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Recommended Books

Historical Jesus

Jesus and the Victory of God: v. 2: Christian Origins and the Question of God

This volume is quite technical but is very helpful in presenting a scholarly method which shows that the Jesus of the gospels fits the first century context and that this picture of Jesus is quite believable.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Another technical book showing the genre of the gospels is that of ancient eyewitness testimony.  A good book on the trustworthiness of the gospel witness.

The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3)

A scholarly examination of the meaning of resurrection in the ancient world and the evidence for believing in Jesus' bodily resurrection.

Traditional Theology

The author examines the consensus of Christian belief giving extensive references to the early church fathers and great Christian thinkers down through the ages.

Reformed Dogmatics

Gathers together the teaching of classic Reformed theology by examining the writings of Reformed theologians.

The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: Exhibited, and Verified from the Original Sources

Gathers together the teaching of classic Lutheran theology by examining the writings of Lutheran theologians.

Evangelical Catechism

An excellent summary of traditional Reformation Protestant faith from a United Lutheran-Reformed perspective.

Modern Theology

My approach to modern theology can be described as centrist.  This approach recognizes the contributions of the full spectrum of modern theology while also recognizing the tendency towards reductionism and extremism.  I find it to be true that people "are generally right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny".

Two excellent models of centrist theology and thinking are Gabriel Fackre and Donald Bloesch.  My favorite one-volume explanation of Christian faith from a generally centrist perspective is George Forell's The Protestant Faith.

Christian Living

A classic text on being the people of God.

A classic look at following Christ, examining both the Sermon on the Mount and the writings of the apostle Paul.


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JUNE 2020 Newsletter Article

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness (Romans 2:15a NIV). Our souls are “constituted and formed”, as Luther says, to know God, in this case God in his law. I say God because there is no law outside and separate from God. This is a confession that human beings are fitted for their environment and so we can trust our sense that there is an oughtness to existence, a sense of an intentional order, a way we are meant to act. Intention, of course, implies an intender, a personal will behind the things we sense we ought to do. Everyone knows this, Luther says, and this knowledge “is aroused by the preaching of the Word, so that the heart cannot help confessing that we must, as the Commandments read, honor, love, and serve God, for He alone is good and does good not only to the pious, but also to the wicked” (St.L. III:1053). The great good news we have to proclaim, the thing people could not know except in this

Why We Need Lent - March 2020 Newsletter Article

No one expected it. There was no one, to my knowledge, who believed God would become human and identify with us in our misery. That, however, is the message of Lent. God entered our world to stand with us not against us. Lent is forty days because Jesus was forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. This trial is a picture of his whole mission, shouldering the human condition, standing with us, not apart from us. At that time there was a community, where the Dead Sea scrolls were later found, that separated itself from the rest of the world. It saw the world as "us and them". The religious leaders who lived among the people still stood apart from the people and also thought in terms of "us and them". Jesus came and turned everything upside down. He said he came to set the world on fire. He was going to burn down all that set itself against God's true purpose. God is love, one of his disciples would later write. Another would say, Love bears a

Joy comes in Believing -- September 2019 Newsletter Article

"When we study it in detail … we discover what a book of JOY the New Testament is.”  "JOY is the distinguishing atmosphere of the Christian life" (William Barclay in Flesh and Spirit). I remember well my experience of surrendering my life to Christ at the age of 18. Before that, I was ignoring the faith I had as a child. I was focused on having a good time, but though my focus was on a good time I remember a profound emptiness I felt. Here I was, surrounded by a group of friends, doing all kinds of fun things, but inwardly, I was empty. I see this same emptiness in kids today. My experience of surrendering to Christ was one of coming to know an “inexpressible and glorious joy”, as Peter says (1 Peter 1:8 NIV). Giving myself over to faith brought a fullness where once there was emptiness and an undergirding strength to all of my life, as Nehemiah testifies (Nehemiah 8:10). The source of this joy was in believing, precisely as Peter says in 1 Peter 1:8. Giving myse