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It is unfortunate that Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and Iraq has achieved great strides pushing forth an imperalistic Islam upon other Muslims and Christians.  Its also unfortunate that many in the West don’t understand much of these two organizations, Al Nusra and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or better known as ISIS).  Apparently these two organizations aren’t getting along.

Here are two documentaries from earlier this year that gives a bit of perspective of  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The first is an incredible documentary by Vice who embedded with Al Nusra.

The second is the perspective of some who have quit the Free Syria Army and their encounter with ISIS.

It is frightening.  We need to be praying.

Killing Jesus A History

This is my first book by Bill O’Reilly and only after starting this book did I realized that he has written a series of book on the assassination of famous men, with his previous works on Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.  Early in the introduction of the book Bill O’Riley’s reveal his methodological assumption of how faith (myth) and fact must be distinguished concerning the person Jesus, and that he and his co-author was interested only in the fact.  I think this reveal quite a lot the direction the book takes.  Surprisingly the book does include a lot of account of Jesus’ miracles.  The journalistic prose of his writing gives one a fresh look at familiar Gospel stories and O’Riley does a good job of giving a lot of the political and historical setting that the life of Jesus was situated in.  His discussion about the Herods and the various Caesars is narrated like juicy gossip though.  I was disappointed with how the end of the book the authors did not seem to come out strongly with their conclusion of whether or not Jesus was resurrected which is disappointing given how much of the guild of Christian apologetics has focused on this crucial point of Christianity.  The book was also disappointing in that both writers never expounded on the greater context of Jesus’ death as penal substitutionary atonement for our sins, justification, etc.  One might say that’s due to O’Reilly being a Roman Catholic, but I think there are also theologically liberal assumption involved (appeasing to Naturalism, faith vs facts, etc).  I suppose my final evaluation of this book parallel how I feel about his show: sometimes its interesting but sometime I wonder about his matter with things.

books

It’s my goal that in the next nine years I would read at least one commentary for every book in the Bible–so I can recommend a good commentary for the books in the Bible.

It is partly as my own devotional reading through the Scriptures and partly because of being asked what good commentaries I’ve read that I would recommend for certain books.  Since I realized I need to read more Bible commentaries, I thought this might be a good project on Veritas Domain.

Sometime this week I’ll post up a page that list out what has already been done.  I will be reviewing expository and exegetical commentaries.

The Gospel According to Daniel Chapell

The introduction to this commentary makes it clear that the author is not trying to give an exegetically detailed commentary on the book of Daniel; rather the purpose of the book is to show how the book of Daniel points us to the Gospel and then to apply Gospel truths that is found in Daniel to our lives.  To this end, I think the author accomplished his stated purpose.

My first knowledge of the author Byran Chapell was from his book on preaching that was the textbook for an introductory course to preaching when I began seminary; that particular work helped me a lot in laying the foundation to become an expository preacher.  It was with great expectation that I picked up this book wanting to learn and see how Bryan Chapell would preach through the book of Daniel.

I appreciated the many stories that the author shared throughout the book; they were wonderful examples of how preachers should “illustrate to apply” to the listeners’ lives.  I appreciated seeing how Chapell avoided making Daniel the object of our hero worship but instead points us towards God, Jesus and the Gospel.  One highlight reading this commentary is the discussion on Daniel chapter three about what true faith means.  Here Chapell also points out to the reader that just because one has faith does not mean that everything will go all well in life without trials and tribulation.  This directly contradicts the “health and wealth” gospel and similar beliefs popular in some Christian circles.  At the same time, for those who are in biblical churches the discussion would nevertheless be quite encouraging since it put our suffering in perspective.

There were times I wished that the author could have gone more in-depth with the exposition of the passage especially with the latter part of the book of Daniel.  I must add that this is a gentle criticism because one must applaud the author for his honesty in admitting what he does not know or don’t want to be dogmatic with.

Both exegetes and lay readers will benefit from this commentary; this book serves as a great devotional read while for expository preachers this commentary will balance out some of the more technical commentaries to help the preacher thinking about how to deliver and apply the text.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Baker Books and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

John-Frame

We have been posting daily quotes from John Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life on our facebook and twitter account.  This morning I want to share an extended lengthy quote from John Frame on the relationship of the intellect, will and emotions.  John Frame is at his best when he explores the inter-relationships and/or inter-dependence of things and here is no exception.  People often have a wrong conception of the relationship between will and the intellect so the following is helpful.

Traditionally, will is contrasted with intellect (reason) and emotions.  In some accounts, it almost seems as though will, intellect, and emotions are little beings up in our heads who vie for supremacy.  Arguments have been made both about which of these three faculties is superior to the others and about which one ought to be superior.  Philosophical movements have been identified by views on this alleged conflict: Aquinaas has been called an intellectualist, Scotus a voluntarist, and Kierkegaard an emotionalist.

My own view, however, is that we make decisions as whole persons, and that intellect, will and emotions are perspectives on the whole persons, not subsistent entities.  The intellect is the person’s ability to think, the will his his capacity to decide, and the emotionsa re his capacity to feel.  We are talking about three abilities that people have, not three independent entities within them.  That I think is a more biblical perspective, for Scripture never distinguishes these three capacities or make any general statements about the superiority of one or the other.

In my view, the three abilities are interdependent.  You cannot make a decision (will) unless you judge (intellect) that it is the right thing to do.  On the other hand, you cannot make the right judgment (intellect) unless you choose (will) to make it.  The will is certainly involved in our intellectual judgments.  As Paul teaches in Romans 1, certain people choose to disbelieve in God, despite the sufficiency of the evidence of his existence.  Other people choose otherwise.  In both cases, belief is a choice.  The intellectual judgment is a decision of the will.  That is one reason why I have emphasized that the intellectual realm has a moral dimension, that there is an ethics of knowledge.

So will and intellect are dependent upon one another, and so are choice and reason.  They are not independent entities, but perspectives on the mental acts of human beings.  In everything we do, there is thought and choice.  And we think about what to choose, and we choose what to think.  And we choose what to think about what to choose.  We accept reasons because we choose them, and we choose them because we find them reasonable.

(John Frame, Doctrine of the Christian Life, 368).

I find the above helpful.  I would add that not one of the above faculty is morally superior to another.  Our sinfulness has corrupted all our faculty.  So we sin with our mind, our choices, and have sinful emotions, etc.  This has implication for apologetics that we have unpacked on our blog elsewhere; certainly the most obvious is that our mind is not a neutral arbiter of facts, nor does appealing to our intellect alone would necessarily lead someone to Christ if the sinful will chooses not to do so.   How much more do we need the grace of God.

Paul1_001

For the earlier posts related to this series, please navigate to this link:

Index to Christology Series: Deity and Eternality

In our last series on “Deity and Eternality” concerning the study of Christology, we covered four main passages often used to defend Christ’s deity and eternality and also passages that are often twisted and maligned by cults: John 1:1; John 8:58 (cf. Exodus 3:14), Hebrews 1:8; Colossians 1:17.

After wrapping up a major milestone on this series, I was not yet satisfied in moving into another area in Christology.  I wanted to provide other proofs for the deity and eternality of Christ because it is such a foundational doctrine concerning our Lord and Savior.  As a result, this post will be added as an appendix to this series.

The other main areas that I would like to address for the deity and eternality of Christ that you may find helpful are:

  • Christ’s heavenly origin (John 3:13; John 6:38)
    • The verses listed above indicates that Jesus came from Heaven.  Jesus dwelt in Heaven before coming to earth.  Therefore, He has no beginning nor no end.  He is eternal.
  • Christ’s preincarnate work (John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6)
    • His preincarnate works also proves His eternal existence.  Rather everything starts and ends with Him.
  • Christ’s titles (John 12:41 [Isaiah saw His glory; cf. Is. 6:3,5]; Matthew 22:44 [Psalm 110:1])
    • In John 12:41, which is a reference Isaiah 6:1, the Apostle John indicates that Isaiah saw God’s glory.  And John 12:40 is a direct quotation from Isaiah 6:10, which is in reference  to God or Yahweh (cf. 6:3, 5).  Contextually, it appears that John 12:41 makes not only the connection that Jesus is portrayed as the object of Isaiah’s vision, but also the one who hardens the hearts of Israel as explained in John 12:40.
  • Christ’s theophanies (Genesis 18; Judges 6:11, 14; Zech. 1:11; 3:1-2; cf. Gen. 24:7)
    • Theophanies also proves His eternal existence.  According to Paul Enns, a theophany can be defined in this manner: “It is the Second Person of the Trinity who appears thus in human form…The One of the three who is called LORD, or Jahweh, in the incident recorded in Genesis 18, is to be taken to be the Second Person of the Trinity.”  I would also add that He, meaning the Trinity, also appeared in other forms too in the OT (i.e. visions, dreams, auditory).
    • Whenever God revealed Himself in a human form, it was not the Father nor the Holy Spirit, because according to John 6:46, no one can see God.  God is a Spirit (Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Luke 24:39; John 1:18; John 4:24; Acts 17:29).
    • God the Father and God the Spirit will never manifest themselves in a human form like Christ.
    • Since God the Father (John 1:18; John 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17; 1 John 4:12) and God the Spirit (Matt. 3:16; Revelation 22:17) are incorporeal,  it is safe to say that they did appear in other non-human ways like visions (Numbers 12:6-8), clouds, fire, etc.
    • Here are some other appearances of God as seen in Scripture.
      • Gen. 12:7-9 – The appearance of the Lord to Abraham
      • Gen. 18:1-33 – Two angels and God Himself.  God here reveals Himself in a human form.  Since God the Father and God the Spirit (Holy Spirit) do not take on a human form because they are a Spirit, this is none other than the second person of the Trinity.
      • Acts 9:1-16 – The voice that Paul heard on the road to Damascus
      • Genesis 32:22-30 – Jacob wrestles with God
      • Exodus 33:20 – Moses sees a manifestation of God’s back
      • Exodus 3:2 – The burning bush
      • Exodus 13:21-22 – Pillar of cloud by day and fire by night revealed to the people of Israel
      • Exodus 24:9-19 – The appearance of the glory of God was seen
      • Exodus 33:9 – Pillar of cloud revealed to Moses
      • Deuteronomy 31:14-15 – Pillar of cloud
      • Job 38–42 – God speaks
      • Genesis 11:5 – The Lord descended
      • Exodus 34:5 – The Lord passed in front of Moses
      • Numbers 12:5 – Pillar of cloud
    • Angel of the Lord (Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 22:11-18; Judges 5:23; 2 Kings 19:35; Exodus 3:2):
      • The passages here reveal God taking on the form of man.  Every time God takes on the form of a man, it seems to be the preincarnate Christ.  Here in these passages, the Angel of the Lord is the preincarnate Christ who is a foreshadow of the future incarnation; whereby He will literally dwell with man (John 1:14).
      • Based off of other passages in the OT (Zech. 1:11; 3:1-2; cf. Gen. 24:7) we see that the Angel of the Lord speaks to Yahweh (Enns, 230).  Another fascinating point to note is that after the incarnation, the Angel of the Lord is no longer mentioned and ceases to appear (Enns, 230).
      • The ultimate theophany is the incarnation of the Son of God.  He is a gift to the world from God the Father.  As His Son, Jesus Christ makes the Father known because no one has ever seen the Father (John 14:9).  Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15) and the “bright radiance of the glory of God” and “the exact presentation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3).  Saints in the Old Testament never experienced the incarnation of the Son of God.  They never experienced the God-man dwelling on earth (John 1:14).  What they experienced were temporary appearances of His Son.
      • One day we will see Him.  He will grant us perfect joy and delight when we meet Him face to face in Heaven. We will not be limited to just seeing His back.
  • Christ shares the honors due to God
    • Honor:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 20:2-3; 34:14; Deut. 5:6-7
      • Lord Jesus: John 5:23; Heb. 3:3-4
    • Glorify:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 15:2; Ps. 29:1-3; cf. Matt. 5:16; Rom. 15:6-9
      • Lord Jesus: 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18; cf. Rom. 16:27; Jude 25; Rev. 5:12-13
    • Worship (proskuneō):
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; cf. Matt. 4:9-10; Ps. 97:7; Isa. 45:23; Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 2:2, 11; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 20:20; 28:9, 17; Phil. 2:10-11; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 1:17; 5:14
    • Prayer:
      • LORD GOD: Gen. 4:26; 1 Chron. 16:8; Ps. 65:2; Isa. 44:17; 45:20-22; Joel 2:32
      • Lord Jesus: John 14:14; Acts 1:24-25; 7:59-60; 9:14; 22:16; Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:22; 2 Cor. 12:8-9; Rev. 22:20-21
    • Song:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 15:21; Judg. 5:3; 1 Chron. 16:23; Pss. 7:17; 9:11; 92:1; 95:1; 96:2; 104:33; Isa. 42:10
      • Lord Jesus: Eph. 5:19; Rev. 5:9-10; cf. Phil. 2:6-11
    • Faith:
      • LORD GOD: Gen. 15:6; Isa. 28:16; 43:10; Mark 11:22; Heb. 6:1; 11:6; cf. Exod. 14:31 with Num. 20:8-13; 27:12-14
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 9:28; John 1:12; 3:15-18, 36; 6:35, 40; 7:37-39; 8:24; 11:25-26; 14:1; 20:31; Acts 3:16; 10:43; 16:31; 20:21; 22:19; 24:24; 26:18; Rom. 9:33; 10:11; Gal. 3:26; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 John 3:23; 5:1, 10, 13
    • Fear:
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; 10:20; Prov. 1:7; 2:5; 9:10; etc.; Isa. 8:12-13  
      • Lord Jesus: 2 Cor. 5:10-11; Eph. 5:21; 6:7-8; Col. 3:22-25; 1 Peter 3:14-16
    • Serve (religious devotion; latreuō):
      • LORD GOD: Deut. 6:13; cf. Matt. 4:10
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 26:2, 18, 26-29; Mark 14:12-16, 22-25; Luke 22:8-20; Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 1 Cor. 10:16-22; 11:20, 27; and see Dan. 7:14; cf. 3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28; 4:2-3, 35; 6:16, 20, 26; see also Rev. 22:3
    • Love:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 20:6; Deut. 5:10; 6:4-5; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:6-11; 19:9; 30:6-8, 16, 20; 33:9; Josh. 22:5; Neh. 1:5; Dan. 9:4; Matt. 22:37
      • Lord Jesus: Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26; John 14:15, 21; 15:10; Eph. 6:24
    • All:
      • LORD GOD: Exod. 8:10; 9:14; 15:11; 2 Sam. 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; 1 Chron. 17:20; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 40:18, 25; 44:7; 46:5, 9; Jer. 10:6-7; Mic. 7:18
      • Lord Jesus: John 12:45; 14:7-10; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:13, 15, 19 (cf. Ps. 68:16); 2:9; Heb. 1:3

For our next post, I will try to cover other categories in relation to His deity and eternality.  That will be part two of our appendix.

 

 


Works Cited

Bowman, Robert M., and J. Ed Komoszewski.    Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2007.

Enns, Paul.  The Moddy Handbook of Theology: Revised and Expanded.  Chicago Ill: Moody Publishers, 2014.

Grudem, Wayne A. 1994. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.

Miethe, Terry L.  The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words.  Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1988.

 

What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter Bauchman

Among the many Christian books on family, courtship and fatherhood that I have read, I think this book has become one of my top five.  While the book was intended to address fathers to encourage them to think biblically of what to look for in a man who wants to marry their daughter, nevertheless I think others can benefit from reading this book too such as single mothers evaluating those interested in their daughters, or the young man who want to become a godly husband in the future.  A young woman who wants to understand her father’s responsibility in the area of courtship and Pastors who wishes to teach a biblical view of courtship to their church will also benefit from reading this work.

The author Voddie Bauchman is a big advocate of a biblical view of family and has previously authored Family Driven Faith.  I find the emphasis in the book on the role of parents and especially that of fathers in the courtship of young Christian couples to be refreshing since it seems as if many contemporary Christian books on courtship hasn’t explain as clearly as this one did of the role of fathers in their child’s courtship.  Bauchman packs many practical advice and exhortation in this book that is biblical and wise.  As a father of two young daughters both of whom are under three years old at the of this review, this book made me realized that I can’t be too early in thinking about and preparing my daughter for marriage (let me add the caveat that preparing and training them for marriage now doesn’t mean I’m gong to have them marry at this moment!  I do think we must do so in a way that is age appropriate).  I appreciate the opening chapter on the multigenerational vision in the Bible that goes beyond the topic of courtship and about the family, church and society.  Bauchman uses his own background of broken family in the book to point to us the importance of doing family God’s way rather than what our society says.  I also appreciated how the author skillfully went through some of the passages from the Bible that I have not thought of in connection to fathers and daughter’s relationship and the broader topic of courtship—he even navigated exceptionally well through Old Testament passages in which he acknowledges the original recipients were Jews while maintaining that there are some wise principles to gain from looking at them even when the civil force of these laws are currently not enforced.  I also appreciate how Bauchman is realistic to realize the pool of godly candidates to marry our daughters are probably small and in chapter ten he gives us instruction of how, by the grace of God, we can go “build” godly men ourselves in the local church.  Here we see the importance of making disciples of younger men by older men does have some earthly blessing.

I won’t want to give away the whole book in this review.  Looking at my book and seeing all the highlights reminds me there is many things I could have talked about.  Go and get this book.

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