Grace and Christology

My time at Erskine Theological Seminary has been well spent. Several professors have made my experience very worth the time, energy, money, late nights, etc. But easily one of the “surprises” of my time here is Dr. Don Fairbairn. I say surprise only in the fact that I did not know him or of him…

The House of Bread for the Hungry

Each year at this time we remember the fact that Joseph was required to return to the city of his fathers for the Roman census. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem by order of Caesar Augustus. But this is not the first time Bethlehem has appeared in the Bible. You’ll remember that Naomi…

Third Sunday in Advent: Exodus XX.12: Sixth Commandment

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, as we consider the sixth commandment this morning we ask that you would empower your word by the Holy Spirit. And wherever we have made any peace with sin and death, grant us the strength and courage to take up the fight. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen! IntroductionWe consider the…

Suicide vs. Martyrdom

Suicide, many have pointed out, is one of the most selfish acts a person can do. When a person takes their own life, they are not only despising God’s gift of life, despising God’s image that is in them, but they are effectively refusing to serve anyone else but themselves. They have decided that their…

Life is for Worship

J. Douma, in his Ten Commandments, says that life must be understood fundamentally as for praise. Yahweh brough Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage in order that she might worship him at the holy mountain. Pharaoh’s genocidal dealings with Israel were not merely wicked in themselves, they were actions which resulted…

Advent Homily: 2 Peter 3

Advent is a little bit of a mysterious season to celebrate. Historically, as the season emerged in the Christian Calendar there were two strands, one emphasizing joy and festivity and the other penitence and fasting. Interestingly, both of these emotions have continued to mark the celebration of Advent down to the present. Because of this…

Fairbairn on Cassian on Christ

Don Fairbairn, in Grace and Christology in the Early Church, cites the church father Cassian’s reponse to Nestorious, saying, “If it seems unreasonable to you that Mary could give birth to God who was anterior to her, how will it seem reasonable that God was crucified by men? And yet the same God who was…

God Became a Zygote

John Jefferson Davis, in his book Evangelical Ethics, points out that the incarnation of Jesus Christ has an important role to play in affirming the value of human life (p. 158). He points out that the Creed places the beginning of the life of Christ not at birth but when “he was conceived by the…

Philosophical Water into Theological Wine

Nicholas Lash notes that the image Aquinas uses for the use of philosophy in service of theology is drawn from the wedding feast at Cana. Aquinas says: “Those who use philosophical texts in holy teaching, by setting them at the service of faith, do not mix water with wine, but turn water into wine.”

Aquinas on Being

Thomas Aquinas, in his explanation of his doctrine of Analogy in Summa Contra Gentiles I.28, points out that “perfection” must be understood at least somewhat differently when applied to God than when applied to creatures. Yet, he recognizes that Jesus calls his disciples to nevertheless aim to close that gap (Mt. 5:48). Thomas says that…