Jun 19, 2010

Jeff Weddle on The Gospel-Filled Wallet

The Gospel-Filled Wallet by Jeff Weddle is the first offering from Transform
ing Publishing, a brand-new publishing effort started by Milton Stanley, a fellow blogger over at Transforming Sermons. I hope to post a review of The Gospel-Filled Wallet next week, but for now I offer you an interview with the author Jeff Weddle. Jeff describes himself as a husband of one wife, the father of three children, a pastor of Rhinelander Bible Church, a freelance writer, a professional cleaner, and a Bible reader and increasingly also a doer.

Question: How did The Gospel-Filled Wallet come about?

In recent years I have helped many people move and seen several peo
ple die. The observations of the accumulation of stuff and the amount of life it wastes began to gnaw at me. As I read the Bible, I saw a consistent message that backed up my observations: stuff does not help; it only hinders. I became fascinated by the Bible's consistent message on the dangers of money and possessions.

Question: Why did you write The Gospel-Filled Wallet?

There is almost a complete lack of attention in the modern church to the Bible's warnings about materialism. I thought I could do my part to warn professed believers about the dangers of worldliness and its inevitable effects on their faith

Question: What is the main thesis of the book?

Money will ruin your faith, so get rid of it biblically and quickly.

Question: Who do you think should read this book?

Anyone who wants to know how the Gospel will influence your monetary habits.

Question: What do you hope to accomplish through this book?

I hope to cause Believers to carefully think about their money, possessions and the Gospel. I hope to convict the reader about how they spend money. I desire to see the Gospel demonstrated more in Believers' spending habits. In the end, this book was written for me, to convict me and get my priorities straight. If it helps anyone else, that is only a bonus of God's grace.

A Throne-Room Observation

Reflecting on the throne-room scene in Revelation 4, Smith and Card make the following observation.

"How desperately our generation of Christians needs a fresh version and understanding of the sovereignty of God. We are not fatalists. Patty Page is not our patron theological saint as she sang "Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be." Neither are we stoics, who brace ourselves against the storm of life and accept all things with passive resignation. Neither must we allow ourselves to become superficial evangelicals, full of denial about the reality of pain and suffering, groping for one more biblical Band-Aid and spiritual anesthetic to deal with huge and troubling issues which are an inevitable part of the Christian life."

Scotty Smith and Michael Card, Unveiled Hope: Eternal Encouragement from the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Thomas Nelson), 1997, 70.

Jun 18, 2010

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews that may be of interest from a Bible Exposition perspective include:

Alejandro F. Botta and Pablo R. Andich, eds.
The Bible and the Hermeneutics of Liberation
Reviewed by Jonathan Draper

Paul F. Bradshaw
Reconstructing Early Christian Worship
Reviewed by Tony Costa

Fredrik H
Isaiah 53 in the
Light of Homecoming after Exile
Reviewed by Ulrich Berges

Marlies Heinz and Marian H. Feldman, eds.
Representations of Political Power: Case Histories from Times of Change and Dissolving Order in the Ancient Near East
Reviewed by Paul Sanders

J. Gerald Janzen
At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job
Reviewed by Suzanne Boorer

David Paul Parris
Reception Theory and Biblical Hermeneutics
Reviewed by Christopher Rowland

Giuseppe Pulcinelli
La morte di Ges?come espiazione: La concezione paolina
Reviewed by Giovanni Bazzana

Adam Winn
The Purpose of Mark's Gospel: An Early Christian Response to Roman Imperial Propaganda
Reviewed by Warren Carter

John W. Yates
The Spirit and Creation in Paul
Reviewed by James Miller

Theology and Exegesis

"If theology dominates our exegetical work, the qualities of individual texts tend to fade into the larger picture of a theological system. If we follow this approach too long, our exegesis can become little more than the servant of our preconceived notions. No room is left for discovery; texts simply confirm what we already believe.

"On the other side, however, we can give exegetical work too much precedence over theology. For a variety of reasons, many evangelicals insist that interpreters must keep the influence of theology to a minimum. As good as this viewpoint may sound, it opens interpreters to significant danger. Ignoring the guidance of theology does not free us from the influence of theological preconceptions; they will always be present. But ignoring theology can cut us off from well-formed theological preconceptions.

"So it is that theology and interpretation must inform each other. Fresh investigation of the Bible often challenges the theological structure of the church. We always want the test and evaluate theology according to our examination of particular passages of Scripture. But theology protects us from misconstruing individual texts. It constrains our interpretation by shedding light on the passage at hand. Interpretation and theology are mutually dependent; they must inform and control each other."

Richard L. Pratt, Jr.,
He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Student’s Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1990), 84.

Jun 17, 2010

Ministerial Resumes

Dustin Benge has posted some helpful links on creating a ministerial resume
here. Pastors might need all the help that they can get given this.

Identifying Themes

Joseph Tyson has made several helpful suggestions concerning how to identify themes in a book. In general, he notes that, "In my view, the determination of dominant themes involves the utilization of literary-critical approaches that make few assumptions about the text" (106). He goes on to identify two important, but not essential, preliminary matters: genre and intended audience (106-7). Tyson argues that themes can be identified by "examining the clearly redactional sections," "repeated literary patterns," and "exemplary episodes that convey points of stress to which the author returns on several occasions," (107-8),

Tyson, Joseph B. “Themes at the Crossroads: Acts 15 in Its Lukan Setting.” Forum 4 (2001): 125–44.

Jun 16, 2010

Luke's View of the Law Driven by Sociological Concerns

Many interpreters have noted at least some tension in Luke-Acts with how Luke presents the Mosaic Law. Some passages present it positively and others negatively or with a measure of ambivalence. Many interpreters also attribute the tension in Luke's view to an apologetic desire to present a unified church. However, Daniel Margeurat has presented an intriguing alternative explanation (see below). I am not sure that I am convinced, but I think it is worth thinking about.

"To break with the Law creates the risk that Christianity may appear as a religion without custom, without a past - illegitimate, according to Roman convention. By contrast, the maintenance of customs legitimated by the antiquity of the Torah, and relieved of any excess, assured Christianity a politically acceptable exterior. That is the reason why, at the risk of making himself misunderstood, Luke counterbalanced the soteriological suspension of the Torah by the recurring affirmation of the maintenance of its ethos by the Jewish Christian branch of the movement."

Daniel Marguerat, “Paul and the Torah in Acts,” in Torah in the New Testament: Papers Delivered at the Manchester-Lausanne Seminar of June 2008, ed. Michael Tait and Peter Oakes, Library of New Testament Studies 401, ed. Mark Goodacre (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 117.

Jun 15, 2010

Wenham on Leviticus

Two free audio lectures by Gordon Wenham on Leviticus in the Twenty-First Century are available here.

HT: Justin K

Revelation 2-3: The Bride Beautiful

Based on Revelation 2-3:

The Bride Beautiful

1. A passionate "first love" relationship with the Lord Jesus that spills over into all other relationships;
2. A willingness to suffer for our Bridegroom;
3. A growing knowledge of the truth of the gospel and a commitment to defend the faith "once and for all delivered unto the saints";
4. A purity of heart and holiness of lifestyle, driven by love and empowered by grace;
5. An aliveness in Jesus generated by His real presence in our midst and hearts;
6. A commitment to follow Jesus into a life of other-centered living through evangelism, missions, and cultural impact;
7. An undivided and wholehearted allegiance to Jesus, which treasures communion with Him more than the comforts of the world- more than anything else.

Scotty Smith and Michael Card, Unveiled Hope: Eternal Encouragement from the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 59.

Jun 14, 2010

Point of View in Narratives

"Point of view is an important concept in narrative analysis. It refers to the perspective from which a story is told. There at least three different aspects of point of view. The most common of these is sometimes called the ‘psychological point of view.’ This relates to whether the story is told from a first-person perspective by one of the participants or from a third-person perspective by an outside observer. A second aspect is ‘physical point of view.’ This refers to the narrator’s physical or temporal position in relation to the action described in the story. Does he or she give the impression of standing at a distance or being in the thick of the action? Finally, narrative analysis speak of ‘ideological point of view.’ This refers to the narrator’s feelings and attitudes toward the events and characters of the story. Is he or she sympathetic or hostile, trusting or suspicious, approving or disapproving?"

Timothy Wiarda, Interpreting Gospel Narratives: Scenes, People, and Theology (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010), 64.

Jun 13, 2010

The Ten Commandments

A few days ago I posted an interview with Dr. Mark Rooker on his brand new book
The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century (see here). Thanks to Jim Baird at B & H Publishing I have been making my way through the book. But I thought I would share a bit more about the book.

Publisher's Description:

In this new volume from the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theolog
y series, Mark Rooker discusses one by one the language of each of the Ten Commandments and its complete meaning in the ancient context. Adding a depth of understanding that can’t be obtained by looking only at the commandment itself, he shows how each commandment echoes elsewhere in the Old Testament, how it was violated in Israel’s history, and how it surfaces again in the New Testament. In conclusion, Rooker includes an extended section on the theological significance of each commandment and its contemporary implications.

You can take a look inside at Amazon here.

Exegesis and Preaching

"The process of exegesis is hard work. Natural talent provides a significant advantage when you are presenting the sermon, but there is no substitute for good, hard work when preparing a sermon from the biblical text. At times the research may be tedious, but the results of this hard work can be very exciting and a powerful agent of change in people’s lives.”

Paul D. Wegner, Using Old Testament Hebrew in Preaching: A Guide for Students and Pastors (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), 71.