Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Doctrinal Sanctification

In considering the sine qua non i.e. without which it could not be, of the "historic christian faith", i am wondering how much of "the faith" a person has to understand in order to be considered "in the faith"? In other words, i am wanting to know how many, or which of the tenants does it take to be associated in the church, and how much of what i will call "doctrinal sanctification" can play a role in shaping a person's correct understanding of those tenants post-christian conversion/experience. Roughly stated: it seems to me that the sanctification of a person can deal with attitudes that are unchristlike as well as doctrines that are unchristlike. While not affirming error, but desiring truth (especially in this post): how much did your understanding of Christ and the cross (associated terms and doctrines) did it take for you to truly be saved, and how much has your understanding of Christ and the cross morphed since then? My hunch is that some people will naturally propose the tenant: "justification by faith", that said (and if i'm right) how much of that teaching must one understand? Again, does someone simply believe in the value of Christ going to the cross for their sins or is the implication that, that person has to comprehend the matrix of the phrase "justification by faith"? I realize my post is rough around the edges in cognancy but hopefully it makes a little sense... :-)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Great Offer from Regent!

If your into textual criticism, or if you like Gordon Fee (or both) then this book is for you! The price can't be beat, its a 482 page, hard back edition that normally lists for around $60.00 and $36.00 at amazon, it is on sale for $9.33 plus around $6.00 for shipping. below is the description from their site:


Product Description
The seventeen studies in this volume provide a comprehensive presentation and assessment of past and current methods applied to the New Testament text. Both acknowledged specialists in historical and methodological studies of textual criticism, coauthors Epp and Fee offer an introductory survey of the whole field of New Testament textual criticism, followed by sections of essays on these topics: definitions of key terms; critiques of current theory and method; methods of establishing textual relationships; studies of the papyri with respect to text-critical method; and guidelines for the use of patristic evidence. Volume 45 of the Studies and Documents series, founded by Kirsopp and Silva Lake and edited by Irving Alan Sparks, Studies in the Theory and Method of New Testament Textual Criticism represents a coherent and complementary collection of essays - most but not all of them previously published - whose abiding worth and considerable influence have been demonstrated through extensive citation by textual critics and exegetes.

This compilation of studies will serve as a welcome resource for biblical scholars and students taking seminary or graduate courses in New Testament. From the more introductory studies to the constructive critiques of current theory to the more specialized analyses concerning New Testament textual criticism, this volume will provide information and challenge to beginners and experts alike.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Revelation Pt.2 (My First Thoughts...)

The book of Revelation promotes three types of genres:

3)Prophecy/Prophecy :)

These three different forms of writing styles/genres blend together into a cohesive unity thus forming a relatively distinct and multi nuanced literary composition.

John is not drafting this as he is seeing it. He shows reflection and intentionality with how he weaves the message of the Revelation. Again, John is writing into a contemporaneous Sitz im Leben i.e. a historical setting which involve local communities in Asia Minor that are going through or about to go through severe testing, trial and (from John's perspective) a testimony unto death! John wants to encourage them to be overcomers and utilizes the rich tapestry of this book to do so.

The Book of Revelation Pt. 1

After a decade plus of being a christian, i have carefully sought to understand the books of the bible in their original context i.e. literary, social, grammatical, etc. etc. with the hope of better understanding the Words and Will of God. But to my chagrin i have steered clear of the Revelation. I have embellished in what has rightly been called "eschataphobia", due to the fanatical products i've witnessed over the years of people obsessed with its content. Well, recently i have started to trod on the shallow brink of what has (to my surprise!) been a wonderful experience. Starting the journey with Richard Bauckham's book "the theology of the book of revelation" couldn't have been a more proper place.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Witherington takes a Stand!

There is a good post (and discussion) entitiled "What Price Relevance, What Effect Effectiveness?" over at Ben Witherington's blog on Halo 3 and youth ministries. It's based off a story in this weekend's NY Times. I encourage you to check it out and maybe even get involved, is it ethical or not?


Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Concept of Exegesis

Exegesis is beyond a shadow of all reasonable doubts, one of the most important concepts to grasp, for its supreme worth in what I will call theological fundamentals, and philosophical particulars. By theological fundamentals, I mean one’s own fundamental understanding of biblical truth, and that truth as related primarily to God, and His teachings, specifically those teachings that apply directly to His person and plan for mankind. By philosophical particulars, I intend to mean, that conceptual frameworking for living out one’s fundamental theological understanding of God & His teaching. Making a distinction between “essentials” of “the faith”, and a philosophical outworking of those “essentials”, which distinguish men, movements, and traditions while keeping a knitted thread of theology in consensus. Perhaps the phrase “unity & diversity” would help one understand my latter emphasis.

Exegesis to me then, is both a passion of pleasure (much like a hobby), and a reverential undertaking that demands toil and sweat. I tread on its ground with both fear & trembling, and blissful enjoyment. Without belaboring here all the different points of what exegesis is, I will propose two dimensions that I discern as invaluable to its task, which are science and art. Simply stated, the goal of exegesis is: a re-creation of a historical setting, so to arrive at a meaningful understanding of a portion of text, between an original author and that author’s intended audience. It is both an art and science. By stressing science, I mean a knowledge that comes through a rigorous research of data, from diverse fields of discipline. Whether those disciplines are social, geographical, political, grammatical fields, etc., one must commit to the pain of informing himself/herself at all costs to gain a proper familiarity of a foreign world, i.e. a culture and period of time long ago. Without this, there is no ground for assessing any material accurately for a fundamental theology or philosophical particulars. As well as a science, exegesis is also an art. By art I propose simply the ability or skill to apply and analyze that data one retrieves from the prowess of study/research. It is science, which gains facts; it is art, which creates life, and adds nuance and sentiment to scripture. It is art, which utilizes the information gained and allows you to visit the world of the past. It is something like a screenplay or movie, exegesis seeks to put into motion the story of scripture and accurately display a narrative. Whether that is the drama of the exodus, or Paul the Apostle, shut up in dungeon, seeking to encourage the churches he planted. In conclusion, exegesis should bring near the distant world of the O.T. and N.T. to help us realize their significance in forming and shaping what I called above: theological fundamentals, and philosophical particulars.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


After years of neglect i have decided to re-engage in (what is now) the ancient rhetoric of blogging. Hopefully, i won't settle for mere wishful thinking and actually particpate in this "labor of love"...

I can't believe my blog has never been removed though never used!
What nice people (or negligent) they are at blogger...

Faith in a RISEN Christ, not a DEAD creed!

After considering the long asked question of "why is christendom i.e. the church, as weak and sick as it is", in short I've considered the following: after "the dark ages", there shined down from above, a revelatory beam of hope in "the enlightenment", which resulted in a revival of historical criticism. Johann Salomo Semler, who was primarily the agent in the biblical/theological world, turned the tide of traditional dogmaticism to what today is taken for granted as the "historical-critical method" of interpretation. But as the old adage reminds us: "what God intends for our blessing, satan intends for our cursing", (or something like that) anyhoo, not long after the enlightment began, and as a sad twist to what God was working through higher criticism, their were those in the church, (and without) who began replacing the bible, with their own autonomy (God given ability to reason and capacitate) as the final authority, which gave rise to rationalism and liberalism. Upon such a faulty premise there were ramifications expressed of a disbelief and even scoffing at the supernatural. Naturally (or unnaturally) this led to the denial of such phenomenon's as the virgin birth, the resurrection accounts, Christ's miracles, etc. etc.

At the complete and polar opposite end of these views or groups (liberals), there arose a rebuttal; a voice or group that has come to be known as "the fundamentalists". This group or school of thought, in a polemic against the liberals stated and maintained "the fundamentals" with so much rigor and staunch, that anyone not upholding their "articles of faith", were deemed unregenerate. And hereto comes our dillema... In a sincere desire to contend earnestly for "the faith", somewhere we lost the content of these articles of "the faith" and magnified and shall I dare to say deified a creed, (statement of faith) and minimized the very creedal meanings. This I believe, is what has played a primary part in shaping and defining our mega-church American/Western age. To identify oneself to christendom today, one simply has to intellectually/mentally ascent and adhere to the back of a bulletin received from church. It says something like:

I believe in ...
I believe in ...
I believe in ...

If I hold to "the faith" all is well and I can sing some songs, sit and enjoy the message, and be on my merry way. Never really embracing or "trusting" Christ and His Risen Reality. Being a christian means: making sure my i's are dotted, and t's crossed theologically, but not necessarily experiencing the power of the gospel!