Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chart of the early life of John the Baptist & Jesus

The Chronology of the early life of Jesus and John

6 BC
John’s birth announced to Zacharias
Luke 1:5-25
6 months later
Jesus’ birth announcement to Mary.
Mary goes to see Elizabeth
Luke 1:26-38
Luke 1:39-56
3 months later
Mary returns to Nazareth
Luke 1:56
5 BC
Jesus born
Matt 1:25; Luke 2:1-7
8 days later
Jesus Circumcised
Luke 2:21
33 days later
Jesus’ presented in the Temple
Luke 2:22-38
4 BC
Magi visits Jesus
Flight to Egypt
Infants killed in Bethlehem
Matt. 2:1-12
Matt. 2:13-15
Matt. 2:16-18
4-3 BC
The Death of Herod
Return from Egypt to Nazareth
Luke 2:39 Matt. 2:19-23

 The dates are estimates, but do fit the facts. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chart on Hebrews - Son


Spoken to us in His Son
You are my Son
He shall be a Son to Me
Deity / Sonship
But of the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever
Deity / Eternalness / Kingship
Son of Man
Christ [was faithful] as a Son over His house
Faithfulness / Messiahship
We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God
Great high priest / Ascension / Deity
You are my Son, Today I have begotten you
Sonship / Incarnation / Deity
He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered
Incarnation / Faithful / Humility / Suffering One
Since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame
Work of Christ
Make like the Son of God
Type of Melchizedek priesthood / Eternalness 
[Appoints] a Son, made perfect forever
Deity / Perfection / Superiority of Christ
How much severer punishment…who has trampled under foot the Son of God

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: Shepherding God's Flock

Benjamin L Merkle and Thomas R. Schreiner / Editors
Kregel, Grand Rapids, 2014.

The book has a series of chapters on the subject of Biblical Leadership by several authors. However it freely admits that is not neutral in standpoint; every author is Baptist and presents strongly the Baptist view. It is therefore a defense and justification of their view. This automatically leans toward their bias, and the reader needs to understand that. This could either turn off those outside the Baptist tradition, or it could aid in gaining a greater understand and appreciation for the view, although they may disagree with it. I found the presentation somewhat fair and balanced. It upholds the importance of the Pastor leader, which I appreciated.

For me, the heart of the book is the Biblical Theology found in the first four chapters. It does a good job in presenting the Biblical view of shepherding/eldership. Its make clear that the mandate for the shepherd is to feed the sheep. It puts Jesus as the prime example. It upholds the interchangeableness of the terms—elder, bishop, and pastor. It sees deacons as servant leaders who assist in practical and physical matters of the congregation. However, I am not sure it fully gasps the contribution of the Apostle Paul and the Gentile influence upon shepherding the flock. 

The next few chapters deal with the historical outworking and its different forms of church leadership—Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican, and Baptist. This is informative to anyone not familiar with these types of leadership.

The last two chapters focus on trying to put the Biblical leadership concepts into a modern context. I like and appreciate Ware’s comments about overstating and understating the role of elder. The idea of “professionalism” has brought an undue status to the elder. Although not stated in these words, the difference between the congregation and the Pastor is not status, but function. All in the church are ministers, but elders have a different function. To understate it is to underplay the idea of formal training. The book ends with what it calls 12 practical elements of Leadership, which I found very worthwhile.

This book will be helpful to the Pastor; however it seems to me to have some weakness. First, its narrow viewpoint. Second, there are places were there is clear overlapping of ideas and content. Third, it is a struggle to keep focus in some areas. There is value in this book, especially in the terms of helping one to form a Biblical view function of the Pastor-shepherd.   

Thanks to Kregel in providing a copy of this free of charge for my review. This did not influence my review.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thoughts on Reconciliation


Conflict destroys relationships. It hurts, kills, and sinks relationships. For the believer, damage caused by unresolved conflict is threefold:
  • It blocks fellowship with God (1 John 4:20)
  • It hinders our prayers (1 Peter 3:7)
  • It blocks personal righteousness (James 3:18)
The only answer is reconciliation—not resolution. One can gain resolution to a conflict without be reconciled to the person. Resolution may resolve the issue, be it will not reestablish the relationship. Our aim should ALWAYS be reconciliation.

Here are some suggested ways to be reconciled to one another:
  • Make the first move and take ownership (Matthew 5:23-24).
  • Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with the other (James 1:5).
  • Be humble (James 4:1, Philippians 2:4-5).
  • Fix the problem, not the blame. Blame never fixes anything.  Take blame out of the way. (Colossians 3:8).
  • Go in with your ears open and your mouth shut (James 1:19, Romans 15:2).
  • Speak the truth tactfully (Proverbs 12:8, Ephesians 4:29).
  • Love the other person (Romans 13:8)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Theology--the will of God

Theology 101/James R. Gray


One of the major characteristics of God is His will. Few theologians handle the subject as a separate item, although some do comment on it under a different heading (example: Louis Berkhof under Attributes of Sovereignty).[1] The will of God may be defined as: The faculty of self-determination and choice that is consistent with God’s character to carry out His purpose and plans.

There are a number of Hebrew and Greeks words that denotes the will of God.[2] In the Old Testament we find:
  • Hapes (Isaiah 44:28; 46:10; 48:10; 53:10). It designates God’s desire, counsel, or good pleasure.
  • Rason (Ezra 10:11; Psalms 103:21; 143:10). It indicates delight, pleasure, good will or favor (grace), satisfaction. 
  • Esa (Psalms 33:11; 73:24; Prov. 19:21; Isaiah 5:19; 46:10). It implies a determine plan, thus it indicates a counsel, advice, or purpose.
  • Seba (Dan 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21). An Aramaic word found only in Daniel signifying God’s will or desire.
In the New Testament there are three words that denote the will of God.
  • Boule (Luke 7:30; Acts 2:23; Eph. 1:11). It indicates God’s purpose or plan based on His deliberation.
  • Thelema (Acts 22:14; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 1:9; 5:17; Col. 1:9). It indicates God’s will or purpose based upon His inclination.
  • Eudokia (Luke 2:14; Eph. 1:5, 9; Phil 2:13). It denotes His good pleasure and delight.
All of these words indicate that the will of God is His sovereign choice and for His glory. It is absolute, not influenced by any outside source, and under no obligation to any other creature. It is His internal nature in complete harmony with his holiness, righteousness, goodness, and truth.

This tells us three characteristics about God’s will:
  • Freedom. God has freedom of His will which is not constrained by anything but His own character. He is free to will anything that is consistent with His own nature.
  • Power. There is no power that can overtake the will of God. God is all-powerful and nothing or no one can over it.
  • Immutability. It is an expression of His unchanging character and nature. Like His nature, once established, His will can not waver, vacillate, or vitiate. Thiessen notes about God’s purpose (or will): “He does not make His plans or alter them as human history develops; He made them in eternity and they remain unaltered.[3]

The will of God is not just theoretical, but an active power. It is display in the activity of carrying out His predetermined plan or purpose. It seems to me that the display of God’s will is threefold:
  • Universal (Isaiah 14:26-27). This aspect of the will of God covers all creation. God voluntarily created for a purpose. He will carry out the purpose of His creation—including angels, earth, heaven, and man.
  • National. This is clearly displayed in the forming of His people—Israel (Gen. 12:1-3; Exodus 19:4-6). However it includes more, to include other nations as well, including national boundaries (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26-27) and rulers (Deut. 4:34-35; Rom. 13:1-2).
  • Individuals. It is His will to save individuals that respond to Him in faith (John 1:12; Rom. 10:9-11).

The grand goal of His will is His own glory. This is true of His creation (Psa. 19:1, Romans 8:18-21), His nation (Isaiah 48:11); and His people (Romans 9:23-24; Ephesians 1:6; 2:8-10).  

[1]  Louis Berkhof, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, [Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Reprint 1993].
[2]  W. Stanford Reid, “Will of God,” BAKER’S DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY [Baker, Grand Rapids, 1966], 552.
[3]  Henry Clarence Thiessen, INTRODUCTORY LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, [Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1963], 147.