Friday, February 29, 2008

R.T. France: "Inerrancy and New Testament Exegesis"

I just found a very helpful article entitled "Inerrancy and New Testament Exegesis" by R.T. France which deals with how evangelicals, who hold to inerrancy, can still produce helpful exegesis for biblical studies.

France concludes with this helpful comment:

"To return, then, to our original question:does the evangelicals commitment to a high view of Scripture, which entails inerrancy, automatically exclude him from the use of the critical methods which are the rules of the game of academic biblical study? In fact just the opposite is the case: he has, if anything, a stronger incentive than any one else to work hard and critically at his exegesis, for he believes that what is interpreting is the word of God, and therefore should spare no pains in discovering what it really means. If anyone is obliged to pracitse the most rigorous grammatico-historical exegesis, without taking short cuts or fudging the issue, it is the evangelical. His doctrinal position obliges him to do the very thing the pundits demand, to study the text of Scripture critically in the light of all available knowledge relevant to it. He can, and should, have a real positive contribution to make to responsible exegesis, what is what academic biblical study is, or should be, all about."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Life is Over

Reports: Yao done for season with stress fracture in left foot

Saturday, February 23, 2008

God's OT Commandments: "Not Too Difficult"

"God's commandments is not too difficult, nor is it beyond your reach. The law is not among those things that the humble person does not bother with (Ps.131:1) or that even the wise find beyond their understanding (Prov. 30:18). It is not, therefore, impossibly idealistic, impracticable, unachievable. We have noticed eariler the balance achieved between ideal standards and eartly realities. The idea that God deliberately made the law so exacting that no body would ever be able to live by it belongs to a distorted theology that tries unnecessarily to gild the gospel by denigrating the law. The frequent claims by various psalmists to have lived according to God's law are neither exaggerated nor exceptional. They arise from the natural assumption that ordinary people can indeed live in a way that is broadly pleasing to God and faithful to God's law, and that they can do so as matter of joy and delight. This is neither self-righteousness nor a claim to sinless perfection, for the same psalmists are equally quick to confess their sin and failings, fully realizing that only the grace that could forgive and cleanse them would live wise enable them to live again in covenant obedience. Obedience to the law in the OT, as has been stressed repeatedly, was not the means of achieving salvation but the response to a salvation that was already experienced"

-pg 290 of Christopher Wright's commentary on Deuteronomy

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Christmas in Canada

We spent the Holidays visting relatives in Canada this year (Chen tradition). It was Dan's first time in Canada, seeing snow, skiing, ice skating, etc. Check out more photos on our Kodak Gallery:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Hope J. Kidd Goes to Dallas

Do you remember when the spurs were wanting to get jason kidd and get rid of tony parker? but the spurs kept parker and went on to win 2 more championships (2004-05, and 2006-07) with parker playing a huge role in each ot them. the mavs' situation reminds me of this, but i think they are going to do the opposite and get rid of their young and quick point guard, which will be bad because now the Mavs won't have anyone to guard the quick pgs in the west- tony parker, nash, williams, paul, and of course RAFER. as a rocket fan, I am hoping that this trade happens

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Garlington Reviews Piper's Book

Don Garlington has written a review of John Piper's book The Future of Justification: Response to N.T. Wright. Garlington concludes his review with this:

"In sum, Piper’s response to Tom Wright is worth reading for those interested in the seemingly never ending debate over justification. On the couple of issues noted above, I should think that Piper has the better of the argument. But for the most part, he has failed to demonstrate that Wright is wrong. The claim that the latter’s paradigm for justification “leaves many ordinary folk not with the rewarding ‘ah-ha’ experience of illumination, but with a paralyzing sense of perplexity” (24) is simply too subjective to be a useful criterion. In a nutshell, this book is mostly a defense of traditional doctrines, with a minimum of persuasive exegesis and a heavy reliance on confessionalism.

As a pastor, it is understandable that Piper has a pastoral concern. But is Wright’s theology of justification so dire that it is apt to result in Piper’s “double tragedy?” I think not, especially given Piper’s concessions as indicated above. In my estimation, Wright is the one who has “delivered the goods” when it comes to penetrating exegesis and, dare one say, fresh insight into the letters of Paul. It is also understandable that Piper would want to allay the “confusion” he senses on the part of his church members. However, I must say that such “laypersons” would have to be theologically literate indeed to tackle this book, not least its microscopic footnotes. Otherwise, the confusion is liable to remain!

As much as anything, this book is flawed by its near phobia of anything that smacks of newness and freshness, which, for Piper, must be suspect by definition. This is why we are exhorted to be suspicious of “our love of novelty” and eager to test biblical interpretations by “the wisdom of the centuries” (38). Agreed, but surely “the wisdom of the centuries” includes our own century. Wright is precisely correct: we are “to think new thoughts arising of the text and to dare to try them out in word and deed” (quoted on 37, italics added). Dr. Piper would do well to remember Matthew 13:52: “And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old’.” I would say the appropriate response to matters “new” and “fresh” is not skepticism but the Beroean spirit of searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11). "

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Craig Evan on the Importance of Cognate Literatures

In Craig Evan’s book, Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature, he expresses the value of being familiar with canonical cognate literatures (OT Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Early Church Fathers, and etc.) because they help clarify the following exegetical concerns [1].

1. The meaning of words.
2. Syntax
3. The meaning of concepts
4. History
5. Historical, social, and religious context
6. Exegetical context – that the noncanonical writing quite often shed light on the interpretation of the OT passage quoted or alluded in the NT.
7. Hermeneutical context – helps us understand how biblical literature was interpreted and what role it played in the life of the Jewish and Christian communities of faith.

[1] pg 3-5