Friday, November 30, 2018

Five Star Links



Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Kim: 

Mike Leake echoes much of what I've been learning in Greek Exegesis this semester. Originally, the Greek New Testament was written not only without punctuation, but in all upper case letters without spaces. The extras were added later. He wisely counsels us not to build a theology on the placement of a comma.

"One Part of Your Bible Which Isn't Inspired."


Persis:

In contrast to the endless debate about career versus home, I appreciate Pastor Sam Powell's post. He takes the discussion out of the realm of pitting one circumstance against the other and brings us back to Who gives us purpose and significance in our very different situations.
Ecclesiastes spells it out perfectly. Under the sun, all is vanity. Married, career, pleasure, mirth, wisdom, foolishness…
There is no life there, for the ground is cursed. The relationships are cursed. Bearing children is cursed. Unless God does something to restore Eden, what does it matter if you have 10 children or die childless?
But God has done something. He sent his Son, the perfect image-bearer of the God, so that in him we DO have purpose, meaning, significance.

Rebecca: 

My week has been a busy one, so I've done less online reading than I usually do. I did listen to a couple of sermons/lectures as I cleaned house and prepared food. I especially enjoyed this lecture by James Anderson on Scripture's self-attestation.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

On Being A Son


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)
My sister and I were the only children in our family. My father didn’t seem to mind that he had no sons, but my mother mentioned a few times that our family was the end of the line for his surname in our branch of the family tree. There were no sons to carry on his name.

That he had an all girl family didn’t make any difference when it came to inheritance. As a rule, when the last parent dies, if there’s no will that states otherwise, all surviving children, male and/or female, divide the inheritance equally. When my father died a few years ago my sister and I split the inheritance.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, which contains the text at the beginning of this post, this is not the way it worked. In ancient Rome, women were usually provided for by the men in their lives, and did not inherit the family’s wealth. Sons, however, could inherit. If there were no natural-born sons to inherit, or if, for some reason, the father did not wish to leave what he owned to his natural-born sons, he could adopt a man of good character to inherit his estate. It was a great privilege for a man to be adopted as a son.

It was, at least as it pertained to inheritance, better to be a son than a daughter, and better to be an adopted son than a natural one. Natural sons could be disowned and disinherited, but not so with adopted sons. Adoption was permanent. When a man was adopted, he became a chosen heir. He would inherit for certain.

It’s probably this kind of adoption Paul had in mind when he used adopted sonship to illustrate the relationship between the believer and God in the passage above. And as the context of these verses makes clear (see 3:28-29), both men and women are God’s adopted sons. Paul used a human institution that applied to men only to illustrate something that, in God’s household, applies to both men and women.

Some translations of the Bible translate son and sons in this passage as child and children. This is not necessarily wrong, but it does obscure one of the main points of the passage, and strips Paul’s chosen analogy of its power. Believing women are not simply children of God—and not simply his daughters, who, in Paul’s day, would have owned nothing for themselves. No, we are adopted sons. Our adoption papers are signed and notarized, and we are permanent designated heirs. In Christ, God’s riches belong to us forever for certain.

God adopts believers as his sons, and it changes everything for them. Every believer’s inheritance is secure because they are adopted sons of God. If we are adopted sons—and we are!—our inheritance is guaranteed.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Kim:

I am almost at the end of the final volume of the selected journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery. I read from it before bed. This entry is at the end of 1937, a year when her husband's mental illness had some very serious re-occurrences, and her son Chester made mistakes which caused her heart sickness.
December 31, 1937 
This has been a fitting close to a year of hell. Today I had another dreadful cup of disillusionment to drink in many ways the worst yet. What can be the end of this? Can there be any end? Will it not go on thus all my life? 
Nineteen hundred and thirty seven is ended. Oh, what a year! How can I have lived through it? And how can I live through 1938? If anyone tomorrow wishes me a happy New Year I shall shriek in his face. There has never been any happiness in this house -- there never will be.
While Montgomery had to deal with a lot (her husband was only the tip of the iceberg; her extended family often turned to her in times of struggle, financial and otherwise), some of her problems were made more unbearable because her own heart. By 1937, she had become very bitter. She often worried more about what people would think than she did about the actual people involved. But she was a desperate woman. It is so sad that she found little solace in Christ.

Deb:

Michael Kruger writes about the power that "deconversion stories" have on people like Jen Hatmaker, Rob Bell, Peter Enns, and Bart Erhman:
De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians. And their purpose is to convince them that their outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent. A person simply shares his testimony of how he once thought like you did but have now seen the light.
He details the pattern of the deconversionist playbook and relates it to recent accounts in this article and this interview.

Rebecca:

In his Commentary on Hebrews, Tom Schreiner sums up the prologue of Hebrews (1:1-4) like this:
Jesus is the culmination of God’s revelation. The OT Scriptures point to him and are fulfilled in him. We see in the introduction of Hebrews that Jesus is the prophet, priest, and king. He is the prophet, for God’s final word is spoken by him and in him. He is the priest by whom final cleansing of sins is accomplished. He is the king who reigns at God’s right hand. The last days have arrived in Jesus and the final word has been spoken, and hence there will be no further revelation until Jesus’ return. The great revelatory events have taken place in Jesus’ ministry, death, resurrection, and exaltation. Believers do not need any other word from God for their lives. They are to put their faith in what God has revealed in and through Jesus the Christ.
Have you been taught that you should read and study a passage thoroughy on your own, and then—only then—should you check out a commentary to see what it says about the passage? I break this rule all the time. I love to read commentaries for their own sake, and paragraphs like the one quoted above is one of the reasons.

Persis:

I thought this was a helpful explanation of systematic theology found in The Son Who Learned Obedience by D. Glenn Butner, Jr. (pgs. 7-8)
Systematic theology stands one step further removed from the Bible than does biblical theology. Biblical theology attempts to explain synthetically the meaning of the biblical text in continuity with the meaning intended for the original audience, but it extends this meaning through redemptive historical analysis. Systematic theology draws on the Bible directly and on the conclusions of biblical theology to explain questions that are often foreign to the biblical authors and even the canon as a whole, questions which can nonetheless be answered with confidence given the scope of the Bible. Systematics treats the Bible in terms of the "comprehensive whole", the "overarching story"in which we are called to participate. It seeks not only to explain the logical connection between the explicit or intended meaning of various passages of Scripture, but also to uncover implicit meanings evident in the broad biblical witness but never elaborated in any detail in a single passage.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

It is good to give thanks

It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High
Psalm 92:1

Given that many people will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we wanted to share what we are thankful for. 

Persis:

It's been a busy and rough year. Much of the summer was spent packing my parents and moving them to assisted living. My dad's health then took a turn for the worse, and the Lord took him home. So in the midst of grief, I am thankful for my dad's life and legacy. I am also thankful for the Bible's promises that Christ's resurrection means we will be resurrected as well. My pastor "just happened" to be preaching this year through 1 Corinthians and the Heidelberg Catechism, so the sermons on 1 Cor. 15, my only comfort in life and in death, and the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting were so timely. God has also sustained my family in so many practical ways too for which I thank Him.

Kim:

There is so much to be thankful for!

Over this past year, I have had opportunities to be with my family, and the highlight of my summer was our vacation with my son and daughter-in-law. How blessed we are to have her in our family.

I'm thankful for being able to be in Seminary. I feel like this was what I was meant to do. I'm learning so much about theology, the Bible, and myself.

I'm also thankful that my parents and my in-laws are all healthy and live independently. After watching what Persis went through this past year, I was reminded that aging parents is not an easy road, and I'm thankful for every good year they are given.

I'm thankful that my identity is in Christ alone.

Rebecca:

As I write this, my church family is preparing a memorial service for a beloved member of our church. I am thankful that the death of each saint is "precious in the sight of the Lord." I am thankful for the sure inheritance God keeps in heaven for us. I am thankful that his power keeps his children faithful to the end.

I am thankful that our trials, our pain, our suffering—and yes, even our death, when it comes—are all God's mysterious way to perform his wonders. I am thankful that God is always accomplishing his purposes.

I am also thankful for beautiful weather. It could be -30°C (Its November in northern Canada, after all.), but it's above freezing instead. This is a rare gift from the One who controls all temperatures everywhere.

I'm thankful that my grown children all live nearby. This too is a rare gift, especially for someone who lives where I do.

Deb:

I'm grateful first and foremost for God's grace to the chief of sinners, for giving new life to my heart of stone, and for transferring my lost, depraved self from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of life through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. All else is done from love and offered back to Him, for His glory and for the good of those whom He places in my path. Thank you, Lord.

What are you thankful for? Please share in the comments.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Five Star Links



Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 


Kim:

Dr. Carolyn Weber, author of Surprised by Oxford, is an adjunct professor at my school. At our Seminary blog, she talks about "The Power of a Good Question."


Persis:

Amy Mantravadi on Women Writing Theology:
Theology is a noble subject of study for women. Individual churches and denominations must search the scriptures to determine exactly how women’s gifts should be exercised, but we must never forget the positive command placed upon both males and females to proclaim the gospel hope within them.

Rebecca:

"When we know and remember the mercy, grace, patience, and love that Jesus has given to us, we will be able to reflect his heart. Pouring out mercy, grace, patience, and love to those who cannot or will not pay it back to us mirrors Jesus . . . ." — Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks Are Not Useless to Jesus.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Quotes of Note


Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Persis:

This is a prayer from Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon (pg. 59) that's been on my heart.
Heavenly Father, I want to unpack my bags and be home. Because of that desire, there are times I've sought shortcuts so I can try to skip the scary, uncertain parts of the journey. At other points, I've grown impatient and sought to meet my needs in ways that seemed practical and clever, but weren't Your best for me. I've craved comfort and security, and I've labeled those cravings "contentment."
You placed the desire for home within me. You've wired me with needs for food and shelter and safety and I recognize that sometimes, I've focused on meeting those needs in ways that have compromised me. Those compromises have led me further into exile, away from You. Please forgive me and set me on the right path.
Your Word says, "Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies - make your way straight before me" (Ps. 5:8). My enemies may want to take my life or they may simply want to woo me from You with false promises of security and comfort. Awaken me to the ways in which I've baptized the world's view of contentment in spiritual language.
Please, Jesus, help me to accept Your gift of holy discontent as a way in which I will discover what it means to live as a pilgrim. How I want to follow you, Lord! Please guide  me.
I ask these things in the name of the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. Amen.
Kim:

I just picked up a book called The Soul in Paraphrase, which is a compilation of devotional poetry. It is edited by Leland Ryken. This excerpt comes from "The Dream of the Rood," which is possibly an eighth century composition, and the author unknown. In this poem, the tree which made the cross of Calvary speaks:
It was long ago -- I remember it --
that I was cut down from the edge of the forest,
ripped up by my roots. Strong enemies seized me there,
made me their spectacle, forced me to bear criminals . . .
I was raised as a cross; I lifted up a mighty King,
the Lord of heaven; I did not dare to bend.
They pierced me with dark nails; I bear the scars,
the open wounds of hatred . .
They mocked us both together. I was drenched with blood
that flowed from that man's side after he had sent forth his spirit . . . 
This volume promises to be good, including poets such as George Herbert, John Donne, John Milton, Anne Bradstreet, and Christina Rosetti. It would make a lovely Christmas gift. It is hard cover, fabric covered, and has a book mark.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Five Star Links



Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Kim:

A Bible study sabotaged? Peter Krol directs our attention to C.S. Lewis to answer this question, in "How to Sabotage a Bible Study."
Bring the Enemy’s word out to be dissected, examined, and (if at all possible) critiqued — but make sure to divide the three strands. They must never read devotionally, theologically, and ethically all together
My hermeneutics professor likes to say: "Every time you crack open the Book, you're face to face with God." He doesn't see it as a legitimate thing to say there is no devotional reading of Scripture.

Persis:

Two links to two podcasts:
White Horse Inn - Mystical Views of God & Salvation (Specifically Christian universalism)
Theology Gals - Mysticism, We Don't Need You
Rebecca:

One way to help your children engage with Scripture: Inductive Bible Study Is Not Just for Adults.

Deb:

The Encourage Podcast featuring Life-giving Leadership from Susan Hunt

Also, Michelle Lesley discusses why women preaching is a primary doctrine issue (unlike baptism, which is secondary)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Quotes of Note



Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.

Kim:

I just began reading Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom From Richard Baxter. It promises to be good:
For the past century and more the notion has been abroad in evangelical circles that the effect of being born again through faith in Jesus Christ will always be a life marked by spiritual euphoria: constant cheerfulness, exuberance, confidence, and high spirits stemming from the knowledge that the God of grace, the sovereign triune Lord, is always actively on one's side. Indeed he is, and the picture drawn is an attractive and happy one -- but see what it leaves out! Certainly triumphant joy in the Lord is a characteristic feature of a healthy Christian life. But Christians, like other people, live in and through bodies -- bodies that from time to time malfunction, get sick, wear out, and finally die; and physical factors, without without spiritual slippages, can at any stage bring on, among other things, depression in its various forms. Some in the past have gone so far as to diagnose depression in Christians as always a sign of unbelief or something major sin, but this is not right.

Persis:

This quote is from Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon. This book intrigued me, and I'm glad I started reading it as I've been reminded recently that Christians are "strangers and pilgrims" whose citizenship in heaven. (Heb. 11:3, Phil 3:20)
There is something familiar to every human being about the distress of damaged relationships, the disorientation of relocation, and the soul-altering grief of loss. The things in this world that mark us as wanderers point to our exile from Eden and scattering from Babel. They leave us with a sense of homesickness that not even the coziest home or the most joyous family reunion can every dispel. (pg. 27)
Early church fathers said the state of humankind was that of the homo viator (traveler, pilgrim). We have been born to wander. The questions of where we're from or where we're going are clarified by this truth. They become: "Are we moving towards God or wandering away from him?" It is an unsettling question. Those who crave nostalgia or long to live in bunkers of contentment may not be interested in answering it. But for the wanders, the question is a reminder that exile has a purpose that goes far beyond tell us what our next zip code is to be. (pg. 28)

Rebecca:

I have a two commentaries on Hebrews, but neither of them answered a question I had about Hebrews 1:2. (None of my study bibles answered it either.) How is it, I wanted to know, that the Son is appointed heir to all things? Doesn't he own everything automatically, since (as the verse goes on to say) he created everything?

Then I remembered I have a set of Calvin's Commentaries, too. And guess what? He answered the question for me.
But the word heir is ascribed to Christ as manifested in the flesh; for being made man, he put on our nature, and as such received this heirship, and that for this purpose, that he might restore to us what we had lost in Adam. For God had at the beginning constituted man, as his Son, the heir of all good things; but through sin the first man became alienated from God, and deprived himself and his posterity of all good things, as well as of the favor of God. We hence only then begin to enjoy by right the good things of God, when Christ, the universal heir, admits to a union with himself; for he is an heir that he may endow us with his riches. 
In other words, the incarnate Son became heir as the representative human, and in union with him, we receive the inheritance we lost in the fall of Adam. It's as our representative that he is appointed heir to all things.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Five Star Links

Each Friday, we share links we found especially interesting or inspiring during the previous week. 

Kim:

"Is it possible you aren't contending for the faith but are just being a jerk?"

Jared Wilson asks this question in his article "Jerks for Jesus." This is something I'm sure we've all witnessed. It is this kind of phenomenon which prompted me to stop following some people online.


Rebecca:

Two posts that ask important (and related) questions:

Persis:

Now that we've celebrated the 501st anniversary of the Reformation, where do we go from here? Here is Carl Trueman on The Reformation We Need.

Deb:

In Virtue Gone Mad, Michael Foley writes: "There would be no cultural concern for the victim were it not for Christianity"

Also, Paul Maxwell discusses the controversy over Keller's supposed use of Speech Act Theory