Talbot School of Theology

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Reflections on Dr. Robert L. Saucy’s 54-Year Career at Talbot

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 17:42

Dr. Robert L. Saucy was a faculty member at Talbot for 54 years. He began teaching here in 1961—the year JFK was inaugurated as President, the Andy Griffith show made its debut, and Henry Mancini received a Grammy for “Moon River.” The Dean of Talbot, Dr. Charles Feinberg, hired Bob to Chair both the Systematic Theology Department and the Department of English Bible. At that time, Talbot was less than 100 students.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Chronology of Easter in John and the Synoptic Gospels

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:00

The exact chronology of Easter is not the most important thing to think about during Easter week, but students often ask me questions about chronological issues in the Gospels. Here are two common questions:

What is the probable date of Jesus’ crucifixion?

Calculating ancient dates gets complicated for a number of reasons: Jewish months all started at the new moon; they had two “new years” per year; they added in leap months as needed; days started at sunset, not sunrise; ancient people often used imprecise designations for years, and not everyone was using the same calendar system in the first century.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Bible Fluency Giveaway!

Sat, 03/28/2015 - 14:34

Weaver Book Company is sponsoring an Amazon.com giveaway of the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit.  Up to five times, for each 100 entrants, one will receive a free copy of the Bible Fluency kit, including the teaching videos, flashcards, workbook, and music CD.  Spread the word!  The giveaway will last one week or until the fifth prize is awarded.  Click HERE


Categories: Seminary Blog

Reject Jesus for Judaism?

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:00

Dear Dr. Craig,

On Jan 5th I made a statement that I was not going to allow doubt in regards to Jesus into my life, Jesus appears to be the best choice and that’s what I’m going with and I’ll reevaluate at the end of the year. Well, a few days after I made this statement some books by Rabbi Tovia Singer (Let's Get Biblical) that I ordered earlier arrived and I couldn’t help myself to start reading them. I hate that I’m so inconsistent, but I will not apologize for yearning for truth ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

How I Remember My Father

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:00

There are many memories I will treasure of my father, Robert Saucy, but I will write about only one now that has most profoundly impacted me—I believe, for all eternity. It was Dad’s passion for God’s Word.



Categories: Seminary Blog

Is Worship of Jesus Idolatry?

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:00

Hello Dr. Craig,

... I am a student of philosophy looking to go into apologetics ministry. In my studies and my time witnessing I've had to address many of the common objections to Christianity. One of the more recent objections has come from a Jewish man that I am witnessing to. It seems that one of the crucial things that is holding him back is the worship of Jesus. He couldn't see any way how this wouldn't end up being idolatry because, as he claimed, “you would be worshiping man rather than God”. Of course, I tried to point out that Jesus has two natures but it seems like this point was missed. Do you have any helpful ways to explain our worship of Jesus in a way that bypasses this objection? How should we understand our worship of Jesus? Do we worship him in deity and merely admire his humanity? ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Memorial Service for Dr. Robert L. Saucy

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 12:15

A memorial service for Dr. Robert L. Saucy will be held on Sunday, March 29, 2015, 2-4 p.m. in the Chase Gymnasium at Biola University. A reception will immediately follow. For those who would like to attend and cannot be physically present, the service will be streamed live at http://watch.biola.edu/bobsaucy ...



Categories: Seminary Blog

A Helpful Ecclesiology

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 13:00

When I offered a new seminar course on Ecclesiology last semester, one of the books we discussed is Gregg R. Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers: the Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012). This is the latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series edited by John Feinberg. The book has several features to commend it for evangelical readers interested in ecclesiology. One characteristic throughout the book is the clear and well-organized writing style that is a model for students to see how ideas are presented, supported with evidence, and critiqued or nuanced. It is difficult to misunderstand Allison’s meaning and how all of his claims fit together.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Have We Been Sold a Homiletical Bill of Goods? (Using Biblical Illustrations)

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 12:00

The time to teach a biblical story is when it is the primary passage for your message, not when it is a secondary illustration of another passage. In other words, you should preach the story Joseph and his brothers as part of a series through Genesis, and not as an illustration of Romans 8:28.

Categories: Seminary Blog

My Dad: Five Years After He Passed Away

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:01

It has been five years since my dad, Javier Esqueda, passed away unexpectedly. The huge hole my family have without him will continue for the rest of our lives and it has been very hard to get used to the idea that he is not with us anymore. I still struggle to refer to my dad in the past tense when in casual conversations his name comes up, but I am sadly conscious that the present and the future will continue without him. My mom could have celebrated her 45 wedding anniversary last December, my two brothers could have celebrated their college graduations with their proud dad, my two children could have enjoyed their granddad (who I am sure would have spoiled them a lot), and I could have had the total support of a man who would advise me always, looking for my best interest; but all of these things were not and will never be possible.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Mi Papá: Cinco Años Ya de Su Partida / My Dad: Five Years After He Passed Away

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:00

Hace ya cinco años que mi papá, Javier Esqueda, falleció inesperadamente. El gran vacío que nos dejó sigue y seguirá presente por el resto de nuestras vidas y es muy difícil resignarse a su ausencia. Cuando en conversaciones casuales sale el tema de mi papá me cuesta trabajo referirme a él en el pasado, pero estoy tristemente consciente que el presente y el futuro seguirán sin su presencia. Mi mamá habría celebrado 45 años de casada el pasado diciembre, mis dos hermanos habrían celebrado sus graduaciones de la universidad con su orgulloso papá, mis dos hijos se habrían gozado con su abuelito que estoy seguro los habría consentido muchísimo y yo tendría el apoyo y el oído total de un hombre que me amara incondicionalmente y me daría sus consejos totalmente desinteresados buscando siempre lo mejor para mí, pero todo esto no pudo ni podrá ser ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

A Tribute to Dr. Robert Saucy

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 17:39

A tribute to our beloved brother in Christ, Dr. Robert Saucy, who went home to be with the Lord on March 12, 2015.




Categories: Seminary Blog

What to Do Now that I'm Convinced?

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 12:00

I am a physician (pulmonology) and, until recently, a lifelong atheist, although one who saw great non-religious value in Judeo-Christian culture and civilization. I became increasingly convinced by the moral arguments that atheism could not lead to a society with moral values and thus by the moral arguments for God. Your site, and debates and your Reasonable Faith book, along with CS Lewis and other reading, now have me convinced in at least the likelihood of Christianity.

My question is what are the next best steps for someone who has taken this rarer intellectual path towards Christianity? As someone who never attended Church, who has no preferred denomination or family tradition, it is a bit hard to know where to begin. Any advice would be welcomed. Thank you very much for your incredibly useful site and work and the clarity of thinking behind it ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Idolatry Breaks Hearts: Exodus 20:3 and the Secret to Relational Sanity

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 12:00

I used to think that worship songs where you could swap out all the God references, with “baby” were evidence that God had been trivialized by a sappy, spiritualized romanticism in the church. There may be truth to that. But perhaps the interchangeability of “God” and “baby” in worship songs says less about worship songs and more about love songs, less about how the church man-sizes God (which does happen) and more about a much broader tendency in the church and culture-at-large to God-size our romantic partners ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Have We Been Sold a Homiletical Bill of Goods? (Alliteration, Part 2)

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 12:00

Alliteration [in preaching] runs a third danger. Not only may it lead the speaker to be unclear or unbiblical, it also suggests to the listeners that the most important thing in the message to remember is the outline. It subtly says to the listener, “Get this outline! Remember it!”

Categories: Seminary Blog

Should You Pray to the Holy Spirit?

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 12:00

The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries were to God the Father, with a few exceptions.

I recently read an article by Boris Paschke entitled: “Praying to the Holy Spirit in Early Christianity." His conclusions include the following ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

An Orientation to Four Pervading Themes of the Christian Life from Dallas Willard

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:00

Dallas Willard (1936-2013) has been one of the key evangelical interpreters and provocateurs regarding the important doctrine of formation into Christlikeness. Willard was professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and a former Southern Baptist pastor. Sometimes due to Willard's spearheading the importance of spiritual practices among Protestants, he is viewed as having said little else on the topic of Christian formation (Richard Foster claimed that Willard was his mentor on that particular subject, in the acknowledgement section of Foster’s classic book, Celebration of Discipline, HarperSan Francisco, 1978). But there is much more. ... Four pervading themes in Willard’s writings on Christian formation are briefly developed below, mainly with quotations from Willard.

Categories: Seminary Blog

Married to Someone Who Finds My Studies an Annoyance

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:00

Dear, Dr. Craig,

As one who has recently discovered the realm of apologetics in the past couple years, you were one of the first I had come to know, and it has been a pleasure reading some of your material and watching your debates. I am currently only a junior in college and am studying philosophy and religious studies and love it, and hope to attend seminary in the future and get my masters in apologetics, God willing.

My question for you is not necessarily a theological or philosophical question but a question that I am hoping I could get some pastoral advice from you about that I feel you are perhaps the best suited to answer. I recently got married this past summer to an amazing woman I met at a one year bible college I attended a couple years ago and it has been great. But between transferring to a new (secular) school and being constantly busy with school and work I feel like my relationship with God is constantly on the backburner, as I am not getting into the word nearly as much as I used to and my prayer life is nearly nonexistent, and because of this my relationship with my wife is not where it should be either ...

Categories: Seminary Blog

Have We Been Sold a Homiletical Bill of Goods? Alliteration (Part 1)

Thu, 03/05/2015 - 12:00

This series of blogs will look at some dubious practices that have entered our preaching. All of these questionable traditions are addressed in Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry track in “Advanced Biblical Preaching.” 

... Alliteration, in ordinary writing, is the literary device of repeating the same initial sound or letter several times in rather close succession (e.g. “conspicuous consumption,” “nattering nabobs of negativism”). In preaching, alliteration is most frequently used to convey the major outline points of a sermon. There are times, of course, when alliteration is appropriate and effective in preaching ... But when a sermon outline extends to multiple main points, the use of alliteration runs the risk of “four bad things.”


Categories: Seminary Blog

Salvation in James: Gift and Responsibility, Part Three

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00

In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Mercy must, it appears, be enacted in order to be efficacious. And thus the answer to the third question regarding this proverbial statement appears to be “yes,” mercy is a “work” required for salvation. But that is a misleading way to understand James. It is better perhaps to call the mercy that triumphs an appropriation of the divine concern (2:5, 8), proof of the reality of the “birth” (1:18) and the “implanted word” (1:21), and an accurate understanding of “faith” (2:14). This question of what constitutes “good works” will be explored now in this final post. 

Categories: Seminary Blog