Paul and Logic, Part Two: Doctrine and Apologetics

In Part One, I discussed Paul’s view of logic and its relation to the Word and doctrine. Paul viewed logical conclusions as fallible and submissive to the Word. Even so, Paul greatly respected logical thought. In Parts Two and Three, I want to look at a few ways Paul actually used logic.

Paul made great use of logic in his epistles. His logical thought is seen in his constant use of connecting words like “for,” “because,” “therefore,” etc.

Paul used “gar” 433 times. Gar is usually translated “for.” It is usually a conclusive term which introduces the reason for the statement that precedes it. He ate the bread for (because) he was hungry.

Paul used “oun” 116 times. Oun is usually translated “therefore.”

The second Scripture source in Part One involved Paul’s view of logizomai/logismos. Paul used logizomai 42 times (out of a total 49 in the NT), logismos (reasonable) twice (no one else uses this word).


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Steel on Steel in Coeur d’ Alene

Note: This is a summary article, condensing 15 pages of notes, of the Steeling the Mind Bible Conference in the enchanting lake city of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, on October 21, 2006.

Conservative evangelicals can intersect with professing Christian fundamentalists at various points. Years ago, Chuck Missler thought there ought to be an annual conference developed with the name, “Surviving the 90’s.” But Bill Perkins’s wife, thinking of Proverbs 27:17, thought of a conference name more captivating and enduring, “Steeling the Mind.” Because all the sessions are cram-packed into one day, any conference attendee probably wishes he possessed a fresh, steel mind to carry him through 12-plus hours of Bible concentration. Frankly, we need more of this among God’s people with an even greater and more passionate intellectual gaze upon God. I feel like a mushy Idaho spud in the shadow of what I have read concerning the content shared in past Bible conferences offered for the layman and pastor alike.

The Press (Oct. 21, 2006), a local newspaper, reported, “Bill Perkins is about to pull off what to many might seem nothing short of a miracle. He’s going to bring 1,000 people together all day to study the Bible. And they’re even going to pay him $59 each to do it. ‘There’s not a lot of fluff,’ Perkins said, ‘We bring in the top speakers from the U.S. and let it rip. We deal with some subjects that are difficult.’”

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The Greatness of God and Trials

The fall colors were at their peak when the Calvary Baptist Church family gathered at a country farm to navigate a corn maze, take a scenic hay ride, and gather around a campfire to fellowship, eat smores, sing, and hear from God’s Word. I was unable to sing and share a message at this year’s campfire because of a bad case of laryngitis. As Keith led the group in singing “How Great Thou Art,” I was struck with the beauty of the moment. The harmony sounded as good as any choir I had heard, but there were some things that were so much more beautiful than the sound of the song.

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Knowledge, Humility, Zeal, and Leadership

I really love Peter. It is so easy for us, in retrospect, to snipe at him for his antics, but I have been thinking a lot about him lately. Peter strikes me as a man who had given himself over entirely to follow Jesus. He rightly vested in Christ all of his hopes and dreams. So much so that when asked if he were going to leave Jesus, he responded, “Where else can we go? You have the words of life.” Peter was exactly right; Jesus is the only way to life. All other paths are leading directly to sin and death.

Yet much of Peter’s ideas of discipleship were colored by his own misguided expectations and misunderstandings. Jesus had a habit of turning those expectations upside down, and we frequently find Peter struggling to reconcile what Jesus was doing and teaching with his own preconceived notions of the way things were supposed to be.

In John 13, we see this misunderstanding clearly demonstrated. Jesus stooped to the level of a servant and approached Peter to wash his feet. Peter immediately (and somewhat impulsively, I think) responded that this wasn’t right. According to all he understood, the rabbis, teachers, and great people of his day didn’t ever do such things. It was unbecoming of their status and position, and Jesus was even greater than these. In Peter’s eyes, this request was an affront to the accepted order of things.

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Once I Was Blind

The Perspicuity of Scripture

I’ve always enjoyed secret codes. As a fourth-grader, I remember creating secret alphabets made of code to utilize in “top secret” communication between me and my friends. There was a great sense of satisfaction in decrypting one of our codes and reading the covert message. Like many other childhood adventures, secret codes faded from my interest over time.

This is not true, however, of all adults. In the recent movie Wordplay, the world gained a unique look into the culture of crossword puzzles and the people who solve them. From Will Shortz, creator of the famous New York Times puzzle, to celebrities like Bob Dole and Jon Stewart who decipher them, it seems that puzzle-solving and code-breaking are skills that are alive and well in humanity (Veith 1).

And that’s just one example. A myriad of modern movies (The DaVinci Code, National Treasure, the Indiana Jones series, Windtalkers) and television programs (CSI, Numb3rs, The Amazing Race, Lost, House) focus the attention of millions of Americans each week on cryptography.

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What Does Worldly Look Like? Part 3

The goal of these articles (Part 1, Part 2) is to challenge misconceptions about the world and worldliness by taking a fresh look at our authority, the Scriptures themselves. I’ve argued that the biblical concept of worldliness encompasses much more than the matters of fashion, entertainment, and material possessions that we fundamentalists tend to focus on when we use the term.

The Study So Far

Part 1 in the series focused on select passages that suggest worldliness encompasses all of the sinful attitudes and actions of our unregenerate past. Romans 12:2 contrasts two conditions, conformity to “this world” [1] and transformation through mind renewal. Believers are in the conformed condition to the extent that we are not yet in the transformed condition. “Worldly” here is the opposite of “transformed.” In 1 Corinthians 3:1-4, Paul links the untransformed condition to immaturity and fleshliness and cites envy, strife, and divisions as evidence of that immaturity. Finally, James 3:14-15 associates contentious, self-seeking attitudes and sensuality with wisdom that is worldly (“earthly”). [2] Together, these passages alert us against a host of ungodly attitudes we seldom think of as worldly.

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In Defense of Big Words: A Sesquipedalian Manifesto

The ground squirrel never knew what hit him. He had gone exploring in our Neon’s engine compartment and met his end in the serpentine belt when my wife started the car on her way to pick me up from work. She heard the belt go. My father-in-law very graciously picked me up from work, brought me by Advanced Auto for a new belt, and helped install it. This was a good thing because, when they passed out mechanical skills in heaven, I must have been in the library; my father-in-law, on the other hand, has done a lot of his own auto repair. Despite his mechanical prowess, we had a rough time getting that belt on, mostly because of my scanty tool supply (again, library book sales are favored by the appropriations committee). If you have never tried pushing back a tensioner lever with a stray, unidentified metal bar, don’t. I had visions of everything slipping and my impaling myself on some gizmo and joining the ground squirrel in bulge-eyed rigor mortis.

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