Ezekiel One

*** This is part one of my reading through Ezekiel in Hebrew.  These posts may be drier and less interesting than others, because of their nature: notes on Ezekiel in Hebrew. You have been warned. ***

Ezekiel 1:1 appears to give a summary of the chapter: ואראה מראות אלהים (I saw a vision of God).

From this point on, Ezekiel one structures its chapter by using first person singular wayyiqtol verbs. Its structure follows:

1:1-3: ואראה + introduction to the chapter and the book of Ezekiel as whole

1:4-14: ואראה + description of four creatures

1:15-23: ואראה + description of the vehicle’s four wheels

1:24-28a:ואשמע + description of the sound of the creature’s wings and the Glory of Yahweh (כְּבוֹד־יְהוָ֑ה)

1:28b: ואראה ואפל על פני ואשמע + Yahweh speaking Continue reading

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Historical Theology

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I have been reading Greg Allison’s Historical Theology and refreshing my mind on some of the early thinking of the Church on the Scriptures.

Beyond the topics themselves, revelation, canonicity, inspiration, inerrancy, and the authority and clarity of Scripture (all fascinating discussions), what has struck me most is consensus. These subjects were not much under debate, as the NT authors, early Fathers, Nicene and Post Nicene thinkers and early medieval writers all shared a high view of Scripture (as a collection of 66 canonical books) verbally inspired by God and so without error, intended to speak clearly and be understood as truth and the final authority in all that it addressed.

For about 1300 years the church spoke with one voice on these issues, and then a shift occurred resulting in the Roman Apostasy and the rise of the Reformation. Rome began to argue for two sources of authority, Scripture and Church authority. This was largely rooted in an attack on the clarity and authority of the written Word.

Among the Protestant, these doctrines were essential and once again largely agreed upon, until really the 19th century, when liberal humanism challenged the historic consensus. They largely attacked the authority of the Scripture. But due to critical theories of inspiration, canonicity etc., they also made an assault on the clarity of Scripture. Evangelicalism arose to counter this rooted in a return to a high view of Scripture.

Today, even the evangelical church is only partially aligned with church history on these subjects. The Charismatic wing of the Church elevates two sources of authority, personal and Scriptural revelation, often effective an attack on the authority and clarity of Scripture.

Evangelical Academics now often apply a two authority approach again, this time with secular science and the Scripture sitting on equal footing. This is considered necessary, because the Bible is not seen as clear enough or Authoritative in matters if history and science.

“The early church,” Allison demonstrates, “was united in its conviction that nothing could be considered true unless it could be demonstrated from the Bible” (144). However “as the third millennium of the Church begins, evangelicals are faced with an important debate about the sufficiency of Scripture” (161). Will we apostacize, or reform?

Reading the Major Prophets

For the past while, the Grahams have let this blog fallow.  Yet, the time has come again to plant. We hope that the Grahams of Montrose will reap a rich harvest of over the next year. To begin with, I am going to chronicle my time reading through Ezekiel in Hebrew.  If all goes well, Jeremiah and Isaiah will follow soon thereafter.

The reason for doing so is two-fold. First, weekly updates will keep me accountable to my plan. Second, I need to read through these books in Hebrew before January to prepare for future academic study. My very simple plan is to dedicate one hour a day to reading through the Hebrew text: 7am-8am. Although I do grant that those times may change (i.e. 6am-7am).

I aim to follow through with this plan, and to follow Ezekiel with Jeremiah and Isaiah in Hebrew.

I hate Him, and I Pray God Slay Him!

  What do you think about the “other” side?  Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). The Psalmist writes:“Do I not hate. . . I hate them with a perfect hatred” (Psalm 139:21-22).

Though this Psalm is not considered one of the Psalms of malediction, or curse, or imprecation, it expresses a strong sentiment regarding hatred, which reflects some of the responses in a society that has just watched a contentious election. How should the believer now pray in response to what he or she might consider an “evil” outcome in the election, or against the “evil” people who sought to stymie the good outcome of the election? Shall the believer pray, “let an accuser [Hb. Satan] stand at his right hand. . . let his prayer be accounted as sin. . . Let his children be fatherless. . . Let curses come upon him” (Psalm 109:6, 7, 8, 9, 17)?

Continue reading

Church History: Old Answers to New Crises

What do you think about the idea of ordination, in pastoral (or other) church ministries? How would you go about thinking about the idea? What do you thing about the ordination of women, in pastoral (or other) church ministries? How would you go about investigating this idea.

Readers of this blog should know that the contributors are convinced “that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12-13; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). ” That means that the answers to this question have to boil down, in the last analysis, to discovering how the Bible answers this question. Continue reading

What Does the Church Have to Do with Evangelism?

Anyone who reads the book of Acts comes away with the realization that Paul lived to evangelize the world. This is especially true, because Jesus himself  appointed him to this task. When the risen Jesus appeared to Paul on the Damascus road, his life was forever changed. The Book of Acts recounts this event three times, with each retelling highlighting Jesus’ commissioning of Paul to evangelize the Gentiles (Acts 9:15, 22:21, 26:16–18). Because of Paul’s apostolic mission, his greatest desire was to go Rome to preach the Gospel, and then use Rome as a home base his missionary work in Spain (Rom 1:13; 15:24, 28).

 This is why it so surprising that he chooses to strengthen the church in Jerusalem instead of taking advantage of evangelistic opportunities in Rome and beyond. Listen to what Paul says in 15:25–27.

At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.

Paul chooses to go to Jerusalem, help the poor there, and to strengthen the unity between the Gentile church in Macedonia and Achaia and the Jewish church in Jerusalem. For a man controlled by his evangelistic mission this seems contrary to his life’s purpose. However, the reason Paul delayed evangelistic opportunities was because he knew that it is through a healthy and united church that the Gospel is made known to the nations (cf. Eph 3:10). Continue reading

Thoughts on the Leadership Crises of Today’s World

When you think about business, political and church leaders, what comes immediately to mind? Is is humility? Is it service? Is it integrity?

The Harvard Business Review, describes today’s world as being in a leadership crises: “People clamor for direction, while you are faced with a way forward that isn’t at all obvious. Twists and turns are the only certainty” (link).

John MacArthur has written: “The world is crying out for leaders–great heroic, noble, trustworthy leaders. We need leaders at every level of social order–from political leaders in the international realm to spiritual leaders in the church and the family” (The Book on Leadership, 4).

Where can this desperate need be answered? There are hundreds and hundreds of books on leadership available today. Many of them aptly define the problems we face. But if any of them actually provided the solution, people would not be having this discussion any longer. Continue reading