November 9, 2003

Communion meditation for November 9: Luke 12:24 Our first acts as a constituted membership are an offertory and celebration of the Eucharist. Having taken our membership oaths, we offer a portion of our goods and our income to the Lord, and then we sit down at His table. These are appropriate initial acts for this congregation because they set the pattern for all our actions, for the whole life of this body. Our whole life as a community of believers… Read more

November 9, 2003

Exhortation for November 9: Later this morning, many of you will be taking membership vows to constitute the membership of Trinity Reformed Church. You will acknowledge your sins and confess Your trust in Jesus for salvation, and you will be asked whether you have been baptized. And you will take oaths that you will live like a believer in Jesus, and that you will support the church in its worship and work, striving for its purity and peace. These are… Read more

November 7, 2003

What about taking “day of wrath” in Romans 2 as AD 70? Some arguments: 1) Dunn lists the verses that use similar phrases for “wrath and indignation” and “tribulation and distress,” and most of them are about historical judgments on Israel. There’s a cluster of uses in Deut 28:55ff, which have specific reference to the distress that Israel would experience before the exile. Other OT passages that use similar language are talking about historical judgments; Dunn (strangely) lists Is 13:9… Read more

November 6, 2003

Intellectualism and voluntarism both arise from the same theological error: from the assumption that there is some realm that is independent and autonomous. This is most obvious with intellectualism: For intellectualists, things have indepdendent value that God recognizes and evaluates. Voluntarists are, however, making the same error. They assume that X has the value it does only because God has imputed value to it (king and the lead coin is the classic illustration). But this still assumes that X (the… Read more

November 5, 2003

Steve Studebaker writers in the Scottish Journal of Theology (56:3) about Edwards’s trinitarian theology, and includes an extended critique of Amy Plantinga Pauw’s treatment of Edwards’s incipient “social trinitarianism.” According to Studebaker, Pauw’s analysis only works if one assumes that the history of Trinitarian theology can be sketched out as a series of pendulum swings between a “oneness” paradigm and a “threeness” paradigm (which has a contemporary variation in the opposition of “social” and “psychological” models). Studebaker wisely rejects this… Read more

November 5, 2003

In the same issue of JSNT, Philip Esler examines ancient oleiculture to illumine Paul’s use of the olive tree image in Romans 11. When he describes branches being grafted into an olive tree, Paul refers to a common practice. But the normal practice is to graft cultivated olive branches onto a wild tree. Paul inverts that, to underline the rhetorical point that he is making throughout Romans 9-11, namely, that the Jews should be provoked to jealousy: “By using the… Read more

November 5, 2003

Jerome Neyrey has an interesting article on Acts 20:20 in the current issue of JSNT. He examines the cultural background to Paul’s use of the phrase “in public and from house to house” by examining various expressions in Greek and Latin writers that correspond to modern “public” and “private.” These, in turn, are gendered spaces; women are covered and inside (and their sexual organs are “private) while men engage in activities in the agora, the fields, and in public (and… Read more

November 5, 2003

To what extent is modernity merely a recovery of the tragic? Tragedy, to my knowledge, simply didn’t exist in the medieval world. Drama revived late in the medieval period, but tragedy was reintroduced by the Renaissance. In Shakespeare, the tragic is set in a larger Christian comic setting, with profoundly Christian results. But later modern literature and philosophy seems to be a revival of ancient tragic metaphysics and literature. Read more

November 5, 2003

And in case there is any doubt that Bloom’s aesthetics is tragic: He claims that a poet is always one who is “rebelling more strongly against the consciousness of death’s necessity than all other men and women do.” (Call this the “heroic poet,” operating by the code of heroic honor and glory.) Each poet quests for an “impossible object,” as did his predecessors. And then this: “That this quest encompasses necessarily the diminishment of poetry seems to me an inevitable… Read more

November 5, 2003

And in case there is any doubt that Bloom’s aesthetics is tragic: He claims that a poet is always one who is “rebelling more strongly against the consciousness of death’s necessity than all other men and women do.” (Call this the “heroic poet,” operating by the code of heroic honor and glory.) Each poet quests for an “impossible object,” as did his predecessors. And then this: “That this quest encompasses necessarily the diminishment of poetry seems to me an inevitable… Read more

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