This is a list of my top (i.e. favorite) posts from the past year. This list is most helpful for me to look back later to see what captured my attention during 2019.
- What’s the purpose of benedictions? In this post I examine the biblical basis and liturgical purpose of benedictions.
- I started a four-part series on confessional renewal in my own denomination. Only the first installment was published, but I intend to post the remaining portions sometime early this year. I also added a followup to this first installment which elaborates on my philosophy of essential doctrines.
- This post is a critique of the biblical warrant for episcopal polity, and provides a presbyterian perspective. I plan to return to this subject and explain the biblical warrant for the office of ruling elder…some day.
- One of my few ventures into political commentary, in April I argued that Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy was going to expose evangelical hypocrisy and put social conservatives in a bind. I had hoped that prominent Christians would take a more explicitly pragmatic approach to politics instead of claims to moral virtue, but unfortunately developments over the last eight months have not been encouraging.
- A topic to which I often return is the subject of biblical translation and ministry. I did so again this year on the closed circle nature of biblical translation and the account of Jephthah and his daughter in Judges 11. Ministers need to know Greek and Hebrew.
I started a tradition in 2018 of selecting a theologian and attempting to read most of their works over the course of a year, as well as reading some commentaries on their work. Last year I got ambitious and selected two theologians. But in 2020 I’m scaling back to one, and am selecting someone more modern: G.C. Berkouwer.
Berkouwer (1903-1996) was Dutch Reformed theologian who taught systematic theology VU Amsterdam, holding the same chair previously occupied by Herman Bavinck. He was a prominent interlocutor of Karl Barth, and was a formal observer of the Second Vatican Council. His 14 volume (in English) dogmatics remain very influential…
Come, Desire of Nations, come,
Fix in Us thy humble Home,
Rise, the Woman’s Conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in Us the Serpent’s Head.
Now display thy saving Pow’r,
Ruin’d Nature now restore,
Now in Mystic Union join
Thine to Ours, and Ours to Thine.
This is the fourth stanza from Charles Wesley’s original 1739 version of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” (originally entitled “A Hymn for Christmas Day”). It’s wonderful. I wonder why it’s not included in the song much anymore.