An Open Notebook

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A Fortiori Patterns

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The Book of Judges appears to be largely based upon a fortiori typlogies drawn and governed by Genesis (with a select few from Exodus). Israel’s judges always seem to amplify (usually for the worse) something that happened in Genesis account, the historical folktales woven together as caricatures of biblical figures (mainly the Patriarchs, and those who revolve significantly around them), and are...

Is the Rule of Faith Scripture?

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When they mention the ‘Rule of Faith,’ both Irenaeus and Tertullian clearly demonstrate they mean ‘faith in One, Triune God; the creation of his world; Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection; and the return of the Lord, his second coming, which will result in eternal salvation and judgment.’ And, over the course of time, as Irenaeus relays, the Valentinians...

The Wild Duck of Denmark

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A parable, by Søren Kierkegaard, in connection to the previous post on James 5. “A wild duck was flying northward with his mates across Europe during the springtime. En route, he happened to land in a barnyard in Denmark, where he quickly made friends with the tame ducks that lived there. The wild duck enjoyed the corn and fresh water. He decided to stay for an hour, then for a day, then for a...

Warnings About Wealth

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In James 5:1-12, the author tells the capricious rich to take heed, those who live for wealth, mammon, and money–the monarchs and mercenaries. Such tirade couldn’t be called nice tete-a-tete either. James frames his righteous disdain for their actions in terms of a ‘woe,’ nearly a curse, telling the the rich to ‘weep and wail’ because of their wealth. And...

Elisions, Errors, and Emotions

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Language never entirely captures meaning or emotion. Nature transcends language. God transcends language. A lot cannot be expressed by language.  There’s always an abundance, an overflow, of meaning in anything we say—like a cup running over. If this is so merely with our speech, language can never certainly grasp the goodness of God, and his communication to us. God must be beyond language...

Christian Life in Ten Phrases

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Borrowing from J.I. Packer, good and pure theology involves… elucidating texts (exegesis),synthesizing what they say (biblical theology),seeing how the faith was stated in the past (historical theology),formulating it for today (systematic theology),finding its implications for proper conduct (ethics), commending and defending it as truth and wisdom (apologetics), defining the...

The Difference of If/When

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The opening chapter of Hebrews makes seven citations from the First Testament (Hebrews’s own way of describing the Old Testament, cf. Hebrews 9:1). Honestly, we should not be surprised to find the number here, since seven has long been considered a number of ‘completeness’ or ‘perfection,’ indivisible by any other whole number. They are in order: (a) Hebrews 1:5/Psalm 2:7, (b) Hebrews...

Collective Editing

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Seven pages into a particular paper, I realized I was over-complicating the matter. So, stepping back, recollecting my thoughts, I attempted to recast the topic in a more profitable way. This, of course, is only possible since I may edit the paper any way I want, for a grade ascribed to me only, hardly affecting anyone else—in line with only my standards of excellence and general integrity.  But...

Philosophical Poetry

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Interestingly, Aristotle tells us poetry tends to be more philosophical than mere history, because poetry is concerned with universals, while history tends to focus upon particulars. (Aristotle, Poetics 9.1451b1–7)

For those who love history more than poetics, or poetics more than history, one might consider the genius of those who combine the two (Augustine’s Confessions). 

Gospel Ethics

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Mark’s Gospel is a call to heroic discipleship in a world that betrayed, mocked, tried, and abandoned the Messiah—it shows how adventurous and dangerous discipleship could be. It collects Jesus’ words on a variety of topics and makes clear Christ’s words, not Moses’ are the basis of ethics now (Mark 8:38) Matthew’s Gospel seems to have much affinity with Mark, but shows that Christ fulfills the...

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