Monday, February 27, 2006

Another Mother Load - OT Only

In trying to find an online journal article by DJA Clines I stumbled across this mine. I have not taken extensive time to explore it yet (NT is a priority for me) but what I did find is pretty amazing. There are a TON of OT resources from articles and essays, occasional books, and audio files from many of the leading OT scholars. And yes, here comes the "F" word, its all free!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Info on Tim Keller

Tim Keller has been a person of interest to me for a few years now. I have heard D.A. Carson describe him favorably on so many occaisions, the most recent in relation to the Emerging Church Movement. Carson said something to the effect that "Tim Keller's Church has all of the strenghts of the emerging movement and none of the weaknesses." This only increased my interest. However, Redeemer Pres' website has very little (if any) info about him. I recently came across this link and found it to be a helpful introduction. It gives a brief sketch, but more importantly links to a bunch of his messages.

Pioneer vs. Settler Theology

I came across this post on Scott McKnight's blog. It's a bit long, but I think worth reading and I would be VERY interested to get some feedback on what you think from those of you who have been commenting so far. I think I tend toward the Settler Theology model, but find myself longing (especially lately) for the pioneer model. I do have some reservations about the latter model, but that may be the settler in me rising up...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Angelology 101

This past week in Senior Seminar we had to present and discuss Angelology. Honestly, I wasn't terribly thrilled about the prospect, largely due to the fact that it is such a speculative endeavor. Why argue about things we ultimately can't substantiate anyway? James Varner presented his section on Satan and in his introduction brought out a fantastic quote from Erickson's Theology:

"We have noted the difficulty of the subject. One reason is that while there are abundant references to angels in the Bible, they are not very helpful for developing an understanding of angels. Every reference to angels is incidental to some other topic. They are not treated in themselves. When they are mentioned, it is always in order to inform us further about God, what he does and how he does it. Since details about angels are not significant for that purpose, they tend to be omitted.

- Millard Erickson, Systematic Theology (2nd ed.) pg 459

Now to be fair, Erickson still treats angelology and thinks that we are not "faithful students of the Bible" unless we "speak of these things." I'm inclined to disagree. If the scriptures omit details since they are not significant for informing us further about God, what are we trying to prove? I'm not implying that it is sin to study angelology, but making it one of the ten main topics germane to Systematic Theology? I mean, come on. Ultimately I came up with an 8 page single spaced outline (more than half of which was block quoted scripture); however, if I had come across this quote any earlier, I would have been inclined to cite Erickson and call it quits.

Efficient Blogging

A few of my friends have recently entered the blogosphere. Rather than emailing each one (there are too many), I thought I would mention a word of advice in a post. If you are not already using Firefox, especially with the "Performancing" extension, you owe it to yourself to head to It is remarkable how much time performancing saves you in composing a post.

Demythologizing Dispensationalism - Unearthing the Kerygma

In view of some of the comments about demythologizing dispensationalism, I thought I'd take the discussion a step further. Bearing the name dispensationalist is frequently an ignoble burden; however, once the demythologizing (continuing the metaphor) is complete and we arrive at the original "kerygma" (the core, if you will) I am left with a distinction between Israel and the Church. Now I admit, the line is frequently blurry and even disappears from time to time, but I still see a distinction. I also still see a future for national Israel (as I understand it, the primary thing that would distinguish me from a covenant premill position), particularly as I read through Romans 9-11. It is for this reason that I consider myself a (progressive) dispensationalist. Now, having said this, I am more than willing to reconsider the data (and in fact, I am currently doing exactly that); it wasn't that long ago that I would have considered myself a revised dispensationalist. I'm still holding out hope that I may be on a slippery slope :-)

More on Starbucks and BJ

Matt mentioned that he had posted some thoughts on his blog regarding the boycott. Since I know everyone doesn't always read the comments section, I thought I'd put a link here to his comments. I just mentioned it FYI, but he has given it the boycott idea a bit more thought and he raises some good questions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Me, Bultmann and Progressive Dispensationalism

Here's another update on what I've been reading, with an ironic twist I think some of my buddies will appreciate. Though I'm no expert on the matter, as best as I understand it, one of the key distinctions (if not THE key distinction) between revised dispensationalism and progressive dispensationalism relates to the current status of the Lord Christ. Is He currently reigning from the Davidic throne? The progressives say yes, the revised and traditional say no. For me, the lynchpin in the argument lies in 1 Corinthians 15:25 - "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet." This citation of Ps 110 is highly significant when corellated with Acts 2:34-35 (which also cites Ps 110). In Acts 2 Christ is described as being told to sit at the Father's right hand until His enemies are made His footstool. RECAP - Christ is at the Father's right hand until all His enemies are His footstool (ie under His feet). Christ must reign until all of His enemies are put under His feet. Therefore, syllogistic logic leads me to suppose that Christ is reigning from the Father's right hand (in the Davidic throne sense due to the Ps 110 citations/allusions). Thus, I am a progressive dispensationalist.

What does this have to do with Bultmann you ask? I was recently page turning through his infamous essay "New Testament and Mythology" and discovered in his introductory brief synopisis of the Christian faith, He speaks in this wise "The risen Christ is exalted to the right hand of God in Heaven and made 'Lord' and 'King'" (Kerygma and Myth, pg 2). He footnotes phrases along the way providing scriptural support similar to the format of the WCF. To substantiate that Jesus is "King" he identifies one verse; you guessed it - 1 Corinthians 15:25. Are you starting to see the connection? Bultmann is the ONLY person I have read who rests as much weight on this verse as I do. Of course that is probably because I have not read more than half an essay on Progressive Dispensationalism (by Bock) and I have been assured by friends that others do indeed adress this verse. I am progressive not because of the progressives, but rather because of this verse (and a few others).

To me the irony (and humor) lies in the fact that I found such a substantial point of agreement with Bultmann (I say that tongue in cheek). I figured some of my buddies would appreciate this (if they read this). Obviously I am not suggesting Bultmann was a progressive dispensationalist; he would probably be quick to demythologize the very doctrinal statement he was articulating (I haven't finished the essay). However, due to the convenient hermeneutics of postmodernism, I revel in the irony of using Bultmann to "demythologize" dispensationalism. :-0

BJ gives Starbucks the boot!

Reason # 958 why I'm glad BJ's not my alma matta (sp?). Sad, but true; read all about it here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Helpful Stuff on the Emerging Church

Here's another good resource for getting acquainted with the Emerging Church. It's at wikipedia (of course).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

McKnight on the NPP

Scott McKnight is carrying on an online discussion on his blog (Jesus Creed) focusing on Tom Wright's latest Paul in Fresh Perspective. The goal is to get those involved to read two chapters a week (it's another small book) in order to foster intelligible dialogue. However, for those who haven't purchased the book yet or are investing their reading elsewhere (i.e. class requirements) McKnight's insights might still prove stimulating.

A Few Aphorisms

Since I'm on a roll, I thought I'd post some quotable quotes I've come across in Calvin:

His definition of piety
"That reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces."

His thoughts on Christian Hedonism (yes, another anachronism; Ibid)
"Nay, unless [men] establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him."

The purpose of knowledge of God (Ibid)
"Rather, our knowledge should serve first to teach us fear and
reverence; secondly, with it as our guide and teacher, we should learn to seek every good from him, and having received it, to credit it to his account."

On understanding providence (1:21)
"Therefore no one will weigh God's providence properly and profitably but him who considers that his business is with his Maker and the Framer of the universe, and with becoming humility submits himself to fear and reverence."

Finally, my favorite among favorites - after almost thirty pages of argumentation and explanation of the doctrine of providence (sovereignty), his closing sentence reads as follows (1:225):

"In short, not to tarry any longer over this, if you pay attention, you will easily perceive that ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it."

He wrote all this in his late twenties. Is it any wonder the man's writings have lasted roughly 5 centuries?

What I'm Reading - Part II

Since I had digressed so far, I decided to begin a new post in order to give you a taste of Calvin in hopes of whetting your appetite.

On the devotional nature of his theological method (my subtitle):

"And here again we ought to observe that we are called to a knowledge of God: not that knowledge which, content with empty speculation, merely flits in the brain, but that which will be sound and fruitful if we duly perceive it, and if it takes root in the heart. For the Lord manifests himself by his powers the force of which we feel within ourselves and the benefits of which we enjoy...Consequently we know the most perfect way of seeking God, and the most suitable order, is not for us to attempt with bold curiosity to penetrate to the investigation of his essence, which we ought more to adore than meticulously to search out, but for us to contemplate him in his works whereby he renders himself near and familiar to us and in some manner communicates himself."

Is that sweet or what?

What I'm Reading - The Institutes

For Christmas this year my lovely wife got me McNeil's edition of Calvin's Institutes (This is Battle's translation, which in my experience is more readable than Beveridge's translation--it's worth the extra cash. However, I'd be happy to sell my copy of Beveridge to anyone who doesn't believe me :-). I thought it would be a shame to graduate with an MDiv not having read the Institutes and decided to make it my goal to read through them by graduation (that's only 100 pages a week). However, as the semester has progressed my goal has been modified (I'm a critical realist) and now I'm just aiming at finishing them some day.

In the mean time I am continuing to plod forward, even if it's just a few pages at a time and I have found the the time I invest always repays the effort. My mind has been sharpened and my soul has been fed. Calvin is one of the most devotional theologians I've ever read; if you don't believe me just read his intro. In many ways Calvin reads like Piper. Now I know that's a glaring anachronism, but in my ordo salutis I became a Piperite prior to becoming a Calvinist (though this would be an inversion of the logical order, it was my experience, temporally speaking - I fell in love with Christian Hedonism before I new it was Calvinism, before I knew both were contextualized expressions of Biblical Christianity!). Anyway, my point is if you like Piper, you'll love Calvin -- not just because of the commonality of their theology, but also because of their way with language. Anyway, I digress....

Driscoll on Bono, the Rich and the Poor

For those unfamiliar with Mark Driscoll, he's the Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatle, WA. Driscoll is widely recognized within the Emerging Church conversation (see previous post) though he does not make some of the extreme theological and epistemological concessions that some have criticized the movement for. Osborne and I were talking with Piper about him last week in Winston Salem and his evaluation was: "Mark is a good guy and he has his head on straight theologically speaking." Driscoll will be speaking at the Bethlehem Conference on Postmodernism this fall. Anyway, all that to say Mark recently posted on his blog regarding some comments made by Bono at the national prayer breakfast regarding the poor. Without taking him to task, Mark offers an excellent clarification regarding a biblical perspective on the rich and poor. He pairs "poverty theology" alongside "prosperity theology" and argues that BOTH have missed the point. They are both guilty of focusing on finances, when instead, the issue is righteousness. If you're interested in Bono, Driscoll or a brief biblical perspective on wealth, check out his post here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Intro to the Emerging Church "Movement"

There is a lot of discussion that has taken place both in published format and online regarding the Emerging (or Emergent) Church. For those trying to figure out exactly what this discussion is about, Scott McKnight has written an article that serves as an introduction to the conversation here. From some of the things I've seen on his blog (see Jesus Creed on the blog roll at the left) as well as who has endorsed some of his recent books, McKnight seems to be one of the few PhD's that the Emerging Church folks seem comfortable around (Tom Wright being another one, curiously). Also, from what I've gathered, he is simpathetic with the movement, though he does offer a few cautions (see the article). Justin Taylor also had a series of posts on his blog (starting here) that served as a useful introduction for me. The forthcoming (Spring '06) edition of the Criswell Theological Review is going to be dedicated to this topic and will include interviews from those in the movement as well as those without (Al Mohler, specifically).

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Mother Load

While surfing the internet tonight I came across Christian Scholars. It contains links to a ton of free mp3 lectures as well as blogs by numerous evangelical scholars. For example, if you're curious about whether or not Ben Witherington, Craig Evans, or John Frame have blogs...they do and he'll give you a link to them. I'll add it to my blogroll eventually, but in the meantime, click here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

An MA from Covenant Theological Seminary...Free!

Well, almost. I stumbled across a link to one of these classes while perusing Monergism. After a little surfing, I found that it was not the only class they offered in a free mp3 format. Though you can't actually earn a degree with these lectures, they have made all of the lectures available for all of the classes that make up the MA program:

"The courses posted on this Web site comprise Covenant Seminary's Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree. The course selection is designed to provide foundational knowledge of
church history, theology, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and practical theology."
- from the Website

The lectures on Apologetics (PoMo stuff), the Institutes and Reformation History look particularly interesting! Check out all the classes here (they're listed in the left margin in blue).

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wright kicks butt...literally?

Need I say more? Though it's posted a few places around the web, I thought I'd add it for those who hadn't seen it yet. Props to Justin Jenkins at pisteuo (via Mike Bird at Euangelion). If you're having a hard time reading the print, it's Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg that he's beating down.

What I'm reading: The Last Word (Wright Again)

Since I'm on the topic of NT Wright, I though I'd post real briefly. I'm a little over half way through the book and I'd like to post a review when I finish. Though it's a really short book, two things are hindering me: 1) My seminary reading schedule 2) I'd already like to reread it to make sure I pick up on all he's saying. So far I have found it profitable and enjoyable overall. For those who don't want to wait for a review and don't have the time to read it, you can get a helpful overview by listening to lecture 4 here. Though he doesn't mention the book buy name, he covers a lot of the material and even uses a number of the same illustrations.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

GNT Audio (and some Hebrew)

If you're interested in hearing the GNT read with modern pronunciation by a native Grecian (no, not me), click here. Though the whole NT is not finished yet, it is in process and a number of books are already complete. Apologies to the budding Hebrew scholars, only Genesis has been done so far. The good news is all the files are free downloads in mp3 format. Props to PJ Williams from Evangelical Textual Criticism (and Aberdeen) for identifying this resource.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Carson on NPP

Though these lectures have been around for a while, a number of people have asked me for the links so I figured I'd post them here. The link will take you to Caneday's website where the links to the three lectures are found. You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the relavent post (though some of you may also want to see what he says about typological interpretation) He also gives some background about the date and location of the lectures. They're enjoyable and informative and very "Carsonesque." He intersperses data with anecdotes and has some candid things to say about Sanders, Dunn, and Wright, as well as the background behind Justification and Variegated Nomism: Vol 1 (Lecture 1 I think). Lectures 2 and 3 wrestle more with the texts themselves.

Help for Arcing

Dave Griffiths identified a website on his blog with a program written that makes electronic "arcing" (in the Fuller, Piper, Schreiner tradition) much easier. Granted you have to figure out the codes (its not that bad), but it's worth checking out. The site includes a sample you can cut and paste into the "arc generator" to see how it looks. I've included the link here.