Theology II

Why should his actions overshadow me?
Oh, Adam! Is it true? I say it is
Absurd, unfair that his due mine should be
When choice and execution both were his
His verdict is now written o’er my own
Of it I’ll never, no way ‘gain be rid
Now his condition in my chest has grown
I look and sound and act just like he did
And now, his nature mine, I find that I
Don’t want to—more so, I no longer can—
Be me, not him, nor would I want to try
Behold! An equal shock, a second man!
Why should his actions overshadow me?
Absurd, unfair that his due mine should be

Why should his actions overshadow me?
Oh, Adam! Is it true? I say it is
Absurd, unfair that his due mine should be
When choice and execution both were his
His verdict is now written o’er my own
Of it I’ll never, no way ‘gain be rid
Now his condition in my chest has grown
I look and sound and act just like he did
And now, his nature mine, I find that I
Don’t want to—more so, I no longer can—
Be me, not him, nor would I want to try
Behold! An equal shock, a second man!
Why should his actions overshadow me?
Absurd, unfair that his due mine should be

Are All Sins Really “Equal”?

by Alex Kato
for Dr. Pendleton’s Pastoral Counseling 511
Summer 2014

By Scan made by Kogo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Note: The terms “victim” and “perpetrator” in this paper are not meant to suggest that people are one or the other, or to endorse these as all-encompasing labels, but to distinguish between the possibilities of different counseling situations.

Some Christian teachings are hard to accept. In particular, my years as a youth pastor were filled with both teenagers and adults who bristled against the saying “all sins are equal.” This sentiment grates against our grief–both personal and global–and often becomes a barrier to trusting, loving, and following God. Thus, pastors should ask: Must we contend for this Evangelical adage? Is it even true? This paper considers what the Bible actually says, the problems that arise from accepting this falsehood, consequent possibilities for counseling victims, and possibilities for counseling perpetrators. 

What Does the Bible Say?

Many people believe that “all sins are equal” because Continue reading “Are All Sins Really “Equal”?”

Striking Statements about Global Christianity

Did you know a church was established in China in 638?

Nor did I, until I read this quote from Philip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom“Along the Silk Route, the Church Continue reading “Striking Statements about Global Christianity”

Considering Gaza With A 150-Year-Old Sermon

Public Domain. Originally printed in Ben M. Bogard’s “Pillars of Orthodoxy,” 1900.

“God has commanded the sword to return to its scabbard; there, I hope, to rust.”

Our forebears didn’t live in black and white. Yesterday’s vocabulary and spelling seem archaic and odd, but they had living, breathing, full-color todays, as vivid as the one you’re living right now. And they still speak–to those that will comb through basement libraries or archive.org and listen. Or, today, to those who are reading this blog.

Richard Fuller’s statement, above, has obviously application to the 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza. Fuller preached this sermon in Baltimore (a border state) on June 1st, 1865, less than 2 months after the official end to the American Civil War. It was a national day of fasting. For this Southern, moderate, conciliatory pastor, it had been a decade of grief. Almost 150 years later, these selections from his sermon still speak timely truth for our war-filled summer.

“God has commanded the sword to return to its scabbard; there, I hope, to rust. But Continue reading “Considering Gaza With A 150-Year-Old Sermon”

Sermon: Mercy in Light of Judgment

Here’s the sermon from PR602 that I talked about in yesterday’s blog post (a reflection paper for PR602). Our assignment was to pick a passage from James and preach it to the people we’re actually preaching it to (in this case, 6 dudes from PR602–all the ladies happened to be in the other half of the class, next door). Finals are next week, and that became part of the sermon. The text is James 2:12-13.

Mercy in Light of Judgment from Alex Kato on Vimeo.

How Preaching James 2:12-13 Saved Me in the Parking Lot

I was standing right here when it happened! Except I was also standing right here when I took this picture 8 months ago.
I was standing right here when it happened! Except I was also standing right here when I took this picture 8 months ago.

To be honest, I picked James 2:12-13 for pragmatic reasons: I wanted to prepare something that would overlap with my evening service assignment (anything in chapter 2) and this was the shortest passage. I wasn’t Continue reading “How Preaching James 2:12-13 Saved Me in the Parking Lot”

Nehemiah’s Hard Hitting Polemic

Since writing for school has taken over writing for the blog, I’d like to pass on a few projects that could benefit more than one (professorial) reader. I wrote this paper for Old Testament Interpretation at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, but in the process of reading, rereading, and rereading Nehemiah, the rhetorical tension came alive for me and my understanding–of a book I’ve always enjoyed–was permanently changed.

Introduction

If you drift off at the end, you’ll miss it entirely. The book of Nehemiah is not Continue reading “Nehemiah’s Hard Hitting Polemic”

Is the Old Testament Historically Reliable?

So far, the crowing achievement of my semester was turning the last page of K.A. Kitchen’s 500-page tome, On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Kitchen, a “first-class Egyptologist” (in the words of Dr. Petter)–neither a Old Testament critic nor a popular-level “Christian writer,” but a bonafide archaeologist–looks at each section of the Old Testament and asks whether it is a reliable text. He wants to know whether it matches the time-period that it is about, in which is claims to be written, and whether what it tells us about the Ancient Near East world (its people, events, society, etc.) can be trusted.

Image: Amazon.com

Many of us (ahem, Dr. Petter, us, your students!) don’t have the time to learn archaeologist-speak and slog through 500 pages of technical data and charts, but now that the book sits beside me, closed, conquered, and slightly dog-eared, I see why it was assigned. Many of us–not as seminarians, but as Christians!–have wondered Continue reading “Is the Old Testament Historically Reliable?”

What Paul Means By “Preach the Word”

Since writing for school has taken over writing for the blog, I thought I’d pass on a couple projects that would benefit more than one (professorial) reader. These are the questions I examined for my term paper in New Testament Interpretation at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. This was one of my most satisfying assignments because Continue reading “What Paul Means By “Preach the Word””

Considering Evil and God’s Goodness

Since writing for school has taken over writing for the blog, I thought I’d pass on a couple projects that would benefit more than one (professorial) reader. I wrote this paper last semester for my Evangelism and Discipleship class at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and titled it, “A Theory of Evil.” I need to thank my friend Alex Bennett for his critical feedback on this paper: I know that we still disagree on many of my claims, but your input was insightful, was gracious, and pushed me to think more deeply this semester.

Considering Evil and God’s Goodness

Three Moves

Given the apparent evil in our world, how can anyone believe there is a good god in this universe with any amount of control over the situation? At first, this seems like a question particular to theists, but all worldviews are challenged to account for the apparent tragedy in our world.

Theists are hard-pressed by this specific question. As one reporter wrote in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, “If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God.”[1] This is an elegant statement of the theist’s problem. However, Continue reading “Considering Evil and God’s Goodness”