The Bible Faculty Leadership Summit

In The Nick of Time
I’ve just returned from the fourteenth Bible Faculty Leadership Summit. The BFLS is sponsored annually by a different institution within mainstream fundamentalism. It is attended by biblical and theological faculty from the mainstream fundamentalist institutions. The point of the meeting is to challenge one another academically and intellectually. It is an event in which the educational leaders of fundamentalism help each other to think, write, and teach better.

The format of the BFLS is rather like that of an academic society. Usually there will be some sort of a general address, but the main focus of the meeting is on presenting and responding to the results of research. Papers are read; responses are offered; arguments (sometimes vigorous ones) ensue. Many, and probably most, of the participants are involved in the learned societies, but the BFLS gives them an opportunity to address questions that are of unique concern to fundamentalists.

The meeting began as a collaborative effort between David Doran, then chancellor of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, and Bob Jones III, then president of Bob Jones University. At the time the meetings began, I was a Ph.D. student at Dallas Theological Seminary. I remember my initial delight when I heard what was going on. I also remember wondering what I would have to do to finagle an invitation!
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Is Allah the Father of Jesus?

by Dr. Stephen M. Davis
A calligraphic version of AllahFrequently when speaking on the subject of Islam, I’ve encountered opposition to the idea that Arab believers use the word “Allah” in referring to God. Most of the objections stem from a misunderstanding of the Arabic language and of the historical and cultural use and development of the word “Allah.” It is understandable that to untrained Western ears and in the midst of current world crises that the word “Allah” be almost exclusively associated with radical Islam. However, it is unacceptable for American Christians to insist that Arab Christians not use “Allah” and find another word for deity. How then should we respond to the question, “Is Allah the Father of Jesus?”

From my travels to the Middle East, I have seen and heard “Allah” used by Christians in their prayers, singing, and in reading Scripture. Whatever the origin of the word, it means “God” or “god” just like the English word. It is true that “Allah” does not specifically refer to the Christian God. Neither does our English word. Do we require more precision for Arab believers than we do for ourselves? Of course, as Christians we also use Jesus, Jehovah, Lord, etc. Arab believers do the same, but in no way does that negate the use of Allah. For example, John 1:1 in an Arabic translation reads “And the word was with Allah and the word was Allah.”
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Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”
Distant PlanetCreation was instantaneous and complete. There was no gradual development or evolution. The one creation, however, included stages of bringing “stuff” into existence, arranging and modifying it, adding to it, and setting patterns of continuing function. The entirety of this creative accomplishment took six days, not because any part of the task was time consuming, but mainly to set the example before man to work six days and to rest on the seventh. From Dr. Charles McLain: Ancient rabbis questioned the length of seven days. “How could it have taken so long?” Modern scientists question the shortness of seven days. “How could it have only taken seven days?”

“And God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Gen 1:3).

1. This is the first of many commands recorded in the creation process. God spoke and it was done, thus the term fiat creation (by divine command). No command had been recorded for the bringing into existence the mass of heaven and earth; the verb “created” (bara’ ) was enough. Now there is clearly an order given and an obedience, an immediate, unhesitating accomplishment.
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Book Review: Jesus the Evangelist

Phillips, Richard D. Jesus the Evangelist: Learning to Share the Gospel from the Book of John. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Pub, 2007.  Jacketed Hardcover, xii, 195 pages. $19.00

(Review copy courtesy of Reformation Trust.)

Jesus the Evangelist.jpgPurchaseReformation Trust ($15.20) | WTS ($12.54) | CBD ($15.99) | Amazon ($12.92)

ISBNs: 1567690882  / 9781567690880

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Toward a Forum Philosophy for SI, Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

What’s in a Name?

Groucho GlassesOne of the forum issues that has been discussed at length at SharperIron is the question of whether to allow anonymity. Specifically, the question is whether to allow members to have profiles that do not disclose who they are or to post using nicknames or other labels that do not clearly identify them.

Naturally, with the change in leadership at SI, some have wondered what the rules will be going forward. But before we announce any policy, let’s weigh the pros and cons of anonymous posting.
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Eschatology and Cultural Engagement

In The Nick of Time
One of the most frequent complaints against premillennialists is that they lack a social conscience. The opponents of premillennialism charge that it is a pessimistic eschatology. It is supposed to bias its advocates against activities that aim to improve the world.

Often premillennialists have acted in ways that confirm this accusation. Most premillennialists believe that the world will become much worse before Jesus returns. Some have drawn the inference that social and cultural erosion is both necessary and irreversible. To work for the betterment of a social order is at best futile. At worst it is to pit one’s self against God’s plan. As one wag asked, “Why polish the brass on a sinking ship?”

Why indeed? One answer might be simply that the ship’s captain wishes his vessel to go down with its brass gleaming. On the Titanic, the band played even when the musicians knew that the ship was irretrievably damaged. Their music was not meant to reverse the situation, but to remind people of something outside the doomed vessel. So might a premillennialist minister in a sinking world.
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