Mere Christianity: The Beginning

by Joe Small

Suggestion for June reading: George M. Marsden, C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016. George Marsden has not written a biography of a person, but the life of a book. His biography of Mere Christianity is...

Literary theology: quotes and thoughts from contemporary novels

by Joe Small

Provocative insights on religious themes from contemporary novelists… On Faith: People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they will not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust their conjurations. People...

The Sacrament of Gratitude

by Joe Small

The sacraments have been referred to as “means of grace.” The term has fallen out of theological fashion because it is ambiguous and open to misunderstanding. Are Baptism and Eucharist instruments of grace? vehicles of grace? conveyors of grace? elicitors...

Revisiting the Reformation

by Joe Small

Suggestion for April reading: Petra Bosse-Huber, et al, eds. Reformation: Legacy and Future. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2015. The 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation has come and gone, with little fanfare and minimal observance. It is worth noting that 2017...

Novel Insights: Theological Wisdom for Preaching and Teaching

by Joe Small

On Possessions: On these wheelchair tours of his apartment what he was feeling was stingingly apparent: What will happen to all this when I am gone? There’s nothing I can take with me into the grave. These beautiful objects which...

Grace and Gratitude: How to Respond to an Ugly Gift

by Joe Small

Peter Leithart begins his recent book Gratitude: An Intellectual History with an illustration: "Imagine that your beloved grandmother gave you a rather ugly soup tureen as a wedding gift. Seeing as you have no use for the tureen, how ought you respond?...

Grace and Gratitude: Letters from Barth

by Joe Small

Karl Barth is known to most of us by his Church Dogmatics, four volumes in 13 books, taking up two feet of shelf space! Other, smaller books and journal articles add to his oeuvre. The sum of all is the most...

Good books to strengthen pastoral ministry

by Joe Small

  Suggestion for December reading: Bruce Gordon, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography. Princeton University Press, 2016. Princeton University Press is publishing an imaginative series: "Lives of Great Religious Books." Each book in the series is a...

Video Series Commemorates the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

by Joe Small

October 31, 2017, marked 500 years since Martin Luther published his 95 theses disputing the practice of selling indulgences as a substitute for true repentance. This action by an obscure monk in a remote town in Germany helped ignite the...

Continuing Reformation: A Fresh Look at Repentance

by Joe Small

  By Joe Small The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation has come and gone. Well, not really. The 500th anniversary of the genesis of the Reformation has come and gone. What followed was Zurich in 1523, Geneva in 1536,...