Jan 30, 2010

Witherington on the Nature of New Testament Worship

See Ben Witherington's post on the nature of New Testament worship here.

Sociological Dimensions of the Gospel

John Amtstutz, "Beyond Pentecost: A Study of Some Sociological Dimensions of New Testament Church Growth from the Book of Acts," in
Essays on Apostolic Themes: Studies in Honor of Howard M. Ervin, ed. Paul Elbert (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1985), 219-20, states that,

"Paul, the apostle of Gentile freedom, saw the issues [related to the gospel] most clearly. They were first and foremost theological. The basis of salvation is faith in the grace of God, not faith in the works of men. But Paul also wisely saw that the issues were sociological as well. Because the basis of salvation was divine grace, not human works, men of all nations could receive salvation as a gift without denying their cultural identity. They could "remain in the state in which they were called" (1 Cor 7:17–24). Paul's ‘theology of calling’ affirmed the validity of cultural diversity among believers. ‘Against the assimilationist pressures of the Judaizers, Paul argued in favor of (cultural) pluralism. Against the cries for Christian (cultural) uniformity Paul raised the banner of Christian liberty.’[1] Paul kept the offense of the gospel where it belonged, in the cross not the culture (1 Cor 1:18–25). Unity in the body of Christ did not require destruction of cultural differences. Rather, it meant the transcending of such differences so that Jews and Gentiles loved one another, not looked like one another. The gospel invited men to move from one kingdom to another, not one culture to another (Col 1:13). Thus Jews remained Jewish and Gentiles remained Gentile, but all were one in Christ, not culture. Is it any wonder, then, that after the decision of the Jerusalem conference the number of Gentiles entering the household of faith greatly increased (Acts 16:20)? Although the door into the household of faith was low, low enough to require all men to bow in humble repentance and faith in God's gift, it was wide enough that men of any nation could enter without losing their diversity in our world, the truly Pentecostal Church will be led of the Spirit to discover modern ways to implement Paul's theology of calling, that disciples may be made of all nations without forcing people to deny their culture to become western or American Christians."

[1] C. Peter Wagner, Our Kind of People: The Ethical Dimensions of Church Growth in America (Nashville: John Knox, 1979), 128.

Jan 29, 2010

Free Downloads of Aleppo and Leningrad and Other Codices

Charles Halton has posted instructions concerning how to get free downloads of Aleppo, Leningrad, and other codices at the Seforim Online website.

Paul's Acceptance of the Apostolic Decree

“Some scholars have argued that Paul’s acceptance of the compromise of Acts 15 im
plied that he tolerated a ‘different gospel’ for a transitional period. This view is implausible. The agreement that was reached at the apostolic council in A.D. 48 was basically acceptable for Paul for the following reasons. (1) Paul was willing to live among Jews as a Jew (1 Cor 9:19–20). (2). Paul rejected porneia (1 Cor 6:9). (3) Paul directed the Corinthian Christians not to eat meat in the presence of Jewish Christians if it was known that the meat had been offered to idols in a pagan temple (1 Cor 10:25–28). (4) Paul possibly supported the same proviso with regard to meat that contained blood (Rom 14:13–21).”

Eckhard J. Schnabel,
Early Christian Mission: Volume 2: Paul and the Early Church (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004), 1018–19.

Jan 28, 2010

Church Hopping

See this
post by Deek Dubberly.

Preaching from the Synoptic Gospels

See this
post on preaching from the Synoptic Gospels.

The Psalms in the New Testament

Hans-Joachim Kraus offers the following advice concerning the study of how the Psalms are used in the New Testament.

"In the whole inquiry there is a primary exegetical task, the goal of which is to identify and explain the biblical-theological contexts in which the quotations were used. It would hardly be in the interest of such a procedure to present the processes of understanding which are involved in the quotations behind the texts, but the intention that is contained in the texts themselves must be explicated. What are the steps that are to be followed? (1) The context of each psalm quotation is to be investigated to determine the intention of its kerygma. This includes a precise determination of the place of the quotation in this specific context. (2) From the New Testament context we should identify the purpose for which the psalm has been quoted. Then we must identify the kerygmatic scope of meaning which the Old Testament text has helped to advance. (3) We should also reflect on the character which the New Testament context has given to the quotation in its relationship to the way the text was understood in the Old Testament This will lead us to investigate whether the early Christian kerygma has discovered in this new use made of the text anything of relevance for our understanding of the witness borne by the Old Testament itself."

Hans-Joachim Kraus, Theology of the Psalms , trans. Keith Crim (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1986), 177.

Jan 27, 2010

How Not to Start a Sermon

David Murray offers ten don'ts for sermon introductions.

1. Don’t be too long

2. Don’t be too showy
3. Don’t be too ambitious
4. Don’t be too personal
5. Don’t be too loud
6. Don’t be too predictable
7. Don’t steal the sermon’s thunder
8. Don’t be apologetic
9. Don’t flatter
10. Don’t be offensive

Read the entire post

Reading Paul

See Steven Coxhead's thoughtful post on some of the mistakes and challenges that are made in reading the Pauline Epistles.

What's Changing, What's Not

See this article on by Marian Liautaud entitled "
What's Changing, What's Not" at LeadershipJournal.net.

Preaching Expositionally Without Preaching Exhaustively

Peter Mead offers the following helpful points on how one can do an expositional study of a book and not cover every verse in the book.

Foundation – Know the message, flow and structure of the book.
1. Select key moments in the book.
2. Select key examples in the book.
3. Select an example in a sequence, but show the whole progression.
4. Select passages you want to preach.
5. Keep the big idea of the book clear throughout.

While I still have preference for verse-by-verse studies, this does offer a way to cover longer books without spending an inordinate time in a series. Read Peter's entire post here.

Jan 26, 2010

Things You'll Never Hear the Preacher Say

~ “Oh, no, I couldn't eat another bite of that delicious pie!”

~ “I can't think of anything to preach!”

~ “I wish we had a church business meeting every week!”

~ “I'm afraid that our choir is at full capacity. Can't take anyone else.”

~ “We'd like to start paying our Sunday School teachers next week.”

~ “December is a boring month--I never have anything to do.”

~ “I hate it when people volunteer!”

~ “I believe the Lord has called me to a smaller church.”

~ “There will be no offering today--we've got plenty of money.”

From: PreachingNow

Pastor as Theologian

I am not sure how long this article has been out, but you might want to check out Al Mohler's article "Pastor as Theologian"

Praying in Jesus' Name

Mart De Haan has posted some thoughts on the practice of praying in Jesus' name

Jan 25, 2010

Possibilities Rather Than Lists

Daniel Overdorf makes the following helpful observations in his book, A
pplying the Sermon.

"Effecive sermon application offers possibilities that enhance the work of the Spirit instead of lists that can interfere with the work of the Spirit.
We preachers enjoy our lists and steps: 'Four things that will give you a vibrant prayer life,' or 'Three steps to becoming the husband God wants you to be.' Such application can limit what the Spirit may want to do with a text in the heart of a listener. What if the Spirit had wanted the listener to implement a fifth 'thing' into her prayer life? What if a husband needed to do something to improve is marriage that the preacher hadn't thought of?

"Furthermore, when we offer only lists or steps, we may inadvertently imply to listeners, 'These are the only ways this teaching applies to your life.' And, perhaps even more damaging, we may tell listeners, 'You can take these four easy steps into any circumstance, any life situation, any struggle, and they will solve everything.'

"This approach risks interfering with the complex, meticulous, mysterious work of the Spirit. It ignores the tensions of life. It trivializes the knotty business of real faith. And, in the end, such an approach often results in legalistic listeners who have reduced the enormity of Christianity to a few rules and steps."

Daniel Overdorf, Applying the Sermon: How to Balance Biblical Integrity and Cultural Relevance (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), 50.

Jan 24, 2010


Although this article in the January 24 edition of the Dallas Morning News is not related specifically to Bible translation, it is an interesting article on translating and translations.