Posts for May, 2007.

5/31/2007 11:48:00 AM

Donald Miller: Blue Like Jazz

Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Culture and Theology   Comments: None
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The most recent issue of Christianity Today (June 2007) had an interesting interview with Donald Miller, who wrote Blue like Jazz. Have any of you read it? I was thinking about reading it sometime. The interview included some intriguing quotes.

“If your mind is not constantly being changed,” he says, “you’re not following Christ.”

Miller believes sharing the gospel should be like setting someone up on a blind date, not like explaining propositions.

“It seems to me there are a million keys to marriage, and they change depending on what kind of mood she’s in.”

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5/29/2007 8:38:00 AM


Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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Hatzor (usually spelled Hazor) was a very important city just north of the Sea of Galilee. It's importance was due to its site along the major international road leading from Egypt to Babylon. Hatzor is also important for biblical studies because serveral major events happen in the city which can be connected with places actually found at the site.

The first mention of Hatzor is in Joshua 11, when Joshua kills all those in Hatzor and destroyes the city by fire. Hatzor is one of only a few cities which were physically destroyed during the exile. The second major story about Hatzor is found in Judges 4 and the story of Deborah and Barak. They fight Jabin, who was king of Hatzor. Since he is also called the king of the Canaanites, it seems that Hatzor was a very large and important city of the time. A Canaanite palace has been found at Hatzor which might be from this time period.  There is also a burn level that dates to around this time. 

During the Israelite period, Solomon fortified  Hatzor (1 Kings 9:15). This is seen today in the Solomonic gate at Hatzor which dates back to the time of Solomon. A century after Solomon a water system was dug to allow access to water during a siege. 


Unfortunately for those at Hatzor, these measurs did not help much and the city fell to the Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29). 

The tel at Hatzor is one of the largest in Israel. Even though digging at Hatzor has gone on for decades, only a small percentage of the site has actually been dug. They are currently searching for a library at Hatzor, and I hope that I am alive to see the day when they find it.  

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5/27/2007 9:08:00 AM

Egyptian Wisdom

Posted Sunday, May 27, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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I've been reading through the Context of Scripture recently in order to get a better feel for the world of the ANE and I have come across many interesting things. I have finished the Egyptian section of the canonical compositions volume so far and I wanted to share one item. There were several other interesting items as well, but they would be rated R and not appropriate for our family friendly site! (See the Egyptian creation myths and dream interpretations if you want to read them for yourself.) The item I do want to share is from the Instructions of Any, a collection of wise sayings. 


Do not control your wife in her house,

When you know she is efficient

Don’t say to her: “Where is it? Get it!”

When she has put it in the right place.

Let your eye observe in silence,

Then you recognize her skill;

It is joy when your hand is with her,

There are many who don’t know this.


Context of Scripture: Canonical Compositions (113)

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5/22/2007 1:01:00 PM

The Second Generation and the Church

Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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I have been thinking recently about the second generation and how they fit into the church. Throughout church history, there have been two broad responses. On the one hand, room can be made for unbelievers or those who do not live out the Christian life by diluting the requirements to be part of the church (such as the half-way covenant). On the other hand, there have been those who say that the church is a group of called-out individuals and the unbelievers of the second generations are rejected from the church. It seems to me that this is a very difficult decision for us today.

If we say that the church is only those who believe, then the second (and third, etc.) generation who do not believe cannot be part of the church. I think that this is a good decision because we should not dilute the church. But on the other hand, by saying this I think that we also expose ourselves to another problem. Since many grow up in the church and feel at home in the church, when the church rejects them for not being believers they become bitter towards the church. A more serious aspect is when they have the opposite reaction: they make a false profession of faith so that they can stay where they are most comfortable. So how do we keep the church pure while not encouraging hypocrisy? How to run a youth group is probably the place where most of the difficulty comes. Do we expect all in the youth group to be saved? Is it possible to run a youth group with not expecting all to be saved? And how do we do this without having those who make a profession of faith just to get us off their backs?  

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5/18/2007 10:08:00 AM

The Jordan River

Posted Friday, May 18, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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The Jordan River is part of the Jordan rift, which runs from the Hula Valley in the north to the Red Sea in the south. The Jordan starts from several springs in the north, runs into the Sea of Galilee and then eventually ends its journey in the Dead Sea. In contrast to many rivers in the ANE (such as the Nile), the Jordan was not the center of transportation and life. Instead, it served more as a barrior between two regions. The river is not usually very broad or powerful: we floated down it quite slowly on a raft once.

Crossing the Jordan is an important biblical theme. The most important instance is the crossing during the Conquest, which corresponds to the crossing of the Red Sea 40 years earlier. The grammar describing the crossing of the Jordan exhibits some oddities, which emphasizes the importance of the crossing and helps the reader to feel the crossing. The theme is reversed many years later when David crosses the Jordan in the other direction and the grammar acts the same way it did in Joshua: David has now left the land.

In modern times the Jordan is a firestorm for politics because it is a water source. Syria and Israel debate over the river and who gets to use what percentage of the water. We met a man in Jerusalem (from the Northwest) who was trying to achieve an example of peace in the Middle East through water. He thought that if the nations could agree about water, then that would provide a stepping stone for other negotations. I thought it was very interesting work and it could have good long range results. 

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5/16/2007 2:53:00 PM


Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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I read a fascinating article recently about suffering from John Feinberg. It is quite short but very good. Read more of Suffering

5/13/2007 11:54:00 AM

Sarah Edwards

Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Book Reviews   Comments: None
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I recently read an excellent book about Sarah Edwards, the wife of Jonathan Edwards. The book helps to give a picture of the home life of the Edwards and what kind of people they were. My wife and I identified very well with their situation and personalities as we reflected on our own personalites and traits. But she said that I still could not dismiss myself from the dinner table to go read when guests were present even though Jonathan did so!

But the main point I got from the book was not one that was intended (a little reader response criticism here). While the Edwards did not lose any infants, they did lose several of their children before they died. And Edwards himself died just after starting his new job at Princeton (imagine what he might have done had he lived a few more years!). The last chapter was about the descendents of the Edwards and showed a picture of a family reunion in 1870 (or so), with several hundred people in attendence, all directly from Jonathan and Sarah. But the obvious truth hit more to me: all of these people are now dead. Usually this doesn't have great force for me (I read about people who are dead all the time), but for some reason it really reminded me that I cannot forget what is important. As I go to Wheaton and study for  PhD and hopefully begin my career, that is not the ultimate importance of my life. Even my family, as I watch my little girl grow up, is not the central theme. My relationship with God must be what is foundational. There might be a day when I lose the ability to think. There might be a time when I lose my family. But my foundation for life needs to be built on relationship with God.  

Of course, maybe this is all just coming to mind because I am almost 30! 

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5/12/2007 4:00:00 PM

Golan Heights

Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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To the north of the Sea of Galilee is the Hula Valley, the northernmost end of the Jordan Rift. To the east of the Hula Valley and the Sea of Galilee lies the Golan Heights. Throughout history, the Golan Heights have been highly contested and often fought over. In biblical times the main reason was due to the road. The road that ran from the south, reaching to Eilat, the Red Sea and the spice trade, ran north through the Golan Heights into Damascus and from there into Mesopotamia. There was also a stretch of the International Highway that went along the coastal plain of Israel which went through the Golan Heights. Whoever controlled the Golan Heights also controlled the revenue that went along the roads. The Golan Heights is not referred to by that name in the Bible, but such cities as Ramoth Gilead, Karnaim and Aphek are in the Golan Heights. Israel and Aram often fought over cities in this region. The Golan Heights region is also known as Bashan in the Bible, a place of luxuriant growth. It was the home of one of the Amorite kings before he got his life cut short.

            Today Syria and Israel are fighting over the region. In the War of Independence Syria took over this land and then used it to position artillery to regularly shell targets in Israel, an easy task since the Golan Heights overlooks many Israeli settlements around the Sea of Galilee and in the Hula Valley. Then in the Six-Day War Israel took the Golan Heights after Syria attacked them. Quenetria, a city of 30,000, now sits deserted since it is in the middle of a UN demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. Syria still wants the Golan Heights back, and it is a possibility that someday Israel will give back the Golan Heights to Syria in exchange for formal recognition, similar to the trade of Sinai to Egypt for formal recognition. Would this be a good idea? I don’t know.
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5/12/2007 3:06:00 PM

ETS and the Catholic Church

Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
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For those who have not heard the news yet, Francis Beckwith, the president of ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) has resigned both from being President and as a member of ETS after he rejoined full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This is a fascinating event and has already been talked about a lot in the blogs. You can read his initial blog as well as the statement from the ETS executive committee. Personally, I think that it is a sad event and sets a bad example. It will be interesting to see what comes of this, especially within ETS. Perhaps an expanded doctrinal statement is in the future? Read more of ETS and the Catholic Church

5/9/2007 2:30:00 PM

Jesus died for my karma

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Culture and TheologyMissions   Comments: 1
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The latest issue of Christianity Today (May 2007) includes a fascinating article with Ram Gidoomal entitled "Christ, my Bodhisattva." Ram grew up in a Hindu environment but then got saved while he was in England, where he still lives. The point of the article is the need to contextualize the gospel to Hindu's. For example, there are practical problems.

"I recall my first visit to a church here, my first church ever, St. Paul's Onslow Square. I went to the evening service, so none of my friends or relations would see me going. The first thing I looked for on walking in was the shoebox. I wanted to take my shoes off: This is holy ground, and you're asking me to come in with my dirty, filthy feet and go into the presence of God? This is not right: this is not holy. I must take my shoes off. But they told me that there was no place for shoes. So I went to sit on the floor, in the proper location of respect, and the usher said to sit on the wooden bench. Then the organ blasted out and I thought, Who has died? Because organ music was just for funerals in my mind. It was an alien experience." 

 But the more interesting question is how to actually communicate the faith. "So I decided, When they talk about sin, I think of karma, and I believe Jesus died for my karma, so I am going to accept him on those terms."

Now I am all for contextualizing the gospel so that people can understand it. But one can certainly take it too far. I think (at this moment anyway) that this statement could be helpful for people to understand the gospel, but not as a statement of the gospel to stand by itself. But I am being too picky? Do you think that this would be a good statement of the gospel?  

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5/8/2007 8:32:00 AM

Herod's Tomb

Posted Tuesday, May 08, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Archaeology   Comments: None
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It was announced recently that Herod's tomb has been found. An article describes it and Todd Bolen discusses whether it is authentic or not. There were no bones found and the tomb was ransacked shortly after he was buried, but it was apparently very richly made. Unfortunately, there is no inscription. The main clue is that the tomb was at Herodium, where Josephus says Herod was buried. Read more of Herod's Tomb

5/7/2007 4:59:00 PM

Romans 10:14-15 and Missions

Is it talking about missions?

Posted Monday, May 07, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: New TestamentMissions   Comments: 2
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Our church had a missions conference recently and the missions committee asked me to preach on a section that is commonly used for missions: Romans 10:14-15. The theme was to be God’s love for the least reached people of the world since the conference was focusing on the 10/40 window. I was more than happy to take up this topic, but as I began my study I quickly came across a problem: Paul is not talking about missions. So could I still use this section for missions?

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5/2/2007 1:09:00 PM

Leave Lot at Home

Abram’s Disobedience in Bringing Lot to Canaan

Posted Wednesday, May 02, 2007 by Sam Yeiter
Categories: Old Testament   Comments: 1
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There are many questions I have about Scripture that I am certain the (human) narrator knew the answer to, but declined to share.  Other times, I feel pretty sure he did not.  But on some occasions, I wonder if perhaps the narrator did know the answer, and did share his conclusion, but just not in the straight forward way we might hope.  I think I have an example of this third scenario. 

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5/1/2007 3:04:00 PM

You Heretic! Again!

Posted Tuesday, May 01, 2007 by Charlie Trimm
Categories: Church History   Comments: None
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The search for ancient and condemned heresies continues in the evangelical church today as we go on to examine if any of the ancient Christological heresies are alive and well today. Are you a heretic? Go ahead, take the heretic challenge! Don't settle for just being like Mike, be like Apollinarius! Or maybe Nestorius! Or even (drum roll), maybe you can be like Eutyches!

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