Monday, January 30, 2006

Shock-Value Moment

Today was a blessed Lord’s Day. Pastor Fry’s preaching was amazing. We’re working our way through the book of Numbers in the evening for our Old Testament study. I am AMAZED at his ability to preach from passages I wouldn’t dream of choosing to preach from. What’s more is that these unpopular books are allowing for some of the most beneficial sermons I’ve ever heard. I praise God for my pastor. He really works hard at properly handling the Word of God.

After the evening service I hooked up with my old dgroup at GCC. I’ve been spending time with them whenever I can, and let me just say what a blessing it is being with them again. Leaving that group of boys was the most difficult part about leaving Grace, but it is good to be able to see them again. They’ve reached a new point of maturity where we can have meaningful discussions, so each week has become mando exciting. Next week we’re talking about the Sign Gifts having ceased. To prepare, I’ve decided to re-write a few of my blogs into a paper defending Cessationism and Sola Scriptura. I’m really looking forward to it.

If you didn’t read the previous entry, you should =). This week I hope to write a thorough review of Donald Miller’s books as well as a paper on Cessationism. It’ll be a busy week. The good news is I’ll be posting some laid back posts until I finish those =).

Now we come to the title of this entry … had to properly lead into the time frame *grin*

After dgroup, Tim (Dan’s co-leader for the group) and I stood outside talking. As we were walking to our cars Tim suddenly asked if I knew “Jen Nelson”? I froze in my tracks. It was a real shock-value moment for me. Jen Nelson is my old buddy Scott’s older sister (haha, does that makes sense?). Scott was my best friend from 6th grade until about 3 years ago when he became a Hyper-Preterist. Out of all the strife and turmoil that came during that period in my life, the hardest loss was losing Scott’s friendship. I’ve jokingly thought to myself that it took damnable heresy to split us apart =). He was a good friend and I miss him. So I asked Tim if I could get Jen’s phone number so I can get Scott’s number. I’m not sure how it’ll go over, but I want to check up on him and see how he’s doing. Heak, I just wanna talk to him. When I heard the name “Jen Nelson,” my thoughts immediately went to Scott. I thought about the many good times we had; then our falling out. It brought back all the good and the painful memories. I had some teary-eyed moments. Isn’t it interesting how hearing someone’s name can bring up a zillion emotions and memories?

I have no idea how calling Scott will go over. But I have to believe that even if he still is a Hyper-Preterist, we can pleasantly catch up on life. This is something I have to do. I definitely would appreciate your prayers about this – if you can’t tell, I’m pretty nervous.

My prayer has been that God might be pleased to grant Scott repentance from this heresy, if he hasn’t already turned back to the truth. I’m reminded of Paul when he wrote 2 Timothy 2:24-25, 24The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” Interestingly enough, Paul is specifically talking about those who say the resurrection of the dead has already taken place (which is one of the many heresies taught by Hyper-Preterists). May the Lord’s will be done.

Titus 2:13,

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Donald Miller Revisted

Because of a recent conversation about Donald Miller (at Bucks – where else?), I’ve decided to write a more in-depth entry about both his popular works: Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What. For some reason, many conservative and Reformed Christians are caught up in the Donald Miller fad. What concerns me is how these believers who attend mature churches are able to turn off their discernment radar so they can find some reason to applaud these books.

Here are some of the arguments made by proponents of Miller’s works: (1)“His books aren’t very deep because they aren’t supposed to be theological”(2)“It’s okay that his books record all of his misguided and sinful actions because he’s writing about his journey as a maturing Christian”(3)“Miller’s apologizing to unbelievers on behalf of all Christians for the Crusades (while demonstrating his dishonesty or recklessness), shows his desire to better relations with the unregenerate”

I’m taking these as genuine arguments made with sincerity. I have great love for the believers making these particular arguments, which is why I believe they are worth addressing.

Argument #1 assumes that books about “Christian spirituality” don’t have to be theological. How can you address Christianity without being theological? To talk about God you must talk about theology. “Theology,” after all, is the study of God =). Finally, does this argument admit to Miller's books being shallow?

Argument #2 assumes that Miller somehow condemns his sinful actions in his books. Nowhere in his books does he do this. Many times Miller is proud of his crude and misguided behavior. Other times he leaves it up to the reader to decide.

Argument #3 forgets that the Christian witness begins with integrity. Accepting as true the misunderstandings of unbelievers is not a proper way to engage the unbeliever and preach the gospel. In the case with the Crusades, Miller should never have apologized on behalf of all Christians for the Crusades. What was wrong with nations taking back land the Muslims conquered? What Miller should have done was correct the misunderstandings/misbeliefs of the unbeliever and move on towards a Biblically grounded gospel presentation.

The next entry in this series will contain a full review of Miller’s books. The objections listed above will be dealt with in greater detail.

Allow me to again state my purpose for this series: to make my case that Donald Miller’s books are unhelpful and harmful to the undiscerning Christian.

PS - my previous entry about DM

Stay tuned,

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Friend for Life

Friendship. What qualities characterize a true friend? How do I categorize my friends? How should I choose my friends? How good of a friend am I? These are some things I’ve thought about lately.

Over the years I have made quite a variety of friends: acquaintances, hang out friends, good friends, and best friends. Notice that I’ve given a short list of categories to place my friends in. I believe that we automatically place people in different categories like these, even if we don’t always recognize that we’re doing that.

Acquaintances are people I know, but not overly well.

Hang out friends I see in a group, or tag along with good/best friends.

Good friends are those I see regularly, get along with particularly well, and have key things in common.

My best friends are those I confide in. Obviously I spend a great deal of time with them. I look forward to hanging out with them. They are definitely fellow believers in Christ. Best friends are always there for me when I need them.

JJ and I were talking about this Saturday night, and he brought out an interesting insight: all friendships have their ups and downs. What he means is that every friendship has better moments and poorer (is that a word?) moments. You might chill with someone A LOT right as you meet them, then slowly back off for a bit. It might pick up later … all this is common.

But what about those really good or best friends that “grow apart”? I have had friends that were great friends but then suddenly stopped putting effort into the relationship. For whatever reason, they decided the relationship was no longer worth it to them (as a Sociologist might say), so they backed off.

By now I think you can tell that I firmly believe that true friendship involves regular give and take. For example, if a friend needs my ear, I gladly give it to him. I expect the same in return. The effort is reciprocal.

Relationships take a lot of work, do they not? They are only easy part of the time; other times, not so easy. Forgiveness is a must. When I wrong a friend I need to apologize, seek forgiveness, and repent from that sin.

One of my best friends, Eli, has a great saying: “When I have a friend, I am a friend to that person for life.” Amen! I am 100% in agreement with Eli on this! In this brief statement, he summarizes his philosophy of friendship. I can attest to the fact that Eli has lived up to this belief. He has been one of my best friends for over five years. He has stuck with me through thick and thin. We’ve proclaimed the gospel side by side, defended God’s truth against heresy, and encouraged one another in the faith. I hope I can learn from Eli’s example and become a better friend to all the friends God has provided for me.

There is a verse in Philemon where the Apostle Paul describes the kind of relationship he has with Philemon: “7 For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.” Wow! What an incredible complement given by Paul! Certainly, I can say this of many of my friends, but I will single out Eli. Eli has been this kind of friend for me. He is a joy in the Lord and I am refreshed in Christ when we hang out at his house (or at Starbucks =)). Let me now say thank you Eli, for being the kind of friend you are to me. Also, to my other friends, know that I deeply value your friendship and recognize it as a blessing from God.

My prayer is that I might bring much joy and comfort to my friends, and that I might refresh my brethren in Christ.

Finally, another humorous test to evaluate who your best friends are: figure out who you want as your groomsman at your wedding? =) (hat tip to JJ). I have a good idea of mine.

The Rusted One

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My blog's greatest moment

Yesterday, Phil Johnson blogspotted me on his blog. This is without a doubt my blog's greatest moment =)

The Saints are Marching On

My good friend and dear brother in the Lord, John Roberts, gave me a brief report about his recent mission trip to Caborca, Mexico.

John and the rest of the team from his church (East Valley Bible Church) were gone from January 6-13. They prepared for this trip for many months: studying the culture, brushing up on Spanish, and preparing for the work of the gospel. They arrived safely in Mexico, and met up with a local church they would be working with.

They primarily shared the gospel by distributing tapes with the gospel message for the many different dialects spoken in the area. From what I have heard so far, they were able to give out many copies of these tapes. Overall, the people were accepting and open towards the gospel.

John’s team also used Jesus films for local crowds as an introduction to the message of the gospel. One night, the response was overwhelming! 30-40 professed faith in Christ. My prayer is that these professing Christians get plugged into a solid church and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

Tonight at Bucks, as I was skimming around Acts (studying a particular issue that I will undoubtedly blog about later *grin*), I ran across this passage talking about Paul and Barnabas:

27 When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they spent a long time with the disciples.” (Acts 14:27-28).

The Apostles, Paul and Barnabas, met with the church at Antioch and reported the things that God had done by way of providing opportunities to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. I love verse 28: “And they spent a long time with the disciples.” Isn’t that an interesting thing to write? How encouraging this time must have been for those in Antioch! After all, Paul was returning to Antioch after converting many in that city to the faith. The “disciples” that Paul and Barnabas met with were undoubtedly filled with joy at hearing the report! Notice how Paul writes of himself to the Galatians:

“21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy." 24 And they were glorifying God because of me.” (Galatians 1:21-24).

Just as in Syria and Cilicia, the church in Antioch praised God because of the works God was accomplishing through Paul.

In the same way, the saints in Gilbert, AZ praise God because of the works done through John and others at EVBC. I am greatly encouraged at John’s (and others’) report. I’m excited that God’s kingdom continues to grow and expand. All who were appointed unto eternal life, believed their message.

Might we be strengthened in Christ because of this report and be found boldly preaching the gospel, as we ought. And may each of us be able to say with Paul that we serve God in our spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son (Romans 1:9).

In the Saving Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sola Scriptura vs Continuationism

‘ello! Greetings chaps!

Phil Johnson began his discussion defending Sola Scriptura and cessationism against continuationism (“continuationism” is a preferable term to “charismatic,” since all Christians believe the Holy Spirit is active in His church).

Phil’s first post in this series is absolutely ingenious. He basically makes the case that there are no real continuationists today. What he means is that most continuationists concede that none of the miraculous and revelatory gifts that exist today compare to those of the first century. They are quick to list numerous qualifications for their view of the Sign Gifts which drastically lessen the importance of these gifts today. For example, it is often claimed that (1) apostles today do not have the same authority as the Apostles in the early church, (2) true prophets can make false prophecies, (3) the prophecies themselves are not God-breathed, (4) tongues spoken today aren’t human languages like the tongues spoken at Pentecost, (5) there are no miracle workers like those in the first century, and finally (6) the canon of Scripture is closed.

Already we can see that most continuationists hold to a form of cessationism. They may give lip service to the fact that everything that happened in the first century church still happens today, but they don’t really mean that – as has been demonstrated above.

I’ve always wondered what purpose these lesser forms of the miraculous gifts have today. If apostles that exist today have a lesser authority, why call them apostles? (unless you simply mean that they are “messengers” of the gospel, by which you are distinguishing them from the gift/office of Apostle. In fact, every Christian could then be called an “apostle”). What good are prophets if they cannot be held accountable for false prophecies? What kind of a message from God is not God-breathed and infallible? What good is a miracle worker who does not perform miracles of the same degree as in the first century (raising people from the dead, healing known cripples in front of a crowd)? Why has God stopped giving Scripture?

It is important that continuationists respond to these questions.

Most of Evangelicalism in our day has continuationist tendencies simply because they have not thought through the issues. Did God give particular gifts for the founding of His church? How does Sola Scriptura play into all this? Indeed, the presuppositions one brings to the table are vital in how one deals with this entire discussion.

If you start with the presupposition that the Bible is the final, sufficient revelation from God – sufficient to function for all things pertaining to life, godliness, faith and practice, you will end up siding with the belief that God does not give new special revelation today (be that personal or otherwise).

I’m firmly convinced that Sola Scriptura should be the starting point in this discussion.

One final note – how would most continuationists respond to real continuationists that claim that the miraculous gifts today are exactly as they were in the first century? …

I wonder if most continuationists have considered that last question.

Phil will be continuing his discussion on his blog. I'm not certain how many posts it will require to discuss all the relevant issues, but I imagine a good number. Keep checking his blog.

Welp, time to jet. Back latas gatas.

Defending the complete sufficiency of Scripture,
Case of Base

Friday, January 13, 2006

LOL "Grrr"

The following is from a blog by Mike Straka. I've had a similar experience, and busted up laughing

Air Grrr!

As if flying long distances in cramped airplanes isn't already uncomfortable enough, people routing through the overhead compartments with their butts in your face is enough to make you go Grrr!

That was my experience on a flight to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show in my aisle seat (I knew I should have booked a window seat). Every hour or so, the guy across the aisle from me would decide he needed some hard-to-find item that was packed away in his bag in the overhead compartment.

And every time he did it his butt was smack dab in my face.

The first few times he did it I tried my best to ignore it and not get too Grrr'd about it. This is a long flight after all, and I was hoping he would get what he needed and be done with it. But after, like, the sixth time of bending and hitting me in the head with his butt, I knew I had to say something.

But I didn't. I just bit my tongue and tried to fall asleep. I figured with my luck my comment would soon escalate into an argument, and the next thing you know some flight attendant would be having me arrested or some air marshal would be putting a bullet in my thigh.
Sometimes it's better to Grrr in silence.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Starbucks: we're slowly but surely taking over

I needed to review some Greek stuff, so I thought to myself, "Heak, let's head over to Bucks." So I did.

Before I sat down at my table I had James (one of the Baristas) running my way to say hello. James is a believer who frequently is an encouragement to me in the faith. He recently went to a Reformed Conference and was blown away by John Piper's preaching. James told me all about it, and wants to sit and talk more about Piper sometime.

When I finally reach my table, I notice that Ryan is sitting at the table next to me! So we chat for a while. Ryan attends SGM Gilbert.

Eventually I ordered my tall coffee (once the line disappeared - I HATE waiting in line) and bumped into Keelie and Alex, two Baristas at the store. They were chillin, about to go grab some food. I said hello to the other Baristas working: Patrick and Katie.

An hour later, I made it back to my table. Cody, a guy from Amazing Grace (a "Christian" bookstore in Tempe) stopped to say hello. We caught up and then I got some reading done!

Half an hour before closing time, Josh Fortner and his wife came over to say hello. They're both members at EVBC, a solid Reformed Church in the area (my brother is a member). Tonight, they met with Josh's brother, and his brother's girlfriend who both recently became Christians. Josh's brother and his g/f are serious about their repentance and are making some monumental changes. They have a love and a passion for reading the Scriptures. In fact, they recently spent a couple hours just reading the Bible together. Isn't it amazing that all true believers desire to read God's Word? True repentance is evident in the life of all believers.

I left Starbucks tonight mado encouraged. God has truly blessed me with believing friends to regularly talk to. Of course, there are many many I did not blog about that I see throughout the week: at church, my good friends, etc. But tonight was encouraging, and I wanted to share that with ya =)

Romans 1:11, "11For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; 12that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine."


Saturday, January 07, 2006

"All things" or "All [other] things"? Part II

*** The following is another response to TJ, a Jehovah’s Witness regarding Colossians 1. If you haven’t already, please read this and this, as well as each of the comments before continuing on, otherwise run the risk of being completely out in left field =)


Giving you the benefit of the doubt that you are going to provide the information I requested of you in a previous blog entry, I would now like to go a little more in-depth.

The main topic we are discussing is whether the NWT is justified for inserting “other” four times in its rendering of Colossians 1:16-17.

Your thesis

The only defense for the NWT’s rendering of Colossians 1 you have presented is in regards to prototokos, where you stated your thesis:

“every single instance in which 'firstborn' is used, the one being described as such is always a part of the group he/she/it is 'firstborn of.' Therefore Jesus must be a part 'of all creation”

More specifically, your thesis also involves the function of the genitive ktisis. Though you have not explicitly stated this, you appear to understand ktisis as a Partitive Genitive, which would mean that prototokos would be a part of all creation.

You’ve offered only one argument for your thesis, where you claim that every instance (both in the Old and New Testaments) where prototokos is followed by a genitive noun, the prototokos is always a member of a particular group.

I would like to point out that here we see your overriding presupposition: that prototokos followed by any genitive noun means “being the first in a particular group.”

If you would like to substantiate this particular argument for your thesis you need to address the following issues: Since your argument applies to the Bible as a whole, is it your position that syntax of Hebrew translated into Greek is the same as untranslated Koine Greek? If so, what relation does the syntax of the LXX (Septuagint) have with New Testament Syntax? In other words, how can the Syntax of Greek translated from Hebrew be properly compared with untranslated Koine Greek? And if the syntax cannot be compared, wouldn’t this leave your argument unfounded?

Defending ktisis as a Partitive Genitive

In order to defend your belief that ktisis (“of creation”) functions as a Partitive Genitive you need to prove that prototokos points to a point of origin.

Defending ktisis as a Genitive of Subordination

I, on the other hand, understand ktisis to function as a Genitive of Subordination, which means that Christ has preeminence over creation, and is not part of creation. I will restate the reasons for this, then defend each point:

(1) The context of the book of Colossians – the Apostle Paul was refuting Dualistic / Gnostic beliefs that taught that Jesus was one of many godlike creatures, called “aeons” by the Gnostics.

(2) The rich background of prototokos in the Septuagint, where the term was used as title communicating a special, privileged relationship, and even preeminence.

The context and background of Colossians

(Here I will be restating some things, emphasizing new things, and including some new concepts) –

The purpose of Paul in writing Colossians was to defend the superiority of Christ in response to Gnostic concepts. The Gnostics’ dualistic belief-system taught that the physical world (matter, flesh, the world) is evil, while the spiritual is good. It is important to recognize that the Gnostics had the problem of explaining how a good God could create a physical, and thus, evil world. Over time they developed the belief that from the one good, pure and spiritual God flowed a series of “emanations” which they called “aeons.” These aeons are godlike creatures, often identified as angels when Gnosticism encountered Jews and Christians. The aeons were less pure than the one true God. Eventually, a “Demiurge” emanated from the one true God. This Demiurge was sufficiently less pure so as to create, and come in contact with, the physical world. The Gnostics of the second century identified this Demiurge as the God of the Old Testament.

One other heresy springing from Gnostic dualism is Docetism, the belief that Jesus Christ did not have a physical body. They believed that Jesus “only seemed” to have a body, but really didn’t. Because Docetists were influenced by the Greek and Gnostic concept of Dualism, they didn’t believe that Jesus had an “evil,” physical body. It is plain that there were Docetics during the time of the apostles:

“2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3).

So if we keep in mind that Paul is refuting the forms of Gnosticism that were coming into the Colossian church, we will see that the position taken by those who deny the deity of Christ fall into the same trap of agreeing with the Gnostics against the Apostle Paul! In other words, if we interpret this passage as saying Jesus is a part of the creation, and not the Creator himself, we are left with a Jesus who looks very much like the Gnostic “aeon” that Paul is arguing against.

TJ, I ask you then: how would ktisis, functioning as a Partitive Genitive, support Paul’s argument that Christ was not an aeon or a “godlike creature” (a creation that was godlike)?

The rich background of prototokos in the Septuagint

(Here I will be again restating some things, emphasizing new things, and including some new concepts) –

Before the New Testament was written there was already a rich background of “firstborn” in the LXX (the Septuagint … the Hebrew translation of the Scriptures into Greek). It appears about 130 times - half of those appearances coming from the genealogical lists of Genesis and Chronicles, where it uses the standard meaning of “firstborn.” But it has a much more important usage in a number of other passages. The “firstborn” was given a double portion of his inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17; Genesis 27), and received special treatment (Genesis 43:33).

“Firstborn” came to be a title that referred to a position rather than a mere notion of being the first one born. This is seen in many passages in the Old Testament.

In Exodus 4:22 for example, God says that Israel is “My son, My firstborn.” Israel obviously wasn’t the first nation that God had “created,” but is instead the nation He chose to have an intimate relationship with. While there were certainly other nations in existence, these nations were excluded from this special relationship with Yahweh. Here prototokos clearly describes the unique relationship Yahweh had only with His people.

Another example is Jeremiah 31:9, where God says: “For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.” This language is describing Israel’s relationship to God and Ephraim’s special status in God’s sight. This special status was exclusive, and did not include other nations. “Firstborn” again describes a unique and privileged relationship between Yahweh and Israel/Ephraim.

Perhaps the clearest example is Psalm 89:27: “I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” This is a messianic Psalm (verse 20; also consider the use of “anointed”), and in this context, David, as the prototype of the coming Messiah, is described as God’s prototokos. The emphasis is clearly upon the relationship God had with David, not with David being made God’s “creation.” David had preeminence in God’s plan and was given the authority over God’s people. The future Messiah would also have preeminence, but an even greater preeminence.

It is very important that in each of these Old Testament examples, prototokos is not used to convey the “standard” meaning of birth, or a point of origin.

When we look at the New Testament, we find that the emphasis of prototokos is not placed on the idea of birth but instead upon the first part of the word—protos, the “first.” The word emphasizes superiority and priority rather than origin and birth.

Romans 8:29 is a good example of this. The Lord Jesus is described by Paul as “the firstborn among many brethren.” These brethren are glorified saints. Here Christ’s superiority is brought out, as well as his leadership in salvation.

Hebrews 1:6 is another example: “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM."” The idea of preeminence is clear, as all of God’s angels are instructed to worship Him (worship is to be given to Yahweh alone – Luke 4:8).

Another example is found in Colossians 1 … three verses after verse 15, we read in verse 18: He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Christ is again given the title of “firstborn,” but this time “firstborn from the dead.” Paul is not saying that Christ found his origin from the dead. Rather, Paul is describing Christ’s leadership role in the resurrection. He has primacy over salvation (like we saw in Romans 8:29) as well as leading the saints in the resurrection. Furthermore, doesn’t the context of verse 18 support this meaning of prototokos … “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything”?

Therefore, the term prototokos is used in Colossians 1 as a title to communicate preeminence over creation, and not to include the prototokos as part of creation.

Some other things … =)

With reference to Exodus 4:22, you said: Great, Israel is called the "firstborn" of the nations. Now, was Israel a nation? Yes!”

Here is the text: Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, "Israel is My son, My firstborn.”” Israel is not called the “firstborn of the nations.” Israel is called Yahweh’s firstborn. This means Israel has no peers when it comes to having a relationship with Yahweh. Israel was in a privileged class all alone.

With reference to Jeremiah 31:9, you said: “Again, Israel/Ephraim is described as a "firstborn" of the nations. Is it a nation itself? Yes, it is part of the group of nations.”

Here is the text: "With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn." The text does not describe Israel/Ephraim as the “firstborn of the nations” but rather as Yahweh’s firstborn. prototokos does not mean here that Israel was part of a group of nations. Rather, “firstborn” refers to a special relationship only Israel had with Yahweh. No other nations had this relationship, they were excluded. In the same way, Yahweh was a father to Israel alone and not to other nations.

With reference to Psalm 89:27, you said: “Okay, so is David a part of the group of kings? Yes, he is the "firstborn" among kings.”

Here is the text: "I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.” David was Yahweh’s firstborn. No other king could call himself God’s firstborn. Yahweh exclusively chose David. His kingdom was the highest of the kings of the earth – this refers to David’s preeminence over their rule.

Notice that none of these examples point to birth or origin. Prototokos is used in a specific way to communicate an exclusive relationship with Yahweh, and preeminence over other nations/kings. This is repetitive, but good clarification.

Wrap Up

The Apostle Paul, in responding to the Gnostic heresies entering the Colossian church, was careful to refute the idea that Jesus was a created being. He did so by using a term which already had a rich background in the Septuagint: prototokos. Paul knew how the Jews would understand such terminology, especially following the first part of verse 15: “He is the image of the invisible God…” Such a statement cannot be directed towards ANY creature, no matter how highly exalted. The background of prototokos in the LXX as a title for an exclusive, special, intimate relationship with Yahweh, and even preeminence over others was how the Apostle used the term.

Paul would not mean that Christ was the “first created,” thus destroying his whole argument.

This is why ktisis functions as a Genitive of Subordination and not as you defend, a Partitive Genitive.



Friday, January 06, 2006

This is too good...

This is too good...


*tips hat to John the Roberts for the link*

Case of Base

Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Sermonette" from the Psalter

Pastor Fry preached an amazing “sermonette” tonight – about 25 minutes. Wednesday night we have our prayer meeting, but before we pray, Pastor Fry preaches a short sermon from the Psalter.

Tonight was from Psalm 115. He began by listing off a few recent tragedies: the eastern hurricane that killed 100,000 people, the earthquake that killed 30,000 in Pakistan, Hurricane Katrina killed 3,000 and cost millions and millions in damage, and then just today, the 12 minors who died from a cave in. After considering some of these devastating events, many people ask the question: “Where was the Christian God in all this?” In fact, verse 2 of Psalm 115 quotes the nations asking God’s people this very question: “2 Why should the nations say, "Where, now, is their God?"” The answer to this question is found in verse 3: “3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” The first phrase of verse 3 describes God as ruling over all creation. He is the King of the universe, and is active in everything that happens. The next part of the phrase adds to the fact that God is the ultimate cause of all things – the good and the bad.

This means that there are no meaningless acts. No evil event in this world is without purpose. God is behind it all. This should bring us comfort in that we know that everything that happens around us and to us is part of the perfect plan of God. Were God not in complete control we might easily fall into despair. But surely, God lives, and He is reigning over all things.

Where has Case of Base gone???


Sorry for the lack of posts lately. If you've been following my discussion with TJ, a Jehovah's Witness, you know that we're chugging right along. Aaaand, because this conversation has held tight reins on my attention, each response has felt like it's own blog entry =) ... hence the lack of new entries.

That and my discussion with TJ via email, as well as the other AOMin emails I've been working on, has kept me a busy guy.

Sadly, I have not heard from Devin, the Jehovah's Witness I met with at Bucks. I called him about a week ago to set up our next meeting, but have not received a return call. Keep praying that the Holy Spirit might grant Devin repentance unto life and embrace our Triune God.

Christmas and New Years were great. Spent a lot of time with family, my church family, and friends. Elder James preached an amazing sermon on Christmas morning that is a must listen to. Def in my top three fav sermons of all time.

Continuing on with my seemingly random topics in this entry ...

Phil Johnson has laid out his plan to discuss Sola Scriptura and a response to continuationism. Soon I would also like to write about the presuppositions the continuationist brings to the table in this discussion - and providing a more in-depth argument for Sola Scriptura. Stay tuned!

Today at 11am I'm meeting with the doctor to go over my test results. I'll let ya'll know what he says later =).

Finally, if you use AIM and wanna chat, IM my username: PizzaDaHu9. For the full story of this nick, read THIS.

That's all for now,
Case of Base