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What I Read Online – 05/08/2012 (a.m.)

08 May
    • Someone we do trust could make the same mistakes and we wouldn’t react the same way. People need to have permission to fail, to make mistakes, and to grow into the task. Obviously trusting others can be complicated at times—we might have ‘inherited’ some leaders that we have reservations about—but trusting someone is key.
    • One of main reasons I have focused my research on the area of canon is because it is such a significant area of vulnerability for biblical Christianity.  That is not to say we lack reasons for believing in the canon (I think we have very good reasons), rather it is simply to say that the average believer is not aware of those reasons and therefore is unable to articulate them. This makes Christians particularly vulnerable to the challenges of modern-critical scholars (e.g., Bart Ehrman) who seem bent on destroying the integrity of the canon. 
    • I think one of the critical weaknesses in modern canonical studies is that Christians often have no theology of canon.
    • Although some have conceived of a self-authenticating canon as circular, it is decidedly not. To say the canon is self-authenticating is not to say we should believe the canon simply because it claims to be the word of God. The claims of the Scriptures are important, but that is not what self-authenticating is referring to. Rather, to say the canon is self-authenticating is to say that these books objectively bear qualities that show them to be divinely-produced books. It is analogous to our belief that natural revelation (the created world) exhibits qualities that show it is divinely-produced.  Do we not believe that “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 16:1; cf. Rom 1:20)? In the same manner, why would we not believe that God’s special revelation also bears evidence of his handiwork?  There is nothing circular about that.  
    • Dating plays a crucial role in identifying canonical books for this simple reason: all canonical books are apostolic in origin. They are the product of the redemptive-historical activity of the apostles. Thus, no book could be canonical that was written outside of the time period in which the apostles could have presided over the transmission of their tradition.
    • Sure, like anyone I have had my own doubts and struggles. Some may not know this, but I was actually a student of Bart Ehrman’s during my undergraduate years at UNC-Chapel Hill. When I took his introduction to the New Testament class I found myself facing many questions that I could not answer. But, I resolved to find those answers. It was actually my exposure to Ehrman that led to my keen interest in early Christian history, particularly the history of the NT text and canon. 
    • The preaching of the Word is still the central means of grace.  Moreover, people’s belief in the authority and truth of the Word can actually be enhanced through solid expositional preaching. For this reason, I would have concerns if the entire pulpit time was spent only on historical data about the authorship of 2 Peter. That said, I still think there are times when pastors need to hit these issues more head on. Our people need this sort of instruction and we should looks for ways to give it to them. 
    • Before there can be any Orderly Discipline among a Christian Assembly, they must be orderly and regularly constituted into a Church-state, according to the Institution of Christ in the Gospel.
    • (1) The series being written by a guy named Nicholas Needham. It’s called 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power (Evangelical Press) and is proving to be a very good, comprehensive, but easy-to-read account of church history. It comes in several volumes.

       

      (2) And the other book I recommend to students—the best single-volume on the history of theology —written by a Scandinavian Lutheran named Bengt Hägglund, titled simply, History of Theology (Concordia: 2007). It’s a single volume that takes you from the early church almost down to the present day in terms of the history of theology.

    • What he advocates is the appointment of rather bland, non-descript, respectable men as elders.  These vanilla men, basically competent and with no skeletons in the cupboard, are to be entrusted with keeping the church on the straight and narrow.
    • As I said above, the qualifications for eldership are essentially that the elder should have a mature and consistent Christian walk; the one thing that might make him different to others is that he should be able to teach; but that is scarcely a quality that makes him morally superior.  It is rather a technical ability.
    • I suspect the elder is to be honoured because of the peculiar place he fills in the church.
    • The elders are the first line of defence in this great tribulation which is taking place within the church.
    • Persecution from outside usually has the opposite effect, strengthening the church and fostering growth
    • Attack from the inside is far more deadly.  For this reason, the elders are in the front line.
    • The elder, then is going to be the primary target in the church of evil.  The church, humanly speaking, needs vanilla men who will stand firm, morally and theologically.
    • Further, the teacher is the herald of good news.
    • He should be honoured not for who he is or what he has done but for the glorious good news which he brings.
    • For me, the best way I can be honoured is that people pray that I fall not into sin and bring disgrace upon the church but finish well.  And then they can honour me when I preach by listening to what I have to say.
    • Preaching and Preachers (page 172): ‘[I]f a Christian man, however able and learned and knowledgeable he may be, is not ready to sit down and listen to the man whom God has called, and appointed, and sent to perform this task, with joy and with keen anticipation, I take leave to query whether that man is a Christian at all.’

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 08/05/2012 in Current Issues

 

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