Tom Schreiner Talks About His Upcoming Book

I blogged a week or so ago about Tom Schreiner‘s new Biblical Theology coming out this year. Below is an interview Dr. Schreiner did with Lindsay Kennedy. This will definitely be on my summer reading list!

Tom Schreiner Interview: The King in His Beauty

Tom Schreiner Interview: The King in His Beauty

The King in His Beauty

I’ve already mentioned my excitement over upcoming release of The King in His Beauty (Jun 2013) and adding fuel to the fire, I had the honour to ask Dr. Thomas Schreiner a few questions about this book. His responses were very thought provoking and have raised my expectations for this book to new heights.

For more information about Tom Schreiner and his books and some free articles and reviews, see his page at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches.

I planned to send Schreiner only 5 questions but had so much to ask that I ended up with 9! He graciously responded to them all. Here’s the interview.

In an interview on your then-upcoming New Testament Theology (released 2008), you said, “I don’t know if I have the energy to write a whole Bible theology”. What changed? What motivated you so much to undertake such an overwhelming task?

After I wrote the NT Theology my energy was depleted for writing on a more cosmic scale. In the meantime I took on my other writing love, i.e., I wrote a commentary on Galatians. After writing Galatians, I felt ready to tackle the whole Bible theology. Right after I wrote my Pauline theology I didn’t have the energy to do a NT theology and wrote a commentary on 1-2 Peter and Jude.

So, I guess I followed the same pattern in writing the whole Bible theology.

From looking at the Table of Contents, it appears that you have tackled each Biblical book individually, rather than taking the thematic approach in your Pauline and New Testament Theologies. What made you favour a canonical approach for this book?

I argue that there is no single right way to write a biblical theology, for the subject matter (God and his relationship with us) transcends our understanding. I believe, then, that a whole Bible theology or a theology of Paul could be written from a number of different angles.

One of my goals in my biblical theology was to guide quite specifically by the contents of the books in question. I think a book by book approach made it easier to follow the story line (especially in narrative books and especially in the OT).

Some scholars (such as Jim Hamilton) find thematic and theological strength in following the Hebrew order of Old Testament books rather than the order we currently have in our English Bibles. Did you consider using this order for your book and if so, why did you choose against it?

Following the Hebrew order can be illuminating, but I agree with Brevard Childs who said that we shouldn’t put too much weight on the order of the books. Childs maintains that we can fruitfully do biblical theology from both the Hebrew and the Greek order, and there are too many “unverified assumptions” on the part of those who insist on the Hebrew order. I followed the order we have in our English Bibles, for that is the Bible most readers actually use.

Baker’s website says you focus on three themes in this book: God as Lord, human beings as image-bearers, and “the land or place in which God’s rule is exercised”. Could you unpack this third theme a little?

God as creator is Lord over the entire world he has made. He put Adam and Eve in the garden as his vice-regents. They were, in dependence upon God, to exercise wise stewardship over the garden. When they sinned, their sin didn’t only affect themselves. Our relationship to the world changed, for the earth fell along with human beings. Now thorns and thistles grew, making labor arduous and boring. The world was subject to futility (Rom 8:18-25).

God promised that he would reclaim the world through the offspring of the woman. The Bible tells us the story of how this was done.

The Lord began with Abraham who was promised the land of Canaan. Through Israel the land of Canaan was to be like the garden, a place where the Lord exercised his rule over his people. Israel recapitulated in a sense the sin of Adam and Eve, and so just as Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, they were exiled from Canaan. Still, God’s promise to bless the whole world through Abraham was not withdrawn.

In the NT we see that the blessing for the world becomes a reality through Jesus Christ. The promise is no longer limited to Canaan, but now embraces the whole world, the entire universe (Rom 4:13). The New Jerusalem is the new heavens and new earth. The whole cosmos is God’s temple in which he dwells.

God’s rule begins in a garden but ends in a city: in a renewed universe over which the Lord reigns.

How did you go about preparing to write this book?Tom Schreiner

I began by studying each book inductively and then I wrote up the entire book. After finishing the rough draft, I revised it. At that point I spent a significant amount of time reading secondary sources and integrated them into the book. I learned so much from what I read, but I am keenly aware that there is so much more that could be done!

Many struggle to find a place for the OT Wisdom Literature in redemptive history. What roles do you see books such as Ecclesiastes and Job playing in the overarching story of the Bible, and how do you treat them in this book?

I think the main theme of Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs is: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Those who live under God’s rule fear him. All three books emphasize that one must fear God and keep his commands.

Job and Ecclesiastes remind us of a very important truth. God’s wise rule over the world isn’t clearly evident in this life. Life is full of frustration. We can’t make sense of it, for many seemingly irrational and absurd things happen. Wisdom acknowledges our inability to formulate an exhaustive answer to the agonizing sufferings and to the blatant unfairness that characterize human existence. We are to fear God and to obey him, but that doesn’t mean we have all the answers. It doesn’t mean that everything in life makes sense now.

Both Job and Ecclesiastes emphasize God’s sovereignty, but they warn us about the danger of thinking that we understand the totality of God’s plan.

What effect has preparing and writing this book had on you?

I saw the greatness of God. His plan for the world is gracious, wise, and just. Perhaps the most important thing, though, was the reminder that our hope and our joy is seeing the king in his beauty. What makes life worth living is seeing God, knowing God, and loving God. My heart was often thrilled as I saw the loveliness and beauty of God in Jesus Christ trough my research and writing.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope the book is accessible to readers who want a grasp of the overarching story. I hope they will see more clearly the whole counsel of God, and they will be helped to read each book in the context of the entire storyline found in the Scriptures.

If I may be cheeky and ask one more: do you have any projects on the horizon that you can tell us about?

I am working on a commentary on Hebrews in a new series coming out from Broadman & Holman, which focuses on biblical theology.

Also, I am co-editing a book with Ben Merkle on church government. The book is similar to the book on baptism (coedited with Shawn Wright) and the Lord’s Supper (coedited with Matt Crawford).

Dr. Thomas Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can read another interview on The King in His Beauty at Credo Mag.

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2012 In Retrospect: Family

It’s hard to know where to begin with this blog post. A lot has happened with my family this past year. In both joy and hardship God has proven himself faithful over and over again.

I blogged months ago about the death of the patriarch of our family, my grandpa, Robert N. Hammons. He died in September 2012 after about a six month battle with pancreatic cancer. He did not spend his final months in the hospital, but chose to spend them at home with my grandma, the wife of his youth. Despite a slow and painful process, my granddad remained faithful to the God whom he loved, the God who first loved him. His life, and his death, was a testimony to the grace and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I can only smile when I think about what he’s doing now (Phil 1:23)!
My grandpa’s battle is not the only one which has taken place in our family. My mom continues to battle cancer; a battle which started with breast cancer years ago, and has since moved to other parts of her body. It has been hard on her, and some seasons of this fight have been worse than others, yet my mom too remains faithful to her Maker. She was formed by her Savior in her mother’s womb, and he is in control of everything that she is facing now (Psalm 139:13). Her life and struggle is also a clear testimony to God’s faithfulness and grace.

The Scriptures are clear that in this fallen world Christians will experience tribulation and hardship, yet Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33)! If God is for us, who can be against us? For nothing is able to separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:34-39). Yet in the midst of trials our family is overjoyed at God’s gift of life.

Three women in the McMains family have been blessed to bring life into this world. My older sister, Jeannie, has a boy due early this year. His name is Toby Robert Stewart. In the midst of this wonderful celebration, their faith will be tested. Little Toby will be born without an immune system (Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and will have to have a bonemarrow transplant down in Dallas. While there are a lot of unknowns, our God is faithful and we praise him for the gift of life, and for the opportunity to trust him when we experience hardship. My brother Daniel and his wife Cristen just recently welcomed little Brooks McMains into the world. Weighing in at a whompin 8lbs 14oz, this one is sure to cause just as much ruccus as his daddy once did (and still does)!

Ashleigh gave birth to little John Paul McMains. If you read this blog then you’ve no doubt seen hundreds of pictures on facebook already, but hey, he’s a looker!

Ready for church! via thegoodfight82

Ready for church! via thegoodfight82

JP has brought so much joy into our lives. Sometimes I look over and see him and am again caught of guard at such a wonderful blessing from God. JP was born on 10/11/12 (cool i know!), and since then Ashleigh has gone back to work 3 days a week as a nurse. The first 12 weeks Ashleigh was off on maternity leave and had some time to adjust and face the wonderful challenges that come with a new baby. Now that she is back to work, another challenge is an inexperienced daddy (me) watching him 3 days a week from about 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. It has truly been a blessing to spend so much time with my son, and I am reminded every time I look at him of God’s kindness and the precious gift of new life. We have adjusted well, and I am quickly becoming an expert in the arts of diaper change and playtime. I am also improving in putting him to sleep, which is not always easy! I am so thankful to God for this little reminder that life isn’t all about me!!

Not only this, but Ashleigh’s brother Ryan and his wife Sarah are in the process of adopting two sweet boys from Ethiopia, Daniel and Josiah! It has been a long process, but as I type this they are with them in Ethiopia preparing to bring them home. Ryan and Sarah are an example of what it looks like to have a heart for the nations. They are serving full-time in South Asia and are now the proud parents of two previously abandoned Ethiopian baby boys. We can’t wait to meet the little guys. To talk about the beauty of adoption would require a whole other blog post (Check out Dr. Russell Moore’s blog). It truly is a picture of the gospel of Christ and his love for his children, whom he adopted as his own sons and daughters.

My oldest sister Emily and her husband Jeremy have been experiencing their own trials. Their youngest son (6 yrs old), Trey, was also born without an immune system and recently had to go back to Dallas and start over, meaning they used chemotherapy to undo his previous bonemarrow transplant received when he was born, and gave him another bonemarrow transplant just recently. It has been a hard journey the past few months with many tears and unknowns, but long story short the transplant went well and Trey came home today, weeks before expected! They are rejoicing now at God’s faithfullness during this time.

Here is his welcome home video:

One other unexpected blessing was Ashleigh’s and I’s opportunity to host a foreign exchange student. Clora has been with us since September and has been a joy to have in our home. She is 16 and is attending a local private high school here in Louisville. We have basically been asked to treat her as our own, and it has been a great experience. Clora had no previous encounter with Christianity, and we have been praying for opportunities to introduce her to the Savior. She has been attending church with us and enjoys that. She asks a lot of questions and I can tell she is really listening and grappling with what she is hearing. We have had many conversations with her and have been able to present the gospel clearly. Pray for continued opportunities and that God would open her heart to his word, as only he can do.

Much more could be said, but the theme that rings true over and again is God’s kindness. He is kind both in joy and hardship, in blessings and pain. We trust in his sovereign goodness, always mindful that he causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to HIS purpose (Romans 8:28).

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Teacher Fired for Giving Student Bible


Teacher Fired for Giving Student Bible | FOX News & Commentary: Todd Starnes.

When I read stuff like this its hard to believe that in my lifetime we said prayers over the intercom and recited the “Golden Rule” every day in class. Now, a substitute teacher who gives a Bible to a student who asked for it is fired. Or a pastor who would presume to preach God’s truth regarding marriage is shunned. America is making it clear that citizens who wear their faith on their sleeve, would dare to attempt to unite faith and practice, or would hold to the truth of God’s Word despite the prevailing public opinion will be ostracized. It seems tolerance is a one way street.

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Interacting with “The End”, Part 3: Snapshots of Revelation

A Review of Craig Groeschel’s “the End”: Part 3


In the past month or so I have reviewed two of Craig Groeschel’s in his 3 part series titled “The End.” In the spirit of completeness I’d like to take a look at his final message “Snapshots of Revelation.” As the title indicates, in this message Groeschel takes 40 minutes and gives his audience a jet tour of the book of Revelation. This is actually a very difficult thing to do, and personally I would not attempt it unless I was doing a series on the entire book and wanted to begin with a brief overview. Revelation is the type of book that requires a lot of introduction to give people an idea of the type of literature being dealt with. Having said that, Groeschel does a good job of summarizing it and getting at the heart of the message, which I agree with him on. Still, there are some differences in the details and so lets take a look at his message and see where we might differ.

After a brief introduction, Groeschel divides his message into 5 sections and themes:

1) Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Chapters 1-3): Jesus is coming soon

2) Jesus is the Lamb of God (Chapters 4-5): He is worthy to open the scroll

3) Jesus is the Righteous Judge (Chapters 6-18): Jesus righteously judges the earth

4) Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Chapter 19): Jesus returns with his church

5) Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride (Chapter 21): Jesus takes us, the church, to the heavenly city

There are many ways to divide up the book of Revelation, and this broad outline does a good job of hitting some of the main themes of the book. So, lets move through the outline.

First, Groeschel makes some introductory comments about Revelation. He talks about how it is “really creepy and scary” and so people avoid it. Actually, however, he then correctly asserts that this book will “build your faith…and if you’re a follower of Jesus you should get excited about what God is showing you through the book of Revelation.” The problem is that people “don’t know how to read it.” This is exactly right! Revelation does have some images and symbols we simply are not used to. It is a type of literature called “apocalyptic” that was common in that day, but is foreign to what we are familiar with today. Groeschel rightly states that when it comes down to it, Revelation is about Jesus Christ, and as we read it we should always be asking the question, “what does this say about Jesus?” Groeschel does this in each of his sections, and thus gets the main theme of each right.

1) Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Chapters 1-3): Jesus is coming soon

Here Groeschel points us to Revelation 1:7:

But then he goes on to say that “this is not the first return of Jesus when he comes back like a thief…the first time he comes for his church, this time he comes with his church…” My question is, why is this not the same coming as described in 2 Thessalonians 4? Let’s compare the two texts:

So, if we look at both of these texts, it would seem they are speaking of the same event. It is the Lord Jesus who is coming in both. 2 Thessalonians describes a cry of command, the voice of an archangel, the trumpet of God. Also, each speak of the Lord coming on the clouds. In 1 Thessalonians believers are caught up in the clouds to meet him, while in Revelation 1 he is coming on the clouds. Should we, therefore, take these as two separate comings, or as discussed in a previous post, see these events as describing the same coming, with 1 Thessalonians focusing on the perspective of the believer and Revelation describing the perspective from heaven. It seems that at that final trumpet, we will meet the Lord in the clouds and return with him to judge the nations. Every eye will see him, every ear will hear and all who have rebelled against him will mourn. It is much more likely that this is the case, and no reason from either of these two texts to take them as separate events.

But what about the language of a thief? 1 Thessalonians goes on to say:

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[b] you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children[c] of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

So what does Paul intend to say when he uses the metaphor of a thief? The text tells us: “When people are saying ‘there is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman.” It is the suddenness of Christ’s coming that make it like a thief, not its secretness. It is sudden destruction that will come upon the ungodly like a their. It is as the labor pains that suddenly come upon a pregnant woman (Is 66:7; Jer 6:24; 22:23; 50:43; Mic 4:9). But it will not surprise believers, for they are prepared because they have trusted in Christ. It will not be a time of destruction for them, but a time of blessing. Paul makes this very point in 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from[b] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because ourtestimony to you was believed.

Therefore, it is unlikely that 1Thessalonians 4 and Revelation 1 represent two separate comings of Christ, but rather two perspectives on his final coming.

2) Jesus is the Lamb of God (Chapters 4-5): He is worthy to open the scroll

Pastor Craig does a good job summarizing section two, and I agree with him for the most part. Jesus Christ is the slain lamb of God, who alone is worthy to open the scroll which symbolizes God’s purposes for humanity as revealed in the remainder of the Revelation. We press on.

3) Jesus is the Righteous Judge (Chapters 6-18): Jesus righteously judges the earth

Again, Groeschel’s main point here I can agree with. Jesus always judges rightly, and on the day of judgment no one will be able to say, “that’s not fair.” However, it is with Groeschel’s “bonus thoughts” that we depart ways. Basically, he interprets chapter 6-18 as entirely future, prophesying things that have not yet happened even in our time, things we are perhaps seeing right now. His thoughts are in bold, and my responses follow:

Temple Rebuilt (Rev. 11.1-2) – Groeschel takes the mention of the temple in Revelation 11:1-2 to prove that the temple will one day be rebuilt. The passage says:

Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. 

I won’t spend a lot of time defending a particular interpretation of each of these issues, but rather I want to simply show that there are other interpretations which fit better what I believe these passages to mean; however, the question that should be asked, according to Pastor Craig’s own advice when it comes to the symbolic nature of Revelation, is could not Revelation mention a temple symbolically that did not actually exist literally? Of course, and that seems to be the case here. The question then that should be asked is, ‘what does this symbol mean?’ Just as in chapter 1, we are told that the seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches, so here we must decide what the temple represents. My answer, without a lengthy defense, is that the part of the temple that is measured is the true church, those who have trusted in Christ. The measuring indicates that they are protected from God’s wrath to be poured out in judgment. The ‘court of the Gentiles’ or outer section which is not measured, represents they heathen who have not trusted Christ. No such protection will be provided for them. They will be trampled.

Anti-Christ (Rev. 13 and 14-16)

Mark of the Beast

Anti-Christ killed and raised to life (13.3-4)

The anti-Christ is actually not named in Revelation, rather it is the beast from the sea. Again, I would simply ask what this beast would represent to John’s readers? And what would his mark represent? And what would it meant to John’s readers that he suffered what seemed to be a mortal wound (13:3-4)? All of these images would be utterly meaningless to John’s readers if this person were yet future, and if his mark was a microchip. A much more likely reading is that the beast represents none other than the pagan city of Rome and its emperor, who commanded worship as a god and who was responsible for the persecution John’s readers were enduring. By extension any nation and world leader who would set itself up against God could l be called the beast of Revelation. John himself said that he was “partner” with his readers in “the tribulation.” Surely the suffering talked about throughout the book refers to this same tribulation John and his readers were enduring.

Two Witnesses (Rev. 11)

Killed and raised to life

Shut up the heavens

issue any plague they want

Fire from mouth (“really cool trick”); “don’t mess with two witnesses”

Groeschel then discusses the two witnesses. He takes them literally, and all their powers literally as well. Again, we should ask similar questions. Why should all of these things be taken literally in a very symbolic book? In fact, later Pastor Craig will talk about the sword coming from the mouth of God as a symbolic representation of the word of God. I believe the symbolism here represents the same as that of the measured temple. The two witnesses, i.e. God’s true church, will be protected during the time of God’s wrath.

 Anti Christ raised up to assassinate world leaders; one world government (Rev 17.12-13; Dan. 7.24)

The Anti Christ is defeated at the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16.16-19)

Again, I would just advice a careful reading of the text to see if there is anything about a future one world government in Revelation 17. The beast is indeed defeated at the final battle, as are all nations and peoples who have opposed Christ. These are a few of the issues in Groeschel’s interpretation of Revelation that don’t seem to fit the context or overall point of the book.

4) Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Chapter 19): Jesus returns with his church

“He is not a candidate who we elect in and out of office. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords and when you read Revelation and see who Jesus is, it will build your faith.” Amen, Pastor Groeschel!

5) Jesus is the Bridegroom and we are the Bride (Chapter 21): Jesus takes us, the church, to the heavenly city

Pastor Groeschel ends very well. I say again, most of what he says I agree with and we can partner in the cause of the gospel because we hold these gospel truths. Christ is coming soon and this is a cause of joy and hope for all believers. These other issues we can debate and discuss, but praise God we need and should not divide over them.

Still, I believe that as Christians we must strive each day to be faithful to all of God’s word, including the unfamiliar texts of Revelation. These issues are not unimportant and they may well affect how we read Scripture and understand the gospel of the kingdom.

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2012 in Retrospect Part 1: Seminary and Church

Family Xmas

2012 has been an exciting year for both Ashleigh and I. We have experienced God’s blessings through several important changes in our lives, as well as steady progress in the places and activities in which God has placed us. In this post I would like to talk about what has been going on with seminary and about our new church home.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


In May I graduated with a ThM degree. When we moved to Louisville, had just received my Masters of Divinity (MDiv) from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I then applied to the ThM at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and completed that in two semesters (which is the normal pace for someone with an MDiv). Late last year I had applied to the PhD program in new testament, and we found out around April that I had been accepted into the program and would be studying under Dr. Tom Schreiner, which was a wonderful surprise. Dr. Schreiner is also one of the preaching pastors at the church we attend, Clifton Baptist, and a man whom I greatly respect. I am grateful to be studying under him. I finished my first semester of the PhD program intact (despite being surprised with a little one!) and am set to begin my second semester January 29th. If all goes well I will finish my classwork in the next year or so and begin writing my dissertation, which I hope to be on the book of Revelation. I have thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from my classes so far, which I would like to list and briefly describe.

Fall 2010 (ThM):

Pauling Literature: Romans with Dr. Schreiner. This class was one of the PhD Seminars I was allowed to take as a first semester ThM student. It involved the presentation of papers on certain texts of Romans, along with the reading of different commentaries for each student and class dialogue on the papers presented. It also involved a book review, and the book I reviewed was The Purpose of Romans, by Ann Jervis. As a ThM student, I wrote a paper and a book review, but was not required to present anything. The class also consisted of a test on the Greek text of Romans the first day we met. If a 70% was not made on the test you were required to drop the class. I was able to squeeze by that hurdle, but not by much! All in all the class was very beneficial. You can read my paper on Romans 9:6-18, titled “God’s Freedom in Election”, here.

An Exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew with Dr. Johnathan Pennington. This class was extremely beneficial. It was an MDiv class, but as a ThM student I was assigned extra work, which included a longer paper (30 pgs) and an extra book review. In the class we discussed the theology of Matthew as well as important aspects of the Greek text of Matthew. I came out of that class feeling like I had read Matthew’s gospel for the first time! My paper was on Cosmic Conflict in Matthew’s gospel, which can be read here.

Theology of the New Testament with Dr. Tom Schreiner. Another very beneficial class which is pretty self explanatory. Basically it was an overview of the theology of the New Testament, divided up by themes. Dr. Schreiner is the author of New Testament Theology, which I read for the class, and needless to say the class was extremely helpful for my understanding of the overall theology of the New Testament. The class also involved 2 tests and a 35 page paper which I wrote on Cosmic Conflict in the Gospels and Revelation (read here.)

Spring 2011 (ThM)

Old Testament Theology with Dr. Jim Hamilton. This was another PhD Seminar similar to my Romans Seminar with Dr. Schreiner. Likewise, it involved a book review and a paper on an Old Testament theological issue. I reviewed Stephen Dempster’s Dominion and Dynasty, which was an excellent book, and I wrote my paper on Leviathan in the Old Testament, focusing on Isiah 27.1-2 (read here). We also read Dr. Hamilton’s excellent work, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. I received some pretty stiff criticism on both my book review and my paper. I learned a lot about how to fairly and accurately critique a book, which was very helpful. Dr. Hamilton liked my paper, but we got into a pretty staunch debate on some millennial issues that came up. I lost, but learned a lot! (Check out Dr. Hamilton’s commentary on Revelation)

Eschatology Seminar with Dr. Russell Moore. This was a seminar that dealt exclusively with issues relating to eschatology. We read several books and wrote a paper. My paper was on the binding of Satan in Revelation 20 (read). I also reviewed Left Behind by Tim LaHaye.

Advanced Greek Grammar with Dr. Peter Gentry. This is perhaps the most helpful Greek course I have ever participated in. It involved reading a text with very advanced Greek, the Epistle to Diognetus. My extra work as a ThM student was to read text from 2 Maccabees as well, which was very difficult. Dr. Gentry is an expert in Greek and Hebrew, and is a world-renowned linguist. Each week we translated portions of the text, and were required to translate aloud in class as well. It was pretty intimidating, especially if you weren’t prepared. I may have learned how to better understand and translate Greek this one semester than all my others combined.

Fall 2012 (PhD)

Non-Pauline Literature: Hebrews with Dr. Tom Schreiner. Another PhD seminar with Dr. Schreiner, only this time as a PhD student. The format was similar to Romans. It involved a book review and a paper on a certain passage in Hebrews. I reviewed Cosmology and Eschatology in Hebrews and I wrote on Hebrews 12:22-29 (read). I also read FF Bruce’s commentary on Hebrews and greatly benefited from everyone’s papers and the class dialogue.

Intro to New Testament Language with Dr. Robert Plummer. Another excellent Greek class. In this PhD Seminar we translated from various Greek texts, ranging from New Testament passage, to church fathers to Greek historians (Josephus and Eusebius). We also read and presented several articles for discussion and took a final exam on any Greek texts Dr. Plummer chose. No helps and no clue what we would be translating. It was fun!

New Testament Colloquium with Dr. Johnathan Pennington. Colloquia are confined to the PhD program. They basically consist of whatever the colloquium leader for that particular semester decides. In this colloquium, we read articles from a broad range of New Testament topics representing the most recent and important scholarship on each topic. Each student was required to lead one of the discussions.

German with Dr. Mark Seifrid. Each PhD student is required to complete two research languages, choosing between German, French and Latin. This course involved learning the basics of German, and translating some texts from Bonhoeffer. It concluded with a final lengthy take home translation from Bonhoeffer. These classes are pass/fail, and I passed!

So there we go! I am thoroughly enjoying and appreciating my time here at Southern and am blessed to be a part of a God-honoring institution bent on teaching the word of God, unashamed and unadulterated. My upcoming seminars include: Textual Criticism and Translation Theory with Dr. Pennington, Hermeneutics with Dr. Seifrid, and Colloquium with Dr. Plummer.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 8.59.49 PMCHURCH

Ashleigh and I have been attending Clifton Baptist Church most of our time here. It has been a huge blessing in many ways. It’s congregation is made up of elders/pastors, deacons and lay people. The elders’ primary responsibility is to shepherd the flock through biblical teaching and leadership. We have two preaching elders, Tom Schreiner and John Kimbell. Tom is preaching through Romans and John is preaching through Luke on an alternating schedule. We meet on Sunday mornings for Sunday School and a corporate service, and on Wednesday nights for a time of prayer, accompanied by a brief message. We meet in small groups on the first, third and fifth Sunday nights of each month. I’d like to briefly outline some of the aspects of our church we really love.

Biblical Preaching: first and foremost, we appreciate the expositional nature of the preaching at Clifton. They preach the Bible and nothing else. There is a focus on the words of God as contained in Scripture, book by book, passage by passage. There is no picking and choosing or watering down. If the passage is difficult, our pastors study careful and preach with humility, trusting that the Spirit of God speaks through his Word and is not reliant upon the skill of men. Thus, the sermons are always Christ centered, God honoring and faithful to the texts being preached.

God Glorifying Music: It is clear that our worship leader, Wesley Johnson, puts a lot of thought into the songs being sung. Each week we sing songs that are scripturally sound and honoring to God. From old hymns like Great is Thy Faithfulness to modern songs from Sovereign Grace Music, each song chosen accurately represents the God we worship as revealed in his word. This is the task of a worship leader and Clifton does an excellent job.

Small Groups: I know many are partial to corporate Sunday night services, and I think they are great; but I really appreciate Clifton’s small group ministry every other Sunday evening. It provides the opportunity to develop closer relationships within the body and the opportunity for in depth discussion and accountability.

Regenerate Church Membership: This simply means members are expected to be Christians! It seems obvious but is often not the case in churches today. In most churches you can simply come forward and join, without the church/pastor knowing much of your background or spiritual state. We see a different picture in the New Testament, where the goal of church is to build up the body of Christ and equip them for service. Thus, at Clifton there is a process for membership which allows the elders to better discern the spiritual state/maturity of those joining. Practically, in order for them to shepherd well, they need to know their flock. Also, this gets at the purpose of church. It is meant to be primarily a place of spiritual growth, preparation and nourishment for believers. Along with this comes better accountability of members to their leaders, as well as the biblical practice of church discipline when someone refuses to repent of open and clear sin. All of these things provide a place of growth and accountability that is essential to a healthy church.

There are other things that could be mentioned, but let it simply be said that Ashleigh and I have found a place that truly strives to care for its members, lead us spiritual and follow the biblical teachings concerning the purpose of church. We are very blessed to be there.

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Audio debate between James White and Michael Brown on Calvinism « Wintery Knight

John Calvin

Here is a good radio debate between Dr. James White and Dr. Michael Brown. You can purchase the full 4 day radio debate here. Whether you are Arminian or Calvinist, this sets the standard for how dialogue should take place.

Dr. Brown did an excellent job of setting forth the Arminian position and responding to the Calvinist position in a charitable way and was able (for the most part) to avoid the typical caricatures. I am perhaps biased, but it seemed clear to me that the exegetical portions definitely favored Dr. White. The Arminian interpretations of the texts simply don’t stand up to close scrutiny. However, I will give it to Dr. Brown in that he set forth the arguments in a way that has surpassed what I have heard from Arminians thus far. Looking forward to attending their future debate in person.

MUST-HEAR: Audio debate between James White and Michael Brown on Calvinism « Wintery Knight.

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Pop Goes Egalitarianism | Denny Burk

Three thoughts (see link to video below):

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1. I thought being Catholic meant and end to disunity? That’s what most Catholic apologists I’ve heard seem to indicate.

2. “Don’t listen to St. Paul” doesn’t exactly warm my heart to their message! Unless, by St. Paul they mean Pope John Paul, in which case, see No. 3.

3.  Why do they still want to be called Catholic? We have here an example of politically correct “progressivism” still clinging to the idea of traditionalism.

Pop Goes Egalitarianism | Denny Burk.

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