Wednesday 28 February 2024

Ink (2023)

The latest issue of ink produced by Tyndale House has been available (for a while – I’m late posting this), this one including articles on the ‘law code’ of Hammurabi, the significance of role models and imitation in early Christianity, the message of hope in Jeremiah, faith and works in James, where the Bible’s chapters came from, the influence of the Septuagint on modern Bible translations, the artistry of the Hebrew acrostic form, and reading the Bible in a secular age.

UK residents can sign up here to receive issues through the post or subscribe for online updates, but articles from the publication are also available to read from here.

Saturday 24 February 2024

The Master’s Seminary Journal 34, 2 (2023)

The latest Master’s Seminary Journal has been posted online. According to the Editorial, ‘the focus of the current issue… is the biblical imperative to teach the Word of God faithfully by interpreting it accurately in order to deliver the divine intent of each passage’.

A pdf of the journal can be downloaded here.

Iosif J. Zhakevich

Editorial: Accurate Interpretation of Scripture

John F. MacArthur

The Mandate of Biblical Inerrancy: Expository Preaching

The special attention evangelicalism has given to the inerrancy of Scripture in recent years carries with it a mandate to emphasize expository preaching of the Scriptures. The existence of God and His nature requires the conclusion that He has communicated accurately and that an adequate exegetical process to determine His meaning is required. The Christian commission to preach God’s Word involves accurately transmitting that meaning to an audience, a weighty responsibility. A belief in inerrancy thus requires, most important of all, expositional preaching that does not have to do primarily with the homiletical form of the message. In this regard, expository preaching differs from what is practiced by non-inerrantists.

John F. MacArthur, Austin T. Duncan

Inerrancy and Exposition: A Conversation with John MacArthur

This dialogue between John MacArthur and Austin Duncan explores the battle for biblical inerrancy and its relationship to biblical exposition. With years of preaching

experience and wisdom, Dr. MacArthur provides counsel to pastors seeking to

accurately and boldly preach the Word of God. In the previous article… Dr. MacArthur explained the inseparable partnership inerrancy has with hermeneutics and expository preaching. In this conversation, Dr. MacArthur reinforces the fact that, as Scripture is the eternal Word of God, so the charge to interpret it accurately and preach it boldly is also timeless.

Brad Klassen

The Doctrine of Inspiration and Its Implications for Hermeneutics

The doctrine of inspiration affects biblical hermeneutics. If every word of Scripture is to be affirmed as simultaneously God’s Word and man’s word in the truest sense, if every portion and element of Scripture equally possess all the qualities of the divine and human intents, if there is no separation to be sought between what was meant by God and what was meant by the human writer, then what method provides the most appropriate principles to study such a text? Because God is the Author of Scripture, the Bible is to be read unlike any other book. Yet, because God has revealed His Word through human biblical writers, the Bible is to be read like other books. The hermeneutical method that best achieves the study of this unique text is the grammatico-historical method.

Michael J. Vlach

Hermeneutical Principles and the Bible’s Storyline: A Dispensational Approach

This article addresses the issue of interpretation principles for understanding the Bible’s storyline from a dispensational perspective. The particular questions discussed are the (1) consistent use of grammatical-historical hermeneutics in all Scripture; (2) consistent contextual interpretation of Old Testament prophecies; (3) passage priority; and (4) Jesus as the means of fulfillment of the Old Testament. Application of these principles leads to a proper understanding of the Bible’s grand narrative from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.

Tom Pennington

The Pastor and Systematic Theology

Pastors committed to expository preaching often fail to grasp in theory and execute in practice the legitimate use of systematic theology in studying the biblical text and in crafting the sermon. Some tend to downplay its importance in the interest of being biblical, while others give systematic theologies, creeds, or confessions too exalted a role in both exegesis and exposition. Part of the path forward is to understand the scriptural guidelines for the illegitimate and legitimate use of systematic theology in the normal pattern of consecutive exposition.

Noah Hartmetz

The Expositional Method of John Chrysostom

This article recognizes Chrysostom as a noteworthy expositor in the early church and examines the key aspects of his technique. After surveying Chrysostom’s life and training, the article explores Chrysostom’s view on the inspiration of the Bible, the effect of biblical inspiration upon his hermeneutics, and the particular elements of his hermeneutical and homiletical methodology. Chrysostom’s method defined his exposition of the biblical text such that his homilies were a clear explanation of the literal sense of Scripture.

John Calvin (with an introduction by Ian P. Hazlett)

Calvin’s Latin Preface to His Proposed French Edition of Chrysostom’s Homilies: Translation and Commentary

The contribution below consists of two parts. First, Ian Hazlett offers a helpful introduction to Calvin’s preface on Chrysostom and the value Calvin saw in this preacher with a “golden mouth”… The second part is the actual preface by Calvin to the homilies of Chrysostom. In his preface, Calvin indicates that while he affirms the priority of Scripture, he also recognizes the benefit of resources that help interpret Scripture. He turns particularly to Chrysostom to feature him as an example of a preacher who explained the plain meaning of the text and who would be profitable to the study of Scripture. Thus, Calvin defends the use of secondary resources specifically for the goal of accurately expositing the Word of God.

John Calvin

The Epistle Dedicatory: John Calvin on Exposition and the Book of Romans

The contribution below consists of two parts. The first part (“A Man Worthy of All Honour”) is a letter that Calvin wrote to another scholar and friend Simon Grynæus, describing to him the practice of Bible exposition. Calvin noted that the goal of exposition is to explain the mind of the author to the reader, both with simplicity and brevity. The second part (“Epistle to the Romans: The Argument”) is Calvin’s introduction to Romans in which Calvin moved through the book chapter by chapter in summary form. Calvin thereby illustrated exposition by demonstrating how Paul advances through his argument in the epistle. The ultimate purpose of Calvin’s work is to mature the believers in their love for Christ.


Friday 16 February 2024

Theos Report on AI and the Afterlife

A new report from Theos has been published:

Nathan Mladin, AI and the Afterlife: From Digital Mourning to Mind Uploading (London: Theos, 2024).

More information can be found here, and a pdf of the full report is available here.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

9Marks Journal (February 2024) on Evangelism

The latest issue of the 9Marks Journal, available from here, looks at the topic of ‘Evangelism: Sharing the Good News’.

In the Editor’s Note, Jonathan Leeman writes:

‘Lots of Christians these days are talking about politics, culture war, and the state of our nations. Those are important matters to discuss. Christ is Lord over everything, and he calls Christians to love their neighbors, in part, by seeking justice.

‘You also might have noticed that many of these same Christians will quickly concede, “Yes, yes, of course, the only thing that will really redeem a nation is evangelism and healthy churches.” Yet then they never seem to get around to talking about evangelism and healthy churches…

‘Christ has given us earthly citizenships to steward in love and obedience. Yet our heavenly citizenships must remain the priority, meaning the former shapes and determines the latter. To reverse the order is idolatry and makes Jesus a tool of the world…

‘We’re not saying you should adopt an either/or posture, as in, “Only this world or the next world matters.” Rather, we’re talking about priorities. What serves what?…

‘So… let’s talk about evangelism. How’s your personal evangelism going? Is your church engaged? Are your elders strategizing together?

‘We’ve compiled a host of articles to help you practically, but also to remind you that, even when the devil offers us all the kingdoms of this world, something else remains far more important.’

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Evangelical Review of Theology 48, 1 (February 2024)

The latest Evangelical Review of Theology is now online and available in its entirety as a pdf here.

Introduction: Good Theology Is Very Practical

Arie de Pater and Ville Hoikkala

Free Speech under Threat in Finland and Beyond?

In Finland, Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola and politician Päivi Räsänen have been accused of a crime for publishing material that allegedly threatened, defamed or insulted homosexuals. Both have been threatened with fines and even possible imprisonment simply for holding to the conservative Christian view on marriage and sexuality. Why has this case (currently on appeal to the Supreme Court of Finland) received so much international attention, and what impact is it likely to have on freedom of expression in Europe and beyond?

Ian Randall

Orthodox and Evangelical Missional Interaction: Insights from the International Review of Mission

Orthodox and evangelical Christians have frequently had a shared interest in encouraging traditional views of the gospel and mission within the modern ecumenical movement. In this article, one of Europe’s most respected historians of evangelical life traces Orthodox and evangelical engagement with mainline Protestants through articles in the ecumenical movement’s leading mission journal.

Narry F. Santos

Jesus’ Mission to the Vulnerable: The Power of Servanthood in the Gospel of Mark

Mark’s Gospel is carefully structured to highlight Jesus’ example of sacrificial servanthood. This article draws on sociological analysis of the first-century Jewish community to show how Mark illustrated Jesus’ mission to the low and powerless. It then pairs Mark’s key messages with real-life, parallel examples of servanthood to contemporary refugee communities.

Barry N. Danylak

A Biblical Theology of Singleness in an Increasingly Single World

All over the world, marriage rates are declining and more people have no partner. How should the church respond? This article, by a theologian and participant in the WEA’s singles initiative, elucidates Paul’s endorsement of the single life in the context of a broader argument that under the new covenant, marriage and family are not necessary to experience the full blessings of life in Christ.

Israel A. Kolade

Civil Government and Political Authority: Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 13

This article examines Calvin’s commentary on Romans 13:1–7, in contrast with early church and Reformation expositions of the text, to show how his conception of political authority provides nuance to the political theology expressed in his Institutes, particularly around the sticky question of obedience to an unjust or tyrannical government.

D.S. Martin

Poetry and Theology

Ted Turnau

The Case for Creative Cultural Engagement

What can Christians do in contexts where the culture seems to be moving away from the gospel? Ted Turnau, an expert on engagement with popular culture, argues – starting, appropriately, with a creative parable – for unleashing our imagination in ways that enchant others and attract them to oases of the imagination.

Esa J. Autero

The Parable of the Vineyard Workers and Migrant Labourers in India

Despite its simple story line, the parable of the vineyard workers (Mt 20:1–16) is difficult to interpret. This article compares the parable to a contemporary setting with remarkable similarities – the experience of India’s migrant workers. The comparison yields new insights into this parable and challenges churches to work for God’s justice in India and elsewhere.

Richard Howell

Faithfulness in an Asian Multi-Faith Context

This article, originally a presentation at a 2022 ecumenical consultation of the Global Christian Forum, reflects on the challenges Asian Christianity encounters, through the lenses of the author and other experienced observers and the testimonies of prominent Asian converts to Christianity.

Book Reviews

Thursday 1 February 2024

Kristie Anyabwile et al. on Psalm 119

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (February 2024) it’s His Testimonies My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God, edited by Kristie Anyabwile – a collection of reflections on Psalm 119. The book is available in exchange for an email address here.