Saturday, September 24, 2016

On Theology & Blogging

Timely warning for all bloggers (esp. me):
Online debates are a wonderful means of discussion unprecedented in human history, but unfortunately, a lot of what is posted neither educates nor edifies.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if bloggers were required to step out from behind their computers and personally defend every assertion made. It’s easy to pontificate through one’s digital persona, as though a credentialed “expert” in some arena of faith, but far weightier to have your perspectives tested in a “live” environment.
Taking responsibility for what we teach is no small assignment and requires much more than computer-erudition. Debates will always be a part of the honing process, but if the impersonal nature of blogging leads to so many self-styled theologians speaking condescendingly as though they’ve earned the stripes of churchmanship, maybe we’ve missed an important step in this wonderland of verbal jousting...keep reading

Misrepresenting Dispensationalism

Faith Bible Church (FBC) has an article on its website titled Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology. The article link was posted on Facebook by a YRR Amillennialist. An updated version of the article can be found HERE

I've encountered this individual in online exchanges where he threw bombs at dispensationalism and pretribulationism. Typically encounters such as these begin with the critic making off-the-cuff comments like: "Dispensationalism was invented by Darby"; or "It is a heresy which teaches two ways of salvation"; or "There is only one people of God" etc.

My amil friend didn't like to be challenged. One couldn't ask him questions about his own beliefs, nor could one ask him to defend them via Scripture. I'd like to say he is atypical. But he isn't. Sadly he's also misinformed about dispensationalism if FBC's strawman-filled article is any indication.

Does disp teach two ways of salvation? See Tony Garland's Article

Read John Feinberg's Salvation in the Old Testament.

Does disp teach that David sits on the throne during the millennium? Read This and This.

Two examples of FBC's comparisons:
Disp: The 'New Covenant' of Jer. 31:31- 34 is only for literal Israel and is not the New Covenant of Lk.22:20.
CT The ‘New Covenant’ of Jer. 31 is the same as in Lk. 22; both are for spiritual Israel according to Heb. 8.
Many dispies recognize the church's participation in the NC. However, the church does not overtake or fulfill all the promises, which have both spiritual and physical aspects. The subject of Jer 31:31-37 is clearly national Israel (not the church) and Heb 8 does not abrogate this. Moreover, Paul refers to Jer 31 when he affirms that national Israel's promises haven't been abrogated (Rom 11:26-29).
Disp Stresses 'literal' interpretation of the Bible.
CT Accepts both literal and figurative interpretation of the Bible.
Dispensationalism accepts that there are figurative expressions in the Bible. In practice it is CT which consistently re-interprets the OT using the NT. Jeremiah chapter 31 is a classic case, by their own admission.

Here's another example of re-interpretation. While commenting on Zechariah, Puritan T. V. Moore wrote that the prophet accommodated his language “to the understanding of his own times in order to express New Testament truths.” In other words, Moore inserted Zechariah’s Israel into the NT church. He later admitted that the closing chapters of Zechariah, involving events yet to be accomplished, “are notoriously difficult.”

The difficulty only arises when one changes the natural understanding of Israel’s identity into the church. This is why my amil friend was forced to consistently evade answering direct questions about specific biblical passages which promised a lasting future to a redeemed national Israel.

Anyway all this is a great excuse to revisit Paul Henebury's response to the 95 Theses Against Dispensationalism, and Dan Phillips' Stupid Reasons for Dissing Dispensationalism.

Dispensational Antinomianism? See Theses 90-95

Paul Henebury's Biblical Covenantalism

See also my review of Michael Vlach's Has The Church Replaced Israel?

Finally, I'm not a Progressive Dispensationalist. But Robert L Saucy's The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism is recommended reading. I do not commend it for its PD arguments. However, it presents excellent biblical arguments against the premise that the church is New Israel. He argues well against the idea that the NT re-interprets the OT. And he shows that national Israel has a future according to clear biblical statements. Along the way he answers common CT arguments, some of which appear in the FBC comparisons article.

I reviewed the book HERE

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Heavenly Mind

A bit biographical:
What is a heavenly mind?
Centuries ago I bought a nice house in a quiet little street in an inner-city suburb. It was a haven nestled away from the outside hustle and bustle of the larger city.
Although small, it was big enough to house me, my widowed mother, my brother and his new bride. The secluded back yard was large enough to contain an enormous peppercorn willow tree, a shed, and a little vegetable garden. O! – and a German Shepherd dog...keep reading

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Christian in Complete Armour - Review

I reviewed William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour HERE

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:11-13

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Happened in the Garden

My review of the book "What Happened in the Garden."

From the back cover:
Evangelicals are no strangers to the creation versus evolution debate. Now the argument has spread beyond the contents of the creation account in Genesis 1 and into Genesis 2-3, with speculation about the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Fall. But does it matter which position one holds? Is anything really at stake?
Read the review HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Spurgeon - Wounded Christians

Thanks to many friends who shared this via Facebook:
Carl F. H. Henry was right to call Charles Spurgeon “one of evangelical Christianity’s immortals” (Carl. F. H. Henry in the foreword to Lewis Drummond, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers).
In his twenties, Spurgeon pastored the largest mega-church in Protestant Christendom. London’s most cavernous buildings could hardly accommodate his crowds – and one of them even collapsed. American tourists returning from England were greeted with two questions: “Did you see the Queen?’ and ‘Did you hear Spurgeon?’” (A. P. Peabody, “Spurgeon,” North American Review 86 [1858], 275). Truly, the memory of his ministry has become immortal.
But Spurgeon himself was very much mortal. The preacher was anything but bulletproof. In fact, for most of his life Spurgeon nursed deep wounds and struggled to cope with a myriad of emotional and physical maladies...keep reading

Making the Bible Support any Sexual Practice

Some pretty good points here. And a dose of sarcasm:
In the not-too-distant future, when the transgender wars are over and the stick figure placards for male and female bathrooms have been thrown in the dustbin of history, the sexual progressives will need a new sexual practice to de-stigmatize. Whether it’s incestuous marriage or some other long-oppressed form of sexual expression, the new cause will emerge, desperately in need of a defense. On that day, we will need a liberated theologian to rise from the muck of church prejudice and explain away all those pesky passages of the Bible that prevent dimwitted bigots from embracing the new orthodoxy.
While this task may seem daunting, it can actually be carried out with ease if you follow the very simple formula given to us by Eliel Cruz. In a recent article for The Washington Post, Cruz argues Christians have no legitimate grounds on which to oppose transgenderism because the erroneously-interpreted-for-2,000-years Bible actually praises the practice...keep reading
This article on the trend to push polyamory into acceptance is also worth reading HERE