Contents in Essays/Notes

  • My Friend Dorothy Died Recently: I Think She Was A Saint [11/11/17]

  • The Gospel and the Mission of the Church [7-4-16]

  • The Church as Ark of Salvation

    Originally written for a seminar on this topic at Community Christian Church in Richardson, TX on 2-22-2004. Published as two essays in Encounter, two parts in 2004, appears as Chapter 4 in my On Being the Church of Jesus Christ in Tumultuous Times (Cascade Books, 2005). Previous version on this website became corrupted, hence this new posting now, 2-6-2015.

  • Salvation: Mapping the Salvific Themes in Christian Faith

    This essay was written as a chapter on 'salvation' in a collection of theological essays by Disciples of Christ theologians for an introductory text in theology, Chalice Introduction to Disciples Theology, ed. Peter Goodwin Heltzel (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2008) pp. 190-202. Originally posted here in 2008 and reposted on 2-6-2015 because of technical difficulties.

  • Yoder and Stone-Campbellites: Sorting the Grammar of Radical Orthodoxy and Radical Discipleship

    A slightly revised version of a paper presented at a Conference on the Stone-Campbell Movement and the Theology of John Howard Yoder at Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN on March 13-14, 2009. Published with endnotes as Chapter Five in Radical Ecumenicity: PursuingUnity and Continuity after John Howard Yoder, ed. John C. Nugent (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2010) pp. 107-127. Reposted here on 2-6-2015 due to technical difficulties of original posting in 2010.

  • Spiritual Formation and Christian Discourse: The Shaping Power of Christian Discourse

    An address given in August 2007 at a Stone-Campbell Conference on Spiritual Formation at Speedway Church of Christ, Speedway, IN, the reverend Kent Ellett pastor. Reposted now in February 2015 due to some technical difficulties on this website.

  • Notes on Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age

  • Chapter Notes on the Grammar of Christian Faith


    Orienting notes for persons interested in studying the various chapters of A Grammar of Christian Faith or considering purchasing the two volumes.

  • An Introduction to Theology Syllabus for Laity

    This syllabus was prepared for a course I have been teaching for several years in the Commissioned Ministry Training Program for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma. I hope it might be useful to others interested in advancing lay theological discussions.

  • Speaking of God: An Epistolary Exchange with Stephen Long in 2010

    Professor D. Stephen Long, theologian at Marguette University, published Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth [Eerdmans, 2009] in which, among many other controversial explorations, made a few critical comments about my A Grammar of Christian Faith. In 2010 we had a lively e-mail exchange, which is included herein. It should prove interesting to persons concerned with the huge disagreements among Christians in the last two hundred years concerning appropriate and truthful God-talk, including issues concerning Trinitarian and Christological conceptualities and the role of metaphysical considerations, as well as some reminiscing about the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the so-called ‘Yale School’ of Post-Liberal Theology. Extended discussions of classical theism, process theism, and other movements and persons in contemporary theology are explored and debated.

    Professor Long, an ordained Methodist minister, previously taught systematic theology at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary. He has published several other important books in theology and ethics: Divine Economy: Theology and the Market [Routledge Press, 2000]; The Goodness of God: Theology, Church and the Social Order [Brazos Press, 2001]; John Wesley’s Moral Theology: The Quest for God and Goodness [Kingswood Press, 2005]; Theology and Culture [Cascade Books, 2008].

  • Notes on Sheldon Wolin on Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism



    Sheldon Wolin is Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and is the author of the magisterial work on Western political theory, Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation is Western Political Thought, expanded edition, 2004. As the title of this present work indicates—Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism—Wolin is deeply critical of political developments in the U.S. in recent decades, but especially exemplified in the War on Terror and the Presidency of George W. Bush. Important Question: does Wolin’s diagnostic analysis and critique throw light on the present deep conflicts in American political life?


  • On Being the Church of Jesus Christ

    [This essay was written for a special issue of Leaven: A Journal of Christian Ministry on the topic of ecclesiology as part of a conversation among persons in the Stone-Campbell Movement. It was written in February 2006 and was published in Leaven, Vol. 15, No. 1 (First Quarter 2007), pp. 6-11. Numbers in brackets in the text refer to endnotes found at the end of the essay. Posted here 4/29/07.]

  • Is Jesus Lord in Time of War?

    [This short essay was written for a workshop of this title given at The Leadership Training School of the Oklahoma Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma City on January 31, 2004. It was meant to stimulate discussion within my own tradition, but I believe it has some usefulness even beyond that. Responses are welcome. Posted here 2/1/04. Published in Encounter, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Summer 2004). pp. 215-221.]

  • Christology and Jewish-Christian Dialogue

    [Published in a festschrift issue of Encounter (Vol. 63, Nos. 1-2, 2002, pp. 129-136) in honor of Professor Clark Williamson upon his retirement from Christian Theological Seminary. Used by permission of Encounter. Posted here 8/26/03.]

  • Hell is Ultimately Empty

    [A slightly revised version of an article in DisciplesWorld, vol. 3, issue 9 (November 2004), pp. 13-15. Posted here 11/2/04. For an extended discussion of “dual destiny” see Chapter 13 on “Christian Hope and Eschatology” in my A Grammar of Christian Faith: Systematic Explorations in Christian Life and Doctrine, especially pp. 709-724.]

  • Kierkegaard: Spy, Judge, and Friend

    [This is an address made to the faculty and students at Christian Theological Seminary in the Spring of 1999. Published in Encounter, vol. 61, no. 4 (Autumn 2000), pp. 439-48. Used with permission. Slightly edited. Posted here 7/21/04.]

  • The Christian Life

    [The following essay is a collection of eight short articles published in the Indiana Christian, Vol. 79, Nos. 3-6 (1997); Vol. 80, Nos. 1-2 (1998)]

  • God:Triune in Essence and Actuality

    [This essay was written in 1997 and published in Encounter, vol. 59, nos. 1-2 (Winter/Spring, 1998), pp. 274-291. This version is edited. Published with permission. These themes are more fully developed in my Grammar, Chapter 4: The Triune God. Numbers in brackets refer to endnotes found at the end of the essay. Posted here 7/21/04.]

  • Schematic Reflections on Salvation in Jesus Christ

    [The first version of this essay was presented to the faculty of Christian Theological Seminary in the spring of 1989. A revision was published in Encounter, vol, 56, no. 4 (Winter, 1995), pp. 1-18. The themes of the essay achieve further expression in my Grammar, see esp. pp. 503-509, 709-48. Version here is edited. Posted here 7/20/04.]

  • Election, Covenant, Messiah, and the Future in Jewish and Christian Theology

    [Published in The Church and the Jewish People: A Study Guide for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), ed. by Clark M. Williamson (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publication, 1994), pp. 51-58. Slightly edited herein. Posted here 7/30/04]

  • Signs of the Church’s Identity

    [This essay was written for the Commission on Theology of the Council of Christian Unity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1993 and published in Mid-Stream, Vol. 33, No. 4 (October 1994) pp. 377-389. While my definition of the church, in its earliest forms, goes back to my teaching in the early 70’s, this essay expresses much of the final version of ecclesiology represented in my Grammar, chapter 11. Version here is edited.]

  • On Understanding God and Faith

    [This is an address given on the occasion of my installation as Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Theology of Christian Theological Seminary in the fall of 1988. Published in Encounter, vol. 50, no. 2 (Spring, 1989), pp. 177-83. Used by permission. Edited. Posted 7/22/04.]

  • A Theological Analysis of the Design for The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

    [This essay was prepared for the Commission on Theology of the Council on Christian Unity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) meeting in May 1979. It appeared in Mid-Stream, (July, 1980), Vol. XIX, No. 3, pp. 309-21. This version is slightly edited.]

  • Christian Illiteracy and Christian Education

    [An address given to a plenary session of the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in October 1977. At the time I was Dean of the Phillips Graduate Seminary. I think the address is even more pertinent to the situation of the church today. Posted here 7/19/04.]

  • Some Remarks on Authority and Revelation in Kierkegaard

    [This essay was written in 1976 and published in The Journal of Religion, vol. 57, no. 3, (July 1977), pp. 232-251. It reflects my longstanding concern with the grammar of the concept of revelation in Christian discourse. The influence, or at least my appropriation of what I understood, of Wittgenstein is also evident. Slightly edited herein. Numbers in brackets refer to endnotes. Posted here 8/9/04.]