Paul's Testimony to the Doctrine of Sin

CHAPTER IV - PAUL’S TESTIMONY TO THE DOCTRINE OF SIN

BY PROFESSOR CHAS. B. WILLIAMS, B. D., PH. D., SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, FORT WORTH, TEXAS

Theodore Parker once said: “I seldom use the word sin. The Christian doctrine of sin is the devil’s own. I hate it utterly”. His view of sin shaped his views as to the person of Christ, atonement, and salvation. In fact, the sin question is back of one’s theology, soteriology, sociology, evangelism, and ethics. One cannot hold a Scriptural view of God and the plan of salvation without having a Scriptural idea of sin. One cannot proclaim a true theory of society unless he sees the heinousness of sin and its relation to all social ills and disorders. No man can be a successful New Testament evangelist publishing the Gospel as “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”, unless he has an adequate conception of the enormity of sin. Nor can a man hold a consistent theory of ethics or live up to the highest standard of morality, unless lie is gripped with a keen sense of sin’s seductive nature.

SIN A FACT IN HUMAN HISTORY

Paul has an extensive vocabulary of terms denoting sin or sins. In the Epistle to the Romans, where he elaborates his doctrine of sin, he uses ten general terms for sin: Read more about Paul's Testimony to the Doctrine of Sin

The Preservation of Scripture: Its Process and Form

Originally posted January, 2010 as “Preservation: How and What?”

The doctrine of preservation of the Scriptures has been hotly debated in recent years. Much has been written and said, but most of the rhetoric on the subject has been closely connected to defending or rejecting one view or another on the translation issue. The result has often been that important foundational questions have been overlooked in a rush to get to conclusion A or B in the translation debate.

Among the neglected questions are these: (1) what process did God say He would use to preserve His word and (2) what form did He say that preserved word would take? Both of these are subsets of another neglected question: What does Scripture actually claim (and not claim) about it’s own preservation? Read more about The Preservation of Scripture: Its Process and Form

Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 9)

Israel means Israel

I am a pretribulationist. I think my main reasons for being so are theological, in particular the covenantal issues concerning the nation of Israel are a central concern to me. But I am not pretribulational because I adopt a form of theological hermeneutics (now so fashionable in some quarters). I have already made it clear that rapture scenarios cannot (in my opinion) rise above a “best explanation” conclusion. That is equivalent to a C3 in my Rules of Affinity. It will just not do to conflate Israel’s restoration promises with the future of the Church. The Body of Christ needs no restoration.

Often in the prophetic literature we come across predictions of final restoration and comfort for Israel, presaged by a time of great upheaval. Many times the texts involved include the phrase “In that day.” A sampling would include: Isa. 10:20-23; Isa. 24:17-23; Isa. 35:1-10; Isa. 40:1-5; Isa. 61:1-3; Jer. 30:3-11; Ezek. 34:11-31; Ezek. 36:1-38;Dan. 12:1-3; Zech. 13:8-9; Zech. 14:1-9.

Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 9)

Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 3)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Returning to the specific texts, Westcott-Hort vs. the textus receptus: in truth, both texts necessarily fall short of presenting the true original. Obviously, those readings in the textus receptus which are without any Greek manuscript support cannot possibly be original. Additionally, in a number of places, the textus receptus reading is found in a limited number of late manuscripts, with little or no support from ancient translations.

One of these readings is the famous I John 5:7. Such readings as these are also presumptively not original. And if one holds to the “majority rules” theory of textual criticism, i.e., whatever the reading found in a numerical majority of surviving Greek manuscripts is to be accepted as original, then the textus receptus falls short in the 1,838 readings where it does not follow the majority text. Read more about Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 3)

Graves, Landmarkism and the Kingdom of God (Part 4)

Landmarkism and “Apostolic Succession”: a Common Misconception

It is a common charge to say that Landmarkers believe in a chain-link, almost apostolic-like succession of local churches. What saith Graves?

Landmark Baptists very generally believe that for the Word of the Living God to stand, and for the veracity of Jesus Christ to vindicate itself, the kingdom which He set up “in the days of John the Baptist,” has had an unbroken continuity until now.1

This makes good sense, from Graves’ point of view. However, he takes great pains to emphasize he is not speaking of an apostolic succession of churches.2 So, what on earth does he mean? Read more about Graves, Landmarkism and the Kingdom of God (Part 4)

What Shall We Do with Moses?

A couple of weeks back Bob Jones University made the news by apologizing for statements made a generation ago suggesting that homosexuals should be subjected, like they were during the Mosaic economy, to capital punishment. This mea culpa was a welcome one insofar as the offending statement was insensitive, vindictive, even hateful. But among the tweets and chatter that ensued, it was surprising to see how many bloggers (critics and defenders of BJU alike) made no apparent differentiation between the words spoken in 1980 and the words written in the 15th century BC. Moses is apparently guilty of hate speech, too!

This is a troubling sentiment, I think, and one that seriously erodes Old Testament credibility and authority. Surely as inerrantists we must conclude that Moses was right to write what he did! It is in view of this fact that I ask today, What should we do with Moses and his copious assignment of capital punishment for seemingly trivial crimes (or in some cases, perhaps, for no crime at all)? Shall we defend him? Blush for him? Distance ourselves from him by denouncing the Law as inherently evil and, to our great relief, dead and gone? Read more about What Shall We Do with Moses?

Book Review - 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution

Image of 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution (40 Questions and Answers Series)
by Kenneth Keathley, Mark Rooker
Kregel Academic 2014
Paperback 432

Of the many contemporary debates pushing and pulling on the Church today, the Creation and Evolution debate is perhaps the most alarming. The New Atheists like Richard Dawkins try to lump any Bible believer in with the crackpots and loonies, while some of the most high-profile creationists spare no punches as they condemn the vast majority of Evangelicalism for any of a number of compromises on this question.

For folks in the pew, the situation is tense: Science continues to raise large questions, and the Church often seems to provide few answers. Many of our youth are pressured to abandon the faith as they encounter new arguments against creation. With at least four major views in Evangelicalism, there is not a strong unified position to lean upon. Most books on the topic defend their particular view and often take aim directly on other sectors of Christianity. These books do more to perpetuate the polarized nature of the debate than provide a clear way forward. And meanwhile it seems that the scientific consensus only continues to become an even larger stumbling-block to Christian faith.

In this context, a variety of new attempts to integrate science and faith have been proposed. Yet for conservative Christians this only raises new questions: How far is too far? What are the limits of integrating faith and science? How important is the age of the earth? Are all forms of evolution out-of-bounds for Christians? What about the Flood—must it be universal? Could animal death have preceded the Fall? What are we to think about Adam and Eve? Read more about Book Review - 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution

Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 2)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read Part 1.

The question remains to be resolved: how shall we define textus receptus? It has been customary in England to employ the 1550 text of Stephanus as the exemplar of the textus receptus (just as an Elzevir text was so adopted on the continent of Europe), and so we will follow this custom. For our purposes here, the term textus receptus means the 1550 edition of the Greek New Testament published by Robertus Stephanus.

The Westcott and Hort text is much simpler to define. This is the Greek New Testament edited by B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort and first published in 1881, with numerous reprints in the century since. It is probably the single most famous of the so-called critical texts, perhaps because of the scholarly eminence of its editors, perhaps because it was issued the same year as the English Revised Version which followed a text rather like the Westcott-Hort text. Read more about Westcott & Hort Versus the Textus Receptus: Which is Superior? (Part 2)