Sunday, January 31, 2010
A great resource for 1 Peter which I will be using is 'First Peter - An Expositional Commentary' by D Edmond Hierbert.
Consider 1:1 "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion.."
First we notice how Peter says he is merely an apostle, not the apostle of Jesus Christ. Humility? He mentions both his given name and Title, Jesus "because he will save his people from their sins" and Messiah, the expected prophesied one of the Old Testament, the one who brings God's plan to fruition.
Much debate has been given to the word elect here. It simply means chosen. Is it a seperate noun or an adjective modifying the following noun, Sojourners?
Hiebert suggests the latter and points out arguments that favour this.
Implications then are Peter is focusing here on them being "elect sojourners of the dispersion."
As Hierbert points out "Peter thus fuses heavenward and earthward relationships."
They are chosen "but" sojourners.
If this is so we could put it this way, whilst sojourners or aliens in the land of the disporia, still even in that situation they are chosen by God. He knows it.
Try putting this in context, if the readers of Peters letter were Jewish Christians, then being out of the promised land still is tough for people of the promise. There is some weight to be given that they are Jewish Christians, the use of Old Testament, [ especially concepts ] that Peter is minister of the circumcision Gal 2:10 etc yet even if not they are a people suffering difficulties and perhaps persecution, see the purpose of the letter 1 Peter 5:12 where they are encourgaed by God's grace.
What then about that word election? Should a sermon here expound the doctrine of election? Perhaps it does well to say some things about it, such as how ofter people will pit election against understanding man's "free will" both of which are taught in the Bible. eg God saying through His prophet to the people of Israel "choose this day whom you will server, Baal or YHWH." Yet we do well to point out as some have that this notion of election arises in contexts where it's given as a basis for comfort in extreemely difficult circumstances. If you don't say this then you perhaps have missed the point. Theology must always be contextual, I seem to find these days people who rip a verse out of context and make a theology.
See how here elect is passive, meaning the readers are the objects of God's electing action and as verse 4 tells us, in order that they might be partakers of the heavenly inheritance being reserved for them.
Consider again "elect sojourners", they are resident aliens in a places where they do not belong. We could say, they now belong with Christ, they are God's chosen people heading towards their heavenly home.
Research: does Peter's use of sojourners here conflict with Hebrews use of it to refer to Old Testament saints giving rise to some "replacement theology of Israel? Not likely. Perhaps Peter is merely using it metaphorically?
Don't forget also that we need to continue to look at the idea of elect in regard to Peter's comment of foreknowledge in verse 2.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
there's always something to occupy your time isn't there? I am winding up the estate of my mother at present and that takes up a large ammount of my time.
I heard a joke by the Marx Brother's recently about this.
"I am winding up my mother's estate, and it's taking a lot of my time, she had over 100 clocks"
Still we are in the process of building a new house and that is time consuming.
But what I must get on and do on my "to do" list are:
1. Write a piece on Ancient Near East cosmological views and comparison of the Bible's.
2. Write something more on Genesis 1 and Creation.
3. Write my sermon outline on Leviticus 2, and related to this investigate the hermeneutical principle that some are putting forth, those mainly moving in reformed circles, which says something along the lines that we interpret OT with Christ in mind. Some explain it this way "a hermeneutic that has as it's goal to trace every verse to its ultimate reference point: the cross of Christ."
Here we would need to consider what they mean by this? There's the need to consider texts such as How would you interpret Genesis 4, the Cain and Able Text with this hermeneutic? How would you interpret Leviticus 2? Consider Cain and Able, which unlike with Genesis 3:15 where one certainly sees a prophecy about the messiah, you understand it as showing the spread of sin and God's grace in challenging Cain not to sin but repent. We could say that this shows man's need for a saviour - which whilst true I doubt this should be the total focus of the application of the sermon on Genesis 4. Now there's some difficult questions to work through.
see you later
Over the years I enjoyed J I Packer's "Knowing God" and it has benefitted me as well as countless others. Yet his talk on problems on Gen 1 though a good overview do not argue his position in any real depth.
I include the document I transcribed of his talk for you to read for yourselves. The Audio is found on Sydney Anglicans Web site.
JI Packer audio lecture on problems in Gen
Lecture ‘the attributes of God pt 2.’
Found on Sydney Anglicans site. My bold comments end with gw.
My summation: Packer says some good things at different points but he doesn’t present an argued case for the Framework position, he just says he thinks it the best and to see Henri Blocher’s book which he says is convincing. So as a lecture on issues in Genesis regarding evolution and creation it falls far too short. He offers no biblical support at how the framework position is faithful to the bible and he doesn’t even outline the Framework view.
1. Debate been going on for past 100 years and not sure if it’s an area of prime importance. In sense not sure it’s vital to know what conclusion to come to in these debates.
“Prime” – he merely gives opinion here without substance or justification. gw
2. Problems in bible of biblical witness and scientific enquiry. Alleged clash.
3. Packer’s concern is that none of us get derailed in the discussion of alleged clash between scientific enquiry and biblical account of creation.
4. 5a. cosmos – relation between the two, the nature and origins of cosmos. Simple guideline for working through this is to remember the limits of scientific enquiry / theorising and outlook; they study the cosmos as an ongoing concern. Science looks at the Process, processes taking place, it’s observational. Then wouldn’t expect scientific enquiry to tell you anything definitive about origins. Because the method of Science is one of studying a going concern from within. The bible is however, God centred, gen – revln and sees cosmos as product of God’s work, have revln, tells us things science couldn’t in principle tell us. so Theology is queen of sciences, not science – good point. gw
5. Postmodernism takes technology but has no confidence in natural science to explain natural origins.
6. The Biblical revln provides a framework within which all science knowledge with which scientists work etc understanding God made everything, and its thru his sustaining power that the cosmos continues to function and exist.
7. At one stage Scientists had a Deistic understanding, which is the wrong view to hold of the cosmos anyway. Like a clock wound up, mechanistic, but Biblically wrong. [ very Western, not found in Asia so a neurosis of the West eg Enlightenment etc. ] So Nature of Cosmos = upheld by God..
8. 5b. how relate biblical and scientific accounts of origin. Cosmologists have no doubt there was a Big bang, this the preferred view of Scientists. I don’t think there is any doubt there was a big bang but doesn’t tell you what went bang. Doesn’t tell what preceded or was behind this. So Scientific accounts stop short of what lies behind or brought about the cosmos as a going concern. Math and technical resourcefulness for dating things behind big bang theory seem certain – here is an assumption of philosophy of fact. gw One still has to go back to the bible to celebrate that God made everything.
9. What of evoln? Isn’t it quite certain that our human bodies came from simpler forms of physical life, so warrantable that human history, is a story of how mankind progressed. The appropriate Christian answer – this is a theory of evoln & it is only a theory. And only one. Doesn’t tell you about mind or mental life or mental items in the evolutionary family tree. If it were true It would still require you to posit a special event which the Christian will call a special act where [ shows Packer’s naïve study about work done trying to posit mental life, intelligence in evolutionary terms. Called socialisation etc gw ] 1st man became self consciousness and God consciousness. We still have to posit an act of God at this point in evolution. Only a Guess or hypothesis that God breathed into man 2:6 at this point of evoln of man? And if evoln theory has substance to it then it’s reasonable to hypothesis this. Yet it goes contrary to other ways things happens, [ ie miracle ? gw ] a monkey like physical being into a human. Packer doubts this hypothesis that random mutations at genetic level produced more and more order and complexity, thinking of the human body at this point, elaborate functioning contrary to way other things go in the universe. Where randomness happens.
10. Proper response it seems to me is that it’s Not question of time but whether order comes out of chaos. What evidence do we have that it can happen? What warrant when everywhere else disorder comes. But perhaps as a believer, God overrides the process so theistic evolutionist, however it’s still a guess. Nobody is committed to evoln of a guess, there are gaps in evoln family tree and oddity of the idea of chance producing the human body problems. So from philosophy of science standpoint evoln is by no means proven and as a guess / hypothesis - it is very strange indeed. Order out of chaos.
11. If believe in a God who overrules what happens to organism, then theistic, then a unique process because God guided it, people called theistic evolutionist, however it still only a hypothesis. Because of gaps in evolutionary family tree and oddity of billions of years producing the human body.
12. Biblical narratives of gen 1 and 2 doesn’t say anything about whether evolutionary hypothesis true or not. I assert it here and will argue it later.
13. Understanding biblical testimony to creation from gen 1
14. 3 views historically taken 1:1-2:4. First, the Naïve view that what’s taking place here is what would in principle have been observed if one was there during it. Days are 24 hour days, a literal weeks work on God’s part. During which God put chaotic mass into shape.
15. view 2 - no cannot maintain that in face of testimony of geology and all that physics tells us about the cosmos, biology , ethnology etc that cosmos took billions of years. Rather a match between work of the 6 days and the stages of evoln process, as Scientists envision them, so days gen are pointers to geological epochs so “let there be” points to processes which took millions of years to happen - this view is called concordism, “it seeks to enhance Moses credit by giving him a degree in science” as a Roman Catholic scholar said. [ ignores philosophy of fact and makes science determinative of truth of the bible – science stands in judgment as authority over the bible. gw ] it’s reading gen 1 as allegorical science. Knowing science now you know the correct way to read it is as allegorical science. Allegorical because the details appear to be saying something else. RC scholars mainly concordists.
16. The third view is the way almost unanimous ( really? GW ) by OT scholars today Roman Catholic or protestant, liberal or conservative. Take view that this account is on the face of it a quasi liturgical celebration of the fact of creation rather than science in disguise. The argument for this – from its literary form it’s literary genre, a narrative of celebration where literary repetition contributes to it’s effect. “And God said, morning and evening, let there be” etc. also the parallel between days 1,4; 2,5;3,6. Well, that’s very schematic, formal, it doesn’t read like allegorical science but rather like a hymn with choruses, [ here taking strophes as choruses gw ] it is a prose passage of course but seems fair from literary standpoint that it’s a prose poem. Those who understand it this way, 6 days are just part of the picture, as is the other bits, it is just speaking of the fact of creation, pictured as a weeks work, the thrust is to teach proper attitude to God because of creation, thanks and praise, so “meet the creator” not how created. [ false dichotomy, it’s both gw ] it’s as if Moses, and I will take it as Moses until better instructed, [Jesus said it was as did Paul gw] has a strategy of putting it as a week of work is so it [ fits ] the exodus commandment of Sabbath [ but this is strained, it doesn’t matter it’s a literary device (a picture) but whether they are actual days for Sabbath so the Exodus argument is one based on creation – gw ] this view of how to read gen 1 used to be called framework, but now called literary hypothesis. I for one find it irresistibly convincing. See book Henri blosch . A Conservative Calvinist. ‘In the beginning’ a picture of a weeks work celebrating the fact of creation. [ I am not saying the bible is wanting to give a scientific account of stages etc – but that God’s Word on creation implies things in regard to science none the less. gw] Seems no interest in giving a scientific account as we know it. Just the fact to rejoice in.
17. If try make sense of concordism then you are up against trouble, because sun, moon and stars on your view are not created till 4th day, and yet light on the very first day. this fact makes concordist reading unnatural.
18. This the framework hypothesis of Bloche is the best way to interpret 1: to 2:4 on my opinion.
19. For Packer to say that “as a theologian his job is to receive the bible’s message that is intended to give me” is to assume the very point at gen 1 and 2 he is trying to prove. How to interpret gen 1. gw
Questions from the floor:
20. Claimed two genesis creation accounts –comment : comparable, to modern movies, a long view of sky, then close up relation to field, [true they are not two different Creation accounts as indicated by the use of the word elohim and yhwh elohim! gw ] Packer says the story of what really happens begins in chapter 2!
21. Woman created from mans side, is it non factual poetry or what? – I don’t know if it is right to say about the biology of it – I just know what is right to say about the theology of it – [ means you must interpret it from gen1 correctly gw ] I know theol of it because Christian expositors been proclaiming it from the beginning eg Augustine. Woman made out of Adams side so he would know she completes him and he would cherish her, not to lord it over her as with doormat. Completion and companionship etc [ but does Packer know what the bible says? And are such statements as Augustine reveal understanding of meanings in gen 1 either taken as allegorical or literal. As when Packer then goes on to talk about “this is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” this is completion of me. How is completion here from Adam missing a rib? She is separate, but why not my kind? Packer says the woman given back to Adam and she completes him. So is it all about adam here and not eve? Gw ] Packer says it’s a prose picture, not a poem. Packer takes gen 2 and 3 to be historical, but also gen 2 and 3 to be told in a symbolic way. Rather use symbolic than mythical or fantasy. Things described in such a way that helps you understand their meaning. Details presented symbolically so that the meaning will come across, the symbols are carriers of the meaning. [This is very strange philosophy of language. Why cannot one understand the meaning from a prose picture straightforwardly? Does the symbol have a corresponding reality as it does in normal prose, so we see a sign of which is used in airports for toilet’s worldwide and it has the referent, the bathroom. – gw ] So serpent is a symbolic presentation of Satan. [ now what is interesting here is that Packer’s discussion of snakes and satan, presented as one and the same, starts with post fall understanding of snakes, they are cunning and subtle and dangerous, they bite people before people aware that they are there. They are malevolent & we don’t like snakes, all this is not pre-fall. All this conveyed by simply exhibiting Satan as a serpent. So his interpretation is faulty for it assumes post fall understanding of snakes, not pre-fall. Gw ]
22. Packer says Moses concerned we get the right feeling, emotional response to the story. And so symbolism is used. Similarly Eve out of Adams rib – with idea of completion, also teachers basic truth about the two sexes..its more than the doctrine of marriage but of the two sexes living and working together in the human community, and the sense that persons of the other gender bring things that complete us. [ but that ignores chapter 3 where it is both together as one flesh!!!!! Gw ]
23. Packers answer to questions reveals a lot!
Monday, January 25, 2010
It seems to me it's quite easy. Often we quickly see an important point but have failed to realise something even more significant.
Consider Genesis 1:26 "then God said, let us make man in our image.."
Something wonderful is happening here. Up until this moment we read, the repetitions "God said, .. and there was .. and God called ... and God saw that it was good." But now we read, "then God said, let us make man.." Here we don't merely have something special in that God creates man, but that he deliberates within the godhead about it!
We are reading about God deliberating what He will do! We are being told about the thought processes of God himself. We are hearing the mind of God.
Now I am not for one moment detracting from the fact that Scripture is God's Word. I am just saying that sometimes we jump immdeiately to saying things like "oh here's a verse that has the seed of the teaching about the Trinity in it." Or "Wow- we are made in God's image". But we fail to notice that here in this verse we are told of the deliberating of God about the making of man and it stands out from His previous acts of Creation.
Oh What a glorious God.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I was soon disappointed for I didn’t hear a reasoned defence of their position but merely a statement that Packer himself finds the framework position to be the best and that “I for one find it irresistibly convincing. See book Henri blosch . A Conservative Calvinist. ‘In the beginning’ a picture of a weeks work celebrating the fact of creation.”
Packer does lay out in general the three common views towards Genesis 1. Of the third view he says:
The third view is the way almost unanimous by OT scholars today Roman Catholic or protestant, liberal or conservative. Take view that this account is on the face of it a quasi liturgical celebration of the fact of creation rather than science in disguise. The argument for this – is from its literary form, it’s literary genre, a narrative of celebration where literary repetition contributes to it’s effect. “And God said, morning and evening, let there be” etc. also the parallel between days 1,4; 2,5;3,6.
Well, that’s very schematic, formal, it doesn’t read like allegorical science but rather like a hymn with choruses, [ here taking phrases as choruses gw ] it is a prose passage of course but seems fair from literary standpoint that it’s a prose poem. Those who understand it this way, 6 days are just part of the picture, as is the other bits, it is just speaking of the fact of creation, pictured as a weeks work, the thrust is to teach proper attitude to God because of creation, thanks and praise, so “meet the creator” not how created. it’s as if Moses, and I will take it as Moses until better instructed, [Jesus said it was as did Paul - gw] has a strategy of putting it as a week of work is so it [ fits ] the exodus commandment of Sabbath. This view of how to read Gen 1 used to be called framework, but now called literary hypothesis. I for one find it irresistibly convincing. See book Henri blosch . A Conservative Calvinist. ‘In the beginning’ a picture of a weeks work celebrating the fact of creation. Genesis seems to have no interest in giving a scientific account as we know it. Just the fact to rejoice in.
Let’s unpack what Packer says here:
First, he doesn’t say that his hermeneutic is putting genre as the deciding criteria of the meaning of a passage above the grammatical historical investigation which provides the basis for deciding upon the genre in the first place. We need to be aware that this is exactly what he is doing here. See his statement “a quasi liturgical celebration of the fact of creation rather than science in disguise. The argument for this – is from its literary form, it’s literary genre”.
Secondly, I thoroughly agree that Genesis 1 doesn’t read like allegorical science. However after agreeing it is a prose passage he calls it a prose poem. This would need careful argument and those that propose it don’t succeed in justifying it. All I have read agree it is not Hebrew poetry, and I would merely ask you to compare Gen 1 with clear Hebrew poetry of two Creation passages Job 38:8-11 and Psalm 104:5-9 in the bible to see the standout differences. To mention repetitive phrases does not mean they are strophe’s of poetry. And the suggested parallelism between Days 1/4 2/5 3/6 fails on matters of material correspondence. By which I mean that the created concerns of the different days actually overlap into other days as well.
I don’t deny that Genesis 1 declares God as Creator and ought to be thanked and praised and adored. However that doesn’t mean God is not teaching us things we need to adhere to. Even those with different interpretations of Genesis 1 assume this. For example some see in Genesis 1 statements that reject the worldview and beliefs of those pagans in the Ancient Near East. Such as plurality of gods, the religion of pantheism etc. And to this I would agree. Further I think it’s a false dichotomy to say that it is about “meet the Creator”, not “How He created”.
Lastly, it is strained to say that Moses’ strategy was to place creation in a 6 day frame so as to fit the Sabbath commandment of Exodus. It is to not seriously deal with the argument of the Sabbath since it requires a literal 24 hour day for the Sabbath commandment to work. Of course I recognise the quick rejoin that the framework of 6 days in Genesis 1 are merely a literary device for that Sabbath argument, however that argument relies upon accepting the genre argument of Genesis 1 as true to begin with and this has not in my opinion be sustained.
PS - I value much of what J I Packer has written elsewhere, it's just that on this tape on Genesis I think there are serious problems with his limited argument.
To God be the Glory
All around us in world we live in we see the opposite. We see decay, we see man acting immorally and with a corrupted mind. I don't deny the good acts that some people do sometimes, but the evidence of mankind plagued by sin is unavoidable.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Tuesday August 4, 2009 Categories:
GLBT, same sex marriage OK, I’m serious about this. I’m not even being snarky. Really.Brian McGraw rightly responded -- how do you have a theological argument without the use of scripture?
If you are one who thinks that homosexual sex is sinful, can you please explain to me WHY a gay or lesbian person who is in a long-term, monogamous relationship would not be able to wholeheartedly follow Christ?
My only stipulation is this: You may not quote one of the six verses in scripture that mentions homosexuality. Instead, you must use theological and/or philosophical arguments to attempt to convince me that when you have genital contact with someone of your own gender, it somehow inhibits your relationship with Christ.
Thank you in advance for your civility in answering this question.
I would add that such an approach is totally unbiblical as it's a denial of 1 Peter 3:15 that starts with "in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord" meaning in every aspect of life we are to live with Christ as Sovereign Ruler of our lives.
You will find further helpful responses by pastorboy at Wittenburg Church Door
Yet at Wittenburg you will also read a few comments by Chad, in one of which Chad responds as follows:
"Ok, you have shown that you can offer a “why” response to God’s commands. There is reason behind the commands. You have listed:
- It hurts your spouse- offends the person to whom you have lied.- harms the one from whom you’ve stolen- causes harm to a person in God’s image and their family and friends.
All of these reasons are reasons I would agree with as to why God has commanded us not to commit adultery, not to lie, not to steal and not to kill.
So now, why not answer Tony’s question?"
Now I want to draw our attention to the problem with the whole approach of Tony and the emergent sheep and people like Chad, namely they have a problem with Scripture being the Word of God, that God has said something and they need to deal with it.
Now I am not saying that flippant replies to serious enquiry such as "God said so" are satisfactory. Often in Scripture we need to read the context of God's Commands, understand his Nature and consider other relevant Scriptures as well. Indeed sometimnes lengthy argument is given for a particular doctrinal teaching, such as Paul locating the reason for women not to teach [ mixed company ] as being grounded in Creation. So 1 Tim 2:11-15
So given that disclaimer, I now want to point out that Chad and his ilk exemplify that same question of Satan who asked of Eve in the Garden of Eden "Has God Said?" The thrust of this question in it's context is to raise Doubt in Eve's mind about the goodness of God [ "you must not even touch it" ] and His care for Eve. It is to make God out to be some ogre who wishes to stop Eve having fun and is one set on limiting her development. But the central issue here is even more disasterous.
In her refusal to listen to and obey the clear commands of God, she sets herself up as the Authority on what is right and wrong. She abandons God who alone has that Authority and in whom alone is the Standard of right and wrong, good and evil.
In the above statement by Chad we read that all the reasons pastorboy gave "are ones that he Chad would agree to." Perhaps he is just using sloppy language however if he is following the emergent crowds holy grail that things must agree with what they alone determine as compatible to their moral sensibilities then he is treading on dangerous ground. That's why so many are already decrying the notions of Hell and homosexuality and the atonement.
Please hear me when I say that what I have said above is not questioning Chad's salvation. what I am pointing out is that the line Chad is taking and the emergent crowd frequently espouse is a dangerous one that will easily lead to them being outright heretical, and because of that the warning needs to be sounded clearly and forcefully.
It is because of this undercurrent of unbelief that the emergent crowd are doomed to head towards heresy, and it's firsfruits can be seen in what Brian McLaren and others are already saying.
an encouraging word from D.J. Ward:"The best way to purify the church and keep it pure--is to get rid of all the goats! And the best way to run the goats out of the church--is to feed them 'sheep food'. God's sheep will grow in grace under the preaching of grace--but goats will go hungry because they choke on 'sheep food'. They will soon leave and go somewhere else. Preach sovereign grace!" Is this not what scripture teaches? Did the Lord Jesus not say, "Feed My sheep." John 21:17 Did the apostle Peter not commission church elders to, "Feed the flock of God entrusted to you." 1 Peter 5:2
I suppose the thing about goats is that they will eat rubbish, but when it comes to the things of God they will either be repulsed by the truth or convicted by the Holy Spirit and repent.
While speaking of sheep, the other thing they need as they grow is solid food. They only have milk while they are lambs. We don't need malnourished sheep and the way to nourish them is with the solid teaching and exposition of the Scriptures.
Helpful to ponder eh?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
But anyone who looks at Neh 8:7-8 will immediately ask what is the context of the verse - you all do that won't you?
The historical context is that it is post-exilic, that's just a technical way of saying it is after the Jews, God's people returned from exile. Bowman points out about this passage that "the original Hebrew text was doubtless translated aloud as Aramaic, the common speech of the postexilic Palestine."
So we have that they read out the Hebrew and part of making it distinct was to translate it into Aramaic, then they continued to make clear the meaning.
Since this is most probably the case of what was going on, it gives us insight into what was going on. Still it doesn't detract that part of their responsibility was to make clear the sense of the text, and this is something I believe we as preachers, in a far removed culture still need to do, and do well.