Monday, July 30, 2012

Ye old should

Old English has a delightful cadence and ring to it does it not? Unfortunately one of the words that has walked off from it's original meaning is the word should. Nowadays should speaks more nearly to the expectant moral nature of a thing, "Well Dave should be here by now." It means, something ought to be.
I'd be willing to bet the meaning back then was more nearly along on the lines of our modern would, an expression of the certainty of the consequences of a thing. "Dave would be here by now if he knew they were giving away free doughnuts."
It's curious then that the ESV retained a should in John 3:16 when it seems to more nearly mean, would.
Yes it ought to happen, but even better to say it will happen.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alright Dispensationalism, now it's personal

I make no secret of the fact that I find dispensationalism repugnant, fit only to be ridiculed (which I do), because it takes away from understanding the person of Christ and replaces it with a... filter of stupidity.
I have been teaching through Zechariah on Sunday mornings, which was a challenge, but very interesting, because it was sometimes difficult and sometimes easy to see Christ in the passages, imagery, and metaphors, but it was always fun. The class seemed to enjoy it as well, having never approached it from that angle before. I make no bones about the fact that the principle I use to interpret Scripture is "Christ at the center," as is pretty obvious from reading the title on my blog.
The guy who I'm filling in for, who taught the class for a long time before me, is a dispensationalist. As time went on he started getting very agitated that I wasn't talking more about the millennial kingdom. It came to a head on Zech 8:23 where I interpreted that to be about us seizing the robes of Christ for healing, and the Gentiles coming into Christianity through the Jews, and the teacher quietly decided right then this was over, let's go back to Ezra. Last week he taught 9-14, about how the Neutron Bomb will be dropped, and how there will be a huge earth moving machine or miracle on zion. The standard dispensationalist understanding of the millennial kingdom.
In short he pulled the plug. Now it's personal.
Oh kick me out of any teaching spot you like, but never, ever, hide the glory of Christ under the dark cloud of 'future event.' It rips apart our very ability to understand Christ to quit early like that. "Zechariah didn't know what he was prophesying about anyway, and neither do we, it's impossible to actually know what the Bible says. But rest assured with the newspaper in your right hand you will be able to figure it out soon. It will become clear very soon." Because that doesn't just put the newspaper and the Bible on the same level of authority, it puts the newspaper above the word of God, being the interpretation and explanation.
May God not forgive our sins for this until we repent of dispensationalism and it's sinful, lazy, Christ denying lens of Biblical interpretation.

Post Script: I have not said much about their particular understanding of passages, because I can't for the life of me figure out what the principle of interpretation is. In Zecharaih it's a neutron bomb that blows people's skin away, and then it's not a drought machine but a divine punishment? Why is Jesus riding a donkey not the millennial kingdom but Him having dominion over it is? What happened to Jesus saying His kingdom was not of this world? I simply do not understand the principle other than "I didn't understand this at a first glance without applying any effort therefore it's about the millennial kingdom."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Second person plural

Sometimes I hear people say that in English we have no second person plural except for those Southerners who use y'all and those New Englanders who use the more uncouth youse-guys.
The UKJV falls into this trap as well, rendering the Old English ye as all of you, because ye is a second person singular.
But the thing is, we do have a second person plural: the word is you.When I'm talking to you one on one the word has a singular meaning, this is true, but when talking to a group the people are rolled up together and treated as an individual unit, for example, a teacher can scold a class "You really let me down."

And that's not just good for showing up those ignorant internet whiners, that's an amazing testament to headship. Our very language tacitly acknowledges that we understand corporate guilt. We understand how shame or accomplishment is shared. Imputation from Adam or Christ is not such a big issue to understand when we have language giving us headwind to understanding it.
Don't you agree?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Romans Book Was Set Back - Considerably

I was just finishing up the last few chapters of my book on the final edit cycle when I finally got word back from the ESV permission board: get lost kid.
Now I can understand that, I'm pretty disappointed, but I get it. I'm some nobody who won't be making any money, so they can't really ask a big fee from me, and I won't be trustworthy to handle the ESV text properly since I'm not some big name theologian, and the whole book format itself is a risky venture. So that's really three good reasons for saying no to allowing me to use their translation. On the other hand self publishing is going to be the wave of the future considering the big publishers are only interested in defending their paper business, have no value added into the market place, and are spending all their remaining resources crushing innovation. Further, everyone now famous was at one point new, and it required a risk, that's what business is about.
So I had to start over with a public domain translation of the Scriptures, which means KJV, or RSV, and frankly, I don't trust the liberal RSV scholars to get it right. That's not quite 3 years of work down the drain, because while the text segregation and the general arguments are still there, it's got to be re-tooled considerably.
Happily I found something called the UKJV, (the U stands for updated) where a guy took the KJV and had MS word auto replace the old English words (sayeth, ye, thou, etc) with the modern equivalent. It's really a nice translation.
Now some things still need to be updated, like in Romans 1 where those who reject God became futile in their imaginations which is not the modern meaning of that word, but on the whole it's a huge leg up for me.
I'm also loving the KJV the more I work with it- it's not just a delightful translation, it's an amazing one. I think that by the time the book is finished it's going to be about 50% better than before, partly because I'm forced to consider every word used, and partly because the KJV is just old enough that it's sentence construction is noticeable, it's form places emphasis differently than a modern translation does, and I really like that.
So here's to starting the Romans book over, and thank you, you nameless saint who made UKJV available for me to use to spread understanding of God's word. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A guest post from my Daughter on Atonement

I was pretty unhappy after church service got out, when for the third week in a row the Pastor skipped preaching in favor of a children's play. On the car ride home I asked out loud in anger how anyone could learn the message of the gospel watching that stuff.
My not quite three year old daughter who was not listening to that point piped up, "Oh the gospel, I know dat. Jesus took the sin on His body, and He died on the cross. He said 'Do not punish them, punish me Sir.'"
Woah.

That's exactly right. Jesus took the wrath of God due us. He was righteous, we were not. He was not judged, but we were. He was under no obligation, unlike us. Yet He decided to take the punishment due us upon Himself. He bore our guilt, our shame, our penalty.

In one moment my daughter had given me the clearest expression of the love Christ has in the gospel message. See, it's easy when considering the doctrine of imputation, and atonement, and propitiation to get lost in the higher levels of reasoning and thinking. It's tempting to think of our condemnation in a court room setting, or let an analogy side track you. These seven words abolish all of those difficulties and set one on the right road to understanding.
He said, "Do not punish them. Punish me, Sir."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Election is for adults

One of things with children is that they have no sense of gravity. You have to teach everything to them since they are born with no real sense of danger, their instinct is only for play. That's why when parents leave a gun around their kids think it's a toy, not a weapon, and they place the barrel against their stomach and use both thumbs to pull the trigger.
Only when they are cognizant of danger are kids safe with adult things.

Election is like a gun. On one hand it's a very powerful weapon for humbling a man, but on the other hand, it's also a very dangerous toy that can lead to even more pride.
I suspect that a lazy understanding of election is the thing that leads to bad Calvinism. Election is right at the edge of human reason and understanding, and so must be properly understood in light of scripture. It's because of their welfare that God will shorten the tribulation (Mat 22:24 Mark 13:20). They are the ones who won't be led astray (Mat 24:24), gathered (Mat 24:31), are free from condemnation (Rom 8:33), obtain salvation (Rom 11:7). What is missing? The statement that it's because of God's eternal decree that people are not saved.

In fact Paul has an opportunity to make this very argument in Romans 11:19 "Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." In context Paul has been talking about how the other branches were broken off, then he comes to v19 and answers the argument that everyone is tempted to make: God did that because it was His plan in election to break them off. And what is Paul's actual response? "They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you." 

"God broke them off to make room for me."
That is true, He wanted you so He made room by breaking off the unfruitful ones.
"In fact God had always planned to break them off."
No. They were removed because of their unbelief. So guard your heart that you may not become unfaithful and unfruitful as well.