Friday, March 13, 2009


With the inauguration of President Barack Obama, a new era of race relations has begun in America. This child of a racially mixed marriage has captured the highest office of the land and the imaginations of people around the world. One cannot help but notice the complexion of America is changing. The face of our nation is transitioning from a predominately white one to various shades of tan.

The church, however, still struggles with interracial relationships, if not in theory, at least in practice. While Jesus loves the little children without distinction—red and yellow, black and white—his church, for the most part, reflects an equal but separate model of worship. Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week; but, things are slowly beginning to change.

As the racial identity of the nation becomes more blurred, so will the racial make-up of the church. Therefore, it is incumbent on seminary professors to equip future pastors to become effective leaders of a hybrid church. Additionally, those currently in ministry will soon find themselves dealing with matters for which they were not trained. Issues such as racially-diverse worship styles, multiracial leadership, interracial dating and mixed marriage are but a few of the challenges ahead.

The Spring 2009 edition of Criswell Theological Review focuses on the issue of interracial marriage. We have invited a group of experienced scholars to address the topic, including Craig Keener, Danny Hays, and Edwin Yamauchi, among others; plus, we feature an exclusive interview with Rodney Woo, pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, TX, who tells of the joys and difficulties of taking a declining white congregation and transforming it into a thriving multiracial church.

You can order the issue at"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Updike on the Resurrection

Most Christians have heard of John Updike, the famed Pulitzer Prize author of poems and short stories, but few have ever read him. Fewer still know of the profound influence that Karl Barth had on his understanding of God and his perception of reality. Updike died yesterday in hospice after a bout with cancer. He was 76. Here is a poem he wrote nearly five decades on the resurrection.


By John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

From Updike, John. "Telephone Poles and Other Poems" (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,1961).