Author Archives: Guest Author

Sword Thrusts or Honey?

Sword Thrusts or Honey?

Jon Pratt Words are powerful things. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Our words can produce negative effects (“rash words are like sword thrusts” – Prov 12:18) and positive ones (“gracious words are like a honeycomb” – Prov 16:24). Yet James 3:1–12 shows that we Christians… Continue Reading

On Using Labels

On Using Labels

Jon Pratt In the movie classic “The Princess Bride,” Vizzini repeats the word “inconceivable!” again and again as the masked pursuer of him and his ruffians keeps gaining ground. Finally one of his cohorts, Inigo Montoya, proclaims, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Indeed. Have… Continue Reading

Toward a Softer, Gentler Science

Toward a Softer, Gentler Science

Brett Williams My previous essay briefly introduced the limits of scientific knowledge and the rise of Scientism, the modernistic belief that science is superior to other disciplines. Unlike knowledge that deals with intangibles such as religion and philosophy, hard science, we are told, deals in the realm of the observable and measurable and is therefore… Continue Reading

Scientism

Scientism

Brett Williams Science has become a proper noun. Its hegemony and authority are all but unrivaled. Sitting atop the pantheon of disciplines, it enjoys both prominence and preeminence. All other disciplines look up at it in awe and to it for guidance. If one needs proof of this dominance, one only has to look at… Continue Reading

Theological Education and the Christian Life

Theological Education and the Christian Life

Matt Shrader In the previous essay I explained three areas in which nineteenth-century Baptist theologian Alvah Hovey provided some help in thinking through the nature and place of theological education. One of these was the idea that theology itself is the master and those who study it are to be mastered by it. In Hovey’s… Continue Reading

Theological Education in a Complex World

Theological Education in a Complex World

Matt Shrader Debates over theological education are nothing new. Why do we have seminary theological education? What are seminaries meant to do? What about theological education for the non-pastor? Fortunately, we do not stand alone in trying to answer these questions. Mining the wealth of those who have come before us is a worthwhile exercise.… Continue Reading

Rolland D. McCune (1934–2019): Gathered to His People

Rolland D. McCune (1934–2019): Gathered to His People

Jeff Straub Monday night, June 17th, in the presence of his family, Dr. Rolland McCune entered into his eternal rest. He had recently turned 85. After having survived two previous bouts with cancer, he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer several weeks ago. The end came peacefully. There was little pain and he died with… Continue Reading

Not Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part 2

Not Growing Up Fundamentalist, Part 2

Jeff Straub Last week I began a brief series here in parallel to Kevin Bauder’s “Growing Up Fundamentalist.” Kevin showed how his early interaction with fundamentalism was healthy and uplifting. My early exposure and experience entering into fundamentalism was equally healthy, though I entered into the movement, if it can even be called one, in… Continue Reading

Not Growing Up Fundamentalist

Not Growing Up Fundamentalist

Jeff Straub In recent weeks, my colleague Kevin Bauder has written a series reflecting on the fundamentalism of his youth. He expressed gratitude for those who he knew in his early life and their influence upon his future ministry.  His exposure to fundamentalism happened early and was pretty good. This got me thinking about my… Continue Reading

No Church on Sunday? Part 2: What About House Churches?

No Church on Sunday? Part 2: What About House Churches?

Jeff Straub Last week I began a brief series on an influential pastor’s decision to cancel services at his nine-campus church on the final Sunday of 2018. About the same time my essay was being written, another well-known pastor released a podcast on the same issue. Our addressing the same question from a similar vantage… Continue Reading

No Church on Sunday? Part 1

No Church on Sunday? Part 1

Jeff Straub Recently, no less a public figure than J. D. Greear, the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of The Summit of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, announced to his nine Summit campuses that there would be no weekend services at any of its locations. People were tired after a busy holiday season… Continue Reading

Give to the Max 2018

Give to the Max 2018

Once each year Central Seminary uses In the Nick of Time to make an appeal. The reason is unique to our situation in Minnesota: the organization GiveMN features an annual giving event for all charitable organizations called Give to the Max. Central Seminary began to take advantage of this fundraiser about ten years ago. It… Continue Reading

Courage In Today’s Fiery Furnace

Courage In Today’s Fiery Furnace

Jon Pratt God called Joshua to be courageous as he led the Israelites into the Promised Land (Josh 1:6–9). Joshua obeyed and enjoyed the fulfillment of God’s promises (Josh 23:14). I want to highlight 279 modern day Joshuas. These are all pastors of “illegal” house churches in China. At the end of the letter each… Continue Reading

Grappling With Grief

Grappling With Grief

Don Odens The phone rang at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 13, 2008. The voice on the other end belonged to the male nurse who had cared for my father in a hospital during the night. He informed me that my 91-year-old father had passed away ten minutes earlier. While we had admitted Dad to… Continue Reading

A Long Goodbye: Part Two

A Long Goodbye: Part Two

Don Odens My wife’s casket was before me as I stood at the pulpit to present a tribute and the funeral sermon for the love of my life on July 18, 2018. Later, people asked how I could do that. The answer is a combination of God’s grace, long pastoral experience, and a desire to… Continue Reading