How Preaching Saved Me from Evangelicalism’s Bible


If I’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s that Evangelical Fundamentalism is absolutely right: as I’ve embraced more and more what conservatives often label a “liberal” view of the Bible, it really has negatively affected my spiritual and devotional life.

When you think the Bible is itself the “infallible, inerrant, Word of God”–when you think that the precise words themselves hold a magical power–you do approach the Bible with a greater amount of awe, respect, and mysticism. I’ve written before how it wasn’t until college that I read any of the Gospels on my own, because I had this fear of reading the “literal, unfiltered” words of Jesus. They seemed so big and other-worldly to me.

I’ve loved the Bible my whole life. I still have the first Bible I was ever given as a child. I still vividly remember the evening on my parent’s bed after they had read a Psalm that had been stuck in the middle of the stories about David that it finally clicked for me that the Bible wasn’t just narratives, but also poems and other kinds of writing.

My Southern Baptist upbringing has got it engrained in me that my entire spiritual and devotional life should revolve around this book. No matter how much I tell myself otherwise, something in me always has (and always will) “evaluate” my spiritual health by how I engage the Scriptures, in both quantity and quality.
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Please help me go to seminary! (a request, a plea)

paul-greek-manuscriptIn 2008, I graduated from college and moved to Philadelphia to head to seminary. I ended up not returning to that seminary program when the year was out, primarily for money issues (and some others). Four years later, I’m now going back (to a different seminary). And again, I’m trying to be conscious of money.

I know this is weird, and maybe a little presumptive, but I’m asking blog readers for some help with my seminary textbooks. I have made an Amazon Wishlist with my Fall textbooks, and I’m just throwing it out there to see if anyone could help buy me some of these. They are mainly just “normal” books that are being used as textbooks for classes (nothing over $20), but put altogether, they can add up. I have specifically chosen the Kindle version for some books, and the physical for others, so whatever is on the list is what I need.

I’ve been running this blog for over 8 years, and have written over 800 posts so far. It has been named one of the Top 50 Divinity blogs, has sent me to Guatemala, given me the opportunity to write for several other sites, and has twice been featured on the WordPress homepage. My hope is that if I may have (accidentally, of course) said a thing or two that was helpful, challenging, or enjoyable to you, you might consider coming alongside me to help support and further the work for which this blog has been my primary outlet.

If money is more your preferred way of supporting those in need, you can also make donations through PayPal. And of course, if you can help in neither of those ways, I would appreciate all the prayer you can spare me. So if you read this post, and know you won’t be able to support monetarily, would you take a few moments and offer a brief prayer for me?

I know this is all weird. I’m not expecting much (if anything), but I’m interested to see what happens. So, I would appreciate if you can give as you are able, to show your support for what I do and what I want seminary to help equip me for. Thank you so much for any way you can help. Once more:

P.S. I’ve never used an Amazon Wishlist before, so if there are any problems, please let me know. Thanks again.

a brief Prodigal Paul doctrinal statement


As I am currently registering for my seminary classes, I thought I’d post this “theological statement” I had to write as part of my application materials. Some friends of mine had thought it would be interesting to read what I wrote, so here it is.

Seeing as I was writing to a seminary staff audience, there might be some references that aren’t commonly understood. I’ll link to times I’ve written about some items, but otherwise, any terminology or ideas that aren’t explained are a simple Wikipedia (or Theopedia–yes, it’s a real thing) search away. Continue reading