Optimistic of Our Mission to Theologically Educate

This church-focused, theologically informed new vision I am calling for today will not eagerly embrace “top down” political strategies as effective methods for cultural transformation.  This new vision sees the local church, not the para-church, as the central locus of evangelism and discipleship. This new vision eschews niche-marketing strategies for drawing unbelievers to church.  It [...]

Theologically Educate

Brothers and sisters, as your President, I call this community to serious, sustained theological reflection.  Our mission statement calls for us to “theologically educate.” What does this mean? Properly speaking to “theologically educate” forms heart, mind and action. Beloved, it is not enough to declare that “your heart is in the right place.” Your mind [...]

Bumper Sticker Christianity

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.“  It is evangelicals who have cried out the most against the commercialization of Christmas, but then became co-opted by turning the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” into one of the most commercialized phrases of all time, blazoned across t-shirts, coffee mugs and yes, church signs. [...]

God is, like, my pal

Let us turn now to the “come as you are – no need to dress up” line. Richard Weaver in 1948 (Ideas have Consequences) and the linguist John McWhorter in 2003 (Doing our own thing:  The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, like, Care), among others, have argued that the contemporary preference [...]

I don’t like that style of worship…

The “worship style choice” lines reminds us how deeply we evangelicals have become commodified and “market driven.”  Market driven language pervades contemporary evangelicalism at every turn.  This democratizing spirit tacitly assumes that there are no higher points of reference for establishing the shape and practice of the church, ministry and worship than popular opinion and [...]

Our Mission to Theologically Educate

In his 1937 landmark book, The Kingdom of God in America, Richard Niebuhr memorably described the message of Protestant liberalism as “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgement through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”1  In the ensuing years Niebuhr’s statement has become one of the more [...]

A Few Thoughts on the Mystery of the Inspiration of Holy Scripture

Do you know the difference between the words “irrupt” and “erupt”? Irrupt means to come “crashing in” or “bursting in,” whereas erupt means to burst forth or break out. A volcano erupts, i.e. it spews forth lava, fire and smoke. God’s salvation irrupts into the world. The incarnation is something which comes crashing in from [...]

Reversal

To change the pace a bit, I thought I would share a poem I wrote reflecting on the great meta-narrative of the Gospel…. Reversal By Timothy C. Tennent It is good, the first Day breaks, It is finished, how it quakes. In the garden, Tree does call, Second garden, Life for all! Life and breath [...]

Ordinary Time?

One of my favorite times in the church year is that period between the end of Pentecost and the beginning of Advent which is traditionally known as Ordinary Time. I know a few churches, including the UMC, prefer to call it Kingdomtide, and mostly for good reasons. However, there is something appealing to me about [...]

Selah: and the close of the Summer

The summer is drawing to a close and students are already beginning to return to Asbury to start the Fall semester. I hope those reading this blog found time for rest and renewal this summer. Earlier this summer, I took a week just to do some physical labor around the house. I know, for many, [...]