Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers
Waco, TX: Baylor, 2009.
Available from Amazon.com.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
In the fifteenth generation, men first worshiped fire and constructed idols. Now, until that time one language prevailed, the language pleasing to God: Hebrew (1.30.5)All my OT pals will love this quote!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Kevin F. Scott
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Paul Helm (Calvinist View)
Michael Jensen (Amyraldian View)
Ben Witherington (Arminian View)
It is a ripper, so stay tuned!
According to Paul Helm (Highland Theological College):
‘Definite atonement’ is an improvement on ‘Limited atonement’, but neither phrase clearly captures and expresses the idea, which is not exclusively to do with the atonement. The view is that the Triune God ensures the salvation of men and women, boys and girls. He does not merely make possible their salvation, leaving it to the sinner to make up his own mind. Rather, whom he intends to save, he saves, through the distinct but inseparable work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Augustine puts it in his letter to Simplicianus in AD 396, God’s grace is effectual, effective, actually ensuring that those ordained to eternal life believe, secured by the golden chain of Romans 8.
What is at issue is an estimate of divine grace. The biblical basis for the view does not rest upon a single proof verse, or a few of these, (though verses such as John 6.37 and Acts 13.48 and of course Romans 8 28f should be borne in mind). Rather it is founded on the implications of Scripture’s overall witness to God’s powerful love, to the spiritual death of fallen mankind, and to the actual salvation of countless people.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
"68 MOSES [SPEAKS]: There seems to be a throne on Sinai's mountain peaks,
69 so great it reaches from the hillside up to heaven,
70 and on it sits a noble man,
71 with diadems all crowned, with mighty scepter held
72 in his left hand. And with the right to me
73 he waved, and I was set before the throne.
74 To me he gave the scepter, and on that great throne
75 he said to sit. The kingly being gave to me
76 the diadems, as he himself stepped off the throne.
77 And I was looking at the earth all circling round,
78 the things of earth below, of heaven up above.
79 The multitude of stars to me upon their knees
80 fell down, and I was counting all of them
81 as they passed by like troops of mortal men.
82 Then being startled, I was wakened out of sleep.
83 [REUEL]: O stranger, God has given this good sign to you
84 of life: these things will happen to you at some time.
85 Will you, then, be exalted on a mighty throne,
86 and be yourself a judge and guide for mortal men?
87 And you will see the whole inhabited earth,
88 both things below, and things above the heaven of God
89 And you will see the things that are, that were, things that will be."
(ETR 1:68-89 OPE)
Friday, August 14, 2009
- John Barclay
Clearly scholarly efforts within this approach have produced major advances in the study of early Christianity. One need only to think of the Copernican revolution known as the New Perspective on Paul in the last 30 years to see how New Testament studies has benefited from such methods. However, the strengths of the historical-critical method, and there are many, do not outweigh its weaknesses or false assumptions. The most glaring of the latter in my view is the idea that a confessional approach to Biblical research is antithetical to good historical inquiry. This view is both unwarranted and unrealistic. It is unwarranted, because, while I would not wish to pronounce all confessional scholarship as good historical research—there are many examples to the contrary, it has neither been demonstrated nor am I persuaded that in order to do good historical research, one must fence off confessionalism. And that is to say nothing of whether or not this is even possible. It seems to me that good historical scholarship is neither a result of confessionalism nor neutrality, if the latter even exists, but engagement with the sources and the ability to make sense of the data within its own historical setting. The predominant view is also unrealistic, because the view ignores the glaring reality that every scholar functions within some confession, whether this confession is the theological tenets of the church or of tradition criticism or of something else. There is no such thing as value-neutral scholarship.
Thus, I advocate a view of scholar and scholarship that is confessional in nature or value-based, by which I mean one that embraces faith-based presuppositions, although not necessarily Christian or even religious. As such, the scholar and her scholarship are humble and accountable within both her confessional community and within the wider scholarly community. Perhaps J. P. Meier’s ‘unpapal conclave’ of a confessional Catholic, Protestant, Jew and agnostic (and/or even an atheist) can be reintroduced with significant modification. In my approach this conclave would be locked up in the bowels of a library not until they achieved a ‘limited consensus’, but until they reach a mutual understanding of each other’s views; views based on their distinctive presuppositions and consequent procedures. This setting would not be any less scholarly of an endeavor as their views would be defendable and rooted in the history and culture of Second-Temple Judaism. Yet, rather than being forced to create a document that states the least common denominator, they were forced to listen to each other and learn from each other in the context of community; rather than check their convictions at the door and pursue consensus, they participate in full awareness of themselves and the others and pursue understanding; rather than debate in order to win, they discuss in order to understand, acknowledging that the truth is both self authenticating and convincing in the first instance when demonstrated in life.
For me, the most significant test of my scholarship is its impact on the community of faith, the church. My scholarship should be within the context of and accountable to my confessional community and should ultimately serve to further strengthen that community. At the present time I am a member of an evangelical non-denominational church in the suburbs of Chicago. While my wife and I are not tied to a denomination with an established tradition, I would characterize my community of faith with four adjectives; my faith is apostolic, catholic, Reformation-al and evangelical.
A Christian scholar is never (or at least should not be) over against the church, but functions as a member of Christ’s body and exercises his teaching gift for the building up of the body. While scholars should be given freedom to think, to ask questions and to push back on well-worn assumptions, we should always be mindful that our work is not an end in itself. But rather our work is the means to the end of bringing glory to God by extending his kingdom in the world.
Bruce McCormack (Princeton Theological Seminary)
"Election and the Trinity: Theses in Response to George Hunsinger"
Jeffrey Bingham (Dallas Theological Seminary)
"Reading Rome in Lyons!
John Franke (Biblical Theological Seminary)
"The Freedom of the Word: Reading the Bible in Community"
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Over the course of the last three years, as I begin now my fourth year at North Park University, I have developed and improved my teaching effectiveness with each semester. I will be the first to admit that I committed all of the sins of a “freshly minted-Ph.D.” teacher. My first classes will attest that I had far too high of expectations for my undergrads. In that first semester for one of my classes I must have submitted over 4 syllabus revisions as I was undergoing “on-the-job-training”. Those early classes of students were so accommodating, as I would again announce a syllabus change. Many of those students have since graduated and we laugh together over the memory and to my gratitude they tell me they learned a good deal notwithstanding. Funny they never complained as I was eliminating assignments.
Admittedly I had much to learn in spite of some prior teaching experience and my passion for the subject and for students. One of my strengths, which is also a weakness as it was in this case, is my stubbornness and drive when I feel passionately about something. The end result of such a character is the proverbial truth of “learning the hard way”. This was evident in the way I went about teaching the Paul course at first. My colleagues, especially Scot McKnight, advised me that a certain methodology that I was quite sure was essential had proved ineffective for him in teaching undergrads at earlier stage of his teaching career and I should abandon it. Stubborn as I was, I thought to myself, “I can do this!” I will passionately communicate the importance of the practice and they will learn to love it as they make discoveries for themselves. Invariably, Scot was right; he usually is. Although there were a number of students who benefited from the approach, most were left frustrated and disinterested. I found myself constantly needing to coach and inspire in the use of method instead of teaching the Pauline ideas.
My initial reaction to the circumstance was to try harder. I attempted to use even more convincing rhetoric, better materials, and enlisted tutors to give further assistance outside of class. When this too did not work, then I became bitter toward my students: “They just weren’t trying hard enough” was the kind of thought I had.
Soon I awoke to the harsh reality. My approach wasn’t working. The problem was not the students or a lack of effort on my part; it was simply the wrong approach for the situational context of my teaching. While I would still strongly advocate the methodology I was attempting to incorporate in my class for biblical interpretation, I had yet to fully grasp the context of my teaching: to appreciate the appropriateness within the unique context of NPU. I did not adequately comprehended “the whom” of my teaching. What’s more, I had not fully inculcated the role I was to be playing in the larger University GE curriculum.
Over the course of the last year these two realizations have functioned significantly in revising my course strategies and intended outcomes. While I believed that I was approaching the students holistically, I have realized I had not fully comprehended the situation within which I was teaching. In other words, it has taken me three years to grapple fully with the context of my teaching. Last semester I performed a significant overhaul of two of my GE courses in response to these realizations. As the student evaluations attest, this has greatly increased my teaching effectiveness. To put it bluntly and somewhat embarrassingly, I think for the first two years I was teaching toward only a small percentage of our undergrad population. Now my courses, while still quite rigorous, are much more widely accessible.
Do you want to know the methodology? Sentence Diagramming and Discourse Analysis Scott Hafemann style.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
HT: Mark Goodacre
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
HT: Andy Naselli.