Close Encounters

It is very difficult to appreciate just how powerful an elephant is until you encounter one in the wild. I was overseeing a conference near the Kruger National Park this week, and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to take some leave and spend some time with Nathan (my five year old... Continue Reading →


Miserable Worm Theology and the Light of the World

I call it Miserable Worm Theology. Its creed goes something like this: I am a miserable worm. My heart is completely bad. Even when I want to do good, I cannot because every inclination of my being is towards evil. God shouldn’t even look at me. I am unworthy. I understand why God wants to... Continue Reading →

Dealing With the Problem of Sin

Metaphors matter. The ways that we understand ourselves and our place in the world are firmly grounded in the pictures we design to represent key abstract principles. Plainly speaking, in order to make sense of an overwhelming universe, in an attempt to create order out of the chaos, we tell stories, we develop languages, we... Continue Reading →


Did Jesus Meet Satan in the Desert?

After I argued against the existence of Satan as a “person” in my last post, someone asked me how I would then account for Jesus’ encounter with Satan in the desert. I confess I have been at a bit of a loss as to how to structure an answer. That is not to say that... Continue Reading →


A Very Brief History of Satan

The truth is that I have not spent much time incorporating the satan into my theology. So when a commentator requested last week that I explain my beliefs regarding the satan, I was a little anxious, to be honest. The request makes sense, though: if I am dismissing the notion of hell as a literal... Continue Reading →


A Hermeneutic From Below

The problem with believing that God was punishing Jesus on the cross for our sins, as Michael Hardin points out, is that it doesn’t take sin nearly seriously enough. It limits the power of sin to the personal. In other words, it implies that the primary problem with sin is that I will be harshly... Continue Reading →


Atonement as Liturgy: The Cross Re-examined

In recent weeks, I have explained why I feel compelled to reject the Penal Substitution Atonement philosophies that underpin many of the theologies and practices in the Western church. But if PSA is no longer adequate for explaining atonement for me, then I need to re-evaluate some of the key questions (Why did God choose... Continue Reading →


Putting my Jesus on Trial

I am a bit of a Thomas. When Thomas was told that Jesus had risen, he refused to believe it unless he could see Jesus with his own eyes, and touch the terrible scars (John 20:24-29). I, too, refuse to accept the Jesus presented to me by the Western church, until I can be certain,... Continue Reading →


Sin: Failing the Test

I have heard it preached from too many pulpits. Well-meaning preachers, who have never really taken the time to reflect on the analogy properly, depict Jesus on the cross as the bridge spanning an impassable chasm between us and God. Alternatively, we are at the bottom of a ladder, trying to attain God’s impossible standards... Continue Reading →


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