Thursday, January 31, 2008

Resources for Biblical Hebrew

These are the tools and resources I have for the study of Biblical Hebrew (sadly nothing for Aramaic):

Waltke and O'Conner's An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Eisenbrauns, 1990). I call this thing the beast since it is so massive but it is simply a must have for even basic biblical Hebrew exegesis. It is basically the Hebrew version of Wallace's GGBB though with its own character.

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (GKC in most references) (Oxford University Press, USA; 2 edition, 1993). This has been the standard Hebrew Grammar for the last hundred years. Though a bit dated, still quite useful and necessary for finer Hebrew work.

(C. L Seow's A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon Press; Rev Sub edition, 1995). This is the grammar I learned from while at Fuller Seminary NW for a year. It is one among a plethora of Hebrew Grammars. One of the profs at Evangel and AGTS also uses it. It will get you both the basics and the more technical stuff. Somewhere out there is a companion work that has the answers to the sentences.

Pratico and Van Pelt's Basics of Biblical Hebrew: Grammar. I have the green hardcover edition (Zondervan 2001). This is in the line of Zondervans biblical languages works and Mounce is the Greek variation. Never hurts to have two grammars.

Van Pelt and Practico's The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew (Zondervan, 2003). The vocabulary companion to BBH and quite useful.

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB) (Hendrickson, 1996). I have literally been from one end of this lexicon to the other and back when I took a Hebrew exegesis class on the Psalms at Fuller NW. Its quite outdated but nonetheless a necessary complement to HALOT and should not be overlooked.

Holladay's A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament: Based upon the Lexical Work of Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner. (Eerdmans, 1972). This is not a detailed lexicon but a shorter lexicon based on HALOT (mostly glosses not extended definitions for which you will have to look up HALOT for. Quite a useful little tool.

Ronald William's Hebrew Syntax: An Outline, 2nd ed. (University of Toronto Press, 1976, 2001 Reprint) This ha to be my most favorite possession! It is just a splendid little book outlining various parts of Hebrew Syntax. There is a 3rd edition out but I am not familiar with it. As Holliday is to HALOT, Williams is to Waltke-O'Conner (somewhat) you look up Williams for quick stuff and WC for more in-depth issues.

Armstrong, Busby, Carr's Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament, (Zondervan, 1989). This is the Hebrew counterpart to Kubo's Greek Reader. It does words less than 50 times but if you haven't kept up your vocab it is completely useless but if so, it will help you plough though large parts of the text fairly easily. For many it can be a crutch. it has been made obsolete with the upcoming Reader's Hebrew Bible which more or less does the same thing.

Ellis Brotzman's Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction it is a really good introduction to Hebrew textual criticism and to the BHS. I need to move up to Emmanuel Tov's Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Augsburg Fortress Publishers; 2 Revised edition 2001) - this is the scholar's standard for Biblical Hebrew Textual Criticism

Douglas Stuart's Old Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors (WJK, 3 edition 2001) - the OT companion to Fee's NT Exegesis - this covers outlining, diagramming; resources for further study.

Robert Chisholm's From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew, (Baker Academic, 1999) - This is a really great source for in-depth and practical exposition of the Hebrew for preaching and teaching. In my opinion it is a must have and should not be overlooked when doing exegetical work for sermon or paper preparation. His grammar section is more a summary of WC than Williams.

Wigram's The Englishman's Hebrew Concordance of the Old Testament: Coded to Strong's concordance numbering system, (Hendrickson 1996). This is quite the sufficient Hebrew concordance but fortunately it gives the verses in English. If you want to go hard core get Evan-Shoshan's A New Concordance of the Bible: Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible Hebrew and Aramaic Roots, Words, Proper Names Phrases and Synonyms, "Kiryat Sefer" Publishing House Limited, 1985). As far as I know there is no English in Evan-Shoshan's concordance so knowledge of Hebrew will be a must. Indeed, it is the scholar's concordance.

Of course I have of BHS and Bible Works 7.0 with the BDAG/HALOT module and concordances and things which are helpful.

To my shame I did not take a class on Aramaic but here is the resource I would get to teach myself or use for reference since Aramaic is limited to parts of Daniel and a few other places in the OT: John's A Short Grammar of Biblical Aramaic (Andrews University Press Rev ed,1972). I won't get into all the stuff about the Gospels being written in Aramaic and such.

This about covers my resources for study in the biblical languages upon completion of an MDiv. Of course I need to get going on Theological German, French, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, and so on...



so, what did y'all do in life before blogging came along? how did we ever get along?


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NT Greek Resources

These are the books (tools) I have for the study of Koine (NT) Greek:

Bauer's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (University Of Chicago Press; 3 Sub edition, 2001). I got it when it first came out and was less than $100 at the time (before ebay and things). It's the standard lexicon.

Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners (Prentice Hall, 1923). If I taught Greek I might use this one, though I really like Black's too. I learned Greek from Machen and it is still my "baby Greek." I would say Machen's approach is more the "old style" but sometimes, older is better! Also, it has Greek to English and English to Greek sentences!

Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek (1994 Expanded Edition) (will have to beg God for a way to convince my wife to let me purchase the recently updated edition when it comes out later this year - with the workbook). Black approaches Greek from a linguistic perspective.

Black's It's still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek (Baker 1998). More of a quick reference guide than Wallace - though very useful and funny!

Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Zondervan, 1997) (Green Cover). The standard Intermediate Grammar - no one should be without it - even if one does not always agree with his conclusions and slight tendency to over-categorize.

I need to get Blass-Debrunner-Funk (BDF) Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature for serious grammar work. It is the Scholar's grammar.

Aland's The Text of the New Testament, Revised and Enlarged (Eerdmans 1995 Paperback edition translated by Erroll F. Rhodes). My prof at the time said this and Metzger's 3rd edition were pretty much on the same level but I think I would have preferred him for us to get Metzger's edition. This is thick heavy reading on textual criticism of the Greek NT.

Aland's Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1996). A must for Gospel studies, especially the Greek edition - you simply cannot see the similarities and differences in the English edition. Also, consider Scot McKnight's, Interpreting the Synoptic Gospels (Guides to New Testament Exegesis) for a decent color coding system when working in the Synopsis.

Fee's New Testament Exegesis, 3rd edition (WJK 2002). A must have for basic Greek exegesis (so you don't exit Jesus from your exegesis!) Also good for diagramming and such.

Dean, Scott, and Sparks' Reading New Testament Greek: Complete Word Lists and Reader's Guide (Hendrickson, 1993). This is very useful for learning and building vocab.

Kubo's Reader's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Zondervan, 1975) (got this when I audited a Greek class at Fuller NW before I followed the Lord to aGts). It hasn't been terribly useful for me though I suppose it has for some, it is still in print.

Bible Works 7.0, which has the BDAG/HALOT module, concordances, parsing tools and the like.

and of course the UBS 4th ed Greek NT and Nestle-Aland 27th ed Greek NT (one prof said the 25th is preferred) and Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.

I was a biblical languages major more than anything else - so more or less I would do theology and biblical studies through the languages. As you can clearly see, I have a spread of "crutches" and actual tools and resources... I don't use the crutches that much, honest! ;)

Next up is Hebrew tools I possess.

Think I have enough? ;)  If you have any comments or suggestions for other tools, feel free to comment.  


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Not sure if you all read the TNIV blog or not but I was looking over and the latest post by Rick Mansfield writes about the spelling changes made in the updated TNIV. This post is on the spelling differences between Abraham's brother Haran and the city Harran where Abraham heard God call him to the promised land. Well, that is all interesting but even more so is a comment he made regarding a Wikipedia article (Jim West's favorite reference resource! ;) ) and made this comment: he writes:
One final interesting tidbit about Harran. According to the Wikipedia article on Harran, legend has it that this is the location where Adam and Eve first stepped when they were first expelled from the Garden. Granted it's just legend, but isn't it fitting that it was in Harran where Abraham first heard his call from God to go to the promised land? From the point of expulsion and alienation from God, the journey began to enter into God's rest. I find this very appropriate--regardless of how one spells the location.

I cannot say much about this (as I knew nothing about it until now) but I did think it was quite interesting, quite interesting indeed!

What say you?


Review of The Competent Pastor pt1

I have been reading through Ronald Sisk's recent work: The Competent Pastor: Skills and Self Knowledge for Serving Well (The Alban Institute, 2005) and have found it both challenging and useful.

Sisk seeks to answer two key questions: What does it mean to say a pastor is competent? How does a competent pastor function?

Sisk defines competence as “the ability to do what needs to be done.” He writes:
Sometimes that means understanding yourself and others. Sometimes it means getting some task completed in the church. Always it means keeping a realistic perspective on your own life as a human being, a Christian, and a minister - what works for you and what doesn't.

I appreciate this definition mostly for what it doesn't say than what it does say. Competence doesn't mean one has to be Rob Bell to be a good pastor. Instead, he is saying a good pastor is one who has a strong sense of self-awareness and self-understanding/knowledge. So long as a pastor has a solid sense of identity and calling he or she will serve well.

He then addresses the question of how does a competent pastor function?
A competent minister functions, then, by moving forward toward understanding, resolution, and self-fulfillment. She will be happy in her job or able to find out shy she is not happy, and will be capable of moving forward. He won’t get stuck. Or, at least, when he does get stuck, he’ll know some specific steps to take to get unstuck.

For Sisk, this is his job description in sum, to ensure that the graduates of the Seminary where he teaches as professor of homiletics and Christian ministry graduate at leas on track to becoming and functioning as competent pastors.

The first chapter deals with the role of family systems in being a pastor. Our family or origin is a significant factor in understanding how one functions in nearly any capacity – pastor or other. If a pastor is from a family that fought a lot and he or she hates confrontation and avoids conflict then it might explain why his or her church is out of control and run by one or two over controlling people. Does this mean this person should not be a pastor – Sisk would say no, it does not mean this person should not be a pastor. Instead, this is where understanding and awareness comes in. Is this person aware of the tendency to avoid conflict and that it is why the church is out of control? If not, then he or she will probably remain unable to move forward in ministry until he or she comes to awareness of the problem. Once aware, he or she can begin to move forward in resolving the issue of avoiding conflict and regaining control of the church.

Sisk is good to observe that many might try to explain the situation as related to sin and that the pastor needs to repent and change – well, it is not that easy. According to Sisk, in discrediting the power of the past folks often fail to deal adequately with the conjunction of emotional, behavioral, and spiritual factors in personal and or ministerial development. This risk is real regardless of one’s spiritual commitment and sincere desire to follow Christ. As a Pentecostal I want to affirm Sisk’s comment here and say a pastor can even be baptized with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues and still risk not functioning well as a competent pastor due to the influence of family of origin issues on his or her life.

Competence has little to do with how spiritual one is or how sincere one is about that spirituality – it has to do with openness to self knowledge and a willingness to address areas of weakness. Now, this is where Craig Keener has a good point in that praying in tongues can help a person receive from the Holy Spirit wisdom and guidance a to areas in a person’s personal life that need addressing. Now the question would be is that person willing to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit? I want to be careful here and not get off track – but I think a combination of understanding family systems and how they influence our lives and our ability to function and spending time in intense prayer with the Lord can bring a lot of growth in a persons ability to function well in ministry.

Will the move forward help the person I used as an example become perfect in dealing with conflict? Not necessarily – but it will help him or her be more aware of his or her personal feelings and responses in the midst of the situation so he or she can act accordingly. He or she will probably always have problems with conflict and or confrontation, but to function will he or she will need to maintain a level of self-awareness and understanding so as to work through these issues. This is how a competent pastor functions – doing what needs to be done so as to be effective in shepherding a church and leading it in the way the Lord has directed.

More to come. Feel free to comment.


a million

how to make a million by age 65...

Monday, January 28, 2008


I am adding Celucien L. Joseph of Christ My Righteousness to my blogroll - he has good things to say.

Since I have become a pastor of a small church I have been doing to researching and have compiled my own "pastoral ministry bibliography" but it grows as I find new books or resources I want to add to it. Presently it is mostly books. So I am adding John Frye's Jesus the Pastor (Zondervan 2002). Here is a quote: "While we may lift Christ up as Savior, as we bow down to him as Lord, as we marvel at his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, as we walk with him as Friend, we seem to ignore him as the supreme Senior Pastor." It is enough of a teaser that I have to read the rest of the book now! Ha!

If interested I will post my bibliography for al to see and use as a resource.


AGTS Spring Lectureship - Craig S. Keener

The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary has posted Dr Craig S. Keener's lectures on New Testament Missiology on their website for all to hear. You can also hear the lectures via podcast.

A brilliant scholar and passionate evangelist, Dr. Craig S. Keener (M.Div. 1987; 2006 AGTS Alumnus of the Year) is one of the most prolific New Testament scholars today. He has written seven commentaries and six books including Gift and Giver (Baker Academic, 2001), Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul (Hendrickson, 1992), and Defending Black Faith (IVP, 1997). His 1995 publication of the IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (IVP 1994) has sold over 350,000 copies in nine languages. He spoke at AGTS during the Spring Lectureship Series.

Dr. Craig S. Keener serves as professor of New Testament at Palmer Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He earned his Ph.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Duke University in 1991. His passion for racial reconciliation is seen in his commitment to pastoral ministry in inner-city Philadelphia.

Good stuff! Let me know what you think!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008


Is BDAG infallible?  

What say you?  



I have a problem....I like trucks. Okay, I know I have a little Mazda B2300 SE that is a 4banger and paid off and will probably last a lifetime.... but still I really like the FORD F150!!


Is Iran really the threat the President and Media says it is?  

What do you think of Doug Pagitt's claims about "spreaching"?  



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Holy Spirit

Bryan L has a post in which he argues for the tendency of those prescribing to calvinism to have a low view of the Holy Spirit in relation to their doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints (P in the TULIP acronym, which describes the salvation process in calvinist theology).

I think he is right in many cases (there are some charismatic calvinists). He is arguing that the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints seems to not "really take into account the experience of the Holy Spirit in the believers’ lives as evidence of their salvation."

I would like to take it a step further if I may (at some risk), I think the same can generally be said of Evangelicalism at large - here it is dangerous to generalize because once you do - someone breaks the generalization.  I think Evangelicalism tends to downplay the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Why do I think this? Well, there are several reasons.  
  1. First off, open just about any Evangelical Systematic Theology book (with the exception of Grudem and maybe Grenz) and you find only short sections on the person and work of the Holy Spirit - Millard Erickson's Christian Theology has only 36 pages on the person and work of the Holy Spirit as compared to 181 pages related to Christ and 298 pages on Knowing God.  Though this is only one example, I think it is fair to say that the Holy Spirit often gets the short end of the stick in much Evangelical theology.
  2. Evangelicals have a problem with the role of "experience" in faith life and practice.  The is probably largely due to the excesses of the Pentecostal/Charismatic/Third Wave/Apostolic movements - though I say more toward the excesses of Charismaticsand Third Wavers than the Pentecostals per se.  For many evangelicals use of the "e" word (as I call it) is not valid in most conversations regarding receiving the Holy Spirit (otherwise they say that for Charismatics experience trumps scripture).  Rightly so, many believe a new believer receives the Holy Spirit at salvation, but wrongly so, they insist that experience has little if any factor in the receiving of the Holy Spirit - so it is by faith and not by sight.  Part of this lies in a cessationist point of view that what happened on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4ff) was a transitional event and meant only for starting the church and ending with the last of the Apostles.  In my opinion, I see no basis for this claim whatsoever, though Cessationist base this on their interpretation of "when perfection comes" in 1 Cor 13:10 (they see it as the Cannon of Scripture, I and others see it as related to the Parousia).   This is pretty much a never ending debate.  
  3. Other Evangelicals may not be completely cessationist yet will want to know where the tongues of fire and the wind are if the event in Acts 2:1-4 is still normal or normative.  
  4. There is also the worry of being too over focused on emotionalism (media video footage never helps in this case) which is confused with experience.  Emotionalism and experience are not synonyms.  I think the claim to emotionalism is more rhetoric than fairness - how one responds to experience is going to be different for each person and is to be guided by Scripture.  
  5. Many evangelicals (and calvinists) will insist that the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to give witness to Christ - so a truly Spirit-filled person and assembly will be a Christ-centered - Christ exalting person/assembly.  I agree with this completely.  At the same time I believe the role of the Spirit in the life of the believer and the church is multi-faceted.  He will teach us all things and remind us of Jesus' teachings (Jn 14:26);  He will guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13); He will make Christ known to us (Jn 16: 14-15); he will tell us what to say when we are under pressure or when we are persecuted (Mk 13:11). Even so, there is also the issue of charismatic empowerment.  The individual believer will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on him or her - power for what?  Power for witness to Jesus (in both word and deed) - this is the essence of Spirit Baptism (cf. Acts 1:8 realized in Acts 2:4ff).   With this empowerment, I believe, comes the gifts of the Holy Spirit as seen in Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, and Ephesians 4:11 (these are offices but still gifts - "he gave some to be...").  
I recognize I am not complete and may be inaccurate in my assessment but I think I am on the right track - both Reformed and Evangelical Theology, in general, tend to play down the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the community of faith.  

In Reformed Theology it is the Sovereignty of God.  In Evangelical Theology it is the Supremacy of Christ.  In Pentecostalism it is the Power of the Holy Spirit.  I think each have their pluses and each have their own excesses.  Instead of pitting them against each other I think there is plenty of room for blending all three in to a solid Biblical Theology of our Triune God.

However, the blending has yet to take place and is presenting many problems for Pentecostals because Evangelicalism has infused the movement and is causing much doubt and uncertainty in exactly who the Holy Spirit is and how he works in a person's life.

Please don't get me wrong, there many good and excellent aspects of Evangelical Theology - they are just weak on the person and work of the Holy Spirit and I think to a fault.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

want to go to seminary?:

check out an interesting website:

let me know what you think. I think it has some good stuff, even though I already went...


Monday, January 21, 2008

A Reader's Hebrew Bible

I know Mike alerted us to this a few days ago, however, I am excited about the new upcoming A Reader's Hebrew Bible being put out by Zondervan. I am certain it is not perfect and there will probably be lots of blogs offering way better critiques than I can offer when it comes out in May (I have plenty of my own criticisms of the Reader's Greek New Testament - primarily that they use a different text than the UBS4/NA27 and the italic font). Here is one review by bookseller James Spinti of Eisenbrauns to consider.

Here are the product details from the Zondervan Website:

Following in the footsteps of the popular A Reader’s Greek New Testament, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible includes features that make this a time-saver for studying the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament. It comes in Italian Duo-Tone™ binding—attractive, durable, and affordable.

Ideal for Hebrew students and pastors, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible saves time and effort in studying the Hebrew Old Testament. By eliminating the need to look up definitions, the footnotes allow the user to read the Hebrew and Aramaic text more quickly, focusing on parsing and grammatical issues. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible offers the following features: • Complete text of the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible using the Leningrad Codex (minus critical apparatus) • Shaded Hebrew names that occur less than 100 times • Footnoted definitions of all Hebrew words occurring 100 times or less (twenty-five or less for Aramaic words) • Context-specific glosses • Stem-specific glossed definitions for verb forms (Qal, Piel, Hiphil, and so forth) • Ketib/Qere readings both noted in the text and differentiated appropriately • Marker ribbon

Featuring a handsome Italian Duo-Tone™ binding, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is a practical, attractive, and surprisingly affordable resource.

Book & Bible Cover Size: Large
Page Count: 1680[!!!]

Size: 7.2 wide x 9.9 high x 2.1 deep in. | 183 wide x 251 high x deep 53 mm
Weight: 3.28 lb | 1486 gms

Available: May, 2008
Publisher: Zondervan

The sample page too looks good and gives a fair example of what to expect! obviously it would be awkward to take this to church but nevertheless it could serve to help with working on one's reading of the Hebrew Bible.

This will definitely be at the top of the list for birthdays or other gift giving events!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quote of the Day...

"We are to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

-George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God

I love it!!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

new book

Kudos to Tom Vail (long time Canyon River Guide) for graciously sending me a copy of his book Grand Canyon: A Different View (Masterbooks, 2003)!! This is a really nice little book. Little meaning it isn't quite as big as what one thinks of a Coffee Table style book - it's dimensions are 10.1 x 8.1 x 0.4 inches and 103 pages. It is obvious this is a book that promotes a conservative young earth creationist view of the Canyon and creation in general. This is not bad, after all they do say it is an alternative view - and I think a fair and valid and much needed one to counter balance more naturalistic approaches. One may not agree with everything in the contributing articles but that if fine it is still a great book and beautiful one at that (the pictures are awesome!). Not a few of the contributors are PhD's in Geology, Paleontology, Physics, Geophysics, Space Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Atmospheric Science, Mechanical Engineering, and the like - Ken Ham and John McArthur also offer some pastoral perspectives as well. Just thumbing through the book and glancing at some of the photos, I realize one has not "seen" the canyon until one has gone down into it and either gone on a rafting trip (with stops along the way) or spent some time hiking through it). It is truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world! and no wonder some 3-5 million people come through the gates every year!

blessings to you all.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who (or what) made the Grand Canyon?

Doug Chaplin over at MetaCatholic has a post about creationists. I have to be honest, until my wife and I came to the Grand Canyon to pastor a church (Doug may not be too keen about me since we pastor a pentecostal church) that I had not really thought too much about the issue of creationism or evolution. I think I had somewhat ambiguously settled on a sort of theistic evolution thinking while there was one major creation event (possibly the big bang) there are de nuevo (sp?) acts of creation taking place. I am not sure yet where I stand on issues of creation ex nilio(sp?) either. At present I I am thinking God created the Heavens and the Earth, there was the fall of Satan who then messed up the creation leading to a place of darkness that was formless and void, and then God's first act of redemption was "Let there be light" (see Allan Ross's Creation and Blessing: A Guide to the Exposition of Genesis for more).

Anywho, the question around here is often "What made the canyon?" The typical Park Guide will say, "I can give you the answer to that in four words, 'the river made it.'" My wife and I want to correct the fellow and say instead, "The Lord made it." However, as Doug's post and others out there might suggest, is this necessarily true? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe the river did make it. Maybe (like what happened at Mt St. Helens in Washington can show) it happened as a result of a catastrophic event such as the flood or something else and the Colorado (Red in Spanish) River has maintained it?

There is a man who runs a ministry here in the Canyon area called Canyon Ministries. He is an ardent creationist and young earth advocate (I suppose he is more about the young earth verse old earth debate than anything). A few years ago put out a coffee table type book on the Grand Canyon that has been (or was) quite controversial.

Grand Canyon, a Different View has awesome photos with pro-creationist articles spread throughout. It faced severe opposition from many an evolutionist and such that a group of scientist put out a letter asking the National Park Service to remove the book from its stores because it is misleading and does not discuss science but rather pushes religious views. I guess the NPS opted instead to put it over in the so-called "inspirational" section.

Moving on, there is a section on the Canyon Ministries website that offers "8 Grand Canyon Evidences" that "prove" the canyon did not form over thousands of years by erosion from the river but instead came about through a severe catastrophic event of biblical proportions such as the Noahic Flood (which obviously he argues for a global flood over a local flood). Each is listed as a factual statement when really they are in his words "very plausible explanations" of how the canyon came to be - again using the situation at Mt. St. Helens as an example. Incidently, there is a ministry similar to the Canyon Ministry located up near Mt St. Helens called Mt. St Helens Creation Information Center. Looking through some of these "statements of fact" I find myself not knowing enough about the issues to resist the seemingly compelling evidence. I realize all my quotation makrs probably show me being skeptical or wanting to appear so.

I think I will be needing to look into these issues more as I am sure I will be dealing with questions about such as a pastor of a church in the Grand Canyon National Park.

What suggested reading might y'all have that I consider as I ponder these matters?

At present I have Three Views on Creation and Evolution authored by J.P. Moreland, (Zondervan, 1999) and Hugh Ross' The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (NavPress, 2001).

Let me know what you think. Thanks.


Monday, January 07, 2008

John 1:1-5

Okay, I realize this is a bit dated but really, if you preach or teach on any aspect of the Bible and want to be able to present a strong Biblical theology on just about whatever you are teaching.... you need this book! IVP's New Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Exploring the Unity & Diversity of Scripture edited by Brian S. Rosner, et al (IVP, 2000) has many times been a life saver for me. Even before I received a copy of Keener's commentary on John I have been thinking about either preaching through it or teaching through for a Bible study -

Last night I preached on John 1:1-5 (I have a sermon on John 1:1-18 but I wanted to go back and focus more on smaller parts of the lengthly narrative unit (1:1-18)). With the great help from the Dictionary of Biblical Theology (and the wonderful help of Bauckham's The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple (and of course Keener) was was able to put together these main points:

1) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to God (v1-2).
While Jesus is separate from the Father, he is essential to his very identity as God – because the Word was with God and was God – this one was in the beginning with God (v1-2). Jesus is not just the unique one-of-a-kind Son of God, his is God incarnate – his very being is tied into the essence and identity of God the Father.

2) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to creation (v3).
While Jesus was and is separate from God’s creative work, he was and is essential to the work of God in creation because “all things were made through [it] and apart from him nothing was made that was made.”

3) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to humanity (v4-5).
While Jesus was and is separate from humanity he is and was essential to its very existence since "in him is the life and the life was the light of men" – Jesus is the source of our lives – in him is the light and the life of men – through his presence in the world the darkness is dispelled and life is brought to humanity.

It was very helpful and while I know there is A LOT to talk about in the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel - these were the points I decided to focus on for now.

I have to run but I'll come back and share some more on this passage. Let me know what you think.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

articles on the Holy Spirit

If anyone is interested the Assemblies of God has a magazine called the Enrichment Journal (both in print and online). In the online version they have a series of articles archived on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit that may be of interest to you.

If you read any of them, let me know what you think - I think they should be helpful for the most part.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Quote of the Day!

I have been reading Greg Boyd's blog lately and came across this statement about politics. It is my quote of the day.

So, I'm guessing it will in the end be Huckabee against Obama. And, despite the conservative rally I think Obama will win, because I don't think Huckabee stands much of a chance. Obama will be our next president.

Or not.

And none of this matters much -- which is the main point for Kingdom people to remember. Whatever happens in this rat race, please don't let yourself get sucked in. Have you're opinions, make your guesses, vote if you want to. But always remember that the power that will ultimately conquer evil and save the world is not the power that flows from Caesar's throne. It's rather the power that flows from Calvary.

This bears repeating:

But always remember that the power that will ultimately conquer evil and save the world is not the power that flows from Caesar's throne. It's rather the power that flows from Calvary!!

This is awesome! It is so true - Christians can be involved in things politically and try as able to disciple the nations for Christ, but when it comes down to it - American politics matter little compared to the politics of the Kingdom of God - love that flows from Calvary! Political maneuvers cannot make the world a better place to live - only the power of God can do that - and it is made more effective when his people choose to live out Kingdom politics in the world!

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Can't believe it!

I noted that I wished to get Craig Keener's commentary on John a few posts ago. Well, completely unexpectedly, a package showed up in my mail! I couldn't believe it! A friend of my wife and I and fellow seminarian graciously purchased the expensive two volume set and sent it to me! I could hardly believe the kindness, it blew me out of the water in a happy way! Oh man, did I say I could hardly believe it? I fully intend to return the favor with a very nice coffee table book on the Grand Canyon forthwith!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

the New Year

I'd like to jump on the band wagon and try as able to set some goals for the New Year. Like the rest of humanity, can't say for sure I have ever actually met any of my resolutions - but that does not mean we cannot at least try.

1) Read the Bible through at least once (may seem like and odd goal but when is the last time you read the Bible through? Exactly). How much more important is it for a fledgling pastor of a small church?

2) Become licensed with the Assemblies of God (well, I don't really have much choice on this though there are a couple "issues" I need to work through to be okay with signing the papers - which I will not go into here on this blog). We are only at this church because my wife is already fully ordained, so officially, she is the senior pastor of the church. I am not sure yet if I will go for ordination, it is just so expensive to maintain, and yes each pastor has to maintain his own ordination).

3) See progress in becoming a competent pastor. This is important because you would be surprised how many pastors are not competent nor well grounded in a strong sense of pastoral identity.

4) Gain consistency in personal spiritual growth and discipline. I learned in seminary that the spiritual formation of the minister is crucially important not just to the minister but also to those whom the minister "ministers." Effectiveness in our calling is related to our consistency in personal spiritual formation. If we are not prayed up, we dry up. I do not want to just "pray more" or "read my Bible more" but instead be consistent in pursuing those things that will allow for personal spiritual growth. This will be a challenge for me because since my daughter was born a year ago January 10th, I have found the battle for personal time with God nearly overwhelming (with me on the losing side).

5) Read many books (and finish them too!) I personally believe in the value of reading many books and that not just Christian books - in the words of Douglas Stuart, "The good exegete reads many books." I think too being widely read helps bring breadth and depth to ones understanding of the world and life (and to one's own personal growth and maturity, spiritually and emotionally) - and can assist in becoming a competent well-rounded person. Of course I too have many books I need to finish and others I want to read so hopefully I will make some headway on this, this year.

6) Like Bryan L, spend less time on the computer (which if not careful, easily wastes a lot of time) and more time with my baby girl and my beautiful wifey. I would like us to spend quality time together and see growth in our marriage as well. We are in a tough situation here in the canyon and above all else we need a strong healthy marriage to push through and see the church gain a strong presence in the Grand Canyon Village. Do pray for us, we need it. There is significant spiritual opposition to what we do here and we need the prayers of our fellow Christians to help sustain us and see us move forward in the Lord.

So, with that, I need to get off the computer and attend to my soon to be one year old daughter!

May you all have a blessed new year!