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Hermeneutics and Colossians 3.22

By Tim Butler | Posted at 14:19

Jeff Kloha, over at Concordia Theology, offers a very good analysis of the dilemma of reading a passage like Colossians 3.22 in the modern world:

How do we read this in a way that is consistent with the text's own goals and agendas, and not our own goals and agendas? And, if we insist on our own goals and agendas, as quite clearly the people who paid for this billboard will, should we be allowed to read the Bible at all? For ironically, when we read a passage like this we are not free to read it and decide what it means. We are, perhaps ironically, in fact “slaves” who have no choice as to how we read it. Our minds have been made up for us even before we see it. We are not autonomous, rational creatures. Who will rescue us from this body of death?

One of the things a person realizes very quickly when one studies interpretive theory is just how difficult it is for us to do proper interpretation (or even figure out what proper interpretation is). We can work through the “hermeneutical spiral” and build strong support for interpretations of a text, but the process is one that calls for humility and an earnest desire to understand the text instead of merely what we want the text to say.

What is the Lord's Supper

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:47

A little Westminster Shorter Catechism for the night:

The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.

Camping Apologizes

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:47

Family Radio's Harold Camping has acknowledged and apologized for his error concerning the prediction of the end of the world:

But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible's statement that 'of that day and hour knoweth no man' (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God's divine plan.

Refreshing.

ESVBible.org and the Study Bible

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:24

If you own an ESV Study Bible, you have an online access code that allows you to access all the content of that study Bible on ESVBible.org for free. If you've never tried the online access functionality, you ought to try it — it is really well done. Moreover, if you tried it long ago, try it again. The new edition that came out last year sports a significantly improved design (while remaining free for all ESV Study Bible owners).

Ordained

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:50

My ordination and installation service was tonight. I'll need to write on it, hopefully tomorrow. I am amazed by all of my family, friends and church family that were there tonight and how encouraging they were. What an incredible blessing.

Grace Annual Talent Show

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:41

We had our annual talent show tonight at church. The show, dinner and silent auction serve to raise funds for the youth group's summer trips, which, in itself, is a worthy goal. But, also worthy is just how delightful it is for the portion of the body of Christ placed in this little church to get to spend time laughing together. The event is never anything close to dull! I'm looking forward to next year's show…

Great Commission Baptists?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:29

Travis Loller reports:

A panel for the Southern Baptist Convention recommended Monday that its leadership endorse a new, add-on description for the denomination - “Great Commission Baptists” - stopping short of a complete name change.

I think shedding the SBC's regional and related baggage is a good idea. Still, I get uncomfortable with names like the proposed one, since it suggests there are the “Great Commission Baptists” in the SBC and non-Great Commission Baptists everywhere else.

Maybe that's just me.

Hymn Du Jour

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:06

From William Sleeper:

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

All Theology, Rightly Formed, is Practical

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:01

On Facebook, a few minutes ago I posted a status concerning Martin Bucer's on the True Care of Souls:

Today, I read Martin Bucer's on the True Care of Souls. Bucer's pastoral theology is superb, which is unsurprising, since his ecumenical (and, as a consequence, his eucharistic) theology was driven by his constant pastoral concern and determination to achieve the “peace and purity of the church.”

What strikes me as I mull over this is that Bucer would be appalled at our current distinction between “Biblical,” “Practical,” “Historical” and “Systematic” theology. In this work, as in de Regno Christi and his other writings, he constantly blurs disciplines. He, along with his friend and fellow laborer Philipp Melanchthon, probably knew the Fathers better than any of their opponents, for example, and Bucer's familiarity with many of the sources of theology shows strongly in this handbook to pastoral theology.

The four-fold categorization of theology is unhelpful because it encourages us to compartmentalize and think that some theology is inherently practical whilst other theology is something else. But, as Dr. Douglass likes to remind his students at Covenant frequently, orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy. Each theological discipline, when thought through properly, should flow into applications within the Church.

If only more of the “Christian living” works that were authored followed the great Reformers' examples.

RPW

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:45

If you stick around Presbyterian circles for a season, you will probably hear us make reference to the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) at some point. If I may be anachronistic by less than a century, Martin Bucer defines the principle well in his book, de Regno Christi:

“The first [property of the Kingdom of Christ] is that whatever is done in the churches should pertain to the ministry and contribute to the gaining of men's salvation in such a way that, cleansed from sins and reconciled to God through Christ, they may worship and glorify God in Christ the Lord in all piety and righteousness.

“Whatever does not contribute to this end, and nothing can do so which has not been ordained for this purpose by the Son of God and so commended to us, should be rejected and abolished by those who wish the Kingdom of God restored among them.”

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