Friday, May 22, 2009

Christ the Center on New Testament Textual Criticism

About 3 weeks ago I was one of the panelists on Christ the Center. We interviews Dan Wallace and discussed the challenges facing New Testament textual criticism in the 21st century. Dr. Wallace is the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible and coeditor of the NET-Nestle Greek-English diglot. He has also founded The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, an institute with an initial purpose to preserve Scripture by taking digital photographs of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts. You can download the program here. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Unprofessional Beer Review: Beer Face-Off!

In the first corner, we have Three Philosophers. This beer is a belgian-style ale mixed with cherry-Lambic. In the other corner, we have Mikkeller. Mikkeller is an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee. Some might say that comparing these two beers in a head-to-head face-off is not only unfair, but is like comparing apples to oranges. Well to them I say, "This is the Unprofessional Beer Review. Since when have we cared about proper beer etiquette or fairness!?"

On to Three Philosophers. Interestingly enough, for me, this beer starts off with an unfair advantage because Belgian Ales happen to be my favorite type of beer. First impressions are quite strong. An excellent cream-colored head and dark amber color. The beer is not heavily filtered and is well-balanced; this is a good ale. The thing which really sets this beer apart, however, is its prominent cherry flavor. This is due to the fact that the beer is 98% belgian ale and 2% cherry-Lambic. With an alcohol content of 9.8%, I was surprised that the alcohol taste was not at all prominent; it was very balanced. Overall, my impression of this beer is that it is delicious, with a tremendous twist on the traditional belgian ale.

Next up is Mikkeller. This is an intimidatingly dark beer. It is darker and thicker than Guinness; seriously. The head is thick and dark. The smell is sweet and strong with a clear coffee smell. The taste is immediately delicious; not a hint of bitterness like I find with Guinness. There is no aftertaste. The coffee taste is as prevalent as is the smell. The oatmeal influence in the brew is very faint, but it is present.

It's a bit unfair to choose between these two beers since they are each meant to be something far different from the other. In this face-off, however, I am choosing Mikkeller if nothing else than for the reason that it is so dramatically interesting. I'm sure there are seasoned beer drinkers who have been there and done that in relation to beers like this, but Mikkeller is something so interesting that I have to hand it the fight. Each drink tastes different from the last, and for such variety, Mikkeller wins!

[For the record, this conclusion was shared unanimously between myself and three others who were involved in the fellowshipping and beer tasting as well.]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So True

I don't normally just post a picture, but in this case, I thought this is just so true that I could not pass it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

N.T. Wright on the Wrath of God

"The biblical doctrine of God's wrath is rooted in the doctrine of God as the good, wise and loving creator, who hates--yes, hates, and hates implacably--anything that spoils, defaces, distorts or damages his beautiful creation, and in particular anything that does that to his image-bearing creatures. If God does not hate racial prejudice, he is neither good nor loving. If God is not wrathful at child abuse, he is neither good nor loving If God is not utterly determined to root out from his creation, in an act of proper wrath and judgment, the arrogance that allows people to exploit, bomb, bully and enslave one another, he is neither loving, nor good, nor wise."

-N.T. Wright

HT: Sibboleth

Twitter, Bring the Books and You

Bring the Books has added a new feature to our tool bar. On the left hand said of the blog you will notice a new link that enables you to follow us on Twitter. By clicking the link and following our Twitter you will be updated every time a new blog is posted (plus unique Twitter content). This is just another way that we are helping our readers to stay connected to the staff of Bring the Books.

*UPDATE* Thanks to Roger at The A-Team Blog for the cool Twitter button he made for us. You ROCK!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Covenant Theology Part 6

Davidic Covenant Summary listen here

1. Interenational Reputation “I will make you a great name” 2 Sam 7:9b
2. Land Inheritance “I will also appoint a place for my people” 2 Sam 7:10a
3. Descendants “I will raise up your descendants after you” 2 Sam 7:12b
4. Sonship “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me” 7:14a
5. Intimate Relationship “My people” 7:7-8,10-11

Of the New Covenant listen here

The New Covenant is in Christ blood and is the final administration of the Covenant of Grace. The establishing the New Covenant abrogated the old and ushered in the age of the Spirit which began at Pentecost and will continue to the end of the age. Consequently the Covenant of Grace only now consists of elect person with the arrival of the eschatological Spirit promised in Joel. The Spirit now abides with God’s people to empower them to fulfill the great commission and the Law of Christ.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lost and The Closedness of Time

Hollywood and time travel. The two go together like peas and carrots. But most specifically, time travel and the ability to change time have been the dominant thematic pairing. Whether it be Marty McFly and repairing his parents' sad marriage or Superman flying back in time to stop Lex Luthor's earthquake from ever happening, Hollywood loves the idea of an open concept of time where past events may be altered and a different outcome may be achieved.

This may be why I've been so impressed with the television show Lost, as of late. Anyone who has been watching the show will know that there is a great deal of time travel happening; in fact it is more and more becoming a central focus of the show. What sets the time travel of Lost apart from all the other time travel we see on television and in movies is that the time travel in Lost presupposes a closed universe; one that more than fits with the Christian concept of time. In Lost, when characters travel back in time, they not only find that they cannot change the past events that they are witnessing; instead they often find that they are the causes of the very events that they were planning to foil.

At one point in the show, a man comes out of the jungle and nurses a wound for time-traveling character John Locke. Later in the same season after John Locke's wound has healed and he has jumped back in time, he sends the man out to nurse his own wounds. We discover that John Locke was the cause of his own healing. No matter what the characters do, they quickly realize that they cannot change what has happened; they can only act to make them certain. The reality of predestination is only a hairs-breadth away in every minute of the show. This is obvious upon further consideration because if the future cannot be changed by acting differently in the past, and the past cannot be changed by any actions performed in the future, and our actions in the present cannot change anything that will be, well baby, that's a universe where predestination is no longer objectionable.

For the thinking person who is watching Lost but has reservations about believing in Biblical predestination on the basis that predestination would make our actions meaningless, they should consider that though the actions of the characters in the show who have traveled back in time are already decided and certain, the acts themselves are still nevertheless meaningful and important. In fact all our actions, though predetermined long in advance, pave the way for what is to come. Even though God may have predestined Bobby Jo to become a Christian, he has predestined for Dave to talk to her about Christ. God does not only determine the ends, but also the means to those ends.

From a Christian perspective, the fictional idea that time is open and may be changed does indeed conflict with the truth we know about the universe. Specifically, just because God knows the outcome of an event (after all, he has decided it beforehand), we do not believe in any universe where things could ever have been other than they are. We do not believe in contingency, for there is nothing contingent in all the Universe. We are not open theists who regard man as central and God as peripheral in the picture of the unfolding universe.

God is the center; we are peripheral. This is the Christian worldview, and I commend Abrams and company on restraining their god-complex long enough to recognize that time is not open and cannot be changed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New Orleans Here I Come

Back in February I posted a blog about a paper proposal I submitted to the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). I received an email this evening from Eugene H. Merrill, Program Chair of ETS, with the 2009 annual meeting schedule. I opened the schedule and found out that my paper proposal was accepted. I am very excited and nervous about this. I am excited about the great opportunity that God has give me, while at the same time I am nervous because I know the view I will be arguing for in my paper is in the minority, very small minority (as in three other guys and myself). I would like to thank my good friend Andrew Pitts who first gave me the idea for this paper. Thanks Andrew, you have always been a good friend. Well, now I need to stop blogging and start to work on this paper. I have less than 6 months to get it done and ready to present. Here is the papers abstract.

In this paper I will argue that the Epistle to the Hebrews was originally a sermon (or sermons) that was preached by the Apostle Paul and that Luke subsequently transcribed or collated. Since, as Acts informs us, Paul traveled with Luke for many years, there was ample time and opportunity for Luke to hear and transcribe or collate Paul’s preaching. This hypothesis would best explain such early manuscript evidence as P46, which includes Hebrews within the Pauline corpus and such early church fathers as Clement, who holds to Pauline authorship of Hebrews. In addition, this hypothesis would explain the Epistle’s difference in style and vocabulary from the rest of the Pauline corpus. Since Luke’s Greek style is sophisticated, he is a prime candidate for the person who penned Hebrews, whose Greek style is also sophisticated. Further, the fact that Hebrews was originally a sermon would explain the notable absence of any salutation, which is customary for Paul’s other letters. The method for proving this position will be to examine the sermonic material recorded by Luke in Acts and comparing it to Hebrews. Further, the unique Greek style and vocabulary that is found in Hebrews will be compared with Luke’s other material, Luke/Acts.

R.T. France: Part Two

I had mentioned in a previous post that R.T. France's commentary is special for many reasons. Some of those reasons were: 1. He does theological reflection; 2. He pastorally reflects on the text; 3. He incorporates other canonical writings to help in the interpretation of the text.

Note how he does all three in his comments on Matthew 7:21-23 (The "Lord Lord did we not" passage)
This is, then, a profoundly searching and disturbing pericope for all professing disciples. It raises sharply the issue of assurance of salvation, and taken alone it can be a cause of great distress to some more sensitive souls. But such a questioning is not a new phenomenon. It was apparently in the light of just such painful spiritual self-examination that the pastoral treatise we know as 1 John was written, with its recognition of the need for reassurance when "our hearts condemn us" (1 John 3:19-22) and its painstaking examination of the grounds of assurance: "by this we know..." (1 John 2:3, 5; 3:16, 19; 4:2, 6, 13; 5:2).