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Why Keep the Old Testament?

“Why Keep the Old (Testament) When We Have the New (Testament)?” was the question that Dr. Benjamin Shaw answered during the second Learning at Lebanon Seminar held today at Lebanon Presbyterian Church, Abbeville, SC.

The audio is now online:

The seminar for next month will be on March 26 with Mr. Dustin Segers addressing, “Man Cannot Live Without God: or Why There is No Good Reason to be An Atheist”. If you know of people in the area, please pass this information along.

Roman Meme Theology, Data Mining the Bible and Qur’an, Wael Ibrahim, and a Live Viewing of Kent Hovind

Started off with a Meme Theology segment looking at a Roman Catholic meme discussing authority and history, then moved on to an article pretending to compare the Old and New Testaments with the Qur’an regarding violence, based upon textual “data mining,” and then returned to examining the Wael Ibrahim/Lincoln Loo debate.  But then someone tweeted the newest Kent Hovind video which made reference to me, so we grabbed it and watched it live on the air.  Proved…interesting!

Don’t miss Thursday’s program!  We will have a special guest on to make a special announcement!

Here is the YouTube link:

OT & NT Books

This is going to be a good year for readers of reformed works, especially as it relates to the Bible. I simply want to make you aware of three books that are coming out this year.

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised, Edited by Miles V. Van Pelt. Due out May 31, 2016.
Description:
The Old Testament is not just a collection of disparate stories, each with its own meaning and moral lessons. Rather, it’s one cohesive story, tied together by the good news about Israel’s coming Messiah, promised from the beginning. Covering each book in the Old Testament, this volume invites readers to teach the Bible from a Reformed, covenantal, and redemptive-historical perspective. Featuring contributions from twelve respected evangelical scholars, this gospel-centered introduction to the Old Testament will help anyone who teaches or studies Scripture to better see the initial outworking of God’s plan to redeem the world through Jesus Christ.

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized, Edited by Michael J. Kruger. Due out May 31, 2016.
Description:
Introductions to the New Testament often take a defensive stance, focusing on historical-critical issues but failing to address the interests and needs of pastors and Bible teachers. However, with an emphasis on the theology, key themes, and overall message of each book in the New Testament, this collaborative effort of nine biblical scholars takes a more positive and pastorally relevant approach. Written from a distinctly Reformed, covenantal, and redemptive-historical perspective, this theologically rich, expositional resource will equip readers to study and teach each book in the New Testament with clarity and insight.

A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness, by John Piper. Due out March 31, 2016.
Description:
Through the centuries, Christians have declared the Bible to be the Word of God. But why? What foundation do Christians have for believing that the Bible contains the very words of the living God? In his first major book since Bloodlines, best-selling author and popular preacher John Piper makes the case for why it is not just reasonable but crucial that we view the Bible as absolutely perfect and totally reliable. Exploring what Scripture teaches about itself from Genesis to Revelation, its unique “self-authenticating” nature, and its unparalleled ability to showcase God’s peculiar glory, Piper lays a solid foundation for Christians’ unshakable confidence in the Bible.

Michael Kruger said that Piper’s book is “One of the Most Unique Books on the Authority of Scripture in Generations”

I’m looking forward to these publications. Thank you Crossway.

Youth Apologetics Class (Classical Education Style)

I (Jeff) recently started teaching apologetics to the youth at the church I pastor (Lebanon Presbyterian Church), in South Carolina. Obviously I hope that the material sticks with the youth for the rest of their lives. I believe the best way to learn a subject, or even to teach a subject is by way of the Trivium. Trivium means, three ways, which are: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. These three ways correspond to the particular ages of a person, and how a person at a particular age learns the best (there is some overlap). For example, the Grammar stage was also called, by Dorothy Sayers the “Poll-Parrot” stage. She said, “The Poll-Parrot stage is the one in which learning by heart is easy and, on the whole, pleasurable; whereas reasoning is difficult and, on the whole, little relished. At this age, one readily memorizes the shapes and appearances of things; one likes to recite the number-plates of cars; one rejoices in the chanting of rhymes and the rumble and thunder of unintelligible polysyllables; one enjoys the mere accumulation of things” For more information on the classical model of education click here. By the way, this method of learning can be applied to any subject, by anyone.

Since many in this class have never heard of apologetics, my goal is to teach this class using the classical model of education. I’ve stated (with the help of others) in the following ways what I intend to accomplish with this class, which coincide with the trivium:

(1) Knowing what you believe (grammar stage – knowledge. Memorize facts)
(2) Knowing why you believe what you believe (dialectic stage – understanding. Discover facts)
(3) Being able and willing to explain what and why you believe (rhetoric stage – wisdom. Explaining the facts)

(1) A Confident Christian – knowing what you believe (Grammar stage)
(2) A Clear thinking Christian – knowing why you believe what you believe (Dialectic stage)
(3) A Courageous and Graceful Christian in every encounter – being able to communicate what you believe and why (Rhetoric stage)

(1) Head – knowing what you believe (grammar stage)
(2) Heart – knowing why you believe (dialectic stage)
(3) Hands – being able and willing to communicate what and why you believe (rhetoric stage)

I am trying to accomplish two things with this class, at least for a portion of the class. I have a young lady who expressed interest in becoming a member of the church, so I’m including material that I would cover in a “new members class.” Currently I am answering the question “Who is an apologist?” while at the dealing with the material contained in the first membership question of the PCA, “Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?” There are some obvious topics that are in back of this question, such as God as creator and man as creature, the fall, sin, etc. So, the past two weeks we’ve talked about these topics.

The youngest in my class is 9 years old and the oldest is 16. There will be a lot repetition at times, almost like learning Greek paradigms, but this should benefit the entire class. Sometimes we’ll cover all three stages of learning in a single class, but the focus, at least for a time, we’ll be in the grammar stage.

I’m not sure if the classes will be helpful to our readers, but I’ll post links to the first three, just in case.

Class #1
Class #2
Class #3

I haven’t introduced any books to the class; we’re just not there at this point, but I would recommend the following for an introductory class on apologetics:

Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word, Voddie Baucham Jr.

Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending Our Faith, Scott Oliphint.

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, Greg Koukl.

I’ll leave you with the following quotations which, in my mind are so important:

“In the study of history the first step is to learn the facts. No amount of topical study, no amount of reflection on the principles of the history, will result in anything better than a mental jumble, unless the memory has first retained the framework of the fact.” – J. Gresham Machen, The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History, 9.

“The real job of every moral teacher is to keep bringing us back to the simple principles which we’re so anxious not to see.” – C. S. Lewis

Why Divine Electing Love Requires Exclusivity

In his The God of Israel and Christian Theology R. Kendall Soulen make a case why God’s love must be exclusive in his election of the physical people Abraham-Israel. The same principle can be applied to the Divine electing love of individuals—Jew or Gentile—who are in Christ.

But why should God be a God of election at all? Does not God love all persons equally? Why should God choose one people and not another? Wyschogrod’s insistence upon God’s freedom prohibits him from saying that God had to elect one family over the rest. Yet given the fact that God has done so, it is possible to seek reasons for what God has done in order to display ground for human gratitude….

For Wyschogrod, this account of love [sharp distinction between agape and eros love]  is suspect because it bifurcates the human condition in an unreal way. In this respect it resembles the distinction between body and soul. Body and soul are aspects of the one being that God created in God’s image. To regard a person primary as a soul rather than as a concrete unity is to risk missing the human being who is really there. Similarly, true love is impossible without an element of eros that orients agape on the reality of the particular one who is loved. This introduces an element of exclusivity into true love. Without this directedness and exclusivity, agape because fictitious:

Undifferentiated love, love that is dispensed equally to all must be love that does not meet the individual in his individuality but sees him as a member of a species, whether that species be the working class, the poor, those created in the image of God, or what not.

Real encounter is possible only when humans are regarded as more than instance of a class. Genuine human love is directed to the concrete individuality of the other; therefore, genuine human love requires exclusivity (7–8).