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Showing posts from August, 2010

Improving the Seminary Experience

Over at Boston Bible Geeks, danny has written an excellent threepartseries on how to improve seminary. By and large I am in strong agreement with him. I thought that in this post I would share a bit about my personal journey to TEDS and suggest a part of my preferred solution for what churches and students can do. It may be a bit idealistic, but I still think that it may be the best way.

I grew up and went to college in Rochester, NY. During my senior year I felt called to go to seminary. After graduation I stayed in Rochester for two more years serving in the campus ministry that I had attended while in college while my wife was finishing graduate school (we got married the year after I graduated). During my time in Rochester, the conviction to go to seminary grew and my pastor, while initially unsure, came to fully endorse my decision. That period was a very fruitful time for me where I spent a lot of time doing ministry with my pastor and other leaders in the college ministry.

After …

10 Reasons Why Paul is not Referring to His Struggle with Sin in Romans 7:7-25

In my review of Keener's Romans commentary I mentioned the helpfulness of a chart in the discussion of Romans 7 (found on p. 92) where Keener showed the problems with a common way of interpreting Romans 7:7-25. Many believe that Paul is talking about his own, current struggle with sin in that section. However, if we were to accept that reading, we have the problem of Paul contradicting what he says elsewhere. Danny asked me to reproduce the chart, so here it is below:

Rom 7:7-25Believers in the contextLaw, sin, and death (7:7-13)Freed from law (7:4, 6;8:2), sin (6:18, 20, 22) and death (5:21; 6:25; 8:2)I am fleshly (7:14)You are not in the (sphere of) flesh, if Christ lives in you (8:9); no longer in the flesh (7:5)I have been sold under (as a slave to) sin (7:14; cf. 7:23)Believers have been freed from enslavement to sin (6:18, 20, 22); they are "redeemed" (3:24)Knowing right (in the law) without the ability to do right (7:15-23)Power to live righteously (8…

Bavinck on the Goal of Dogmatics

I have recently started reading the first volume of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics which covers prolegomena. I really appreciate the doxological moments that have been scattered thus far. Dogmatics isn't a purely academic discipline for Bavinck because of the nature of its subject. Below is a short snippet showing one instance in which that comes into play:
'Specifically, this then is true of theology; in a special sense it is from God and by God, and hence for God as well. But precisely because its final purpose does not lie in any creature, not in practice, or in piety, or in the church, amidst all the [other] sciences it maintains its own character and nature. Truth as such has value. Knowledge as such is a good. To know God in the face of Christ - by faith here on earth, by sight in the hereafter - not only results in blessedness but is as such blessedness and eternal life. It is this knowledge that dogmatics strives for in order that God may see his own image reflected a…

Book Review: Romans

I don't read through many commentaries in a short period of time very often, but I was in need of a refresher on Romans to aid me in my Galatians study and Keener's commentary was brief enough to tackle in the space of a week. Craig Keener is professor of New Testament at Palmer Seminary of Eastern University. He's published several other notable commentaries, including one on Revelation. His newest commentary is Romans: A New Covenant Commentary (soon to be overtaken by a forthcoming Acts commentary that will be published by Hendrickson).

The New Covenant Commentary Series is a relatively new series published by Wipf and Stock. Keener is one of the editors. The other is Michael Bird. The series aims for somewhere between a popular level treatment and a mid-level commentary. Keener definitely was in that range. The commentary was written clearly and not in an academic style. However, some technical jargon is used so at least a little bit of familiarity with the discipline o…

Book Review: Keeping God's Earth

Thanks to Adrianna of IVP for providing me with a review copy!

One of the hot debates today is over the extent to which we humans are negatively impacting the global environment. Many Evangelicals find themselves uncertain of where the evidence points. They think there's probably a problem but aren't sure how big it is and even if there is a problem, they're not sure how the Bible might guide us towards a solution. It's for this group (in which I would have included myself) that Keeping God's Earth: The Global Environment in Biblical Perspective is written.

The book starts with an introduction and an essay on the environment and eschatology. Then, four major ecological issues are tackled: cities, biodiversity, water, and climate change. Each of these four sections has two articles. The first is written by a leading Christian scientist in that field assessing the problem and the second is written by a biblical scholar providing the theological backbone necessary to he…

Galatians 3:1-5: Fee on the Centrality of the Spirit

1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by your observing the law, or by your believing what you heard? (TNIV)Something critical that many commentators miss in Galatians is the centrality of the Holy Spirit. As expected, Gordon Fee is an exception (Hays and McKnight pick up on this theme, too, to a lesser extent). Fee's discussion at one point was so helpful that I'll quote it at length,
...[A]long with many other passages throughout the corpus, this appeal to "reception of the Spirit" as evidence of entry into the Christian life demonstra…