The Good Book Blog, a resource from the faculty of Talbot School of Theology, features articles that explore contemporary ideas from the perspective of the Bible — the “Good Book” — including topics such as apologetics, biblical studies, theology, philosophy, spiritual formation, ministry and leadership. Find out more about what sets Talbot apart and how it prepares Christian leaders through its degree programs.
It was the fall of 1930. Just a year had passed since the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression. Adolf Hitler was on his meteoric rise to power in Germany. But God was powerfully at work in the Pennsylvania steel town of Pittsburgh. A 21-year-old Jewish man named Bezalel Feinberg had heard the Gospel and prayed to receive Christ. It sounds so simple, yet it was anything but.
I am not particularly enthralled with the spiritual gifts debate that is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts, via John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference and publications. Been there. Done that. I was a new believer when the same debate was raging back in the late 1970s, and it is a bit discouraging to see the church divided, once again, over a topic that was beat into the ground a generation ago.
The dynamics of shame are one of the greatest cultural dynamics of the New Testament. This paradigm is key in understanding other concepts and various texts accurately especially as it relates to topics such as approval, reputation, glory, and status. While these practices were prevalent in the 1st century of the Mediterranean, they also have current bearing to different segments of society today, specifically Asian-Americans in the 21st century. This blog will be the first in a series of blogs that will demonstrate the correlation of Paul’s use of shame in light of the framework of Roman cultural practices as well as how it relates to modern 21st century Asian-American spiritual tendencies.
From the beginning, we learn that God created the world and called it good, making the material world fundamentally good (Gen. 1:31). He further entrusted human beings with dominion over the earth—giving them both the privilege of enjoying the benefits of the material world, but also the responsibility for caring for the world. We also learn that, from the beginning, God has implanted His wisdom into the world and given human beings the necessary tools to uncover His wisdom and apply it for their benefit (Proverbs 8:22-31). God set human beings free to utilize their God-given intelligence, initiative and creativity in discerning and applying what the wisdom He embedded into the world—this is all a part of the responsible exercise of dominion over creation that brings innovation and productivity to benefit humankind.
Los propósitos de año nuevo son parte de la costumbre anual de muchos de nosotros. La llegada del nuevo año nos da la oportunidad para detenernos por un momento y planificar un futuro mejor. Por ejemplo, los gimnasios aumentan sus membrecías considerablemente en enero con personas que desean bajar de peso o mejorar su condición física. También escuché que el índice de divorcios crece considerablemente las primeras semanas del año. Independientemente de la sabiduría de los propósitos, todos los deseos persiguen un mejor destino.
When I was a research student holed up in a windowless office in the library for a year, the PhD student next to my office was Jeremy Howard. While I struggled through stacks of research trying to avoid drowning in the historical theology portion of my dissertation, Jeremy was blazing through the writing of his dissertation on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics and its use for Christian apologetics. His research world couldn’t have been farther away from mine. Years later, he has recently piloted a work that fits a gap I didn’t know I was looking for. To pass on an introduction to this new series, I interviewed the general editor, Jeremy Howard with several questions here.
One of my self-imposed projects over the January break is to read through N. T. Wright’s (most recent) magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The work is actually two separate books (@ 600 and 1200 pages, respectively!). Book I is primarily concerned with backgrounds, and Paul’s worldview vis-à-vis paganism and Judaism. Book II deals with Paul’s theology and more directly engages the text of his letters.
El nacimiento de Jesús cambió al mundo. La navidad es, sin duda alguna, el acontecimiento más importante en la historia de la humanidad y, por lo tanto, la mayor celebración de cada año. El Dios creador del universo se hizo hombre y habitó entre nosotros. Dios no está lejos ni es distante sino que a través de Jesús su presencia es real y personal. De hecho, el milagro de la navidad se resume con la palabra “Emanuel” que significa apropiadamente “Dios con nosotros.”
Why do pastors need to know all that much about work and economics? Last week we introduced this subject and suggested that there are very few areas of our lives that have nothing to do with work and/or economics. Remember that even the notion of our eternal salvation has something to do with economics, since the Bible actually describes the elements of our eternal salvation in economic terms. In addition, life on this side of eternity matters greatly. If we refuse to separate out the sacred from the secular, and thus affirm that all of life is spiritual, then there are few, if any, areas of our spiritual lives that are not impacted by economics.
“The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teaching and record of historical facts. They are without error or defect of any kind.” Thus reads Biola University’s (and Talbot School of Theology’s) Articles of Faith—a document that remains unchanged since it was written shortly after the turn of the century. As the Dean of Talbot and as one who has been on the faculty for 27 years, I can say that this is a conviction that runs very deep in our faculty. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is truthful in what it affirms and can be completely trusted.
Por los tres últimos años, el índice de felicidad planetaria ha dado a conocer los países más felices del mundo de acuerdo a ciertos parámetros. Los resultados sorprendentes de la última edición en el 2012 señalaron que país más feliz del mundo es Costa Rica, en segundo lugar se encuentra Vietnam y en tercero Colombia. Los Estados Unidos se ubicaron en el lugar 104. Este índice de felicidad se basa en tres cosas: 1) Se hace la pregunta la persona, "¿Qué tan feliz es usted?" En una escala del 0-10. 2) Luego se mide la expectativa de vida de las personas de ese país. Finalmente se mide cuanta “tierra” (o recursos ecológicos) necesita la persona en ese país para ser feliz.
In my last blog, I wrote on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat well. This included knowing how to choose a speaker for your group’s needs, giving enough time to prepare for the retreat, and serving him well as he arrives to the retreat. The goal for the time at the retreat is to serve the speaker well so that he would gladly want to return in the future without a second thought. This entry will concentrate on how to host the speaker well at a retreat.
Scott Rae, professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot, just released the new book, Doing the Right Thing: Making Moral Choices in a World Full of Options. He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.
This is the first of a series of blogs dealing with gun control from a Christian perspective. In this first installment, I sketch the general theological case for sane restriction on guns, particularly assault weapons, and apply biblical principles to common objections. In subsequent (shorter) posts, I will respond to alleged “biblical” arguments used by gun advocates, who claim that Scripture supports unrestricted access to lethal weaponry for private individuals. [I have slighly modified this post in the wake of the horrible tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.]
Between 1750 and 1900, the total expanse of human knowledge had doubled. At that time of pre-technology human history, it took 150 years. Today, the growth of knowledge is occurring some 100 times faster. It is said that the entire sum of all known information, i.e., human knowledge, doubles every 1.5 years. By 2020 it is estimated that it will be doubling approximately every month and a half (72 days). Think about that…
My family’s business, in the modest Colorado town where I grew up, was a foundry. For the uninitiated, a foundry is like a steel mill. Its basic operation is to melt ore (in our case, iron, brass, and aluminum) in a furnace, pour it into molds, and thereby produce metal castings. Our family joke was that my parents were “in the iron and steel business” – my mom would iron while my dad would steal. (I’ll spare you the rest of the foundry jokes.) Foundry work is hard, hot, dirty, and notoriously dangerous. Our furnace room temperature was 140 degrees fahrenheit.
El 31 de octubre de 1517 Martín Lutero clavó en las puertas de la catedral de Wittenberg en Alemania 95 tesis en las que criticaba abiertamente las ventas de indulgencias de la iglesia católica romana. Lutero inicialmente no tenía la intención de romper con la iglesia romana sino enfatizar la supremacía del evangelio basada en su simplicidad y a la vez en su gran profundidad. El evangelio o las buenas noticias de la salvación en Cristo es el fundamento esencial de la fe cristiana y desgraciadamente se había pervertido convirtiéndose en una práctica totalmente ajena a su esencia. De manera que, las indulgencias eran una distorsión absoluta del evangelio y, por lo tanto, dignas de ser repudiadas con severidad. Como resultado de esta acción, Lutero inició el movimiento conocido como la Reforma Protestante y cada 31 de octubre se conmemora como el Día de la Reforma.
I recently watched a disturbing video. A camera caught the head of a certain political organization; we’ll call him Lucius, attempting to convince a packed auditorium about the reality of moral law. Specifically, Lucius appealed to a real moral law above and beyond culture to argue against a right to homosexual marriage. What struck me most was less of what he said and more how he said it. Lucius taunted the crowd relentlessly, hurling insults like hand grenades. People often argue against moral reality by appealing to moral reality (e.g., there can’t be absolutes because look at out how absolutely wrong the crusades and inquisitions were!). But there is an equal and opposite inconsistency, namely, arguing for moral reality while breaking the very morality we are defending (e.g., real morals like ‘love your neighbor’ exist, you ignoramus!). In other words, Lucius’ problem was that he did not argue his worldview as if his worldview were actually true. No matter what he said, the way in which he said it made it seem like morals like love and respect were not to be taken seriously after all. The medium refuted the message.
Ed Curtis, professor of biblical and theological studies at Talbot, just released the new book, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs (Teach the Text Commentary Series). He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.
After thirty-five years of service, James Adamson’s NICNT commentary on the Epistle of James has received a much-needed update by Scot McKnight. McKnight’s contribution to the series significantly expands on its predecessor volume—being more than twice its size—which is due, in part, to the mounting scholarship on James appearing since its 1976 publication date.
Being a retreat speaker can be an enjoyable time but can also be a challenging time. The difference maker for which outcome occurs is largely dependent on the host for the speaker. Over the years, as both a speaker and also as a host, I’ve seen some excellent treatment of speakers and also some situations that could use a lot of improvement. This will be a 2 part series of blogs in which I hope to highlight some ways to invite and host a guest speaker in which he would feel very well taken care of throughout the whole process. In this first part of the series, I will focus on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat.
Robert Saucy, distinguished professor of systematic theology at Talbot, just released the new book, Minding the Heart: The Way of Spiritual Transformation. He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18 NASB). Why is sexual sin singled out as uniquely damaging to the body in a way that other physical actions are not? Substance abuse, gluttony, cutting—these are all harmful acts to the body, but they do not do what sexual misconduct does, according to Paul. Typical responses from students to explain this exception are that sex involves the whole person, or maybe because it involves someone else. The same could be said for illegal drug use, so there must be something more.
El gran educador Antonio del Corro (Sevilla, 1527-Londres, 1591) es quizá una de las figuras más importantes y a la vez menos conocidas de la reforma española. Es también un ejemplo a imitar para todos los que seguimos a Cristo y sobre todo para los que nos dedicamos a servirle a través de la enseñanza. El historiador Emilio Monjo se refiere a Antonio de Corro como “un personaje que refleja el talante de la Reforma española en cuanto a su libertad de pensamiento y palabra: una iglesia que había nacido libre por la acción de la Escritura, y que se mantuvo libre con la Escritura también en su exilio europeo".