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Nazarenes, Rednecks, and Other Well-meaning Slurs

I love puzzles, always have. Growing up, I saw puzzles of all kinds as a natural exercise of my desire to be a detective someday, tracing out subtle clues to help me zero in on bad guys. Becoming a biblical scholar, then, has always seemed right on target...
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Law, What’s it Even Good For

So, in a recent post I discussed the church’s first heresy (Judaizers/the circumcision party) who sought to require gentiles to become Jews before becoming Christians, or in addition to becoming Christian, as if a proper expression of Christianity is encapsulated in a fixation on the letter of the...
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The First Christian Heresy & First Church Council

So, I’ve been discussing Torah food laws and how the two main texts that Christians appeal to for ignoring them are improperly interpreted. Mark 7 is talking about Halakic regulations popular during Jesus’ day which sought to drive a wedge of hatred between Jew and Gentile, abandoning the...
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Torah Food Laws & Gentile Lobsters

One of the challenges of being a Biblical theologian rather than a systematic theologian (no disrespect to Systematic theology or Systematic Theologians intended) is to speak about theological issues rooted in particular texts without being drawn unwilling into the systematic entanglements of most informed Christian’s existing mental categories....
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Mark 7:19 and the Little Participle that Could

Recently, we’ve discussed the controversial aside which Mark seems to have added in Mark 7:19 to the effect that Jesus’ debate with the Pharisees over the “Traditions of the Elders” leads naturally to Jesus’ denouncement of Torah food laws[1]—A happy day for squirrel hunters and scallop eaters the...
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A Tongue Lashing over Tongues

Let’s face it, the Corinthian church was a mess. They remind me of the struggles of frontier ministers, like Peter Cartwright, who once beat the crud out of some hecklers, only to have them return for his evening service and dedicate their lives to Christ. The scene in...
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