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Archive for December, 2011

Presentation by Dr. James White from the original setting during a debate with a Muslim.

I cannot wait till Dr. White’s book on Islam comes out.

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It is incredible to think that this book is the autobiography of a Christian who began evangelizing and preaching at the age of 16 under the rule and persecution of communist China. It is a heart-wrenching read as Brother Yun describe living the Christian life–from the serious famine of Bibles, illegal Church meetings, and evangelizing different parts of China. The most grueling part of the book is to read of his time imprisoned for the faith. Reading about his imprisonment seems so different than reading the account of those who were POWs–Brother Yun’s testimony gives hope of one who is living out the Christian life in a situation that most people would survive by being driven by hate. No review of this book would be worth it’s salt if one doesn’t acknowledge the massive amount of tales of the miraculous and the supernatural. I am not one who is prone to Charistmatic and Penecostal expectation of signs, wonders and miracles, but I got to say that his final escape from the maximum prison in China was probably the greatest climax of the book. I read this book as Chinese American who is born in the US, and I cannot help but to think about my own unbelieving father who grew up under Communist China and suffered greatly during his time there. I know there were Christians my dad has met in China–from the songs he heard people sing that are based upon the Scriptures that have been so powerfully set in his heart, that decades later when he heard it again he is deeply moved. Beyond the Charismatic and Cessasionist debate, this book is a great and encouraging testimony and I would even say a great indictment of the conditions of the Church in the West that is struggling with materialism, fame and even simple obedience. I also found the author’s discussion and that of his wife about the type of persecution in the West to be fascinating. The wife wrote a line that I always say to people and was surprise how she said it like I would often say at church: It’s not the nonbelievers persecution that bothers me the most, but that which comes from believers and so-called believers in the form of character assassination, gossips and down right lies. That hurts the most. And she sees this form of persecution in the west to be unbelievable. Good work–I read this book thinking of where I was in my life while all these events was going on in the life of Brother Yun and other Chinese Christians persecuted for their faith. Definitely convicting.

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James Anderson and Greg Welty are two important names of the next generation VanTillians with PHds. They have recently written a new article that readers might want to check out!

http://www.proginosko.com/docs/The_Lord_of_Non-Contradiction.pdf

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I know Veritas Domain talks a lot about worldview, theology and apologetics.  But I also believe that the Christian apologist in helping someone through doubt and intelluctual issues must also not be divorced from considering issues pertaining to the individual’s spiritual life.    In the ministry, I find that at times, those who struggle in their faith might also be struggling in other areas of their lives as well.  For instance, an individual might be struggling with the goodness of God in their lives–the equipped apologist can give an apologetic, but if the individual is swayed to think that God is not good because his own personal life at home and at work is a wreck, then it’s also important to address his life biblically and have the Word of God have a bearing in his problems.  Hence, the need for the apologist to be equipped to counsel and able to teach the individual to attain godliness through discipline and those who are Presuppositional in their apologetics should be the first to understand and see the importance of this need.  In this spirit, I recommend Jay Adam’s work.

They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover–and I say neither it’s size.  This is a worthwhile booklet to read in striving for godliness. I enjoy the author’s effort in communicating the biblical truth of how to be godly involves discipline and his clear illustrations.  Jay Adams, the father of biblical counseling, have written other works that have edified me and given me tremendous hope and paradigm shift when it comes to sanctification, living to please God and solving one’s problem with the power of Christ.  It is valuable to those who read this work to understand that godliness requires discipline, and one must have the right intellectual understanding that this require patience, and no matter what everyone is being “disciplined” or making a habit of something always–whether for sin or to please God.  I recommend that pastors and Biblical counselors use this work–as I have been using it recently with different members in our church, where I assign them to read the book, highlight key passages and then meet up to talk about it for the purpose of application.

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GO TO PART V

I. Definition of Hebrew poetry

a. It is a more picturesque way of saying things.[1]

b. Sometimes it is best understood in contrast to its opposite: Prose.

i. Prose is not always easy to define either

ii. Prose is saying things with as little as possible.[2]

c. Hebrew poetry can also be defined as having certain elements.

II. Elements to identify Hebrew Poetry

a. Hints of the musical

i. Are there any rhythms of sound in the text?

ii. Is there any reference to music?

1. Does the text explicitly mention words of music?

a. Note: In the Psalms, the lines before the first verse in the English Bible are part of the Canon of Scripture and must be read!

b. Does it have Hebrew words for poetry?

See for instance, what is stated before Psalm 16:1

c. Does the text mention it being a song?

See for instance, what is stated before Psalm 18:1.

d. Does the text mention a choir?

See for instance, what is stated before Psalm 19:1.

e. Does the text mention any musical instrument?

See for instance, the mention of flute before Psalm 5:1.

b. Parallelism

i. Are there any rhythms of thought?[3]

ii. Parallelism is “where two statements are juxtaposed”[4]

iii. Parallelism is the most basic and common characteristic of Hebrew poetry.

III. General Principles in interpreting Hebrew Poetry

a. The vocabulary in poetry is intentionally metaphorical.[5]

i. This is because Hebrew Poetry is by definition picturesque.

ii. Thus there is a need to recognize the intent of the poetry behind the imagery.

b. If the text is within a Psalm, treat the text in light of the entire Psalm.

i. A Psalm is one literary unit.[6]

ii.Each line is purposeful in connection to the whole.

c. Looking for hints by identifying parallelism

i. Since Hebrew poetry uses the literary device of Parallelism, this helps us in interpreting Hebrew Poetry

ii. How does the lines relate to one another? What are the emphasis interpreters should note?

1. Synonymous

a. This means that the second line reiterate the line before it.[7]

b. This symmetry exists in the Hebrew language and also conceptually in thought.

c. The reiteration is for emphasis of the same thought.

d. Examples of this can be seen in Psalm 19:1 and Psalm 18:5.

2. Specifying[8]

a. While the first line is more general, the second is more particular.

b. Example of this can be seen in Psalm 5:12.

3. Complementary[9]

a. This is when the second line is offering a related thought in the vein of the first line

b. It completes the thought

c. Example of this can be seen in Psalm 8:6 and Psalm 4:5

4. Explanatory[10]

a. This is where the second line gives an account for the preceding line

b. This is a great interpretative insight, as the second line is an exposition of the first line.

c. Examples of this can be seen in Psalm 4:8

5. Consequential[11]

a. This is where the second line is making progress either logically or temporally from the preceding line.

b. Examples of this can be seen in Psalm 2:5 and Psalm 4:3.

6. Comparative[12]

a. The second line is comparing the thought in the preceding line to something.

b. Examples of this can be found in Psalm 4:7 and 5:9b.

7. Antithetical[13]

a. The second line is contrastive to the previous line.

b. Exasmples of this can be seen in Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 12:15.

d. Identify the proper genre of the text, and interpret it accordingly.

The genre of poetry will be discussed in the next several sessions.


[1] This is in the words of Keith Essex, Associate Professor of Bible Exposition in The Master’s Seminary.

[2] This is in the words of Keith Essex, Associate Professor of Bible Exposition in The Master’s Seminary.

[3] Keith Essex, Bible Exposition 502 Syllabus.

[4] Robert Chisholm Jr., Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 142.

[5] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 190.

[6] Ibid, 192.

[7] Robert Chisholm Jr., From Exegesis to Exposition, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 142.

[8] Ibid, 143.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid, 144.

[12] Ibid.

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This picture is a reminder of what is wrong with radical Islam.

Some might find Christian sunday school boring, but in this one Pakistani “seminary” for boys who are detained and chained to be raised as future jihadist, it takes everything to a whole new level.

I find this picture to be incredibly sad–a young boy who is held against his well, to be trained to be a jihadist.  It reminds me everything that is wrong with Islamic madrasas which operate as the guise to train future Taliban, etc.

The original L.A. Times article can be read here.

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As we shared earlier, this year’s recommended Christmas Christian Book List on Christian Worldview and Apologetics Discipleship also includes a book on Biblical evangelism by Ray Comfort.  Be sure to check out other books we suggested.  Below is my review of “God Has A Wonderful Plan for Your Life: The Myth of the Modern Message”

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They say one should not judge a book by it’s cover–but with this book by Ray Comfort, the cover speaks volume, illustrating while the irony and tension of the unbiblical nature of the contemporary Evangelical evangelism method of saying “God has a wonderful plan for your life” with the picture of the stoning of the first Christian martyr Stephen. The contrast of Biblical teaching of evangelism and the modern “God has a wonderful plan for your life” message couldn’t be ever capture more beatifully in picture–and pictures are worth a thousand words. Contrary to what many Christians might say today when they evangelize, the Bible does not promise a wonderful plan for the non-believer’s life…as the nonbeliever would understand or plan it. Against this “genie in the bottle” gospel, Ray Comfort brings out the teaching concerning the use of the law in sharing the gospel. Comfort’s work communicates this “Way of the Master” well: He is to the point, clear, sprinkle with use of Scripture and use many illustrations to explain what he means. The current evangelical landscape is so filled with bad popular approach to evangelism that I know many are hostile hearing about the use of the law in evangelism. I am always amazed at how winsome Ray Comfort is in articulating the biblical method of evangelism despite many who are upset with this method. Many of the content will be familiar in this book for those who are familiar with Ray Comfort’s other work or videos. What I like was the appendix–which addresses those in Campus Crusade who recognize that this “God has a wonderful plan for your life” line is one popularized by Campus Crusade. Comfort makes the good case with documentation from CCC’s founder Bill Bright, that towards the end of his life, Dr. Bright would be in agreement with the use of the law in evangelism and the need to do so. Very valuable appendix.

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