What Was Your Intellectual Epiphany?

Have you ever had a sudden realization that ended up changing your life? You may have had an epiphany, which can be defined as an intuitive flash of insight or discovery as to the deep meaning of something significant that comes through experience and leads to a sense of wonder. Over the years I have experienced some significant spiritual and intellectual turning points.…

My Early Baptism and Spiritual Development

When does God’s saving grace begin working in a person’s life? Is it at the moment the person decides to believe in Christ? Or can God’s saving grace be operative prior to a person believing? Could that saving grace even begin at a young child’s baptism? Church traditions within Christendom differ over the practice of baptism. Those differences extend to…

Does Possessing Freedom Presuppose the Will to Fight?

What do you think about when you hear the word war? You probably think of armed conflict, bloodshed, and death—and lots of it. That is the nature of warfare. It’s also why war presents one of the most challenging issues to address from an ethical standpoint. Given this difficulty, most Christians have adopted just war theory, which requires engaging only in just wars and…

3 Things You May Not Know about John Calvin the Person

French-born theologian John Calvin (1509–1564) was one of the great voices of the Protestant Reformation. He is often called the greatest systematic theologian of the Reformation and is the most influential figure in the entire Reformed theological tradition. His monumental book Institutes of the Christian Religion has been called one of the ten books that shook the world. Yet Calvin is also considered one of the…

Snapshot of Today’s Intellectual Climate

The extraordinary events of 2020 have left many people wondering if we are living in a new era. Times of change and conflict like this often provoke people to ask philosophical questions. So, as we consider this present time in which we live, I would invite you to consider two probing questions: If our time is indeed distinct, how would…

Does a Religion’s Rapid Growth Mean It’s True?

Many religions claim high growth rates that are not merely due to population increases. If a religion acquires a large number of followers, does that growth count in favor of its truth claims? Christianity experienced rapid growth in its early period but so have many religions, including Islam and Mormonism. Is Christianity unique, and if so, how? Fast-Growing Religions and Their Causes Historically, Islam and Mormonism (Latter-day…

How Does Islam Differ from Christianity?

According to Pew Research, if current trends continue then by 2050 there will be nine billion people living on the planet. Approximately three billion will be Christians, three billion will be Muslims, and three billion others will represent various beliefs (both religious and secular).1 Since Christianity and Islam are the two largest (comprising about 55% of the world’s population2) religions in the world people…

What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

What happens to people who never hear the gospel message about Jesus Christ? This vexing question has challenged Christians for centuries, but recently a skeptic raised this inquiry with me. After all, if God is loving and good, how will he adjudicate the destiny of so many people who will never get a chance to hear the way out of their predicament? Christian theology has offered four answers to…

How the Trinity Shows God’s Love

Arguably one of the most important teachings in the Bible is the proclamation that “God is love,” which is found in verses like 1 John 4:8 and 16. This brief, powerful statement is laden with theological implications. I’ve also found it helpful when discussing how God loves people with those who hold non-Christian, yet theistic conceptions of God (God as a single, solitary person and being). Because…

My Soul Is Like a House

One of the things I like about the writings of the Christian church father St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430) is his rich use of analogies1 in talking about critical theological topics. An analogy, of course, is a comparison between two things (how they are like and unlike), usually for the purpose of providing explanation. In his most popular work, Confessions,2 Augustine compares the human soul to a house…