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Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: Balthasar Hubmaier

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on B&H Academic Blog and is part of a series of theological biographies by Jason Duesing: Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History.

One man’s noise is another man’s symphony. Indeed, the sirens of Balthasar Hubmaier (1480?-1528) and the Anabaptists clamored in complete cacophony to Huldrich Zwingli and the Swiss Reformer’s idea of a Magisterial Reformation. What is more, most of the historical tradition that followed until the twentieth century agreed with Zwingli that the Anabaptists were disorderly radicals of extreme dissonance. Yet, as William Estep argued, “Anabaptism might well be, outside the Reformation itself, the most influential movement the sixteenth century spawned” for “concepts such as religious liberty and its concomitant, the separation of church and state, may be directly traced to sixteenth century Anabaptism.” George Hunston Williams provided the most extensive treatment showing that not all sixteenth century Anabaptists were a part of a “program for violent destruction of Europe’s religious and social institutions.” Williams identified three groups of Anabaptists: revolutionary, contemplative, and evangelical—with the latter most theologically close to the Magisterial Reformers in terms of their doctrines of the sole authority of Scripture and justification by faith alone. In the doctrine of salvation and especially the doctrine of the church they differed, but never to the point of violence or mass social revolution. Among these evangelical Anabaptists, Balthasar Hubmaier emerged as the chief theologian and spokesman.  Read More »

History, the Supreme Court, and Same-Sex Marriage

For the last two days I have been telling my classes that we are living history in this moment. Most of us take little notice of the oral arguments being made before the Supreme Court of the United States. We recognize few of the names of cases, and even fewer names of those who have served as justices. However, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor may become as familiar as Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas. In fact, the names Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan may become quite familiar through the years. Much of the historical significance of these cases and justices hinges not on what happened during the oral arguments on March 26–27, 2013, but on the written opinions that will likely be released in June. Read More »


We Should Study Systematic Theology for Others (cont.)

Practical Application

  • iPhone…check
  • bag of candy…check
  • deflated soccer ball…check
  • Polaroid Instant Camera…check.

You are ready to go. You’re going to impress everyone with your knowledge of how to draw a crowd in those African villages. Between your instant photos in villages that don’t think you are stealing their souls and your bags of candy, you’re about to become a rock star. Read More »

Wrestling with the Hiddenness of God

It is sometimes asserted that God, if He exists, is not obvious. Some atheists will say that they would happily believe in God if (and really only if) God made Himself directly evident to them. The bold thought seems to be that it should be no problem for God, being all powerful, to make Himself known in a way that would make belief in Him more compelling. These thoughts can be formalized into the so-called problem of divine hiddenness. Read More »

Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History: John Calvin

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on B&H Academic Blog and is the third in a series of theological biographies by Jason Duesing: Seven Summits Worth Climbing in Church History.

Karl Barth, a theologian of no small stature, captured the immensity of John Calvin’s life and theology as “something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological.” Barth explained, “I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately.” Regularly a topic of controversy, the name John Calvin continues to delight and bewilder, engendering both scowls and smiles. For this article, rather than defend or critique the man based on historic assumptions or contemporary reformulations of the life and thought of Calvin, I am parking my brief assessment at the intersection of two of his chief doctrines that receive little attention: Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Read More »


The Ministry of a Shepherd: Binding Up the Broken

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series on the The Ministry of a Shepherd from Ezekiel 34.

My wife and I have four boys. One of the things you learn quickly with multiple males in the household is that the world is a dangerous place. Boys aren’t looking for beauty; they are looking for adventure. But with great adventure comes great risk. In our case, injuries were a somewhat common occurrence. Among other things, we experienced six broken arms with our four boys. I remember one spring when our twin boys wore casts simultaneously, casualties of the same playground just two days apart (and we got a call each time from the same school nurse). There was a brief time around the Biles home where casts were so common, people began to grow suspicious! Read More »

Preaching While Sitting

It became clear that things were not right. I could not walk straight, there was a tingling sensation in my hands and feet, and I had limited use of the muscles in my face. Multiple doctors but no answers. I remember sleeping on the couch, trying to get comfortable and telling God that I was ready for whatever He had to tell me. During all of this I shared my symptoms with my brother, who casually mentioned them to a member in our church. She was a doctor who formerly worked at a neurological hospital. She called him late on a Saturday night and woke him up to tell him she knew what I had and exactly what hospital to go to. Read More »


Teenagers Who Declare Their Intention to Live in Purity

Spiritual transformation has many different facets. One of those facets is a life of sexual purity. God created the wonder and beauty of sex for several reasons. He designed the sexual union in part to give husbands and wives a way to express a closeness that cannot be put into words. But He also created the sexual union to express the depth of intimacy the Bridegroom will share with the bride (the church) in heaven. Christ is inviting us into more of that closeness here on earth. Read More »