Jan 21, 2012

Should Churches Allow or Encourage Their Pastors to Teach Outside of Church?

See this interesting article.

The Difference between Authority and Authoritarian

“When the combination is right, we preach with authority, which is different from being an authoritarian. Preaching with authority means you’ve done your homework. You know your people’s struggles and hurts. But you also know the Bible and theology. You can explain the Bible clearly. Preachers aren’t being authoritarian when they point people to the Bible. When Billy Graham explains. ‘The Bible says …’ he’s relying not on his own authority but on another – God’s Word – and he shows how that authority makes sense. We help our credibility when we practice biblical preaching.”

Haddon W. Robinson, Making a Difference
, ed. Scott W. Gibson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999), 35. 

Jan 20, 2012

Hamilton on the Greatest Commmandments

I have enjoyed dabbling in Victor Hamilton’s new Exodus commentary. In introducing his comments on the Ten Commandments, Hamilton discusses Jesus’ answer to the question of which commandment is the greatest (Matt 22:36; Mark 12:28) by noting that,

“Jesus answers his critic not by quoting any of the Ten Words, but rather first by quoting Deut. 6:5, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ (Matt. 22:37). Then Jesus proceeds to overanswer the query by offering the answer to an unsolicited question: “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39; Lev. 19:18).”

Hamilton then goes on to note:

Jesus appears to be doing three things when he answers the question the way he does. First, he changes laws that are primarily prohibitive into ones that are performative, from ‘you shall not’ to ‘you shall.’ Second, in the two parts of his answer, he is condensing the first four commandments (godward, vertical commandments) into one commandment, and contracting the remaining humanward, horizontal six commandments into one commandment. To love God that passionately rules out other gods and rules out the desecration of God’s name and day. To love one’s fellow neighbor unconditionally rules out disrespect, stealing, any violence against another, bearing false witness, or coveting. Third, Jesus is making, the point that at the heart of obedience to God is love. One obeys not out of fear, but out of love. In so speaking, he anticipates Paul’s ‘love is the fulfillment of the law’ (Rom. 13:10).”

Victor P. Hamilton, Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker), 2011), 321.

Jan 19, 2012

2012 Expository Preaching Workshop

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is hosting an expository Preaching Workshop on March 5-6, 2012. This Expository Preaching Workshop will aid you in clearly communicating the message of Scripture to your congregation while keeping them engaged at every turn. The workshop is $25 for students and $50 for non-students through February 20, 2012. After February 20, registration fees increase to $50 for students and $75 for non-students. Study materials and one meal are included. This year's speakers include Bryan Chapell, Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, and David Allen.

Go here to get more information and registration.

Jan 18, 2012

Dunn on Church Size

"The basic point which emerges is that the earliest house churches, in most cases, must have been fairly small, a dozen or twenty people in all. And even when ‘the whole church’ in a city or section of a city could meet as church in one place, we may very well be talking of only forty or fifty people, and not necessarily gathered in a single room. The dynamics of church life, of the shared life of believers in most cities, must have been dependent on and to some extent determined by the physical space in which they were able to function as church. We, of course, are accustomed to visualizing huge church buildings and congregations which can be numbered in the hundreds or even thousands. So it is important for us to remember that the typical church of the first century or more of Christian history was the gathering of small cell comprising twenty or so, and less regularly up to about fifty. This is important, since we are now well aware that the social dynamics of small groups is very different from that of large groups. And the accompanying theology needs to take such factors more into account than is usually the case. In many cases our concern should be not that our churches are too small but that they are too large!"
James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011), 171.


Jan 17, 2012

Preaching through Joshua

See Randal Pelton's article on preaching through Joshua from the Jan-Feb 2012 issue of Preaching magazine.

Jan 16, 2012

Mounce on Acts 2:11

See Bill Mounce's post here on understanding and translating Acts 2:11. This is a tough passage and yet an important piece of the discussion of tongues in the New Testament. 

Free James Commentary E-Book

Baker Academic is offering their second free e-book. This week's offering is the section on James from Robert Gundry's larger verse-by-verse Commentary on the New Testament. You can access this free download for today only at Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, and Barnes & Noble.

Jan 15, 2012

Christology and Soteriology in Hebrews

"The Christology and soteriology of Hebrews can be summarized in this way. Jesus is the Son of God, a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. As the Son of God, he is greater than the angels. But in order to rescue humanity from the fear of death and deal effectively with sin, it was necessary for the Son to share in the flesh and blood of humans so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest. According to Heb 7:21, God appointed him high priest by an oath: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'You are a priest forever.'" As a priest according to the order of Melchizedek, Jesus enjoys a superior priesthood that he exercised in a unique way through his death. By dying, he entered the holy of holies, the heavenly sanctuary, where he offered his blood—his very life—for the sins of his brothers and sisters once and for all. In Hebrews, then, Christology and soteriology are intimately related in the person of Jesus, who is both priest and victim."

Frank J. Matera, "The Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews," in Reading the Epistle to the Hebrews: A Resource for Students, ed. Eric F. Mason and Kevin B. McCruden (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 198