Author: Todd Billings

  • All
  • Academic Articles
  • Blog Post
  • End of the Christian Life
  • Events
  • Interviews
  • Media
  • Periodicals
  • Podcasts
  • Popular Online
  • Rejoicing in Lament
  • The Lord's Supper
  • Uncategorized
  • Union with Christ
  • Word of God for the People of God

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. –C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses In my theology classes, I often assign works from 4th- and 5th-century theologians debating about Christ and the trinity. These theologians stand in awe before the reality of the Triune God – they stutter with words of poetry and praise as they worship Christ the Lord. They meditate on the astonishing scriptural truth that we have been made adopted sons and daughters of the Almighty King, through the power of the...

Last night I joined a group of cancer patients to hear a professor give an update on research on the cancer we share. I’ve been to many lectures and conferences on the topic. But one point caught me off guard: a recent survey in which two-thirds of the cancer patients admitted that they had hidden information about their side-effects from their doctors. The professor struggled to find the words: had they lied to their doctors? No, they hid from their doctors. Why? As the professor explained it, he talked about the maintenance chemotherapy that I take – an expensive treatment which extends remission, but brings a host of side effects. The patients were afraid that if they shared how they really felt on the drugs, their doctors would take them off. And their cancer would come back sooner. This moment gives a glimpse into the strange world of cancer treatment. The...

Loss. A car accident -- with a "recovery" expected to last five years. Maybe ten. Maybe for the rest of this mortal life. Poverty -- not just for a year, but for generations. One generation after another. Obsession -- always needing another dozen Facebook likes, a new drug, a new "god" that leaves one hungry for more. Response to problems like these often comes in one form: advice. Do this, don't do that. Here are the steps to healing and success. Our own day has seen a revival of short, pithy proverbs -- with advice about "five steps to be happy" or "six ways to financial security" going viral through social media. Often, the way that Christians approach the Bible fits the same mold: we approach the Bible as a divine self-help manual, with a collection of Bible verses to give us advice to help us live healthier, happier lives. Indeed, good advice is a...

In this podcast, I join the "Mere Orthodoxy" staff in discussing the nature and meaning of lament and why our culture may not leave much room for it.  It was a pleasure to join Derek Rishmawy, Alastair Roberts, and Matthew Lee Anderson for this conversation! Click here to listen....

In this podcast, I join Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd  on an episode of "The Mortification of Spin." Here is a description of the conversation from their website: "When You Know You're Dying" Today our hosts have a meaningful, sober conversation with Todd Billings: author, pastor, and professor at Western Theological Seminary. Todd has been diagnosed with a rare, and for him terminal, form of cancer: Multiple Myeloma. He shares some of his experience and hope amidst acute awareness of his mortality, and how to, with strength and godliness, face death. Cancer affects some of us, either directly or indirectly, so Todd's words of trust in God's providence, Scripture, and prayer are helpful and relevant. Touching on points he raises in his book, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ, Todd lends insights on ways to encourage those suffering with serious illness. This is a conversation you're...

Here is a video presentation of my Chair inaugural lecture: "Rediscovering the Catholic-Reformed Tradition for Today: A Biblical, Christ-Centered Vision for Church Renewal." James K. A. Smith and Matthew Levering provided responses to the event as well -- click here for all of the videos from the event.  ...

New strategies for interpreting Scripture turn out to be not so new—and deepen our life in Christ. J. Todd Billings, Christianity Today, October 2011 Awide range of voices claims that a crisis of biblical interpretation is taking place. But contrary to many pundits, the crisis does not simply involve a decline in the Bible's authority. Even when the Bible is turned to as the authority, it's not necessarily interpreted Christianly. Consider, for example, a recent Christian bestseller that offers a "Bible diet." The book claims to enable better concentration, improve appearance, increase energy, and reverse the process of "accelerated aging." To want to improve your appearance and energy level, do you have to be interested in knowing God or Jesus? Of course not. There is nothing intrinsically Christian about the advice. Similar trends appear in Christian books that promise biblical solutions for success in finances, relationships, and family. These books can help Christians see implications...

In this article, I explore the implications of recent historiography on how to relate Calvin to the broader catholic tradition. I argue that, although anti-Roman Catholic in many ways, there are important ways in which Calvin maintained broad continuity with the broader catholic tradition. While many modern Reformed theologians seek to use Calvin in their own efforts to marginalize the exegesis and theology of pre-modern catholic theology, these efforts rely upon a decontextualized account of Calvin's theological writings. From the article: "In the end, the catholic Calvin is one which disrupts  the "either/ or" dichotomies that dominate much in contemporary theological discourse. It is a portrait of Calvin that is inconvenient for many of his Reformed followers and for his non-Reformed  detractors as well. While there is no doubt that Calvin and his  followers  in  Reformed  orthodoxy  were antagonistic to their Roman Catholic contemporaries, their theological vision was not formed by building...