I. Howard Marshall's chapter on Ephesians in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Marshall sees support for the Holy Spirit as a “personal being rather than an impersonal power” since in Ephesians 4:30 the Holy Spirit is able to be grieved by human conduct (387). He also affirms the vital role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer throughout Ephesians (395).
Doctrines. Marshall makes reference to the Moral Example theory of Atonement as unsupported by Ephesians 5 (which supports human forgiveness as requiring divine forgiveness) since “Christian teaching on behavior was continually buttressed by central theological statements” to the point that they were made “almost causally in an ethical instruction” (387).
August 2007 Cover
Simon Gathercole's What Did Paul Really Mean? article in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Since the New Perspective focuses narrowly on what Paul says about Justification, which strikes at the heart of Soteriology (the means by which God planned to save mankind), it must be taken seriously. The issue is when the New Perspective is applied to Paul as his dedication “to warning against exclusivist national righteousness” (25) to the destruction of Justification. Gathercole does well critiquing the new perspective while saying that Jews still need to hear the gospel. The crux of his argument is rightfully “Christian faith” not as an add on to life, but something that “requires a complete reorientation of our whole attitude” and “response to God's specific promises” (27). His conclusion describing “what kind of faith” the bible defines and “what is wrong with works of the law” deserves a hearty “amen!” as he stresses that Paul “stresses that God is the sole operator in salvation” (28). Ultimately, he hits the nail on the head by stating that “true unity comes not at the expense of doctrine, but precisely around the central truths of the gospel” (27).
Purposes and goals of pastoral counseling. Before stating the purpose or goal of pastoral counseling it is important to define what pastoral counseling is. The easiest way to approach a definition is to narrow the field by identifying what pastoral counseling is not since many activities aid Soul Care, or spiritual growth toward Christian sanctification. At its broadest levels, Christian Friendship can be provided by friends and family to encourage deep growth and healing (Benner, 17). Pastoral ministry includes “anything that brings people into contact with God nurtures the growth of their spirits and heals their souls” (Benner, 18), but is often stunted to maintain all pastoral roles.
The Great Commission is impossible, but Jesus gave a phenomenal promise that the Church can succeed: "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20), Christ's perpetual presence.
There are three implications of Christ's perpetual presence that allow us to proceed with the Great Commission with confidence:
1. Commission Impossible – we need help
2. Divine Supervision – we are not abandoned
3. Mission Accomplished – there is an end
Stylistic question: some people love audience involvement (aka. "repeat after me" or "turn to your neighbor and say..." etc.) and some people hate audience involvement. Is there a right way to do it? Should it be done at all?
Escahtological Dualism - Already/Not Yet
Don Howell's "Pauline Eschatological Dualism and its Resulting Tensions" in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Many of the attributes, or defining characteristics, of this present age and new age (regardless of the understanding of their relationship to one another) are Dogma level issues including: sin as a dominating force of the present age as both “human solidarity with Adam” in original sin and sin “as individual acts of rebellion against God's will” which have the inevitable consequence of death physically or spiritually (13); new life as the replacement or removal of the reality of sin as the believer is incorporated into Christ (14).
Howell rightly rejects the idea that “Jesus had mistakenly expected or proclaimed the imminence of the Kingdom (5). For any position, such as A. Sweitzer's, that sees Jesus' proclamation as failure not only negates Christ's mission, but also his deity.
Significant elements about the practice of soul care. The most important place to begin Soul Care is with God's revealed knowledge about man, which, according to scripture, is holistic, viewing man as one with many parts (53). Man is thus an integrated whole of which soul, body, and spirit reflect aspects of, so Man is an “embodied soul,” or an “inspirited body,” not a spirit animating flesh (22). Soul Care must therefore treat all three aspects of man, lest concern for the whole person be neglected (23). This is often times the failing of modern psychology, since “humans have often been stripped of all that made them distinctively human” (55) and seen as nothing more than a compilation of behaviors and models. Therefore, Benner asserts two aspects to Soul Care: cure, as “the response to the need for a remedy for sin”; and care, as “assistance in spiritual growth” (28) as they play out via various forms.
Don Howell's "Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation" in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Howell indirectly affirms the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity and directly asserts the necessary role of the Holy Spirit in a person's salvation through conviction, conversion, sanctification, and wise exercise of Spiritual gifts (214).
Doctrines. Howell affirms Roland Allen's assessment that missionaries and church planters often lack “confidence in the Holy Spirit to build the church” (203), but Paul called his converts to rely on the Holy Spirit to live out their faith rather than on his direction (204). Similarly, “he trusted the Spirit to guide the leaders in their oversight of the church” (204), for any church not led by the Holy Spirit is a cult, being led either by man or an alien spirit.
I. Howard Marshall's chapter on Acts in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Marshall affirms all the central beliefs of Acts, starting with the Gospel message (155), which can only positively be responded to with repentance and faith for the forgiveness of sins (176) “expressed in submission to baptism” (181). The Trinity is emphasized, even though it is not specifically labeled as such (161). Furthermore, the exclusivity of Christ is strongly emphasized, so that not even Judaism is enough (161) stating that “Nobody else or nothing else can save, and no supplementation or prior conditions are needed” (164). Marshall also denies works righteousness, that keeping the Law can't save for salvation is by grace/faith (163). Marshall even touches on the Gospel in light of those who've never heard, stating that God “...has appointed the life of the nations in such a way that people should be able to find him without falling into idolatry” (167).
An analysis of Christ's Mission in Matthew 16:13-28 will help Christians to examine what influences their theology. There is too much in this passage to cover in 20 minutes, so a narrow focus is drawn from the parallel situation in Christ's day about maintaining a proper perspective and putting priorities straight in light of the Mission of God and the politics of the day.
Christians need to ensure that political stances and agendas are the direct result of biblical principles in light of Christ's Mission and not culturally conditioned preconceptions supported with a smattering of proof-texts lifted from random parts of the bible. Preached on election day, 11-06-12.
Apostle Paul by Valentin de Boulogne
Don Howell's "Pauline Thought in the History of Interpretation" in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Howell presents the views of several influential scholars over the past century. Unfortunately, many scholarly interpretations of Paul since the Enlightenment era echo the allegorical hermeneutic of old, subjecting sacred works to a philosophy other than the one presented by the literary meaning of the text. Most of them deny the historicity of biblical accounts and the biblical works themselves, therefore denying the apostolic faith taught in Scripture and by the Church throughout history. The first is Baur, who argued that apostolic Christianity was marked by a radical cleavage between the church of Jerusalem and the churches of the Pauline mission by relegating all biblical books that do not reflect this cleavage to the second century (aka, non-canonical). Orthodoxy is thus a result of the Catholic Church ironing out the kinks. Bousset similarly denies the historicity of the bible, claiming that Paul was influenced by the Gnostics instead of it being the other way around (310). Hunter goes so far as to say that Paul “borrowed his gospel from the people among whom he worked” (310). Howell accurately accounts for these syncretistic claims as not accounting for the whole of Pauline thought (Galatians 1:6-11) and as one missionary analyzing another better explains parallels as contextualization since “linguistic analogy does not necessarily mean conceptual identity” (311).
I. Howard Marshall's chapter of Luke in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Marshall affirms all dogmas key to being “Christian.” The gospel of Christ is central, with repentance and lifelong discipleship to the Trinity as revealed in scripture. He shows that Jesus gave two options: to be or not to be His disciple, the former is costly, but far worse to give up and be the latter (136) and the greatest sin is failure to recognize and respond to God's message (142).
While the historical assessment of Luke is postponed (130, 132), the idea that it is “historical fiction” is denounced and Bultmann's existential view is denigrated, positing that the Synoptic Gospels only have force if they are “salvation history” (141, ftnote). However, scripture could be lauded more.
The Mission of God is rightly seen as the integrating motif. Marshall bluntly states that Jesus' “mission is summed up as that of the shepherd who goes out to look for and to rescue those who are lost” (138). Marshall even rightly prioritizes eschatological dualism (a Distinctive), questioning Hans Conzelmann's view that the realization of delay led to the church's later motivation to be effective witnesses of the church, instead seeing the early Christians theology as “salvation-historical” right from the start (145). Thus, from the songs of Mary and Zechariah “concerned with God's action for the sake of his people” and “salvation in terms of forgiveness and light” (131) to the passing of the baton at the Great Commission (140), “the character of the career of Jesus is best summed up as mission.” (149). Unfortunately, he seems to allude that this mission was recognized only after the transfiguration (134).
Christologically, Jesus is seen as prophet, messiah, and king, with emphasis on prophet (146). Sadly the significance of the “Son of Man” title seems to be downplayed (147), but Marshall sums up Christ's many types and roles as being fulfilled simultaneously in an unimagined reshaping well (149).
Don Howell's "God-Christ Interchange in Paul: Impressive Testimony to the Deity of Christ" in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Howell addresses the Biblical support within Pauline literature for the affirmation of Christ's deity, and subsequently his role within the Trinity. This is a Dogma level issue because it is crucial to the Gospel message God emplaced as part of his plan for the salvation of mankind. Since the paper largely provides scriptural evidence for orthodox Christology, the entire review could be considered under this category. However, since not all the evidence of Christ's divinity is necessary to proclaim it, the line between Dogma and Doctrine becomes blurred as some (and not always the same), but not all biblical evidence is necessary for God to save (for the sake of this review they will be treated below).
Howell presupposes a high view of scripture since it is used almost exclusively to support each of the language-interchange categories presented into Pauline literature.
I. Howard Marshall's chapter of Matthew in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Marshall largely affirms the crucial tenets of Christianity, but often flirts with non-orthodox ideas such as the concept of a “Historical Jesus” (which if seen as an ordinary man deified by history would undermine Salvation). However, Marshall approves of Christ's teaching of God as Father whose “relationship is spiritual rather than being based on creation” (100). He also affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, and third member of the Trinity (113-4) as promised in the Old Testament (116). This orthodox Christology is rounded out with Jesus' deity being pointed to by Jesus as Son in an exclusive relationship with the Father more fully developed in John (103). Marshall also confirms the exclusivity of Christ in stating that the Kingdom of Heaven is the only way (125).
Ideas that derail God's plan of salvation, namely that the Great Commission was completed with just Israel in the book of Acts, are mentioned (102), but Marshall seems to tactfully dismiss them.
I. Howard Marshall's chapter of Mark in terms of Dogmas, Doctrines, Distinctives, and Details.*
Dogmas. Although Marshall values Higher Criticism, he denounces the idea that the gospels are a random spattering of stories collected from Jesus' life and ministry strung together as each gospel writer attempted in vain to recall the exact ordering of events. Instead, he points out why each gospel is different (ex. available space to record, limited access to all information, and authorial situational context). So while Marshall may not hold to inerrancy, he still values scripture's authority by accounting for differences as each author promoting a theological message and desired response.
The meaning of the word "love" has seemingly been lost in our post-modern age and culture has rushed in to fill the void. However, there is a biblical understanding of the term, at least when it is used in Scripture. So when 1 John 4:7-12 says that "God is Love" it's quite clear that John means that "Jesus Christ on the cross as the propitiation for our sins" is the natural overflow of God's character.
A sermon I preached for a Homiletics class. I'm still growing as a preacher, so please leave some constructive feedback in the comments!
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Psalm 139:7-12 (ESV) - Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Azariah prompts Asa's reforms, Bible Historiale
2 Chronicles 15:1-2 (ESV) “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, 'Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.'”
Excerpt of Covenant sections
Terrien points to the differences in interpretation, worldview, and religion between Judaism and Christianity to state that the term “biblical” is ambiguous (22)1. To support this claim, he shows that national Israel herself had a diverse response to her own divine history, instead of a homogeneous understanding of the Hebrew covenant, by claiming that each new covenant in the Old Testament was a mythical re-envisioning of God's prerogatives based on outside cultural influences. Further, Terrien claims that most Hebrews did not think in terms of Covenant since the term is absent from many of the Old Testament books.
from "The Tabernacle Experience"
Exodus 40:1-7. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil.' 34-36 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out.”
“The Kingdom of God” has fallen out of favor amongst modern scholars as the primary or sole theme of the Old Testament. However, Patrick still sees the Kingdom of God theme as a valid solo theme. He opens by disagreeing with the argumentation that the Kingdom theme should displaced by, or combined with, other themes simply because the exact phrase “Kingdom of God” has minimal usage within the Old Testament. Instead, Patrick argues that the idea of the Kingdom of God clearly pervades the Scriptures despite the lack of the term itself. To make his argument that the Kingdom of God should remain as the primary theme, Patrick points to the teachings of Jesus' in the NT, stating that this should raise the Kingdom theme to the level of a heuristic and that the antecedents of this heuristic can be clearly traced to the Old Testament.
2 Samuel 7:3-5 (ESV) And Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you." But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, "Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? (7:11b) Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.”
2 Samuel 7:12-16 “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'”
Ark of the Covenant
After the Fall, God's relationship with people has been expressed, and governed through covenants and laws. Since in the Old Testament the covenant rests on God's promise and lies at the heart of the biblical notion of history (Dyrness, 113), the interplay of covenant and Law play a crucial role within Israelite history, and therefore modern Christianity despite their “antiquated” feel to modern readers. Dyrness quickly dismisses conclusions of the Documentary Hypothesis theory that Covenants were developed later and read back into the final composition of the Law using history to show “It was seen very early that the idea of covenant was an extremely important means of regulating behavior between peoples, especially in the area of international relations” (114).
God's Suzerain-Vassal Treaty
Exodus 19:1-3 (ESV) On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel:...” Exodus 20:1 “And God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me."
Kaiser continues to promote the Promise Plan of God as the constant theme of scripture throughout the prophetic books. While few words or phrases consistently characterize the promise theme throughout all the prophets as was the case in earlier Old Testament works, Kaiser reveals how the “both/and” nature of prophecy actually integrates with God's promise-plan of redemption. For prophecy was not so much prediction as it was embracing “...the historical means employed for keeping that purpose [promise] alive over the centuries while it awaited the final fulfillment” (Kaiser, 153). That is to say, prophecy was a melding of the promise, the means, and the result.
clouds of heaven...one like a son of man
(7:1) “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV) "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”