Jesus, the Heart Transplant Donor, and Denzel Washington’s Movie “John Q”

[This post is part of a series of illustrations for, and analogies of, Jesus’ saving work in the medical substitutionary atonement paradigm.  This series is especially designed for teachers and preachers.] Back in 2002, Denzel Washington starred in a movie called John Q.  Denzel played John Quincy Archibald, the father of a young son, Michael.  Michael…

Jesus Saves Us from the Toxins Within – My Kidney Story

[This post is part of a series of illustrations for, and analogies of, Jesus’ saving work in the medical substitutionary atonement paradigm.  This series is especially designed for teachers and preachers.]   In January of 2007, I was recovering from surgery.  I had donated one of my kidneys to my wife’s brother.  My brother-in-law was at…

Jesus, Harry Potter, and Medical Substitutionary Atonement

I really enjoy Harry Potter for its portrayal of friendship and for its clever literary allusions and historical references, like 1945 being the year Dumbledore, a Brit, defeated Grindelwald, a German, over blood purity issues – Rowling is paralleling Grindelwald with Adolf Hitler.  But the even deeper connection is between Voldemort and Harry.  Now for…

Jesus Heals Human Evil By Being Both Surgeon and Patient

[This is part of a blog series of illustrations and analogies for medical substitutionary atonement.] This photo is Dr. Evan O’Neill Kane (April 6, 1861 – April 1, 1932) operating on himself at the age of 60.  He is removing his own appendix.  He did this on February 15, 1921.  The reports I’ve read do not…

Atonement in Scripture: A Neuroscientific Reason for Why Retributive Justice is from the Fall, and Penal Substitution is Immature

Neuroscientist Daniel Reisel studied the brains of psychopathic murderers.  He gauged their responses to pictures of people’s emotional expressions.  Using MRI’s to image their brains, Reisel found a deficit in the amygdala, a region of the brain we believe to be the ‘location’ of empathy.  But Reisel and other neuroscientists also have hope.  They also…

Adventures in Conversation – The Character of God #1: The Deist

Deist:  I just believe in a god.  He made everything.  That seems reasonable.  It’s hard to imagine all this coming from nothing. Me:  So what is this ‘god’ doing now? Deist:  Well, nothing.  I think He’s just sitting back and watching. Me:  And why do you believe in this ‘god’? Deist:  Seems consistent with the…

Adventures in Conversation – Good & Evil #3: Strong Critic

Strong Critic:  Look, I don’t see how Christians can claim to know what good and evil are.  You guys came down on the wrong side of slavery, women, and now homosexuality.  Your definition of good and evil is totally crazy. Me:  You raise a good point, and I could explain what was going on if…

Adventures in Conversation – Good & Evil #2: The Cultural Relativist

Cultural Relativist:  Do we really need an objective standard for good and evil?  Why can’t we just define it for ourselves? Me:  Has that ever worked? Cultural Relativist:  What do you mean?  What’s so hard about it? Me:  Let’s take one issue as an example.  Have you heard of Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of…

Adventures in Conversation – Good & Evil #1: Been Hurt

Been Hurt:  What kind of God would allow all the evil in the world?  What’s your explanation for that? Me:  You mean you think that evil in the world is an argument against the existence of God, right? Been Hurt:  Yeah. Me:  Has someone done something to you that you think was evil? Been Hurt: …

Adventures in Conversation – Human Nature #7

  This particular post might be called “the future of intimacy and the future of human nature.”  My favorite conversations about Jesus have been about (1) human nature; (2) good and evil; and (3) the character of God.  They’re interrelated topics, and I think you’ll see why. Here are abbreviated examples of real conversations I’ve had….