We will have a new short series on the first two chapters of Exodus and its implications concerning God’s views of the lives of babes.
We will have a new short series on the first two chapters of Exodus and its implications concerning God’s views of the lives of babes.
Duane A. Garrett. A Commentary on Exodus. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, November, 1st, 2014. 741 pp.
I must begin with a bit of a personal note. Many years ago when I was a young Christian I had used the author’s commentary on Hosea and Joel that was my first real exposure to an exegetical commentary. I was blown away. I was likewise blown away with Duane Garrett’s recent commentary on Exodus. Of course this time around I am much older and I felt I was able to benefit more from Garrett exegetical insights than when I was a young college student reading through Hosea and Joel. Garrett has done an excellent job with his Exodus commentary.
The Introduction was well over a hundred page. I appreciated Garrett’s point that many commentators on Exodus have neglected the important contribution of Egyptology and one sees Garrett’s tremendous effort in bringing up-to-date scholarship from Egyptology to bear concerning Introductory matters of the book of Exodus. In particular I thought his discussion of anything chronological stood out, especially with the dating of the events of Exodus. It is incredibly detailed: He considers the difficulties of Egyptian method of counting how many days are to be in a year, when various Pharaohs ruled and archaeological findings in the area of Canaan as he weighs the pros and cons of various arguments for the late or early dating of the book. I think it is worth getting the book for the Introduction alone. While he does not come to a fixed conclusion of when the events of Exodus takes place nevertheless his interaction of the arguments of the various views is a good summary of the various views.
Posted in bible interpretation, biblical studies, Book Review, Brevards Childs, Christianity, Mark Gignilliat, old testament, Old Testament criticism, old testament scholarship, Theology, William Albright on July 28, 2015 | 9 Comments »
Mark S. Gignilliat. A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism: From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, June 10th, 2012. 186 pp.
The author made it clear in the beginning that the intended audience of the book was for “anyone who is in interested in the Bible, its history of interpretation, and the particular problems and approaches to Old Testament studies in the modern period.” Thus book wasn’t just written for scholars and seminarians in mind but for the larger Christian lay readers although the author admits that as he writing this his inclination was to make the work more technical. As a result the author himself explicitly explain that he needs to write this book with more of a biographical sketch of important figures of Old Testament scholars in light of the general public’s interests for human stories. Thus the book is divided into seven chapters with each focusing on one particular modern Old Testament scholar. I think the book might be more appropriately titled “A Brief Survey of Old Testament Scholars” instead, lest people think it is a survey of the history of Old Testament Criticism so no one is fooled by the title since some chapters focused on more biographical contents than descriptive details of the scholar’s academic contribution. I suppose one shouldn’t really blame the author for doing so if he can successfully get the readers to know more about these scholars rather than have the readers be bored in seeing these men as another group of dead unknown Germans scholars.
Readers of the book will notice right away how early in the history of modern Old Testament criticism that it is driven by presuppositions and philosophies that is foreign to Scripture. The clearest and worst example of this given in the book was Spinoza (although I don’t think the author intended to do that). I was surprised to read about how bright Spinoza was but sadden to see how far he veered away from biblical orthodoxy even among his fellow Jews. The book noted how Spinoza’s motivation in his approach towards the Old Testament was one that began with human autonomy and the assumption that reason is in conflict and above faith, etc. While the other scholars the book survey is less overt than Spinoza in undermining the Bible nevertheless I would say one see in varying degrees the compromises and the import of bad philosophical starting points among various scholars’ approach to the Old Testament.
The author however makes it clear that he wants Evangelicals to have a greater appreciation for these scholars and their contribution even if one disagrees with them. In that vein I appreciated the chapter on Julius Wellhausen and the author explaining Wellhausen’s documentary hypothesis clearly and simply for the lay reader. I learned that Wellhausen’s formulation of his documentary hypothesis was in the context of his attempt to reconstruct the original historical setting of Israel in light of naturalistic presuppositions and not just merely to break up the Scripture into parts per se. Although I have misgivings with the documentary hypothesis I think a strength of the book is the presentation clearly and accurately of what these scholars believed.
The chapters that really stood out to me were the ones on Gerhard VonRad, William Albright and Brevard Childs. While I have been cautious and continue to be discerning when I read anything from VonRad (or anything that others attribute to VonRad), nevertheless I have a deeper sense of respect for VonRad the man and the scholar. I never knew until this book of the courageous stance he took against the Nazis when he was a German Old Testament scholar at the universities. His courage is inspiring when one consider the anti-Jewish climate in Hitler’s Germany.
It was also neat to learn of biblical scholars that was shaped by the polymath William Albright whose impact on Old Testament studies is his use of archaeological findings. By far my favorite chapter was on Brevards Childs whose canonical approach has more use for Evangelical students of the Old Testament than some of the other approaches mentioned in the book.
I must say that Christians must read this book with discernment. I think at times the author could have been explained more of the problems with some of the scholars surveyed. Nevertheless I felt that all these scholars has things we can learn from; the biggest encouragement from these men lives was that I want to continue to be diligent in my study of God’s Word with all my mind, strength and soul.
I recommend the book, and rate it 4 out of 5.
NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
Posted in Apologetics, Bible, christian apologetics, Christianity, hermeneutics, interpretation of the bible, Leviticus, old testament, old testament law, Old Testament Laws, Reformed, Theology on July 15, 2015 | 22 Comments »
This is our third installment in which we look at the problematic precommitments that Matthew Vines has accepted prior to his research for his book God and the Gay Christian in which he argues that “Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationship” (Page 3). Here in this post I want to address Vines’ problematic pre-commitment concerning Old Testament laws.
On page 11-12 Vines said:
But while I’d once agreed with my parents’ view on homosexuality, I didn’t anymore. Even before coming to terms with my sexual orientation, I had been studying the Bible’s references to same-sex behavior and discussing the issue with Christian friends. Some of what I learned seemed to undermine the traditional interpretation of those passages. For instance, Leviticus prohibits male same-sex relations, but it uses similar language to prohibit the eating of shellfish. And while Paul did describe same-sex relations as ‘unnatural,’ he also wrote that for men to wear their hair long was contrary to ‘nature.’ Yet Christians no longer regard eating shellfish or men having long hair as sinful. A more comprehensive exploration of Scripture was in order.”
Note in the above quote that even before Vines came out of the closet as being a homosexual or even before he began researching to write his book, Vines’ own view of the Old Testament has already led him to question whether the Bible prohibit same sex relations. Although Vines admit that a “more comprehensive exploration of Scripture was in order,” already what he thinks he knows has “undermine the traditional interpretation of those passages”
Then on page 78 Vines gives us some more details of how he started to question the Old Testament laws found in Leviticus (18:22 and 20:13) that prohibits same-sex relationship:
When I was fourteen, I used that verse to ‘prove’ to a friend that gay marriage ws wrong. Today, I realize I hardly knew anything about what I was saying–the context of that verse in Scripture, for instance, or the place of the Old Testament law for Christians.
It’s no surprise that I was at a loss when my friend responded to me with verses from Leviticus banning the eating of shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics.
Sad to say, though, that’s been the extent of many debates about the BIble and homosexuality in recent years. One side starts by quoting Leviticus 18:22 (or 20:13, which prescribes the death penalty for males who engage in same-sex relations), and the other side counters with verses about dietary laws and bans on certain combinations of clothing. We really need to go deeper”
Thus his interaction at the age of 14 with friends on the topic of Old Testament laws has already slanted him towards the view that the Bible does not prohibit same-sex marriage. We definitely need to go deeper in our refutation of his pre-commitment that slants him towards affirming same-sex relationships.
Alright all, here is another segment concerning the LGBT objections. It is our prayer that the Lord will use this material to edify the body of Christ concerning the attacks against God’s Word concerning the Gospel.
LGBT Objection: Jesus never spoke out against Homosexuality.
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said,“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” ~ NASB
Next will be part 4.
This book is well researched. It provides a well balance view on both sides. The authors are clear with the contents they represent when interacting for example, the different types of homosexual orientation. For example, it is not only the deeds that are addressed, but also the desire for the same sex which is sinful. One fascinating study which LGBT will consider antiquated is the civil law that pertains to death penalty for grave sins and the authors addresses it by discussing the role of the civil law. This well-researched book will help readers, who are seeking to gain a deeper grasp of the issues at hand.
This book is a must read for all Christians who love and care for homosexuals. It also deals with the discontinuity and continuity of the laws in the Old Testament and its perspective and implications on the high rank-and-file sin of homosexuality. You will go into a theological excursion of the moral, ceremonial, and the civil law when the authors embark upon the Old Testament. And it interacts with some of the deceiving tactics of the LGBT’s use of Scripture (eisegesis: imparting their own thoughts into the text). Anyone who twists the Word of God in order to make hard truths palatable to society stand in the hot seat of God’s judgment. In this book, you have examples of two men who are graced and granted by God the gift of teaching in order to smell out twisted thinking that spans categorical fallacies and heresies from not only the LGBT “movement” (a 900 pound gorilla that has a goal to destroy the church), but also those who profess faith in Christ. The book’s truth claims are not based upon a hot and emotionally imbalanced rhetoric, but substance that has been mined over the years from a stable discipline of studying in the Word of God and its interaction with critical sources. I would recommend you purchasing this book because it will get you acquainted with the arguments that is swirling around. This book will expose to you the information that is derived from the emotionally and subjective arguments that are based on man-centered theology rather than the serious study of God-honoring exegesis and hermeneutics. You don’t have to be a Greek scholar, but as Christians, we can’t afford to be sloppy or careless (2 Tim. 2:15) with this issue facing our nation.
I pray that this wonderful resource will provide the gateway for you to learn more about this issue and get more acquainted with the passages that the LGBT twist to their own demise.
Also have a Bible handy because the authors will be interacting extensively with the Book of the Leviticus and the Book of Romans. The book will also stretch out your understanding of the law of God. That is a major point of the book when discussing the Book of Leviticus and its implications upon the New Testament text. I believe you will come out a sharper student of the Word when reading the author’s interaction with the biblical text.
Beginning next next Sunday (not tommorow but the Sunday after) we will have a short Sunday Biblical series that look at various motif of the Church. I think what we can gain from this study is how important is the church in God’s view which leads us to see the importance of the Church also in our lives. Pray for the preparation for this short study!