2011 Contest

Faith and Babies: Reflections on 1 Timothy 2:15

1 Timothy 2:15: “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (ESV).

It’s the kind of passage that makes even the most stalwart inerrantist want to pack up shop and slip out the back door before anyone notices. Maybe Paul was simply a misogynistic recovering Pharisee after all. Of course, if we truly believe that all Scripture is God-breathed like we say we do, then we have plenty of reason to stay and grapple with it. And given the state of our current culture, I’d say that we must.

State of the Union

For several generations, our society has wrestled with issues of gender identity, reproductive rights and the sanctity of marriage. The struggle has entered the church in the form of feminist theology, female clergy, widespread acceptance of divorce, and most recently, the blessing of same-sex unions. As the conservative church, we have responded with a full-out push back, reaffirming biblical norms and principals.

But, I’m afraid, recovering a conservative understanding of gender has been accompanied by a growing legalism surrounding roles and applications. You can’t deny that ours is a subculture where the Duggars are celebrities and more and more Christian couples are equating their ability to reproduce with their spirituality. By extension, being single or infertile is increasingly a spiritual liability.

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The Wonderful Gift of Tongues

Where do you stand on the gift of tongues? Many committed Christians believe one of two views, cessationism or continuationism. Others aren’t exactly sure what to believe about this oft-debated gift. Is there a way to bring the two views together while at the same time explaining New Testament tongues simply and convincingly? I believe there is, and to get there all we need is take a fresh look at the gift as described in 1 Corinthians 14.

8070 reads

Midrash & Jewish Roots: An Overlooked Bastion for the Fundamentals

Many scholars—whether non-Christians (such as David Flusser or Shmuel Safrai), Christians of a different flavor than we (such as Jacob Neusner), or evangelicals (such as Brad Young or David Bivin) have demonstrated that many NT passages are in the form of midrash: Jewish-style expositions, explanations and expansions of OT verses.

When one accepts the idea that many NT teachings are actually midrashim (the plural of midrash), the equation shifts. We are no longer trying to connect Paul to the Greek or Roman culture, neither are we interpreting him Platonically. We are asserting that much of the NT is based upon the OT—with some new revelation, yes, but not merely as much as many think. Most—of the major doctrines we believe and defend can be extracted from the OT. We are avowing that the NT writers were often such extractors.

Once we learn to interpret NT passages in conjunction with their OT origins (what I call “mother texts,”), we will find that many erroneous doctrines rescind and shrivel into non-existence. Conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists have essentially overlooked the wealth midrash brings to apologetics, hermeneutics, and theology. Midrash is a good friend to conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, yet many of us are oblivious to it.

Most of us have already embraced the concept of midrash without knowing it. Biblical Theology—tracing the progress of doctrine from Genesis through Revelation—is a cousin to midrash. Proving the deity of Christ through Isaiah 9:6-7 is getting even closer. Interpreting the NT virgin birth teaching (Matt. 1:23 and Gal. 4:4-5) in light of Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14 is almost full-blown midrash.

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