Theopolis ArticlesFilter

  • Boat Stories

    Back in January, Venkatesh Rao wrote a fascinating post on the Ribbonfarm blog, discussing different forms of models of narrative. Engaging with Ursula LeGuin’s talk ‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction’, Rao explores her contrast between the (male) ‘hero narrative’ and the (female) ‘carrier-bag story’, and suggests a third model: the ‘boat story’. The male hero […]

  • Israel Redux: The Image of Christ in the Gospel According to John (Part III)

    John 12.12 – John 17: Latter Prophets In the Hebrew Scriptures, Kings is followed by the Latter Prophets. John 12:15 quotes Zechariah 9:9 as having prophesied Jesus’ triumphal entry: “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”[1] N.T. Wright sees, beside Zechariah, the fulfillment of […]

  • Israel Redux: The Image of Christ in the Gospel According to John (Part I)

    Since my educational and professional training have revolved around story and narrative structure, I approach John’s Gospel from a literary and narrative perspective. In doing so, I have noticed structural story patterns and followed them where they seem to lead: the Gospel of John parallels the ordering of the books of the Tanakh. Although John’s […]

  • The Clouds of Mt. Sinai

    The Mt. Sinai Hospital was neolithic on the black hill of Hollow, New Hampshire. Winter dampened the trees and the wind bit at the sparse branches, the sidewalks and stairs were perilous with soggy leaves, and the dim yellow light cast a pallor upon the milky stone building. Ambling inside the halls of determined walks […]

  • Egypt and Sodom, Where the Lord was Crucified

    The Revelation can only be understood in the light of Old Testament symbols and sequences. The same is true of the epistle of Jude, which serves as a blistering hors d’oeuvre to John’s fiery feast. Possibly written by the apostle Judas Thaddaeus (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; John 14:22), the epistle is an encyclical exhortation rather […]

  • Sex

    Christians get sex wrong when we start from the wrong end. We start from human desires, passions, biological drives and “needs.” These are treated as givens, as the base-line natural reality of human sexuality. Then we come to the Bible and find, to our surprise, that God places all kinds of restrictions on how we […]

  • Wisdom, Gender, and Strength in Proverbs

    Why isn’t Proverbs better known as the Bible’s book on “manliness”? I use quotation marks because the term almost seems archaic in our present culture, along with “manhood.” Perhaps the Church is too embarrassed to admit the Bible addresses that much attention to the topic. But another reason can be found in Proverbs itself. Solomon […]

  • The Sacrament of Preaching

    In certain evangelical Christian churches it is the tradition to exalt preaching above the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Ever since the rise of Revivalist preachers pushing for conversions, the practice has cast doubt upon the possibility of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper being a “means of grace” to save someone. “Baptism doesn’t […]

  • Yoram Hazony and the Deception of Isaac

    Perhaps one of the most stimulating sections of Yoram Hazony’s The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture addresses the question of how we are to discern the meaning of biblical narratives, especially how biblical narratives might present arguments of a more general nature. Hazony quotes John Barton’s remarks about the difficulty of recognizing the moral stance of the […]

  • Enduring Divine Absence: The Challenge of Modern Atheism – A Review

    In this slender volume, Joseph Minich (Ph.D. student at the University of Dallas) attempts to answer some of the deepest questions of human existence. With his honesty, his probing questioning, his wide reading, and his ability to plunge beneath superficial answers, he provides a helpful source of reflection for fellow pilgrims. He admits he has […]

  • Drunk, Naked, and Accomplishing God’s Will

    A Closer Look at Noah’s Post-Flood Humiliation In Genesis 9:20-27 My wife is currently leading a Bible study through Genesis for a group of insatiable Bible students. Because she is a deep thinker and has a high view of inspiration, there is no passage she is unwilling to face head on, seeking the interpretive clues […]

  • What did Jonah Know?

    When a certain Samaritan village refused Jesus’ attempt to visit, James and John asked Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven upon it. The allusion to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is evident, but, as the story shows, James’ and John’s thinking was entirely warped. Jesus rebuked them: “You do not know […]

  • The Relevance of Aristotle and the Role of Christ (pt. 2)

    In the first part of this essay, I considered paideia(formation)and mimesis (imitation) in the context of Aristotle’s virtue ethics and that of the New Testament. The overall concern is to realize how relevant is Aristotle’s ethics both to diagnosing our current malaise and to enculturing our children, though we must also recognize where the shortfall […]

  • The Relevance of Aristotle and the Role of Christ (pt. 1)

    It’s hard to imagine someone, centuries from now, mistaking our culture for a moral highpoint in the history of the West. Increasingly the news is dominated by school shootings, abusive policing, sexploitation of women, and increasing rates of suicide, addiction, and divorce. In response, the Left calls for regulations, surveillance, information campaigns, and various forms […]

  • God’s Promise to Hear Us

    “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:17-18) God is listening. He is listening when we ask Him for financial provision, He is listening when we […]

  • Transfiguration and Jesus’ Baptism

    The allusions to Mt. Sinai in the transfiguration story point to Jesus as a new Moses and even more as Yahweh, the God who met Moses and Elijah on the mountain. The fact that Jesus, Moses, and Elijah spoke of Jesus’ “exodus” suggests that the mountain of transfiguration was intended to point forward as well. […]

  • Sacred Work in a Secular World

    Several weeks ago, a picture of a man working at Trader Joe’s went viral. At first glance, it was hard to tell what was worthy of note in the picture—a man simply standing near a cash register. It turns out, the picture went viral not because of what the man was doing, but because of […]