Theology Resources

  • Reflections on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials (better known from the movie title, The Golden Compass); a 33-page analysis of the book and the movie–based on reading the entire trilogy and seeing the movie. pdf format.
  • “Is It Better to Bury or to Burn? A Biblical Perspective on Cremation and Christianity in Western Culture.” The Rice Lectures at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen Park, Michigan, 3/15/2006. Also the related article, “If You Meet the Undertaker Before the ‘Uppertaker’: A Christian View of Death, Dying, and Funerals.”
  • Respecting the Text. This is a transcript from ShopTalk #15 at the Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches, 11/6/03, held at First Baptist Church, Schenevus, NY. (ShopTalk is a four hour teaching seminar held three times a year by this fellowship of churches.) The basic thesis of this paper is that our bibliology ought to affect our hermeneutics and both ought to affect the way we do ministry (illustrated here with the public reading of Scripture and preaching). 18 pgs., dbl. col., small print, pdf file.
  • Simplified Statement of Faith. This is a doctrinal statement that is used at North Valley Baptist Church–a church plant in which I was involved for a number of years (and would still be if I hadn’t moved too far away). It is intended primarily for kids and new Christians. The concern is that even the children be able to understand theology–we’re not content to simply tell them Bible stories, but are convinced that if explained appropriately, they can understand more than “Bible milk toast.” And it just may be that some folks without a church background might find this easier to understand than our larger, more technical statement of faith. It is an adaptation of the full doctrinal statement of the church. Can also be downloaded/viewed as a pdf file.
  • “May Evangelicals Dispense with Propositional Revelation? Challenges to a Traditional Evangelical Doctrine” (complete 38-page, dbl.-spaced paper presented at 2001 ETS in Denver; or, an 8-pg.abridged version–this is the version that was actually read at the conf.). Now published in Journal of Ministry and Theology 8 (2004): 5-36.
  • When Bad Things Happen to a Good Text (3d ed.; pdf file, v. 4) This is the transcript of a chapel address on 10 March 2000. It is not intended at this point to be a documented, journal-style article (though it may become that). On the other hand, it is not the typical sermon manuscript–indeed, it is not a sermon. It is rather a lecture about preaching. The article draws heavily from a few important discussions of preaching; they do not attempt to be exhaustive. I am an expositor (a NT prof, to be exact), not a homiletician–but that will be obvious as you read! I make no pretense of being a great preacher myself, though I have a great respect for the privilege I am accorded from time to time to minister God’s Word to his people, and I spent quite a few years in pastoral ministry before I began an academic teaching ministry. I have an intense concern that those who stand behind the sacred desk handle the Word of God carefully and accurately. I see too little of that in my day. If these few comments stimulate even a few to determine that preaching must be biblical in its nature, content, and method, then it will be worth the time that I have invested in this lecture.
  • The Pluralist Predicament (53 pages, pdf file) This is a “Faculty Forum” paper that I presented in our Seminary chapel on Feb. 9, 2001. It examines the intertwined subjects of pluralism and postmodernity in both secular, “religious,” and evangelical versions. I have also posted a small print version that won’t take so much paper to print (24 pgs; same content).
  • Communicating the Text in the Postmodern Ethos of Cyberspace: Cautions Regarding the Technology and the Text (22 pg. [sg. sp.] pdf file) This is not strictly a NT paper, though I think it has relevance to how we handle the text of the NT. I presented this for our Seminary’s Faculty Forum on Dec. 11, 1998. (The posted file is now the revised edition as presented to the eastern regional meeting of ETS, Meyerstown, PA, 3/26/99.) A revised version was published in Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5 (fall 2000): 45-70. I just ran across the following observation in a book on typography (one of my “side interests”) that is relevant to one of the lines of argument proposed in this paper: “The screen mimics the sky, not the earth. It bombards the eye with light instead of waiting to repay the gift of vision. It is not simultaneously restful and lively, like a field full of flowers, or the face of a thinking human being, or a well-made typographic page. And we read the screen the way we read the sky: in quick sweeps, guessing at the weather from the changing shapes of clouds, or like astronomers, in magnified small bits, examining details. This makes it an attractive place for advertising and dogmatizing, but not so good a place for thoughtful text” (Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, 2d ed. [Point Roberts, WA: Hartley & Marks, 1996], 193).
  • Bible Reading Chart (pdf file, v. 5) You may find it simpler to set a goal of reading a certain number of chapters a day than to try and stick to some of the formal schedules that are available. They work fine for some people, but for others, the (false) guilt or discouragement that come from “getting behind” is not helpful. If you miss a day or don’t read the number of chapters you planned, you don’t need to go back and “catch up” (though you can if you have time)-just keep going. It may take you a bit longer this way, but better to finish a little later than not finish at all. If you want to read through the Bible in one or two years, the following figures may be useful. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, so reading an average of 5 days a week, to read the entire Bible in one year, you would need to average about 4.5 chapters per day; in 2 years, about 2.3 chapters per day; Reading one chapter a day will take you through the Bible in about 4.5 years. Reading through the Bible in one year isn’t one of the Ten Commandments, but it is a helpful spiritual discipline. Many people will find a slower pace more helpful, even if they don’t keep up with Joe or Aunt Matilda. And if I may be so bold, try reading all the way through in a different translation some time-you’ll be surprised at how much you notice that you tend to “read over” in your more familiar translation. (Try the NIV or the NASB [1995 update edition], or the new ESV if you haven’t read them through before.) By using various markings (circle, underline, line through, hi-light, etc.) and different color inks multiple readings may be marked on this sheet. The top part of this sheet will fit in most standard-size Bibles to use as a bookmark, or it may be fastened inside the cover so that it doesn’t get lost.
  • Dispensationalism. This is the first draft of an article that I wrote for (of all places!) the Encyc. of the Great Plains, Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2004. There is both a very terse version (about 300 words) and one about double that size. The published edition is not identical to either of these; the editor created an intermediate version.
  • The Miracle of Immanuel, Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23,  transcript of a seminary chapel address (pdf file)
  • It Is Because of Him, 1 Cor. 1:17-2:5, transcript of a seminary chapel address on Christian ministry in a postmodern world.
  • Polity and the Elder Issue. Grace Theological Journal 9.2 (Fall 1988): 257-77. A .pdf copy is now available on this site. This was my first published article, written many years ago. Though I would perhaps approach it somewhat differently today, my basic position in unchanged.
  • This item is not my own, but its significance warrants a note here: a (devastating) review of Dave Hunt’s book, What Love Is This? (Sisters, OR: Loyal Pub., 2002) by David Doran, pres. of Detroit Baptist Seminary (one of my alma maters). The review will be included in the next issue of Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal. Hunt’s book is a supposed refutation of Calvinism, but per Doran’s review, it is extremely shoddy work, filled with misrepresentations and fallacious arguments, etc.
  • Other “theology resources” pages by two of my systematic theology colleagues, Dr. Mike Stallard (PhD, DTS) and Dr. Ken Gardoski (PhD, TEDS).