Friedrich Schleiermacher: An Appreciation

In my Advanced Hermeneutics seminar last October I found myself researching Friedrich Schleiermacher, the father of modern hermeneutics. I researched his early years, Kantian influence, and the hermeneutical circle that he, and subsequently others, used frequently. His impression upon the discipline of biblical hermeneutics is far-reaching and is even seen behind the veils of interpretative methods today.

Schleiermacher was born on November 21, 1768 in Breslau, Prussia where his father served as a chaplain of the Reformed Church to a regiment in Silesia.[1] A very bright individual who was the product of a Moravian Brethren upbringing, he desired to receive a broader education than he was receiving at the time. At fourteen he began to doubt aspects of the Scripture. As a student at a boarding school in Pless there arose within him a strange skepticism towards the genuineness of the ancient authors of the Bible and they, as a result, began to seem disjointed and unreal to the young scholar.[2]

After his promotion to Barby in 1785 to study philosophy his doubting eventually lead him to turn to liberal Protestantism to acquire the answers he desired. He wrote to his father that he could no longer believe the Son of Man was the true eternal God, his death a vicarious atonement, and an eternal punishment for those who could not attain faith in Jesus.[3] After receiving permission from his father, Schleiermacher transferred to the University of Halle where he immersed himself in Kant, Greek philosophy, and the famous writers of the early church to the period of the Reformation. After he passed his theological exams in 1796 he spent six years preaching at a hospital in Berlin and two years as the court preacher at Stople. Eventually he traveled back to Halle and accepted a position as professor of theology at the University of Halle, only to leave and return to Berlin to preach at Trinity Church and lecture at the University. Read more


Synoptic Studies and Acts at MBTS

For the past two months my site has gone entirely silent. I predicted little writing would take place in light of my most recent seminar, but I did not expect a sabbatical of sorts during this time. The reason for my absence is simple, my Ph.D. seminar in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts.

In this seminar we were required to read the following:

  • Bock, Darrell L. A Theology of Luke and Acts.
  • Harrington, Daniel. What Are They Saying about Mark?
  • Powell, Mark Alan. What Are They Saying about Luke?
  • Sanders, E.P. and Margaret Davies. Studying the Synoptic Gospels.
  • Schnabel, Eckhard J. Acts.
  • Senior, Donald. What Are They Saying about Matthew?
  • Stein, Robert. The Synoptic Problem.

We also were required to do a comparative review of Sanders/Davies and Stein, as well as Harrington, Powell, and Senior.

For our research papers we were assigned two topics (12 – 18 pp) primarily within Mark and at the conclusion had to present how our topic could be used to alleviate the Synoptic Problem. Last, we were assigned a minimum 30 page paper on a specific topic within Acts. Read more

Master Greek

I recently stumbled upon a very helpful website called Master Greek, an aid to help students with their parsing ability. It was created by Dr. Paul Hoskins, who teaches at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his wife Cheryl.

Master Greek is efficient and easy to use. You begin by selecting what you would like to parse and then choosing a category within your selection. For example, if your weakness is aorist participles Master Greek will give you all aorist participles to parse. In other words, Master Greek is written so that you can practice identifying aorist participles until you are able to parse them in your sleep.

The site is also very user friendly. When you make your selection the word is provided at the top of the page with a multiple choice quiz. If you answer correctly you are allowed to proceed. If you answer incorrectly on any section a red “X” will appear in the respective section, and you have the opportunity to repeat the question, or you can click “Just tell me!” and the answer will be provided. There is also a tally running at the bottom to keep track of your correct and incorrect answers.

This has already been a helpful tool for me as I have worked through some of the questions. I encourage you to register and keep your Greek!


The Pastor-Theologian in His Study

For the pastor who, at most, preaches three times each week, the temptation is simply to coast week in and week out with little thought given to other theological issues outside of his sermon. After all, there are people to visit, meetings with the staff, and landmines that erupt on a moment’s notice that requires the pastor’s attention. Plus there are weeks when sermon preparation is all he can muster simply due from the demands of the week.

This temptation forces the pastor to serve as nothing more than a delivery man to his congregation. Sure he gets the passage diagrammed, commentaries read, sermon outline finished, and the manuscript typed, but the ideas are others and his sermon, rather than shaped by the text, has been shaped by commentaries.[1] The pastor has not properly formulated any original idea but rather is the middle-man between the congregation and the “theologians.” Hiestand and Wilson noticed this trend and write that many,

don’t expect pastors to be theologians, certainly not scholars, at least not of a professional variety. Intellectually speaking, we expect pastors to function, at best, as intellectual middle management, passive conveyors of insights from theologians to laity. A little quote from Augustine here, a brief allusion to Bonhoeffer there. That’s all.[2]

This is, sadly, the case. Most congregations expect the pastor to be primarily a counselor or serve as a business man who has ideas to increase attendance and giving. I don’t think, as Hiestand and Wilson comment later on, this is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. After all, the pastor’s responsibility is to communicate the Word of God in effective ways to his congregation through words. We must simplify theological issues so that others may understand.[3] But if this is all the pastor in doing, I believe he suffers. Read more

The Pastor-Theologian?

Much has been written recently on the Pastor as Theologian or the Pastor as Theologian.[1] Derek Rishmawy has compiled a helpful list and summary of the main articles written thus far with, I believe, a fair assessment of each. I would also add Michael Kruger’s “Should You be a Pastor or Professor? Thinking Through the Options” as well as Andy Naselli’s “3 Reasons for a Pastor-Theologian to Get a PhD.”

The issue of the Pastor-Theologian is of specific interest to me, as the title of my blog indicates, because this is something I aim to fulfill in my ministry right now. This is why I read Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s work The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision with great encouragement because I finally found this wrinkled vision in my mind ironed out just a bit smoother. As Rishmawy indicates, Hiestand and Wilson argue for the position of ecclesial theologian — that being the pastor as one who not only interacts with the life of his church but as well as participating and (perhaps) leading conversations in the academy. I agree with Rishmawy, in this case the pastor-theologian is a scholar. Read more

Preaching: A Biblical Theology

preaching_meyerI was very pleased to receive a copy of Preaching: A Biblical Theology by Jason C. Meyer, Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church and have the chance to read the work of my former professor. Rather than the typical review, my aim is to include what I particularly enjoyed from Meyer’s book. As a result, this post will be brief, which is my intention. If you would prefer the traditional route, see my friend David Norman’s review here.

First, I appreciated Meyer’s structure. It is comprised of five parts with each building from the first five chapters, which is “Part One.” This section serves as a launching pad for the rest of the book and, as long as this is read first, it does not matter where the reader goes to next. Meyer did this because it allows the reader to choose their own starting “adventure” (14 – 15). In other words, the sections are not dependent upon one another as some books typically are.

Second, I appreciated Meyer’s careful guide through the Bible in “Part Two.” I believe this section is his strongest and the Read more

A Sermon on Repentance

During my week of classes at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary I had the privilege to attend chapel, which is held twice a week on campus.

On Wednesday Dr. Nick Floyd, a pastor with Cross Church in Fayetteville Arkansas, delivered a helpful sermon on repentance. He took his text from Matt 4:12-17, but really honed in on v 17 and the word “repent.” Coupled with quotes from Spurgeon, Pink, and Matthew Henry I thought Floyd did a good job of describing what repentance means. I would tweak his definition of repentance just a tad, but overall I do believe he handled the text in a God honoring way.

I would encourage you to watch the sermon below. Minister or not, our lives as Christians should be a life of repentance.


The Culturally Relevant Church (?)

Can the church of Jesus Christ, who has been bought by his blood, be culturally relevant? What I mean is, can the church submit to the Lordship of Jesus while simultaneously catering to the needs of the culture? Perhaps this is still somewhat broad, so let me narrow it down with a “case study.”

Say you are new in town and as you are searching for a church to visit, you come across one who claims to be culturally relevant. What they mean by culturally relevant is they seek to make the worship service (singing/music) mirror that of the culture. What you will have is the light show, fog machines, and songs that are wanting in content. The pastor will preach a message that sounds like the gospel, but the content more or less focuses upon you doing something (Don’t Fear; Be Encouraged; Love Yourself; etc.). A speaking of the purpose for Christ’s death and why repentance is required lacks, but it seems that these people love Jesus while they seek to be relevant to the culture. Is this possible?

I would suggest no. Read more


Reading John Owen

My time at Louisiana College shaped my theological mind profoundly. I was most influenced by my professors during my time in the halls of Guinn. These men opened an entire world of theological dialogue that I was unaware even existed. I began hearing the names of Douglas Moo, D.A. Carson, Francis Schaeffer, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Wayne Grudem, John Piper, John MacArthur, Thomas Schreiner, John Goldingay, John Sailhamer, William Carey, N.T. Wright, Albert Mohler…and the list could continue for some pages. I began to read some of these men and it proved both laborious and rewarding. Read more