Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Price check... on the Gospel.

What is the price of the Gospel?


This fact you cannot escape. The death of Jesus Christ brought to fruition the Gospel, God's promise of salvation through the forgiveness of sins.

Furthermore, when you deal with the Gospel, you always deal with death. This appears at odds with what we normally hear about the Gospel. But we often hear only one side of how the Gospel works. We hear about how the gospel gives life. We hear about the wonderful promises of God given to his people. This is of course all true and all very comforting.

However, again, the Gospel deals with death. Everything surrounding the Gospel is chock full of death. The Gospel comes to give life to those who were dead in their trespasses. The Gospel is persecuted and covered with the blood of martyrs of all ages. And again, this life giving Gospel was won for us by the death of Jesus Christ.

Hearing and proclaiming the Gospel is a deadly business, and it has been so from the very beginning. But of this you can be certain, life through the Gospel will always win out. Martin Luther's Easter hymn says it best:

It was a strange and dreadful strife
When Life and Death contended;
The victory remained with Life,
The reign of Death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That Death is swallowed up by Death,
His sting is lost forever.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bad Exegesis, and Reading Things into Scripture

I recently read a article on the Newsweek website entitled Gay Marriage: Our Mutual Joy. It is an article trying to show that Scripture actually backs gay marriage. Here is the front piece:

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

It's an annoying article. The author doesn't see the bigger picture that the entire Bible is written in the frame work of salvation through the promised Messiah, who was revealed to us in the New Testament as Jesus. It is in that framework that we see in all times and in all places sin has persisted. Jesus came to takes away all that sin.

The author doesn't understand that, and in effect doesn't understand what God's love is. She doesn't see God's love in Christ, but instead tries to find what love means by reading between the lines and get behind the text to understand what the text is really saying. By doing this she reads into Scripture what she wants to see, and thereby loses the Gospel. When you lose the Gospel framework, then you can really say anything you want about what the Bible says.

If you want to read the rest of the article you can find it here.

+Kyrie Eleison+

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A BCS Playoff...

If you ever wanted to see how a playoff in college football might work, read this article from I think it does a pretty fair job at presenting a playoff that is fair AND incorporates all the weaker conferences. Yes, teams still get left out, but now there will be good reason to leave them out.

Granted it probably won't happen for another 10 years if it ever does.

A Great Start

Yes, after a 1-month break I have finally posted again. Here's to posting more regularly than once a month.

Winter Quarter is here. And I think it should be less busy than I first thought it would be. So here's a rundown of my classes from the ones that demand the most work.

1) Church History II - There is a lot of reading and Prof. Coles is going to kill a lot of trees with all the handouts I have to memorize. However, I love this time period. So, although the workload (150 pages of reading a week) is great, it should be fun and manageable.

2) Pauline Epistles - The big thing here is exegetical work and the papers that I have to write. I have two 10-12 pagers for this class as well as weekly quizzes. Not bad, just time demanding. However, I am not too worried about this class either. I had both the professors, Dr. Peter Scaer and Dr. Nordling, for Gospels I and Gospels II respectively. I did well in both their classes and I know what they are looking for in my exegesis.

3) Catechetics - Prof. John Pless on learning how to teach the catechism and other catechism benefits. A project and a paper in here make this class thrid on the list. Oh yeah, and I get to remember/memorize the small catechism for recital, again.

4) Church History IV - I have heard that Dr. Rast's tests are hard and that the first test could end up being my only grade in the class. I guess it's just extra incentive in doing very well on the first test.

5) Pastoral Counseling - 2 tests - Pretty much all the answers are given in class as "Tuition Dollar" questions. It shouldn't be too tough.

6) Greek readings and Field Ed - Prof. Harvala and Prof. Pless are teaching those respectively. I think I will learn much from Prof Harvala as his approach is to exegete a text for preaching. These are simple classes.

That's a rundown of my classes.

+Kyrie Eleison+