Archive for April, 2012

Here are some links dealing with Presuppositional Apologetics that you might be interested in:

1.) Science– Worldview Neutral? by Dr. Georgia Purdom over at Answering Genesis.

2.) New Book on Presuppositional Apologetics by an alumni of The Master’s Seminary, Dr. Clifford B. McManis.

3.) An Atheist says no God is the best explanation for things is a dialogue transcript between Matt Slick of CARM with an atheist.

4.) Sermon on the Knowledge of God- Over at Choosing Hats, one of the contributors preached on this topic.


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What I’m about to write is rather controversial but let it be known that I’m not against any minority group (for I myself am a minority in the US), but this is to bring out the ugly side of this tragedy in U.S. history.

The last few days I’ve been reading different news story, op-ed pieces about the 20 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Riot in 1992.  A common theme among them is the racism with African Americans as the victims.  This infamous clip of Rodney King being beaten no doubt trigger undercurrents of things that were there:

It seems that the dominant narrative even twenty years after the riots is the victimization of African American as minorities–whether in terms of economics, discrimination or police brutality.  Tolerance, national apology and the cry for reform and a nation to do something on behalf African American captures the national dialogue.

However, I think this also takes away the forgotten side of racism that also took place during the riots, one that I believe is not mentioned much in media attention.  It disturbs me that it seems some people even glorify the L.A. riots as a way of speaking out to be heard.  The reason why it disturbs me is because the riot causes many lives to effected detrimentally–and some of these lives were killed or physically maimed for life.  Talking about it as if it’s a case of speech and expression don’t make any sense for me as a Christian.  While it seems that many writing online have the same trajectory of talking about the Rodney King beating, the acquittal of the officers, the riot itself and how things have changed/or not change, don’t forget the fact that racism did take place even during the riot itself.

And the saddest thing about it is the riots targeted other minorities–especially Asians.

I found this image to be a powerful portrayal of the attacks on Asians during the L.A. riots:

If you are like me, this is the first time I’ve seen this picture, and I wonder why is that.

In the beginning hours of the riot, an Asian man stepped off the bus, not knowing that he has entered in the hornet’s nest of a violent rioting mob.  He is seen by the mob, then attacked–on the basis of his skin color and shape of his eyes, etc.  If pictures speak a thousand words, then studying it carefully must be like reading.  My heart break when I see this picture–his clothes are torn, he is manhandled and other hands are attempting to grab a hold of him.  He is trying to escape with all his might–but is held by a smiling man, who found this funny.  Even Rodney King did not have smiling police officer during the event.  Questions flood through my head: What happened to the guy’s shoe?  Who’s money was it that the attacker was holding?  Is it a wallet belonging to the Asian man that is in the attacker’s hand?  It begs for an explanation of what events transpired before this.  And what ever happened to this man?

In the same way as the man’s face is covered in this picture, I think it symbolizes powerfully how so many of the victims of this riot are faceless to America; yet, there is no doubt that this man is truly one of us–flesh, blood and bone.

But I want to accurate–Asians are not the only victims during those early hours of the riot:

In terms of the dominant narrative of the L.A. riots, how Asians typically fit into the story is the imagery of Koreans armed to the teeth ready to shoot it out in defending their liquor store.

In the politics of editorial choice by the media, the dominant narrative often fail to capture fully that a lot of Asians were real victims of this riot–and talks about moving on, or the need of White people needing to reconcile with Blacks must not forget that if one were to use this framework in understanding the riot, there must also be the consistency of addressing the real flesh-and-blood-and-property racial victims of this riot too, instead of glossing over it and making the perpetrators who are nothing more than victims not responsible for their actions.

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I. Identifying New Testament Narrative and Gospels

a. Definitions

i.      Narratives is a literary form which gives historical details and it’s meaning found both in the Old and New Testament.

ii.      Gospels are a form of narrative found in the New Testament, which record the life and ministry of Jesus.

iii.      For the purpose of this outline, Gospels and New Testament narratives are considered together.

1. Principles for interpreting New Testament narratives are applicable to the Gospels.

2. Further principles for the Gospels will also be covered.

b. Where the genres can be found in the New Testament

i.      Gospels

1. Matthew

2. Mark

3. Luke

4. John

ii.      Non-Gospel Narrative

1. Acts

c. Elements[1]

i.      The essential elements include:

1. Scene

a. This is probably the most important element.

b. Scene involves sequence of event in the narrative.

2. Plot

This concerns the beginning, middle and ending of the development of the narrative.

3. Character

Who is involved in the narrative?

4. Setting

Where in space/time does this narrative takes place?

5. Point of view

ii.      Other elements:

1. Dialogues

2. Parables

3. Rhetorical devices[2]

II. General principles in interpretations

a. For New Testament Narratives and Gospel

i.      Consider how the text fits into the greater context of the section or book.

1. Each passage is part of a section that gives meaning to the greater whole.

2. The greater whole controls what each part means.

ii.      Considering the theology of the text

1. Make a distinction between descriptive and prescriptive passages.

2. Some of the accounts of events in narratives are not moral examples to emulate.

iii.      When possible, the proper interpretation of other portion of the Bible must be taken into account in interpreting particular narrative events.

1. Pay attention to antecedent theology.

a. What are prior revelation in the Bible that might shed some light on the historical narrative?

b. What theological theme previously revealed in the Old Testament is now being given fuller details in the passage under scrutiny?

2. Utilize the Epistles

Epistles can give fuller theological explanations of events recorded in the Gospel or Acts.

iv.      Asking theological questions of the text

1. What does this account tell us about God?

2. What does it tell us about the human condition?

3. What does it tell us of the world?

4. What does it tell us of the people of God and their relationship with Him?

5. What does it tell us of the individual believer’s life of faith?

v.      Watch the characters

1. Who are the main characters in the narrative?

Why are they important and what purpose do they serve in the text’s intention?

2. Who are the supporting characters in the narrative?

They are the foil for a reason, so why are they mentioned and how does this serve the text’s intention?

3. God is always in the narrative, even if He is not explicitly mentioned

This is why it is important to ask the theological questions of the text (see above).

vi.      Attention to the details of each scene

1. What has taken place previously in Biblical history at that location? Is there any significance of this?

2. What was the political and religious climate of the location?

vii.      Be conscious of the setting

There might be relevant background information that aid in interpretation.

viii.      Discern the point of view even within dialogues

1. Distinguish between dialogues and straight narrative.

2. Non-dialogues serve as the “Voice of God” about the event.

3. The words of Jesus or the prophets are authoritative!

4. The dialogue can portray the point of view of the speaker.

5. This is true unless the narrative makes it clear otherwise that the dialogue is a lie.

6. Point of view from human dialogue might not be truths from God.

ix.      Understand the plot

The plot is how each scene relates to each other!

b. For the Gospel

i.      Compare the parallel account in other Gospels

1. What are further facts given in the other Gospels about this event?

2. Why did the particular gospel made the editorial choice of what to include, and what not to include?

ii.      The teachings of Jesus must be read with care

1. What is He saying?

2. Why is He saying it?

3. How does this apply to me today?

iii.      The theological significance of Jesus miraculous works

1. It is important that these are not interpreted as prescriptive realities of the Christian life and ministry today per se.

2. It is important to understand the purpose of His miracle as testifying to the truth of Jesus as Messiah.

iv.      Implications of the Kingdom of God and the Covenants

1.      “One dare not think he or she can properly interpret the Gospels without a clear understanding of the kingdom of God in the ministry of Jesus.”[3]

2.      In light of Jewish eschatological anticipation of the Kingdom of God (or Kingdom of Heaven), how do we understand the events in Jesus ministry?

3.      What aspects of the various biblical covenants point towards Jesus have been fulfilled in His first advent, and what aspects of biblical covenants remain to be fulfilled?

a.      Fulfilled aspects of the Covenant testify to Jesus as Lord!

b. Aspects of the Covenant that remain to be fulfilled will have implications for eschatology.[4]

[1] Many of these elements are found in Old Testament narratives and historical narratives as we-ll.  Much is borrowed from the previous session on Old Testament narratives in this outline.

[2] See my basic hermeneutic course for the fundamentals of the historical grammatical approach, in which items such as idioms, hyperbole, etc must be taken into account.

[3] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 131.

[4] This is a fascinating relationship between hermeneutics (principles in interpretation), genre (Gospels) the biblical covenants and systematic theology (specifically, eschatology)!


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If you are interested in listening to some songs that are God glorifying and songs that do not beat around the bush when it comes to confronting false teachers such as the Word of Faith Movement, I encourage to check out my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy.  I  have been following him for quite some time now and have been in contact with him.  What I can say is that I have been encouraged by his ministry.

In his latest album, Jovan Mackenzy, collaborated with apologist James White from Alpha and Omega Ministry and Phil Johnson, who is one of the pastors from Grace Community Church and the owner of  two prolific websites called Spurgeon Archive and Pyromaniacs.

If you want to know more about my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy, I encourage you check out his biography.

Jovan’s Biography

I also encourage you to download his latest album called “Famine.”  I have listened to it and was highly edified.   This  man loves the Lord, His Word, the lost, and believers.

Famine Album

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I like the picture above.  It shows a Roman Catholic nun, throwing a snow ball at another Roman Catholic nun.  I think that pictures capture the idea I wish to convey of Roman Catholic’s argument being self-defeating (or self- “owning” if you will).

If you have been following Veritas Domain last week, you would notice that there has been comments made by various Roman Catholics against Sola Scriptura.  Some made the suggestion that one should embrace the Roman Catholic Church over Sola Scriptura, in order to preserve doctrinal and practical unity.  The fact that Protestants are not monolithic has been brought up as evidence of the failure of Sola Scriptura.  Assuming the Roman Catholic method for the sake of argument that if a theological method cannot keep unity of doctrines and practices ought to be rejected, what does this mean for Roman Catholicism in light of this recent news?

May this recent news put things in perspective of the Vatican cracking down on the biggest association of nuns in America.

The Vatican orthodoxy watchdog announced Wednesday a full-scale overhaul of the largest umbrella group for nuns in the United States, accusing the group of taking positions that undermine Roman Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

An American archbishop was appointed to oversee reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which will include rewriting the group’s statutes, reviewing all its plans and programs — including approving speakers — and ensuring the organization properly follows Catholic prayer and ritual.

The Leadership Conference, based in Silver Spring, Md,, represents about 57,000 religious sisters and offers programs ranging from leadership training for women’s religious orders to advocacy on social justice issues. Representatives of the Leadership Conference did not respond to requests for comment.

The report from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the organization faced a “grave” doctrinal crisis, in which issues of “crucial importance” to the church, such as abortion and euthanasia, have been ignored. Vatican officials also castigated the group for making some public statements that “disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops,” who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

Church officials did not cite a specific example of those public statements, but said the reform would include a review of ties between the Leadership Conference and NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby. NETWORK played a key role in supporting the Obama administration‘s health care overhaul despite the bishops’ objections that the bill would provide government funding for abortion. The Leadership Conference disagreed with the bishops’ analysis of the law and also supported President Barack Obama’s plan.


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Presuppositional apologetics (as advocated by Cornelius Van Til) should make the Christian conscious of being biblically driven in developing a Christian worldview towards every subject; for if the tenet assumes that we ought not to be autonomous but submit to the Lordship of Christ in every sphere of our life, the political realm ought also to be thought through politically as well.

In developing a Christian worldview towards politics, I think it’s important that we do not reinvent the wheel but be in conversation with other believers.  To that end, Joel McDurmon of American Vision has worked on a project that Christians should be aware of.  It’s called “Restoring America One County at a Time,” and tackles subject such as a Christian view of education, the military, etc.  From what I understand a book and DVD teaching series is in the works to expand on what has been expounded.


Restoring America One County at a Time – Master Table of Contents


1. Education

1.1  Freedom in education: how America once had it

1.2  Freedom in education: how it was lost

1.3  Freedom in education: how to get it back

2. Welfare

2.1  Welfare in a free society: the way it used to be

2.2  Freedom in welfare: how it was lost

2.3  Freedom in welfare: how to get it back

3. Localism

3.3  “County Rights” and the ideal of freedom

3.4  Local sovereignty: how freedom was lost

3.5  Local sovereignty: how to get it back

4. States’ Rights

4.1  States’ Rights: how States were once free

4.2  States’ Rights: how freedom was lost (in part)

a.    States’ Rights: George Washington and the loss of freedom

4.3  Restoring States’ Rights

5. Taxation

5.1  Taxation and a free society

5.2  Taxation: how freedom was lost

5.3  Slashing taxes by biblical proportions

6. Money

6.1  Freedom in money and banking

6.2  Freedom in money and banking: how it was lost

6.3  The Return to honest money

7. The Marketplace

7.1  Freedom in the marketplace

7.2  America and free markets: the startling truth

7.3  Putting the “free” back in free markets

8. Courts

8.1  Courts of law in a free society

8.2  Judicial tyranny in America

8.3  Restoring freedom in the Judiciary

9. War and the Military

9.1  The military and war in a free society

9.2  War and the military: how freedom was lost (beginnings)

a.    A tale of two rebellions

b.    Lincoln vs. Taney: a case of military tyranny

c.    Total war, the Pineapple Empire, and the Total State

d.    The Warfare-Welfare State: Hell on Earth

9.3  Restoring freedom in national defense

10. The Executive

10.1  Freedom and executive power

10.2  Executive tyranny: how freedom was lost

10.3  Restoring freedom from executive tyranny


A.    Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment

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The discussion of angels and demons has been an abused topic in this contemporary society.  Contemporary society has an interest in the discussion of angels and demons—so much so that it not only has become a household topic, but a topic that has permeated in a nationwide scale.  Since it has permeated nationally, it could be one of the main reasons why there has resulted in inaccurate information and heretical views concerning the study of angelology and demonology.  Many inaccurate and heretical views concerning angels and demons stems from one’s abdication from studying Scripture or one’s gross misinterpretation of the Scriptures concerning angelology and demonology.  Because of many troublesome views of angels and demons in this contemporary society, Fred C. Dickason does a good job in presenting angels and demons from a biblical perspective.  He provides transparency regarding roles, attributes, and functions to name but a few.

The structure of this book can be laid out into five categories.  Category one deals with the origin, and orientation of angels to name just a few (p. 17-60).  Category two deals with the description of angels (p. 61-94); category three deals with the angel’s role in ministry (p. 95-106); category four deals with the destiny of the angels (p. 107-112); and category five deals with the angel’s relationship with the human race (p. 113-120).  The structure of the book not only covers angels, but Satan and demons too.

The structure of Satan can be broken into three categories.  Category one deals with Satan’s name and personality (p. 121-127, 147-150); category two deals with Satan’s history (p. 135-146); category three deals with Satan’s orientation (p. 147-151).  Now we begin the structure of demons.

Structure for demons can be broken into four categories.  Category one is about who demons are; category 2 is about the endeavors of demons; category three is about the demons’ future demise; and category four is in regards to believers protection against Satan and demons.

The structure that the author provides in this book is a bit helpful.  The author did a good job in providing a clear understanding of the book because of his breakdown of the angels, Satan, and the demons’ origins, activities, relationship to believers, and their future.  The downside to the structure is that at times it can be repetitive.  For example, with only a few verses in the Bible concerning angels, Satan, and demons, the author tends to be repetitive when dealing with the characters of these creatures.  There is a tendency to use the same verses, but with some modifications or refinements—of course.  Another strength that the author could of contributed to the structure is by substituting a full chapter each, worth of exegetical observations, concerning interpretive issues that relates to angels, Satan, and demons.  Besides the structure of the book, there is another area that must be covered: the content of the book.

For the most part, there are very few areas of contention when examining the contents of this book. The major area of contention is concerning demon possession of believers.  In pg. 206 of Dickason’s book, he says this regarding demon possession,

Some modify the argument to say that there is not room for both the Spirit and a demon, appealing to spatial limitation.  Spatial considerations do not affect the matter.  The omnipresent Spirit can in His total person indwell each believer despite our limited bodies.  Furthermore, a legion of demons may dwell in one person (Mark 5:9).  Space would not crowd out the possibility of the Holy Spirit and a demon residing in the same body.”

Dickason confirms his view of Christians being demon possessed in pg. 212,

Certain case studies seem to indicate that they can, under unusual circumstances, become or remain possessed after conversion.”

This is a faulty view of demonization of a person or possession of a person.  Early in the book, the author is correct that demons can influence or harass a believer, but when it comes to possession of a believer or indwelling in a believer—this is where he goes off tangent.  A believer can not be possessed or indwelt by a demon (s) for a couple of reasons.  Reason one, a believer cannot be possessed because the Holy Spirit indwells a believer fully.  Since the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20), a demon (s) cannot share in that space.  Another reason to not believe that a believer can be possessed by a demon is to examine these verses: Luke 4:33-35; 8:27-33; Matt 17:14-18.  Each episode in these verses indicates that the individuals possessed were unbelievers.  A third reason why a believer can’t be possessed is because a believer cannot be sober if he/she is control or possessed by a demon (s) of Satan (1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). In addition, a believer cannot be demon possessed because there is nowhere in the Bible where Scripture points out that a believer is called to resist demon possession.  Rather he is to engage in spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18).  Moreover, a believer cannot be possessed because he is a new creature in Christ.  For example, 1 Peter 1:18-19 and 2 Cor. 5:17.  1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  And 2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  A last reason why Satan cannot possess us is because 1 John 4:4 indicates that we have overcome Satan.  Since we have overcome Satan, it is impossible for him to indwell in a body of ours that belongs to the temple of the Holy Spirit.

This book is an important book for any student of the Bible, pastor, evangelist, minister, or anyone who wants to get clarity on this topic concerning angels, Satan, and demons, from God’s Word.


Dickason, Fred C. Angels: Elect. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995.

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Since this is election year, I thought this free short Kindle book for a limited time by Wayne Grudem might be a good work for readers to know about.

You can download it by clicking HERE.

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Open Theism: Foreknowledge and Divine Decree

Open Theism’s Definition of Decree and Foreknowledge

Since this paper speaks much about foreknowledge and decree, let’s first define foreknowledge according to the open theist.  Gregory Boyd who is big a open theist proponent states,

“…while the Bible certainly celebrates God’s foreknowledge and control of the future, it does not warrant the conclusion that the future is exhaustively controlled or foreknown as settled by God.”[1]

In regards to decree, the openness view believes that there is no official declaration or proclamation set in stone.  No divine blue print or decree can determine human actions beforehand because at the heart of the openness view, God desires to uphold real relationships.[2]

It must be noted that open theism is a branch of Arminianism.  However, open theism and Arminianism do have points of agreements and disagreements.  What makes open theism and Arminianism sync to some degree, are the two major cardinal points they believe: the impartial universal love that God has for all humanity and His true desire that all be saved; and God’s giving of genuine or significant freedom of the will (i.e., libertarian freedom) to His creatures.[3]  But one major area of disagreement that open theism has with Arminianism is God’s omniscience.  The openness view does not believe that God has comprehensive knowledge of the future, but has comprehensive knowledge of the past and present only.[4]   According to Dr. Bruce A. Ware, the stark contrast between Arminians and open theism is this,

While embracing wholly these Arminian commitments, open theists are also disturbed with other aspects of the Arminian theological tradition.  Particularly they object to the notion that the divine omniscience includes comprehensive knowledge of the future.  Omniscience (i.e., in its most general sense, the doctrine that God knows all that can be known or is knowable) must be defined, they say, as God’s comprehensive knowledge of the past and present only.  All of the future that is undetermined by God (which includes all future free choices and actions), since it has not happened and hence is not real, cannot be an object of knowledge.  This future, they say, is logically unknowable, and as such not even God can rightly be said to know what cannot in principle be known” [5].

In nutshell, what changes the tide between these two is that open theist do not believe God has comprehensive knowledge of the future, while Arminians do.

Open Theism Description of Divine Decree and Foreknowledge

Since open theism has redefined God’s omniscience and foreknowledge, there are implications concerning God’s divine decrees.  The implication is that God’s divine decrees means that His decrees are subject to mutability.  They are mutable because moral creatures can frustrate God’s plan or change His plans because of their libertarian free will.  Some will ask, “What are the differences between the open theist and the Arminian regarding God’s Decrees?”  The Arminian believes that God changed (adapted) them once before the foundation of the world, while the open theist believes that God’s divine decrees cannot change before the foundation of the world, but changes when things are real (real actions take place).[6]  In other words, God decrees are dependent on our real actions that take place.  This makes sense to the open theist because in their mind, God is not omniscient or immutable.

When it comes to the similarities, open theist and Arminians believe that God has predetermined the decree, but He predetermined it under the umbrella of the “means” not the ends.[7]  But the difference between this concept of the means versus the ends is that Arminians believe God has at least foreknown the ends, which is certain, while the open theist, on the other hand, rejects this notion because the end is uncertain and undetermined because God does not know the future, because He can only know what exists or existed[8].

Please stay tune for the next installment.  For part one, please see this link:

Part 1

[1]  Gregory A. Boyd, Dave Hunt, William Lane Craig, and Paul Helm, Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 14.

[2] Ware, God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism, 43.

[3] Ware, God’s lesser Glory, 32.

[4] Ibid, 32.

[5] Ware, God’s Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism, 32.

[6] Prokopenko, “The Relationship Between the Divine Decree and the Human Will in Exodus 1-14.”

[7] Prokopenko, “The Relationship Between the Divine Decree and the Human Will in Exodus 1-14.”

[8] Ibid, 57.

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Purchase:  Amazon

Best summary of the defense of the Premillennial view of Revelation 20 that I have read thus far. Worthwhile read. The work was originally a syllabus that the author had for a Bible institute. Currently, the author is an adjunct professor. Waymeyer makes it clear that the work was not intended to give new arguments in support of Premillennialism, but more towards a summary and the gathering of the arguments for a Premillennial interpretation of Revelation 20. However, I did learn several new things from this work. Some of the issues that Waymeyer tackles that I enjoyed includes whether or not there is recapitulation going on in Revelation 20, the issue of a biblical demonology in interpreting when Satan is bound, etc. I think if there is ever another edition of this book, perhaps my compliant is thatsome of the lengthy endnotes can be moved into the main portion of the book since some of the discussion there was worth the attention of the readers. The book can also cite works with a footnote rather than a parenthesis with the author’s name, year of publication and page number, since the serious reader will end up having to have his hands in three different places in the book (one hand on the body, one hand on the footnote page, then still yet another hand on the bibliography). This seems to discourage most readers from thoroughly following the additional supplemental arguments (at times, it seems important enough not to be just left as an endnote!) or track the sources of the citation. The format would not encourage readers to use the endnotes and follow the sources, and defeats the purpose of why citing them in the first place.

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I. Identifying Apocalyptic Genre

a. Definition

i.      The word apocalypse comes from the Greek word apocalypses, which means an “uncovering, disclosure, revelation”[1]

ii.      According to Gordon Fee, it is Hebrew prophecy which “looked exclusively forward to the time when God would bring a violent, radical end to history, an end that would mean the triumph of right and the final judgment of evil.”[2]

iii.      It is the prophetic literary form that “proclaims that God has not turned his back on the world but will radically and unexpectedly intervene and introduce a universal solution that will solve all problems.”[3]

iv.      Apocalyptic genre is a prophetic literary form which seeks to comfort the faithful, and warn those who are worldly, in light of upcoming future end.

b. Further identifying aspects

i.      Apocalyptic has only one final solution: Total destruction.[4]

ii.      Apocalyptic announces that God will intervene supernaturally to bring the end of man’s sinfulness.[5]

c. Apocalypse as a composition of other genres

i.      As it is evident in our course on prophetic genres, prophetic genre is a more complex literary form, and it is in some sense a blend of other literary genre.

ii.      “Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre, partaking of narrative, poetry, and prophecy.”[6]

1. Narrative: Apocalyptic literature has plot, character, setting and point of view.[7]

2. Poetry: It is highly symbolic with vivid illustrations, and it’s style can be filled with Hebrew parallelism.[8]

3. Prophecy: It has two genre of prophecy, announcement of judgment and oracle of salvation.

A case can be made that Apocalyptic is really a combination of announcement of judgment, with an announcement of salvation concerning the final end.

d. Elements

i.      As a hybrid genre, it has elements of these genres

1. Plot

2. Character

3. Setting

4. Point of view

5. Hebrew parallelism

6. Accusation

7. Announcement

8. Reference to the future

9. Mention of radical change

10. Mention of blessing

ii.      Unique elements

1. Dualism[9]

a. Good verses evil

b. Unlike pagan dualism, the good and God is greater than the evil side.

2. (Extensive) Symbolism

e. Some place in Scripture where can Apocalypse be found[10]

i.      Daniel 7-12

ii.      Isaiah 24-27

iii.      Ezekiel 38-39

iv.      Joel

v.      Zechariah 1-6

vi.      Matthew 24-25

vii.      Mark 13

viii.      Luke 21

ix.      Revelation

II. Is Apocalyptic Genre important for the Christian?

a. First and most important: It is in the Bible!

b. Jeffrey Arthurs has noted that this genre makes up more than the genre of proverb or parable.[11]

Since these genre and subgenre are important enough to learn to interpret it accurately, how much more should a genre which appears more often and require more skill in interpreting!

c. The Bible itself says the one who reads one of its Books that is largely apocalyptic will be blessed

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy , and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)

III. Principles in interpretation

a. Identify the unique elements and the composite elements

i.      As stated previously in other lessons, consciously identifying elements help strengthen one’s interpretation by bringing to awareness what is in the text.

ii.      However, identifying elements is even more important as the difficulty of the genre require more skill and consciousness to the text’s literary elements.

iii.      Therefore, since Apocalyptic is a hybrid genre of narrative, poetry and other prophetic genres, and hermeneutical principles for poetry, narrative and prophetic genres apply here as well.

All the principles from Session Three to Four, Sessions Six through Eleven applies here as well.

b. Read apocalyptic in view of a context of crisis.[12]

i.      Most of the time apocalyptic was written during persecution or a crisis.

ii.      This is an important background information to keep in the back of the interpreter’s mind.

c. Approach Apocalyptic imagery by starting with the images that is already interpreted.[13]

i.      Sometimes, the text itself reveals what the images mean and symbolize.

ii.      These images, which have been explained, it can throw light to what other images meant!

d. Have previously revealed Scriptural ideas and images brought to bear in interpreting Apocalyptic imagery

i.      Bruce Metzger “has figured that of the 404 verses in Revelation, 278 contain one or more allusions to the Old Testament[14]

ii.      Let Scripture interpret Scripture through antecedent theology![15]

e. Do not attempt to identify the significance of every detail.[16]

i.      “One must see the visions as wholes and not allegorically press all the details”[17]

ii.      In other words, don’t forget the bigger picture!

f. “Keep all options open for how apocalyptic predictions will be fulfilled”[18]

i.      We do not know everything about the future, so we can not say we know for sure.

ii.      Isaiah 55:8 reveals that man’s thought is different than God’s thought, and apocalyptic genre is indicative of this truth.

[1] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[2]Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 233.

[3] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 186.

[4] Ibid, 179.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 185.

[10] Sources: Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 232; Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 180; D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 184-185.

[11] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 179.

[12] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 188.

[13] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[14] Jeffrey Arthurs, Preaching With Variety: How to Re-Create the Dynamics of Biblical Genres, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications), 186.

[15] This is the valuable insight of Old Testament professor Walter Kaiser.

[16] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.

[17] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart., How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 237.

[18] D. Brent Sandy and Martin G. Abegg Jr., “Apocalyptic” Cracking Old Testament Codes, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company), 189.



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I wrote a rather long response to a comment concerning Irenaeus’ work Adversus Haereses being cited in the course of a debate about Sola Scriptura.  Since I spent an unusually long time interacting with Irenaeus in my reply, I thought it might be good to make a post out of it so that at least I myself can have an easy access to my notes for the future.  What follows below also contain further notes than my original comment.

A Roman Catholic wrote,

“Also, in Book 3 Chapters 2-4 Irenaeus shows the necessity of the Church and Her Traditions.”

My Response: Irenaeus’ Adversus Haereses Book 3 Chapter 2-4 does show the importance of the church and tradition. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think a contextual reading of these three beautiful chapters necessarily rule out Sola Scriptura, while it does pose dilemmas for those who are against Sola Scriptura from a Roman Catholic position:

(a.) In the opening lines of Paragraph 1 of Book 3 chapter 1 (contextually before chapters 2-4), Irenaeus gave this fascinating statement: “We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103301.htm). Note how Irenaeus made a statement about the Scripture being handed down by the Apostles. It is the Scriptures that is “to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

(b) Continuing in the same flow of Irenaeus’ view of Scripture as the ground and pillar of our faith, he then gives a description of the Gnostics in the very first lines in chapter two, which ironically fit the descriptions of Roman Catholics who argue that the Scripture is ambiguous or lacking full authority when it is interpreted in ignorance of “traditions”: “When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103302.htm). To assert that the Scripture is ambiguous (as oppose to the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture, which Sola Scriptura rests upon) is not something Irenaeus favored, and those who hold this position in order to argue against Sola Scriptura will have some problem with citing Irenaeus as a friend to their cause.

(c) Irenaeus’ talk about tradition in chapters 2-4 in no way threaten Sola Scriptura, since nowhere does Irenaeus state that Scripture must be interpreted by traditions.

(d) Remembering the point made in (c), we can further evaluate traditions discussed in chapters 2-4. Roman Catholics invoking the discussion in chapters 2-4 to support the idea that the Apostles handed down traditions down to the modern Roman Catholic Church makes an interesting leap of logic: The traditions might have been handed down to the church in Irenaeus’ day, but it’s another thing to claim that it has been handed down to the modern 21st Roman Catholic Church.

(e) Per (d), a Roman Catholic might argue from Book III, Chapter three, paragraph 2 that Irenaeus pointed to the church in Rome as the standard of measuring orthodoxy, as the last lines states, “For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm). Sola Scriptura does not mean that it is forbidden to have as a general rule of thumb of seeing how others are doing in the issue of faith and practice (though Scripture is the ultimate authority), just in case one may stray, which was a good point that Irenaeus made. However, nowhere did Irenaeus say that the church in Rome can never err, since he does qualify his statement with the following conditional, “inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

(f) Building upon (e), Roman Catholics cannot cite Book III Chapter three to substantiate that the church physically situated in Rome can never err, since in the fourth paragraph Irenaeus describe the church in Ephesus having the same status of bearing witness to the truth according to the Apostolic tradition handed down to it: “Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm). If Ephesus has the same status as Rome, and if one were to apply the same form of argumentation Roman Catholics used on others, why then does the Roman Catholic not accept the Second Council of Ephesus on the basis of this kind of argument?

(g) After discussing about traditions in chapters 2-4, notice that Irenaeus goes on to say the following in the opening lines of chapter five, “Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, John 14:6 and that no lie is in Him” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103305.htm).  Note that Irenaeus was not going to carry out a refutation of the Gnostics by simply appealing to traditions as his authority.  Instead, he says “let us revert to the Scriptural proof…,” that is, he wishes to appeal to Scripture to refute someone.

(h) In light of Irenaeus’ view of Scripture, one might ask why is it then that Irenaeus even discussed about traditions in chapters 2-4?  I think the answer lies in the first line in chapter 2, when Irenaeus referring to the Gnostics, said “When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition” (cited: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103302.htm).  It seems that Irenaeus brought tradition to counter the Gnostics’ claim that those who are orthodox operating with a clear (as oppose to the Gnostics charge of “ambiguous”) interpretation of the Scripture in of itself has the problem of being “ignorant of tradition,” As the same sentence shows, while Irenaeus disapproved of their accusation that Scripture is ambiguous, Irenaeus then dealt with the Gnostic objection that they were ignorant of “tradition,” by showing that by their own game those who were orthodox were the recipients of the Apostolic faith since they were taught by the Apostles directly (which explains the very personal nature of Irenaeus claim that he saw the Apostle John teaching as a youth in chapter 3 paragraph four.

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This book is not filled with boredom.  Almost every page is filled with insights and excitement.  Every category that Dr. Montoya covered is significant to expository preaching.   His figure of speeches used to convey his message, make it easy to follow.  This really added color to the material, which makes it easy for me to retain the information.

A big area that I felt was important was his explanation of body gestures.  This is an important area in preaching.  He explained it well.  This will help me much in preaching.  I highly recommend this book for those interested to learn about passionate preaching.  Whether you are a beginner or seasonal preacher, this book is a must have.


I think that having a couple of questions at the end of every chapter for reflection would help challenge the reader’s thoughts concerning passionate, expository preaching.

With that said, here are some good quotes that ministered to me.

Dr. Montoya—

Preaching is passionate because it deals with the very nature of God and the expression of His love for humanity.  The attitude in the study and the attitude in the pulpit are similar yet different.  The study is the discovery of the truth, and the pulpit is the sharing of this truth.  The simmering of the week boils over in the pulpit on Sunday.  How can we preach such magnificent truths as though they were common and mundane (13)?

Charles Spurgeon—

We must regard the people as the wood and the sacrifice, well wetted a second and a third time by the cares of the week, upon which, like the prophet, we must pray down the fire from heaven.  A dull minister creates a dull audience.  You cannot expect the office-bearers and members of the church to travel by steam if their own chosen pastor still drives the old broad-wheeled wagon (14).

Dr. Montoya—

As a minister matures, his passion should increase.  Have you ever noticed why older preachers command such attention?  It is because they have lived the truth (16)!

Dr. Montoya—

My own experience bears this out.  I am by nature shy and inhibited, and during my early years I possessed a high degree of stage fright.  Yet God has allowed me to go beyond this weakness and to develop a degree of passion in my preaching.  If there was hope for me, there is hope for other timid souls (17).

Dr. Montoya—

Artificial elements do not give life to a dead sermon offered by a preacher devoid of the Spirit (23).

Dr. Montoya—

Spiritual power comes when we realize our utter unworthiness to preach and our total dependence on God for everything.  God despises a proud heart and opposes the proud.  Instead, He chooses to honor those who honor Him (1 Sam. 2:30).  We experience our driest and deepest valleys when we rely upon our own strength (24).

Dr. Montoya—

We should look to the prophet Isaiah to seek a similar vision of the exalted and holy God (24).

Dr. Montoya—

A story is told of a young preacher who proudly went up to preach and soon after made a mess of his delivery (24).

Dr. Montoya—

We must take care take care of how we ascend to the pulpit if we desire God’s power in our preaching.  As the Holy of Holies was not available to all—unless they were qualified and entered in purity and reverence—so should it be with the pulpit.  We dare not assume the role, treat it as profane, and expect God to bless.  He will not!  The psalmist in Psalm 24:3-6 lays down the qualifications needed for an ascent to the holy hill of the Lord: clean hands, a pure heat; a true soul (25).

Dr. Montoya—

Psalm 15 states the same requirements.  Here the psalmist qualifies the one who may “abide in God’s tent” and who may “dwell on His holy hill” as one who walks with integrity and works righteousness, speaks truth in his heart, does not slander with his tongue, does no evil to his neighbor, does not take up a reproach against his friend, despises a reprobate, and honors those who fear the Lord (25).

Dr. Montoya—

The key to spiritual power is to keep short accounts with God (26).

Dr. Montoya—

The pulpit can be a great help in keeping us from habitual sin if we acknowledge its sanctity and the need for personal holiness as a requirement for our entrance into it to declare God’s Word (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Men of God sin, and men of God must confess their sins (27).

Let me add that the pulpit is no place for the confession of our personal sins to God.  We should do that in our study or in our closets.  Such show of hypocrisy—that we would use the sacred desk as a pretense for humility and holiness—must be sorrowfully loathsome to God.  We must be personally well acquainted with the cross of Christ—the fount of cleansing is for us first.  Alexander Maclaren has rightly written, ‘It takes a crucified man to preach a crucified Savior'” (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Holiness must also be maintained through a constant and living communion with God.  If we are to be leaders of worship, then we must be true worshipers as well.  If we are to speak for God, then we must be those who speak with God.  If we are to lead souls to heaven, then we must be those who descend from heaven with God’s Shekinah around us” (27).

Dr. Montoya—

Here is where so many of us fail.  We do not practice what we preach.  Yet we wonder why the power has departed from our preaching  (27).

Dr. Montoya—

The key to spiritual power is to keep short accounts with God (26).

George Mueller—

I saw more clearly than ever that the first and great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord,…but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner [life] might be nourished (27).

Dr. Montoya—

A sermon is not an exercise in exegesis, but a declaration of a truth to move us to moral action (46).

Dr. Montoya—

Every preacher should be a theologian.  He should know his doctrine because every sermon is a doctrinal sermon—an unfolding of some divine truth revealed in the Scriptures (47).

Dr. Montoya—

It is our burden for others that creates passion in our preaching (56).

Dr. Montoya—

When were you last so overwhelmed by your love for your congregation that your words went forth mixed with tears (62).

Dr. Montoya—

Teaching with authority is learned from Christ—not from the scribes (74).


Montoya, Alex D., and MacArthur, John. Preaching With Passion. Kregel Pubns, 2007.

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I saw this news and I thought it was too good to ignore and not use as an apologetics sermon illustration.

Point: As Van Til and Greg Bahnsen points out, sin is by nature irrational.  There are people out there who think that they can be an enemy of God and yet expect God to reward them whether in this life, or even in the afterlife with eternal life.  Yet the irrationality of it is ironic.  It’s as ironic as…


Taliban commander turns self in… for reward on ‘Wanted’ poster

By Kevin Sieff

Sometimes, capturing a Taliban commander requires vast resources and complex operations. Last week in eastern Afghanistan, it required neither.

Mohammad Ashan, a mid-level Taliban commander in Paktika province, strolled toward a police checkpoint in the district of Sar Howza with a wanted poster bearing his own face. He demanded the finder’s fee referenced on the poster: $100.

Afghan officials, perplexed by the man’s misguided motives, arrested him on the spot. Ashan is suspected of plotting at least two attacks on Afghan security forces. His misdeeds prompted officials to plaster the district with hundreds of so-called “Be on the Lookout” posters emblazoned with his name and likeness.

When U.S. troops went to confirm that Ashan had in fact come forward to claim the finder’s fee, they were initially incredulous.

“We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’” recalled SPC Matthew Baker.

A biometric scan confirmed that the man in Afghan custody was the insurgent they had been looking for.

“This guy is the Taliban equivalent of the ‘Home Alone” burglars,” one U.S. official said.

Wanted posters are often distributed by NATO forces, but rarely have such a direct impact on the apprehension of an insurgent. In restive Paktika province, civilians are typically afraid to pass on intelligence that might lead to an arrest. And insurgents tend to shy away from the urban centers where they’re being hunted, particularly while carrying evidence of their own transgressions.



OPPONENT: I believe God should bless me….<INSERT HERE: (e.g., in my life, by going to heaven, etc)>

CHRISTIAN: Okay, but remember that it’s not rational for God to be obligated to bless His enemies.  Do you think you are an enemy of God?

<If there was a previous apologetics dialogue where the opponent attack Christianity, cite this as an example of the opponent being at war against God>

<Or show the person’s sin and enmity against God by the Law, Way of the Master, Roman’s Road, etc>

CHRISTIAN: If you are an enemy of God, you do not have any rational basis to demand God having to bless you.  In fact, that reminds me of a newstory I read <SHARE THE ILLUSTRATION>.  Would you not say that the Taliban man is wanted as an enemy against the US and current Afghan government?

OPPONENT: Of course!

CHRISTIAN: In some sense, we in our sins are like that Taliban!  We plan in our minds attacks against God, we even carry it out in our behavior.  Then not understanding the penalty against us, we mistaken a penalty for a reward!  Perhaps we might have of have even read His Word out of context, with our greed our self-righteousness making us think it teaches us being rewarded when there’s a penalty.  We need Jesus all the more as a Savior from our selfish sinful deception.



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