Angry at Death: Reading John 11

J. Scott Duvall, PhD

Having been a pastor and professor for a couple of decades, I’ve heard (and spoken) my share of funeral sermons. At times, quite ironically it seems, death is almost personified and praised as the great deliverer, the one who relieves our loved ones of unbearable pain and suffering. And while I understand the “blessing” of death to cease suffering, I can’t help but think of the New Testament portrayal of death as “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26; cf. 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 20:14; 21:4). The story of Jesus’s response to the death of his friend Lazarus in John 11 brings not only comfort and hope but much-needed wisdom and perspective.

Plagues, Parables, and Pundits: A Lesson from Church History (Part 2)

Michael Cox, PhD

The story of the Cyprian plague challenges my perspective of our own healthcare conversation. Too frequently Christians in the West engage questions about medicine and healthcare from within our particular political binary—conservative or liberal. Our pundits endlessly debate the questions, “Who should have access to medical care?” “How should they get it?” And, most of all, “Who should pay for it?”

Might Christians have more to say than our polarized political discourse allows? Our ancient brothers and sisters would answer with a strong, “Yes!”

Towards a Christian Perspective on Gender Dysphoria

Todd Daly, PhD

What are we to make of the claims that a person’s gender identity conflicts with his or her body? Should someone undergo gender-reassignment surgery to match one’s sense of identity, or should it be the other way around? Answers to such questions will depend fundamentally on our understanding of what it means to be a human being, an understanding that derives its intelligibility from the larger story (or metanarrative) in which it is situated.

Plagues, Parables, and Pundits (Part 1)

Michael Cox, PhD

Terrible, too, was the sight of people dying like sheep through having caught the disease as a result of nursing others. This indeed caused more deaths than anything else. For when people were afraid to visit the sick, then they died with no one to look after them . . . . The bodies of the dying were heaped one on top of the other, and half-dead creatures could be seen staggering about in the streets or flocking around the fountains in their desire for water.[1]

Thus Thucydides (ca. 431 BC) paints a vivid—if morbid—picture of a plague in the classical world. This situation did not change for another seven centuries. We can learn much from what (and who) brought the change.