Theopolis ArticlesFilter

  • The Jephthah-Jesus Connection

    Why there is more to Jephthah than meets than eye It was not that long ago that I realized the Jephthah-story and the Jesus-story were basically the same story. Sounds crazy, I know. But here is a one-paragraph synopsis of both: The people of God have gone their own way, chasing after other gods, and […]

  • 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 […]

  • What Irenaeus’ Christology Teaches Us about the Goodness of our Bodies

    The Christian tradition has always had an uneasy relationship with the materiality of creation. Dirt, liquid, sex, blood, and bodies—the world and the flesh stand in company with the Devil as two of the three great enemies of the saints. Mundus, caro, et diabolus, as the old Latin saying goes. And not without reason. The […]

  • Jesus’ Burial Clothes

    John devotes much attention to Jesus’ burial clothes. He tells us that Nicodemus brought about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to spice Jesus body, and that He was bound in linen wrappings. We find out that His body and His head were wrapped separately. (John 19:39-40; 20:6-7). When Jesus was raised from the […]

  • And the Holy of Holies Became Flesh

    And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory…(John 1:14) Commentaries on John, discussing the Word or Logos in John 1, routinely turn to Greek philosophy and say that John is using a term and at least part of an idea familiar in the ancient world. John is showing the […]

  • God in man, man in God

    John 17 contains the longest prayer that we have from Jesus, and it shows us the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son in a way that few passages do. The prayer lays out the chiastic pattern noted by Athanasius (God became man so that man could become God), but gives it a perichoretic […]

  • Lordly Obedience

    The following meditation on the incarnation is paraphrased and quoted from Karl Barth, The Doctrine of Reconciliation (Church Dogmatics, Vol. 4, Part 1), pp. 185ff. In the incarnation, the eternal Son of God makes His way into a far country, and takes on the form of a servant. “But the incarnation, the taking of the […]

  • Triune Advent

    Our creeds, taking cues from Matthew 28:18-20 and other biblical texts, speak of the order of the Trinity as “Father, Son, Spirit.” This order is evident in the order of redemption as well: the Father sends the Son, who ascends to heaven to receive and send the Spirit. Luke 1, though, indicates that it is […]

  • Repoliticizing Jesus

    During the past two decades, the “quest of the historical Jesus” has entered a new phase. The first incarnation of the quest was rudely shaken by the publication of Albert Schweitzer’s classic Quest of the Historical Jesus, easily the most devastating and funniest work of New Testament scholarship ever written. In the wake of Schweitzer, skeptical […]

  • When the Son Is Glorified

    John 7:39 interprets Jesus’ offer of living water as an offer of the Spirit to those who believe, “for,” John continues, “the Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John was not making an ontological statement about the Spirit, as if the Spirit did not exist until Jesus was glorified; already in […]

  • Jesus’ Baptism Into Priesthood

    As I noted in an earlier article in Rite Reasons, the Church Fathers Tertullian, Ambrose, and Augustine all claimed that baptism inducts the baptized person into membership in the royal priesthood of the church, and Thomas Aquinas said that baptism, by imprinting an indelible “character” on the soul, confers a share in the priesthood of Christ. […]

  • Second Samuel

    Luke’s gospel begins and ends in the temple. It opens with Gabriel’s annunciation to the priest Zacharias (whose name, appropriately, means “Yahweh remembers”) of the coming of a forerunner. Zacharias is performing priestly service at the time. The book ends with the joyful worship of a new priesthood in the same temple. In between, toward […]

  • 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 […]

  • Skinned and Cut

    “He shall then skin the burnt offering and cut it into its pieces” (Leviticus 1:6). The normal word (`olah) that is translated as “burnt offering” and “whole burnt offering” has nothing to do with either burning or wholeness. It is the noun form of a verb meaning “to go up, to ascend, to climb.” The […]

  • Galilee of the Gentiles

    Matthew records that Jesus “withdrew” to Galilee to begin His public ministry there after He “heard that John had been delivered up” (Mt. 4:12). Matthew’s typically matter-of-fact style veils the truly remarkable character of Jesus’ withdrawal. Matthew has been presenting Jesus as the Messiah, the Seed of Abraham and Son of David (1:1, 16), Immanuel […]

  • He Shall Be Called A Nazarene

    Matthew 2:13-23 has a tripartite structure, reporting briefly three events of the early years of Jesus’ life. Matthew ends his narrative of each event with a “fulfillment formula.” Jesus’ flight to Egypt and His Exodus back into Israel was a fulfillment of Hosea’s words, “Out of Egypt I call my Son” (Mt. 2:15, cf. Hos. […]

  • The Virgin Conception of Christ: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation

    Why was Jesus Christ conceived in a virgin? The great Augustine, who never shrank from seeking to answer such questions, provided an explanation in his treatise On the Trinity (13.18.23). Though it was, Augustine believed, possible in marriage to “make a right use of the carnal concupiscence which is in our members; yet it is […]