‘In Christ” – Outline for Summer Bible Study

Ever had one of those moments when you see something old like it is new; something familiar like it is the first time. As I was opening up the blog to type this post, I accidentally went to the homepage instead of to the log-in page. When I did, I read the by-line for this blog for the ‘first time.’ Sure I see the blog regularly and know that I must read the by-line most of the time, but just now when I read it I realized something – this study of ‘in Christ’ has been brewing in me for a long time. The by-line for this blog was a sub-conscious, as far as I can tell, joining of two phrases that each represent a different part of my life. Let me explain:

First, ‘in Christ’ was a regular part of my childhood church going. It was not necessarily from an academic perspective, although I must admit I don’t remember much more than what I am about to share. My pastor growing up had a favorite line that he repeated often. When I say often, I mean it was enough that even clueless teens, like my friends and I, knew it by heart. In fact, we would guess (“bet” for the non-baptists) every week how many times he might say it and at what point during the sermon he would first say it. The game became so serious we would take the time each week to look in the bulletin for the text he would be preaching from and then before the service read the text searching for the key words or something similar to help as we made our guesses. The phrase we were searching for – ‘in Christ’ because Brother Joe would inevitably say you know the most important word in the Bible is the little two letter word ‘in’ when it comes before ‘Christ.’ I don’t remember all the different ways he applied this slogan, but I now realize from about 7th grade through my graduation from high school I read the Bible paying special attention to this phrase. Even if it wasn’t with the best of intentions.

The second half of the by-line is ‘everything is undone.’ At Duke Divinity School, Douglas Campbell was an integral part of my academic development. One of the things he beat into my head was undoing or getting things undone. It was his way of reminding me that things had to be taken apart before they could be put together – usually he was critiquing one of my arguments, but that is for another day. But even more than that, it was his influence that led me to understand the apocalyptic nature of Paul. That in Christ all the wrong is being undone and through Christ God is acting to set the world right. That God’s apocalyptic act in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection changed everything. The old defeated. The new inaugurated. The present altered. Nothing will ever be the same again, or in other words ‘In Christ Everything is Undone.’

As I have studied this phrase the last couple of weeks, I have realized how much I believe this statement – ‘In Christ Everything is Undone.’ And not just that I believe it because in the big picture what does that really matter, but Paul believed it. His use of ‘In Christ,’ along with other key phrases such as, through Christ, into Christ, and with Christ, is about everything changing. In Christ the world is being undone not so it can be destroyed but so it can reconciled to God.

This summer I have the privilege of marrying my summer research project with the Bible study I teach at Houston’s First Baptist Church. And for the next seven weeks we are going to study how ‘In Christ Everything is Undone.’ The first class is tonight at 6:30 and this is the outline of the study.

To Live is Christ

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Cor 5:17

1. God’s Activity (2 Cor 5:19)

    • Death and Life – 2 Tim 1:8-10
    • Unity – 1 Cor 8:6

2. Christ as the Cause, Means (1 Cor 1:30)

    • Death and Life – Rom 3:21-26
    • Unity – Eph 2:11-22

3. Being Joined with Christ (Gal 3:27)

    • Death and Life – Rom 6:1-11
    • Unity – 1 Cor 10:16-17

4. Conclusion

    • To Live is Christ – Phi 2:19-30

Christianity is for Stupid People?

I am often amazed by how afraid we (Christians) are of the brain. Why are we so worried that if we use it we lose our faith? Whether it is said this way or not this means…if you learn too much you will surely lose your faith because no smart person would believe this stuff! Or more bluntly Christianity is for stupid people!

Oh the irony! One of the major critiques of Christianity by nonbelievers is it is a crutch for the weak or ignorant. And as much as we bristle at this notion when it comes from the “outside” we perpetuate it from the “inside.” The church is making the argument for them, our fear of learning is all the proof they need that Christianity is for stupid people!

Let us become a people who love God with all our mind!


Moreover, it’s not just Christian scholars and pastors who need to be intellectually engaged with the issues. Christian laymen, too, need to be intellectually engaged. Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one’s faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, of the stability brought to one’s life by the conviction that one’s faith is objectively true. – William Lane Craig 


If what we claim about Jesus Christ is true, then evangelicals should be among the most active, most serious, and most openminded advocates of general human learning. Evangelical hesitation about scholarship in general or about pursuing learning wholeheartedly is, in other words, antithetical to the Christ-centered basis of evangelical faith. Mark Noll


At root, evangelical anti-intellectualism is both a scandal and a sin. It is a scandal in the sense of being an offense and a stumbling block that needlessly hinders serious people from considering the Christian faith and coming to Christ. It is a sin because it is a refusal, contrary to the first of Jesus’ two great commandments, to love the Lord our God with our minds. Os Guinness

Warp and Woof (9.7.2012)

Interesting week here in USA with political conventions wrapping up, start of NFL, and Labor Day…but I am not going to talk about any of that!

Can hope be wrong? – Even our hopes not just dreams for this world, career aspirations, etc. but our eternal desires need to be disciplined by scripture. Good thoughts as James K.A. Smith makes an important argument against the new universalism.

Reading and Writing – As a PhD student a large portion of my time is spent on one these two activities. These articles on remind me that the goal of writing is to get done (at least with a thesis!) but the goal of reading is to gain understanding. Write fast, read slow…all to often I get these backwards.

While we are on reading – It is OK, I promise!





































How do you Sabbath as Biblical Scholar? – After talking about Labor Day on Monday and the difference between time out and time away, I started to think about my own patterns. Question kept popping up, “How do you get away when job is to study the Bible?” The thoughts are still forming in my mind, and will probably blog about it in coming weeks, but for time being these two articles by B.B. Warfield and Carl Trueman offer good start.

And finally, God lead me to awe this weekend. Do not let my familiarity with you and your Word rob me of the ability to gape in wonder at your works and your Word.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and ti came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:8-9)