The King from the Far Country

Is Jesus’ kingdom here, now? It is exclusively future? Has He been crowned as King already, and is He patiently waiting to exercise His authority? If only there were a clear passage we could turn to which would shed some definitive light on this subject …

Actually, there is one. Jesus knew His own disciples were confused on this point (and we would be, too), so He gave us all a parable to set the record straight. That parable is in Luke 19:11-27.

Background

Jesus has been headed to Jerusalem for a while now (Lk 9:51). He’s taken a wandering, meandering route through any number of towns and villages along the way, preaching the Gospel and proclaiming His coming Kingdom. Now, on the eve of the great event which all salvation history has been pointing towards, Christ prepares His disciples for what is coming; “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished!” (Lk 18:31).

The last days of Jesus’ journey are filled with irony. Read more about The King from the Far Country

Is Romanism Christianity?

(About this series)

CHAPTER VI — IS ROMANISM CHRISTIANITY?

BY T. W. MEDHURST, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

I am aware that, if I undertake to prove that Romanism is not Christianity, I must expect to be called “bigoted, harsh, uncharitable.” Nevertheless I am not daunted; for I believe that on a right understanding of this subject depends the salvation of millions.

One reason why Popery has of late gained so much power in Great Britain and Ireland, and is gaining power still, is that many Protestants look on it now as a form of true Christianity; and think that, on that account, notwithstanding great errors, it ought to be treated very tenderly. Many suppose that at the time of the Reformation, it was reformed, and that it is now much nearer the truth than it was before that time. It is still, however, the same; and, if examined, will be found to be so different from, and so hostile to, real Christianity, that it is not, in fact, Christianity at all. Read more about Is Romanism Christianity?

Theology Thursday - Much Grammar & Syntax Signifying Nothing

Have you ever read an exegetical commentary that focused on obscure points of grammar so much that you actually learned nothing? Have you ever slammed a dense commentary shut, fearful you’d be drowned by a flood of eager, but meaningless, syntactical analysis? In this brilliant parody, New Testament scholar Moises Silva provides a cautionary tale for us all … 1

It is approximately the year 2790. The most powerful nation on earth occupies a large territory in Central Africa, and its citizens speak Swahili. The United States and other English-speaking countries have long ceased to exist, and much of the literature prior to 2012 (the year of the Great Conflagration) is not extant. Some archaeologists digging in the western regions of North America discover a short but well-preserved text that can confidently be dated to the last quarter of the twentieth century. It reads thus:

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Forty Reasons for Not Reinterpreting the OT by the NT: The Last Twenty

Read the first twenty.

21. Saying the NT must reinterpret the OT also devalues the OT as its own witness to God and His Plans. For example, if the promises given to ethnic Israel of land, throne, temple, etc. are somehow “fulfilled” in Jesus and the Church, what was the point of speaking about them so pointedly? Cramming everything into Christ not only destroys the clarity and unity of Scripture in the ways already mentioned, it reduces the biblical covenants d own to the debated promise of Genesis 3:15. The [true] expansion seen in the covenants (with all their categorical statements) is deflated into a single sound-bite of “the Promised Seed-Redeemer has now come and all is fulfilled in Him.” This casts aspersions on God as a communicator and as a covenant-Maker, since there was absolutely no need for God to say many of the things He said in the OT, let alone bind himself by oaths to fulfill them (a la Jer. 31 & 33. Four covenants are cited in Jer. 33; three in Ezek. 37).

22. It forces one to adopt a “promise – fulfillment” scheme between the Testaments, ignoring the fact that the OT possesses no such promise scheme, but rather a more relational “covenant – blessing” scheme. Read more about Forty Reasons for Not Reinterpreting the OT by the NT: The Last Twenty

From the Archives: What Does "Reformed" Mean?

From time to time Baptist (and other) friends ask me, “What does ‘Reformed’ mean, anyway?” They have come across a Baptist or Bible church that now styles itself “Reformed” or have heard someone describe a leader as having “gone Reformed,” and they’re finidng the term a bit confusing. The question doesn’t come to me from seminary graduates or church history majors. So here I offer an answer for the layman—especially the layman who grew up in some variant of independent Baptist.

What it is not

It may be helpful to begin with what “Reformed” is not. It is not one thing. Nowadays, even well informed people mean different things by the term. Still, because the last several decades have witnessed a revival of theological seriousness in parts of American Christianity, and because that revival has had much Reformed influence running through it, many have taken to using the term to mean nothing more than “theologically serious.” Some even seem to be claiming the label just because it’s trendy.

There is a more or less correct definition of “Reformed,” to be sure. But if your goal is to know what people mean, you’ll have to accept the reality that there is no single, clear intent. Read more about From the Archives: What Does "Reformed" Mean?

Fullness of Joy: The OT and the Afterlife (Part 2)

Re-printed by permission from It is WrittenRead Part 1.

Three Pillars of the OT Believer’s Hope

Most modern scholars concede that one or two passages in the Old Testament may teach a future resurrection unto eternal life. But they usually date these passages after the exile and trace their teaching not to earlier Old Testament revelation but to Persian influence.1 Nevertheless, a careful examination of the Hebrew Scriptures reveals an indigenous source for these later eschatological texts. From the beginning of human history and on the earliest pages of Old Testament Scripture, God began to reveal three great truths which served as the pillars of the Old Testament believer’s future hope.

God’s Absolute Power over Life and Death

The book of Genesis portrays God as the creator and sustainer of human life (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7, 22). Many other Old Testament passages acknowledge human life as a gift from God (Deut. 8:3; 30:20; Job 33:4; Eccl. 8:15; etc.). But mankind forfeited life by sinning against God and incurred God’s curse of death (Gen. 2:15-17; 3:1-8; 3:19, 22; cf. Rom. 6:23). Being contrary to God’s original intent and an expression of his wrath, death became a dreaded enemy to mankind.2 Read more about Fullness of Joy: The OT and the Afterlife (Part 2)

Forty Reasons for Not Reinterpreting the OT by the NT: The First Twenty

Introduction

It seems to be almost an axiom within contemporary, evangelical Bible interpretation that the New Testament must be allowed to reinterpret the Old Testament. That is, the New Testament is believed to have revelatory priority over the Old Testament, so that it is considered the greatest and final revelation. And because the NT is the final revelation of Jesus Christ, the only proper way to understand the OT is with the Christ of the NT directing us. Though proponents of this hermeneutic may define “reinterpret” with slippery words like “expansion” or “foreshadowing,” they are still insisting the OT can be, and in some cases, should be, reinterpreted through the lens of the NT.

Not unusually the admission is made that the original recipients of the OT covenants and promises would not have conceived of God fulfilling His Word to them in the ways in which we are often told the NT demands they were fulfilled. This belief in the interpretative priory of the NT over the OT is accepted as “received truth” by a great many evangelical scholars and students today. But there are corollaries which are often left unexplored or ill-considered. Did the prophets of the OT speak and write in a sort of Bible Code which had to be picked through and deciphered by Apostolic authors resulting in hazy allusions and unanticipated concretizations of what seemed to be unambiguous language? Did God speak to men in times past in symbolic language so that we today could unravel what He really meant? Doesn’t this strongly imply that the OT was not really for them, but for us? Read more about Forty Reasons for Not Reinterpreting the OT by the NT: The First Twenty

Theology Thursday - Reasoned Eclecticism & the New Testament Text (Part 2)

Can textual criticism actually help us figure out what the original reading was? How does this work, on a practical level? In this short video, Dan Wallace explains why he believes it does work: 1

Now, Dan Wallace concludes his discussion about the reasoned eclectic approach to New Testament textual criticism:[2]

External Evidence

There are three pieces of external evidence that textual critics use to determine which variant is more likely to reflect the original wording: date and character, genealogical solidarity, and geographical distribution.

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