The Cherubic Faces of Solomon’s Water Chariots

Why are the stands and basins of the Solomonic temple decorated with bulls, lions and cherubim? The bulls have sacrificial associations, the lions – kingly, and the cherubim just divine, I guess. But is there any specific significance to these three appearing together? I am reminded of the four creatures, but the eagle is missing here. Do you think there’s anything to this?

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Being Born Again, Baptism, and the Subjective and Objective Work of the Spirit

What is your understanding of what regeneration, being born again, and the new birth mean in Scripture? And how do common contemporary Christian understandings align or deviate from what Scripture means by these things?


Really quick follow-up, I missed your earlier video on Baptism, possibly, but I’m wondering if you wanted to fill in your view of the role of the Spirit in both the objective and subjective dimensions to baptism you talk about here. In other words, what is the connection between the Baptized and the Regenerate, or the agent of Regeneration and the act of Baptism. Another way of putting it is, what do we make of the baptism of the Spirit in Paul?

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Peter Leithart and Me on Baptismal Efficacy

I just finished Leithart’s The Priesthood of the Plebs. It was one of the most stimulating books I have read in a long, long time. I also have recently watched some of your videos on baptism. How does your thought relate to his? I may be misreading Leithart, but he emphasizes baptism working ex opere operato and seems to say that baptism is salvific for all those baptized. This seems to stand in contrast to your statement in “Does Baptism Save Us?” at 13:28 that not every person baptized is saved and brought into the realities you are speaking of. Perhaps I am misunderstanding one or both of you. Or perhaps you have disagreements with Leithart. Either way, I would enjoy hearing you talk about his book and how your understanding of baptism compares and contrasts with his.

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Richard Rohr on Scripture

I came across this post from Richard Rohr on how Jesus interpreted scripture ( Here is a quote from the post:

“Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own inspired Hebrew Bible in favor of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy, and honesty. He read the Scriptures in a spiritual and selective way. Jesus had a deeper and wider eye that knew which passages were creating a path for God and which passages were merely cultural, self-serving, and legalistic additions. That becomes self-evident once you know enough to see the “comparative meaning” of an incident or statement.

When Christians pretend that every line in the Bible is of equal importance and inspiration, they are being very unlike Jesus. This is precisely why Jesus was accused of teaching “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:29, RSV), and why they hated him so much. Jesus even accused fervent and pious “teachers of the law” of largely missing the point. “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?” he asked them (Mark 12:24, RSV). We cannot make the same mistake all over again—and now in Jesus’ name.”

How would you respond to the idea that Jesus read the scripture in a spiritual and selective way and that he emphasized some while ignoring or denying others?

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Singles Adopting

I am curious about your thoughts regarding the growing trend of singles in the church adopting children. More specifically- is the Biblical prohibition of sexual immorality simply a nominal command to keep sex within marriage for its own sake because God commanded? Or is it also a safeguard that ensures children, the natural consequence of sexual intercourse, are birthed into a covenanted relationship? If the answer is the latter, should it also inform our view of singles adopting? Or does it matter since the family structure is already fractured and the single person is trying to repair the breach? Does single adoption betray any aspect of God’s designs? Or should an unmarried believer consider other factors?

There was recently a single adoption at my church, and largely the women gushed with how brave this woman was to take this child on alone, how this is caring for widows and orphan like James commands, etc. The men I spoke with were much more skeptical and reserved in their praise. But they couldn’t put their finger on why they were flummoxed.

Wondering if you could give some wisdom….

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Was Cain Supposed to be His Brother’s Keeper?

You referred in a recent lectionary talk with Peter Leithart to “being our brother’s keeper.” What is your understanding of the ethical meaning of a “keeper” biblically speaking?

It is sometimes a point of controversy in liberal/conservative Christian political arguments as to the relevance of Cain’s refusal of the role of “keeper” (when in fact, Cain has not just failed to aid Abel but murdered him actively) to our understanding of our call to love and serve our neighbor, using the phrase as an expansive claim that justifies almost any kind of political action desired, casting the one who is skeptical of the action as a Cain-like person who dismisses a call to be his brother’s keeper.

To me “keeper” has connotations of a guardian with charge of a dependent inferior or one who is weak. Like ‘zookeeper’ or a tale of a overprotective father who “keeps” his daughter safe locked in a tower. Do we find being a “keeper” of another as a model of Christian regard elsewhere in scripture, and if not, should we found an ethic by simply negating the dismissive words of a murderer?

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