Posts for Nov, 2006.

11/30/2006 3:47:00 PM

Sam’s Process of Applying a Passage

An over-simplified hermeneutics primer

Posted Thursday, November 30, 2006 by Sam Yeiter
Categories: Bible   Comments: 2
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Theoblogian usually deals with specific issues or with fairly advanced issues in the application of scripture.  I thought that it might be helpful to some of you to see a basic approach to applying a passage to everyday life.  The following is my approach that I have taught to different classes at different times.  I am hopeful of three results from this post.  First, I am hoping that someone who feels inadequate to apply scripture will be encouraged to take it up in a responsible manner.  Second, I am hoping that my peers on TB will probe, add to (or subtract away), or clarify my thoughts here.  And finally, I am hoping that Brian will stop asking me when my next post will be ready.  Enjoy, my friends, and feel free to contact me via e-mail (, if you have questions that you are too shy to voice here. Read more of Sam’s Process of Applying a Passage

11/29/2006 1:03:00 PM

The Bush Presidency

An Evaluation of the First Six Years In the Light of Biblical Principles

Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
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This was the very first session I went to at ETS this year, and honestly the main reason I went was simply to see the speaker, Wayne Grudem, and not because I was highly interested in the topic. Grudem is a good speaker and did a good job interacting with the crowd and answering questions, although he had way too many points in his paper (34). At least they were broken up into categories, but there were still 12 of these. During the questions, he responded to one question by saying “This really is difficult!,” referring to dealing with questions about policy. (For those of you who are wondering, the question was about the contrast between the US policy toward China and Cuba, both of whom are Communist nations, but the US is profoundly more positive toward China than Cuba. Grudem said that he was talking about general principles and not how those principles were worked out.)

Overall, Grudem was in favor of what Bush has done. He went through a long list of things that he thought agreed with biblical principles, such as being opposed to abortion and stem cell research, spending money to fight AIDS (increased aid to Africa), working towards racial reconciliation (appointed African Americans), working toward faith based programs, defending against terrorists, and removing marriage penalty in tax code, among many other things. Grudem was a big fan of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, since they favored the original intent of the Constitution (and you thought hermeneutics was only important for the Bible). He also praised Bush for effectiveness as a communicator and for matters of personal character, such as telling the truth and evidence of personal faith. He agreed with Bush for not agreeing to the Kyoto Protocol. He differed with Bush on the McCain-Feingold Bill and government spending. Overall, like I said, a very positive portrayal. Whether or not you agree with his thoughts, it is at least interesting.

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11/27/2006 10:28:00 PM

Biblical Bible Authority Part 2

Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 by Brian Beers
Categories: Bible   Comments: 4
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When an author sits down to write he or she may write whatever they wish. The author has complete freedom on the page (or scroll). He may write his locker combination. She may write a novel. He may write a persuasive argument or she might encourage patriotism. Any given author can marshal words to serve any purpose, and no authorial purpose has ever been weightier than communicating the message of the eternal Creator to his creatures. The authors of Scripture were aware of this weight, and they wrote so that we could be confident in the message we have received.

In Scriptural Authority I described some of the superficial ways that we may consider the Bible as authoritative. In Biblical Bible Authority, I described how the authors of the Bible embedded means to verify their messages. In this post, I will describe how they built on that authority to establish the supreme authority of God’s words over all other words including their own.

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11/27/2006 1:07:00 PM

The Literary Function of Mark 15:34, the Cry from the Cross

Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: 3
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Randall Buth is a fascinating scholar. He teaches in Jerusalem and stresses heavily the learning of the biblical languages as living languages. I took a tutorial from him while I was at Hebrew University on discourse analysis, and it was a fascinating study. This presentation was on the cry from the cross. He spent the first half analyzing the textual details of the cry and determining which language it was spoken in. The conclusion was that the words could conceivably be understood as either Mishnaic Hebrew or Aramaic, depending on what the listener was expecting. But the more interesting claim was that this cry from the cross was a bat qol, a voice from heaven, or a word of power. There are two other cases of Aramaic phrases in the Gospel of Mark, and both are associated with healing. In the context of the times, healers would often use foreign languages as part of their healing incantations. So the healing Aramaic phrases in Mark are often viewed as words of power. But what to do with the words from the cross? Buth says that this cry was a bat qol, a common phrase meaning a word from heaven. This is supported in the context by its proximity to the temple veil being torn in two. God has spoken. Notice as well that this provides an inclusion for the book, as it begins with a word from heaven at the baptism of Jesus. It was indeed a thought-provoking study.

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11/21/2006 12:06:00 PM


Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: None
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Theoblogian has been quiet recently, as you may have noticed. But it is not dead! The reason I have been quiet recently is that I have been to ETS in Washington DC over the past week and away from any internet connection. DC was interesting, and I enjoyed the sites and the zoo, although I am still continuing my quest to see a live platypus. Does anyone know where a platypus might be located in the US? Many of the papers were good, although there were the usual collection of bad papers as well. I am going to do a short series highlighting several of the better papers that I heard and see if any of you want to chat about them. And after that series, I have a few ideas about other posts, such as starting a debate on dispensationalism. But that is for the future. The other great thing about ETS is the books. I bought a lot of books! That is reason enough to go to ETS and get the 50% discount on books. But on to the first entry in the series: God-Blogging by Hugh Hewitt. 

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11/7/2006 6:18:00 PM

Simplifying the Bible

Posted Tuesday, November 07, 2006 by Brian Beers
Categories: Bible   Comments: 3
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There is a mantra that can be heard in evangelical circles, “Everything in Scripture points to Christ.” The purpose of those chanting is to establish Jesus as the very most important person in the Bible. This is a simplistic view of the Bible. What about God the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is symptomatic of a broader epidemic in the evangelical community. “Relevance” is another mantra symptomatic of Biblical Simplification. Those who chant “relevance” bring just enough of the Bible to add a Christian flavor to the lives of the self-sufficient. Those who believe that everything in Scripture points to Christ reject this It’s-all-about-me treatment of the Bible, but by making it all about Christ, they still engage in Biblical Simplification. Read more of Simplifying the Bible

11/7/2006 11:53:00 AM

Arlen Chitwood and Soul Salvation

Posted Tuesday, November 07, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: 10
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A good friend of mine was recently asking me about Arlen Chitwood and his unusual view of salvation. I had never heard of him or his view, so I did a little searching to try and find it. It is rather interesting, although I mean interesting with a more negative spin than I might usually use the word. His view is that humans are trichotomist, and when we get saved our spirit gets saved. Then later on, our soul must get saved. So soul winning is not evangelism, but it is getting people in the church to save their souls. For me as a dichomotist (believing that humans have two essential parts, material and immaterial, rather than the three essential parts that the trichotomists believe of body, soul, and spirit) the theory holds very little water from the very beginning. Have any of you run into this view before? Anyone know of any critiques of it online? Here is a link to the book (full text) presenting the view. 


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11/3/2006 11:34:00 AM

Evangelical Sanitation

Nervous Evangelicals Sanitzing Church History

Posted Friday, November 03, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: 3
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American evangelicals do not like church history. Part of this stems from the fact that Americans in general do not like history, but there is more to it than that. The main problem is that church history is not the same as evangelical history. When you look at church history, you see a lot of people who are not like you. And if we are right, how could so many in church history be wrong? So the response of a few evangelicals is to revise history so that it comes closer to our view of Christianity today. A primary example of this is the trail of blood, where we can supposedly trace the Baptists back to John the Baptist, which is a ridiculous idea. Trying to make the Donatists Baptist is just grasping at straws. 

But a more subtle example comes from the history of the atonement. Our modern view of the atonement as penal substitution dates only from Anselm in 1200 and from the further refinements of the Reformation. Most of the church before this held some kind of ransom view or comsic victory view, where the focus was not on Christ taking our place and appeasing the wrath of God, but on Christ conquering Satan. But how could so many in the early church not take our modern view, which seems to obvious? Well, it was pointed out to me recently that a few evangelicals say that the ransom view was limited to only a few people. This includes Grudem's systematic theology and Unger's dictionary. While I often turn to Grudem, I was disappointed with this comment. We cannot simply change history to fit in with our views. We must grapple with the fact that people in the past were different than us. We may not necessarily change our views, but we do need to evalute often and make sure that we are correct and that we do not have blind spots of our own. As far as the atonement, one helpful aspect to the ancient view is the inclusion of victory over Satan. In the modern view it seems that Satan gets left out of the loop as far as atonement goes, but we have to remember that Satan was defeated at the cross, as Colossians 2:15 talks about. If we do not look at the history and struggle with it, then we are opening ourselves up to losing an aspect of the biblical teaching on the atonement. 

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