Friday 20 December 2019

The Master’s Seminary Journal 30, 2 (2019)

The latest Master’s Seminary Journal has been posted online. Individual essays are available from here, and the whole issue is available as a pdf here. I struggle with the somewhat strident tone and theological stance of some of essays published in this journal, but the volumes often contain interesting and valuable pieces. In this case, I’m particularly curious to read the final article on application and implication in preaching.


F. David Farnell
Are the Canonical Gospels to Be Identified as a Genre of Greco-Roman Biography? The Early Church Fathers Say ‘No.’
Liberal-critical and evangelical-critical scholarship has recently attempted to identify the Gospels with the ancient style of writing known as Greco-Roman biography. The author has already established this position as highly tenuous, reflecting a cycle in New Testament studies that often seeks novelty in interpretation (cf. Acts 17:21, καινότερον—”new,” “unique,” “novel”). A close examination of the nascent church Fathers, especially as found in the first great church historian, Eusebius, reveals that the early church decidedly rejected the Greco-Roman historiographic tradition. Prominent early Fathers deprecated the quality of historians like Thucydides and Plutarch who are now identified with the Gospel tradition in New Testament scholarship. Instead, the early Fathers identified the historiography of the Gospels with the Hebrew tradition as evidenced in the Old Testament, reflecting the historical genre of Old Testament promise, now seeing the fulfilment of those promises. They also affirmed the absolute trustworthiness and accuracy of the canonical Gospels as produced of the Holy Spirit of truth. Once again, critical scholarship, being influenced by the Enlightenment, has chosen to disregard the voice of the early church as the nature of the Gospels.

Jamie Bissmeyer
Job’s Eschatological Hope: The Implications of Job’s Redeemer for Social Justice
The purpose of this article is to identify the person of Job’s perspective on issues pertaining to social justice, in order to show that Job places his hope of social justice issues being resolved in God’s unique ability to make a just society in the end times. First, background material to the book of Job will be explained, to give context to Job’s statements about a Redeemer. Second, statements in the book of Job regarding the oppression of the poor by the wicked in society will be examined, in order to establish that the book of Job relates to social justice issues. Third, Job’s own perspective on social justice issues will be examined. Fourth, Job’s solution to social justice issues will be explained, with a focus on Job 19:25-26. Finally, Job’s solution to social justice issues will be applied to current social justice issues faced by pastors. 

Carl A. Hargrove
And How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher? A Biblical Theology of Romans 9-11
Romans 10:14 (“And how shall they hear without a preacher?”) and accompanying verses are frequently used completely out of context for ordinations or missionary commissioning services, as if in these verses God is calling for preachers to be sent out. Other preachers and teachers completely omit Romans 9-11 in much or all of their teaching or preaching and, by default, these verses have no influence on their theology. As this article will show, these Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures: (1) Are not rhetorical questions asked by God; (2) rather they are part of God’s answers given by means of the apostle Paul as to His trustworthiness and omnipotence, particularly related to His Word. Further, (3) when “the fulness of the Gentiles has come in,” this will also mean that “the partial hardening of [national] Israel,” has ended and thus Romans 11:25 will be fulfilled, (4) as Israel’s Deliverer will come from Zion and through the blood of the New Covenant, He will remove their sin and ungodliness from a promised Jewish remnant, (5) ultimately blessing the entire world of redeemed Jews and Gentiles.

Cory M. Marsh
A Dynamic Relationship: Christ, the Covenants, and Israel
As recently highlighted in Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s Kingdom Through Covenant (2012), furthered by Wellum and Brent Parker’s Progressive Covenantalism (2016), the notion of covenant is both popular and controversial within biblical theology. While these two works focused on forging a via media between dispensational and covenantal theology, occupying the center of the debate on all sides were questions related to Christ and His relationship to the biblical covenants. The current article explores questions raised from these and other works related to Christ’s relationship to the covenants and defends the only option consistent with a literal methodology: Christ relates to each of the biblical covenants dynamically as recipient, fulfillment, and/or mediator – and does so without collapsing any promised future for national Israel.

Jay Street
Romans 7: An Old Covenant Struggle Seen through New Covenant Eyes
Romans 7 is possibly one of the most cherished texts in church history. But it is also one of the most controversial passages in Scripture. Many resonate with Paul’s ambivalence and insist that Paul is speaking about the Christian’s daily struggle with sin. Others strongly disagree and purport that Paul’s struggle is too defeating for the Christian life, and he must be speaking for unbelievers. However, it will be argued in this article that both sides of the debate have been speaking past each other for centuries because both sides are asking the wrong question. This is not a passage about whether Paul is speaking as a Christian or not, but whether Paul is speaking as someone under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. Thus, when the reader’s perspective is properly adjusted, he can rightly ascertain Paul’s spiritual status in the passage – Paul is speaking as a believer under the Old Covenant before the inauguration of the New Covenant.

David Beakley and Johann Odendaal
The Reformation’s “Macedonian Call” to Africa – the Long Way Around
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how the influence of the Reformation came to Africa. The article is divided into two sections. The first section explains how the Reformation was stopped in North Africa through two problems: indigenization lacking doctrine, and doctrine lacking indigenization. The second section details the open door for the Reformation through the German Baptist mission work in South Africa. Finally, the article concludes with recommendations for creating sustainable mission work through a focus on strong discipleship model along with a commitment to indigenization of church leadership.

Carl A. Hargrove
Implication and Application in Exposition, Part 2: Principles for Contemporary Application
A significant concern for the expositor is navigating the relationship of interpretation and application. A part of the navigation is understanding the complement of the implications of a given text to the proper application. Teachers and expositors who want to make meaningful application of the passage or verse must bear in mind appropriate principles if they are to navigate from the ancient context to their contemporary audiences; if not, there will be misapplication on the one hand or not using the Scriptures to bear on the actions of listeners on the other.


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