Theopolis ArticlesFilter

  • Hezekiah’s Sign

    The story of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery is familiar to every child who has attended Sunday School. Informed that he would die, faithful King Hezekiah pleaded in tears for a longer life. God heard his prayers and saw his tears, and promised fifteen more years. As a sign that He would keep His promise, God […]

  • The Last Man: Herod and Jesus in “Sunshine”

    When viewed as an allegory of biblical history, the controversial third act of Danny Boyle’s gripping sci-fi adventure is transformed from an illogical divergence into a blinding revelation. The following analysis contains spoilers for the movie “Sunshine.” The Creation Week is the elementary typethat orders everything God has said and everything He has made. The […]

  • Levels of Language

    A couple years ago, I read Paul Graham’s ruminations on higher- and lower-level languages in Hackers and Painters. Although he’s talking about computer languages, his insights have bearing on biblical language and hermeneutics. So bear with me while I lay out some of the basic points, and then we’ll look at the applications. The very […]

  • The Church at the Center

    Toward the end of the Revelation, John sees a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The old created order in Adam has passed away, and the new order under the lordship of Jesus has been established. Within this new creation John also sees “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out […]

  • The Stone Upon the Well

    Sunday morning found me kneeling at the foot of my bed, trembling, pebbles of sweat leaping off the edge of my brow and nose, and hitting the floor in front of me, but not from piety was I procumbent; though as a minister for over a decade, I had made threadbare the knees of my […]

  • Counseling, Immigration, and the Politics of the Gospel

    In April of this year, President Trump issued a zero-tolerance border policy that separated families, specifically children from their parents who had crossed the USA/Mexico border be it illegally or as asylum seekers. In mid-June, Trump dropped this policy of splitting up families, however there are still children who are separated from their parents because of that policy. Furthermore, […]

  • 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 […]