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The Apostle and the AG -- Sightings (Margaret M. Mitchell)

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Recently the Attorney General tried to defend the Government's policy of separating parents from children at the border, a policy apparently suspended by executive order by the President, who had originally stated that as much as he would like to, he couldn't do anything about it, since the Democrats had created a bad law. Ultimately, he gave in, gave guidance, and families won't be separated (at least for now). What has gotten a lot of attention in the midst of this tragedy is Jeff Session's interpretation of Romans 13, suggesting that Paul was enjoining people to obey the laws of the government. Many have argued that this was a mistaken interpretation -- it is. But what do the New Testament scholars have to say? Well, Margaret Mitchell, the Shailer Matthews Professor of New Testament at the University of Chicago has given us insight -- and a fresh translation of Romans 13 (worth the price of reading this post). I believe she is on to something here. Paul isn't ta…

Does God Always Get What God Wants? (Tim Reddish) -- Review

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DOES GOD ALWAYS GET WHAT GOD WANTS? An Exploration of God’s Activity in a Suffering World. By Tim Reddish. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018. Xx + 164 pages.

Is there anything God cannot do? If so, then why do people suffer? Doesn’t care? Is God responsible, in some way, for this suffering—either directly causing it or simply allowing it to happen? These are the kinds of questions that continually get asked. Answers are given, but are they satisfactory? Many who either experience suffering, or observe it occurring, choose to walk from faith. They assume that if God is all powerful, and that God is loving, then God should do something to alleviate suffering. Since it appears that either God has chosen not to do something, and therefore God must not be as loving as advertised. The free will defense of God works to a degree, but only to a degree. Ultimately, if we assume that God can do all things, but has chosen to do what can be done, then there is something wrong with God. There is a res…

The Disciples Plea for Christian Unity

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This Sunday I will be preaching on Christian unity. I am drawing from Psalm 133, which declares “how good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.” This is one of my favorite passages. It has served as a foundation for my own sense of call to ministry. I am an ordained minister in a denomination that made the pursue of Christian unity its core message. Barton Stone called unity his “polar star.” Thomas Campbell argued that the division of the churches was a moral evil (Declaration and Address).
As I have been thinking on this question, which emerges from the sermon preparation, but also my invitation to join the Council of Christian Unity board (the CCU is the Disciples ecumenical arm), I have been looking at the work of Edgar DeWitt Jones (founding pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church and a noted ecumenical leader, having served as President of the Federal Council of Churches from 1937 to 1939). I am not Edgar DeWitt Jones, who was one of the premier preachers o…