Dec 24, 2011

The Pastoral Epistles as Christmas Epistles

See this article by Jeff McSwain. One of my favorite lines in the article is, ". . . the Pastorals are less concerned with the deity of Christ than with the humanity of God." 

Dec 23, 2011

Interview with Craig Keener

The blog has a four part interview with Craig Keener concerning his Miracles book here.

Pastoral Salary Cap?

Joe Wooddell has an interesting post on pastoral salaries here. The problem is that  the Bible does not appear to address the issue directly. That being said, I think that it is generally unwise and unhealthy for a pastors to make significantly more than the average member of their church. But I acknowledge that there could be exceptions to this and a variety of factors may need to be taken into consideration.

Dec 22, 2011

Latest Issue of the Bulletin for Biblical Research: Vol. 21 No. 4

Main articles:

Old Greek Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew's Son of Man
H. Daniel Zacharias

Let the Reader Understand: Mark's Use of Jeremiah 7 in Mark 13:14
Robert S. Snow

Consumed by Zeal: John's Use of Psalm 69:9 and the Action in the Temple
Steven M. Bryan

Johannine Fulfillment of Scripture: Continuity and Escalation
Brian J. Tabb

The Portrayal of Peter and Atonement Theology in the Gospel of John
Timothy Wiarda 


The Virgin Birth, Virgin Conception, and Immaculate Conception

The Virgin Birth, Virgin Conception, and Immaculate Conception are all designations that relate directly, or indirectly, to the birth of Christ. People typically use the designation Virgin Birth and Virgin Conception to mean the same thing. Namely, that Jesus was conceived supernaturally by the Holy Spirit while Mary remained a virgin. I prefer to use the designation Virgin Conception since strictly speaking, we are referring to the circumstances of the conception rather than the birth per se. That is, while Jesus was conceived supernaturally like no other child; he was born naturally like every other child. (I am not distinguishing here between what is called natural and Caesarean childbirth.) The Immaculate Conception on, on the other hand, is a Roman Catholic dogma that holds that Mary was conceived and preserved from the stain of original sin. While I believe that the Virgin Birth/Virgin Conception has biblical warrant, I do not believe that the Immaculate Conception has any basis in Scripture. Concerning the Immaculate Conception, see this post by Bill Combs.

Dec 21, 2011

A Caution Concerning Sermon Preparation

"Tragically many seminary-trained preachers view exegesis as an academically inclined exercise intended to display scholarship and research. Instead of spending time alone listening to Scripture, they regurgitate other scholarly opinions. Open Scripture is bypassed in favor of commentary helps. Of course, commentaries, at best, are written by gifted people intent on helping the readers discover the riches of God's Word. In no way do I wish to disparage commentators' ministry in God's service. Yet too many preachers seem frightened to practice a belief in a speaking God who meets them in Scripture. They dive too quickly into historical-grammatical research and see 'waiting on God' as suspiciously pietistic and vulnerable to eisegesis. Why delay the hard work of discovering a text's meaning when it is presumed to be available only through others' sound scholarship?"

Michael J. Quicke, 360 Degree Preaching: Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 141-42.

Dec 20, 2011

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was born on this day in 1899. Those interested in the work of Martyn Lloyd-Jones might want to check out this site.

Dec 19, 2011

Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schoyen Collection

See this article on the recently published book Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schoyen Collection. The article contains a picture of a portion of a stele with a depiction of Nebuchanezzar II and the following translation.

"I mobilized (all) countries everywhere, (each and) every ruler (who) had been raised to prominence over all the people of the world (as one) loved by Marduk..."

"I built their structures with bitumen and (baked brick throughout). I completed them, making (them gleam) bright as the (sun)..." (Translations by Professor Andrew George)

You can access the first 32 pages of the book here.

Preachers as Gifted People

"Preachers are gifted people, but the gifts needed for good and faithful preaching are different than those of the electrifying speaker or the charismatic entertainer. Faithful preaching requires such gifts as sensitivity to human need, a discerning eye for the connections between faith and life, an ear attuned to hearing the voice of Scripture, compassion, a growing personal faith, and the courage to tell the truth. These are gifts of the Spirit, and although gift of the Spirit cannot be taught in the classroom, they can be named, developed, encouraged, shaped, and given direction and focus."

Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching, 2nd ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 14.

Dec 18, 2011

The Priority of the Ascension

I have long felt that the ascension of Christ is one of the more neglected facets of Christ's life and work. So I really enjoyed this post by Paxson Jeancake.