Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Archive for May, 2008

Marine Removed for “Proselytizing’

A Marine was removed from duty for handing out in Iraq coins which contained Bible verses.  The story can be found here.

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Church to Debate Convert Motion

I was surprised (not really shocked) to read on BBC that the Church of England will debate a motion about the need/importance of evangelizing people of different faiths – more specifically Muslims. This motion is being brought to the floor by Paul Eddy – a layman who is training to become a priest.

Eddy puts it this way:

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Alister McGrath in Korea

Professor Alister McGrath was invited by a Methodist school from Seoul to give a series of lectures on spirituality and on his book The Dawkins Delusion. I was able to catch only his lecture on spirituality: “A Comparative Study Between the Spirituality of John Calvin and Johe Wesley.”

The lecture was read by McGrath and translated in Korean by one of the professors there.

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Steve Green in Korea

Steve Green is in Korea at the invitation of John Song and our school.  This evening I had the privilege and joy to hear him in concert with Song Jong Mi (an amazing Korean Christian singer) at a Presbyterian church in Seoul. 

I must say that this was by far the best concert that I have ever been to.  (And I have been to U2’s Zoo TV tour in SD in the 90s). 

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The NT and Dead Sea Scrolls IV (Paul and the “Works of the Law”)

In Peter Flint’s presentation in Seoul (December 2007) he also discussed the relationship between apostle Paul’s expression “works of the law” (ergon nomou) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS).  He believes that the DSS also affects our understanding of Paul, especially in connection with this special term found in Romans 3:20, 28 and Galatians (2:16; 3:2, 5, 10).  Here is the text in Galatians 3:10:

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GAY MARRIAGE in CALIFORNIA

Perhaps most of you heard the news that gay marriage will soon be legal in California (this is the state to which I immigrated more than 20 years ago). Somewhat expectedly the news was met with both joy and outrage.  Many gays in California and in the rest of the nations seem very happy (most perhaps do not really care since they have no plans to ‘marry’), while many conservatives call this an ‘outrage.’  At least this is the word that James Dobson used.

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Isaiah Scroll On Display Again – DSS

It looks like the Israel Museum has just put again on display the famous Isaiah Scroll. See the article
here. This is the only major complete scroll among the Dead Sea Scrolls (written c. 120 B.C.).

A copy (many think it is the original) is currently on display here in Korea.


MIDRASHIC HERMENEUTICS

Daniel Boyarin (Sparks of the Logos, Brill, 2003, pp. 22-23) gives the following definition for rabbinic hermeneutics: “Hermeneutics is a practice of the recovery of vision.  That is, it is ideally a practice in which the original moments of the unmediated vision of God’s presence can be recovered.”

 

He then goes on and illustrates this model of hermeneutics with the following delightful story from the midrash on the Song of Songs:

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SURPRISED BY HOPE II

For the first part of this series see my previous post: Surprised by Hope I.
Last time we saw that Wright argued that early Christian belief in hope beyond death belonged to the Jewish map (not the pagan one), but it underwent remarkable modifications in seven significant ways. 

 In this post I will summarize the first 4 ways in which Wright presents the modifications of Christian faith.

 

1)      There is virtually no spectrum of belief about life after death.  Even though Christians came from various strands of Judaism and paganism, they all changed their belief to focus on one point of the spectrum…there is an “overwhelming impression of unanimity” about the resurrection.

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Love Sees No Color

Here I (Romanian/American/Canadian/Korean?) am with Raj (India) and Jackson (Kenya) at Suwon Central Baptist Church (Korea). I only wish that I took a picture with our International Choir (over 20 countries).

Revelation 7:9-10

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


Conservatives Happier Than Liberals

Here is an article with this title. Why am I not surprised 🙂 ?

“The results support and further explain a Pew Research Center survey from 2006, in which 47 percent of conservative Republicans in the U.S. described themselves as “very happy,” while only 28 percent of liberal Democrats indicated such cheer.”

I think the real explanation is that conservatives listen more often to the following song.

Don’t worry, be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂


SURPRISED BY HOPE I

I am reading a great book (at least so far) by N. T. Wright.  It is called SURPRISED BY HOPE: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and The Mission of the Church (Harper, 2008).  So far he makes some very good points about ‘heaven’ and the resurrection.  In chapter 3 of the book (Early Christian Hope in Its Historical Setting) he shows very convincingly that Jesus’ teaching about the resurrection was very much in line with that of most Jews of the day (who believed in an eventual bodily resurrection).  In other words, Jesus was “exactly on the map of first-century Jewish belief…on the question of resurrection he seems to have little or nothing new to say.  Except that he then began to tell his followers that He himself is going to be killed and then raised three days later…”

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Messianic Jew Wins Bible Contest

I just read a new post about a Messianic girl (her name is Bat-El) who became a finalist in the International Bible Quiz Championship held on Independence Day (May 18). Information about the story can be found here.

Because Bat-El is a Messianic Jew, a number of rabbis are trying to boycott the International Bible Contest.

They say (see The Jerusalem Post):

“Messianics are missionaries who proselytize in very sophisticated ways,” said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the rabbis calling to boycott the quiz.

“It is forbidden to give [Messianic Jews] legitimacy by allowing them to take part in the quiz.”

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How Is Your Love Life?

I am beginning to love Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs). However – I rarely preach from this book. In fact – I think I only preached from this book once or twice (both times at weddings).

But – since I am teaching a course this semester on this book – I decided to preach at our school chapel on a passage from chapter 5 (vv. 2-10, but the section goes all the way to 6:3). The sermon can be found here.

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Some Useful New Sites and Resources

Thanks to John Hobbins (see Hebrew Poetry under Blogroll) I discovered some really good new blogs. His complete list is here.

I will mention one that I especially like. It is called BALSHANUT , and John calls it “a top-notch Biblical Hebrew blog by Pete Bekins.” I agree with him. You will find there some useful summaries of articles relevant for Biblical Hebrew and Linguistics.

I also found this surprising website which gives access to an Akkadian dictionary. It is maintained by Association Assyrophile de France. The website is found here .

I think this website will prove useful to anybody who needs a quick look for cognates of various Hebrew words. Many times it lists the Proto-Semitic word and also other Semitic cognates. Note for example the definition for ṣalmu:

black, dark

Cf. ṣalāmu

See also : adru, daʾmu

Comparison with other Semitic languages :

* Proto-Semitic : *ẓalm
* Arabic : ẓalām ظَلاَم «blackness»
* Ugaritic : ẓlmt «blackness»
* Ge’ez : ṣalma

What is even more amazing is the fact that the Oriental Institute (from University of Chicago) has started to digitize all of its publications and make them available for free online. Chris Brady has a list of all their publications already available.  The list is very impressive.  The CAD (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary) can be downloaded here.