Posts for Dec, 2006.

12/31/2006 9:48:00 AM

Floods in the Desert

Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Old Testament   Comments: None
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The desert in Israel does not get much rain, and so when it does rain, the ground does not know what to do with it. We lived in the desert during the winter for a few months, and we didn't see any flash floods, although we did see some new creeks come into existance that were not there before. The old time kibbutzniks told stories about cows being swept away by flash floods. But in this recent video from Israel you can see a true to life flash flood. I found it here. Read more of Floods in the Desert

12/28/2006 10:26:00 AM

The Success of Wisdom

Posted Thursday, December 28, 2006 by Brian Beers
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I have just read the powerful ideas put forth by Dan Edelen in We Need a Gospel That Speaks to Failure and advocated by the iMonk. Their contention is that the church shuns people who experience failure and elevates people who experience success. The following excerpt captures the conflict they describe:

Your church is looking for new elders. Which of these two 40-year old men has a better chance of becoming an elder, the self-made man who runs his own company OR the fellow who works the night shift as a convenience store clerk? In the split second (Blink!) you thought about that pair, did class distinction enter into your assessment? Has anything been said about the spiritual maturity of those men? Don't we assume that one is more spiritually mature simply because he runs a successful business, while the other only makes $8/hr.?

The question of how we measure success is compelling. Most of us have been offended by judgments both shallow and wrong –whether we were the one judged or just a bystander. But Edelen confuses three distinct issues in one guilt-inducing post.

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12/24/2006 12:55:00 PM

Shiloh Inscription

Posted Sunday, December 24, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Greek   Comments: None
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I was playing around with a Greek inscription the other day and I thought I would share my work and see if anyone can  help in the areas I cannot decipher. The pictures is found here, and I learned of the inscription here



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12/22/2006 9:31:00 AM

The Old Testament as History

Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Old Testament   Comments: None
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The last report is actually a collection of presentations from the Old Testament as Historical Literature study group. The focus this year was a book that came out at ETS last year by Peter Enns: Inspiration and Incarnation. The book was interesting, I thought, but not excellent. But it has gotten a lot of attention and multiple book reviews, with the reviewers strongly stating their opinions either for or against the book. In this series of presentations, Peter Enns gave a talk, and then three others responded to specific aspects of his book (but I only went to the first two responders). It was a very full session, with people spilling out into the hallway, and many of the top evangelical OT scholars were present.

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12/22/2006 7:08:00 AM

Just War and Pacifism: Two Categories

Eeny, Meeny, Miney...

Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 by Josh Michael
Categories: Theology   Comments: 1
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In the previous part of this series, we reviewed some of the background concerning our question about the proper relationship between Christianity and warfare.  In the following, we will take a look at the general options or positions which Christians have adopted.  Also, since the history of Christian thought in this area plays upon the debate in a most pronounced way, we will take an abbreviated overview of the chronology of the debate. Read more of Just War and Pacifism: Two Categories

12/20/2006 11:21:00 AM

The Sacred-Secular Split

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 by Brian Beers
Categories: Apologetics   Comments: None
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Corban College Alumni Newsletter - Winter 2007This week my alumni newsletter from Corban College arrived with its feature article entitled, “Eliminating the Sacred/Secular Split: Restoring a Biblical Worldview.” I was very interested to see how the ideas in it were interchangeable with the Spiritual reality vs. Reality distinction that I brought up in Stewards of Reality. The article is about Nancy Pearcey’s recent lectures at the college. Nancy and her husband Rick are editors of the Pearcey Report and are influential thinkers and writers in Washington DC.

In the newsletter article Nancy is quoted as saying, “Our lives are often fractured and fragmented, with our faith firmly locked into the private realm of church…it rarely has a chance to inform our life and work in the public realm.” The focus of the Pearcey’s efforts is on reversing the marginalization of the Christian worldview.

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12/20/2006 9:51:00 AM

Just War and Pacifism

Or, Josh gets serious for once

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 by Josh Michael
Categories: Theology   Comments: 4
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I have been working this semester on a project on one of the topics that piques my interest the most: the question of Christianity and warfare.  The project was an inductive study of subject literature to derive principles by which one might evaluate the quality of the holdings of a theological library in that area.  I mention that only to show that the paper itself would not be entirely of interest in toto, but I hope to excerpt some of it and offer some other thoughts on the question of Christianity and warfare through a series of posts (just in time for the holidays).  In this first part, we will cover the background to the discussion – who cares and why is it important? Read more of Just War and Pacifism

12/17/2006 10:00:00 AM

Has Paul has been found?

Posted Sunday, December 17, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Archaeology   Comments: 1
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Some of you have seen the articles stating that the body of Paul has been found. Anyone skeptical? Todd Bolen, who is not shy about saying something is false, has a fascinating look at the current news. Check it out.

He also had an interesting article on the (lack of an) inn at Bethlehem. He says that Luke does not refer to an innkeeper or an inn, but to an upper room. He says the real significance of the passage is that the family of Joseph and Mary rejected them. But in contrast to those who say that there is no chance that Bethlehem had an inn, he shows that it is quite probable that it did. But you can read that for yourself. Merry Christmas!

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12/12/2006 9:51:00 AM

Stewards of Reality

Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006 by Brian Beers
Comments: 5
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“Spiritual truth”
“Spiritual realities”
“In God's eyes”
These phrases reveal a distinction made between reality and “spiritual reality.” They are a pre-emptive capitulation to a materialistic view of the world. The adjective “spiritual” modifies the noun “reality” as though we aren't speaking about actual reality. Isn't it a sign of mental illness to isolate a part of reality and treat that as everything that exists? In truth, there would be no reality at all if the part of reality recognized by materialism were everything.

Christian apologists try to speak the truth into the language of the partial-realists to bring some to a knowledge of the truth, but we have also adopted this language of partial reality as our own. Christians are not suffering from a collective delusion that doesn't fit well with reality. We are actually the stewards of reality. We need to think this way, talk this way and act this way.

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12/11/2006 4:48:00 PM

Conditional and Hyperbolic Language in the OT Prophets: Where are we now?

Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Old Testament   Comments: None
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This was a somewhat pleasantly feisty session by Michael Grisanti. He spoke on a paper by Robert Chisholm about conditional prophecies (this paper was also given at the NW ETS Regional meeting last year as the plenary session) and a book by Brett Sandy about hyperbolic language in the prophets. Chisholm views the majority of prophecies in the OT as conditional, with Jonah as a classic example. He thinks that there almost always is an implied “if” in the prophecies. Grisanti took issue with this and said that while there are some conditional prophecies, the majority of them are not. Sandy claims that the OT prophecies contain more hyperboles than usually acknowledged, and Grisanti had essentially the same reason: much of what Sandy noted is good, but he takes it too far.

The feisty part was during the question and answer time, as Chisholm was in the audience. Eugene Merrill had some negative words about Chisholm’s proposal, to which he responded, after making a comment that they could continue to disagree with each other at home since their offices are right next to each other at Dallas. He said that Deuteronomy 18 refers only to short-term unconditional prophecies, but not long term prophecies or conditional prophecies. He also noted Daniel’s prayer implies conditionality, since if it was unconditional then he would just have assumed it would have happened. Conditions are bound up in the Mosaic covenant: If you repent, God will bless you.

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12/8/2006 12:43:00 PM

The Rise of Evangelicalism

Posted Friday, December 08, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Book Reviews   Comments: None
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Mark Noll has written a fascinating book on the early history of evangelicalism. It is the first book in a projected five book series. The third book, the Dominance of Evangelicalism is out and the second is due out next year, while the other last two are for the distant future apparently. Noll's book covers the time of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys.

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12/6/2006 3:38:00 PM

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife”: A Study in Deuteronomic Domestic Ideology

Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
Comments: 5
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Daniel Block presented this paper immediately after the previous paper on renumbering the ten commandment. He discusses the two versions of the Decalogue in Exodus and Deuteronomy. He sees Deuteronomy as giving a more humanitarian function to the Decalogue in two specific ways. One is the removal of the grounding of the abuse of women in the Decalogue (see the previous post). The second is how it sets the tone for the way the Law treats females (such as a concern for widows, manumission of female slaves, military exemption for new husbands, and the second-ranked wife). He has several interesting thoughts. He views the Torah as patricentric rather than patriarchal. The law is addressed to men who are heads of household (note Sabbath laws, for example), but there is no mention in the law (except for Genesis 3:16) of men having power over their household. The father was not the despot or the boss of the household, but the one who provided trust and security for them. The deuteronomic differences could be because Moses is quoting from memory (the Decalogue is in the Ark), but the longer differences must be intentional. We as evangelicals have been too quick in the past to simply harmonize differences rather than ponder why they exist. This paper is a good attempt to truly understand the differences within the framework of inerrancy.

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12/5/2006 9:58:00 AM

Numbering the Decalogue: A Textlinguistic Approach

Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2006 by Charlie Trimm
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Anything that has to do with textlinguistics and the OT gets my attention, and this paper did not let me down. Jason DeRouchie was the speaker, and he discussed how we number the ten commandments. Everyone gets to ten, but there are various ways of getting there. The traditional Protestant method is combine all the coveting into one commandment and split up the first part, while the Catholic method is the opposite. DeRouchie argued for the Catholic view on textlinguistic grounds. He bases his argument on the Deuteronomic version, not the Exodus version. His arguments are as follows. First is the question of vav (and in Hebrew). The first part of verse 21 has a vav, and the next section also begins with a vav, but then the last few clauses of 21 do not. This implies two major sections in the verse, which fits with dividing it into two commandments. Second, a different word for covet is used in the first two clauses of verse 21 (although the same word is used in Exodus). Third, “your neighbor” is repeated in the first two clauses of 21, but not after that in verse 21, implying two commands. Fourth, earlier on in the chapter he views 5:7 as a title that is closely connected with the previous verse by “before me.” Hence, the rest of 5:8-10 is the first commandment. Fifth, the collection of first person speeches is now all put into one commandment, rather than two.

Overall, I find the arguments about verse 21 (the coveting commandment(s)) fairly convincing, but the arguments about the first part of the commandments not as persuasive. But it could very well be that I forgot to take notes on part of that section or that I am missing something. But there is enough here to make us go back and reexamine the commandments.


Why should we care, you might ask? Well, one reason is that this separates the wife from the rest of the household. The woman is not simply another possession, but deserves her own special commandment. The author of Deuteronomy has a fairly high view of women, and this will lead nicely into the next paper I discuss.


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12/2/2006 11:25:00 PM

The Nativity Story

A rare feat in film-making

Posted Saturday, December 02, 2006 by Brian Beers
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Tonight my wife and I were greatly impressed by The Nativity Story, the new movie with Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale-Rider as Mary. The movie was well done. It was done with believable, sepia-tone realism, portraying the poverty of Mary’s family and Joseph, the threat posed by Rome’s oppressive taxation, and the difficulty of their journey to Bethlehem.

My knowledge of the nativity led to several suspenseful moments in the film when it could have turned into a farce, but it remained plausible throughout. Even the miraculous conception was shown to be implausible in the tight-knit village of Nazareth. The appearances of the angel were appropriately intimidating, and Herod was ominously paranoid, a man who could order the execution of babies in order to protect his throne.

This superb drama includes a few moments of humor, but the humor, like the rest of the movie is both reverent and true to human nature. Two pre-teen boys witnessed John's circumcision. It quickly became evident that it was the first circumcision they had ever witnessed for their snickering commentary turned to blanched, horrified expressions as John’s cry rang out. I am sure I did not need to hear the sound of the moil’s knife, but as I mentioned before, the movie strove for realism. The appearance of the wise men in Bethlehem would have once been a sticking point for me, a plot alteration for the sake of drama, except for an email I received from a pastor friend from Alaska.

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