Theopolis Blog, page 3

Baptism and Contextualization, 1

I can imagine someone reading the title of this essay and saying to himself, “I have two questions. First, what in the world is “contextualization”?” Second, even before hearing the answer to the first question, he may wonder, “what does baptism have to do with such an awkward and vague notion?” Let me begin by […]

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Law of the Rebellious Son

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 My colleague Ralph Smith has recently written on this passage, here. I entirely agree with Ralph’s thrust, which is typological, that the passage is ultimately aimed at the entire nation of Israel itself as the rebellious son. But what I am thinking is from another perspective, perhaps a more immediate sociological perspective that […]

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Like A Dove II

In the previous article in this series, I drew attention to the threefold meaning of the Spirit of God descending as a dove on Jesus at His baptism. On a related note, I also argued that 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and Titus 3:3-7 were parallel passages that addressed the same issues in very similar language. One […]

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What’s in a Flag?

The National Anthem protest is misguided. So too the conservative backlash. The Church’s response has been disappointing. I address each in turn. The greatest triumph of the American Civil Rights Movement was its seizing of the moral high ground in American politics. It did so by insisting only on those rights which the majority population […]

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Like a Dove

Peter Leithart’s book, The Priesthood of the Plebs: A Theology of Baptism, argues that baptism is parallel to and the fulfillment of the old covenant rite of priestly ordination. But this is not something explicitly stated in the New Testament. Why, then, should we believe it? Leithart shows in detail that new covenant baptism does […]

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The Politics of Justification

The doctrine of justification is precious among Protestants. And it should be. The fact that God has declared our sins forgiven and that we have a righteous standing in the sight of God united to Christ is comforting and brings great joy. Unfortunately, the biblical teaching on justification is, many times, truncated. We have tended […]

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What is a Priest?

The Old Testament priests were given a number of seemingly disparate duties. As everyone knows, the priests led the sacrificial worship of Israel; only the priests could sprinkle blood on the altar or within the tabernacle, and only they could approach the altar to turn sacrificial animals into smoke. But priests, along with the other […]

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Ite, Missa Est

Missional ecclesiology is all the rage these days, but for many being “missional” means downplaying or even eliminating concern for the “internal” life of the church, particularly its liturgical life. Missional and liturgical, mission and communio, are locked in zero-sum combat. That cannot be right. The liturgy is a means of communion with God, the Triune […]

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The New Gospel

An old friend of mine, now passed into Heaven, started to say this in relationship to his sometimes troubled family, in the last quarter of his life, “I just had to take responsibility for the whole thing…” That was the seed for a new reading of the Gospel for me, a new way to read […]

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Reformation Retrospection

She departed the port, dressed in her best ceremonial regalia, with tassels and flags fluttering from her mast and rigging. She stood tall, robed in mist, crowned in white, and backlit by the rising sun. There she sat, shimmering and spotless; with a perfect ragtop, and a full tank of gas. What splendid lady am […]

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