I’ve decided to take May completely off from social media. I’ve been pushing pretty hard on YouTube for a while now, and it’s been awesome. For some reason I just find it so much fun. But I’ve also felt pretty exhausted lately. I’ve done a lot of debates and dialogues and interviews, as well as my regular videos, on top of writing, pastoring, and seeking to be a godly husband and father. So I’m looking forward to going “dark” for a month.
Here is an overview of what I’ve been doing since my last update in January, and then my plans for Truth Unites for the next few months.
My big push in February was a dialogue with Brett Salkeld on the Eucharist. I put a lot of research into this. Absolutely fascinating topic, and I hadn’t done a deep dive before this. So I spent a lot of time in Cranmer, Vermigli, Calvin, and Bucer, trying to represent the Reformed view of spiritual presence well. Brett is a fantastic interlocutor: one of those rare people who is trying to advance understanding rather than “win.”
In March Cameron Bertuzzi had me back on Capturing Christianity to offer a case against the papacy. I did my best in about 20 minutes to lay out the basic thought process. Cameron appears to be in a place where he is considering converting to Catholicism. There are so many others in that same place, so I hope this will be helpful to them in the process. I also hope more Protestants will enter into these discussions. The Protestants are outnumbered. I think I have counted 8 total response videos from Catholics to my case here thus far!
Two days from writing this I am debating Michael Granado on whether life is meaningful from a naturalistic perspective. Looking forward to it. Please pray for me to have wisdom and grace and that Christ shines through.
Then I’m officiating a wedding over the weekend for some dear friends here, and then we have the busy Easter week. The last week of April I’m having a dialogue with Trent Horn on baptism.
Over the summer I plan (Lord willing) to start writing Reasons to be Protestant, a book drawing together much my video work defending Protestantism. In addition, I will continue my video series on theological triage. The second video in the series will address how to do triage, and then I will cover various specific topics: complementarianism vs. egalitarianism, spiritual gifts, issues related to the sacraments, and more.
Beyond that, I have four topics I would like to research and then produce videos on over the summer and into the fall:
- The essence-energies distinction (a feature of the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of God). I find this fascinating, and I think dialogue with the Eastern traditions (such as Orthodoxy) is stimulating and fruitful.
- Adam of Bremen’s account of the Christianization of Scandinavia in the 10th-11th centuries. This is a somewhat obscure academic interest of mine, but I’m fascinated by neglected periods/episodes of church history. This is one of those events we know very little about, and is often completely overlooked in history textbooks. I also believe that understanding how Christianity spread throughout Europe holds some interesting lessons for the church today as Europe and the West generally goes through the process of secularization.
- Apologetics issues related to the conquest of Canaan. I have always struggled with this topic and not felt like I had a great answer. I’d like to arrive at better personal satisfaction in my own understanding, and then share any insights I might glean with others.
- Calvinism. I’ve discovered what a controversial topic this is in YouTube circles. Many appear to have a caricature of what Calvinism teaches. So I think there could be some benefit to trying to explain some of the basic biblical and philosophical underpinnings of Calvinism, not in a spirit of conquering other views but more in a spirit of seeking understanding and clarity.
A few other matters:
- I had mentioned offering classes. I still want to do that but it will be a bit down the road simply because I don’t have the bandwidth currently.
- When I get to 12K subs I will do another live Q+A.
- My book Humility: The Joy of Self-Forgetfulness will be releasing from Crossway in early 2023. It is a brief, popular-level book designed for devotional use, easy to be engaged in small groups. Be on the lookout.
- I also have a few articles and essays that have recently come out, or are coming out soon: one on divine aseity, one on the beatific vision, and one on Anselm’s epistemology. You can see them here if you are interested.
- Thank you for those of you who support Truth Unites. I find a lot of joy in it, and by God’s grace I sincerely believe it is meeting needs. Lots of people are deconstructing and searching for answers, and I’m trying to provide assistance, stabilization, clarity, and pathways forward. I do that through theological triage, historical theology, apologetics, and defending Protestantism. I get messages nearly every day from people who are wrestling with something in these areas. I hope Truth Unites treats them like Jesus treated people.
- If you’d like to support Truth Unites, one of the best ways is through my patreon. Another thing you can do is leave reviews of my books on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I poured my heart into Why God Makes Sense in a World That Doesn’t, and I hope it’s not weird to say that I am proud of how it turned out. I really believe in that book. Help me spread the word about it by leaving a review and sharing about it with a friend.
One final thing: we are living in dark and difficult days. Many pastors I know are discouraged. Many friends I know are struggling with depression. The world often seems to be falling into pieces. I find that I often need to disengage and refocus on the simple joys of the gospel.
Here is an image that encouraged me the other day. It is when Sam is traveling through Mordor and looks up and notices a star. Tolkien writes: “The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For … the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach” (Tolkien, Lord of the Rings [Houghton Mifflin 1987], 922).
Whatever darkness we face, it is wonderful to remember that the light blazes on impoverished. The shadows around us will be, in the end, a small and passing thing.
May the Lord bless you and sustain you in 2022!