Sunday, January 31, 2010

Galatians 1:4 and the Deliverance of Christ

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not with a human commission nor by human authority, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For our last post in this section we will focus on the theology of verse 4. As we mentioned in our first post, Paul addresses his concerns right off the bat. The Galatian's insistence on the necessity of doing works of the Law in order to be part of the people of God undercut the core confession of their faith. They misunderstood the gospel. It's all about Jesus. Jesus is the one who laid his life down to save us. How could we turn to another gospel by saying that it wasn't enough? Paul insists that it was enough. Jesus died to deliver us from the present evil age of that the Law was part of (see Gal 4:3, 8-11) and his self-giving must be understood as 'an apocalyptic rescue operation' (Hays p. 202). To understand what Paul means, we must remember that Paul is Jewish, and that some important elements of his thinking are drawn from Jewish apocalyptic traditions, which essentially divided the history of the world into two periods or ages, the present age which is characterized by evil and the perversion of good things, and the age to come, when God comes and establishes justice and improves the fortunes of his people (see Hays 202-203 for a good brief summary, Martyn p. 97-105 for a fuller treatment).

The key element that separates Paul from his Jewish counterparts is his belief that the age to come is breaking in now through the work of Jesus on the cross. We live in a period of tension. God's work to deliver his people and all of creation has begun, but it hasn't reached its fullness yet. However, we must remember that it has begun. Losing sight of the sufficiency of the work of Christ, whether through feeling that we need to do good works to be accepted by God or by implying that the only true Christian is one who lives up to the norms of traditional Western conservative evangelical Christian culture causes us to lose the gospel and fall under the condemnation that Paul is about to firmly deliver to the Galatians. We stand alone before God on the basis of Christ's work on the cross for us, in us, and through us.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All-Star Game Overhauls

With the NFL's Pro Bowl around the corner, now is an apt time for me to air my number one complaint about the NFL's, NBA's, and MLB's All Star Games and suggest the solution for each. I'm not aiming at novelty, just honesty.

The Pro Bowl (NFL):

Problem: The game is completely meaningless. All-Star games tend towards meaninglessness, but this one is at the pinnacle of the mountain of no-meaning. It's outside the confines of the regular season, probably by necessity. Many to players bail out. The new format makes it even worse by eliminating players from the Super Bowl teams from participating. And even those who do show up don't play hard. The thing is, I think that all of those problems are defensible. It's way too easy to get injured in a football game. Why should players and teams take that risk for a meaningless exhibition?

Solution: Eliminate the Pro Bowl. Since the game is bound to be meaningless, and bad football why not go the whole way and completely eliminate the risk of getting injured when it doesn't serve a greater purpose (like the preseason does).

NBA All-Star Game:

Problem: Fan vote completely determines All-Star game starters. If the fans were at least somewhat responsible, like baseball fans, then this might be ok. However, by voting McGrady and Iverson as starters I think that the fans forfeited their right to have 100% of the vote. They prevented two worthy players from having roster spots, and it's not uncommon for contracts to have bonuses kick in for making All-Star teams.

Solution: Give the fans 1/3 of the vote , the players and coaches 1/3 and the press 1/3. This would ensure that the fans still have a major say, but we can also be protected from fan stupidity.

MLB All-Star Game:

Problem: It's artificially meaningful. The All-Star game should not have a direct impact on the season or post-season of the sport. It's an exhibition. Important things, like determining which league will have home field advantage in the World Series is too important to determine via an exhibition.

Solution: Go back to the way it was before. The game was inherently meaningful enough as it was.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Paul Doesn't Say in Galatians 1:1-5

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not with a human commission nor by human authority, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (TNIV)

For those who are familiar with Paul's letters one of the most striking elements of Galatians is the absence of an introductory thanksgiving. Typically Paul thanks God for the addressees of his letters right after the salutation (e.g., Phil. 1:3-11, Rom. 1:8-10). Not so in this case. Here in Galatians, Paul does not have a single word of praise for the Galatians. This shows that the situation there was really bad. He is so upset with their abandonment of the gospel that he has nothing good to say about them.

As Dunn points out, this becomes even more forceful when you consider what Paul replaces the thanksgiving with: a thanksgiving for the work of redemption effected through Jesus Christ (vs. 4). Most scholars consider verse 4 to be a snippet of an early church creed or confession (see esp. Longenecker), making Paul's stinging rebuke even more forceful. They are so far off, that rather than thanking God for signs of grace in their lives he must give them a stinging rebuke by reminding them of the basic confession of their faith. They apparently had lost sight of the fact that it was Christ alone who was the means of reconciliation with God and thus the sole grounds of membership in the people of God, and as we see here and will see in the next section (and throughout the letter), Paul has nothing but the harshest criticism for them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Galatians 1:1-5 and the Overall Argument of Galatians

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not with a human commission nor by human authority, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (TNIV)

This is the first of several posts on the opening section of Paul's letter to the Galatians. Here we will look at what role this section plays in Paul's overall argument. I will probably write a post of this nature at the start of each new section of Galatians. My goals in blogging through Galatians are multifaceted. There are several levels at which we need to understand Scripture. One of them is at the level of overall argument. I hope these posts help us see what Paul is trying to accomplish in each section of Galatians.

In all of Paul's letters, the first several verses usually telegraph his overall argument. Galatians is no different. One thing that's very clear is that Paul is facing challenges to his apostolic status, and hence his authority (see Gal 1:11-2:21). False teachers had come in to the church and they challenged Paul's credentials as an apostle. In a brief yet powerful way Paul addresses the issue of the source of his apostolate in the first verse. It's from God. The second verse, then, serves to show that while Jesus commissioned him, he's no lone ranger, no matter what his opponents might claim. It's an early statement of his authority, paving the way for what he will say in the rest of chapters 1 and 2.

Verses 3-5 are key for framing how we understand the latter two thirds of Galatians. The key question is, how is one part of the people of God? Paul emphasizes faith and Christ's work, but he does so in a way that draws on the Galatians knowledge of the Christian story as a whole, which is something he will do at great length in Gal. 3:7-4:7. Here Paul picks out a key part, again framing the latter discussion, emphasizing, in the words of Ambrosiaster, that, 'Christ by atoning for our transgressions not only gave us life but also made us his own so that we might be called children of God' (Galatians, p. 4).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Theological Method

Over at Jesus Creed Scot McKnight has an interesting post discussing elements of Chris Hall's book, Worshiping with the Church Fathers. The section under discussion is on the sacraments/ordinances, specifically baptism. Near the start of the post, McKnight brings up, what I think is an excellent point that I'd like to develop a little bit more.

How do we understand baptism and the Lord's Supper? Are they sacraments or ordinances? Much of Evangelicalism, at least those with baptist roots, tend to see them as ordinances. They are things that we are commanded to do by Jesus, therefore we do them. The Lord's Supper is an act of remembrance of the Lord's death and baptism is a public declaration of our faith that symbolizes our death to sin and new birth into new life.

Those who see them as sacraments invest them with more meaning. What Hall points out, very helpfully, is that sacramental theology is rooted in the incarnation. God comes near to us in matter (Read Scot's post if you want to know more about the origins of sacramental theology - I am going to go in a slightly different direction here). Thus, for some, baptism and the Lord's Supper go beyond being symbols. They're participatory acts. Christ is present in the elements of the Lord's Supper (some believe he's physically present, others believe it is his divine presence), and baptism is the act where we, in a real sense, participate in Christ's death and resurrection.

Ok, so where am I going with this? I think this case in interesting because it clearly demonstrates two common methods of doing theology. How far are we willing to go 'beyond the Bible' in formulating theology? I think that some of those who see them as ordinances do so out of a desire to be cautious in forming theology. They want to avoid going all that far beyond the explicit statements in the Bible. On the other hand, those who hold a sacramental view are more willing to make connections that aren't explicitly made in the biblical text. In my mind, this shows that there's very little possibility of someone moving from one camp to the other unless they have a shift in the way they do theology (to clarify, I'm not boiling down the debate to an issue of method, I'm simply pointing out how method is partially determinative). Therefore, until we as the church come to an agreement on method, there's little chance for agreement on the nature of baptism and the Lord's Supper. Even then we obviously won't have complete conformity, but at least we would all be playing on the same field.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Presuppositions and Biblical Interpretation

This semester I'm taking 'Introduction to Biblical Theology,' and for this class we've been assigned to read and review According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy (I will abridge my review and post it here sometime in the next couple of months). I'm nearly finished with parts one and two, and thus far I like the book very much. I think it is an excellent primer to biblical theology and deals with many of the difficulties of hermeneutics in a clear, concise, and thoughtful way.

In the third chapter of the book he discusses the differences between working within humanistic models of knowing and a properly Christian model of knowing. When contrasting their differing presuppositions Goldsworthy states that,
Either we work from the basis of a sovereign, self-proving God who speaks to us by a word that we accept as true simply because it is his word, or we work on the basis that man is the final judge of all truth. The Christian position, to be consistent, accepts that the Bible is God's word, and says what God wants it to say in exactly the way he wants to say it (p. 44).
A fundamentalist would agree with this statement. I agree with this statement. Both could affirm this statement as could any position in between, and mean very different things when affirming it. However, some Evangelicals (fortunately there are many Evangelicals who graciously disagree) would claim that a model that departs from the traditional Evangelical model of inerrancy automatically denies this statement. However that is not the case.

I believe in an inerrancy of intent. God's communicative goals were perfectly achieved in Scripture (more on that here). Thus Scripture will yield the truth when you ask the right questions of it. It does not answer every question that we have in a straightforward manner, God gave us the Holy Spirit and our redeemed mind for that reason (I must qualify that by saying that the way we understand the Bible certainly will impinge upon the way we answer almost every question whether the Bible addresses them or not). The Bible has dual authorship, both human and divine. Peter Enns incarnational model is very helpful here. Scripture was written by people in a specific (pre-scientific) cultural context. For example, sometimes they made non-scientific statements about things that are scientific issues now. To say that the Bible has nothing direct to say to address scientific matters is not to deny the truthfulness of Scripture but to understand the Bible in its own terms. It's a case of letting God's revelation speak inerrantly, as he intended it to, rather than trying to force it to answer questions that (in my opinion) God never intended it to answer.

We need to learn to be gracious on this matter. We need to see that people on both sides are trying to do their best to understand what it means for Scripture to be true and authoritative. More irenic dialogue is needed. While I don't expect everyone to eventually come to agreement on this issue, we need to not divide over it and above we must all love one another. Unity in diversity is one of the true marks of the Christian church, and (like Michael Patton) I believe, hope, and pray that we can disagree in a way that glorifies God.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Galatians - Coming Soon!

By this upcoming weekend I hope to have my first post up on Galatians. This will be a lengthy series that I hope you enjoy and profit from. We will probably go paragraph by paragraph dealing with whatever issues the text brings up. Each section will probably get multiple posts at differing levels dealing with different aspects of the text and our analysis. Some posts may be a little technical. Hopefully many will be deeply theological and practical. At any rate, here's an open invitation to you all to wrestle through this key Pauline epistle with me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Imputation and Judgment on the Basis of Works

This started as a comment on a recent post at Word and Spirit, but was getting too long so I made it a separate post. In his post, Mark Heath discusses Romans 2:6-10 and justification. The basic problem is that if we are justified by faith, how can we be judged on the basis of works?

I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately as I've been reading Gorman's Inhabiting the Cruciform God. I think that for those of us (I include myself tentatively - Gorman's book has shaken me on this issue a bit but I'll hold off on commenting on his views until I publish my book review) who hold to a doctrine of imputation that the problem is exacerbated. If the righteousness we possess is Christ's righteousness imputed to us, then judgment on the basis of works seems to be non-sense. However, it's something that the Bible clearly affirms.

How do we go forward? One suggestion that Heath draws attention to in this Romans passage is that Paul could be speaking hypothetically. You could have eternal life if you lived perfectly, but no one does. While it may make sense within the flow of Romans, I think that too many other passages in the Bible (in Paul and outside of Paul) refer to judgment on the basis of works for that argument to hold at a biblical theological level.

Next Heath offers Schreiner's view for evaluation, that these verses are referring to Christians keeping the Law by the power of the Spirit. I think that there is a lot of merit to this view. Passages like this require us to see a strong transformative element in the righteousness of God that we receive when we are justified.

My question then is, does this work with the doctrine of imputation or are they irreconcilable? Even if we receive the ability to do works by grace, I still think that there stands strong tension with the idea that we only stand before God on the basis of Christ's righteousness. Doesn't some righteousness of our own seem to be required, even if its a righteousness that we cannot produce without the righteousness of God given to us? I would appreciate some input, as this is something I am currently wrestling with.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Holiness in Sex within Marriage

Currently I am reading Inhabiting the Cruciform God by Michael Gorman, which I also will be reviewing soon. I wanted to bring up one point that Gorman makes about holiness in sexual relations within marriage, that I don't think I'll have room for in my review.

One of the main points Gorman makes in his book is that Jesus self-sacrifice on the cross reveals God's holiness. Thus, other regard is at the core of what it means to be holy, for both God and us. This understanding of what it means to be holy clearly impacts what it means to have holy sexual relations. Holiness requires more than monogamy. It requires that we serve our spouse through sex. It's not about seeking your own gratification, but seeking the gratification of your spouse first.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conference Announcement

This year's theology conference at Wheaton looks like an opportunity that is too good to pass up. N.T. Wright is one of the most important and interesting theologians in today's church. It will be held on the Wheaton campus from April 16-17. Wright will be giving the keynote addresses each evening, as well as speaking at the chapel and participating in a panel discussion. Other notable guests include Richard Hays, Markus Bockmuehl, and Kevin Vanhoozer.

The conference isn't cheap, $75 for students and $105 for the general public, but if you're really into studying theology it's a fantastic opportunity to hear some of the great theologians (and hang out with your favorite blogger).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top 10 Running Backs of My Lifetime

A few weeks ago, a co-worker and I were discussing how much we enjoy top ten lists. So, we decided to start making some. The first one we tackled was the top ten NFL running backs who started their career in 1982 or later. We selected this range because we wanted to pick players whom we both had seen play. Since I was born in 1983, my football memories only go back to about 1990 or so.

We devised a ranking system that factored in rushing yards, touchdowns, receiving yards, yards per carry, the number of seasons with 1200+ yards rushing, and pro bowl appearances (I won't divulge the exact formula).

Here's our top 10 (all statistics are from Pro-Football-Reference).

10. Edgerrin James - I was surprised to see the Edge make the top ten, but the numbers don't lie. He was a very effective runner and an adequate receiver. It's easy to forget how good he was at his peak. He had four seasons with over 1500 yards rushing.

Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
12246 4.0 91 3364 4 6

9. Tiki Barber - Tiki is a very under appreciated back. His career was a little short, but his yards per carry is astronomical.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
10449 4.7 68 5183 3 5

8. Marcus Allen - Undoubtedly the greatest athlete bearing my namesake. Marcus Allen is the first great running back that I have clear memories of. He was a touchdown machine for the Raiders. It is often forgotten that he was a threat to catch passes out of the backfield too, racking up more receiving yards than any back on our list not named Marshall Faulk. He would have been higher except that he never cracked the 1000 yard plateau after 1985.

Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
12243 4.1 145 5411 6 1

7. Thurman Thomas - The Thurmanator was the prototype for the great all-purpose backs that would follow (think Marshall Faulk, Tiki Barber, Brian Westbrook, etc.). He definitely benefited from playing on a high-powered offense in Buffalo, but with that said, no back in his day fit the K-Gun offense that the Bills ran better than Thomas.

Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
12074 4.2 88 4458 5 5

6. Curtis Martin - Curtis 'my favorite' Martin never won any awards for being flashy, but few in the history of the league have been better and more consistent.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
14101 4.0 100 3329 5 7

5. Eric Dickerson - I don't remember much firsthand about Eric Dickerson, but all you need to know is this. He had 4 seasons with more than 2000 yards from scrimmage.

Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
13259 4.4 96 2137 6 7

4. LaDainian Tomlinson- Without a doubt, LT is the greatest of active running backs. Inch for inch pound for pound he is the toughest runner I have ever seen. He has changed the game by showing that sometimes it's better to use a smaller and quicker running back at the goal line.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
12490 4.3 153 3955 5 7

3. Marshall Faulk- Faulk was the ultimate weapon for the ultimate offense, also known as 'The Greatest Show on Turf.' In addition to his 12279 career rushing yards, he amassed 6875 receiving yards on 767 receptions (24th all time, ahead of Michael Irvin and James Lofton). Without question, Faulk was the greatest two-dimensional threat that the league has ever seen.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
12279 4.3 136 6875 7 5

2. Barry Sanders - Both my co-worker and I wanted to see Barry come out number 1, but alas he didn't. No player at any position has ever been as exciting to watch as Barry Sanders. He was a threat to score on every play. I always looked forward to watching the Lions on Thanksgiving Day because it was one of the few opportunities that I would have to see Sanders.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
15269 5.0 109 2921 10 9

1. Emmitt Smith - No one can argue here. Emmitt is number one in rushing yards and touchdowns by a substantial margin. No one ever was as consistently great for so long, as evidenced by his 11 consecutive 1000 yard rushing seasons. Like Martin, he wasn't flashy, but you could always count on Emmitt to get the job done.
Rushing Yards Yards Per Carry Touchdowns Receiving Yards Pro Bowl Appearances Seasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
18355 4.2 175 3224 8 9

You may have noticed that the Bus, Jerome Bettis didn't make our list. We assure you that it wasn't an oversight. He failed to make the cut. Even though he is 5th in career rushing yards, he did not perform well in other categories.
Rushing YardsYards Per CarryTouchdownsReceiving YardsPro Bowl AppearancesSeasons with 1200 Yards Rushing or More
13662 3.9 94 1449 6 4

His yards per carry is very low (3.9) and he only had 1449 career receiving yards. While he had a great, and hall of fame worthy career, the Bus didn't make a stop here on our list.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christ vs. Caesar?

One of the hottest trends in New Testament Studies is to see the gospel proclamation in the New Testament as being explicitly anti-imperial. Jesus was called 'lord' and 'savior' in the New Testament. The proclamation about him is called, 'the gospel.' Interestingly, Caesar was also called 'savior' and 'lord.' And proclamations about him were sometimes called 'gospel.' Does this (and other evidence) suggest, though, that the gospel was explicitly anti-imperial?

Not to be a downer, but I think some of the enthusiasm about the anti-imperial nature of the gospel should be tempered. That's not to say that there's no critique of the Roman empire present, but, in my opinion, two things mitigate against this now very popular understanding of the background against which the gospel is supposedly best understood.

First is that the book of Acts repeatedly stresses that the gospel isn't anti-imperial. Notice in many cases, blame for being driven out of the city is placed on some Jews who stirred up trouble. There's also the notable case in Corinth where the magistrate declares that Paul's teaching was not seditious (Acts 18:1-14); I could bring up other instances from Acts as well. Some suggest that Philippians should be understood an anti-imperialist letter, but I don't see how that does justice to the text. Even at first glance, how could Paul be so confident of his acquittal before Caesar if his gospel was an attack on him (Phil. 1:19-26)?

What, too, do we make of the trial and crucifixion narratives? Specifically I have in mind Matthew 27:11-26. It seems obvious that even while Jesus admits to Pilate that he is king of the Jews, Pilate doesn't see this act as seditious!

I don't want to swing too far the other way and say that there is no critique of the Roman empire and Caesar in the New Testament or in a correct understanding of the gospel. I just do not see it as a primary category for aiding us in understanding the gospel or the early Christian movement. I believe that the Old Testament still forms the primary source from which the early church took its terms for proclaiming the truth about Jesus.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Do Some Pit Bulls Go To Hell?

This morning I read Genesis 9 for my morning devotions and Genesis 9:5 jumped out at me,
and for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being (TNIV).
This passage in particular raises the question of animals and morality. For, if they're not capable of immorality, why kill them for killing people? It seems clear to me that killing the animal that killed a person is the animal's punishment. What's the point? Clearly underlying this section is that human life holds intrinsic value, but I still fail to see why you punish a non-moral being, unless...animals aren't non-moral. Again, how can you demand an accounting of non-moral beings unless...animals aren't non-moral.

If animals are moral agents then this opens a whole range of questions. What does animal redemption look like, then? Are some banished to hell forever and do some go to heaven to await the new heavens and the new earth? Are all given grace by God? I realize that all of these questions are outside of the scope of revelation, but I think it's interesting to think about. I also think that if animals are moral beings then it may necessitate a change in how we relate to them, but I don't want to go down that path tonight.

Does anyone have any thoughts on all of this?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Speech Act Theory and the Authority of Scripture

Happy New Year everyone. I can think of no better way to bring in the New Year on this blog than by having a brief discussion of a quotation from Drama of Doctrine by Kevin Vanhoozer.

To give a little background to those unfamiliar with Dr. Vanhoozer and recent discussions of hermeneutics and philosophy of language, he bases his approach on what is known as speech-act theory. What speech-act theory helpfully recognizes is that when we say/write something we frequently are communicating more than propositional content. Our words also have the ability to do things. For example when a minister declares a man and a woman to be husband and wife, his proclamation does more than convey the content to those present that the two people are now married, his or her pronouncement binds the two together in marriage. Thus speech-act theory breaks down communication into three aspects: the locution (the propositional content), the illocution (what the speaker is doing in making the statement), and the perlocution (the end effect the speech-act has on the recipient).

This separation of the different levels at which discourse functions enables us to gain a greater grasp on what it means for the Bible to be authoritative.
In sum: it is the divine illocutions - God's use - that construe biblical authority. Let us posit the notion of a 'conical illocution' to refer to 'what God is doing by means of the human discourse in the biblical texts at the level of canon.' According to our revitalized Scripture principle, then, the divine author is not merely a teacher who passes on propositional truths or a narrator who conveys the discourse of others but a dramatist who does things in and through the dialogical action of others (Drama of Doctrine p. 179).
While the propositional content of the Bible is important, there's far more to it than that. Interpreting Scripture requires us to do far more than see and grasp statements. We need to see what God is doing the text. We need to ask ourselves if canonical stories like those of Daniel help us see the sovereignty of God and then as a result trust him more at a practical level? Accepting biblical authority means that we not only accept indicative statements like 'Jesus is the Christ' but that we recognize and appropriate what God is doing through the text. For God acts when he speaks, and his speech-acts carry the fullest authority because he stands behind them.