Intelmin Week in Review: 20-26 May 2013

Here is what made it on Intelmin this past week. It was yet another busy week with lots of great articles, book reviews, and videos to share. Thanks for stopping by.

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell – BSA and Gay: Phase One

The Feasts of the Lord – The Fullfillment of the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)

Tedd Tripp – Listening at Home

Andrew Shanks – What’s the Difference Between Erotica and Song of Solomon?

John Knight – Beyond the Rhetoric: Gosnell and the Late-Term Reality

Carl Trueman – Tragic Worship

Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

Steve DeWitt – Arrows Out

Michael Kruger – The Difference Between Original Autographs and Original Texts

Lindsey Carlson – The Plastic Fruit of Online Living

Daniel Darling – Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Danny Faulkner – Universe by Design: Twentieth-Century Cosmology

Dr. Albert Mohler – Boy Scouts at the Brink: The Moment of Decision Arrives

Marc Ambler – Biblical Creation—Truly, a Theory of Everything (ToE)

Charles Hodge – Theology Proper

Mike Leake – Tornadoes and Theology

Sam Storms – Tornadoes, Tsunamis, and the Mystery of Suffering and Sovereignty

Dr. Albert Mohler – The Goodness of God and the Reality of Evil

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Is the ‘I Only Need Jesus!’ Declaration Christian?

Winston Hottman – The Gospel and the (Im)perfect Marriage

Michael Horton – Christless Christianity: Getting in Christ’s Way

Glenn Stanton – FactChecker: Does Abba Mean ‘Daddy’?

Tedd Tripp – The Power of Presentation

E.H. Askwith – The Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel

Stephen Charnock – Discourse on the Wisdom of God

rp_stephencharnock.jpeg Romans. 16:27.—To God only wise be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.

THIS chapter being the last of this Epistle, is chiefly made up of charitable and friendly salutations and commendations of particular persons, according to the earliness and strength of their several graces, and their labor of love for the interest of God and his people. In verse 17, he warns them not to be drawn aside from the gospel doctrine, which had been taught them, by the plausible pretences and insinuations which the corrupters of the doctrine and rule of Christ never want from the suggestions of their carnal wisdom. The brats of soul-destroying errors may walk about the world in a garb and disguise of good words and fair speeches, as it is in the 18th. verse; by “good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” And for their encouragement to a constancy in the gospel doctrine, he assures them, that all those that would dispossess them of truth, to possess them with vanity, are but Satan’s instruments, and will fall under the same captivity and yoke with their principal (ver. 18); “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” Whence, observe,

1. All corrupters of divine truth, and troublers of the church’s peace, are no better than devils. Our Saviour thought the name, Satan, a title merited by Peter, when he breathed out an advice, as an axe at the root of the gospel, the death of Christ, the foundation of all gospel truth; and the apostle concludes them under the same character, which hinder the superstructure, and would mix their chaff with his wheat (Matt. 16:23), “Get thee behind me, Satan.” It is not, Get thee behind me, Simon, or, Get thee behind me, Peter; but “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence to me.” Thou dost oppose thyself to the wisdom, and grace, and authority of God, to the redemption of man, and to the good of the world. As the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth, so is Satan the spirit of falsehood as the Holy Ghost inspires believers with truth, so doth the devil corrupt unbelievers with error. Let us cleave to the truth of the gospel, that we may not be counted by God as part of the corporation of fallen angels, and not be barely reckoned as enemies of God, but in league with the greatest enemy to his glory in the world.

2. The Reconciler of the world will be the Subduer of Satan. The God of peace sent the Prince of peace to be the restorer of his rights, and the hammer to beat in pieces the usurper of them. As a God of truth, he will make good his promise; as a God of peace, he will perfect the design his wisdom hath laid, and begun to act. In the subduing Satan, he will be the conqueror of his instruments: he saith not, God shall bruise your troublers and heretics, but Satan: the fall of a general proves the rout of the army. Since God, as a God of peace, hath delivered his own, he will perfect the victory, and make them cease from bruising the heel of his spiritual seed.

3. Divine evangelical truth shall be victorious. No weapon formed against it shall prosper: the head of the wicked shall fall as low as the feet of the godly. The devil never yet blustered in the world, but he met at last with a disappointment: his fall hath been like lightning, sudden, certain, vanishing.

4. Faith must look back as far as the foundation promise. “The God of peace shall bruise,” &c. The apostle seems to allude to the first promise (Gen. 2:15),—a promise that hath vigor to nourish the church in all ages of the world: it is the standing cordial; out of the womb of this promise all the rest have taken their birth. The promises of the Old Testament were designed for those under the New, and the full performance of them is to be expected, and will be enjoyed by them. It is a mighty strengthening to faith, to trace the footsteps of God’s truth and wisdom, from the threatening against the serpent in Eden, to the bruise he received in Calvary, and the triumph over him upon Mount Olivet.

5. We are to confide in the promise of God, but leave the season of its accomplishment to his wisdom. He will “bruise Satan under your feet,” therefore do not doubt it; and shortly, therefore, wait for it. Shortly it will be done, that is, quickly, when you think it may be a great way off; or shortly, that is, seasonably, when Satan’s rage is hottest. God is the best judge of the seasons of distributing his own mercies, and darting out his own glory: it is enough to encourage our waiting, that it will be, and that it will be shortly; but we must not measure God’s shortly by our minutes.

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Greg Koukl – Evolution: Philosophy, Not Science

Evolution – Philosophy, Not Science

Greg shows that Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with science.

I’m mystified by the opening sentence of an article in Friday’s Union Tribune (October 25, 1996). It says, “In his most comprehensive statement yet on evolution, Pope John Paul II insisted that faith and science can co-exist.”

So far, so good. I agree with the Pope wholeheartedly on this first point. If you heard my opening address at our conference on Science and Faith, you’d know why I think they can co-exist if they are properly defined. (How science and faith are defined is an important part of answering the question.)

The real question is whether the evidence supports evolution or not, not whether we can baptize evolution with the word “God” so Christians feel comfortable.

I part ways with the Pope in his next statement. He said that “Charles Darwin’s theories are sound as long as they take into account that creation was the work of God.”

That’s an odd thing to say, it seems to me. I mean no disrespect here at all to Pope John Paul II. But doesn’t that strike you as odd? It seems to me that Charles Darwin’s theories–scientific theories, theories about the origins and development of things–are either sound or not sound. If they’re not sound, you can’t baptize them by bringing God into the picture and miraculously make them sound. And if they are sound in themselves, then you don’t need to add God to make them work, do you? It’s already doing fine on its own. Which is the point of evolution: mother nature without father God.

I don’t think evolution works at all. I don’t think Charles Darwin’s theories are sound, so I’m not in the least bit tempted to baptize them with some form of theistic evolution. Continue reading “Greg Koukl – Evolution: Philosophy, Not Science”

Michael Boling – Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

Betrothal, the Believer’s Relationship with Jesus, and Eschatology (Part 1)

For most Christians, the last two concepts in the title of this article are at least somewhat familiar. Our relationship with Jesus is a phrase commonly by Christians and eschatology is quite simply that fancy theological term for all things related to the end of time. Betrothal on the other hand is a term I would venture to say most Christians have only a passing understanding of. Perhaps they have heard that term used from their yearly bible reading in Hosea 2:19 or more likely from Luke 2:5 and the story of Mary and Joseph. Even then, the word betrothal is often translated as espoused or pledged, thus the reason many are not familiar with the word or concept of betrothal.

So what does the term betrothal mean and why is it of any importance for understanding our relationship with Jesus and/or eschatology? Was betrothal merely an Ancient Near East (ANE) custom that has absolutely no significance for us today or is that concept and process dripping with theological importance and something we should study in order to recognize the value of such a model both for the original hearers of the biblical message and for our lives today? With that as a background, this article will explore the betrothal process examining the various elements of this marital process. In the next part of this series, we will take the understanding gained from understanding what betrothal was all about in order to see how it applies to how we are to relate to Jesus and how he relates to us. Finally, in the third and final installment of this series, we will look at how the betrothal model relates to eschatology.

First let’s begin with some definitions. Betrothal is typically defined in most dictionaries as engagement to be married or a mutual promise to marry. When defined in that manner, betrothal does not appear to be any different than the more modern term of engagement. As definitions often do, the ANE process of betrothal is quite a bit more pregnant with meaning than the average dictionary definition provides.

So what exactly did betrothal mean in the ANE? Betrothal did involve a mutual promise to marry; however, that definition barely scratches the surface of what was actually involved. The process of betrothal consisted of two distinct and vitally important events, the first being the Kiddushin and the second being the Nissuin.

The word kiddushin comes from the Hebrew root word kadosh, meaning holy or set apart. Thus, at the kiddushin, the man and woman are betrothed or promised to one another, more appropriately defined as being set apart for one another. At this important event, a number of activities took place. The bridegroom provided the bride with a dowry, typically money or something of monetary value. Additionally, both parties signed a document known as a Ketubah which outlined the “mutual obligations of the bride and groom. At one time, this marriage contract gave the bride important legal protection. Today, the purpose of the Ketubah is to remind the couple of their moral responsibilities to each other.” (See Judaism.about.com) At this point, the bride and bridegroom were considered to be legally married without the physical “benefits” of marriage. Furthermore, the bridegroom drank wine from a special glass reserved for only the lips of the bridegroom and bride. Once the bridegroom took a drink, he handed the glass to the bride. If she drank from the glass, it was understood she accepted the terms of the Ketubah. The glass was then set aside for the Nissuin.

Once both parties had agreed to the terms of the Ketubah and the document had been signed, a period of waiting and preparation began. During this period which typically lasted at least a year, the bride and bridegroom, though married, lived apart from one another. Each individual was focused on preparing themselves for the Nissuin, a day only the father of the bridegroom knew. A main responsibility of the bridegroom was to prepare a place for him and his bride to live. Additionally, the bridegroom is instructed on how to be a husband by not only his father, but also from the men of the community. The bridegroom also underwent a period of preparation in which she is instructed in matters of marriage by her mother and the women of the community. Quite often, the bride was responsible for making her own wedding garment.

At a time when the father of the bridegroom deemed it appropriate based on his confidence the bridegroom and bride were ready, the Nissuin or marriage ceremony took place. The word Nissuin literally means “to carry” which is of great significance considering the bride actually was waiting for her bridegroom to come carry her to their new home. The Nissuin was quite a celebration and “It was customary for one of the grooms party to go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride’s house – and shout – “Behold, the bridegroom comes.” This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar. At the sounding of the shofar the entire wedding processional would go through the streets of the city to the bride’s house.” (See Nissuin) The bridegroom was responsible for erecting the chuppah under which the wedding ceremony would occur. During the Nissuin, the glass that was drank from at the Kiddusin by the bridegroom and bride was once again filled with wine. Both the bridegroom and bride would drink from the glass after which the bridegroom would step on the glass shattering it to signify the establishment of the couple as husband and wife. At the conclusion of the Nissuin, the bridegroom and bride would consummate the marriage thus fully becoming husband and wife. A sign of the bride keeping herself pure would be the stained bed sheet indicative of the bride being a virgin. The Nissuin ceremony was immediately followed by the wedding supper, a time of great celebration and feasting.

As you can see, the betrothal process involved far more than our modern day effort of “popping the question” and the giving of the engagement ring. A betrothal arrangement in ancient times involved both families and the community at large being involved in the events of the Kiddusin and Nissuin. Betrothal was a solemn commitment that could only be broken through a certificate of divorce, something that was only granted for infidelity on the part of the bridegroom or bride. Hopefully you have begun to notice some interesting parallels between the betrothal process and our relationship with our bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is those parallels that will be examined in part 2 of this series so stay tuned!

Anthony Buzzard – Christians and Heaven

CHRISTIANS AND HEAVEN
by Anthony Buzzard

“Heaven in the Bible is nowhere the destination of the dying.” — Cambridge biblical scholar, J.A.T. Robinson

“No Bible text authorizes the statement that the soul is separated from the body at death.” — the celebrated Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 803)

Why do we Christians talk such nonsense about our Christian destiny? On every hand we hear talk of “going to heaven when you die,” “gaining kingdoms in the sky” and “passing away” or “passing on” at death. With all this familiar language we comfort ourselves with the belief that the dead have departed to be with God in His heavenly realm. We hope to survive death and join them there.

Shouldn’t we pause a moment and ask ourselves reflectively: Where does all this “heaven-going” language come from?

Certainly not from the Bible. What, for example, did the prophet Daniel, one of the heroic, faithful men of God, expect at death? The angel told him:

“Go your way to the end of your life; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age” (Dan. 12:13).

Death for Daniel was to be a rest in the dust of the ground (see Dan. 12:2, where the same divine messenger described the condition of the dead as “sleeping in the earth”) followed by a rising, that is, resurrection “at the end of the age.”

There is no word here about Daniel’s soul going to heaven to be conscious in heavenly bliss. Instead Daniel was to repose in death and eventually, at the end of the age, to arise to new life. But for what purpose? Continue reading “Anthony Buzzard – Christians and Heaven”

Michael Boling – Reflections on Numbers 18-20

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Numbers 18-20

God spoke to Aaron, telling him that he and his son’s and his father’s house were to bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary and the iniquity associated with their priesthood. The sons of Levi were to attend to his needs and the needs of the sanctuary as outlined in previous chapters.

Certain offerings and portions of offerings were to be reserved for Aaron and his sons. God told Aaron that he would have no inheritance in the land of promise, meaning they would not be provide a portion of the land as would the other tribes. God would be their portion.

Guidelines for the offering of a red heifer were also provided by God. The red heifer was to be without blemish and was to be slaughtered outside the camp by the priest. Some of the blood from the red heifer was to be sprinkled seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. The red heifer was then to be burned in the presence of the priest with cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet tossed into the fire. Following the burning of the red heifer, the priest was to wash himself and his clothes, being unclean until evening. Someone who was clean would be responsible for gathering the ashes and storing them outside the camp in a clean place for the purification of the people.

A reiteration of cleanliness laws are also noted especially concerning what must take place should one touch a dead body or when someone dies in in a tent. God provided guidelines for how the unclean person was to cleanse themselves.

The people journeyed and came to the Wilderness of Zin, staying at Kadesh. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died there and was buried. At this location, there was no water resulting in the people contending once again with Moses about their situation. They claimed Moses had brought them to that place to die in the wilderness, declaring they should have stayed in Egypt.

God spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to gather the people and to speak to the rock and it would yield water before the eyes of the people. Moses did not do as God commanded. Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock. Water did gush forth; however, this lack of obedience displeased God. For disobeying God’s command, God told Moses and Aaron they would not lead the people into the land of promise. The place was called the water of Meribah.

Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, asking permission for the people of Israel to pass through his land, noting that as they passed through, the people would not touch any of the produce of the land. They would instead travel along the King’s Highway. Edom refused their request. Even after Israel offered to pay for the ability to travel through their land, Edom refused to provide Israel passage forcing Israel to turn away.

God spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor near the border of Edom, telling them that Aaron would be gathered to his people and would die, not being able to enter the land of promise. Moses was told to take Aaron’s priestly garments and to place them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Moses did as God commanded and Aaron died on Mount Hor. The people of Israel mourned the death of Aaron for 30 days.

Daniel Darling – 5 Ways Adult Children Can Honor Their Parents

How should an adult grown (presumably married, but not necessarily) child relate to his or her parents? There is a tension in Scripture between obeying the Scripture which says to “leave and cleave” in forming your own adult identity and family (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5) and obeying the Scripture which says to “honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2).

Every family has it’s own rhythm. Every family has its own share of circumstances, from abusive to permissive to annoying, etc. So how one adult child handles his or her parents isn’t necessarily a blueprint for another. Still, the Scriptures seem to indicate an intentional approach to the way we love our parents as adults.

This is a journey I’ve traveled in the last few years. I seem to have endured the typical cycle: being cared for and nurtured by my parents as a child, distancing and forming my own identity as a teen (though still wanting their money and food), thinking my generation will solve all the mistakes my parents made, and finally where I am today: appreciating my parents and figuring out how I can love them better. I’m guessing you’ve traveled a similar road.

As I’ve pondered this important relationships, I’ve come up with five general guidelines for the way adult children should handle their parents. Like most of my lists, this is not exhaustive and I know that after reading this some outraged and enterprising blogger will create a response. So be it. Here’s the list:

1) Always respect your parents, even when it is difficult. By honoring, I think the Bible is saying more than simple respect. But it’s not saying less. I’m amazed at how I hear otherwise good, godly people treat their parents. I’ve been in nursing homes where kids are literally yelling and berating their parents. I realize that sometimes parents are not the easiest people to love, but this is why love is something we do and is not something we feel. Your parents, regardless of their flaws, brought you into the world. They nurtured and cared for you and loved you the best way they can. Give them some respect, treat them with kindness and deference, and realize that one day you’ll be the one with the walker and the really bad elastic pants. You don’t want your kids yelling at you that way, do you?

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Steve Moyise – The Old Testament in Paul

The Old Testament in Paul

Paul’s letters contain about 100 explicit quotations, concentrated in Romans (60), Corinthians (27) and Galatians (10). There are also five quotations in Ephesians and two in the Pastoral epistles but as many scholars think these were written in Paul’s name, they will be treated separately. It is of some interest that there are no explicit quotations in Philippians and Thessalonians, though they are not devoid of allusions (e.g. Phil 2.11). The most frequently quoted books are Isaiah, Psalms, Genesis and Deuteronomy. In the analysis below, I have attempted to group the quotations under the following headings:

God’s plan to include Gentiles
The faith of Abraham
Israel’s blindness
The mystery of election
The character of God
Jesus Christ
Adam
Atonement
The Christian life
New and old

This gives a good sense of the themes treated by Paul but it is also important to read through Romans, Galatians and Corinthians to see how they the quotations sequentially, as the argument unfolds. Because we are dealing with a large number of quotations, we will not have space in this chapter for a separate section on allusions. We will, however, comment on a number of allusions as they effect the argument of particular books (e.g. the references to Adam). Continue reading “Steve Moyise – The Old Testament in Paul”