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Archive for December, 2011


I recommended this book for my Christmas list of Christian books on Worldview and Apologetics discipleship.

I have also recommended this book here.

I think this book is one of the best I have ever read on a Christian perspective on money and the most thorough one that was written.

Go over to the Amazon page and click on the download for Kindle by clicking HERE.

 

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GO TO PART IV

1. Identifying Old Testament Law

a. Definition

i. Commandments grounded in Old Testament Covenant.

b. Elements

i. Within a Covenantal Framework

Specifically, the Mosaic Covenant.

ii. Imperative verbs

Commands and prohibition, in the second person (singular or plural).

c. Where is Old Testament Laws found

i. Old Testament Laws are the genre found in the following Books

1. Exodus

2. Leviticus

3. Numbers

4. Deuteronomy

ii. They are “body of material that begins at Exodus 20 and goes through the end of Deuteronomy.”[1]

d. Importance of theology of law: One’s theology will determine one’s hermeneutic of the Law

This is a case in point of the inter-relational aspect of Christian theology and hermeneutics.  One’s theology concerning the Law will impact also one’s view of the application of the law today.

i. Purpose of the Law

1. There are legitimate and illegitimate purpose of the Law

a. Legitimate use exists: “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully…”(1 Timothy 1:8)

i. For Example: “…realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching…” (1Timothy 1:9-10)

b. Illegitimate use of the exists: “For some men straying from these things have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matter about which they make confident assertions.”(1 Timothy 1:6-7)

i. For Example: (Putting confidence in the flesh) “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:2-3)

2. The function of the Law

a. To shows that God is Holy

“So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12)

b. To set Israel apart from Gentiles (Leviticus 19:1)

c. To give knowledge of sin

“Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

d. To reveal our addiction to sin (Romans 7:7-13)

e. To check on wickedness (1st Timothy 1:9)

Note: This shows God’s Justice and Holiness

f. To point us the need for Christ as Savior (Galatians 3:23-24)

g. To symbolically shadow what is to come (Colossians :2:16-17)

The priesthood, sacrifices, Sabbath are also symbolic types pointing to Jesus Christ (see Hebrews)

ii. Are there distinctions between the Law?

1. Jesus taught there are laws which are weightier than others

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23)

2. Jesus made a distinction between laws of tithe and that of moral laws (laws of “justice”, “mercy” and “faithfulness” of Matthew 23:23)

3. The Old Testament makes a distinction of importance between sacrifices and obedience to other commandments (1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6).

4. There are distinctions between various laws just from observing what are and are not their functions.

a. For example, leprosy laws (Leviticus 13) do not give knowledge of sins.

b. Ceremonial cleansing is symbolic of the reality to come but is not functioning to check on wickedness.

iii. Theological difficulties concerning application of Laws today

1. View #1:Laws that are applicable today are those renewed in the New Testament

a. Operating Assumption: “The Old Testament represents an old covenant, which is one we are no longer obligated to keep.  Therefore we can hardly begin by assuming that the Old Covenant should automatically be binding upon us.  We have to assume, in fact, that none of its stipulations (laws) are binding upon us unless they are renewed in the New Covenant.  That is, unless an Old Testament law somehow restated or reinforced in the New Testament, it is no longer directly binding on God’s people (cf. Rom. 6:14-15).”[2]

b. Further Consideration: Laws operate within the framework of a Covenant, and since Christians are not under the Mosaic Covenant, Old Testament Laws are thus categorically not applicable today for Christians.

2. View #2:Laws that are applicable today are those that are not stated as ‘expired’ in the New Testament

a. Operating Assumption: “Unless Scripture itself shows us some changes with respect to God’s law or our obedience to it, the principle which governs our attitude and behavior should be the same as the Bible’s categorical assumption—namely, that our instruction in righteous behavior is found in every Old Testament Scripture (1 Timothy 3:16-17), every point of the law (James 2:10), even the least commandment (Matthew 5:19; 23:23), every word (Matthew 4:4), and every letter (Matthew 5:18)…Given these agreed-upon points, we have no reason to expect that the New Testament would categorically or silently release the believer from his moral duty to God’s laws.”[3]

3. Adopted view:Laws that are applicable today are those that are not stated as ‘expired’ in the New Testament (view 2).

a. Jesus taught that He did not come to abrogate the Law (Matthew 5:17), and warns of breaking the Law as least in the Kingdom (Matthew 5:19)

b. It is wrong for a father to marry his daughter and for anyone to commit bestiality, yet there is no New Testament specific prohibition of these sins, but these prohibition is found rather in the Old Testament.[4]

c. Paul assume the validity of the legitimacy of Civil Law in Acts 25:11.[5]

d. Old Testament Laws are validly quoted by Paul (Ephesians 6:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:18) and Peter (1 Peter 1:16).

i. If the laws are somehow categorically invalid, why are the Apostles appealing to expired laws?  That would make their case invalid.

ii. Illustration: An officer can not appeal to Italian Renaissance Law to arrest you for murder since it is longer valid; but he can arrest you for murder on the basis of laws that you are currently bounded by.

e. Forms of Old Testament Laws

i. Apodictic and Cauistic Laws

1. Apodictic Laws

a. Direct commands, generally application of what to do and not do.[6]

b. “Unconditionally and categorically assert right and wrong”[7]

2. Cauistic Law

a. Case by case law, based on a possible condition of a situation at a given time (Example: Deuteronomy 15:12-17).[8]

b. “Laws that define specific cases and prescribed legal consequences.”[9]

ii. Three-fold distinction[10]

1. Moral

a. Absolute eternal commands that are grounded in God’s character and His will

b. Example:

i. Command to tell the truth, because God is a God of truth

ii. Commands to love, because God is Love

iii. Marital faithfulness because God is faithful

iv. Prohibition of homosexuality because God’s will is for heterosexual marriage

2. Civil

a. God’s Law concerning the State and Society’s moral responsibility

b. Example:

i. Murderers should be executed

ii. Just punishment ratio should generally be an eye for an eye.

iii. Distinction between murder and manslaughter, and the proper God-honoring response.

3. Ceremonial

a. Purpose is to point towards Christ and an illustrative “shadow” of what is come, where the reality is Christ.

b. Example:

i. Sabbath

ii. Sacrifices

iii. Levitical High Priest

II. General principles in interpreting Old Testament Laws

a. Remember that the Old Testament Law was written for Israel originally.

b. Find what is the functions of the specific law

(There can be more than one)

i. Does it show that God is Holy?

ii. Is it to set Israel apart from Gentiles?

iii. Does it give knowledge of sin?

iv. Does it to reveal our addiction to sin?

v. Is it check on wickedness?

vi. Does it point us the need for Christ as Savior?

vii. Does it symbolically shadow what is to come

c. Identify whether it is a ceremonial, moral or civil Law.

i. The above questions for the principle of identifying the function of the specific law can help.

ii. This is important for what does and does not apply today, using principle “vi” in the section above.

d. Identify whether it is an Apodictic and Cauistic Law.

e. Compare laws in the biblical text with another.[11]

i. For similar laws, are there more details that can illuminate the specific law you are looking at?

ii. Illumination of Apodictic and Cauistic laws

1. If it is a case law, it illustrates general laws in specific situation.

2. If it is a general law, are their specific case laws that discuss the finer details?

f. Find if anywhere else in Scripture limits the application of the specific Law for today?

i. In light of Progressive Revelation, does Scripture elsewhere state that such laws no longer apply?

ii. For example: Dietary laws are no longer applicable (Acts 10:15), Sabbath (Colossians 2:16-17), and the sacrificial system (Hebrews 9)

g. Remember that the law never saves us from our sins, and that grace is needed for the Christian life.


[1] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 150.

[2] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 151-152.

[3] Greg Bahnsen, By This Standard, (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics), 152.

[4] Ibid, 349-350.

[5] Ibid, 267.

[6] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 155.

[7] Richard E. Averbeck, “Law”, Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers), 120.

[8] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 156-157.

[9] Richard E. Averbeck, “Law”, Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers), 120.

[10] For justification for the distinction within the Law, see the above.

[11] Richard E. Averbeck, “Law”, Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers), 131.

GO TO PART VI

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As I alluded to last time, Justin Taylor has discussed about Van TIl’s importance in Christian Thought here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/12/07/the-most-important-christian-thinker-since-calvin/

There are some conversations going on over there and what I believe are many popular misconception about Van Til’s apologetics being stated. Well it seems in reply to this, RazorKiss over at Choosing Hats is having what looks like a two part posts on some of the comments stated.

The first part is already up and can be seen here.

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Choosing Hats has brought to my attention Justin Taylor’s blog post on how Van Til might be the most important Christian thinker after Calvin here.

I thought it was appropriate to point out another “Van Til” thing over at the Gospel Coalition website.  They have a four part lecture series from Greg Bahnsen back in 1994 that is free and available for downloading.  I don’t know how long they have been up there for but I just recently found them!  Enjoy.

Van Tilian Apologetics, Part 1 of 4

Greg Bahnsen | Jan 01, 1994 | 1 Peter 3:15-16 | Category: Courses
Van Tilian Apologetics, Part 2 of 4

Greg Bahnsen | Jan 01, 1994 | Category: Courses
Van Tilian Apologetics, Part 3 of 4

Greg Bahnsen | Jan 01, 1994 | Colossians 2:3-4 | Category: Courses
Van Tilian Apologetics, Part 4 of 4

Greg Bahnsen | Jan 01, 1994 | Category: Courses

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GO TO PART 4

Just got back power from a power outage that hit our area since last Wednesday night.

All analogies reaches a point where it can broken down, but I thought the whole matter provide a good illustration for Presuppositional apologetic (as taught by Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen and John Frame):

Sometimes, one does not know how much is dependent upon something until it is taken away, or shown what it would look like without it.  This is true of electricity at home or of our dependence on God as Creator and Sustainer.  After the big winds in Southern California blew down trees that knocked out power poles in our area, I realized how dependent I was on electricity at home.  As I drove home from work, my wife called my cell to let me know that there was a blackout in our area.  I thought it would be okay, I could still use my laptop and go online to check my email in the dark when I get back.  I got home, opened the door and realized there was no night light–the first sign that my life at home depended on electricity.  I reached for the tall lamp–only to be reminded again that there was no electricity.  As I headed to the kitchen, out of habit I hit the light switched, and again I did the same thing with each room– I became quite conscious that I have an uncontrollable, unconscious habit of turning on the light–a habit that normally does not even require a thought, but now the focus of my attention, as I am brought to the realization of my dependence of electricity at home.  I used my cell phone and was glad that it was a source of power that can exist apart from what was happening with the power lines.  I used it to look at the fridge for a glass of water and apple juice–and realized that the power was out from there too.  I looked to my phone to see what the time was–oh no, battery is low, time for it to be charged–only to be reminded once again that the power was out.  I sat down, thinking that at least my laptop has a decent battery life for me to go online.  With the blue screen staring before me as my window was starting, I realized that there was no way I could go online even with my self-sufficient battery powered laptop– the router without electricity would not work.  Even then, my laptop would eventually need to be charged.  My reliance on home electricity really made it’s point however, with each passing moment I didn’t have power.  Minutes turned into hours, hours into a whole day, and that turn into days.   Then one night the power finally came back.  It was perspective changing, an electrifying energy swept the house–and I am not talking about electricity.

POINT:  In the same way, the Christian apologist is trying to make the point that our dependence on the living God is sometimes taken so much for granted as the precondition for the meaningfulness and intelligibility of human experiences, that we are not aware of it–until someone tries to “pull the power” and attempt to push us to live out that worldview which denies Christianity, or reduce such a worldview to absurdity.  To live under such a “house” cannot sustain the 21st century man–just as the same way a worldview cannot give meaning and intelligibility if it cuts the Triune God as the Sustainer and Creator.

GO TO PART 6

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Several weeks ago, I reviewed this book by Henry Van Til here.  Apparently, you can read this entire work and download it for free on PDF!  Click here.

The work will have the 1972 cover on it–but the content is the same.

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For those who ever struggle with learning the Biblical languages, Dan Wallace’s testimony over at Justin Taylor’s blog is amazing.  I’ll repost Wallace’s portion here:

In my first year of Greek at Biola University, I nearly failed the subject. The professor, Dr. Harry Sturz, had compassion on me and gave me a passing grade. I took a different professor in second-year Greek. He gave us a battery of exams at the beginning of the semester. One exam each week. I failed the first exam. I failed the second exam. I failed the third exam. I failed the fourth exam, but it was a high F! And I got a D on the fifth exam. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m really getting this Greek thing down!”

The professor called me into his office and told me that I should check out of Greek. That was the wake-up call I needed. I went down to my dorm room, got on my knees, and confessed to the Lord that I had dragged his name through the mud. I reasoned that since I am in Christ and he is in me, he was failing Greek, too. And even though I was at a Christian school, I was soiling his reputation. I repented of my sin—the sin of mediocrity because I was surrounded by Christians, the sin of thinking that I did not need to do my best since I was a Christian.

I went back to the professor and asked for one more chance. He granted that to me. I ended up getting an A in the class both semesters. It still took me two more years of Greek at Biola before I even felt moderately comfortable with the language, but I had learned my lesson. Now, to be sure, my experience is not everyone’s. But, for me, learning Greek became a matter of spiritual discipline. And even though I was very sick in my fourth semester of Greek-so that I missed five and a half weeks of school-I still did well in the course.

I don’t consider myself good at languages, but I do consider myself a steward of the life that God has given to me. And I have never recovered from the impact that the Greek New Testament has made on my walk with Christ.

What makes this amazing is that Dan Wallace is the guy that have written much materials on Greek!  Furthermore, I think there is something I can relate to in this story.  I struggled much in undergraduate studying Classical Greek–I felt that I poured hours into it, and my grades didn’t reflect the time I spent on studying and doing the assignment.  There were many times I was discouraged.  I was always convicted how non-believers were better in their Greek than I was in class.  By the time I got to seminary, I was in fear and trembling.  I prayed much to the LORD that He would help me be a good steward when it comes to my Greek–so that I can rightfully divide the WORD and defend it with knowledge of the Greek New Testatment text itself.  And I think God has been gracious to me!

I think this post is a reminder of two things:

1.) We must not forget that studying is a spiritual exercise–we should pray for wisdom from God and help!  We should see our study as a spiritual stewardship–one day we will be called into account with what we did with our studies.  This makes it a big responsibility–and yet a great joy to see that language is part of God’s created order.  It should be a time of glorious worship when we are studying hard.

2.) We must not forget that those who might seem to be failing still have the hope in Christ that if they have a right biblical perspective on studying, and a “THEOLOGY of education” that is informed by the Scripture driving their study lives, God is still in the redemptive business of turning one who might be dumb, lazy and struggling to become a striving student.  I believe it, because I believe God’s sanctification include the sanctification of the mind and the will when it comes to the area of studying.

The proverbial excuse, “It’s all Greek to me!” shouldn’t be for Christian seminarians, pastors and the Christian student.  If I could bend my hermeneutics just a bit to make a point– Christians are to be “Greek” to  Greek and Hebrew to  Hebrew!

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Power out- No updates

Updating real quick, had several posts in mind but the power outage with the winds in southern california has hindered me-updating with my phone at the library.

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