My Seven Summits

Jason Duesing has recently published 7 Summits in Church History, which is a brief introduction of Christian history that is geared to the local church.41hx2W1gddL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ Drawing from the illustration of mountain ranges, Duesing writes about seven church history figures that he considers to be the seven summits of the Christian history mountain range. His list includes:

  1. Augustine
  2. Martin Luther
  3. John Calvin
  4. Balthasar Hubmaier
  5. Jonathan Edwards
  6. William Carey
  7. Carl F.H. Henry

At his blog Duesing is now hosting several scholars and pastors who have agreed to answer who they consider their “Seven Summits” or what figures in church history they would enjoy sharing a meal with.

As I edited and prepared the responses to be published I began to think about who my “Seven Summits” were. For what it’s worth, here they are.

  1. Martin Luther – It would be fascinating to hear his personal stories during the Protestant Reformation as well as his life afterwards, particularly how he pastored in light of the Reformation. Plus, its Martin Luther.
  2. Jonathan Edwards – Edwards is perhaps the most brilliant mind America has ever produced. Coupled with the task of serving as a pastor, missionary, and brief seminary President, Edwards embodied the Pastor-Theologian model well.
  3. John Owen – Owen is the theologian I plan to read for many years to come. His sermons in Vol. 9 of his works has been thorough, comprehensive, convicting, and encouraging.
  4. Friedrich Schleiermacher – As I have written before, I have an appreciation for Schleiermacher and would like to engage him in a conversation not necessarily upon his hermenutics but why he still ministered and taught even after leaving the faith. His presence is still felt in many fields of study and his grasp is far-reaching.
  5. Charles Spurgeon – This is almost a no-brainer. Spurgeon’s works have benefited me for many years and I particularly find his stance against liberalism during the Downgrade Controversy encouraging. I am amazed how much work he accomplished in his lifetime.
  6. A.T. RobertsonThe Greek scholar of the Southern Baptist world.
  7. Brevard Childs – Despite much criticism, Childs, for the most part, made famous the canonical method of hermeneutics in Old Testament studies. His emphasis upon the received text has made me a better interpreter of the Scriptures.

A few honorable mentions: John Bunyan, John Calvin, Brevard Childs, Bruce Metzger, Leon Morris, F.F. Bruce, David Brainard, Augustine, Francis Schaeffer.

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Who Are the Angels of the Seven Churches?

On Sunday nights I am preaching through Revelation, and it has been a tremendously rewarding experience thus far. I hope to preach the entire book, but it will take perhaps more than a year (or longer) to do so. For all I know, we might not make it past chapter five simply because I still struggle with exactly how to handle preaching those chapters in light of my eschatological system. At any rate, time will tell.

In chapter one John is told to write to the seven churches which are in Asia (1:11), and this comprises chapters 2–3. When John turns to see the voice that spoke to him he sees one like a son of man standing in the midst of the seven golden lampstands (1:12–13). After the Lord comforts him and tells him not to fear, he is told to write all that he sees (1:19). The Lord then explains the mystery of the seven starts and the lampstands. He says the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches (οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀστέρες ἄγγελοι τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησιῶν εἰσιν), which are the recipients of the letters in 2–3.

However, the question is over the exact identity of the ἄγγελοι for, as any Greek 1 student can tell you, ἄγγελος can mean either “angel” or “messenger.” Typically context provides the key to interpretation, but not so much here. When the ἄγγελος are the recipients of the letter in 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14 there is no further clarification provided. It seems that most translations take the route of “angel” (ESV, NASB, HCSB, KJV, NIV, ASV), but some choose “messenger” (ISV, Aramaic Bible in Plain English, GWT, Weymouth NT, Young’s Literal). Read more

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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

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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!