Theopolis Articles, page 2Filter

  • Jesus on Sinai

    Among the many allusions in the transfiguration story, one allusion, or rather, one group of allusions, is especially prominent — allusions to Mt. Sinai. The first and least obvious of the allusions to Mt. Sinai is the expression “high mountain” in Matthew and Mark and “the mountain” in Luke. Ancient commentators do not approach these […]

  • Jesus’ Transfiguration: The Context

    The revelation of Jesus’ glory at the transfiguration is one of the most important stories in the synoptic Gospels. At Jesus’ baptism — the inauguration of New Covenant baptism with the Holy Spirit and the paradigm for Christian baptism — God the Father spoke from heaven: “You are My Son, the beloved. With you I […]

  • Solomon’s Argument against Living by Plunder

    The first section of Proverbs (chapters 1-9) contains two lengthy descriptions of temptations that a young man should resist and avoid (1:10-19 and 7). The two temptations are recruitment into a robber gang and being enticed by an adulterous wife. I’ve argued before that these are the two perversions of the Dominion Mandate in Genesis […]

  • The Gospel Invitation

    Is there a Gospel invitation? To many evangelical Christians, the answer to that question is an unqualified “yes.” Some calvinists, reacting against the misleading character of the “altar call,” seem less interested in inviting men to anything than they are in sending men away to think about the message they have heard. The answer to […]

  • The Sacramental System and Counseling

    Effective pastoral care helps people progress to maturity. Historically, the Christian church worked out the sacramental system to assist people with the various conversions of life. While we Protestants believe in only two sacraments, it is helpful for us to look at the sacramental system, because there is some wisdom in it. As a young person […]

  • 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 […]

  • The Second Death in Liturgy and History

    Since the destruction of Jerusalem was an event of earth-shattering covenantal significance, what might be the meaning of the subsequent tragic events at the desert fortress of Masada? In Hebrew, the name Masada means “strong foundation or support,” from a root meaning “to hunt, lie in wait for prey.” Located on the eastern edge of the Judean […]

  • Cross My Heart

    Take a long look at the photo above. To whom is this woman praying? It is hard to tell, isn’t it? Suppose we watch her for a while. We may see her bow low to the floor. Her lips may move, though perhaps it is too low for us to hear the words proceeding from […]

  • The Problem of Psalm 137

    Psalm 137 is widely regarded as one of the meanest of the imprecatory psalms. Certainly as we read it it is seems to be a song of pure vengeance. The exiles in Babylon, in grief over the judgment that Babylon has brought upon them, pray for the destruction of that great city. There is a […]

  • A Week with Esther Meek: Course Recap

    Forty men and women came from all over the United States to attend the 2018 Trinity Term course at Theopolis. Pastors, students, teachers, an electrician, a city planner, and others from a variety of denominations spent five days at Beeson Divinity School studying covenant epistemology under the tutelage of philosopher Esther Lightcap Meek of Geneva […]

  • 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 […]

  • Paul Among the People

    We’ve all heard it, too often to count. The Apostle Paul was a misgynistic homophobic pro-slavery authoritarian, probably a repressed homosexual himself, the first Puritan – Puritan here defined as “someone who cannot sleep if someone in the world is having fun.” To call this a caricature is too generous. Caricatures resemble their subjects, and […]

  • The Rock That Followed Them

    “. . . and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).   Paul’s passing comment about the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness has often been treated as a bit of Jewish tradition that crept […]

  • 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 […]