Theopolis Institute teaches men and women to lead cultural renewal by renewing the church. Participants in its various programs—its courses, conferences, and publications—will gain competence to read the Bible imaginatively, worship God faithfully, and engage the culture intelligently.

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A Week with Esther Meek – An Introduction to Covenant Epistemology

We are very pleased to announce that Esther Lightcap Meek will be the instructor for our 2018 Trinity Course in August. The course is titled “Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology” and will be held August 13-17 at Beeson Divinity School. Esther Meek, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College and a Fujimura Institute […]

Joseph, the Righteous Husband

During the Middle Ages, Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the butt of many jokes. Medieval theater and art often depicted him as something of a buffoon, decidedly marginal to the gospel story. In part, this was the unfortunate obverse of the exaltation of Mary; any man would suffer by comparison with such a being […]

The Theology of the Drink Offering

The drink offering or libation (nesek) is mentioned in only three places in the book of Leviticus. When the sheaf of the firstfruits was waved before the Lord, a grain offering was to be burned, along with “its libation, a fourth of a hin of wine [approx. one gallon]” (23:13). Similarly, libations were to be […]

Limited Atonement & J. I. Packer

When I became a Calvinist it wasn’t long before I learned that John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ was regarded as the masterful treatise on what is known as “Limited Atonement”–the “L” in the TULIP mnemonic device for “the five points of Calvinism.” This wasn’t because I had read it […]

Bathsheba: The Real Story

One of the advantages of paying very close attention to the details in the Bible, especially chronological and genealogical details, is that they can shed light on situations that don’t seem to make much sense apart from them. One such situation is that of Bathsheba. It appears that Bathsheba willingly cooperated with David in adultery. […]

The Oddness of the Feast of Booths

The Feast of Ingathering in the seventh month of the Sinaitic calendar is also called the Feast of Sukkoth, of Booths, also called Feast of Tabernacles. I have usually called it by that last phrase, and it is the most common today; but there is a problem: A tabernacle is a tent, and tents are […]

A Universe Less Expanded

When Matthew’s Gospel was first read aloud to the fledgling Christian congregations, the experience must have been like seeing the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” appear afresh on cinema screens in 1999. Yet, unlike The Phantom Menace, the New Testament did not disappoint. Why? Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus Christ […]

Seeking Integration in a Fragmented World: Kintsugi Integration

Fragmentation and integration are phenomena which artist Makoto Fujimura feels bodily, and about which he is concerned profoundly. What do these mean for him? How may we draw his insights into this ongoing consideration—itself integrative—of integration in a fragmented world? Thus far I have been acquainting you with matters already developed in my own understanding […]

The Unseen Things

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The famous definition of faith with which the eleventh chapter of Hebrews opens has received a number of different interpretations. The crux of the problem is the interpretation of the words translated in the KJV as “substance” (hupostasis) […]

The Gospel of John, Friendship, and the Homoerotic

This essay is an exploration of one element of the final of the four Gospels, the Gospel of John. My thesis is that the Gospel of John answers the issue of “friendship” being a homoerotic category. It challenges the “Greek Way of Love and Friendship”1 It is indeed the case that as one moves toward […]

Building the Church

“And I also way to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Matthew 16:13ff. has historically been one of the most oft-cited passages of Scripture. Throughout the Middle Ages, it was used to support the claims of […]

Funerals and Flutes

Matthew 8-9 records three clusters of miracles, interspersed with snatches of Jesus’ teaching about various aspects of discipleship. Just as the Sermon on the Mount displays the authority of Jesus’ Word in teaching, these chapters display the authority of Jesus’ Word over sickness, uncleanness, the creation, demons, and death. In Jesus, the kingdom comes not […]

The Ecclesiology of Wells

The association of women and wells in the Scriptures has long been noted by theologians, a symbolism closely connected to marriage which begins in Genesis and climaxes in Revelation. There is a lesson drawn in the water of wells that I’d like to explore, but before that I must trace out the shadow of the […]

Was Solomon Paleo? Primal Reality and the Wisdom of Proverbs

Of course, since the Israelites had agriculture, Solomon was not paleolithic as that term is used today. But “paleo” is simply a prefix meaning old or previous, the opposite of “neo.” In that sense, I wonder if we might understand Solomon better if we interpret his statements and riddles in light of a changing Israel (and perhaps also a changing […]

Seeking Integration in a Fragmented World: Covenant Epistemology: The Integrative Regard of the Other

  Fragmentation characterizes our era. Bits, bytes, chips, data points. Ourselves as reducible to the meaningless. We can feel dehumanized and lost. We seek wholeness, integration. We rightly believe that integration brings meaningfulness, somehow doing better credit to ourselves as humans and to the world. More than that, integration somehow aligns with the very goal […]

The Dramatic Structure of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs appears as a largely random collection of aphorisms drawn from experience saturated in law. Despite its random arrangement, however, the book does have an over-arching structure that reinforces its main themes. One way to gather clues regarding the structure of a biblical book (or any book) is to look at the […]

Infant Baptism in the History of the Church

Ancient practice in the Church sets an important precedent for present day practice. This certainly doesn’t mean that Christians are bound to only do things as they have always been done, but the principles of catholicity and unity move us not to break from historic church practice on a particular item unless there is a […]

Babel Academy, Part 2

For Part 1, click HERE. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the physical order. Genesis 2 recapitulates the pattern of Genesis 1 as it describes the creation of the social order. Genesis 3 describes the intended founding of an ethical order. It was here that sin entered into the world, and with it, the distinction between clean and unclean. The failure of Adam to rightly […]

Babel Academy, Part 1

The Business of Keeping the Saints in the Dark Let there be light! The first recorded “spoken” words of God. Curiously, even this creative decree was a deed whose fruit required an appraisal. God judged the light and separated it from the darkness. As the cardinal act within a newborn heavens and earth, this ruling […]

Music and Drunkenness, Part 2

For Part 1, click HERE. How did Paul’s earliest commentators view his juxtaposition of music and drunkenness, and did they connect it to the ancient Greek ideas of musical ethos described in Part I? Origen, one of the earliest commentators on Paul, writes about Ephesians 5:18-19: One, however, who inquires into the nature of the […]

Music and Drunkenness, Part 1

Perhaps it is because I am a musician that I have always found Ephesians 5:18-19 so arbitrary. But isn’t it a little odd to contrast music and drunkenness? Perhaps it is not obvious that that is what Paul is doing; I know, for myself, that it is remarkably easy to read Paul (and the Bible, […]

Unequal Holiness

In 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Paul deals with how the Corinthian Christians are supposed to be relating to unbelieving spouses. He essentially tells them, “Look, if your unbelieving spouse is willing to stay with you as a faithful Christian, don’t initiate a divorce. If he/she wants to leave you, let him/her go. The believer is not […]

The Sword of Adam: Preterism vs. Pacifism, Part II

For Part 1, click HERE. Those who focus on the supposed “pacifism” of Jesus and condemn the violence of God’s judgments throughout the Old Testament overlook the ministry of sacrificial bloodshed as an alternative to human bloodshed. The sword bearing of the sacrificial system was introduced to avoid the slaying of human beings, and the first […]

The Sword of Adam: Preterism vs. Pacifism, Part 1

How should a Christian respond to the objection that the Bible, like the Koran, is a book of violence and bloodshed? Numerous answers have been offered by well-meaning exegetes, but none of them gets to the heart of the matter: God desires to place a sword in the hands of His children. There is no […]

Alastair Roberts Appointed As Adjunct Senior Fellow

Beginning this summer, Dr. Alastair Roberts will join the Theopolis Institute as an adjunct Senior Fellow, the Institute has announced. Dr. Roberts will be a regular on the Theopolis podcast, teach intensive courses and in the Fellows Program, and help develop new programs and outlets.  Roberts earned his PhD from Durham University, is co-author of the […]

Seeking Integration in a Fragmented World: Indwelling Polanyian Integration

So far I have claimed that, especially in this era of fragmentation, we seek some way to integrate our lives. I have suggested that the view that modernity holds of what knowledge is has actually been a critical source of the fragmentation we sense in the modern West. Imagining knowledge to be impersonal, explicit, transferable, […]

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