The God Who Sends is The God Who Loves (new article on Trinity, Mission, and Participation)

I’ve just published an article on the Trinity, Mission, and Participation (or, more specifically: a trinitarian, participatory approach to missional ecclesiology). It developed out of a paper originally given at a Canadian-American Theological Association conference featuring Michal Gorman as keynote speaker on the theme of mission and participation.

I see this article as offering a corrective to pragmatic, functional tendencies within some of the missional church literature.

Click here to read the article.

Citation: Patrick S. Franklin, “The God Who Sends is The God Who Loves: Mission as Participating in the Ecstatic Love of the Triune God,” Didaskalia 28 (2017-18): 75-95.


Posted in church, culture, ecclesiology, missional, Publications, published articles, Theology, Theology and Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Bonhoeffer on Eve and Mary

I’ve been enjoying re-immersing myself in Bonhoeffer’s Creation and Fall. Just finished a section of a paper I’m writing on Bonhoeffer’s understanding of community, in which I analyze Bonhoeffer’s theological reading of Scripture.

Here’s a wonderful little typological tidbit, reminiscent of Irenaeus’s reading of Scripture:

“Eve, the fallen, wise mother of humankind – that is one beginning. Mary, the innocent, unknowing mother of God – that is the second beginning.”

(Source: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall: A Theological Exposition of Genesis 1-3; vol. 3 Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, trans. Douglas Stephen Bax, ed. John W. de Grouchy; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997; p. 138).

Posted in hermeneutics, quotes, The Bible | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Thoughtful Review of my Book

Thanks to Brent Rempel (PhD student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) for his thoughtful, charitable, and constructive review of my book!

You can read the review HERE.

Posted in book reviews, Publications | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Is God Male?

Some good traffic and discussion on my post over at The Junia Project. Click here to read and join in the conversation.

Posted in hermeneutics, Theology and Culture, Women in Ministry | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mission & the Triune God (paper & response, open to the public)

Hey fellow pastors, church leaders, and theological thinkers in the Winnipeg and Steinbach (and broader Hanover) areas.

Come on out to Providence tomorrow to stimulate your mind and be refreshed, meet with others, and discuss your thoughts. Perhaps join us for chapel in the seminary first (11:10 a.m.) and make a retreat day of it?

Posted in church, ecclesiology, missional, Theology | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

In Need of the Spirit to Pray

“Paul’s ‘we do not know how to pray  as we ought’  has probably never been as relevant as it is today. We live at a time of spiritual drought. The images of the world which in former times spoke of God have become obscure ciphers and riddles, the words of scripture have been whittled away by rationalistic skeptics, human hearts have been so crushed and trampled on in this age of the robot that they are no longer sure that contemplation is possible. Prayer finds them basically full of doubt, insecurity and despair; they creep along close to the ground and dare not stand upright. They feel drawn to every negative act; ready not only to doubt God but also to resist him, perhaps even to hate him for letting the world carry on as it does, for being so high and aloof, above the need to intervene. For he is so sure of himself that he can expose his children to fear and darkness in this vast, unbounded universe, giving them no hope but nothingness, no consolation but the certainty of death. . . .  Nowadays the temptation to say No, to yield to weariness, is very strong.  Anyone with any receptivity to the question of the meaning of existence is put under such temptation that he has to strain every sinew to resist the current.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer, pp. 99-100.

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Hans Urs von Balthasar – In the Son

Read this awesome passage today and thought I’d share it:

“In the Son, the Father contemplates us from before all time, and is well pleased. It is in the Son that the Father can predestine and choose us to be his children,  fellow children with the one, eternal Child, who, from the beginning of the world, intervenes as sponsor for his alienated creatures. It is in him that the father justifies us, viewing and valuing us in the context of his Son’s righteousness which pays all our debts; he ascribes the Son’s righteousness to us; he gives it to us as our very own. Finally, it is in the Son that the Father glorifies us, by permitting us to participate in the Son’s resurrection and finally, by grace, setting us at his right hand, the Son’s rightful place.” (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

Posted in christology, quotes | Tagged , , , , ,

Is Christian Faith Obsolete in a Scientific Age?

Is Christian Faith Obsolete in a Scientific Age?

I’ve just uploaded my CSCA lecture, delivered in several locations last year, including the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, University of Manitoba, SEMC Church in Steinbach, and Transcona Christian Reformed Church in Winnipeg.

The purpose was to generate conversation about the relationship between science and faith, and to promote the new local chapter of the CSCA (Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation).

Hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!


Posted in Philosophy of Science, Science and Christian Faith, teaching / lecturing, Theology and Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,


My friend, Dr. Robert J. Dean, has just published a wonderful collection of sermons.

He invited me to contribute a blog post interacting with one of them.

You can read my post here:

Posted in book reviews, preaching, reflections | Tagged , , , , , ,

I’m Convinced that the Evolutionary Paradigm of Human Origins is True. Now What?

I’m Convinced that the Evolutionary Paradigm of Human Origins is True. Now What?

If one becomes convinced that evolution is real – it happened – what then is one to do with the Bible? With traditional Christian beliefs and doctrines? With personal faith in Jesus that affirms his bodily resurrection from the dead?

If you are someone who finds the scientific evidence for evolution compelling, but wonders how an evolutionary perspective can accord with Christian faith (or, more specifically, with a faithful and intelligent reading of the Bible and a commitment to robust theological orthodoxy), there are some really great resources available out there.

At a recent talk on faith and science, I was asked a question about how one is to understand the Genesis account of Adam (Gen 1-3) in light of recent genomic evidence (e.g., population genetics), which is telling us that humans did not descend from a single, original pair and that the early human population consisted of something in the area of 10,000 people.

This data is threatening to some interpretations of Genesis, but not to all of them (even amongst conservative evangelical theologians and biblical scholars, there are many who don’t see a problem with this because they believe that Genesis was not written to address the kinds of questions raised by modern science). There are many scholars who hold to traditional Christian belief and the authority of Scripture who also find the evidence for evolution compelling.

Many people just have not been exposed to good resources by reputable scholars who are also devout Christians. So, I thought I’d post some resources here. This is just a quick and brief sample of the resources available, but if you read some of these, the footnotes and hyperlinks will open up even more resources to you.

This list not intended for those who are wrestling with the evidence for/against evolution (for Christians who want a good, balanced and fair resource to start with, I recommend Gerald Rau’s book Mapping the Origins Debate published by InterVarsity Press). On the other hand, I still recommend this reading if you are in the midst of searching and thinking through the issue, because our assumptions and pre-commitments about how Genesis ought to be read can impact (even bias) our approach to the scientific evidence (there are always philosophical, theological, and hermeneutical factors that frame and determine the way we move from observation of data to inference about the significance of the data).

This brief list is (mostly) for those who have already become convinced by the scientific evidence for evolution and who want to know how one then reads the Bible (esp. Genesis) and thinks theologically about the challenges evolution raises for certain traditional doctrines (e.g., universal sinfulness of humanity/original sin, the image of God, the nature of Salvation, miracles and divine providence, randomness and meaning/purpose, and so forth).


BioLogos website: probably the best place to start – lots of good blog series, resources, videos, and a great Q&A section.

The American Scientific Affiliation: an organization of Christians working in the sciences (usually in higher education). Their journal, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, posts its back-issues online and there is a search feature to search for articles according to the topic you are interested in. Click here to read an article I wrote for the journal about reflecting theologically (making theological sense of) evolution. And here is a gem of an essay on Genesis 1 written by Rikk Watts, of Regent College, for the ASA website (published in book format elsewhere).

Some Books I’ve Found Helpful

Here are some books which I have found helpful on Genesis, Adam & Eve, Biblical Interpretation, etc. that are relevant to the topic (there are lots, this is just a sample):

  • Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.
  • Charles, J. Daryl, ed. Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation. Peabody: Hendrikson, 2013. For my summary and review of this book, click here.
  • Enns, Peter. The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2012.
  • Franklin, Patrick S. Being Human, Being Church: The Significance of Theological Anthropology for Ecclesiology. Bletchley, Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2016. [In this book, in three chapters, I unpack three lenses through which I understand what it means to be human theologically (relational, rational, eschatological). Chapter 5 explores the biblical and theological resources for understanding human beings as eschatological (end/future-oriented) beings whom God created not only with a beginning (creation) but also a destiny (consummation/perfection) in mind. Consummation and perfection were not “plan B” which God put in place only after the “fall” in Genesis 3. Rather, God always intended an unfolding, developing creation (and for humans to be a part of this and even play an active role in it).]
  • Greenwood, Kyle. Scripture and Cosmology: Reading the Bible between the Ancient World and Modern Science. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2015.
  • Lamoureux, Denis. Evolutionary Creation A Christian Approach to Evolution. Havertown: The Lutterworth Press, 2014.
  • Longman, Tremper. How to Read Genesis. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2005.
  • Rad, Gerhard von. Genesis: A Commentary. London: SCM, 1991.
  • Venema, Dennis R., and Scot McKnight. Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2017.
  • Walton, John. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009.
  • Wenham, Gordon J. Genesis 1-15. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1-11: A Continental Commentary. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.
Posted in evolution, hermeneutics, Science and Christian Faith, The Bible, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments