The Joke of the Resurrection

 

This year Easter Sunday falls on April 1, April Fools’ Day. No doubt all the church sign people will have a heyday: “He is Risen: It’s No Joke!” (you heard it here first). Unbelievers will likely mock Christ on these grounds, as though the resurrection is an April fool’s joke. They are right, of course. The resurrection is a joke, but the joke’s on them. Continue reading “The Joke of the Resurrection”

Can Academics Write Well?

Academics need to write better, and they can. So argues Helen Sword in Stylish Academic Writing (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), a book written to equip academic writers to write with style and creativity instead of dull, opaque monotony. Though many academics feel that custom and editorial requirements restrain their creativity and style, they have significantly more wiggle room and freedom than they might think. Sword writes to free up and equip academic writers to experiment with their writing style.

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Simon Bar-Jonah

In Acts 9 Peter goes to Joppa, staying in a house that Luke points out is “by the sea” (Acts 10:6). Peter was originally staying at the nearby town of Lydda, but he went to Joppa at the request of some disciples, and there he raised Tabitha from the dead. Later Cornelius sends his servants to Joppa to retrieve Peter. The location of Joppa in all of this is not incidental.

Joppa is a seaport. It is where Jonah went in order to get a ship to flee from the presence of the Lord, who commanded him to go preach to Ninevah (Jonah 1). Jonah didn’t want the glory to depart from Israel and transfer to the Gentiles, so he went to Joppa to escape, to go the other way.

Peter, “the apostle to the Jews” (Gal 2:8), also finds himself in Joppa. In Joppa he is faced with two options: go preach to the Gentiles, or attempt to flee from God’s call, restricting God’s salvation to Israel. Peter is a new Jonah.

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The Chiastic Structure of James

James’ epistle is often viewed as a somewhat haphazard collection of fragmented thoughts, with no apparent structure or order. He moves from one topic to another, and we know not why.

Admittedly, James does not write in the form of an argumentative discourse. His letter is more like a collection of wisdom sayings. It even more closely resembles a series of teachings like one encounters in the Sermon on the Mount (which James draws from pervasively). But this does not mean that the book has no structure. James is a chiasm. At least, I think so.

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Invisible Priest

Bible

Hebrews was written to warn the addressed Christians against apostatizing and turning back to Judaism. The author demonstrates that Jesus is supreme over old covenant realities, and he devotes particular attention to the superiority of Jesus’s priestly work (Heb 4:14–5:11, 6:19–10:22). The cult held central place in first century Judaism, and consequently it is at this point most of all that the author seeks to demonstrate the superiority of Christ over the old order.

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Be Fruitful and … Multiply?: A Moral Assessment of Human Cloning

For many years the prospect of cloning has remained largely in the realm of science fiction. But after the birth of the cloned sheep “Dolly” in 1996, human cloning has become the subject of serious scientific and bioethical inquiry. The President’s Council on Bioethics reports that numerous institutions in America and abroad have attempted to create a cloned human embryo.[1] These rumors were confirmed in May 2013, when a group of scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University announced that they had successfully cloned human embryos and harvested stem cells from them.[2] So it appears that in the days ahead, the issue of human cloning is going to become more relevant, not less. Therefore this is an issue which requires serious Christian reflection, as it raises a host of important questions relating to personhood, marriage, sex, and the family. I will argue in this article that human cloning is wrong because it goes against God’s original design in creation for human reproduction, and because it puts humanity on a dangerous trajectory toward the objectification of human beings, societal confusion, and the evils of eugenics. Continue reading “Be Fruitful and … Multiply?: A Moral Assessment of Human Cloning”

Getting Along after Voting

voting-2Throughout this election season I have watched Christians who are far smarter and godlier than I land on every conceivable side of the issue of who to vote for as POTUS. (A sample: Trump, Trump, Clinton, neither.) I say this not to relativize away the whole issue, as though it doesn’t matter or as though there is no right answer. It does matter, and I do think there is a most preferable choice. I myself voted for neither of the two major candidates and have commended that view on a handful of occasions in the past few months via social media. And to be sure, there are certain clear principles that should be insisted upon: e.g., abortion is an egregious evil that must be vigorously opposed, and deceit, hubris, sexual immorality, malice, and obscene talk are not just flawed character traits, but sins on account of which God’s wrath is coming (Col 3:5–10). No Christian who voted for either major candidate should be thrilled about the sort of person they elected. They ought to agree that they did so to a large extent while holding their nose. Continue reading “Getting Along after Voting”

On Globe-Trotters

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Image source: Mark Doliner via Flickr

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The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. He is always breathing an air of locality. London is a place, to be compared to Chicago; Chicago is a place, to be compared to Timbuctoo. But Timbuctoo is not a place, since there, at least, live men who regard it as the universe, and breathe, not an air of locality, but the winds of the world. The man in the saloon steamer has seen all the races of men, and he is thinking of the things that divide men— diet, dress, decorum, rings in the nose as in Africa, or in the ears as in Europe, blue paint among the ancients, or red paint among the modern Britons. The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men— hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky. Mr. Kipling, with all his merits, is the globe-trotter; he has not the patience to become part of anything.… Continue reading “On Globe-Trotters”