May 21st, 2013
The Matthean account of Jesus pronouncing judgment on the cities of Choarzin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum may be found in Matthew 11.20-24. This passage of Scripture contains a historical context of six particular cities that were condemned for their depravity. The following contains a grammatico-historical examination of the text, which is an example of the doctrine of revelatory judgment applied, a verse often used to support the soteriological problem of evil, and is a problem passage for the doctrine of transworld damnation. The purpose of Jesus’ pronouncement of judgment on these cities was to convey the depravity of man.
Before any critical examination of the text can be made a conclusion on the genre must be established. The book of Matthew is a Gospel, which is a genre in and of itself. Many studies performed in modern scholarship of the Gospel literature link the Gospels with Hellenistic biography. Hellenistic biographers did not feel compelled to include all periods of an individual’s life or to narrate in chronological order. The selected events were carefully ordered to promote a particular ideology. In slight contrast to Hellenistic biographies, Robert Guelich proposes formal and particular genera for the Gospels:
Formally, a gospel is a narrative account concerning the public life and teaching of a significant person that is composed of discreet [sic] traditional units placed in the context of Scriptures… Materially, the genre consists of the message that God was at work in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection effecting His promises found in the Scriptures.
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May 17th, 2013
I just saw one of the comments by Jim in a previous post (Face the Facts–There are Gaps in Biblical Genealogies) and I thought I’d briefly add some thought to it.
Max. Thank you. Excellent post as usual. Hitchens also used the 250,000 number frequently in his debates so as to make the point “look at your horrendous God – willing to allow all those generations to perish before he sent a savior…” He had no idea that Scripture clearly affirms a retroactive efficaciousness to the Atonement.
I’ve seen this objection made against Christianity several times and it’s a rather horrendous objection (bolded). I’ve never researched the numbers on how many people have existed before the coming of Jesus and I don’t know how many people have existed since Jesus. I don’t think the numbers really matter that much, to be honest.
I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is such a horrendous concept. Obviously, this is an internal issue particular to Christianity. Christian doctrine never makes the claim that salvation was impossible prior to the resurrection of Jesus. I think it’s quite clear that the New Testament (well, OT too!) teaches that the atonement applied to those who came before Christ as well as those succeeding Christ. So what’s the problem?
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May 16th, 2013
There’s that one question that has plagued Christians on anthropological origins. Many young earth creationists claim there cannot be any gaps in the genealogy, which is what leads us to dating the time frame of the earth being young. Old earth creationists, like myself, believe that there are gaps in the genealogy. The question is whether it explains anything at all and how much does it explain?
The genealogies are adequate but not complete. No matter how you read the genealogies, you must concede that there are gaps. For example Mt. 1.8:
Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah.
However, 1 Chron. 3.10-12 reads it differently:
Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, Jehoram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah [also called Uzziah] his son.
Why did Matthew leave out three generations: Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah? Scholars cite some reasons for the seeming discrepancy. In many biblical lists of descendants, cadence and pattern hold great importance. Matthew presented three groups of fourteen generations each: fourteen from Abraham to David; another fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile; and a third set of fourteen from the Babylonian exile to Jesus.
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May 1st, 2013
I recently had an online exchange with someone who was arguing against middle knowledge. He included statements like, “Supposedly Scripture teaches man has a free will” and, “That’s no where in Scripture.” You’ll be surprised how much doctrine we believe to be true is not explicitly stated in Scripture. Here are a few things that are not explicitly stated in Scripture that are commonly accepted doctrines:
- The Trinity: I believe God exists in a trinity of persons and I believe the Bible teaches the trinity but only implicitly. You’re not going to find “trinity” or “three persons in one being” anywhere in the Bible.
- The Hypostatic Union: There isn’t a clear articulation of the coherence of the hypostatic union in Scripture. The Bible merely teaches what it was and that it happened.
- Dispensationalism: Find the Greek word for that, I dare you. Hebrew will get you extra points, go. (For the record, I wouldn’t consider myself a dispensationalist).
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March 29th, 2013
For a list of all my posts regarding the Geisler controversy please see The Geisler Directory located on the right side of the screen under “Most Popular Posts.” To view Dr. Geisler’s most recent attacks directed towards Robert Sloan over Mike Licona please see his post: “Houston Baptist University Defends Mike Licona’s Denial of Inerrancy.” I have discovered that Dr. Geisler’s arguments have recently the fate of unjustified assertions and contradictions. Unless Dr. Geisler ever clarifies his own denial of inerrancy, according to his standards (by affirming abortion in one book only to argue against abortion using the very same passages of Scripture), I can no longer take his arguments and integrity seriously. I doubt he’ll ever respond. He’s been caught throwing rocks in his glass house.
For documentation and arguments concerning Geisler’s utter inconsistency please see my post: “Geisler’s Denial of Inerrancy: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”
Reblogged from Nick Peters’ Deeper Waters.
I’d like to begin this post by asking everyone to open their Bibles and please turn to the book of ICBI.
“There is no such book as ICBI.”
Now I find this surprising because lately, I’m finding it quoted so much by “true defenders of Inerrancy” that I would think it’s right up there with Scripture. The club of ICBI has lately found a new target and that’s in Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University (HBU) that hired Dr. Mike Licona as a professor there. HBU has been putting together a crack apologetics team and I suspect will soon be an apologetics hub in the world.
Yet for some people, it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t play their song and dance.
So what is being said in the latest rant?
“Despite the fact that Mike Licona lost his positions at the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board, at Southern Evangelical Seminary, and at Liberty University subsequent to the public criticism of his views on inerrancy by Southern Baptist leaders like Al Mohler and Page Patterson and others, Houston Baptist hired Licona and placed its blessing on his views.”
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October 28th, 2012
Recently, Dr. Michael Licona (Houston Baptist University) spent time in Canada debating Yale professor Dr. Dale Martin on questions concerning the resurrection and self-understanding of Jesus. Below are links to the videos.
“Did Jesus Rise Physically From the Dead?”
Dr. Michael Licona and Dr. Dale Martin discuss the question “Did Jesus Physically Rise From the Dead?” The first evening of the 2012 Religion Soup discussion took place Oct 18, 2012 at St. Mary’s University.
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