Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

2 Thessalonians 3

You can read the text here.

Paul closes by continuing to encourage the Thessalonians to persevere. Paul, too, was facing opposition for proclaiming the name of Jesus. He requested their prayer that he would have success everywhere he went just as he had success among them and also that he would not be hindered by his opposition. The utmost of confidence is exuded by Paul that God will protect them just as he has been protected. Not only that, Paul is confident that God will work in their hearts to help them stand firm in fidelity and hope because they have the Spirit of the faithful Christ in them.

The last major piece of content in the letter is a warning about a certain type of idleness. For some unknown reason,[1] Some may be tempted to use the expectation of the end to live off of the generosity of others, especially if they were ministering or teaching in the community, but Paul adamantly opposes that and points to his own hard working example in contrast. If one is capable and h…

Books of the Year: 2016

This year has been quite different in terms of my areas of emphasis in my reading. I spent a lot of time reading in both Early and Medieval theology. In many ways it was a strecth for me. I enjoy modern theology a bit and I really enjoy exegesis, but historical theology is a bit more challenging for me. I also have less background in those areas which makes it harder work to read and digest academic work in that field. It was quite productive for me, though and I learned a lot even if it was a work of perseverance at times. Now onto the list:


5. The Sentences Book 3 by Peter Lombard




The Lombard is a greatly underappreciated theologian, especially by Protestants. He was a very careful and thoughtful writer, and certainly far more than just a compiler of earlier opinions as has sometimes been claimed. One of the things I appreciate about him is that he is far more aware of the debt he owes to those came before him than many modern Protestants are. Having a long view of things gives him a…

2 Thessalonians 2

You can read the text here.

Paul continues to encourage the Thessalonian Christians. Apparently communication (oral or letter) had arrived in Paul's name claiming that the day of the Lord had come and gone or they had badly misunderstood 1 Thessalonians.[1] Either way, this shook the church and must have raised questions about why they were still facing persecution and had not yet been vindicated.[2] Paul claims the time had not come and gives his expectation of what must happen first. It seems clear to me that Paul expected it to come soon.[3]
Who did Paul have in mind when talking about this man of lawlessness? It sounds like Paul is talking about something concrete he is expecting to be done by someone alive at that time.[4] Whoever he is, Paul is expecting that he too will succumb to the power of the Messiah Jesus when he returns to judge. And so will all who follow him in his Satan led deception.[5]
Because of this, the Thessalonians have nothing to fear. God is on their side…

2 Thessalonians 1

I have a small gap in my reading/study/writing schedule, so I've decided to slot 2 Thessalonians in. I'm planning to cover the whole book in three posts, hopefully all before the end of the year.

You can read the text here.

Paul [1] opens his second letter to the Thessalonians with a wish of grace before going into his customary thanksgiving section. He has much to be thankful for. The Thessalonians are growing, especially in their love for one another and their faith/faithfulness/fidelity.[2] Standing firm in their commitment was not easy given the persecution they faced. They are a church in need of encouragement, so Paul affirms them, essentially calling their witness exemplary.

Next, Paul goes on to offer further encouragement, here offering hope for a beleaguered church in the final judgment. There are a couple of points of emphasis.[3] First is that the judgment of God is just, or in keeping with people's deeds. Those who persecuted the Thessalonians would receive ap…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

You can read the text here. This is the final post in my brief foray into 1 Thessalonians.

The opening verses of this closing section are a little tricky. Who is Paul talking about? Is he thinking of leaders in the church or not? Certainly nothing in the text forces it to refer to leaders. In some senses it's hard to imagine there being formal leadership in place given that Paul had to leave so quickly after founding the church in Thessalonica and that he wrote this letter soon afterward. However, that may be because we're in a different situation where there's never a church comprised solely of new Christians. That question is hard to adjudicate. One wonders how important the question really is when Paul's comments clearly cover anyone performing certain functions.

In any regard, Paul tackles the topic of mutual edification,[1] beginning by urging the Thessalonians to show appreciation for the service of those in the community who teach and care for them. Paul's l…

Exploring the Christian Way - Prolegmonea - Bayesian Statistics as Foundational to Theology

Finally, I feel that I am prepared to write a full blown prolegomena where I explain my method for developing theology. Reading Stanley Hauerwas' The Work of Theology and Lewis Ayres Nicea and It's Legacy has helped me sharpen my thinking. It's not that I have adopted their methods so much as they have stimulated my thinking in fruitful ways, while I won't discuss them explicitly, I think their contribution is worth mentioning.

How do we know anything? The leap forward that was the Wesleyan Quadrilateral was that realized that we needed more than Scripture and Tradition to discern theological truth. Reason and experience were viewed as additional authorities and we needed a "formal method" to adjudicate between these sometimes conflicting authorities. I think it was a nice try, but we can do better. As an aside, many would argue that Scripture alone is our highest authority, but in practice I don't think anybody actually always let's Scripture overrul…

Orphan Black: I Don't Think Shay Killed Delphine

The big mystery at the end of season 3 of Orphan Black is the identity of the murderer of Delphine. They are off screen so it must be someone we have seen before. I've heard it suggested that Shay is the killer. Granted her military roots, I don't see it. I suspect it's a clone. Note only that, it's one we've seen before.

Yeah, that's right. I think Krystal could be the killer. The rest of the post will establish that there's far more than meets the eye with Krystal and that she is not trustworthy. From there I will suggest why she fits as a potential killer of Delphine.

When we first actually meet Krystal, Delphine and Dr. Nealon converse about just how naive she is. Dr. Nealon declares her, 'not one to pierce the veil...' But when we meet her with Felix, she clearly has pierced the veil significantly. She's noticed a pattern in her life that is abnormal and she's written about it in a notebook with the Castor symbol on the cover. Of course…

1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

You can read the text here.

Through Timothy, Paul had heard that the Thessalonians had some anxiety about those in their congregation who had died before Jesus returned.[1] Paul issues the Thessalonians some reassurance. There is no disadvantage to those who died prior to Jesus return. They will join with Jesus when he returns just like those who are still alive will.[2] They will not miss out on the resurrection. Jesus himself confirms this. Grief is ok, but not grief without hope. The language Paul uses is perhaps a bit odd, talking of meeting Jesus in the air. At the core it's an expression of the fact that Jesus is not mere human king. His kingdom includes and transcends that.[3]

Paul moves on in the next section to give them further comfort via eschatology. His goal is to reinforce what they already know because it is critical and to further comfort them.[4] Paul affirms, Jesus is coming back some day, and it will happen suddenly. It also won't be a pleasant return for ev…

Thank You Steven Moffat, Peter Capaldi, and Jenna Coleman

In 2012 and 2013 I was fairly frustrated with the state of Doctor Who. There were several good episodes that would come out each year, but the drop off from the Davies era was massive. Many of the characters were poorly written and Moffat had a penchant for writing himself into corners (Matt Smith's finale was brutal). I went as far as calling for the BBC to go in a different direction. I didn't think that Moffat had what it took to be the show runner for Doctor Who.

In 2015 (and to a lesser extent 2014) Moffat has changed my opinion of him as a writer. This past season was nothing short of excellent. Now, a great deal of credit belongs to Peter Capaldi. I don't see how anyone can objectively prefer Matt Smith to Capaldi unless they just really like Smith's schtick. His superiority is obvious in how much better he and Jenna Coleman work together on screen. Coleman was excellent this year and Capaldi is in the same tier as David Tennant, Tom Baker, and Patrick Troughto…

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

You can read the text here.

Paul now transitions into more direct exhortation and encouragement of the Thessalonians. They were doing well, but that does not mean that Paul didn't have a further challenge for them. They had seen from Paul and his associates what a lifestyle that pleased God looked like. He wants to focus on two particular areas in this section, presumably because they were at least partially an issue for his converts.

The first topic Paul addresses is sex. Given the nature of the culture he lived in, he is particularly aiming his advice at men. They need to be able to control their sexual urges and limit sex to being within marriage, abstaining from any of the other outlets accepted by their native culture.[1] The reason behind it all is because of their identity and their calling. They have been drawn into Christ by the Holy Spirit and must live in accordance with the nature of that Spirit which is within them.[2] Rejecting a lifestyle of holiness, of which sexua…

My Debt to Orphan Black

In certain regards my political views have become increasingly raidcal over the past few years. There are many reasons why that is the case. Certainly part of it has been my study of the Bible, theology, and ethics. Some of it has been through the development of relationships with a wider net of people. A third, and key component has been television. No, it has not been through watching cable news outlets, but because powerful storytelling has opened my eyes to understand the world in a clearer fashion. Then theology can step in to make sense of my improved understanding of reality.

While there are many shows that I like, there are only two shows that I cherish, and for different reasons. Orphan Black is one show, and it's story and characters has forever changed the way I see the world. There's much I could write about related to Orphan Black, worldview, and ethics, but a lot of good ground has already been covered in some lengthy online articles (here's one of the best …