Monday, April 28, 2008


Welp, I guess I'll be over here now.

Come on over and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

RBL additions

Here are acouple of the more interesting RBL additions for your consideration:

Joseph A. Fitzmyer
The One Who Is to Come
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Staley
another good book on Jesus and various messianic expectations of his arrival.

Claus Wilcke
Early Ancient Near Eastern Law: A History of Its Beginnings: The Early
Dynastic and Sargonic Periods

Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
This is good for better understanding the law sections of the Pentetuch.

Hillary Rodrigues and Thomas A. Robinson
World Religions: A Guide to the Essentials
Reviewed by Joseph Matos
(might be a college level book, but it never hurts to have a decent reference book for world religions - this might be a good one).


Monday, April 21, 2008

Is Evangelical theology, Pauline theology?

Robert Menzies in his book Spirit and Power, co-authored with his father William Menzies, discusses an issue in hermeneutics - the role of narrative in forming theology. Typically, in the past narrative has been mostly viewed as historical and not theological - that instead narrative provides the historical basis for theological formulations. However, in time biblical scholars have come to see what most of the rest of us probably already knew, that narrative is often both historical and theological, history but with a purpose. Interestingly, many have been okay with this in regards to the Old Testament narratives, but when it comes to the book of Acts they break the rules and insist that it is only a historical account of the early church. They contradict themselves.

Anyways all that to highlight an interesting point he makes when interacting with a claim Gordon Fee makes in his book, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth where he states: "unless the Scriptures explicitly tell us we must do something, what is narrated or described can never function in a normative way." (this is footnoted from pg 97 of the 1981 edition - I have no idea if this was changed in response to Menzies or not). So Menzies goes on to respond with a barrage of questions,
"Today, for many, it is difficult to imagine how such a restrictive approach came to be axiomatic for Evangelical interpretation. After all, doesn't this principle sound very much like a canon within a canon? Doesn't much of the theology of the Old Testament come to us in the form of narrative? Didn't Jesus himself often teach by relating stories or parables? Doesn't such a theory tend to reduce the Gospels and Acts (as well as other narrative portions of Scripture) to a mere appendage to didactic portions of Scripture, particularly Paul's letters? (Perhaps this explains the overwhelmingly Pauline character of much of Evangelical theology. When all is said and done, has not Evangelical theology tended to be Pauline theology?) In any event, even the most casual reader cannot help feeling the tension with 2 Timothy 3:16. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness" (pg. 38-39).
So the question becomes, is Evangelical theology indeed, Pauline theology? What do you make of this quote?

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If Gordon Fee was a Pastor

In his book, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, Fee recalls a time when during a coffee hour at Regent College, one of his students asked, "If you were to return to the pastoral ministry, what would you do [meaning, How would you go about it? What would you emphasize?]?" Gordon Fee's answer was without hesitation:
No matter how long it might take, I would set about with a single passion to help a local body of believers recapture the New Testament church's understanding of itself as an eschatological community pg49.
If we could do that here, that would be completely amazing!

by the way, Nick will probably want to move this to the top of his list when he realizes there is a chapter called 'The Spirit and the Trinity' - a topic not often explored in Trinitarian discussions.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

searching books

This will sound a bit dunce, but I am just now figuring out how to search books on Amazon... so with that I have been enjoying searching through Harold W. Hoehner's Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary. One problem, if the wifey figures this more book (or commentary) buying! :( (or it will be harder to convince (or justify to) her of such.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

on learning the biblical languages

Eric Sowell over at Archaic Christianity has a couple of really good post on learning the biblical languages.

Should you learn Greek or Hebrew? Here is a key quote that is important to take in:
Let me make this very clear, though it should be obvious to everyone. Learning a foreign language well is a time-consuming process. There is no getting around that. There is no fast-track to learning a language in two weeks. There is no surgery for language gain. There are no pills you can take that will make it quick and painless. I think it is worth it, but you need to be ready for the amount it work it will take.

Do you "know" Greek or Hebrew? Here is a significant quote to consider:
However, we all need to be humble when it comes to what we think we know about the original languages. We should think of ourself rightly, accurately. We shouldn't teach with bravado from a text, disagree with the translations and say "but they're wrong because the original says x" and whatnot, unless we are really good at the language. It's kind of hard to measure that, but I'll give you a hint. If you've only studied the language for a couple of years, you're not. If you took classes in it and have been studying it off and on for a decade or so, you are probably not really good at it. When will you get there? Well, it takes a lot of time and effort. For some it takes more than others. What you need to be is very humble about it until you've spent a long time in the language.
Check it out. Let me know what you think!


J.I. Packer on Pentecostalism

In the Easter edition of Today's Pentecostal Evangel, and weekly publication of the Assemblies of God there is a conversation with J.I. Packer eminent theologian and professor emeritus at Regent College. I post a portion of the conversation below:

tpe: Why is Pentecostalism growing around the world?
PACKER: The Pentecostal emphasis on life in the Spirit, which became a big thing at the turn of the 20th century, was absolutely right. It was an emphasis that hadn't been fully grasped by other evangelicals for a long time. The up-front quest for fellowship with God that grabbed the whole of the heart and therefore had emotional overtones and the openness to a recurrence of some of the signs of the Kingdom was right. In the early 20th century evangelicals didn't accept Pentecostals, and Pentecostals found themselves tempted to say, "We're the only fully fashioned Christians in the world today." Only during the last 50 years has real partnership and mutual respect become reality.

It's simply a marvelous work of God that when the Pentecostal version of the gospel has been preached all around the world for the past half-century there has been a tremendous harvest. It's a wonderful work in our time, which we can set against the decline of Christianity in North America and Western Europe. Most notably in Africa and Asia, Christianity has been roaring ahead through the Pentecostal version of the Christian message and life in the Spirit. I celebrate it and thank God for it. There have been older evangelicals who have set themselves against distinctive Pentecostal emphases as if there's something wrong with it. I have not lined up with those folk and indeed have argued that their attitude is mistaken.
Thanks for the plug, Dr. Packer!


new blogroll additions

Along with nearly everyone else in the universe I added Nathan Stitt to my blog roll - unlike me where I kind of just do my own thing - Nathan's figured out a niche for the moment that people like: NT Greek (for now at least).

I followed his lead too and added "Roger Mugs" (he really doesn't want folks in his church knowing he blogs (I guess that could cause a boatload of problems). So he writes under a pseudonym (a good one at that). He is a pastor and attends RTS so he has some interesting posts and things to say!



Friday, April 18, 2008

This is for Nick

This is for Nick: 25 worst rappers of all time. Any disagreements?


Why study the nature and implications of the Trinity

It is a key essential doctrine of the historic Christian faith - salvation lies on its assertion. Learning more of the doctrine helps us learn more of the God who is indeed Trinity.

I can teach us about:

The oneness and unity of God (with implications for unity in the Church).
The diversity of God (with implications for diversity in the Church).
The holiness, jealousy, and wrath of God.
The Lordship and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The deity and work of the the Holy Spirit.
The role of the Father, Son, and Spirit in the life of the believer and the Church.
The Nature the Church (reflects the nature of the Trinity)
The mission of the Church (reflects the mission of the Trinity)
Love (as the essence of who God is).
Community (Trinity as ultimate model of community).
Relationships (God is relational, so are we).
Mutual submission (reflects the inner dynamic of the Trinity).
Interdependence (reflects the inner dynamic of the Trinity).
The Nature of Marriage (reflects the intimacy within the Trinity).
Etc, etc, etc.

Really, the list can go on and on.

Really now, why study and read up on the Trinity!? Indeed!

Update: Professor John Stackhouse of Regent College has some thoughts on the implications of the Trinity for the gender debate....which is, not a lot. (HT to Bryan L).


Thursday, April 17, 2008

George O. Wood: on Seminary

Last weekend the Assemblies of God Seminary had their annual "seminary day" (lots of seminaries having them right now). George O. Wood, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God spoke to the potential students about making a decision to attend seminary - he talks about general aspects of decision making and the will of God and ties it into deciding to attend Seminary. Listening to it, it gave me encouragement that I did. I am so glad I did. Some of us in Pentecostal circles need that encouragement as seminary is still often somewhat frowned upon among Pentecostals.

A great quote (very roughly prarphrased) "those who have overwhelming manifestations or supernatural callings - often suffer more in the long run..." (it's pastoral caution against the tendency toward over emotionalism). He advocates seeking God in prayer and fasting seeking his direction in worship (Acts 13:1) over seeking some overemotional experience. It's very solid pastoral advice and direction.

Also, he makes some insider jokes about Springfield, MO being the "Holy City" and the "City of the Millennium" because SGF is the headquarters for the AG in the US. His office is not even a 5 minute drive down the road from the Seminary.

Here is the link (mp3 file). It's really good stuff. Let me know what you think.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ephesians 1:7

I have a question on Ephesians 1:7 - It says in the Greek "en hoe exomen..." I notice most translations (andyou) put "In Christ" or "In him." Isn't "hoe" a relative pronoun? So could (or should) we say "in whom we have redemption..."? I notice the same phrase "en hoe..." in verses 11 and 13. Why not just leave it "in whom"?

(sorry, no Greek fonts, just approx transliterations...)

I emailed Mike about this but figured I'd just put it up on the blog and open it up.


New RBL additions

The following are some of the more interesting additions to the Review of Biblical Literature Website:

John Barton
The Nature of Biblical Criticism
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn

Tremper Longman III
Reviewed by Timothy J. Sandoval

A. Andrew Das
Solving the Romans Debate
Reviewed by Don Garlington, and David J. Downs

James M. Robinson
Jesus: According to the Earliest Witness
Reviewed by Robert A. Derrenbacker Jr.


OT Theology, what to do?

Okay, so I shared with my family that I would like a copy of Gerhard von Rad's Old Testament Theology and knew it would help that CBD has it on sale for $9.99. I do not know if it has been ordered yet or not. BUT, Chris Tilling keeps jawing about how wonderful and categorically imperative it is one go out right now and purchase John Goldengay's (so far) 2 volume Old (First) Testament Theology; Israel's Gospel and Israel's Faith. One is old, the other is newer. Even so, there is also Waltke's new OT Theology that seems like a must read (or even a must have).

So, what do I do? Tell the fam not to get von Rad and get me one of Goldingay's volumes or just skip all that and go with Waltlke? Perhaps let von Rad come and get Waltke too? I really don't need (or have room for) a shelf full of OT Theology books but one or two might be useful...

Oh, what to do??!!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ESV Study Bible

Following Nathan Stitt's lead - the ESV website has announced its long awaited "study Bible" will be out in October - Nathan listed one set of features. Here is another:
The ESV Bible text is set in highly readable 9-point type, in a single-column, book-text format.
Section summaries are highlighted for easy location throughout the notes. Summaries provide an overview of each main section and correspond to the outline shown in the introduction for each book.
Over 200 full-color maps printed throughout make events and places in the Bible come to life.
Over 25,000 notes focus especially on understanding the Bible text and providing answers to frequently raised issues. Words from the Bible text are printed in bold for easy reference.
Over 80,000 cross-references provide easy access to key words, passages, and themes throughout the Bible.
Numerous diagrams bring fresh understanding to key places and events in the Bible, based on the best, most recent historical and archaeological research.
Over 200 charts provide concise, “at a glance” summaries of important themes and teaching.

I was happy to see my preaching professor, Doug Oss, is listed as contributing notes to 2 Peter and Jude!

I will say it definitely looks to be a "study" Bible and probably not one to take to church - it also looks as though the notes and articles will be very conservative and reformed in bent, based on the contributors listed. This doesn't have to be bad per se, just something to be aware of.

I am also pretty sure Nick will get a review copy for free! (anyone want to bet on it?).


Books on the Holy Spirit (and related issues):

The following is a list of books I have related to the person and work of the Holy Spirit and related issues:

Stanley M. Horton's What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit (Gospel Publishing House, Revised edition, 2005). An overview of the Holy Spirit from Genesis to Revelation with some practical and pastoral teaching on the role of the Spirit in the life of the believer and the church.

Wilf Hildebrandt's An Old Testament Theology of the Spirit of God (Hendrickson 1995). Here Hildebrandt explores every occurance of the Hebrew word for spirit "ruach" in the Old Testament. (A sort of OT version of Fee's GEP but shorter and less massive).

A Reader on the Holy Spirit: Anointing Equipping and Empowering for Service (ICFG, 1993). This is a compendium of articles on various issues related to the Holy Spirit by various folks in the Foursquare Church.

Gordon Fee's God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (Hendrickson, 1994). The standard scholarly work on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in Paul.

Gordon Fee's Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, (Hendrickson, 1996). An abridged and slightly modified version of GEP. Simply a must have for every Christian. Really, reading this book will challenge and probably change how you view what "church" is all about.

Gary Burge's The Anointed Community: The Holy Spirit in the Johannine Tradition (Eerdmans, 1987). More or less Gary Burge's doctoral dissertation in published format. Issues regarding a Johannine community aside (cf. Bauckham) it is a solid work on the role of the Spirit in John's writings.

Robert P. Menzies, Empowered for Witness: The Spirit in Luke-Acts (Sheffield Academic Press, 1991). I have a slightly different copy than the one linked and at a substantially cheaper cost from when Debbie and I were at the Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio City in the Philippines in 2005. This is a published version of Menzies' doctoral dissertation and is a quite scholarly approach to the Spirit in Luke Acts. If I thought I could, I would love to go back and complete a ThM in Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies at APTS!

William W. and Robert P. Menzies' Spirit and Power: Foundations of Pentecostal Experience (A call to Evangelical Dialogue) (Zondervan, 2000). This is a toned down variation of Roberts more scholarly approach in Empowered for Witness and probably a good place to star for those wanting to review and critique a theology of the Pentecostal Experience (basically it is a defense of IPE doctrine).

Roger Stronstad, The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (Hendrickson, 1984). This is Strontads Masters Thesis. While it is a bit dated but still a solid presentation of the Holy Spirit in the Lukan Narratives. This would be good to get with Menzies' Spirit and Power book.

Blaine Charette, Restoring Presence: The Spirit in Matthew's Gospel (Sheffied Academic Press, 2000). Charette here presents one of the few (if not the only) solid case for a Matthean Pnumatology (theology of the Spirit).

Craig S. Keener's The Spirit in Gospels and Acts: Divine Purity and Power (Hendrickson, 1997). This has to be Kenner at his best regarding the background views of the Spirit in the Gospels and Acts - he focuses primarily on Jewish sources for a background context of the Spirit and how the early church viewed the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer and the church.

Craig S. Keener's Gift and Giver: The Holy Spirit for Today (Baker Academic, 2001). This would be good for anyone who wants to know more about who the Holy Spirit is and how he works in our lives. It is less scholarly (more pastoral) and geared to the average Christian interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit. I am not even sure this would be an expressly Pentecostal book but good for all Christians.

Craig S. Keener's 3 Crucial Questions About the Holy Spirit (Baker, 1996). This deals with three specific questions: What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? How important are Spiritual Gifts today? How can we recognize the Spirit. Some of this may be repeated in Gift and Giver but I think it might be worth looking into.

David Lim's Spiritual Gifts: A Fresh Look (Gospel Publishing House, 1998). This is a more traditional AG view of Spiritual Gifts and their role in church. Still interesting nonetheless. It should absolutely be coupled with Kenneth Berding's What Are Spiritual Gifts?: Rethinking the Conventional View (Kregel Publications, 2006). This work opens up the idea of Spiritual Ministries as opposed to "gifts".

Frank D. Macchia's Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology (Zondervan, 2006). This is a systematic theology of the Holy Spirit.

Richard Gaffin, et al, Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views (Zondervan, 1996). Gives for view for and against miraculous gifts.

Jack S. Deere's Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Zondervan, 1996). This gives Deere's won account of his experience of the Holy Spirit in his life even while a professor at the infamous cessationist school Dallas Theological Seminary, form which he was promptly fired one it became known he received the Baptism of the Spirit.

Think I have enough books on the person and work of the Holy Spirit yet?


Monday, April 14, 2008

Did Jesus' earthly father die early or no?

Mike Halcomb over on his blog Pisteuomen presents a very intriguing possibility that Jesus' earthly father did not die early but was in fact Joseph of Arimathea.

I personally have never heard this before - have you? what do you think of it?

Mike summarizes A.J. Fejfar noting that Joseph and Jesus, as "tektons" were apparently charged by the people of Nazareth with "penury" (hording wealth?) and so Joseph changed his name and location.

If this were the case would not the folks of Nazareth known still who Joseph was and that Mary was his wife and Jesus his son? Or would changing his identity have him presumed dead to the folks in Nazareth and no one would realize he was the same person as before? Or was Arimathea far enough away from Nazareth to remain unknown?

I am curious too as to any possible implications for Catholic theology and their argument of perpetual virginity of Mary? (maybe their is no connection?).


New book on Revelation 19

There is a new book out on Revelation 19 - Revelation 19 in Historical and Mythological Context (Peter Lang Publishing, 2008) - it is a dissertation by one of my professors from AGTS, David A. Thomas (PhD from SBTS) visiting professor of missions theology and lead astor of the Orange County Worship Center, in Santa Ana, CA.

Book Description
(cut and pasted from the Amazon website):
Revelation 19:11–21 is a passage rich in symbol and allusion, much of which proves elusive for interpreters restricting themselves to Old Testament references. However, when Greco-Roman history and mythology are examined, new possibilities are discovered. Revelation 19 in Historical and Mythological Context analyzes the Roman triumph and the Parthian threat as sources for the colorful imagery in Revelation 19, ultimately exploring the Nero redivivus myth as the nexus between the two and a key for unlocking the passage. Paradox and parody are important themes in this technical though theological study of the climax to the drama that is the Apocalypse.
Review Comment (cut and pasted from the Amazon website)
"David Andrew Thomas’s work is fascinating, well-organized, well-researched, and well-argued. It brings new light to some old puzzles on a passage to which commentators (including myself) have often given insufficient attention. Thomas deeply explores proposed backgrounds of Revelation’s imagery, providing further investigation for some and completely new ground for others. By avoiding the fallacy of unnecessary either-ors he achieves a new synthesis that many students of Revelation will find intriguing." Craig Keener, Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
Yeah, it is pricey - all dissertation publications typically are - still I think it will blow your socks off!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

mini-missions convention

We had a missionary family from AGWM come and spend a couple of days with us - they minister in Madrid, Spain focusing primarily on street evangelism - it is working there quite well. They pretty much use the same method as one sees at The Way of the Master (The Use of the Law in Evangelism). I like the method and have used it myself from time to time - given the circumstances it can be quite effective. They are a great family and it was a blessing to have them here. Please consider lifting Joy up in prayer as they discovered she has breast cancer. There is a website: Kilometer Cero that tells a bit more about what they do.


Friday, April 11, 2008

blogroll addition

I just came across Justin Jenkins' blog Pisteuo and am going to add it to my blogroll - he looks like he's got some good stuff - also he mentions John Walton's Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2006) (of whom Bryan L also keeps mentioning) which means Walton writes good stuff and so looks like something I am going to want to get soon! I came across his site through his comments on Chris Tilling's posts about creation.

Check it out. Let me know thy thoughts!


Who killed Goliath?

The editors of The New Oxford Annotated Bible Third Edition (p312-313) in discussing the historicity of the Historical books of the Old Testament note that we can still somewhat know the basic sense of the historical periods that they cover but that each text needs to be weighed individually in terms of its date of composition and its likely goals. In this they accept the veracity of the "dry notice in 1 Kings 14:25-26" noting it may come from an archival source. However, in contrast, they assert:
there are good reasons to be suspicious of the historicity of the long, detailed, and embellished story of David slaying Goliath in 1 Samuel 17; this story uses late biblical Hebrew language, comes from a different source that the surrounding material in Samuel, and i structured like a fairy tale, in that the poor, short, unexpected hero gets to marry the tall king's daughter by killing the giant who had vilified God. Additionally, 2 Samuel 21:19 reads, "Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam." It is much more likely that a short tradition in which Goliath is killed by a relatively unknown figure (Elhanan) would be the source for the long elaborate tale attributing the same event to the well known David, rather than vice versa. Thus, the modern historian must subject each text in these Historical books to the type of internal analysis used on nonbiblical historical texts when external information bearing on the text is lacking.
So the question in my mind becomes "who then, killed Goliath?" If not David, why attribute the event to him instead of Elhanan? Does the writer use the event to thrust David into the limelight as God's chosen King?

How do you feel about the possibility that David may have not actually killed Goliath, that the whole story is in fact embellished and fictional?

What say you?


Thursday, April 10, 2008

do I have a terrible attitude?

Jim West noted the passing of David Noel Freedman - an eminent and erudite Biblical Scholar.   I noted in the comment: 
It is indeed sad that David Freedman has gone on to be with the Lord, yet joyful that he has received his eternal promotion! - I am glad he leaves behind an amazing legacy and lots of books and articles for the rest of us to continue on with.
Well, then the following comment says:
"Terribile auditu…"
How so? He lived a long and rich life and has a rich legacy of biblical scholarship in the Christian community. Now he is with the Lord he loved. Is this not the goal of the Christian life? Correct me if I am wrong.

Seminary Meme

Yvette tagged me with a Seminary Meme. If I answer the questions I have a chance to get a hundred bucks in free books. Now who could say no to that?

This Seminary Meme is part of a competition sponsored by [the] Going to Seminary [blog] and Eisenbrauns. If you’d like to be entered, simply answer the 7 questions below and tag 5 other people. You’ll also need to post this paragraph (links included) with your answers as the links will be tracked back to your blog and will count as your “entry” into the competition. On April 30th, 2008, one blogger will be selected at random to win a $100 gift certificate to the Eisenbrauns online bookstore.

Where do you attend seminary? The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO.

What class do you think has most impacted your spiritual life? A class called The Spiritual Formation of the Minister. It may seem basic but too many seminary students get really caught up in the academics of seminary life and forget to nurture their own souls - I have this problem too. The Spiritual Formation class provided needed grounding to be sure I don't run myself into the ground spiritually.

What seminary professor has been the most influential while in seminary? Without a doubt, Benny C. Aker, now professor emeritus of New Testament. Why? Mostly because of his kind heart and gentle spirit -but most of all because I learned from him about the nature of theology and the role it plays in a persons life and in the life of the Church. He also taught me its okay to question certain doctrines and their formulations - if there is a better way, go with that one. Also, I really connected with David A. Thomas, visiting professor of mission theology and got two A+'s from him! He taught me much about the power of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading in relation to ministry and biblical studies! If one want's to really experience God's power, prayer, fasting, and Bible reading are key!

What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced in seminary? Getting started, but one I got going I really enjoyed it, had it not been for graduation, I would have kept going! ;)

What has been the greatest reward you’ve experienced in seminary? Learning it is fully possible to be a biblical scholar and also a Pentecostal (typically viewed as an oxymoron in Pentecostal circles).

What are your plans after seminary?  Well, I am doing it now, living out a missionary pastor calling right next to one of the greatest of Seven Natural Wonders in the World!  The South Rim of the Grand Canyon.   I eventually want to pursue doctoral work and teach while still pastoring or doing missions.  

How many times have you been asked question #6?  Not too often as I am in it now.  Though I remember constant discussions in seminary about if I wanted to do doctoral work - on prof just assumed I would by saying "you want to get your doctorate don't you?"  

Tags: Lee, Josh, Glen, and a couple others who have probably already been tagged.  

Sorry Nick, I guess you don't qualify!!  ;) 


OT Theology

Welp, I put in for a b-day request (which means it's likely a sure thing-especially since it is a whopping NINE BUCKS!!) for Gerhard von Rad's Old Testament Theology One Volume Hardcover edition put out by Prince Press which is on sale over at Hey, it's HUGE (992 pgs), but its his two volumes put together for a whopping NINE BUCKS!! (I often worry and wonder why something like this is going for so cheap - cheaper isn't always better but... I can't afford the two volume edition of which each goes for roughly $40 Bucks a pop). I don't have an OT Theology and sadly (sort of) I did not take such in seminary (though I did take three Hebrew Exegesis courses (each in the three parts of the Hebrew Bible) and got some theology through those courses)). I will probably want to get Waltke's OT theology and then I'll have a somewhat balanced set (older and newer - there have been some advanced in OT Studies so newer works can be helpful - though not always). Did I say this book is a whopping NINE BUCKS!!??


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

consider reading Francis Schaeffer

I think Doug Groothuis offer some really good advice about reading the works of Francis A. Schaeffer. It would probably be good to start with the trilogy offered by Amazon. It'll help round out your reading in Biblical Studies. Most people don't realize he was addressing issues of post-modernism long before others were - he was a bit ahead of his time.


Monday, April 07, 2008

My "Jesus books"

The following are books I have that in one way or another focus on the person and work Jesus Christ:

Jurgen Moltmann's The Way of Jesus Christ: Christology in Messianic Dimensions (Augsburg Fortress Publishers; 1st Fortress Press ed edition, 1993).

Donald G. Bloesch's Jesus Christ: Savior and Lord (Christian Foundations Series) (IVP: 1997).

Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, (Eerdmans, 2006). This is more about the Gospels, but still about Jesus.

John Stott's The Cross of Christ (IVP, 1986).

__________. The Incomparable Christ, (IVP, 2004).

Luke Timothy Johnson's The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels, (HarperOne, 1997).

______________________. Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel, (HarperOne, 2000).

Michael Green's Who is this Jesus? (Oliver Nelson, 1992). (I have an older edition).

Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew (Zondervan, 1995).

So, as you can see, my list is not extensive and rather conservative (with the exception of Moltmann).

Correction: Johnson isn't really a conservative or too overly liberal - but sure does slam the Jesus Seminar and hits a home run with Living Jesus!


Sunday, April 06, 2008

OT > NT or NT > OT?

One thing I was trying to ask in my post on Job do you work to understand the New Testament in light of the Old Testament or is their new understanding of the Old Testament in light of the New Testament? Perhaps it's a both/and?

As I see it, the cross of Christ and his resurrection changed everything, ever-y-thing (think of Woody's head spinning in Toy Story when he confronted Sid). So, I think our reading of the Old Testament is going to be influenced by the work of Christ on the cross and his rising from the dead - I mean this is what totally changed Paul from Saul, what changed Paul from a Pharisee to Missionary/Ambassador for Christ - the cross and resurrection. It shifted how he understood the OT, it shifted his focus from the Law to Grace. A case in point is with the issue of "ha-satan" in Job - while perhaps in its context it may have not meant the devil per se, theological development over time and the New Testament re-interpretation of the Old Testament allows us to see that "ha-satan" is in fact Satan, the accuser of the brethren. Thanks to Peter for his input.

What say you?


Top Ten Books on my Shelf(s)

In no particular order:

1: Stanley Grenz' Theology for the Community of God, (Eerdmans 2000). Even though he does not agree with Pentecostalism and says so in this book, the rest of it is really good and his strongest contribution, in my opinion, is implications of the Trinity for the Community of Faith.

2. Gordon Fee's God's Empowering Presence: the Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul, (Hendrickson, 1994). This is hands down the best book on Pauls views and understanding of the Holy Spirit.

3. George Eldon Ladd's A Theology of the New Testament, Revised Ed, (Hendrickson, 1993). It might be a bit dated now, but is still considered a top level NT Theology. I'd like to complement it eventually with I. Howard Marshall's NT Theology.

4. Luke Timothy Johnson's The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, (Augsburg Fortress Publishers; Pap/Cdr edition, 2002). Johnson takes a more thematic approach in this NT intro and makes and awesome complement to the more standard or technical NT Intro such as R. Brown or Carson Moo Morris.

5. Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony, (Eerdmans, 2006). The best out on Jesus and its fun to listen to everyone scrambling for cover as their anonymous communities theories of the Gospels comes crashing down.

6. John Stott's The Cross of Christ, IVP, 1986. I have to confess, most of what John Stott writes just makes my heart sing. What else could be better than reading on the cross?

7. Arthur Glasser's Announcing the Kingdom: The Story of Gods Mission in the Bible, (Baker Academic, 2003). This is a great overview of the Bible from the viewpoint of salvation history and the role of God's mission in the Bible.

8. F.F. Bruce's Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, (Eerdmans, 2000). Who else better to read on Paul than Bruce? This more or less follows from Paul's conversion to the end. Still a standard on Paul.

9. C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, (Touchstone Books edition, 1996). Couldn't leave this one out - Lewis what not a theologian but seemed to "get it" better than most theologians in in my opinion.

10. Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship, (Touchstone; 1 edition, 1995). This is the classic on discipleship to Jesus and should be read regularly in my estimation.



"Moses" died...

Actor Charlton Heston dies at 84.
Heston lent his strong presence to some of the most acclaimed and successful films of the midcentury. "Ben-Hur" won 11 Academy Awards, tying it for the record with the more recent "Titanic" (1997) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003). Heston's other hits include: "The Ten Commandments," "El Cid," "55 Days at Peking," "Planet of the Apes" and "Earthquake."

He liked the cite the number of historical figures he had portrayed:

Andrew Jackson ("The President's Lady," "The Buccaneer"), Moses ("The Ten Commandments"), title role of "El Cid," John the Baptist ("The Greatest Story Ever Told"), Michelangelo ("The Agony and the Ecstasy"), General Gordon ("Khartoum"), Marc Antony ("Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra"), Cardinal Richelieu ("The Three Musketeers"), Henry VIII ("The Prince and the Pauper").

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Need Help

Would anyone out there happen to have Peter Enns' NIV Application Commentary on Exodus who would be willing to scan and send me a few of the more pertinent pages on Exodus 20:1-17? If possible, send it asap. You can email me at brianfulthorp at yahoo dot com. Thanks for the consideration.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Is the Devil in the book of Job?

For the longest time many have believed that God may have "allowed" "Satan" (aka: the Devil) to test Job as seen in the first couple chapters of Job. However, Tyler Williams posted a blog on what the word "satan" in Job actually means back in March - I just learned of it the other day through Chris Heard's site. Tyler Williams has a good argument - the term "satan" (a transliteration of the Hebrew) does not refer to that creature often known as "the devil" (formerly known as "Lucifer" and seen in the Revelation, as "the Dragon"). HEre is a key Quote to consider:
In the prose prologue to the book of Job we are introduced to “the satan” (‏השטן‎) who is among the “sons of Elohim” (‏בני האלהים‎) (1:6). It is pretty clear that this passage isn’t referring to “Satan” (i.e., the king of demons) since the Hebrew noun “satan” has a definite article. The biblical text refers to “the satan”, not “Satan.” Personal names in Hebrew (as in English) do not take the definite article. I don’t go around referring to myself as “The Tyler” — and if I did, people would think I was weirder than they already think I am.....Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the figure of “the satan” in the book of Job is not sinister; he does question the motives behind Job’s fear of Yahweh, but he is not the “Satan” found in the New Testament.
One issue that is interesting is how to view the Old Testament - many want to let it speak for itself and say "in context" such and such. Yet we see in the NT, nearly every Gospel writer, Paul and the rest put forth Jewish or Hebrew exegesis of the Old Testament - some seemingly take things out of context and apply them to Jesus for various theological reasons - or at least it is a part of their exegetical method. Interestingly there are some OT folks who might disagree with Paul's interpretation of certain OT texts that he looks at in the light of Christ. One of my NT profs from seminary told me about an OT guy he listened to embarassingly disagree with Paul!

So what do you think? Could "‏השטן‎" refer to the devil or some other angelic being? Does the context support one or the other?


Missions again

A few posts back I talked about different things I think about missions. One particular part of missions I want to highlight is the term "unreached," what it means and what it does not mean. The term unreached is a missiological term missionaries have been working to define and clarify so that it is very specific. It is a technical term that has been hammered out so to speak and refers to a rather specific situation. Unfortunately, it has become a bit of a buzz word in the American Church not unlike the term "missional" has been in danger of becoming, if it isn't already.

Here is a rather unfortunate example where the term "unreached" is misapplied and used as a buzz word that sadly and unnecessarily ends up pitting home missions against world missions. (Let me know what you think, and if you agree.)

So what does the term "unreached" mean? To what context/situations does it apply?

To start, "unreached" refers to a very specific socio-cultural (even linguistically unique) situation. It has to do with the idea of a specific group of people who have very little to no access to the story of Jesus such that there are very very few to no near neighbor witnesses who can relate to them the message of the Christian gospel. It also refers to a situation where a specific people group has no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize it own people.

So then what is a "people group"? It refers to a specific group of people who have their own socio-cultural-linguistic distinctives such that they differ from another group and barriers of misunderstanding can exist. If you go to the Joshua Project website, you see that they also note that they quote the 1982 Lausanne Committee Chicago meeting's definition of a people group which reads, "For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance."

So, if you browsed the article linked and looked over the Joshua Project website you'll probably notice that unwed moms, teenagers, addicts, disillusioned college kids, homeless people, divorced or single parents, etc, do not fit the specific missiological classification of an "unreached" people group.

Would you agree?


One book only

I got tagged by Bryan a couple days ago to do what Drew prefers to call an “autobiographical widget™”.
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the bible, what would that be and why?

Simple Rules
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!

*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.
Okay, it has taken me a couple days to think about this because I have several books I really like. But if pressed to the wall and forced to make a decision I would probably take Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. (Well, I'd really press hard to bargain for two and hope I could get John Stott's The Cross of Christ as well because much of what Stott writes just really sits well with me). But I have been "discovering" Bauckham's work and I like much of what I have been finding. I have yet to get more of his stuff. Right now I have his WBC commentary on 2 Peter/Jude, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple. All of these have been really good so far. I want to get the new one he edited The Gospel of John in Christian Theology, and an older one on the Theology of Revelation, which is probably a must for the study of the Revelation.

Why Jesus and the Eyewitnesses? I like Gospel studies and I like works on the central figure of our faith: Jesus. The whole idea of anonymous communities composing the Gospels hasn't really sat well with me and I had concerns about it. Well, in reading Bauckham we see the house of cards fall, we see the end of an era and really, the end of a particular school of discipline within NT Studies - that of discussion the features, attributes, and the like of anonymous communities or even the supposed Johannine community.

Here is a quote that sits well with me:
There are difficulties, of course, in the fact that these four accounts of Jesus differ, but there is no doubt that the Jesus of the church's faith through the centuries has been a Jesus found in these Gospels. That means that Christian faith has trusted these texts. Christian faith has trusted that in these texts we encounter the real Jesus, and it is hard to see how Christian faith and theology can work with a radically distrusting attitude to the Gospels (p2).... What is in question is whether the reconstruction of a Jesus other than the Jesus of the Gospels, the attempt, in other words, to do all over again what the Evangelists did, though with different methods, critical historical methods, can ever provide the kind of access to the reality of Jesus that Christian faith and theology have always trusted we have in the Gospels. By comparison with the Gospels, any Jesus reconstructed by the quest cannot fail to be reductionist from the perspective of Christian faith and theology (p4) [Italics mine].
This is a slam dunk quote in my opinion. In fact when I read it, I could hear various folks scattering across the floor ducking their heads as their house of cards came collapsing down on top of them. I hope they make it out okay.

I am late on this so no tags.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Missions Question of the Day

Who was the first missionary?