Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Darth Vader Exegesis

After recently reading this post at the Blessed Quietness website, it turns out that I'll be going to Hell unless I read the KJV version of the Bible, so I decided that following my last read of the Bible (the "heretical" NASB) I'd better give the KJV another go, if for no other reason than to sharpen up on my Shakespearean English (if not to avoid hellfire!)

Anyhow, I found that the library has an MP3 format of the AV that I could download and listen to while washing dishes at night. And this edition is actually pretty fascinating: the Old Testament is read by Alexander Scourby, who has a rich English accent (he sounds like a Beatrix Potter character) and the New Testament is read by none othen than Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones. His reading is actually fascinating, because as you listen you sort of visualize Darth Vader reading this aloud, sitting in that pod-thing in "Empire Strikes Back" (the thing he'd open up, tell off an Imperial admiral, then close again). In a strange way, its like you can visualize Vader reading a book like Romans out loud, maybe in a time-frame just prior to the end of "Return of the Jedi", and possibly pondering the words of Chapter 12 and contemplating turning from evil?

Romans 12:9 "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

Luke, turn to the AV side of the force!
In any case, the narration is fascinating and James Earl Jones has a deep, engrossing voice that really makes the AV fascinating to listen to.  And of course, every time he introduces a chapter of "Luke", you can't help but think - oh, you know how the rest of it goes...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Luke 7:11-17

Some more Oak Ridge sermon notes from Luke 7:

The preface to the message was reinforcing that Jesus Christ has eternally existed with God the Father. We understand that creation is a trinitarian work, just as redemption is, and that God speaks things into existence and they exist.

In Luke 7 we read about Jesus raising to life the widows son. In this we see providentially timed "crowd of death" meeting the "crowd of life". To the reader, Christ's instruction to the widow to "stop crying" seems like a strange one, unless it was said by someone with the authority to restore life. From the passage, there is no indication that this woman knew Christ or that she had asked anything of him, but rather He has arrived with a mission to heal.

Luke 7 also touches on the principle of touching the dead/the "unclean", and the idea that touching unclean things makes the clean unclean, but Christ is clean, and when he touches the unclean things (us) we become clean again. In vs. 14, Jesus "went up and touched the coffin", restoring the child to life.

The people here recognized that Christ was similar to the prophets of the Old Testament, and there was excitement that, 400 years following the Old Testament, God was revealing his power again. This passage in Luke is the first account of Christ raising the dead to life again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Psalm 139

Some quick sermon notes from a few months ago:

In Psalm 139 David is praising God for the omni-aspects of his nature:
  • Omnipresent
  • Omnipotent
  • Omniscient
David acknowledges that he is unable to hide (in a negative sense), yet at the same time the positive aspect remains that he is never away from God's presence.

All of human life, even that of the unborn, is a miracle. In Psalm 139 David, contemplating the fetus in the womb, responds by giving thanks to God.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day

I've been (slowly) working through "Basic Greek in 30 Minutes a Day" by James Found. I picked this up at Lifeway, and I've been enjoying the fairly user-friendly introdcution to the Greek language presented in this workbook. Basically, the text is printed in a pulpy, worktext-style format where you fill in answers on most every page. The text starts out great, with very simplistic example of reading english words in greek (such as English words like "bat" written in greek characters) and slowly starts through exercises that introduce greek characters and words. The pace is nice and smooth for a linguistic dummy for me.

However, the book tends to take a deeper direction into Greek grammar around page 120+, and once you start getting into the nominative, genative stuff, my eyes start to glaze over. You know, it's not for lack of effort, but this stuff gets pretty hard! (good observation Captain Obvious!) But I'm going to keep on with this. What's remarkable is how, as you learn these words, you start to slowly (if in subtle ways) see the richness in the word usage within certain passages of scripture, as well as gaining an appreciation for semi-regular words you hear from time to time, in terms of tracing back to the Greek (scoliosis, anathema, etc, in addition to so many Biblical words).

Might be slow progress finishing this but I've enjoyed the experience so far.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Micah 6:8

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (NIV)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gen. 25:19-26

Some notes that I found recently on a Voddie sermon about Genesis 25:19-26. Voddie presenting a doctrinal overview of predestination in terms of the lives of Isaac, Esau and Jacob. The overview included a detailed look at Romans 9, as well a look at the London Baptist Confession.

Voddie mentioned how Genesis so far spoke tremendously about Abraham and his life, but we don't see much about Isaac. V. 20 gives a sneak peek of Laban, who will resurface later in the life of Jacob.
In terms of Isaac and Abraham, there are a number of parallels: Both dealt with issues of barrenness, in light of God's promise that they will be fathers of a prosperous nation. The distinction, however, is that Abraham, when told he would have a child at his old age, laughed at the promise. Abraham also turned to the sinful human option and had a child with Hagar, which was not God's plan. Isaac, on the other hand, when presented with a situation of a barren wife, fell on his face and prayed. Voddie specualted that, in light of his father's sin with Hagar, he directly witnessed the friction between his mother and Hagar and did not want to repeat this. Sounds completely logical to me.

Rebecca had two children, Jacob and Esau. Jacob was described in Hebrew as "akave" (going with the phonetic here) that means "heel-grabber", a reference to his character. The contention between the brothers is also reflective of contention between mother and father: Isaac was fond of Esau, particularly of the wild game that he caught, while Rebecca was fond of Jacob. Favoritism is never a good thing.

Romans 9 presents a doctrinal exposition of the life of Jacob and Esau. The issue of predestination can be a tricky, and difficult, one for me, but it is one that I find to be consistent with scripture. Voddie shared a series of passages from the London Baptist convention on the topic: those saved are chosen out of the good please of the will of God, while others are "left to act in their sin" and get what their sins deserve. It's not God's injustice that sends men to Hell, but man's want/bent to sin.

One of many challenges that arise is the question of, "If God has already predestined certain individuals, why share the gospel then?" The answer is because God told us to in His word, and because this is the means and process that God uses to call the elect. Voddie pointed out that an "arrogant Calvinist" should be a contradiction: "I'm saved and there's nothing in me God would have wanted to save." It's humbling.

Another question is, is this just? The answer is that it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy. Can what is made question the maker? God predestined us to adoption according to the council of His will:
John 5:21 - "The Son gives life to whom He will"
John 6:65 - "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

Otherwise, the alternative is that there are people who are smart enough, or holy enough, to "figure it out" moreso than other people. This emphasises human effort and initiative, moreso than the grace of God, and it's God's grace alone that makes us alive in Christ.

Romans 8 - "those whom he foreknew he also predestined" - you can't separate predestination from salvation. According to Lorraine Boetner, foreordination is the work of a wise and merciful heavenful father, as opposed to the working of blind, physicial fate.

Voddie also spoke about the "prescient" view and the fallacy of this viewpoint, that God's predestination of individuals is based on seeing into the future, and knowing from future actions that someone will be good or bad. The fallacy here is that God is basically little more than a time-traveler, and this takes away from His sovereignty. The prescient view can't explain Roman's 9 and how God could love one and hate another.

As far as applications presented, we as believers should adore God for His grace and NOT for our own ability. The wrong view is one of, "God saw that I would someday choose him", and commend me for being "smarter" than others to find the path to salvation.

Another point is that success in sharing the gospel does not depend on us. God has guaranteed the salvation of His elect. We should avoid over-introspection of whether or not we are of the elect, but rather our focus should be on repentance and believing the gospel. The same situation with our children: we should not fuss over worrying if our children are "elect" or not, but rather focus on sharing the gospel with them.