Topical Line Drive 30 – Process and Ministry

Volume 30 in the series, Process and Ministry by Dr. Bruce Epperly is now available. This continues the discussion of process in the practical sense.  Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God introduced the basic ideas of process theology.  Process Spirituality: Practicing Holy Adventure continued with application to developing personal spirituality. This newest volume looks to process theology in service to others. We have a volume planned on process theology and pastoral care. Watch here for more information.

Hebrews 1:3 and Hebrews 6:1 Parallel

Thursday, June 28 , 2018

7:35 AM Here’s a connection I hadn’t seen before. It’s between Heb. 1:3 and Heb. 6:1. Note the words highlighted in green.

Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ, ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων, δι’ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας· ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ,φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος  ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, τοσούτῳ κρείττων γενόμενος τῶν ἀγγέλων.

Διὸ ἀφέντες τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ λόγον ἐπὶ τὴν τελειότητα φερώμεθα, μὴ πάλιν θεμέλιον καταβαλλόμενοι μετανοίας ἀπὸ νεκρῶν ἔργων καὶ πίστεως ἐπὶ θεόν, βαπτισμῶν διδαχῆς ἐπιθέσεώς τε χειρῶν, ἀναστάσεώς τε νεκρῶν καὶ κρίματος αἰωνίου. καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσομεν, ἐάνπερ ἐπιτρέπῃ ὁ θεός.

In 1:3 the Son is said to carry the universe by His powerful word. In 6:1, believers are described as being “carried along to maturity.” I had always assumed that the Carry-er in 6:1 was the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21, where the same verb phero is used in the passive to describe how the writers of Scripture were “carried along by the Holy Spirit”). However, I wonder if the agent in 6:1 isn’t Christ Himself. After all, He carries “all things” (Greek: ta panta) by His powerful word.

How practical is the book of Hebrews! The purpose of this book is not only to demonstrate the finality of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It is also to strengthen and encourage the weary members of a house church to respond to their trials with the resources that God has lavished on them, including the presence of the One who sustains them (and all things) through the word of His power. This is why so many commentators have concluded that the dominant motif in Hebrews is parenetic — that is, the book was not written merely to inform but to shore up the readers’ sagging faith.

This is a word I often need. The amazing thing is that it’s often within our power to decide which way we will go. Ignore Jesus, and we can create horrors. Trust Him to work miracles, and He can heal a multitude of hurts. My friend, what do you need to entrust to Him today? What do I? Who in our lives right now needs an encouraging word? A pat on the back? A touch on the shoulder?

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission.)

 

Introducing Old Testament Quotations and the Authorship of Hebrews

(From Dave Black Online, Monday, March 5, 2018. Used by permission.)

5:18 PM So here’s another blog post that is guaranteed to bore you to death or at least put you to sleep. (So what’s new, eh?) This afternoon I was sitting in my home library reading Ephesians 4 when I “just happened” (= divine providence no doubt) to come upon a literary device that Paul uses in verse 8. Friend, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know this is how my mind works. I try to fill in the blanks, sometimes even where no blanks exist. Anyhow, this is what I was reading:

In verse 8 you can see that Paul introduces an OT quote with the words “he says,” meaning “God says.” We’re going to look closely at this for just a few minutes. You see, one of the main arguments against the Pauline authorship of Hebrews is said to be the way the author of Hebrews introduces his OT quotations. Here’s a screen shot of an article I found online:

Certainly this distorts things a bit, don’t you think? It’s an overgeneralization, and an inexact one at that. How do I know? Because I once took the time to compare Hebrews with the 13 authentic Paulines and even wrote a little book on the subject called The Authorship of Hebrews: The Case for Paul. So I grabbed my book off the shelf and, lo and behold, I was reminded that I had actually discussed this matter, to wit:

So then I grabbed my favorite commentary on Ephesians (written by my former Basel prof Markus Barth) and discovered that he, too, agreed that the words “he says” are Pauline. Here are his exact words (pp. 430-431):

Therefore he says. The quotation formula “he says” is found in several Pauline or other NT writings, and introduces a citation from the Bible of Isreal.

Oh my. Barth goes on to cite Paul’s use of the same (or a very similar) introductory formula in Eph. 5:14, Gal. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:16, 2 Cor. 6:2, and Rom. 15:10. In other words, he cites the same examples I cite in my book, and even added one I didn’t include (Rom. 15:10). The point Barth’s trying to make is that, by using this method of quoting the OT, Paul is making it clear to his audience that he’s not quoting “a hymn or perhaps a Targum, rather than a Scripture text” (p. 431).

Again, the evidence seems plain: Paul does indeed use “he says” to introduce quotes from the OT. The facts are obvious. Consequently the argument that Paul introduced OT quotes in one way and the author of Hebrews did so in a completely different way is an argument that fails the smell test. So evidently, we have to throw out that argument. And I haven’t even discussed the other internal arguments against the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, because honestly?

Listen, this is a one finger pointed at you and three fingers pointing back at me scenario. I haven’t always been right. If fact, I’ve been wrong about a good many things in my 42-year teaching career. This is why the body of Christ is so essential. To keep us thinking. And honest with the data. And true to our (better) selves. I am determined to address my failings, my faux pas (that can be a plural in French too, right?), my eisegesis. And yes, I realize this is a third-tier issue. God gave us a spectacular writing called Hebrews, and we all value it, whatever our position on authorship is.

But if Paul were the author ….

Internal vs. External Evidence in Biblical Studies – an Example

8:06 AM From The Authorship of Hebrews: The Case for Paul:

Today, I’m intrigued to note how often exegetical arguments are based upon subjective internal evidence. Arguably, this is not the best way to approach exegetical conundrums when there is an abundance of external evidence to be considered. I would prefer that our students be exposed to all of the evidence, even data that are contrary to the consensus opinio. I fear that much of the trouble goes back to the way we do theological training. Thus one will rarely (if ever) hear that “there is strong (although not probative) internal evidence and solid external evidence for the Paulinity of the epistle [to the Hebrews].” Now, I can see some force in arguments to the contrary, but to ignore the primary data is beyond comprehension.

New Release – To Be or Not To Be: The Adventure of Christian Existentialism

Energion Publications announces the release of the 29th volume in the Topical Line Drives series, To Be or Not To Be: The Adventure of Christian Existentialism by David Moffett-Moore. The suggested retail for the paperback is, as always for this series, $5.99, and the ebook editions will be available at $2.99.

You can read it now on Kindle, and it will be available on other ebook platforms and in print (perfect bound) in the next few days.

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