A Postmodern Christmas

truth

The other day I was listening to talk radio when the hosts began the inevitable seasonal discussion about the meaning of Christmas. Callers quickly chimed in with their various perspectives and opinions, often intermingled with touching stories and well-intended exhortations toward charity and kindness.

However, the friendly discussion quickly turned confrontational as various callers (and even the hosts) began disagreeing about the real meaning of Christmas. As one host attempted to settle the disagreement, a critical thing happened. Rather than appealing to some authority or truth that would supersede all the opinions offered, the host emphasized that he was only concerned to know what Christmas means “to you.”…

Continue reading…

The Real Meaning of Christmas: Presents

gift

What is the real meaning of Christmas?  During this festive time of the year, many are busy reminding us that the meaning certainly has nothing to do with presents.  Let’s not buy into the materialistic side of Christmas, we are told.  Let’s not focus on the gifts.

Now let me say that the sentiment behind such concerns is entirely valid.  Few would disagree with the fact that Christmas (especially in America) is overly commercialized and materialistic.  And certainly we would want to resist this trend as much as possible.

However, is the denigration of gifts really the way to accomplish this?  Are gifts the problem?  Not necessarily.  I appreciate the …

Continue reading…

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #10: “Athanasius’ Festal Letter (367 A.D.) is the First Complete List of New Testament Books”

Origen

Note: this is the tenth and final installment of a blog series announced here.  The full series can be found here.

When it comes to the study of the New Testament canon, few questions have received more attention than the canon’s date.  When did we have a New Testament canon?  Well, it depends on what one means by “New Testament canon.”   If one is simply asking when (some of) these books came to be regarded as Scripture, then we can say that happened at a very early time.  But, if one is asking when we see these books, and only these books, occur in some sort of …

Continue reading…

“When They Read the Old Covenant”: Canonical Clues in 2 Cor 3:14

Paul writing

Although most discussions about the development of the canon focus on the patristic period (second century and later), there is much canonical gold yet to mine from the pages of the New Testament itself.  One passage that I think contains a number of intriguing clues is 2 Cor 3:14 when Paul says, “When they read the Old Covenant, that same veil remains unlifted.”

Often overlooked in this passage is that Paul understands a covenant to be something that you read; i.e., covenants are written documents.   When we look at Paul’s Jewish context this should come as no surprise.  So close is the relationship between the covenant, and the written …

Continue reading…