pretty good Biblical Studies deals on CBD (updated)

Christian Book Distributers has some pretty good deals in their academic section.  Here are a few that caught my eye:

Zondervan’s 5 volume Encylopedia of the Bible recently updated by Moises Silva, originally edited by Merrill Tenney.    I have the original set and to tell you the truth, I have found it to be a surprisingly useful and beneficial resource.  Really.   It’s evn helped me gather som info I wasnt getting from the IVP Black Dictionary set.   If I can I’ll want to get the updated set and the deal at CBD at the moment is a pretty good one. 

The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10Vol).  This seems like a pretty ood deal if you are into Patristics.  And the reviews all speak positively of the set. 

The 3volume Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament – whileit may seem a bit dated, I hardly think it is not too useful and certainly something you might want to thinkabout getting, especially at te price its being offered. 

Updated: Zondervan’s 5 Volume Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Old Testament (Zondervan, 2009) – this price looks like a steal…

Well, these were the ones that caught myeye anyways.

aGts 2010 Spring Lectureship

The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary has announced  that Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright will be the guest speaker for the 2010 Spring Lectureship Series, January 19-21.  Dr. Wright is the international director of the Langham Partnership International. He also serves as chair of the Lausanne Committee’s Theology Working Group and chair of the Theological Resource Panel of TEAR Fund, a leading Christian relief and development charity. He has written several books, including Living as the People of God (An Eye for an Eye in the US), The Mission of God, and The God I Don’t Understand

Past Lectureship speakers have been Gary Collins, Stanley Grenz, Craig Keener, Sherwood Lingenfelter, among others!   Should be a great week!

Redemptive-Historical Preaching

It’s also called Christ-centered preaching and or gospel centered preaching.  It emphasizes the importance of preaching Christ in all of Scripture.  For example, Jesus said in Luke 24:44 – 


Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς· οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου οὓς ἐλάλησα πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἔτι ὢν σὺν ὑμῖν, ὅτι δεῖ πληρωθῆναι πάντα τὰ γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ νόμῳ Μωϋσέως καὶ τοῖς προφήταις καὶ ψαλμοῖς περὶ ἐμοῦ.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  (TNIV)


What do y’all think of this approach to preaching?  Must we preach Christ in all of Scripture?  Mention him in every sermon?  Do you do it, not do it, maybe, maybe not, etc?  

Oral Roberts dead at 91

 MSNBC reports that Oral Roberts received his eternal promotion into the presence of the Lord, Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009.  He was 91.   As others have noted, it can hardly be argued that he was the single greatest and most influential healing – televangelist of his day.  In many respects the greatest legacy he has left behind is his founding of the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  In the article, the quote by Jack Hayford can hardly be disputed:

If God had not, in His sovereign will, raised up the ministry of Oral Roberts, the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred.

This is true in many respects because, while many may disagree with his theology and practice, in the early days, he brought a significant amount of credibility to the faith healing and Charismatic movement, especially in the 50’s before the movement really took off in 1960. I mean if you compare him and his early ministry to that of some of the others around at that time such as William Brenham, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, and others, Roberts had more integrity in his left pinky than these other guys did in their whole body. 

Though some of these guys were drunks, schemers, manipulators, and so on… God still managed to use them (though I tend to think A. A. Allen can hardly be blamed.  His parents gave him beer when he was a toddler and then sat around and laughed at him while he stumbled around drunk – he died of liver complications all alone in a hotel room somewhere in Los Angeles (I think)) – before we are quick to judge, consider re-reading the story of Sampson and how God still used him for his redemptive purposes despite Sampson’s faults.  We may not all agree with how many in the Charismatic movement carry out their faith life and practice, but somehow God is able to work in and through them and the movement. 

May the Lord be with the Roberts family in this time.

HT: Nick

got my WTS books

My books came from the order I got as part of the WTS Certificate I received.  They actually were at the UPS office here at the Canyon Friday, but we’re so buried in snow the offices were closed and such – so I finally got them this morning!   I got John Sailhammer’s one separately but wanted to add it to the photo.  I must have not been paying attention, I thought it might be a couple hundred page book.  Nope, it’s over 600 pages! (My guess is it’s a combo of his other two books with maybe some updates, probably not much new from him, but that’s just a guess since I haven’t read much of his stuff before).  Since I purchased these (except one) I may or may not provide reviews – though perhaps I’ll comment on them now and again.

See Eric’s blog post for a plug on John Sailhammer’s book Meaning of the Pentetuch.

on preaching the word


2Timothy 4:1-2 – In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.


Seems to me that when I read these verses, we miss the part about Jesus as judge the living an the dead.  I tells me that we who are preachers and or teachers must and should have some element of fear in preaching the Word of God – how could we preach anything less?  Seems to me that we should beware of preaching anything other than the Word of God, that is the Bible. 

I have trouble seeing where topics and sermon series on how to be a good dad or mom, son or daughter, or how to be this and that fits into the preaching of the Word.  Now, before y’all get bent out of shape, I think these topics can be discussed but only in conjuction with the Word, meaning when and or if it occurs in Scripture.   I would be concerned that going off and having fun and entertaining sermons with a few Scripture verses sprinkled throughout shows a lack of understanding (and perhaps an undermining) of the authority of Scripture, and the power of the Word of God.

What say you?

on PhD work

(this is a little dated but…) Brandon Watson has a post on doing the statement of purpose for the PhD application process – explaining why you want to do PhD work and how your schooling up this point has prepared you for this daunting but exciting task.  He has good advice. 

I just got worried when I read it mainly because, well, I did NOTHING to prepare myself specifically for PhD work, I just worked on an MDiv in a general sense (which isn’t bad in and of itself) – so if I were to apply, I’d be in a tough spot. 

But if you are thinking the Lord is calling you to that level of study and work, then you will probably want to take what Brandon has to say to heart.  Start now to plan forPhD work – shape your courses in specific ways that will better prepare you for that level of work (especially getting the languages down).   I’m pretty certain doing a PhD is hard work but work well worth doing when the Lord calls you to it.  So start out well so you can finish out well.

Tiger’s doing the right thing

he’s quitting golf for the time being to save his marriage.   If only more politicians and dare I say pastors would take cue and follow his lead.  This act of courage on Tiger’s part shows he cares and is humble enough to admit he committed infedielity and needs to correct that. 

Here’s his staement in full:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

Well, done Tiger.  Blessings to you as you work to do the right thing.  To the other leaders in America who are cheating on their spouses, will you take cue and do the right thing?  Please do.

Biblical basis for Charismatic style worship?

I was studying Isaiah 35: 1-10 a while ago and was doing so for a sermon on Joy in Advent but titled the sermon, “Joy in Transformation.”  While studying this passage, I focused in on the occurances of gladness, joy, shout for joy in the passage and found out some really interesting stuff about how the Hebrew Bible uses at least three different words for joy, shout for joy or glad/gladness.    I’ll share some of my exegetical notes and then make some comments:

Exegetical Notes:

There are several Hebrew words in this passage for joy – they are synonyms yet they have slightly different nuances (though of course some overlap).

Joy is characteristic of the life of faith.  It marks both the life of the community of faith and the life of the individual believer.  Joy is a quality and not simply an emotion.  Above all God is both the object and giver of our joy!

The first word is gil (גיל), which refers especially to joy before God and is associated with rejoicing.  It has to do with a person’s expression of jubilation and joy because of what God has done on behalf of his people.

The next word is ranna (רנן).  It’s basic meaning is to yell.  On most occasions it describes an emotional and physical response to the presence and provision of God.  It often indicates a loud, enthusiastic, and joyful shout;  So how this word is used (because it can mean yell) is determined by the context – in this case it is the joyful, enthusiastic shout in praise to God for his redemptive provision.  Despite the root being related to yelling, there are over fifty occurrences, in the OT where it expresses happiness, joy, or relief, occurring in association with other verbs that express a similar joyful emotion.

While there may be many reasons for joyful expression, by far the predominant object of the shout of joy in all its OT occurrences is God!

God evokes shouts of joy from his people because of his acts of redemption. In our passage we see that God will rescue his people from their dispersion among the nations, and they will respond with shouts of joy especially as they see the tremendous bounty of grain, wine, and oil that God will provide for them.

In the Bible, a multitude of voices shout for joy to God. Most often the ones who shout are God’s people.  

Proverbs 29:6 tells is it is only the righteous who can shout for joy; the wicked are unable because of their sin.

In Isaiah 26:19, we see it described that the dead rise out of their dusty graves to “shout for joy” before the Lord.

Job 38:7 describes the angels as shouting for joy at the sight of God creating the world.

In our passage and throughout the Psalms and Prophets, different parts of God’s inanimate creation also take part in the symphony of praise.  In our passage it is the wilderness and dry land;

In Isaiah 44:23; 49:13, the heavens give praise to God; the mountains do the same in Psalms 98:8; as well as the trees in Ps 96:12; Tabor and Hermon [89:12 (13)]; and Lady Wisdom [Prov 1:20; 8:3]).

Finally, there is samach (also simcah). It signifies a spontaneous and vocal expression of joy rather than a restrained frame of mind.  In verse 10 we see the redeemed of the Lord are overtaken by joy in being able to return to Zion and worship God!  Sometimes we need to realize it is okay to shout to God in joyful exaltation to him for his miraculous provision in our lives! And that it is okay to be happy; to be joyful!!

When samach occurs we often see the expressive nature of the word: for example in 1 Chronicles 15:16 and Ezra 3:12 it means to lift up one’s voice and make a joyful sound with music.  In Genesis 31:27, 2 Chronicles 23:18, and Psalms 137:3 there is singing.  Psalm 9 and 68 tell us to sing praise.

In such texts as Genesis 31, Deut 12; 1 Chronicles 29; in Esther and the Psalms samach often serves as part of a festive celebration that entails eating and drinking and the playing of various instruments. Other expressive activities that occur along with samach are dancing which we see in 2 Samuel 6:14-16, clapping the hands as in Isaiah 55:12 and Ezekiel 25:6, and stamping the feet.

In fact, samach serves as the polar opposite for mourning (Psalm 30:11 [12]) and gloom (Isaiah 24:11).

These words for joy also indicate a sense of future rejoicing.  Both Jeremiah and Isaiah (as in our passage) affirm that the day when Yahweh restores Israel to her land inheritance will be a day of joyful shouting and gladness.  Zechariah 8:19 draws attention to the abundant blessings awaiting Israel by making a contrast between the present days of fasting and future feast days.  In this passage, the Lord will transform the fasts that commemorate dark days in Israel’s history into joyful days of feasting.  Instead of mourning (as was the case with Israel during and following the exile), these days will be characterizes by joyfulness and festive celebration because of the redemption Yahweh will accomplish on Israel’s behalf.  In fact, in Zephaniah 3:17 God himself will rejoice over his covenant people.

There is one other word I want us to look at in this passage.  In our passage, in verse 10 we see that the redeemed of Yahweh who will return to Zion with singing will be overtaken, or overwhelmed by joy and gladness and, with the departure of sorrow and sighing, will experience uninterrupted happiness (Isaiah 35:10).  In this case, the salvation of the Lord will be so great that the people of Israel will simply be overtaken by the joy of their newfound freedom and redemption.

At the same time, this idea of overtaking could equally well be translated “they overtake gladness and joy,” in which case the meaning would be that the joy that had been previously eluding their grasp will now at last be caught and possessed.  They have longed to walk in the joy of the Lord and in his redemption they have finally obtained it!

In this season of Advent there are plenty of reasons for allowing ourselves to be overtaken by joy and gladness.

So, while I understand that in this passage in Isaiah it is in reference to the people of Israel returning to the Land after exile, and that it also hints at future rejoicing, my thought is, why would the energetic and often joyful charismatic worhsip style be inappropriate in a corporate worship setting?  

Charismatics often get accused of emotionalism and over-focusing on the experience and such.  My question is, well why not?  Is that not part of the joy of worshipping God?  Experiencing joy and the emotions that go with it seems to be not only okay in Isaiah, but even encouraged.   What is wrong with times of joyful worship in the congregation before the One who has brought us out of our own spiritual exile and slavery sin and death??!! (and that most notably through the Cross of Christ!). 

Obviously it is there is a time for this and that but I think there is a pretty solid biblical case for the appropriateness of occasions of joyous, festive, and dare I suggest “emotional” worship “experiences” (oops, there goes that dreaded “e” word again…).   😉 

Please know I am not putting down the more quite reverent forms of worship – I like those times too and think they can equally evoke in one deep emotions of joy and greatfulness to God for his redemptive work in and through Jesus Christ.   I think there can and should be times for both joyous celebrative worship and the quiter moments – and believe it or not, in most healthy charismatic or pentecostal churches (and there are healthy ones out there, believe it or not), such as the Assemblies of God, Foursquare, even the Vineyard churches, in one worship service one can expereince a variety of styles of congregational worship – and it should be that way – I don’t think it should be all one or all the other all the time.  Healthy congregational worship will go back and forth as led by the Spirit of God. 

What say you?