Book Review - Warfare in the Old Testament

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I was born in 1981 and the last war on American soil was World War II, which ended in 1945. If you do not count the wars since then in which America has been involved overseas, my lifetime has been war-free. Though both my grandfathers served in the military, neither my father nor I have served in any capacity. Wars and small battles, as real as they are, have been the stuff of TV for me. I have read about them in the paper, heard about them on the radio and I can distinctly remember watching live footage of Desert Storm.

However, for many people around the world, war is an everyday part of their lives. For those born during times of war, they cannot imagine their lives without it. Similarly, this is how it was for much of the Ancient Near East (ANE), including Israel. To help the modern reader of Scripture better understand how war is so intricately woven into its fabric, Boyd Seevers has written Warfare in the Old Testament: The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies. Dr. Seevers is an expert in the Old Testament and ancient warfare and has participated in many archeological excavations in Israel where he lived as a professor for eight years. Read more about Book Review - Warfare in the Old Testament

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Epistemological Foundations for a Biblical Theology, Part 1

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Epistemology is the study of knowledge. It attempts to answer questions regarding the origin of human knowledge, and considers especially how we can know with certainty. Epistemological answers are basic and necessary building blocks of any philosophy, worldview, or belief system. In fact, of the four major components of philosophy and worldview (epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and socio-political thought), none can be adequately addressed until we answer the question of how we can know.

Regarding metaphysics, for example, we can’t make legitimate assertions about the character of God or the existence of the human soul until we first address how such assertions can be verified or falsified. Further, unless we have a means for validating ethical prescriptions as either worthy or unworthy, we have no warrant for choosing one prescription over another—especially when we encounter apparently competing or conflicting goods. And if we have no mechanism for authentication, then how can we even arrive at a definition of what is good in the first place? Finally, in socio-political thought, on what basis can we choose one system of government over another, or how can we determine whether a law is commendable? Without correct epistemological answers, there is no basis for our understanding or choosing one thing over another. In short, epistemology is really about authority, verifiability, truth, and certainty. Read more about Epistemological Foundations for a Biblical Theology, Part 1

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Power in the Psalms

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What the Psalms do to us

The Psalms teach us to be deeply occupied with our God. They magnify and exalt Him as the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe. What is it to be much occupied with God? It is to treasure His Word, to delight in His worship, to reflect on His glorious attributes, to rehearse His great acts in history, to trust in His care, to glory in His gospel and to anticipate His final victory. The more we are occupied with God, the more strength we find for living.

The Psalms teach us to praise our God and also show us how to praise Him. There are few lessons that we need more. So very often we mumble mechanical praise from hearts that are crowded with unworthy loves and occupied with earthly concerns. The need is for robust praise from hearts that are deeply schooled in the stunning truths of the Sovereign Lord who not only made us but pours from his bounty countless blessings, the chief of which is eternal salvation through his Son. Read more about Power in the Psalms

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Made for More: An Interview with Author Hannah Anderson

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Image of Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God's Image
by Hannah Anderson
Moody Publishers 2014
Paperback 176

Moody Publishers recently released Hannah Anderson’s first book, Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image. Hannah is a familiar presence here at SI, having written articles for us in the past and often sharing her blog writing with us as well. She was happy to take the time to answer a few questions for me about the book, related themes, and writing in general.

Q. When did the idea to write about imago dei come to you and why this eventually become the focus of your project?

A. The vision to write about imago dei came because I saw a lot of young women struggling to make sense of their lives and their Christian experience. They were not rebels, but they were struggling to find fulfillment in roles and family structures alone.

Many women’s discipleship programs are framed entirely around gender. By sheer weight of conversation, these women were being taught that sanctification means becoming a certain type of woman, not being conformed to Christ’s image. The more I explored, the more I realized that (1) We were starting our conversations about calling and identity in Genesis 2 and (2) We were parsing the sum total of human experience through gender. Read more about Made for More: An Interview with Author Hannah Anderson

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Postmodernism 9 - Spirituality

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From Sunesis. Posted with permission. Read the series.

In premodern and modern times, religion frequently included a debate over facts, such as:

There is a God or there is not;
Jesus is the Son of God or He is not;
Miracles happened or they did not.

In postmodernism, however, religion is a preference. Since there are no absolutes, aesthetic criteria replace rational criteria. We hear people say, “I like Jacob’s Well.” “Why do you like it?” “I don’t know; I just do.” Or “I like the verse that says God loves me.” What about the verse that says here is a hell? “Oh, I don’t like that one.” People no longer choose a church because it is theologically or biblically correct, but because of the color of the walls, the music, the women’s groups, or some other relational or emotional reason. Read more about Postmodernism 9 - Spirituality

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The Resurrection of Christ

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Painting
Michelangelo Caravaggio - The Incredulity of St. Thomas

The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead with a glorified body is a foundational truth of the New Testament. In fact, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (NKJV, 1 Cor. 15:17-19).

But how can we be absolutely sure that He rose from the dead three days after He died on the cross for our sins? Even one of the 12 apostles denied His resurrection: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Eight days later, Thomas saw Him in the upper room, and exclaimed: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

But how can we say what doubting Thomas finally confessed if we have not seen Christ as Thomas did? Our Lord gave the answer to him and to all men everywhere: “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Read more about The Resurrection of Christ

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Faith and Reason in Christian Perspective: A Case Study

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Read the series so far.

A Case Study: Harold Netland and the Demand for Neutrality

As we further consider whether reason should be categorized separately from faith as properly functioning independent of it, I cite the example of an article by Harold Netland entitled, “Apologetics, Worldviews, and the Problem of Neutral Criteria.”1 In Netland’s 1991 article we see an able but, I believe, misguided critique of presuppositionalist John M. Frame’s epistemology as set forth in his book The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. The overall burden of Netland’s complaint is clear, there must be some mutually shared neutral criteria that all people, whether Theist, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, Humanist, or whatever, can use to judge each other’s positions.2 It is the possibility of this neutral ground that Frame, in common with other biblical presuppositionalists (including the present writer) denies. Read more about Faith and Reason in Christian Perspective: A Case Study

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