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keeping an eye on the tree and the forest

Dave's Exegesis is my eclectic site of exegesis on pretty much everything I can think of, whether biblical studies, theology, music, movies, culture, food, drink, sports, or the internet.

The Gospel According to Dave

04.25.05

Here’s something I wrote up for my evangelism class. All comments are desired and welcome.

The Glory of God. After creating the heavens and the earth, God created mankind in order to reflect and display the fullness of his immeasurable beauty and holiness. He did so by giving them intelligence, creativity, and a pure relationship with Him that brought them unending joy and satisfaction.

The Fall of Mankind. Although they delighted in God and his ways for a while, mankind foolishly fell under the temptation of the evil being Satan to abandon their Creator. They were enticed to become their own gods, and in doing so, they dissolved their relationship with God. In this act, their motivations and actions irrevocably became corrupted, plunging themselves and their descendants into unending judgment.

Jesus Christ, the Savior. Upon judging mankind for their open rebellion, God promised to overcome their judgment through a new Man. God fulfilled this promise by coming in the flesh himself, as the person of Jesus Christ. He was miraculously conceived and born of a virgin, and he enjoyed a complete and pure relationship with God. Although he maintained moral perfection, the mission of Jesus was to experience the judgment that mankind deserved. Therefore, he was crucified on a Roman cross, were he suffered the abandonment of God to infinite pain and wrath as a sacrifice. God raised Jesus from death three days after he died on the cross in order to restore him to the unending pleasure of His presence.

Access to God. There is no amount of good things a man or woman can do to cleanse themselves or rid themselves from their own corrupt nature. Therefore, if left to ourselves, we stand only to expect the judgment of God for our continual rebellion against Him. However, God has been merciful not to destroy us, but He has been gracious to come to the earth himself in Jesus Christ, to absorb the judgment we deserve. God has seen fit to save people from His wrath as they believe in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. He invites people from every tribe, language, and nation to believe this good news and enjoy the unending pleasure of His presence.

Settings

04.22.05

Location: Work
Music: Phish, Hoist
Drinking: Water
State of Mind: Anticipational Uncertainty
Pressures: Getting Coursework Completed by Monday, Getting Married in Less than a Month
Pleasures: Talking with My Girl Tonight
Fantasy Baseball Team: Ahead for the Week by 60+ points
On My Mind: That My Sisters and I Just Inherited 1/2 of My Deceased Aunt’s House

Time for Evangelicals Part Two

04.16.05

You thought I wouldn’t finish this, but you were wrong. Here is part deux of my reflection on the now dated (2/7/05) article in Time Magazine on the 25 most influential evangelicals. I’ll let you hunt for the part one of this in the archives, but I believe that it was in February. I’ve tried not to be too critical; my comments will have to do more with I agree with their choice to be on this list or not. OK, here we go…

Tim and Beverly Lahaye. Time called them “The Christian Power Couple,” which does make me want to gag, but I don’t really know if that is true or not. Unfortunately, Left Behind is an irreversable phenomenon that only gains more adherents. Efforts by others to subvert this beast have been of little effect. Lahaye’s defficient understanding of biblical eschatology is evident in every page of the series, and his misleading influence has cripled many people’s understanding of what the Bible really says. I hate to say it but it’s true. Interestingly enough, Time does not really point to Left Behind so much as it points to his influence on Jerry Falwell and the organization of the Moral Majority. They also highlight Beverly’s founding of the Concerned Women for America and mention its influence. They have also authored books both separate and together that have sold many copies. All this being said, I would agree with their choice, but I don’t think I would call them the power couple.

Charles Colson. It’s cool to see one of the trustees of my seminary on this list. He hasn’t made the best of decisions in the past as an evangelical, like signing the first edition of ECT, Evangelicals and Catholics Together (it is understandable since his wife is catholic), but he is certainly behind the scenes as well as in the forefront for evangelicals. He has written many books, including his autobiography, and he found Prison Fellowship, which is unparalleled in its ministry to inmates. I agree with this choice.

J.I. Packer. Time called him the “Theological Traffic Cop,” which I’m sure many would disagree since he signed ECT too. Packer’s influenc has certainly waned in the past few years, since he is nearly 80, but he continues to teach at Regent College in Vancouver and maintain connection to England and the US. This may be a token choice because of Packer’s overall influence in the past 30 years. His book “Knowing God” is still used at many colleges and seminaries as an introduction theology. “Keep in Step with the Spirit” is linked on the side of my blog because I think it is a classic every christian should read. As Alistar McGrath continues to edit and publish Packer’s collections of essays, Packer will only gain more readers.

Mark Noll. I don’t know if I agree with this choice, but then again, I’m not exactly sure about everything he is involved in. He’s been at Wheaton for a number of years, and his work, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” is superb. His ever famous opening sentence is, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” That is classic and it could not be more true. His recent works on American church history have won him acclaim outside of evangelicalism, but again, I don’t know much else he is involved in. If I would picked someone in his area to be on the list, I probably would have chosen George Marsden. Marsden has been saying the same things in more volume and for more years.

Ralph Winter. I have been receiving Missions Frontier magazine for the past 6 years and you can tell whoever is behind it is doing some amazing things. He has been monumental in strategizing how to spread the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world, as in strengthening and mobilizing mission organizations around the globe. Therefore, his incluence is larger outside the US and we cannot even begin to imagine the impact his influence has had. Anyone who has been to Urbana or Lousanne could tell you. In either case, this was an obvious choice.

Bill Hybels. Although he received more attention at first as the founding pastor of Willow Creek Community church, being featured on Datline NBC with a whole 15 minutes devoted the movement this church started back in the early to mid-90s, he has been largely overshadowed by Rick Warren in recent years. But make no mistake about it, he is still one of the most influential pastors in America through the Willow Creek Association. His church’s push toward seeker sensativity has changed the paradigms, in many ways, as to how we approach Sunday mornings. The Willow Creek team of John Ortberg, Lee Stobel, and Hybels have pumped out many bestselling books like “The Case for Christ,” “Becoming a Contagious Christian,” and “Couragious Leadership”. Also, Hybels was one of few pastoral confidants for Bill Clinton after he “came clean” about Monica Lewsinsky. This is another obvious choice.

Brian McLaren. I have recently been reading some of McLaren’s stuff off his website that takes the name from one of his books (www.anewkindofchristian.com) and am intriqued by his appeal. He’s trying to offer a very stripped down understanding of postmodernism and the church that has attracted many from ages 20-40. Other notable titles of his are “A Generous Orthodoxy,” and “Finding Faith”. I can resonate with much of what he is saying, but am trying to filter my way through what he saying. I honestly don’t know the fullness of his impact, but I can think of others I would put on this list before McLaren. More on him later.

Jay Sekulow. I suppose we could call him the Rush Limbaugh of christian talk radio, but I can not stand either. My mom used to listen to Sekulow and whenever I was in the car with her or heard him in house, I almost always started barking back at the radio. He came across to me very arrogant and not able to sustain a conversation without jumping down people’s throats. His voice is very annoying. Nonetheless, his influence seems to be more in the courtroom, where he has wielded much with the law center he helped form. He is also a member of the ACLU, and no doubt has helped counsel Bush on certain policy. Overall, probably a good choice for the list.

John Stott. Much like Packer, Stott’s influence has generally been in the past, but he still continues to preach and write. Ian Murray’s work, “Evangelicalism Divided” explores Stott’s relationship to David Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the apparent “split” of evangelicalism that Stott and Lloyd-Jones helped create. However, that was more so the case in the UK, so it is hard to gage how it has effected American evangelicalism, although the two are inextribly linked. Stott was slated to speak at my seminary two years ago, but he cancelled due to health reasons. Stott’s book and bible studies are still widely popular, and his book, “Basic Christianity” has sold millions. I don’t think I would have picked him to be on the list, but like Packer, he is probably a token pick for years past.

People I hadn’t heard of till this article: Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Diane Knippers, Rick Santorum, Luis Cortes, Douglas Coe, David Barton, Richard Land, Steven Strang, Ted Haggard, Stuart Epperson. I am an evangelical seminary student that works at one of the most popular christian book places, but you do the math: either these people are very much behind the scene in their influence and I am ignorant, or Time just didn’t talk to many evangelicals about these unheardofs.

Snubs from the List. Any christian who walks into a christian book store or listens to christian radio can tell you who influences them. Some names come to mind that I think were snubbed and should have been there, if not close:

Al Mohler. He is at the helm at probably the best seminary in the country (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and helping to improve the largest denomination in the states. He hasn’t published much, so he hasn’t got the credit he deserves. His blog and radio show, though, again swarms of followers daily.

Joel Osteen. One of the best selling authors now, and his TV program that he inherited from his dad is watched by millions.

Benny Hinn. As much as I hate to admit it, Benny Hinn continues to lauch juggernot crusades and sells millions of books.

John MacArthur. You don’t put your name on a study bible and not influence dramatically. As a former member of his flock and having listened to hundreds of sermons by the guy, it is easy to put him on this list.

George Bush. Well, if you consider him an evangelical he belongs on the list.

D.A. Carson. He has influenced many at both the popular and scholarly level, but his effect upon evangelical biblical studies cannot be ignored.

N.T. Wright. By far, the most influential Brit on evangelical theology.

Joshua Harris. Almost everybody has a copy of “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” even if they hate him.

OK James, Let’s Have It Out

04.05.05

Disclaimer: Dr. J., you know I love you man.

Dude, let’s talk about inerrancy. First, on a previous post I made the statment:

Since the Scripture was inspired in its writing, it was without error in its first inscripturation into Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and therefore truthful and divinely authoritative in every matter it addresses.

You responded:

Shall we call the Scriptures “inerrant” or “infallible” if they don’t refer to themselves as such? Not that they’re any less valid or inspired or anything.

Later you said:

I guess I should say that I don’t equate “God-breathed” with “infallible”.

First, I will say that I never used the word “inerrancy,” I simply said “without error”. What I meant by this was that I believe the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments as we know them to have been authored by God through men. Therefore, God is the originator and creator of the texts in their original writing. I said it this way:

God inspired holy men, prophets, and apostles to write the sacred Text in various literary forms to say exactly what he wanted to say using the authors’ own circumstances and personalities (2 Tim.3:15-16; 2 Pet.1.20-21). Thus we find covenantal forms, prophetic oracles, psalms/songs, wisdom literature, poetry, historic narrative, expository discourse, and apocalyptic literature each equally guided by the Spirit of God, whether consciously or unconsciously, in its original autograph, accurately portraying the heart of God (in human terms).

Other statements that Scripture makes about Scripture are as follows:

Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Psalm 89:34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

1 Peter 1:25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.

Psalm 19:7-12 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.

Joshua 23:14 14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

This is not to mention Psalm 119. If we believe that all the Scriptures are inspired by God, and God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise, all-holy, and without error, then it would follow that the Scriptures are without error. No? Why don’t you equate “God-breathed” or “inspired” with “infallible”? Why do you have a problem with saying that the Bible is without error? You say because it doesn’t refer to itself as such, but I think it does by implication. When you read statements like, “the Word of God will never fail…” don’t you think that implies it will nor err? I think you are either being a little nit-picky or may just disagree with certain things in the Bible. I would certainly think it is the former. On a sidenote, Jesus never said explicitly that he was God, but it was certainly implied by what he said and did. Wouldn’t you agree?

Second, if you do not believe the Scriptures to be without error, than you believe that they do have errors. If they do have errors, what are they? How do we know what is in error? Yea, we shall ask the question, if all Scripture is inspired by God, is he with some errors? Moreover, how do we even know what is truth? I admit I’m getting eccentric, but I am just trying to figure out where you stand epistemologically. Would you say that certain truths should be separated from the culture and not universally applied? Is that all you mean? Because I would agree with you; I don’t greet everyone with a holy kiss, nor do I plan to anytime soon.

I’m putting this on the front-burner for now since what you are saying about inerrancy has some big implications that I’d love to discuss and hear you out on. Whether you are planning on posting on it yourself, whether we talk about it personally, whether you want to comment, or all three, I just want to draw you out and pick your brain. Don’t mean to attack you bro, I know that has happened to you on your own blog a bit. This is a dialogue.