Esther: The Hidden Hand of God

INTRODUCTION: THE BOOK OF ESTHER As the only book in the Bible that does not mention the divine name,[1] Esther’s place in Scripture has been questioned and scrutinized.[2] However, the careful reader will quickly discover that although the name of God is absent, the hand of God is evident in the preservation of His people.... Continue Reading →

Argumentation, Persuasion, and Proclamation

People love to argue! If you were trapped in the bubble of either legal or theological education, you would be convinced that people LOVE to debate about anything and everything. I never realized how much and how long people will quarrel over the most minute details, irrelevant laws, or obscure doctrines. Arguing over minutia may... Continue Reading →

Sermon Preparation: Outlining a Book

I'll spare you a trip through the pseudo-mystical phase wherein the preacher "gets alone" with God and through "divine revelation" receives his next sermon! It is frustrating to hear pastors say, "God gave me this message," or "God laid this message on my heart." Typically, that means (loosely translated), "I am just winging it" and/or... Continue Reading →

Don’t Forget About the De-Churched

Somewhere between the “churched” and “unchurched” classifications is a neglected and overlooked group.[1] In some communities, the largest group of people that the church will engage with the gospel is made up of persons who, in the past, attended, joined, or were active in churches. Yet, for some reason, they are no longer connected to... Continue Reading →

Poimenology: The Study of Pastoral Ministry

What is Poimenology? On the one hand, it is a word that I made up by adding the Koine Greek word for pastor (ποιμήν or ποιμένα, lit. shepherd) to the scientific phrase "ology," which means "the study of" a field or discipline. Conversely, I believe that as a field of study pastoral ministry has been erroneously... Continue Reading →

Why (and How) I Started Preaching Shorter Sermons

What would I tell the young man who surrendered to the preaching ministry almost twenty years ago? I would insist, in addition to studying the Scriptures (i.e. theology, scriptural interpretation), that he becomes a student of (1) how people learn and (2) how to communicate effectively to them. Sadly, many pastors have ignored non-theological disciplines,... Continue Reading →

Pastoral Ministry & Law School

How is it possible for a full-time pastor earn a law degree? The short answer: grace and grit! It is hard to explain the challenges and difficulties that I faced while trying to complete one of the most difficult graduate degrees in higher education while pastoring full-time. In some respects, it is no different than... Continue Reading →

Moral Arguments For and Against the Use of Capital Punishment in the United States of America

Preface: This article was originally written as an upper-level writing requirement for the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at Belmont University College of Law.  On December 23, 1991, a fire destroyed the Corsicana, Texas, home Mr. Cameron Todd Willingham shared with his wife and three daughters.[i] Willingham, who was (allegedly) asleep when the fire started, survived.... Continue Reading →

The Bible is NOT the Warm-up Act

How many sermons open with a speed reading of the Bible? The pastor stands before the congregation not fully prepared, still trying to collect his thoughts and hoping to create a last-minute opening, and begins painfully reading the sacred text. His dry and monotone voice coupled with both his (obvious) disinterest in the text and... Continue Reading →

The Buddha: Sage, Saint, or Savior?

To honor their departed heroes, disciples of charismatic and influential religious leaders sometimes exaggerate their lives, sayings, and/or contributions.[1]  The legacy of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is no exception. The Indian sage's life is an excellent example of how a man’s disciples will embellish his life and message far beyond what he did or taught.... Continue Reading →

Were Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Legal?

Preface: This article was originally written as an upper-level writing requirement for the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at Belmont University College of Law.  The purpose of this article is to answer the question, “Were Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Legal?” To answer this question, this article will, first, consider the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) in... Continue Reading →

The Apostle to Islam: Samuel Zwemer

In the history of Christian missions to the Muslim world only one man has been recognized with the honorary title, “the Apostle to Islam”.[1] Samuel Marinus Zwemer (1867-1952), a man whose name was synonymous with missions in Arabia, has seemingly been forgotten in the twenty-first century. According to Warren Larson, former director of the Samuel Zwemer... Continue Reading →

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