Houston Baptist University Theology Conference – N.T. Wright, Beverly Gaventa, Ross Wagner

HBU Theology Conference

Paul and Judaism

March 19-20, 2014
Houston Baptist University

HBU is pleased to host a conference on Paul and Judaism that will explore Paul’s theology and practice within his Jewish context. Our keynote speakers include N.T. Wright (St Andrews University), Beverly Gaventa (Baylor University), and Ross Wagner (Duke Divinity School).

Papers and Abstracts:
In addition, we are inviting papers representing a variety of approaches from scholars and graduate students in this area of study. Participants will have 30 minutes to present papers (inclusive of Q&A).  Please submit a 200-300 word abstract to Dr. Ben C. Blackwell by January 15, 2014, with notification of acceptance by January 31. Registration by February 15 is required for those who will present at the conference. For submission information and conference schedule go here.

Will the real Word of God please stand up?

As I continue to read & write on Cyril of Alexandria, I have been reading through other Patristic works with Ben Blackwell and friends (including our own Jessica Parks and Michelle Mikeska).  Thus, I recently re-read Athanasius’ On the Incarnation and was struck by the following sentiments regarding the relationship between the divine Word of God and the body of Jesus:

For he [the Word of God] was not enclosed in the body, nor was he in the body but not elsewhere.  Nor while he moved that [body] was the universe left void of his activity and providence.  But, what is most marvelous, being the Word, he was not contained by anyone, but rather himself contained everything.  And, as being in all creation, he is in essence outside everything but inside everything by his own power, arranging everything, and unfolding his own providence in everything to all things, and giving life to each thing and to all things together, containing the universe and not being contained, but being wholly, in every respect, in his own Father alone.  So also, being in the human body, and himself giving it life, he properly gives life to the universe also, and was both in everything and outside all.  And being made known from the body through the works, he was not unseen even from the working of the universe. … The Word of God in the human being was not bound to the body, bur rather was himself wielding it, so that he was both in it and in everything, and was outside everything, and at rest in the Father alone.  And the most wonderful thing was that he both sojourned as a human being, and as the Word begot life in everything, and as the Son was with the Father.[1]

Athanasius is here suggesting that the Word of God continued his intra-Trinitarian cosmic roles even after he “became flesh.”  Is this simply a necessary paradox of the mystery of God and the Incarnation?  Or is this a poor understanding of the kenosis inherently involved in the Incarnation?  Is there more to the Word of God than what we see in Jesus?  Is there a Word of God to be found behind Jesus?

When we see Jesus getting tired in John 4, should we also understand that at the same moment the Word of God was continuing to uphold all things by his power *outside* of the body? (Maybe that is why he was so tired?)

One way to ask the question:

Was the Word of God still omnipresent post-Incarnation?
What are the implications of saying “yes” or “no”?

[1] Behr, John, (On the Incarnation. Yonkers, N.Y.: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011), 85-87.

Warp and Woof (2.15.2013)

The week in review…

Open, Generous, Connected – I had not heard of Seth Godin until a few months ago, and I am still not sure exactly what he does? But much of what he writes is applicable to both the church and academia. Interesting to think about his first term in the life of the church and the last in academia.

Conference Papers – I have only given a few papers at conferences so am I no expert, but thought John Goodrich‘s post on what to do when no one asks questions was insightful and humorous. Having experienced the awkward silence at least it is good to know I am not alone.

Academic Writing – Come on let’s join together and scream at academic writing! It is too dense! It is too jargonic (made that word up)! It is too long! Well John Elbow at OUP Blog and Rachael Cayley at Explorations of Style (great blog!) discuss why sometimes there is nothing that can be done because to explain complex, detailed, and sophisticated research can require dense writing. But I think we all agree that doesn’t mean we can quit trying to be better writers!

And if this is the end of the world at least happen quickly because all these people screaming about it drive me crazy!

And to conclude Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday. Hopeless romantic I am not.

Warp and Woof (2.8.13)

Wife is home and blog will return to regular schedule next week. For now, interesting reads from across the world wide web…

Brooks (NYT) on Data – I love to read people’s explanations for what do we know and how do we actually know it. It will be interesting to follow Brooks as he examines how we use data. On another note, just received This Explains Everything in mail this week. Hope to blog about it as I read it.

The Problem with Queer Theology – Michael Bird posted a quote from Oliver O’Donovan on his blog that I thought was brilliant. His reflection on the tension between creation and redemption could open up so many conversations.

Jackson Wu on Contextualizing and Compromising the Gospel – In a article in the latest volume of Global Missiology, Wu argues that settling for the truth compromises the gospel. I have some questions about engaging different perspectives of reading/understanding (for example, reader-response), but thought-provoking essay. He answers some questions about the article on his blog here and here.

Sinners – Tim Gombis writes on one way Paul finds unity between Jews and Gentiles in Romans. By the way, his blog is quickly becoming a favorite: regular posting, insightful posts, and engages with commenters.

Ben Blackwell and I thought I knew you.

Finally, Happy LXX Day. Great day because I don’t have to feel bad about the state of Hebrew. Free to read all I want in Greek!

Warp and Woof (1.25.2013)

The 25th’s version on the 26th. A day late but there was lots of good stuff out there this week.

The Insanity of God – A book of stories about living the Christian in persecution. Several times it made me cry and several times it left me speechless as I had to examine my own life. One quote for good measure,

“Persecution stops immediately where there is no faith and where there is no witness.”


Empowered Non-Staff Church Leadership – Ed Stetzer is working through 5 things he has learned from international church planting. The whole series has been informative, but I really appreciated this one (maybe because I am a lay person?). Can find the others by clinking the link.


God Without A Face – Ben Blackwell finished a four part review of  God Without a Face?: On the Personal Individuation of the Holy Spirit by Najeed Awad. Worth the read – Pt. 1, 2, 3, 4.


Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – The Wabash Center Blog just started a series on the first year of teaching. The first one teaching in a “strange” place is good and a series worth following.


The Method Chapter – From Patter (hint: just about everything on this site is gold!), comes a way to think about the method chapter. This chapter has been the biggest hurdle of PhD thus far. It is just so foreign to anything else I’ve ever written, so I take all the advice I can get.


The Evangelical Mind – Peter Enns says the biggest scandal of the evangelical mind is that we can’t use it. I disagree with him, but a good read none the less.


Body Language in Romans – Tim Gombis has started a series on body in Romans. Will be following this, “Body language pops up throughout the letter, and in some very interesting places.  One could even argue that at the subtextual level, Paul narrates the journey of the human body from corruption to transformation.”