December 2003 Blog Archives
Tuesday, December 30
11:10 AM Off to a funeral for one of my church members and then to work on Bradford Hall, our new home in Virginia (we'll be laying more downstairs flooring and painting the dining room mantel). Plumbing is in and working, as are all of the lights and chandeliers. Can't wait for the dedication service!
10:20 AM I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Newness Year (see Romans 6:4: "Buried with Him in baptism...so that we too might walk in newness of life"). The word "newness" is found only here and in Romans 7:6, where Paul talks of how we are to serve God in the newness of the spirit rather than in the oldness of the letter of the law. The Greek refers to what is new or fresh in both form and quality. My dear friends, may your life in Christ this coming year be new and fresh, both in its form and quality, indeed, may it be a life completely dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit. Happy Newness Year!
10:00 AM Yippy yi yo!! Yesterday I rode for the first time following shoulder surgery last October. I don't know who enjoyed it more, my thoroughbred or me! Did some walking, trotting, cantering, then finished with a spirited gallop. Man alive, have I died and gone to heaven or what? Below: Best Mate at Britain's Ericsson Chase:
9:45 AM Ah, the French have a way of saying it, don't they? This fact struck me again as I was reading through the Gospels last night in my Louis Segond. In Matthew 28:20 our Lord promises to be with us "always" (KJV). The Greek here is literally "all the days," i.e. each and every day, with the emphasis on experiencing the Lord's presence, purpose, and power daily. My French Bible has: "Et voici, je suis avec vous tous les jours." Nice touch, eh?
9:30 AM Bom dia! Recently I linked a powerful essay on the coming underground church in America. I keep harping on this issue because most American evangelicals have their heads in the sand when it comes to the megastate and its inevitable opposition to genuine Christianity. It is the philosophy of tyrants, pure and simple. Now Jon Ryter adds this essay on the banning of Christianity, published at NewsWithViews. A key excerpt:
I encourage you to read Jon’s essay in its entirety. Then do a Google search on persecution in America and prepare to be blown away by example after example of state interference in the free expression of religion. A sampling:
What to do? Don’t ever compromise your beliefs to placate the state. Don’t water down the exclusivity of Christianity. Constantly reaffirm your commitment to biblical truth in a sweet and Christ-like manner. Finally, when persecution comes your way (as it most certainly will), remember the words of our Savior:
Monday, December 29
12:15 PM Please take a moment out of your busy day to read and sign the petition to reappoint Judge Moore to the Alabama Supreme Court.
10:15 AM Geza Vermes' latest book on Jesus continues the evolutionary fallacy on the origin of the Synoptic Gospels. It's a classic example of the mind games New Testament scholars arrogantly delight in. Once again, we are told to test the sayings of Jesus to see which are authentic and which were placed on His lips by the early church, all in keeping with the Sitz im Leben approach to Jesus research that grew out of the quest for the hysterical (er, historical) Jesus. As I've attempted to show in my book Why Four Gospels?, we can accept the priority of Mark's Gospel only if we are willing to jettison the unanimous opinion of the earliest Christians that Matthew came first, something I am hardly ready to do. And it's more than just a question about chronology. The real issue is of far greater importance: the historicity and trustworthiness of the Gospels.
9:00 AM We must never forget the fallen.
8:30 AM Isabel Lyman just sent me a link to her essay on the country's wackiest liberal communities. Go Izzy!
8:00 AM According to AgapePress:
I agree. This election cycle, become a one issue voter.
Friday, December 26
11:45 AM David Brownlow, candidate for Congress on the Constitution Party ticket, has this to say about our Santa Claus in DC:
The federal government has no business in the health care business. We need to take the nearly $500 billion we are spending now on Medicare and Medicaid and send it back to the states and to the people. Let the states decide how to best care for their own people.
Folks, it is my children (and yours) who will be paying for our self-indulgence today.
11:00 AM One of the questions I like to ask myself is, To what extent should our churches follow the practices of the early church? This question is being asked today not only by Baptists but by Christians in all denominations. One vital issue concerns mutual participation during the assembly. But there are many other important issues as well. It is encouraging to note that these questions have been around for a very long time. J.L. Dagg, a fellow Southern Baptist who wrote a manual on church order in 1858, makes the following perceptive comments (note especially his concluding sentence):
For some helpful and thought-provoking links on the early church, please go to our section titled Unleashing the Church.
Tuesday, December 23
9:15 AM My syllabi for J-term Greek, for New Testament Introduction (Norfolk), and Intermediate Greek are now available at the Southeastern website. Students, if you have any questions, feel free to email or call me. J-term students will need to get this grammar and this textbook. Until I see you again, have a fantabulous break!
6:15 AM Mel Gibson's movie is not the only controversial portrayal of the death of Christ. The Alexamenos graffito of Rome is another one, and Rodney Decker's essay on it is fascinating reading. The graffito was discovered on the NW wall of the room 7 of the so-called Paedagogium (a school for the servants of the Imperial Palaces) situated on the southwest slope of the Palatine Hill, towards the Circus Maximus. It is a caricature of the crucifixion and possibly the first artistic rendering of the death of Christ. The Greek letters on it may be transcribed as ALEXAMENOS SEBETE THEON, "Alexamenos worships God." The comment is probably sarcastic: a figure stands before a crucified man with the head of an ass. Contemporary Christian writers remarked that pagans accused the Christians of worshiping an ass.
For other remarkable pictures of the crucifixion, click here.
6:00 AM David Brownlow has some bad news and some good news. The bad news: We've been sold a bill of goods by the GOP. The good news:
I say Amen! To read David's entire column go here.
Monday, December 22
4:00 PM If you haven't heard Jim Elliff's sermon A Call to Repent, please go to my sermon archives. You won't be disappointed - except with inflated membership statistics!
1:15 PM I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii. It was truly the Paradise of the Pacific. I can remember when Waikiki was a small town and had only three major hotels, including the Royal Hawaiian. All that has changed. Traffic congestion is now worse than in L.A. (and I don't mean "Lower Alabama"). As Joni Mitchell used to say, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
12:45 PM Speaking of Roy Moore, get this: A book that asks whether subjects are obligated to obey rulers who issue commands contrary to the law of God. I'm speaking of Vidiciae Contra Tyrannos, or, A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants, first published in 1579. The book was held by John Adams to be one of the most influential books in America on the eve of the Revolution. It merits, I should think, a careful reading by all.
10:00 AM The Latin language is back in the news in light of Gibson's "use" of it in The Passion. It's a great language, to be sure. When I graduated from the University of Basel, I swore my doctoral oath in it, and in fact had to pass an oral in Latin to begin doctoral studies there. It's easier than Greek, I think, but then again, everything's relative. One thing seems certain, however: its use in The Passion will continue to be hotly debated.
By the way, Gibson's movie now has an official site in Spanish.
9:30 AM Yet another reason to homeschool your children.
9:00 AM Good morning one and all! I had a relaxing weekend working on our new house with my son. Installed more lights and worked on the dining room fireplace mantle. Weekend reading included Laura Ingraham's Shut Up and Sing (C-), Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? (B-), and the Gospel of Luke in French (A++, obviously). After my last visit to Paris I thought I'd rehash my francophone abilities, especially my appalling pronunciation. To this end a student of mine who is a native French speaker has been most helpful. I hope he'll forgive me, but I can't help quoting Mark Twain's famous barb: "In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language."
Friday, December 19
4:00 PM Students who think they already know how to do word studies from the Greek might want to read this essay on language.
2:30 PM I thought I should say something about Bush's Taiwan policy, but the America First website has done such a good job there's no need to add anything. Here is a key excerpt:
11:30 AM Today's worthy reads include this one on the purpose of law, an essay on the IRS, and a great piece on how the media likes to slander all things Southern. Also, Lee Shelton has just updated his commentary page at Ever Vigilant, a superb website!
8:15 AM Personally, I like the new name for the European Baptist Convention. It better reflects their focus on world missions. I truly believe that should Germany ever experience a revival of the sort it had immediately after WW II, there would be no stopping German missionaries. Already groups like the Liebenzeller Mission are sending out young evangelists worldwide. Yet in all the renewed focus on the world, European Baptists must not lose sight of the fact Europe itself is still very much a mission field.
8:00 AM My devotions this morning have been in the works of one of my favorite New Testament professors of all time, J. Gresham Machen. Daniel Walker reminds us that Machen was not only a noted scholar but also a great defender of the Constitution and liberty. (How odd, you say, a New Testament scholar who is interested in restoring the nation's constitutional foundations. Shouldn't they just stick with writing Greek grammars and pursuing their "scholarly" reputations?)
Walker puts it this way:
We have much to learn from this humble servant of God.
Thursday, December 18
2:30 PM To my Issues and Methods students: I have just finished grading your papers. Outstanding work! Two of you even produced a score of 110, which is fantastic. As soon as I have recorded your grades you are welcome to stop by my office and pick up your papers (no earlier than 10:00 am tomorrow). My warmest thanks to all of you for your diligence this semester. Meanwhile I'm working on the syllabus for Intermediate Greek II next spring. So far 1 Timothy seems to be the number one preference for our book study. I'm still open to your recommendations, however. Please email me soon if you want your input to count!
8:00 AM Don't waste your money on Gibson's Passion. If you want to see a real Christian movie, try this one. Writes Greg Koukl:
7:45 AM New find, old tomb, and peeks at early Christians.
7:30 AM We are now informed that Gibson's Passion is "a journey into inexpressible reality." To believe that, you have to believe that Jesus was crucified in a loin cloth (rather than naked); that Pilate spoke church Latin (the church had yet to be born); that Jesus carried the entire cross (not just the "patibulum" or cross beam, as history tells us); and that the nails went through His hands (not His wrists, as archeology has shown). Why all this fawning over a movie that resembles Christian art more than reality? Again I cite Gary North's comments about make-believe authenticity:
6:45 AM I have always been fascinated by the theology of the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli. I once spent a week in Switzerland studying his life, traveling from his birthplace to the battlefield on which he died. This morning on my front page I linked an essay by Tom Ascol on the famous Marburg Debate between the Lutherans and Zwinglians over the Lord's Supper. On October 4, 1529, the leaders in the debate composed The Articles of Marburg. The fifteenth article defines the ground common to both parties, including their rejection of the sacrifice of the Mass. It then proceeds to identify the point of difference in the fact that no agreement had been reached on the question of whether the true body and blood of Christ are corporeally present in the bread and wine (Nit vergleicht haben wir uns, ob der war leib und plut Christi leiblich im brot und wein sey). Nevertheless, the adherents of each doctrine are recommended to display Christian charity to those of the other. Tom Ascol (a fellow Baptist) expresses my sentiments on this long-standing debate nicely:
Below: Beautiful Marburg an der Lahn:
6:30 AM Carmon Friedrich has linked to two essays on Evanjellycalism, including this one by that prolific author Anonymous. Ladies, if you aren't reading Carmon's weblog, you are really missing something.
Wednesday, December 17
1:30 PM My favorite political cartoonist, Clay Bennett, does it again. Man is this guy good!
1:00 PM Despite the elaborate fawning taking place today in Kill Devil Hills we really don't believe in the Wright Brothers after all.
12:30 PM Go Texans!
9:00 AM You must read Pieter Friedrich's blog today if you think Saddam is the worst murderer who ever lived. Among the points he makes is that Joseph Stalin killed over 62 million people, yet we were allies with him during WW II! To read more, click the blog button below:
8:30 AM It's now clearer than ever that Iraq is only the first step in the forced democratization of the Middle East and that the Syrians are next. Of course, most Americans aren't even faintly interested in the real history of our involvement in Iraq and why war was so unnecessary. When Saddam used chemical weapons against the Kurds in 1988, as well as against the Iranian forces during the same period, Reagan and his vice-president, George Bush Sr., maintained a conspicuous silence. And a Saddam trial will only reveal more details that could well backfire on the Bush administration. In my forthcoming book Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, I begin chapter 7 ("Give Some People an Inch and They'll Think They're a Ruler") with these words:
Commentator Chuck Baldwin has wondered aloud whether America is the revived Holy Roman Empire. Sometimes I wonder the same thing. How much longer can the neocon spinmeisters get away with redefining the American vision? When will we be able to have a genuine debate in this country on the singular issue facing Americans today: the question of whether these United States will remain a republic as envisioned by our Founders or will degenerate into a global empire? The anger of the populace is not far below the surface, and it will take more than the chest-thumping of the bellocrats to squelch the thunder.
8:00 AM I am working on grading student papers today. Thoroughly enjoying it, I might add! Intermediate Greek students: Your papers are done and may be picked up in my office. Issues and Methods students: It looks like you'll have to wait until Monday. I've had several potential students from out of state make appointments with me, and I also have to give a Ph.D. oral, so it will take me longer than expected. Meanwhile, please be careful out there. The black ice is treacherous!
Tuesday, December 16
8:15 AM Read the latest from the Mises Institute on the fundamentals of the falling dollar. Meanwhile, federal spending has increased a whopping 25 percent under Bush. But that's OK. Man, he's a conservative, God-fearing Republican!
Incredibly, BP reports that Hussein's capture means that the Iraqi people are free to endorse American-style "democracy." Good grief! We are a republic, not a democracy! Tragically, what we ARE exporting abroad is a corrupt, anti-God, non-Christian culture (see David Brownlow's comments below). Doesn't anyone THINK?
Meanwhile, Saddam cheers fade into Iraqi ire while in Baghdad the slaughter goes on. At least we're not doing the "Mission Accomplished" strut and needlessly endangering more American lives. Maybe the president's learning something after all.
Monday, December 15
2:00 PM I have been praying for the church in Iraq today. According to sources I've read, there are about 700,000 Christians in Iraq. Most are Chaldean, an eastern rite church that is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. A smaller number of Assyrian Christians are not in communion with Rome. Many of these are nominal, to be sure. There are also much smaller numbers of Syrian Orthodox and a few Presbyterians. Baptists, too, have organized in Iraq. Right: A baptism at the First Baptist Church of Baghdad.
1:15 PM This is a beautiful story of redemption. My hat's off to Chuck and Rhonda Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, my sister school.
12:30 PM Mark Harrington just wrote me and asked if I'd post his latest on Saddam and the Constitution. I'm glad to do it, Mark. Mark is one of the few ethicists I know who are speaking out in this day of compromise and cowardice. While you're at it, go here and scroll down on Mark's site to hear a sickening narrative of a partial birth abortion in process. If this doesn't make you cry out for God's mercy on our land, nothing will!
10:30 AM AlterNet's Christopher Sheer puts it better than I ever could:
8:30 AM Dr. John Broadus, former Professor of New Testament at my sister institution, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is always a worthy read. Here he writes on the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus As Savior. A snippet:
7:30 AM Next semester I will be teaching the second part of intermediate Greek, which will involve the detailed exegesis of a New Testament book. If you are planning on taking this course, please feel free to send me an email and suggest a book you'd like to study. I will be happy to consider it.
7:00 AM You must read this essay by Steven Yates on the future of the Internet and those who are eager to control it ( to make it more "efficient," of course, like the Post Office or our government schools). It used to take several years before a few hundred people (at most!) would read an essay I published, say, in Novum Testamentum or New Testament Studies. Now, with daveblackonline, hundreds of people read my columns daily (I have had up to 6,000 hits on a single day). Despite the dangers of the Internet (which Yates is clearly aware of), it remains the most effective tool in existence for the dissemination of opinion and information. My only question is why more evangelicals aren't using it as an evangelistic or apologetics tool.
For what it's worth, I have provided some tips on setting up your own website here.
Saturday, December 13
8:30 AM I'm off to our commencement service here at Southeastern. I am so grateful for each and every one of my students. I especially wish all of our graduating seniors a fruitful ministry in whatever place of service God calls them. My desire for you is that of Paul (Phil 2:1-4):
8:15 AM Received this very kind email today in response to my essay on church leadership in Philippians 1:1:
Thursday, December 11
9:45 AM The latest from Clay Bennett:
8:45 AM Seems everyone's jumping on the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) bandwagon these days. PC thing to do if you're a "conservative," I guess. This is same-old same-old thinking, folks. Lest we forget, federal judges routinely defy the U.S. Constitution, so why do you think they’d follow a federal amendment? And doesn't anyone want to talk about the Tenth Amendment anymore? Good grief, our Founders banned federal intervention into states matters. Or at least they thought they did.
Perhaps it's time we acknowledged how badly they failed. Let's all take a deep breath and say it out loud. Ready? The Constitution is a dead letter in America today. Our good politicians and Washington think-tank pundits pay as much attention to the Constitution as they do to their junk email hawking Viagra and Oxycotin. (Sorry, poor example.) By the way, did you notice how Bush's statements in support of the FMA are a far cry from what his running mate, Dick Cheney, said in the 2000 campaign? Cheney told a national television audience that the question of same-sex relationships should be left to the states, and that there should be no federal policy on the matter. Now the White House is asking us to file Cheney’s remarks under the heading of "well, never mind."
To those who argue that the federal amendment route is an Open Sesame for societal reform, President Franklin Roosevelt gave this classic response:
[There are] those who honestly believe the amendment process is the best and who would be willing to support a reasonable amendment if they could agree on one. To them I say: we cannot rely on an amendment as the immediate or only answer to our present difficulties. When the time comes for action, you will find that many of those who pretend to support you will sabotage any constructive amendment which is proposed. . . . Even if an amendment were passed, and even if in the years to come it were to be ratified, its meaning would depend upon the kind of justices who would be sitting on the Supreme Court bench. An amendment, like the rest of the Constitution, is what the justices say it is rather than what its framers or you might hope it is.
Wednesday, December 10
1:45 PM Just saw this piece on Medal of Honor recipients on December 7, 1941, at the SFTT website and thought you'd be interested in it. That day had many "what ifs." For example, we know the Japanese were detected by a mobile radar station at Kahuku Point on Oahu's north shore 52 minutes before the attack began. The inexperienced operators reported the finding to headquarters. The young officer in charge mistook the formation as a flight of U.S. planes due from the West Coast. He told the operators to ignore the data. Many people also do not realize that the windward side of the island, where I was raised, saw action at both Kaneohe and Bellows Field. Growing up I remember often climbing to the top of the pillboxes still in the area, including the one at Lanikai Point, which offers a superb 360 degree view of windward Oahu. Below is a photo of Lanikai with Flat Island in the foreground and Kaneohe (where our aircraft were attacked on Dec. 7) in the background. For you surfers out there, we had a reef break, a shore break, an island break, and a point break--all within 5 miles of Kailua Beach. Not too shabby, dude!
1:00 PM A word to my students: I will be grading your papers and exams for the next several days. I always look forward to reading what you've worked so hard to produce. Already the topics have sparked my interest: Paul's Use of the Old Testament in Romans, The Essence of Elders, Exodus 1:15-22 and Its Implications for Norman Geisler's Ethic of Absolutes, Homosexuality and Scripture, and these are just for starters! I hope to have everything read and your final grades calculated by next Thursday, so plan to check back with me then. I'll see you graduates on Saturday!!!
10:20 AM The Department of Social(ism) Services is hard at work, on your children's behalf, of course. This is scary, folks. The article appeared in the Digital Courier.
10:00 AM David Brownlow—who is running for Congress in Oregon on the Constitution Party ticket—takes a swipe at third party politics. Actually, he says, there are only two parties, with the creation of the Republicrat Party. David is spot on, whether the issue is the UN, gun control, aborticide, etc. He's a regular at News With Views and always a worthy read. Conservative Oregonians, be sure to take a close look at his platform!
8:00 AM Ted Lang documents the irony of calling for a draft when we don't even take care of our vets:
As we now look to honor our veterans and dead from past wars on this Veterans' Day, why should more Americans be made to give up their lives and limbs for a Congress that disgraces US, its oath of office, and the very Constitution our veterans fought and died for by advancing un-American socialism? And this while at the same time disgracefully turning their backs on injured service personnel now awaiting adequate medical care and attention from the current, on-going war. And many are long overdue proper medical attention right here in the United States! Some injured and sick military personnel languish in filthy and totally unsafe quarters.
7:30 AM News With Views has just published an excellent essay on judicial tyranny in America. I hope you will read the entire article. One quote deserves mention here:
Tuesday, December 9
2:00 PM This essay about the U.S. Constitution is Chuck Baldwin at his best. Sorta reminds me of Jay Leno's quip:
Friends, the conditions in our society and their causes are not something an external enemy did to us! We did it to ourselves via submission to a totalitarian-leaning Leviathan. As a result, America hardly resembles a republic anymore. In fact, our media often refer to the United States as a democracy. Thomas Jefferson said that a democracy (Latin for mob rule) was the worst form of government on earth and that we should avoid a democratic form of government like the plague. A republic is what our Founders gave us, not a democracy. Because they felt that human nature could not be trusted where political power was concerned, they produced a Constitution with a system of strict checks and balances. Government was to be laic, libertarian, and limited. These ideas are seen not only in the Constitution but also in our most notable quasi-official documents such as the Declaration of Independence and Washington's Farewell Address.
If you haven't read our founding documents in a while, please go to my reading room and to the section titled "Freedom Documents." Better yet, order Chuck's collection of these works, available at his website.
9:00 AM If you haven't seen Codex Vaticanus in our seminary library yet (no, not the real thing), it's now on display. It is a truly incredible reproduction. Perhaps my favorite page (from a curiosity point of view) is the one pictured below. The column, which is found at the beginning of Hebrews, reads, "Stupid idiot! Can't you leave the old reading alone and not change it!" (my translation). Love it!
To my Greek students: Here's a good review of Bauer's Lexicon (3d English edition), which many of you have.
Monday, December 8
9:00 AM All three Northeast Piedmont Chorale concerts this weekend were great fun and well attended. A tip of the kepi to my colleagues, Dr. John Boozer and Dr. John Davis, for doing a great job of conducting, and to Mrs. Pat Boozer for her fantastic organ and piano accompaniment.
Saturday, December 6
2:00 PM Gibson's new Passion website is online. Among the questionable statements it makes is this one:
Street Latin with an ecclesiastical pronunciation, to be sure. And sorry, Greek was not spoken only by "intellectuals." It was the language of common and cultured people alike and almost certainly the language spoken in the Jesus-Pilate dialogue. But does anyone care?
10:45 AM After the president's whiz bang visit to Baghdad, we're more optimistic than ever that our nation building will succeed. David Brownlow notes some of the jewels of democracy we will be exporting to Iraq:
Little wonder the Iraqis can hardly wait for "democracy."
10:30 AM As our WW II vets dwindle, some of us will pause tomorrow to remember the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor. Was December 7, 1941, a day of infamy or a day of lies? Born and raised on the island of Oahu, I have always been fascinated with this question. If you haven't read Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit, you should. It has even received praise from John Toland, author of Infamy (the book I cut my eye teeth on):
For an outstanding series of photos, go here.
10:00 AM Tonight's the night! Thursday's rehearsal went very well. I counted 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, as well as percussion and organ. They sounded great! The weather is clear and crisp, perfect for an evening enjoying great sacred music. So do plan on joining us for our concert at 7:00. Remember: the concert is free!
9:30 AM Received this constructive criticism in response to one of my recent essays:
Thursday, December 4
2:30 PM Had a good chuckle when I read Andrew Ferguson's attempt to defend Bush in his essay "That Man in the White House" appearing in the Weekly Standard. Taking on "Bush-bashing" seems a little silly to me when at the end of his essay one of the magazine's sponsors is listed as Lies of George W. Bush by David Corn!
2:00 PM The church is a family, indeed, a family of families. I was reminded of this fact while preaching the past two weeks at churches that have no children's church or youth groups. (Parents do the teaching--what a novel idea!) How refreshing to have families worshipping together as the gathered people of God! For some great thoughts on integrated meetings, take a look at the essays at the Trinity Baptist Church website. You'll be challenged to rethink the way you do church! As Jeremy Walker notes:
John and Noel Piper agree. For their perspective, and for thoughtful answers to such questions as "But what can children get out of corporate worship?", go here.
7:00 AM The Great Ice Storm of 2002 began exactly one year ago today. We were without power at the Black Shack for two weeks! And they're calling for light snow and possible sleet in Wake Forest tonight.
Speaking of the winter storm season, Thomas Kinkade has a painting I've always appreciated. He named it "Conquering the Storms."
6:45 AM Only three more days to go until our sacred music concert here at the seminary. Tonight is our dress rehearsal. Our choir (the Northeast Piedmont Chorale) will combine with the Southeastern Seminary Choir for this event. If you haven't made plans for this Saturday, please join us at 7:00 pm for a program that includes the majestic celebration of John Rutter's Gloria featuring full chorus, brass octet, timpani, and organ to the festive refrains of familiar carols and other seasonal fare. For a preview, you can listen to the opening strains of Gloria here. Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Wednesday, December 3
1:30 PM Just had a great hermeneutics class with special guest lecturer, Dr. Michael Travers, author of the recently published Encountering God in the Psalms. His distinction between the Bible as literature and the literature of the Bible is important, I believe, and will do much to help our students become more sensitive to the literary artistry in the books of the Old and New Testaments. As always, a brief lecture raises more questions than it can possibly answer, but my hat's off to my esteemed colleague for such a stimulating and engaging lecture.
Meanwhile, new tools for the study of Greek are appearing all the time. One of the latest employs a new approach to learning the vocabulary of the New Testament based on Louw and Nida's concept of semantic domains. Read Ed Curtis's review of Mastering New Testament Greek Through Semantic Domains.
8:00 AM I'm in the mood for a contest today. On my beginning Greek exams I offer students an extra credit sentence in which they can earn up to 10 points by translating an English sentence into Greek. If they manage to do this, plus get 100 percent on their exam, they earn the prestigious "110 Award" (usually one of my books). At least one student always manages to accomplish this feat, without using any helps whatsoever. The latest exam (graded last night) was no exception. The English sentence was "You (s.) have sinned against God because you are an evil tax collector." This translates into 10 Greek words. If you have studied some Greek and would like to try your hand at translating this sentence (remember, no helps), have at it! You may send in your answer using transliterated Greek if you like. The first person with the correct translation will receive a copy of my intermediate grammar, It's Still Greek to Me, gratis!
On February 27, I wrote:
Alas, such is the price of hubris.
Tuesday, December 2
8:30 PM Can anyone give me some good tips on sugar substitutes (for cooking, coffee sweetening, etc.)? We are very interested in anything except saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose! Your recommendations will be most appreciated.
5:30 PM Say what? The words are Rummy's:
5:00 PM Sorry for this lengthy screed, but it's obvious to me that freedom from oppressive government regulation is a thing of the past in America. The opportunity to compete in a free and open society is fast disappearing, and the "progressives" are doing all they can to hasten the complete demise of republicanism. Radical socialism has become the name of the game, and it will take a supreme effort by all to reverse the damage that decades of socialism have done to the families of our nation. The "Great Society" explains why the public tends to support government growth. In contemporary America, the state has become a god, a super problem-solver, a Leviathan, and if you don't support government solutions to our problems you must be opposed to that problem being solved. This is an utter absurdity, but try telling that to Republicans!
Are you or aren't you? A neocon, that is. Take Gary North's neocon litmus test here and find out.
Ted Lang is in exceptionally good form in his latest squib in the Patriotist. As Ted says, "Kinda Cool"!
11:00 AM Just back from seeing the surgeon who removed a portion of my arthritic collar bone two months ago. (Man, just saying that makes me feel old!) It appears I now suffer from a rotator cuff injury of some sort that has kept me pretty inactive for several weeks (caint even ride ma hosses!). He says to try P.T. and some anti-inflammatory medication. Oh well, some days I feel like I'm aging as fast as Tony Blair.
At long last, the Constitution Party now has a Triangle Area Party affiliate. I'll be curious to see who they run for local offices.
With Christmas upon us, it would be well to remember that Christ alone is the truth.
Monday, December 1
8:30 AM Somebody ought to write a book on how to do church the right way (i.e., the biblical way). Come to think of it, somebody already has. Steve Atkerson of the New Testament Restoration Foundation kindly sent me a copy of his latest book, titled Ekklesia. No, I don't agree with everything in this tome (it downplays the role of teaching elders), but much of what it says would help our churches become more Christ-honoring and biblical in every way. One example: Observing a weekly communal meal as did the early church. Thanks, Steve, for the gift! I hope you enjoy my book on adolescence in return.
Check out this essay on our ever-expanding national girth. Guess which religious group tops the list of gluttons?
God knows... or does He?
Here's what you get for owning a Bible in China.