Trinity in Reformed Orthodoxy

Some very interesting material in Richard Muller’s book on the Trinity, the fourth volume of his monumental Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics . First, a couple of quotations about the treatment of the Trinity in early Reformed Orthodoxy: One of the major features of this period was “a broadened sense of the significance of the doctrine [of the Trinity] as a basis for understanding the divine operation in other doctrinal topics (notably predestination, the ordo salutis, and covenant)” (p. 83). Jerome Zanchi’s… Read more

Theology in Rhetorical Mode

David S. Cunningham’s book Faithful Persuasion is a defense of doing theology in a rhetorical mode. Among other things, he offers a devastating deconstruction of an argument for the historical critical method of exegesis. First, he quotes Benjamin Jowett: It may be laid down that Scripture has one meaning — the meaning which it had to the mind of the prophet or evangelist who first uttered or wrote, to the hearers who first received it. Another view may be easier… Read more

Luke 8:39

There’s a nice twist in Luke 8:39 that indicates how Luke understands Jesus’ relationship to God. Jesus tells the Gadarene demoniac to “return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.” The healed demoniac “went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.” Did he disobey? No: Proclaiming what Jesus has done is describing what God has done. Read more

Luke and Justification

In Luke 5 and 8, two stories are told that may shed some interesting light on the question of justification. In 5:17-26, men lower a man on a bed through the roof of a house so that Jesus can heal him. Verse 20 says “seeing their faith, Jesus said, ‘Man, your sins are forgiven you.’” Here, forgiveness is Jesus’ response to the faith that He discerns in the man. Jesus says something similar of the woman with the vial of… Read more

Numbers in Luke 3

Another thought from Luke, this time chapter 3. The genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3 contains 77 names. Several commentators suggest that the names are arranged in 11 groups of 7, and that there is a pattern of 7s (groups of 2 and 3 7s) that provides an overview of history from Adam to Jesus. If this is the case, then Jesus is the first in the 12th group of 7, beginning the completion of Israel (a 12). Another numerological… Read more

Simeon’s Song

In Simeon’s song in Luke 2, he says that Jesus will cause the “fall and rising” of many in Israel. “Rising” translates ” anastasis ,” the word for resurrection. That may help to explain the sequence (fall—rise, rather than rise—fall). Simeon is perhaps not talking only about people being cast down and others taking their places (as Mary says in Luke 1), but about the fall and subsequent resurrection of many in Israel. Jesus will not only be responsible for… Read more

Simeon’s Song

In Simeon’s song in Luke 2, he says that Jesus will cause the “fall and rising” of many in Israel. “Rising” translates ” anastasis ,” the word for resurrection. That may help to explain the sequence (fall—rise, rather than rise—fall). Simeon is perhaps not talking only about people being cast down and others taking their places (as Mary says in Luke 1), but about the fall and subsequent resurrection of many in Israel. Jesus will not only be responsible for… Read more

Exhortation, August 17

The exhortation from August 17, 2003: Ancient heretics tried to deny it, and modern heretics do the same, but Luke could hardly make it clearer that Jesus is the human God. Throughout the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, Luke uses the word “Lord” to describe the God of Israel. Gabriel is an “angel of the Lord,” and he tells Zacharias that John will “turn back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.” Gabriel tells Mary that… Read more

Shakespeare and Rome

Researching for a commentary on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar , I came across the intriguing theory that Shakespeare’s Roman plays are as concerned about 16th-century Rome as ancient Rome. In Shakespeare’s day, of course, Rome was the center of Roman Catholicism, which was seen by Elizabethan Englishmen as the great global threat to their way of life. Julius Caesar gestures toward Papal Rome by talking about relics, but making Caesar’s death Christlike in several respects (or Antichristlike), by setting up Caesar’s… Read more

Sermon Outline, August 17

Sermon notes for August 17, 2003: Savior and Lord, Emperor and King, Luke 2:1-52 INTRODUCTION Luke dates the story of John by reference to the reign of Herod the Great, king of Judea (1:5). But he dates the birth of Jesus by reference to the reign of Caesar Augustus, who has the authority to take a census of the “inhabited earth” (2:1). John’s ministry is confined to Judaism; but with Jesus, Luke’s story enters the world of the Roman empire…. Read more

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