Tag Archives: church

Bonhoeffer on What it Means “To Believe in the Church”

I taught an intensive intercession course on the “Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” during the first week of January this year.  While the students were responsible for completing some reading prior to our week together in class—including Christianne Tietz’s excellent, new short biography, Theologian of Resistance: The Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer—most of the major engagement with the primary sources in the Bonhoeffer corpus has been taking place over the past few weeks following the conclusion of our time together in class.  In recent days, the students would have encountered this remarkable passage from Bonhoeffer’s doctoral dissertation in which he addresses the question of what is means “to believe in the church.”  The passage is noteworthy not only because it was penned by a theology student who was a mere twenty-one years old at the time, but also because it anticipates in many ways the central themes of Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology that will come to the fore throughout his life. Continue reading Bonhoeffer on What it Means “To Believe in the Church”

Robert Jenson: Servant of the Church, Evangelical and Catholic

September 5 marked the passing of the Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson.  Widely regarded as the leading American theologian of his generation, and perhaps, as some maintain, the greatest American theologian since Jonathan Edwards, Jenson was  a leading influence in advocating for a theological renewal of the church that was, at one and the same time, profoundly evangelical and catholic. Continue reading Robert Jenson: Servant of the Church, Evangelical and Catholic

Faith in Canada

The Angus Reid Institute recently released the results of a polling study it conducted into the state of faith and spirituality in Canada.  (You can read the report here.)  As one might expect, the role of institutional religion in Canada seems to be continuing to diminish in many respects.  However, the study also suggests that Canadians may be “much less hostile toward religion than declining church attendances might imply.” Continue reading Faith in Canada

“It’s the End of the World as We Know It”: Audio Series (Part 5)

In this, the fifth and final, part of my lecture “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”: Paul, the Kingdom, and Living between the Times, I discuss the contagious faithfulness of Jesus which, as it is transmitted by the Holy Spirit, calls into existence a community of resistance to the regime of Sin and Death.  This section contains some of the most obvious connections to the conference keynote addresses by David Fitch and his new book Faithful Presence. Continue reading “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”: Audio Series (Part 5)

Discipline Is Not a Dirty Word

Talk of church discipline today often brings to mind “images of witch trials, scarlet letters, public humiliations, and damning excommunications.”1  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.”2  If Calvin could “discern frightful devastation beginning to threaten the church”3 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

  1. Marlin Jeschke, “How Discipline Died,” Christianity Today (August 2005), 31.
  2. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), IV.xii.1.
  3. Ibid.

Upcoming Conference Presentation


I’ve had a lot on my plate in recent days – including wrapping up an intensive theology course at Tyndale Seminary and preparing to preach on the Samson narrative at Toronto Chinese Alliance Church this coming Sunday – which has contributed to somewhat of a lull in my production of blog posts.  Also quickly approaching is the “Participation in God’s Mission” conference at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY, where I will be presenting a paper.  Continue reading Upcoming Conference Presentation