NOT BY SPEAR OR SWORD: REFLECTIONS ON DAVID & GOLIATH IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
ADAM IN THE ARGUMENT OF ROMANS(JONATHAN GIBSON)
|NEW BOOK REVIEWS:|
"Legalism is a terrible aberration of true Christianity. It leads more to religiosity than a relationship with the true and living God. I was heavily influenced by legalistic teachings as a young Christian, and as a result constantly doubted my salvation. By the grace of God, however, I have since been brought under more faithful biblical teaching.
However, one of the hangovers from my legalistic past hasbeen my response to sin. I was always taught that sin is best dealt with by setting up guidelines, rules and structures in order to purge sin from one's life.
One of the most popular examples of this is to seek out an accountability partner. I oftened wondered, though, if this was really adding another dose of legalism into my life. Surely, if God's law can't bring about obedience of faith (2 Cor 3), how could Bill, John or Ted.
I have recently been greatly helped by Dominic Smart's little article on the matter (Legalism and its Antidotes at www.beginningwithmoses.org). In it he discusses how legalism still rears its head even in those of us who are thoroughly evangelical. He discusses how our normal responses to sin may actually be a cover-up for the real issue - our passionate love for Christ.
I am not suggesting that accountability partners should be abandoned. If they are structured correctly and given proper attention, they foster wonderful partnerships in living out the Christian life and are the furtherst things from legalism (as Smart implies). But where is it that we put our hope, trust and confidence when it comes to our batle with sin? Human structures are never the final answer.
The real answer seems cliched but is nonetheless true. Waging war on sin comes from being truly ensconced in living for the glory of God. There can be no false-piety in that lifestyle. No-one can motivate us quite like our loving Lord and Saviour.
Smart concludes: "There is nothing like th upwardly-mobile life (a life mobvbing heavenward) to make the legalism of church life clearly apparent and transparently fulse. It's not real holiness; it never produces the largeness of heart that Christ produces; it has no glory; it gives no delight to the soul it is so obviously not what you were made for; no-one would have died to save you into that. Live for the glory of God. Therein lies your point and purpose in life; therein lies your true freedom and therein lies your own true glory"
The theory of penal substitution is the heart and soul of an evangelical view of the atonement. I am not claiming that it is the only truth about the atonement taught in the scriptures. Nor am I claiming that penal substitution is emphasized in every piece of literature, or that every author articulates clearly penal substitution. I am claiming that penal substitution functions as the anchor and foundation for all other dimensions of the atonement when the scriptures are considered as a canonical whole. I define penal substitution as follows: The Father, because of his love for human beings, sent his Son (who offered himself willingly and gladly) to satisfy his justice, so that Christ took the place of sinners. The punishment and penalty we deserved was laid on Jesus Christ instead of us, so that in the cross both God’s holiness and love are manifested.
The riches of what God has accomplished in Christ for his people are not exhausted by penal substitution. The multifaceted character of the atonement must be recognized to do justice the canonical witness. God’s people are impoverished if Christ’s triumph over evil powers at the cross is slighted, or Christ’s exemplarly love is shoved to the side, or the healing bestowed on believers by Christ’s cross and resurrection is downplayed. While not denying the wide-ranging character of Christ’s atonement, I am arguing that penal substitution is foundational and the heart of the atonement.
"When Piper preaches he seems to do little more than bridge one Bible verse to the next, building to a deeply biblical conclusion. With some preachers you begin to feel that they could get along just fine without the Bible, but with Piper you feel that if he didn't have the Bible he'd have nothing to say."
"Lacking reverence for the word of God, many congregations are caught in a frantic quest for significance in worship. Christians leave worship services asking each other, "Did you get anything out of that?" Churches produce surveys to measure expectations for worship. Would you like more music? What kind? How about drama? Is our preacher sufficiently creative?
Expository preaching demands a very different set of questions. Will I obey the word of God? How must my thinking be realigned by Scripture? How must I change my behavior to be fully obedient to the word? These questions reveal submission to the authority of God and reverence for the Bible as his word."
"1. Someone can be saved on the merest snippet of truth then spend a lifetime making sense of it.
2. The gospel actually includes the entire teaching of the bible and thus cannot be adequately contained in any system."
"“In light of God’s judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. And the most devastating criticism turns out to be the finest mercy. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame shifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.”
"Professor Sidney Greidanus, at Oak Hill on Wednesday 28th September 2005
Professor Greidanus argues the need both to preach Christ in every sermon and to preach regularly from the Old Testament. In this day conference, he will demonstrate and apply a Christocentric method that helps preachers to do both simultaneously. The four sessions during the day are as follows:
1. The Christocentric Method
2. Preaching Christ from Old Testament Narrative (Genesis 12:1-9)
3. Preaching Christ from Old Testament Law (Leviticus 17:10-14)
4. Preaching Christ from Old Testament Wisdom (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)
Sidney Greidanus is Professor of Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method, and The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature. Both are published by Eerdmans."
A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY BRIEFING
ON 1 TIMOTHY 2
|THE ONTOLOGICAL AND|
SYSTEMATIC ROOTS OF
|FAR AS THE CURSE IS FOUND|
|REVIEWED BY PETER SANLON|
ACCORDING TO PLAN
|REVIEWED BY OSVALDO PADILLA|
HEAVEN ON EARTH
(S.GATHERCOLE & T.D. ALEXANDER)
|REVIEWED BY GORDON KENNEDY|
HEARING GOD'S WORDS
|REVIEWED BY DAVID GIBSON|
STORY OF ISRAEL &
FAR AS THE CURSE IS FOUND
"But the thing that broke my heart, is that although these students were thirsty for more I realised that their churches don’t offer this type of food....How will we respond? What will we do to make the message of the Bible known to the next generation? Surely the church today has an amazing opportunity to further God’s kingdom in this way. But what is needed for the task?" (Scott Mackay)
'Only the most profound kind of spiritual blindness can keep a man from seeing what Isaiah is doing here. "To whom then will ye liken God?" Isaiah has been comparing God to all kinds of things throughout this chapter, and therefore the point of every comparison must be to show that all of them collapse under the weight of eternal glory. They are holy metaphors that make us look up to that which transcends them all. And, as we are glorying in this scriptural language, along come some very pedestrian exegetes, with a poetic ear comparable to about three feet of tin foil, who want us to acknowledge that the text compares God here to a shepherd and every shepherd they have ever met didn't know the future ...''To what may we liken God? The answer, friends, is nothing. And we show that we may compare Him to nothing by comparing Him to everything that is worthy of Him, and, of course, nothing completely is. In Him we live, and move, and have our being. This is not zen Christianity; it is the recognition that the Bible does not give us a tiny schematic version of the attributes of God, carefully drawn to scale. Rather, the Bible points, sings, shouts, eats, alliterates, teaches, glorifies, compares, and exults. Do you not see? Lift your eyes on high, Isaiah says'.
"Boxing's cool, but I've got some serious, serious demons I'm fighting," Tyson said, when asked whether he would be chasing Lewis for revenge. "I don't know if I can love anyone. And I definitely don't believe anyone can love me. I've been doing this for probably 23 or 25 years. I haven't received any dignity from it. I've received a lot of pain from it. It's made me not like Mike Tyson very much.""Who am I? What am I? I don't even know. I'm just a dumb child who's been abused and robbed by lawyers. I'm just a fool who thinks he's someone."
"With his many outrages, Tyson forced on us an important distinction: between that which is barbaric, and he who is a barbarian. There is a difference. Much of his life has been a losing struggle to escape what the poet Philip Larkin called, in another context, "a wrong beginning" '.This is the sad verdict of comparative moralism. In reality, we're all with Tyson on the ropes from the start, all born with a 'wrong beginning', and it really is a losing struggle to escape - on our own. 'For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous' (Romans 5:19).
'Now, one would not expect the world to have much time for the weakness of the psalmist's cries. It is very disturbing, however, when these cries of lamentation disappear from the language and worship of the church. Perhaps the Western church feels no need to lament - but then it is sadly deluded about how healthy it really is in terms of numbers, influence and spiritual maturity. Perhaps - and this is more likely - it has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing. Yet the human condition is a poor one - and Christians who are aware of the deceitfulness of the human heart and are looking for a better country should know this. A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one triumphalist street party - a theologically incorrect and pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals. Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is - or at least should be - all about health, wealth, and happiness silently corrupted the content of our worship?' (Spin, 159).