law? (We must remember that the tablets of the Ten Commandments were housed within the ark.) Barron observes, “it would be difficult to imagine anyone dancing with joy before the tax code or the latest motor vehicle statutes, or even before the U.S. Constitution.” However, David and the people of Israel dance with all their might before the law! Continue reading What Does Sinai Have to Do With Augusta?
I have been following the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series with great interest since the publication of its first volume over ten years ago. The central premise of the series is that “the Nicene tradition, in all of its diversity and controversy, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture.” Continue reading The Dance Goes On
On Saturday, my family laid to rest my wife’s grandmother. On Sunday morning, Christians throughout the world gathered to celebrate the resurrection. I missed both gatherings. Continue reading The Lord of the Dance