Saturday, September 29, 2012

3000 (hits)

MosisMose hits its third mill mark in 3 months.  2k of them are my mom, grandma, and my collegues' groupies (I am not cool enough for groupies).

I am going to 'geekify' the picture reference by giving the punch-line.  Its Andre-3000. Just so ya' know...

Mumford and FU#K!

I will admit it now.  It's true.  I have a man crush on Mumford and Sons.  The type of crush that would result in giggling and loud screaming at their sight, like the Beatles heard on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. So, I have been recommending the band to everyone I meet; kind of like initiative-evangelism --- or if you are in the PCA, "confrontational evangelism."  But there is always one caveat I always give after the recommendation to 'church-people'... "They sing the F-bomb on one track.  But, but, but, they are seriously singing what appear to be Christian imagery, and its edifying intellectually and spiritually!  Really!"  (this article makes no statements about the faith stance of Marcus Mumford, or anyonne in the band, per this article).

Now on both of their albums, Mumford and Sons have earned an "explicit lyrics" tag.  Why? Because one track has the F-bomb in the chorus, many times, but no coarse language else-where to be found.  And it is rather pronounced when said.  

Does this bother anyone?  Should it?

I have heard one say that they feel the use of the F-word in "Broken Crown," a M&S son, is the right use.  Is there a right use?  

I was recently listening to a Lecrae's track, "Church Clothes", where he very explicitly portrays one lyrically who hates the church and its hypocrisy.   If one listened to this part of this song alone and made a judgement on Lecrae's convictions concerning Jesus, they would conclude something different than that Lecrae is on, unofficially mentored by John Piper, and loves the church and her Lord.  

So should we put M&S in this category?  Are they portraying a sinful state of mind, or season of life without the Lord?  I think it's likely.  But the question remains, is using FU#K the way to go when portraying this position?  That's a bit tougher, and gives me pause...Maybe...?  Does using a word such as this in such a public manner make your witness better or worse?  Does it change your eternal destination and present convictions?  Should Christians and non-Christians loosen up on this topic?  Probably (see note below).  When does artistic license become regulated by public opinion?

So what are my conclusions? 

1)I will continue to recommend Mumford and Sons.  And, yes, the caveat will still have to stand, that is, until all things are made new (cf. Roms. 14-15).
2)I will continue to exclude these two tracks ("Little Lion Man" and "Broken Crown") from playlists played around my three boys, and other children - or adults that act like children.
3) I think that Christians should be as honest as M&S and Lecrae about their cultural counter-parts, themselves, and about the true state of mind, heart, and soul sin places us in collectively.
4) I think that those who do not claim Jesus as Lord should hold Christians to reasonable standards, that is, realizing we too are humans, and irrational standards (many or which are contradictory) are not the way even the most 'holy' people can live.  I should say, the "don't judge me" comment should, but does not, go both ways.
5) Read Ephesians 4:29 again.  Does it say "don't cuss"?  Or might Paul be making a bigger point that includes, but is not exclusive to, principles of coarse language?

A note: Christians, with #4 in mind, should still strive to be above reproach.  I have observed that cussing is one area, along with craft-beer drinking (haha!  I can't even type it without laughing - some people are such tools), where Christian freedoms have at times been taken advantage of.  My generation in particular is guilty of this.  I say, proceed with caution!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

'The Jesus Wife' Saga and Harvard Theological Review

Here are the links my friend was referring to in my earlier post.


The saga, and HTR's indecision, told through links (Daniel Wallace and Daniel Berke and summarized by Biran LePort.), below:

It's a Real

It's investigated

It's a Fake - Rejected

It's NOT rejected - we like the attention we are getting.. not giving up!

The Summary - Its taken 'provisionally'

It's quite a narrative.

One day I aspire to be a scholar that can put out half-baked material and it be taken 'provisionally'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Fake: The 'Jesus Wife Fragment'

I was late-coming on this story, but caught up.  Apparently a Coptic 'gospel' fragment found a statement of Jesus refering to his wife.  Karen King, noted as major voice on women's roles in early Christianity and her work in Gnosticism, was poised to publish her study on this fragment in Harvard Theological Review.

I just received this email concerning this fragment from an OT professor from Covenant Seminary:

“News flash: Harvard Theological Review has decided not to publish Karen King¹s paper on the Coptic papyrus fragment on the grounds that the fragment is probably a fake.” This from an email Dr. Craig Evans, the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia University and Divinity College, sent to me earlier today. He said that Helmut Koester (Harvard University), Bentley Layton (Yale University), Stephen Emmel (University of Münster), and Gesine Robinson (Claremont Graduate School)–all first-rate scholars in Coptic studies–have weighed in and have found the fragment wanting. No doubt Francis Watson’s comprehensive work showing the fragment’s dependence on the Gospel of Thomas was a contributing factor for this judgment, as well as the rather odd look of the Coptic that already raised several questions as to its authenticity.

Mumford and Sons New Album

So as entertainment news goes, this is VERY late.  But, I simply wanted to post that Mumford and Sons released their second album yesterday (they have seven earlier EPs, that makes three).  I was especially excited since they had a rendition of Simon and Garfunkle's "The Boxer" - on the "deluxe edition".   "The Boxer" cover on this album was the one released by Jerry Douglas with Mumford and Sons and Paul Simon earlier this year, and charting.  It is a great cover.

This post may not seem to be related at all to theology, etc., but listen to MS' last album, which I would not hesitate to call a 'worship album,' and their new album, and your opinion may change.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Buying: Commentaries - An Update.

In an earlier post on how to chose commentaries for one's personal theological library, I discussed Carson and Longman's respective NT and OT commentary surveys.  In these comments, I suggested to hold-off buying these handbooks until the new editions arrived.  I just discovered today that they will be arriving from Baker in April of '13.

Carson NT commentary survey, 7th edition

Longman OT commentary survey, 5th edition 

Others Book buying posts:

Postmodern Philosophy of History and Luke

In his new Lucan theology, A Theology of Luke and Acts, Darrell Bock spends a couple pages on philosophy of history in view of postmodern readings.

The postmodern philosophy of history, an age that Bock notes, "define[s] history itself as a construct and a type of fictive act," adds a new dimension and challenge to biblical scholarship.  The battle over Luke as a legitimate historian may have progressed in many ways, but postmodern definitions of history requires more interaction, which is what Bock does in his Theology. 

First, Bock interacts with Daniel Marguerate, and his work The First Christian Historian: Writing the Acts of the Apostles."  Under the influence of Ricoer, Margueate claims, "historiography should not be regarded as descriptive, but rather (re)constructive (5-7)."

Second, Bock dialogues with S. Shauf, and his work Theology as History, History as Theology: Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19.  Shauf represents for Bock a popular postmodern reading, that "sidesteps the historicity question by defining histoiography as 'imaginative narration' simply because the historian assembles a narrative from already limited sources."  

E.A. Clark who also represents this second view (in History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn) says, "The critic's task, then, is to show how 'seemingly politically innocent objects, forms subjectivity, actions, and events" are the effects of power and authority... (176)"  Bock simply replies, "this type of ideological deconstruction itself needs deconstructing... Luke does not write from a position of power and authority."  

Bock concludes this section by a couple reminders, as I will call them: (1) "classical historians respect Luke as a historian as they use him;" (2) "a careful look at the details of Acts shows that, where we can check his accuracy, Luke is a credible historian."

I highlight this section in Bock's Lucan theology, because through my years in seminary and now in my research I have not yet seen such an interaction in any of the introductions or commentaries I perused (It could also be that I simply missed these sections at the pace of reading in seminary...).  This is a helpful dialogue Bock includes.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Devotion to God and the Question of 'Praying Enough'

During this season of research, like in my time at seminary, among some of the first things to go is sadly prayer and devotion time.  This battle is always one I am fighting.  But then I read something like what Luther says below, which sounds a lot like Matthew 6:7

"Die Weise des Gebets ist, wenig Worte zu machen, aber viele gute Vorsätze und tiefe Gedanken zu hagen."

Of course, this is not excusing us from praying all together, but what is it implying?  Does it mean that the resolution to "pray more" is more influenced by the pietistic traditions that preceded our generation?  Overall, what does it mean for our devotion to the Lord?  Thoughts like this one from Luther and from certainly Matthew 6:7 seem to imply "praying more" is not a goal we should be attempting to reach.  

Other Luther posts on MosisMose:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: New Testament Theology in Light of the Church’s Mission: Essays in Honor of I. Howard Marshall

The Blurb:
...this book is highly recommended by this reviewer for its depth and example of erudite scholarship.  On a personal note: the example set by this book and the one it celebrates goes beyond sturdy scholarship, it moves towards discipleship. I am one who has sat at the feet of nearly a half-dozen men who are either published in this work or were advised by Marshall in their post-graduate research.  I sense a legacy, and I pray that myself and others in my generation will be the “faithful men” to Professor Marshall’s “Paul” as we seek to pass on Marshall's legacy to the “others” (2 Tim. 2:2).

(See this review cited on Ray Van Neste's Oversight of Souls)
Laansma, Jon C., Osborne, Grant, and Van Neste, Ray, editors.  New Testament Theology in Light of the Church’s Mission: Essays in Honor of I. Howard Marshall.  Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011. 395 pp. ISBN 978-1-61097-530-8. $46.

In the past century, few men have made the impact in the area of the New Testament as I. Howard Marshall has made.  It is also most certainly true that few have been honored with two festschrifts.  But here in New Testament Theology in Light of the Church’s Mission the editors give Marshall this distinct honor. 

Among many distinguished positions of honor held in his career, Marshall was Chair of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research and Chair of the NT Study group prior to the previously mentioned position, and Editor of the Evangelical Quarterly.  But in his career perhaps the most telling of his abilities and impact is the fact that he “was for decades a primary destination for postgraduate study for evangelical students from around the world”, with the result that, “‘Aberdeen’ has come to mean ‘conservative, evangelical biblical scholarship’” (1,5).  Thus, “mission” is an apropos theme chosen by the editors for this compilation.
As for the work at hand, the collection of scholars and topics covered is truly astounding.  A collection like this one makes this reviewer’s job exciting yet difficult to do justice to the work that is here reviewed.  Without giving an entire table of contents that can be accessed elsewhere, some contributions salient to the reviewer include James Dunn on “Methodology of Evangelism in the NT”; the late R.T. France on “The Son of Man in Hebrews 2:6”; Darrell Bock with a pastoral entry on the gospel preached in the narrative speeches in Acts, namely “The Gospels before the Gospels”; Mark Strauss “The Purpose of Luke-Acts: Reaching a Consensus”; Brian Rosner on “The Missionary Character of 1 Corinthians”; Anthony Thiselton on “Paul’s Missionary Preaching in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16; Robert Yarbrough on “Schlatter on the Pastorals”; and Eckhard J. Schnabel on “Early Christian Mission and Christian Identity in the Context of the Ethic, Social, and Political Affiliations in Revelation”.  Other contributors include Craig Blomberg, Philip Towner, Esther Yue L. Ng, Gary Burge, Joel Green, Gene Green, Andrew Clarke, Maureen Yeung, Roy Ciampa, Alistair Wilson, Greg Couser, Paul Ellingworth, Jon Laansma, and Grant Osborne.  
I would like to highlight two entries in particular because of the honor they do Marshall.  The first by Darrell Bock bears witness to Marshall’s legacy as a scholar who can reach a broad audience; the second by Robert Yarbrough on a German theologian, Adolf Schlatter, who in his own time had similar far-reaching influence in the German speaking world as Marshall has had in the English speaking world through his scholarship and biblical interpretation.
Marshall once said of F.F. Bruce, “to write at a popular level is not inconsistent with a truly scholarly approach, and it may be argued that one test of a person’s scholarship is the ability to express arguments and conclusion in a manner that is generally intelligible”.  This too is a legacy of Marshall.  In a similar spirit Darrell Bock’s chapter “The Gospels before the Gospels: The Preached Core Narrative” is not intended “as a technical scholarly piece, but as a piece of reflection for those in the church” (97). 
In his chapter, Bock seeks to correct the commonality among evangelical churches today to “present the gospel in very Pauline terms”, exclusively.  He does this by exploring salvation via multiple images in the Lucan narrative of Acts.  Bock briefly discusses each respective speech in Acts 2, 3-5, 10, 13, and 17.   In this brief study he asks of each pericope, “how is the gospel presented?”, namely “what does the speaker say and not say in their gospel proclamation” and finally, though by implication, “how does our gospel presentation be it in a sermon or otherwise square with those in Acts?” 

Bock concludes, “the stress in the evangelistic message [in these speeches] is not so much how Jesus accomplishes this as much as who offers it, what is offered, and how God stands behind the attestation of these claims through the vindication and exaltation of Jesus to share in God’s very presence” (100).  By this, Bock highlights that, according to the evangelistic speeches in Acts, we are not proclaiming “an idea” but rather “a person”, because it is “forgiveness and new life in God’s Spirit” that is offered and highlighted in the proclamation of the gospel.  Though not a “scholarly piece” Bock’s study will be one to follow in its development in the future, since, as one reviewer has already noted, it seems to be much in line with the studies being presently contributed by such NT theologians as N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight.
Next, in Robert Yarbrough’s contribution a similarity is drawn between I.H. Marshall and Adolf Schlatter’s effect on world Christianity by both having similar interpretation of the Pastorals, but more broadly their vocation as one who went “beyond being a missionary enabler”.
Yarbrough says of Schlatter,“While an aim of many post-Enlightenment biblical scholars has been to disabuse students of historic Christian faith and a high view of Scripture's veracity, Schlatter stands out as a brilliant exegete who overall defended the bible's accuracy." (295-6).
Following this theme, Yarbrough chooses Ulrich Wilkens, a prolific German scholar from the mid-20th century, as a conversation partner. I found Yarbrough method of a conversation partner when studying Schlatter's exegesis of the pastorals to be more helpful in drawing out the full flavor and importance of Schaltter's conclusions.   For me, though, it remains a bit unclear on why Wilkens was chosen, besides shared nationality and both working in the area of the Pastorals within 50 years of each other.
Nevertheless, Yarbrough concludes that Wilken’s study of the Pastorals is hazy and hypothetical, while Schlatter roots his study of the Pastorals in how Paul’s ministry characterizes him.  Yarbrough clarifies, “Or put it another way, while the historical Paul is a shadowy background figure for Wilkens's PE exposition… for Schlatter not only Paul but even Jesus plays a significant role, perhaps not surprising since the PE are replete with references to Jesus" (309).
Yarbrough concludes the spirit of Schlatter’s interpretation of the Pastoral by applying his study to the current world church:

"in the larger world church setting where the Bible is receiving fresh attention and respect, and groups affirming a more historic high regard for the Bible are seeing meteoric growth… there is reason to rethink traditional academic animus toward close association between Jesus seen as Savior in fulfillment of OT promises, a Paul who actually encountered him in a life-and world-transforming way, and the PE seen as authentic Pauline writings" (315).
After reading this compilation of works contributed by well-known experts in wide spectrum of New Testament scholarship, the celebration for I.H. Marshall’s career is evident.  Though for a paperback, the price is a bit prohibitive for many, this book is highly recommended by this reviewer for its depth and example of erudite scholarship.  On a personal note: the example set by this book and the one it celebrates goes beyond sturdy scholarship, it moves towards discipleship. I am one who has sat at the feet of nearly a half-dozen men who are either published in this work or were advised by Marshall in their post-graduate research.  I sense a legacy, and I pray that myself and others in my generation will be the “faithful men” to Professor Marshall’s “Paul” as we seek to pass on Marshall's legacy to the “others” (2 Tim. 2:2). 

Note:  This book was furnished without charge by Cascade/Wipf and Stock in exchange for an objective review.  Thanks you Cascade for the book!

Other Book Reviews on MosisMose: 
The Later New Testament Writings and Scripture
NT Theology in Light of the Church's Mission: Essays in Honor of I. Howard Marshall
The Power of Pentecost

ESV Version with the Critical BHS and now the NA28

After I posted about the NA28 the other day, I did not have time to look into it much.  This morning, though, I found another exciting point.  Like the BHS that was recently published with the ESV text on the adjoining page, the NA28 text will be published in hardcover with the critical text on one page, and the ESV translation on the other (in other words, these texts look a lot like the Loeb texts in format; see below for an example).

This is particularly exciting, because up to now the OT/BHS text had nothing like this, other than cumbersome and rather unhelpful interlinear editions, and the NT was published in the UBS edition with the RSV.  It is great that Crossway and the UBS (presumably) came to an agreement to produce these two projects.  These two works will be indispensable tools for pastors, students, and scholars for many years!

Friday, September 14, 2012


I am wondering what it means when I become excited over the release of a critical edition of the bible... mmmmMMMM?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tim Keller on the Gospel

Scot McKnight posted this on Tim Keller's views on how one should view the Gospel.  I found it to be a breath of fresh air.

I have been edified by Keller's writing, preaching and teaching for about 9 years now, and continue to be appreciative for his impact in New York, the broader culture, the broader evangelical church, and his and my denomination, the PCA.  I heard him do a Q&A at Covenant Seminary about 3 years ago and was so impacted by his true humility about the position, situation the Lord has placed him in and the gifts and abilities the Lord has blessed him with.  At times I struggle with bandwagons and whatnot, but if anyone deserves a following, this is the guy.  One can follow him as he follows Christ.

UBS Primary Text Free Online

I was not aware that the UBS has NA27, BHS, Vulgate, etc. for free for online use.  This is great.  I just found it out, so I will soon find out how helpful it is.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Today, I begin my PhD research (We are also at the same time in the midst of buying a house.  This will be exciting, busy, stressful, etc.).  I am looking forward to see what the Lord will do in this season of life!

My prayer is that this research will be used to the glory of the Lord, that I will be able to love my family well during this time, and that I may edify the local church by devoted membership.  I pray the Holy Spirit will give me to ability to do these things, while also pursuing diligent, thorough, and Christ-centered scholarship

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All A Wife Needs to Know About Her Scholar

Martin Luther's relationship/marriage with Katerine von Bora is always interesting and entertaining.  He married her, reportedly, to stick it to the pope, and loved her over time.  For such a disfunctional life, their marriage seemed to function to a certain degree.  Here in a letter he reports how he is away from the house, noting the important things, namely how he is eating and drinking (beer, that is):

In einem Brief an Katharina:

Ich gebe Euch und Euer Gnaden untertäniglich zu wissen, dass mir's hier gut geht: ich fresse wie ein Böhme und saufe wie ein Deutscher, das sei Gott gedankt, Amen. 

I wonder, as I write this, if Luther ever discussed his controversies and theological writing with Katie... I am most certainly sure she was aware of them, but was it a consistent topic of conversation? Upon reflection, I know I can be tempted to invite my wife up into the clouds with me.  In other words, I have a penchant to believe that I can catch my wife up on my hours of study and my interest in my subject of study in a moments' conversation, believing that suddenly my calling in life is hers.  I do not think this is part of becoming one in marriage.  

It seems from Luther's letters (and I have read the three volumes in the LW American edition) that this was not the paradigm of his relationship with Katie.  Their conversation seemed to be about the farm, the brews (Kate was a wine and beer maker), health, and kids.  What this says to me is that though Luther was incredibly busy, he at least appears to have been present in his cares for his wife and family, and their day-to-day living, even while he was stuck up in a castle translating the bible in German!