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On the Buying of Seminary Textbooks

In August 1998, I ordered some of my first seminary textbooks as a student. That particular semester, one item stood out above the rest. Philip Schaff’s 8-volume History of the Christian Church stood out primarily due to its price. At the time Schaff retailed for about $249. Most of us discovered that you could purchase the set for a little under $100 through CBD (and if you could find a free shipping code so much the better), but it still wasn’t a particularly cheap item. For a single guy living on a grocery budget of $10/week (yes, I did), it was a major purchase.

Fast forward some sixteen years. I still refer to Schaff from time to time. In fact, someone gave me a second set a few years ago and so now I keep one in my office and one at home for ease of reference. But I recently noticed that something significant has changed about the set. In printed form, it still costs eighty-something dollars at CBD and Amazon. The thing we couldn’t have imagined sixteen years ago is that one can now purchase Schaff’s entire 8-volume set on Kindle for just $1.99.

Budget-conscious students are sometimes loath to spend money on textbooks, but the book market has changed quite a bit in recent years. Many resources that would have cost hundreds of dollars just a decade or two ago, can be had for a few dollars or sometimes even for free. Here are a few more Kindle deals that may be of interest to students, pastors, and other Christian readers.

The Ante-Nicene Fathers and Nicene/Post-Nicene Church Fathers Collection (37 vols.) – $2.99

The Works of Augustine (50 books) – $1.99

The Martin Luther Collection: 15 Classic Works – $1.99

The John Calvin Collection: 12 Classic Works – $1.99

John Calvin’s Complete Bible Commentaries (22 vols.) – $2.99

The Essential Works of John Owen (22 books) – $2.99

The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth ed.) – $2.99

Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology (3 vols.) – $2.99

W. G. T. Shedd’s Dogmatic Theology (3 vols.) – $4.99

J. P. Boyce’s Abstract of Systematic Theology – $.99

The Essential Works of Charles Spurgeon (14 books) – $2.99

Augustus Hopkins Strong’s Systematic Theology (3 vols. in 1) – $1.99

MacArthur Study Bible (ESV) – $6.00

Categories: Seminary Blog

If ISIS’s God Were Real, Would I Be Obliged to Follow Him?

Talbot School of Theology - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:00

Dear Dr Craig,

You may be aware that Frank Turek has a question he will sometimes ask atheists, "if Christianity were true, would you become a Christian"? Well, recently, an atheist flipped this question around and asked me "If the Islamic State were true (by which he means, if the specific type of Allah that IS believe in, existed) then likewise, would you become an IS member?" ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Race to repentance and forgiveness | A guide for husbands

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:00

 

*This is the second post in a series from A Guide to Biblical Manhood. Read the first post here

In a Genesis 3 world, your marriage depends on forgiveness and repentance. James says we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2) and that means you and your wife will stumble...in many ways. You can’t be surprised when your wife sins, you just have to be committed to live out the “or worse” part of your vows and be ready to forgive.

James adds later that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16). That means you can’t be defensive — you need to confess your sin and repent (turn away from it). As the leader in your marriage, you should, in fact, be the first to repent and the first to forgive. If someone needs to own something in the home, it should be you.

Related: Download the Free PDF of A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul provides a general message for the body of Christ that you have the opportunity and obligation to live out every day in your marriage.

26. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

27. and give no opportunity to the devil.

Avoid laying out a welcome mat for the enemy. Don’t allow long-term unforgiveness or long periods of awkwardness. 

29. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

30. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

31. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

If you are born again, the Holy Spirit is working in you to conform you into the image of God. Allow the Spirit to do His work of redeeming you from anger and bitterness. Don’t grieve the Spirit by giving in to anger or in saying corrupting words to your spouse in moments of frustration. Put away an attitude of anger by confessing it whenever it surfaces and then turning away from in in the power of the Spirit.

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:26-27, 29-32)

How you see your wife when she upsets you — and how you in turn respond — has everything to do with how you understand the way God sees you.

Jesus once told a parable about a servant who owed a significant amount of money to the king. When he was ordered to be sold along with his wife and children in order to pay the debt, the man fell on his knees and begged for mercy. Out of mercy, the king forgave the man his debt and released him. When that servant found someone who owed him only a small amount, however, he grabbed the man, began choking him, and demanded, “pay what you owe me.” When the man begged for mercy, the servant refused and had the man thrown in debtors prison.

The other servants were distressed when they saw this and reported it to the king. Jesus continues:

Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. 

(Matthew 18:32-35)

When we are born again, we have a great debt of grace. We are forgiven a debt we could never repay. We are like the wicked servant if we don’t forgive our wives as generously as God forgave us.

In light of your debt to grace, lead in the race to repentance and forgiveness.
___________________

A Guide to Biblical Manhood

 

By Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas How to serve your wife, how to mold men through baseball, how to make men in the church and more practical theology for cultivating men of God who are doers of the Word for the sake of the Gospel.

Order Now:

Print Version | E-Book

Download the free PDF

 

 

- Randy Stinson serves as Senior vice president for academic administration and provost. He is also associate professor of leadership and family ministry. You can follow Dr. Stinson on Twitter at @RandyStinson.

-Dan Dumas is senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary. He is a church planter and pastor-teacher at Crossing Church in Louisville, Ky. You can connect with him on Twitter at @DanDumas, on Facebook or at DanDumas.com.

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

Giving Thanks: Spiritual Formation Assignment, Part One

Talbot School of Theology - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 12:00

Half of my teaching load each semester consists of teaching the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. Although I thought the combination of these two topics in one class was strange when I first read the job posting, the class has grown on me and I now love teaching it. I see the connection as leading from proper reading of the Bible to spiritual formation: the very structure of the class helps prevent us from merely reading the Bible in an academic fashion. We spend a large part of the semester looking at the different genres of the Bible (law, prophecy, etc.) and then we reflect on spiritual formation topics related to those genres (such as legalism and idolatry).

Categories: Seminary Blog

On Being a “Biblicist”: Why You Can’t Choose “None of the Above” on the Calvinism/Arminianism Question

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 07:00

For my whole life I’ve been broadly a part of an ecclesiastical culture/movement that has been disinclined to commit either to Calvinism or Arminianism. A steady stream of articles, essays, and blog posts have kept this delicate balancing act alive for decades (for a recent and more-than-usually scholarly example, see the ongoing series here—I was going to wait for the conclusion, but I ran out of patience). I don’t believe, however, that this position is ultimately sustainable. And so my thesis in this post is simply this: the principal question in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate is a fundamentally binary one: you have to choose one or the other.

Of course, I am not so naïve as to imagine that variations and nuances of the two basic positions do not exist. I am, after all, editor of a soon-to-be-released book detailing THREE perspectives on the extent of the atonement (and in my introduction I suggest that there are others). So by saying that the principal issue is binary, I am not saying that it is simple. I recognize, for instance, that there are some Arminians who deny prevenient grace and affirm eternal security; likewise there are some Calvinists who deny particular redemption and assert the priority of faith to regeneration. IOW, there are some who are not historically pure Arminians or historically pure Calvinists. But while I concede the existence of variations of Arminianism and Calvinism, this is where my concession stops: there is ultimately no neutral ground here. There are Arminian-types and there are Calvinist-types, and a single, binary question distinguishes them.

The question is this: Do believers play any independent role in their own regeneration? This is the watershed issue and it is absolutely binary.

Note that the issue is not whether or not believers play any role in salvation—both sides agree that believers choose to believe. The question is not even whether or not believers have divine aid in choosing to believe—both sides believe in assisting grace of some sort (if you believe that the believer needs no help at all from God, you have embraced the Pelagian heresy and your very Christian identity is at stake). The issue is whether a believer is in any sense an independent arbiter of his own regeneration.

Arminian-types are ultimately obliged to admit that what ultimately distinguishes a believer from an unbeliever is not divine grace (which for the Arminian is always indiscriminate); rather it is the informed but autonomous choice by grace-assisted persons to either embrace or reject Christ. Calvinist-types on the other hand, necessarily affirm that while human faith is requisite to salvation, the ultimate efficiency of that faith is not human but divine.

“None of the above” is not a valid answer.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Let's Appreciate Our Pastors!

Talbot School of Theology - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:00

Whether you know it or not, pastors in the church work very hard. They do a lot of things publicly like preaching, teaching, visitation, and leading; but they also do quite a bit behind the scenes like counseling, studying, planning, and praying. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it has become a thankless job. For this reason alone, it would be important for you to celebrate this upcoming October because it is Clergy Appreciation month.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Turning Boys into Men

Southwestern Seminary - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:00

Sports talk radio is not my normal stop when looking for solid theological content and cultural commentary. However, I found a little of both this week on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike.” The story du jour was the video of Ray Rice hitting his fiancée and knocking her unconscious in an elevator. Nothing new was said about the facts, but the commentary from Hall of Fame wide-receiver Cris Carter was impeccable.

When Mike Greenberg asked if football players need to learn how to turn the violence switch off when they step off the field, Carter responded by saying that was the wrong perspective. He immediately turned the conversation to the lack of fathers in our culture, especially among the current NFL players, and a lack of understanding what it means to be a man. He then recounted his own story of being reared by a single mother along with his three sisters. He credited his mother for teaching him how to treat women, but he bemoaned the absence of fathers in boys’ lives.

I have one son (and three daughters), and I have been thinking lately about what it means to lead him into manhood. He’s five years old right now, so we have a long way to go, but there are things I can do now as a father to teach him how to be a man.

Set an Example

The big issue with the Ray Rice situation is that he treated a woman in a way that no woman should ever be treated. But how can I teach my son how to treat women? The first way is to set an example in the way I treat my wife.

Scripture instructs me to love my wife just as Christ loves the church (Eph 5:25) and to show understanding and honor to her (1 Pet 3:7). I do not do these things simply for the sake of showing my son how to be a man. I am to treat my wife in this way because she is my wife and she is made in the image of God. In fact, most of the time that we spend interacting with one another, we are not consciously aware that our children are watching. But they are.

My son is a perceptive little boy. He recognizes the differences in tones and inflections of voice. He listens to the words others use and employs them in his own vocabulary. He sees the way adults act toward one another and mimics them. He also recognizes the difference between genuine actions and pretense.

When I show genuine love, care, and concern for my wife, my son learns how to treat the women in his life. If he sees me act foolishly or disrespectfully, he will imitate that behavior as well. Thus, I need to focus not so much on what he might see, but instead I need to concentrate on loving my wife as Christ loves the church. In doing so, he learns to be a true man by watching a man.

Be There

You might have heard someone remark that it is not the quantitty of time you spend with your children but the quality of time. Honestly, I think that is false. Absentee fathers are not simply the ones who live in another city and shirk the responsibilities of fatherhood. Absentee dads could live in the same house as their families. Just last night I spent the evening with my family at a baseball game. My son and I held down the “boy side” of our row for several innings. There was no grand teaching moment. He ate his hot dog and peanuts. He looked at the game program. He had a good time. We enjoyed just being together.

I am thankful for a flexible job that allows me to spend time with my family. It is important for me to be with all members of my family, but I think it is especially important for my son to see me involved in our family life. How else am I to set an example unless I am there?

I understand that some fathers have responsibilities that require them to be away from their families for extended periods of time, but I could never do that. I would rather give up career advancement for the sake of being there for my family. Even now I intentionally limit my travel so that I am not gone more than my wife and I agree is healthy for our family.

What does my son see when I am there? He sees a father who loves him and wants to spend time with him. He gets a dad who comes to his t-ball games. He gets a man who is there to encourage him to be strong and courageous. That is why I want to be there with him.

Teach Them

The final and most important aspect of turning boys into men is to teach them God’s Word. Scripture is replete with admonitions to fathers about teaching their sons to follow after God. A constant refrain in the first seven chapters of Proverbs is for a son to hear his father’s instructions. Solomon wrote these words for the benefit of his son.

One of the most well-known passages regarding the instruction of sons comes in Deuteronomy 6 where we read:

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. . . . These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:1–2, 6–9)

As fathers, we have a responsibility to teach our sons. We teach them through our words and actions how to love God and be men. I am still figuring out what this looks like in our family, but at the very least, I need to be there to teach my son about God.

In a day where more than 40% of all children born in the US are born to unwed mothers, the trend of absentee fatherhood seems only to be getting worse. If we want boys to become men, we need to redouble our efforts at encouraging a biblical model of fatherhood. Be a man; take responsibility; set an example. This will help us stem the tide of grown men acting like boys. Fathers play an essential role in the development of boys into men. And when we are not sure what to do, we can look to the best example—our Heavenly Father.

______________________________

This article first appeared on the blog of Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Follow him on Twitter at @evanlenow.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why Christian parents should not want good, happy, safe kids

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:00

 

“I cannot believe that you would do that!”

That incredulous assertion is an all too familiar response from parents (including myself) who discover a child has sinned. But for Christian parents, such an assertion is anti-Christ because it constitutes speaking as if the gospel is not true. It represents the response for a parent who desires to rear a religious Pharisee. If a parent’s goal is to keep up appearances and maintain an external image of righteousness, then it is right to myopically focus on outward performance. After all, we too often reason that we are not like “those people” who do things like that. We are the “good people.” Such parenting is not cruciform even if the parents are Christians. It is not uncommon for Christian parents to begin with good intentions then subtly fall into serving the dream of what they want for their children’s lives rather than what God would want. Rather than loving God by loving their children, they begin loving their vision of what raising successful children will look like. A child successfully living out the parents’ aspirations can grievously become the way parents validate themselves. Parents who make decisions based on how others will perceive them and their social standing are tragically treating their children like props in a public relations campaign.

In Ephesians, Paul declares that the triune God is at work in heaven and on earth summing up all things in Christ (Eph 1:10). Like all things, Christian parenting is to be summed up in Christ. There is a Christ-centered, gospel-saturated and cruciform distinctiveness to Christian parenting. Thus, our parenting must help create a culture in our home where the Gospel is becoming more intelligible, or we will inevitably design a culture where the Gospel is becoming unintelligible.

Related: As for me and my house: taking gospel parenting seriously 

So how does a Christian whose life is committed to following Jesus think about sin in the life of their children? The initial reaction is to confront the child about their sin. Followed by letting the child know you are praying that God will use this to teach them that they need to ask forgiveness for sins committed. Parents must discipline and teach their children that sin has consequences.

Intentional, cruciform Christian parenting is not marked by self-pity when a child’s sin is uncovered and exposed. Every revealed sin provides a unique gospel opportunity. Parents must embrace their God-given responsibility as stewards of the gospel in their children’s lives (Eph 6:1-4). It would be a nightmare, not a blessing, if children were so adept at concealing their sin that their parents never caught them in a sinful deed. It is only when the gospel has been eclipsed in our thinking that we wish we did not have to deal with our children’s sin. It is only those who see and confess their sin that ever cry out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). When Christian parents communicate the real issue is our embarrassment that our children would do such a thing, we are implicitly endorsing the Pharisee saying, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11).

In some Christian circles it is not uncommon for parents to describe their permissive parenting as loving or showing grace. Such language fails comport with a biblical understanding of gospel love and grace. The Scripture describes parents who do not exercise authority and discipline as a demonstration of hatred rather than love (Prov. 13:24). The gospel is not God looking the other way when we sin and letting us off the hook. Rather it declares that on the cross Jesus satisfied the wrath of God for sinners who put their faith in him. Authority without love leads to authority being despised, and love without authority makes love unintelligible.

The most important gift that parents provide their children is a loving, gospel-centered, marriage. This is foundational for faithful Christian parenting because God’s design for marriage is that it be a living picture of Christ and the church (Eph 5:32). The relationship between husband and wife is the closest and most sacred on earth and must be a priority. Yet too many Christian families are guilty of child idolatry. Parents, who center their lives on their children to the neglect of Jesus Christ and their marriage relationship, are unwittingly training them in a life of narcissistic discontentment.

It seems the modern American evangelical parenting manifesto is: Be nice, be happy and be safe—no matter what. The problem is that none of those assertions represent distinctive Christian values. In 2005, Christian Smith and researchers at The National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs of American teenagers. They found a faith they described as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism,” which can be summarized as a belief in a God who exists if needed, and who wants to help people be nice, happy, safe, and if they are, they will go to heaven when they die. I fear that this is a theological worldview they learned from observing what their parents really value and prioritize on a daily basis.

Related: Learn about our Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Discipleship and Family Ministry

In an obsession to keep children happy, many parents act like victims who must provide their children with every desire. I recently heard a father explaining to another parent, “I didn’t want to get her an iPhone yet, but I had to because every child in her class has one. I don’t want her to be considered weird.” His daughter was eight years old. Children who grow up getting everything they think will keep them happy most often live very unhappy lives. Parents, who provide their children 24-hour-a-day unmonitored access to the Internet with smart phones and computers in their bedroom, in effort to not restrict their freedom, are sentencing their children to a life of bondage. Few things are more pitiful than a young man who was reared in an environment of self-indulgent freedom that led to enslavement to pornography. Jesus’ declaration, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23), means that teaching self-denial is an important part of cruciform parenting. “No” is an essential word in a Christian parent’s vocabulary if they want their children to know true freedom (Gal 5:1).

Of all of the names people called Jesus in the Bible, never once was he referred to as nice or safe. Jesus was described as one who speaks with authority, a madman, a glutton, a blasphemer, a sinner and as one who acted by demonic power. Jesus did not cozy up comfortably with the wisdom of the world but rather turned the wisdom of the world upside down. In an age of helicopter parenting, Christian parents should know better than to constantly hover over their children attempting to mitigate all risk from their lives. Living life involves inevitable risk, and Christian parents must teach their children to take self-sacrificial, calculated risks for the glory of Christ and the good of others.

Safety is far less important than Christ-exalting bravery and courage. Parents must intentionally train their children toward both physical and moral courage. According to biblical wisdom, laziness is not just a physical problem; it is a spiritual one and represents a life of wickedness and folly. The mother or father who is satisfied with having a nice child who makes good grades but sleeps in until noon and does very little in the way of sacrificially serving the family and others is a parenting fool (Prov 6:6-11;21:2526:13-16). We live in an age that exalts intentional underachievement with participation trophies and “everyone is a winner” slogans. Christian parents should be defying the spirit of the age by teaching children cruciform ambition, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).

I fear that in the name of nice, happy, safe children many Christian families are practically abandoning “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Affirming the gospel message with our lips but parenting on a daily basis as if it is not true will have disastrous consequences. Adults who believe life is about being nice, happy and safe do not joyfully commit their lives to take the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 5:41). In fact, when they hear about someone self-sacrificially suffering for the advance of the gospel they may woefully respond, “I cannot believe that you would do that.”

___________

David Prince serves as assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Seminary. Is is also the pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington Ky. You can read more by David Prince at his blog: Prince on Preaching. Also follow him on Twitter at: @davideprince. This article originally appeared on his blog.

 

Categories: Seminary Blog

My 13-Year-Old Daughter’s Baptism Testimony

Talbot School of Theology - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:00

This past Sunday (September 14, 2014), my fourth daughter, Ana, was baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ at Corona Del Mar beach with 15 or so others from Redemption Hill Church. We have heard from so many about the impact of her public testimony, so I thought that I might share it as an encouragement to you as well. The testimony is hers, written by her and read out before she was baptized.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Gospel Issues and Weighing Doctrines

Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:59

One of the issues that still needs clarification in Christianity is how to weigh doctrines. Christians have historically recognized that certain truths are fundamental or essential to Christianity, while others have less importance. But how do we know which doctrines are which?

In the last issue of Themelios, D. A. Carson writes an editorial offering some thoughts on what we mean when we talk about “gospel issues,” concluding that the category of “gospel issues” is helpful if it refers to “biblical and theological topics the denial of which clearly affect our understanding of the gospel adversely.” The point is that you cannot deny a certain truth or else you’ve seriously undermined the gospel. Other truths may be important, but they do not rise to the level of upmost importance like gospel issues.

I’ve heard a professor put it this way before: if you put a gun to my head and said “Deny the deity of Jesus or you’re dead,” by God’s grace I would hope to respond by saying “pull the trigger.” If you put a gun to my head and said “Deny the pre-tribulational return of Jesus Christ or you’re dead” I would say “Put the gun down and we’ll talk.” Some truths really are worth dying for.

Yet there still seems to be a lot of confusion about what qualifies for those kinds of truths. Recently, TGC (the same organization that publishes Themelios) ran a post discussing how “scholars” approach inerrancy. In the article, the author reached a startling conclusion:

Belief in the truthfulness of the Bible, then, like belief in the truthfulness of Christianity or materialism or anything else, is provisional—scholars hold to it (or not) on the basis of the evidence they’ve seen. Affirming the Bible is true, just like affirming the Christian creeds, is a statement of current conviction.

Dan Phillips picked up on one of the issues with this mindset: if all of our beliefs are merely provisional, is there anything worth dying for? Why die for what you believe today when tomorrow you may very well change your mind?

Though more could be said about the matter of the truthfulness of the Bible and Christianity, I’d like to consider a different doctrine and whether or not it would qualify as a “gospel issue.” The kinds of doctrines that usually fit in this category are things like the deity of Christ, salvation by grace, the resurrection of Christ, the Trinity, the second coming of Christ, substitutionary atonement, etc. What about the bodily resurrection of believers? Is that a “gospel issue”?

If you are like me, your first inclination would probably be to say “I don’t think it reaches first level importance.” But it seems like the Apostle Paul would put it in the category of “gospel issues” based on his discussion in 1 Corinthians 15.

Paul begins by noting the common ground shared by him and the Corinthians. He had preached the gospel truth held by all Christians—that Christ died for our sins, evidenced by his burial, and that he rose again on the third day, evidenced and testified by those who saw him after the resurrection. This was the gospel they believed—the gospel that would save them.

Having reminded the Corinthians of their shared faith in the resurrection of Christ, Paul moves to confront the problem in Corinth. Some in the church at Corinth were denying the bodily resurrection of the dead. We can’t know for certain why they were denying this. Perhaps it stemmed from a false understanding of the new life they had in Christ, so that they believed they were already experiencing a spiritual, resurrected life. Perhaps it stemmed from the philosophical belief of the time that the spirit was immortal but the body was not, so that the idea of resurrected bodies was absurd. Maybe it was a combination of sorts. What we do know is that some were denying that Christians would be bodily raised from the dead.

Paul responds to this false teaching by demonstrating the necessary conclusion of their belief in 1 Cor 15:12-13. He does so by offering a syllogism of sorts.

  • Dead people do not rise (their belief)
  • Jesus was a dead person
  • Therefore Jesus did not rise

This is an airtight argument. The unspoken premise is the second, but since no one (Christians and non-Christians alike) questioned whether or not Jesus was a dead person, Paul does not need to address it. The Corinthians denied the conclusion of C (as Paul had already stated, they all believed that Christ rose from the dead), but Paul shows that they can’t deny C and affirm A. In other words, denying the bodily resurrection of the dead adversely affected the gospel. It seems like it’s the kind of doctrine that would be worth dying for.

How does this help us with thinking about gospel issues? First, it should warn us about too quickly dismissing certain truths as unimportant just because we fail to see their significance. Second, it provides a biblical example of how certain doctrines that do not seem to be at the heart of the gospel are so closely connected that denying them means effectively denying the gospel. Perhaps we can use Paul’s discussion as a model for evaluating other doctrines to determine whether or not they are gospel issues.

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Theology of Inequality through Jonathan Edwards

Talbot School of Theology - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:00

Inequality is not necessarily inequity. Often talk related to disparities in income, opportunities, education, skills—you name it—centers on the issue of justice or equity. However, it may be that justice or injustice has little to do with inequalities. As in all matters, it is helpful to get somewhat of a God’s eye view on this rather easily misunderstood issue. What I’d like to do is briefly draw attention to one strand of biblical teaching worth considering as we discuss matters of inequality. I’ll do this with the help of Edwards and his eschatology.

Categories: Seminary Blog

If you never swing the bat, you will never hit the ball

Southwestern Seminary - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 07:00

My 10-year-old son Will and I share a common love—baseball.

While he’s not naturally gifted at playing the game, Will loves to be part of the team, and as with most kids his age his skills have progressed each year through repetition and practice.

This past spring, Will graduated from coach-pitch to kid-pitch, which brought with it both excitement and anxiety. However, after only a few games I could see that anxiety largely overshadowed the excitement.

Will hit the ball well during practices and pre-game warm ups, but as soon as he stepped in the batter’s box, fear froze him in his tracks—so much so that he would not even move when an errant pitch came right at him.

In the very first game, he was hit in the arm by a pitch. The painful experience only served to make him more fearful of batting. I joked with him after the game, “I know it hurt, buddy, but at least you didn’t get hit in the face.” And, wouldn’t you know it, the very next game, a wild pitch hit him square in the face.

Added to this, he struck out several times because he never swung the bat. This only intensified his timidity. Soon, whenever his turn at bat approached, he complained of feeling nauseous.

Following one of his games, I asked, “Will, what goes through your mind when you’re up to bat?” Will replied, “I’m afraid I’m going to strike out or get hit by the ball.” He was so afraid of pain, failure and embarassment that he did not even want to try.

I then gave him some baseball advice that eventually became a mantra we would repeat before every game and every at-bat: “If you never swing the bat, you will never hit the ball.” I encouraged him to swing at every pitch, even if it was outside the strike zone.

Over the course of the season Will began to swing the bat more and more. Yes, he still struck out on occasion, but he also began to put the ball in play and advance his teammates around the base paths.

And then the big moment came—Will got a base hit. The look of excitement on his face was priceless. And, of course, this success strengthened his resolve to swing again during his next at-bat.

Our mantra—If you never swing the bat, you will never hit the ball—reminds me of a similar statement by Southwestern Seminary evangelism professor Matt Queen to those who fear the pain of failure, rejection or embarrassment when sharing their faith:  “Not every time you share the gospel will someone profess Christ, but if you never share the gospel, you’ll never see anyone profess Christ.”

For many Christians, especially those of us who are not naturally gifted evangelists, the prospect of sharing our faith leaves us terrified and frozen in our tracks. Even the thought of it brings a nauseous feeling. Rather than risk “striking out” in a witnessing encounter, we sit idly by and refuse to say a word.

Maybe the remedy is simply to start swinging. Thankfully, God measures success in evangelism by obedience, not decisions. A rejection of the gospel is a rejection of Jesus, not of us. So, in a sense, we never strike out when we evangelize.

We must faithfully obey our Lord’s Great Commission and let the Holy Spirit do his work. Sometimes, we swing and miss. Other times, we plant or water gospel seeds, advancing a person’s understanding of his need for the Lord. Given enough swings, eventually we will experience the exhilarating joy of seeing someone come to faith in Christ. And with every swing we gain confidence for future opportunities.
Last week, the tables turned—Will became the teacher; I became the student. As the first day of school approached, Will said, “I can’t wait to start school so I can tell my friends about Jesus.”

He will likely never be a professional baseball player, but Will understands what it means to overcome his fears and swing for the fences when it comes to sharing his faith.

What if Christians took the Great Commission seriously and decided to risk failure, rejection and embarrassment to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ? What if we intentionally sought out opportunities to share the gospel with family, friends, co-workers or those we meet as we go about our daily lives?

This week, pray for opportunities to share your faith, pray for boldness to witness when God brings someone across your path (and he will), and pray that the gospel would show its power.

If the thought of this makes you nauseous, remember: If you never swing the bat, you will never hit the ball.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Expository Ministry: A conversation with John MacArthur (Part 2)

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:00

 

In the following videos Dan Dumas discusses expository preaching and how it's changed with John MacArthur. You and see part one of this series here.

 

4. When you look at your expository ministry in total, are there any regrets or things you would do differently? 

 

5.  What has been the fruit of a long expository ministry at Grace Community Church? What have you observed in the body there?

 

6. If you were to write another book on preaching what would be the emphasis or topic? 

 

7. How crucial is expository preaching to the life of the church? 

____________

-Dan Dumas is senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary. He is a church planter and pastor-teacher at Crossing Church in Louisville, Ky. You can connect with him on Twitter at @DanDumas, on Facebook or at DanDumas.com. This article originally appeared in A Guide to Adoption and Orphan Care.

-John MacArthur is pastor of Grace Community Church in California. He is the author of numerous books including most recently: Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship.

_________________________________
Preaching is not an advisory role based in religious expertise but a prophetic function whereby God speaks to his people. For this reason the Expositors Summit is designed to strengthen and instruct preachers and students for the glorious task of expository ministry. You’re invited to join R. Albert Mohler Jr., John MacArthur and H.B. Charles Jr. for the explication of God’s Word and gospel fellowship.

“When a man is apt in teaching the Scriptures there is a power to move men, to influence character, life, destiny, such as no printed page can ever possess.”

- John Broadus

Categories: Seminary Blog

Why God the Father and God the Son?

Talbot School of Theology - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 12:00

Hi Sir, I am very glad to meet you through online...

I understood the essentiality of trinity, there is no doubt about why I should believe in triune God. But, I have been thinking what could be the reason for son and father relationship in God’s head ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

‘Scholarship that helps men to preach’: The pastoral legacy of A.T. Robertson

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:40

 

Archibald Thomas Robertson was born Nov. 6, 1863, near Chatham, Virginia, where he spent the first 12 years of his life before moving to a farm in North Carolina. At the age of 12, he received Christ as his Lord and Savior and was baptized later that year. At the age of 16, he was licensed to preach. He received his M.A. from Wake Forest College (1885) and his Th.M. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1888). Shortly after entering seminary, his Greek professor and future father-in-law, John Albert Broadus, noticed his linguistic skills, and Robertson soon became his teaching aide. In 1890, Robertson was elected assistant professor of New Testament interpretation. Robertson would teach at Southern for 44 years until his death on Sept. 24, 1934.

Robertson is recognized as the premier New Testament scholar of his generation, and his work in the Greek New Testament is still unsurpassed in many ways today. In all, he published 45 books, most in the field of NT Greek, including four grammars, 14 commentaries and studies, six volumes of his Word Pictures in the New Testament, 11 histories, and 10 character studies. His A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research is 1,454 pages long and is still consulted by leading Greek grammarians today. In addition, his Word Pictures in the New Testament (which is actually a running commentary that highlights exegetical insights for virtually every verse of the NT) is immensely helpful to this day. As the son-in-law of the famous Southern Baptist professor, preacher, and statesman, Robertson wrote the biography Life and Letters of John Albert Broadus in 1901.

Related: Learn about our Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in biblical and theological studies

Robertson was a man who was not only zealous for Greek, but more importantly, he was passionate about the significant difference that knowing Greek can make for those who preach and teach God’s Word. Robertson delivered his inaugural address at Southern Seminary, “Preaching and Scholarship,” Oct. 3, 1890. This address, though at the beginning of his teaching ministry, demonstrated his commitment to scholarship and also the need for colleges and seminaries to develop capable preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Robertson had a deep passion to equip gospel ministers whose hearts were impassioned and whose minds were enlightened. He vehemently rejected the idea that theological education was a waste of time. He averred, “If theological education will increase your power for Christ, is it not your duty to gain that added power? … Never say you are losing time by going to school. You are saving time, buying it up for the future and storing it away. Time used in storing power is not lost.” He also rejected the idea that the purpose of the seminary was to make scholars. The question for him was: “Does the college and seminary training tend to make better preachers?” His response:

If not, it is a failure. The German idea is to make scholars first and preachers incidentally. But ours is to make preachers, and scholars only as a means to that end. We have small need in the pulpit for men that can talk learnedly and obscurely about the tendencies of thought and the trend of philosophy, but do not know how to preach Christ and him crucified. The most essential thing to-day is not to know what German scholars think of the Bible, but to be able to tell men what the Bible says about themselves. And if our system of theological training fails to make preachers, it falls short of the object for which it was established. But if it does meet the object of its creation, it calls for hearty sympathy and support. … But my plea is for scholarship that helps men to preach. For after all, the great need of the world is the preaching of the gospel, not saying off a sermon, but preaching that stirs sinful hearts to repentance and godliness.1

Robertson also had a heart to train and equip those who could not be formally trained in college or seminary. His work The Minister and His Greek New Testament (1923) was designed to help pastors and other church workers begin the study of the Greek NT. In the introduction to his Word Pictures he writes:

The readers of these volumes … are expected to be primarily those who know no Greek or comparatively little and yet who are anxious to get fresh help from the study of words and phrases in the New Testament, men who do not have access to the technical book required. … The critical student will appreciate the more delicate distinctions in words. But it is a sad fact that many ministers, laymen, and women, who took courses in Greek at college, university, or seminary, have allowed the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke off the Greek that they once knew. Some, strangely enough, have done it even in the supposed interest of the very gospel whose vivid message they have thus allowed to grow dim and faint. If some of these vast numbers can have their interest in the Greek New Testament revived, these volumes will be worthwhile. Some may be incited … to begin the study of the Greek New Testament. … Others who are without a turn for Greek or without any opportunity to start the study will be able to follow the drift of the remarks and be able to use it all to profit in sermons, in Sunday School, or for private edification.2

The first edition of Robertson’s Grammar of the Greek New Testament appeared in 1914. For more than a hundred years, students have benefited from his hard work and dedication to scholarship that fuels good preaching. God greatly used this man, and though Robertson died many years ago, he still speaks through his prolific writings and his exemplary service.

This article is derived from Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Benjamin L. Merkle, and Robert L. Plummer (B&H Academic, forthcoming 2015).

ENDNOTES
1   Archibald Thomas Robertson, “Preaching and Scholarship” (Louisville: Baptist Book Concern, 1890), 9–10, 15–16.

2   Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 1933), viii.

**This article originally appeared in the September issue of Towers

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Canonical Approach to the Catholic Epistles?

Talbot School of Theology - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:00

The Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude constitute one of the final frontiers in New Testament studies. Whereas the four Gospels and Paul’s letters have received copious attention, these seven letters, in comparison, constitute the distant shores of a largely unknown world. It is not uncommon to search in vain for substantive treatment of any one of these letters in the standard introductions or theologies of the New Testament. While one can find a handful of introductory texts focusing on “the latter New Testament” or “Hebrews through Revelation,” there are precious few devoted specifically to the Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude, and almost all fail to consider the possibility of interpreting the Catholic Epistles as a discrete collection.[1] Though considering the canonical collections of the “Gospels” and the “Pauline Epistles,” even the groundbreaking Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of the Bible (2005) fails to supply an entry for the Catholic Epistles ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Machismo vs. Manhood

Southwestern Seminary - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 07:00

Football is the ultimate expression of machismo in American culture. Bigger, stronger, and faster is the goal. Gladiators armed with nothing but their bodies fly around the field attempting to dominate their opponents in both strength and strategy. Boys around the country dream of growing into the men who play the game.

Unfortunately, the football world has been rocked in recent days by a number of scandals related to being a man off the field. The domestic violence case involving Ray Rice has dominated the headlines while San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald and Carolina Panther Greg Hardy face similar accusations of domestic violence and await adjudication of their cases.

What are we to make of these acts of violence? Is this just an extension of the machismo that fans cheer on the football field? Is this what it means to be a man—physically overcome your opponent at all costs? Should we tolerate the violence off the field that we celebrate on the field?

We should not tolerate the off-field violence, nor should we consider this type of violent machismo to be manhood. Such a response has been popular in the media, but few have actually tried to give the reason why. Perhaps it is because the reason is unpopular.

Scripture gives us a number of examples for how men are to treat women, but I want to focus on two—particularly how husbands are to treat their wives since these recent cases have involved domestic violence.

In 1 Peter 3:7 we read:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

The dominate culture of our day has taught us that there is no difference between men and women. They should be treated equally in all arenas of life. However, public opinion erupted when video became available of a chiseled professional athlete knocking out his fiancée. In light of this reaction, the gut instinct of our culture is that men and women are not really the same.

The Bible actually gives us a very clear picture of biblical manhood, and it involves a recognition that men and women are different. Peter tells us that husbands are to be understanding and recognize that women are a weaker vessel. This does not mean that she lacks value, intelligence, or skill. It is a reminder that we have different roles to play. Rather than viewing our wives as opponents, we are to protect them. Rather than trying to master them, we are to provide for them. Peter tells us to treat our wives with honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. When I think of honoring someone, I think of cherishing, protecting, and promoting. I want to place my wife’s interests above those of my own. Her safety, security, and reputation are mine to uphold.

In Ephesians 5, we read Paul’s instructions regarding how husbands are to treat their wives. In verses 25 and 28–30 we read:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. . . . So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.

Our example in manhood is Christ himself. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Remember, he left heaven, took the form of man, and sacrificed his own life for his bride. There is no greater sacrifice than that.

We are also told to love our wives as our own bodies. Just as we feed and take care of our bodies, so are we to care for our wives. Once again, this is not because they are less valuable or incapable—it is simply our role. Christ is our example, and he gave up everything to nourish and cherish his bride.

While our society cringes to see the video of a man striking his fiancée, the solution to the problem is often equally despised. This is because the teachings of Scripture are counter-cultural. It is unpopular to tell a man that he should treat his wife as a weaker vessel. It is out of favor to say that a wife should submit to the loving leadership of her husband as to Christ. But I think counter-cultural is the way we should go here. While culture walks swiftly down the path of violence, the words of Scripture call us men to honor, love, and cherish women. That is true manhood. It is the way of the Word, not the way of the world.

_________________________

Sam Farmer, “NFL scrutinized over Ray Rice inquiry, other domestic violence cases,” Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2014.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Passing On Our Faith – One Generation to Another

Talbot School of Theology - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:00

A family had a priceless family heirloom – a vase – that was passed down one generation to the next generation. One day, the parents of the family who had possession of the vase, left the teenagers at home while they went out shopping for the day. When they returned home, their children met the parents at the door, with sad faces, reporting: “Mother, Father… you know that priceless heirloom our family passes down one generation to the next… while our generation just dropped it”

Categories: Seminary Blog

Lead in Love | A Guide for Husbands

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 06:00

 

*This is the first post in a series from A Guide to Biblical Manhood.

Even the least observant men among us know that they should love their wives. That’s clear in the passages included here from the writings of Peter and Paul. But, when you look at the context of their writing, you see that there’s a particular way men are to love their wives.

Men are to lead in love.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Eph. 5:22-23). Far from saying that authority and submission are a bad thing in marriage, Paul is saying that they’re supposed to be there and it’s supposed to picture Christ in the church, but he goes on to explain that it’s to be done in a particular way.

He writes, “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” (Eph. 5:28-30)

Related: Download the Free PDF of A Guide to Biblical Manhood by Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas

So there’s a picture of the Gospel here — a particular way to lead in love. You’re supposed to do it as if it were second nature, just like how you care for your own body. It’s very natural for you to drink something when you get thirsty or to eat something when you get hungry or to go to the doctor if you get sick or injured. Nobody gives you an award for that. That’s just how you treat your own body. Now that you’re “one flesh” with your wife in marriage, you’re to lead in such a way as if you were naturally caring for your own body.

Later, Paul writes to the Colossians, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Col. 3:19). Now, why would he say that? Maybe he’s anticipating under the influence of the Holy Spirit that in a fallen world, there may be certain sinful tendencies a man might have to be harsh with his wife instead of being gentle like he should. It’s the same reason that Paul warns us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). Why? Because we tend to do that.

When the apostle Peter writes about marriage he says, “husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as a weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7a). Why would Peter need to remind husbands that their wives are heirs with them — that they are equal to them? Because, in a fallen world, people who are given authority sometimes believe that they are better than the people they’re leading. In a marriage, a man in his sinfulness can be deluded into thinking that because he’s the leader, he’s better. And so Peter reminds husbands to treat their wives as equals.

Related: Raising future men and women

When Adam saw Eve for the first time, he said, “this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” — he was saying, you’re equal to me, you’re the same substance as me. In Galatians 3;28, Paul helps us understand our equality in Christ: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul isn’t saying, “in Christ you lose your ethnicity, your job status or your gender,” but he is saying that those things don’t give you additional status with God — it’s Christ alone.

God gives us authority and leadership as men, but it’s not to be used for our own self-aggrandizement; it’s to be used for the good of those we’re serving. That’s why we call it servant leadership and sacrificial leadership. It should be to the point of your own self-neglect; for the good of those you’re leading.

So what does it look like to daily lead in love? Much could be offered here, but we want to focus on five practical ways that men should lead their marriages in love.

___________

Randy Stinson serves as Senior vice president for academic administration and provost. He is also associate professor of leadership and family ministry. You can follow Dr. Stinson on Twitter at @RandyStinson.

-Dan Dumas is senior vice president for institutional administration at Southern Seminary. He is a church planter and pastor-teacher at Crossing Church in Louisville, Ky. You can connect with him on Twitter at @DanDumas, on Facebook or at DanDumas.com.

 

A Guide to Biblical Manhood

 

By Randy Stinson & Dan Dumas How to serve your wife, how to mold men through baseball, how to make men in the church and more practical theology for cultivating men of God who are doers of the Word for the sake of the Gospel.

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Categories: Seminary Blog

The Supremacy of Voluntary Community

Criswell College: For Christ and Culture - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 16:36

by Barry Creamer

Every person experiences a tension between the desire to be an individual and to be part of a community—to act freely on immediate desires on the one hand, and to belong securely to a well-defined group on the other. But well-defined groups limit personal liberty. And personal liberties often perforate well-defined boundaries. Hence the tension.

Some cultures (and the worldviews defining or entailed by them) favor the individualist side of that identity, others the communitarian. That distinction is, interestingly, one of the most significant and observable distinctions between not only cultures, but even types of cultures. Historically, most (if not all) cultures were communitarian. But since the Seventeenth Century, to the extent that a culture has been influenced by the Enlightenment, it is individualistic. Many of the practices creating a sense of incommensurability between cultures are symptoms of nothing more than the cultures’ differences regarding how essential or extraneous the community is to defining the identity of the individual—honor killings, arranged marriages, and public executions being cases in point.

Certainly, some practices in communitarian cultures are wrong. The fact that bride burning is not inherently morally repugnant among some groups in India does not mean it is not morally vicious and absolutely wrong, even when practiced by those groups. The fact that abortion is not inherently morally repugnant among some groups in the U.S. does not mean it is not morally vicious and absolutely wrong. The point is that recognizing cultural diversity does not mean equivocating on moral reality.

At the same time, pretending one worldview has an intrinsic high ground on the other might also be a mistake. One unfortunate reality of every worldview is that it emerges among imperfect people who hold it in their imperfection.  As an example, individualists give up some important aspects of accountability and its attendant virtues—especially humility and healthy pride. Individualists often also lose out on the virtue of loyalty, or genuine friendship. On the other hand communitarians sacrifice freedom of conscience, and often lose part of courage’s virtue found in standing against the rest of a community. So there is no perfect solution, because there is no perfection in a fallen world.

Then the remaining question for those living in a free society, by which Westerners mean an individualist society, is how to rescue as much communitarian virtue as possible while sacrificing as little of the virtue of individualism as possible. One widespread practice points to an answer.

It is common for those who feel the pain of lacking a communitarian identity to tie themselves to a group with sometimes onerous obligations. When a fourteen-year-old joins the school football team, the individual becomes subject to rigorous exercise, verbal beatings, public humiliation, and otherwise avoidable peer pressure, all for benefits which are markedly communitarian. (The team’s fans, by the way, do the same thing, but at a less intense level.)

The challenge, or marvel, or difficulty is how the voluntarily joined community gains any traction without destroying the individualism of its members; or, inversely, how group-aligned individuals maintain freedom of conscience without sacrificing the value gained from finding identity in the community.

The practical import of the above discussion cannot be overstated for believers in western society who align themselves with churches to address exactly the issues raised. Church polity, church discipline, and rescue for otherwise almost solipsistic believers can be found in what is probably the best solution to the communitarian/individualist divide in the present world: the free church. But that’s a topic for the next post.


Categories: Seminary Blog

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