Monthly Archives: October 2014

Review: When Heaven Invades Earth; Pt II

When Heaven Invades Earth

This is a continuation in my series of reviewing Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. You can read Part I here.

The Spoiled Milk

Fideism (or Faith as True Knowledge)

Fideism is “the doctrine that knowledge depends on faith or revelation,‘ ‘faith is independent of reason,’ or ‘reason and faith are hostile to each other with faith being superior.’

Johnson says, “Faith is neither intellectual or anti-intellectual. It is superior to the intellect…. When we submit the things of God to the mind of man, unbelief and religion are the results. When we submit the mind of man to the things of God, we end up with faith and a renewed mind.” It’s a nice turn around, but Johnson doesn’t explain how that concept really works. He goes on to say, “Much of the opposition to revival comes from soul-driven Christians. The apostle Paul calls them carnal. They have not learned how to be led by the Spirit. Anything that doesn’t make sense to their rational mind is automatically in conflict with Scripture” (ps. 46-47).

“A religious spirit is a demonic presence that works to get us to substitute being led by our intellect instead of the Spirit of God” (p. 81).

“But how can we follow Him if we don’t recognize His presence? The more pronounced His presence, the more unique the manifestations of our God encounters become. Although the manifestations we experience while encountering Him are important, it’s God Himself we long for” (p. 82).

So all of this talk about God’s presence, what is God’s presence? How do we know when His Holy Spirit moves? It seems to be in the greater ‘manifestations’ we would experience.

The irony in Johnson’s title (When Heaven Invades Earth: A Practical Guide to a Life of Miracles) is that Johnson doesn’t really tells how to live a life of miracles. He doesn’t tell us what ‘being led by the Spirit’ means, or how the Spirit moves, or what we really need to do to let the Spirit work.

Maybe He speaks in a still small voice? Does God always have to move in great manifestations? In 1 Kings 19.11-12 the Lord passes by Elijah and a great wind tore the mountain and broke rocks into pieces, then after an earthquake, then a fire, but the Lord was in none of these. Then a voice (19.13) asked Elijah what he was doing there. In 1 Kings 18 the Lord had just shown Himself in the fire that fell on the altar, yet King Ahab and Queen Jezebel refused to turn to Yahweh. Now, there will be no more signs. Instead, judgement. God would ‘speak’ so quietly that only those who know Him would hear His ‘voice.’

Yet, if such is the case, why are we to be looking for great manifestations of the Spirit? Even false prophets can perform signs (Deut. 13.2).

A Faith Summary

On pages 48-49 Johnson gives “A Faith Summary” from Hebrews 11.2-34 on the affects of faith found in that passage. The affects range from how “By faith” “Abraham received promises,”dwelled in a land of promise,” “By faith” “the walls of Jericho fell” to they who “By faith” “subdued kingdoms,” “shut the mouths of lions,” and “were made valiant in battle.”

What’s the problem?

Johnson stops at Hebrews 11.34, the very verse before we start to read about some who (“By faith”) were tortured, refused accepting release so that they might obtain a better resurrection. They suffered mocking, flogging, chains, imprisonment, stonings, beatings, being sawn in two, afflicted, mistreated, etc (Heb 11.35b-38).

Paul in Romans 8.16-18 says something similar, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Faith Cuts Verses?

The Holy Spirit lives in my spirit. That is the place of communion with God. As we learn to receive from our spirits we learn how to be Spirit led. ‘By faith, we understand’ [*Heb 11.3]. Faith is the foundation for all true intellectualism. When we learn to learn that way, we open ourselves up to grow in true faith because faith does not require understanding to function” (p. 47).

Yet this is not what Hebrews 11.3 is saying at all. “By faith we understand…” What do we understand? “…that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” 

The author of Hebrews isn’t trying to teach his readers how to be Spirit led, but what our faith is placed in. God created the world by His word. God gave His people promises. He gave promises to:
Adam (Gen 3.15),
Abel [through Adam] (Gen 4.4),
Enoch (Gen 5.24; Jude 14-15),
Noah (Gen 6.13-14; 8.21-9.1,7),
Abraham (Gen 12.1-3; 15.4-7, 13-16, 18; 17.1-9),
Sarah (Gen 18.10-11; 21.1).
Yet, they died not having received the full and fulfilled promises of inheriting the land (Joshua 1-24). But Heb 11.40 says, “God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” If they didn’t not see all (but did see some) of the promises fulfilled, yet had faith, should we not have more reason to believe God?

God’s Promises to Us

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1.20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Christ]. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory.” And from 2 Cor 1.20-7.1 Paul lays out these promises that have come and are being fulfilled in Christ:
Forgiving the offender (Mt. 18.15-20) [we are in Christ who is the true temple (Jn 2.19-21)],
New Covenant (2 Cor 3; cf. Jer 31.31-34), the light of Christ’s Gospel (2 Cor 4.6; cf. Gen 1.2-3; Isa 9.2),
Assurance of resurrection and the day of judgment (2 Cor 5.1-5, 10; cf. Dan 12.2),
Beginning of new creation and reconciliation with God (2 Cor 5.17-21; cf. Isa 43.18-19; 65.17),
And, in having the Spirit of God in us, being the temple of God (2 Cor 6.16-18; cf. Lev 26.12; Isa 52.11; Jer 32.38; Ezek 20.34.41; 2 Sam 7.14).

All that to say, God gave promises, He has kept them, and they are starting now. We have the Holy Spirit in us as a guarantee (2 Cor 5.5) that believers, unlike unbelievers, recognize that our fearful Judge came to us first to be our Savior. Unbelievers don’t fear Judgment Day. We are looking forward to the consummated New Creation (Rev 21-22) so that we can be out of the suffering and affliction the world lays on us now.

So we have ‘better’ promises in Jesus, ‘the author and finisher of our faith’ (Heb 12.2). He endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now sitting at the right hand of God. We are to ‘lay aside every weight’ and ‘run the race with endurance’ with Christ as our Perfect Model.

Leap of Faith

Taking from Johnson quote above, “…we open ourselves up to grow in true faith because faith does not require understanding to function” (p. 47).

We are not making a ‘leap of faith’ like those in the Enlightenment. During the Enlightenment, Reason came to power and ‘faith’ could no longer be proved. Reason ‘proved’ the Bible wrong, and to believe in the Bible one had to make a jump ‘into faith.’ They just had to believe that there was something to believe.

But this is not our position. We have historical proof of God fulfilling His promises in His Son Jesus Christ. We have His Spirit which, as we go through trials and affliction, causes us to look forward to the promise of the physical new created world which God’s presence will pervade.

And though we believe by faith, it is not something ‘superior’ to intellect for we use our intellect to show how this makes sense. We use our intellect to know that the Bible is true. We use our intellect to look back at history and see that God has fulfilled His promises, and we believe by faith that God will continue to keep His word, even in the midst of our afflictions.


Conclusion

Johnson claims that we are to look for manifestations of the Spirit. The greater His presence the more unique the manifestations. He assumes that by faith we know that we know that we know. We believe the Bible not by God acting throughout history, but because we experience Holy Spirit manifestations of grandeur now. At least, we should, so the argument goes. If manifestations are our proof, when happens when we don’t get them? Believe harder? Are we doing something wrong? Johnson doesn’t tell us. We just simply have to believe “because faith does not require understanding to function” (p. 47).

Next Time

In the next review we’ll look at “rejecting everything we don’t understand” and pitting Paul against Pentecost.

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Review: When Heaven Invades Earth; Pt I

When Heaven Invades Earth

You know it’s going to be a good book when….

…the back cover says, “If you are not walking in the miraculous, you’re living far below your birthright!”

…one of the endorsements is provided by none other than Todd Bentley.

…the pastor of a church that experiences falling gold dust, angel feathers, and glory clouds writes a book about ‘walking in the miraculous’ and criticizes the apostle Paul for restricting or rejecting the use of the gifts of the Spirit. ‘Let all things be done decently and in order’ [1 Cor. 14.40] (p. 156).

Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson (a self-proclaimed apostle) is the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Bethel is a church whose mission “is to create a vibrant family of hope-filled believers who deeply experience the love and presence of God and partner with Jesus to express the joy and power of His kingdom in every area of life.

If you’ve heard of the Bethel band, Jesus Culture, or Kim Walker (to throw a few names out there), all come out of Bethel Church (Jesus Culture was the worship band for the youth group).

I borrowed this book from a friend about three years ago, but never ended up reading it. After coming home this summer I saw it and recognized Bill Johnson as the author. I’ve heard strange things about Bethel, but I’d never looked into it much myself (aside from a few videos by Kris Vallotton). Since they’re pretty well-known in the US and in Norway (both places which are of great importance to me), I thought I’d read the book, see what Johnson was really all about, and possibly post a review.

Review

I started off WHIE by giving Johnson the benefit of the doubt. Despite what I had previously heard, I came to the book with  preconceived notions as I could and tried to look at Bethel with a fresh perspective. Perhaps the views others had on Bethel’s theology were wrong? Or maybe Bethel really wasn’t that bad.

I started reading WHIE looking for whatever came up, whether positive or negative. I soon trashed that idea because of the underlying presuppositions Johnson holds in his book.

Instead of the usual way I write my reviews, I’m going to start in reverse and lead in with the Recommendation section. Next will be The Spoiled Milk (negative) section.

This review will likely be separated into multiple posts rather than risk making it too long for anyone to read in one go. I will post as much of Johnson’s words and context as I can in an honest way while still trying to be clear and succinct. His words will be colored in blueBy doing this you can look and decide for yourself if my points are valid (especially if you own the book).

Recommended?

No way. Not only is Johnson’s fundamental reading of the Scriptures skewed towards having exciting spiritual experiences, but his own analyses of reason, logic, and knowledge is wrong. His hermeneutics, his conception of Paul as opposed to the Holy Spirit’s work, and his kenosis heresy (and I don’t use that word lightly) of Jesus laying aside His own divinity is enough to warrant a sufficient denial of this book’s worth.

This review will not be overly harsh for Johnson says there is no sickness or poverty in heaven, which is true. However, there is also no falsehood or error in heaven. (DeWaay). There is plenty here that is false.

The Spoiled Milk

Deliver Us From Evil

“A study on the word evil confirms the intended reach of His redemption. That word is found in Matthew 6:13 (KJV), ‘Deliver us from evil.’ The word evil represents the entire curse of sin upon man. Poneros, the Greek word for evil, came from the word ponos, meaning pain. And that word came from the root word penes, meaning poor. Look at it: evil-sin, pain-sickness, and poor-poverty. Jesus destroyed the power of sin, sickness, and poverty through His redemptive work on he cross. In Adam and Eve’s commission to subdue the earth, they were without sickness, poverty, and sin. Now that we are restored to His original purpose, should we expect anything less?” (p. 33).

First off, this ‘word study’ is just terrible. Poneros…to ponos….to penes? And they’re all related? As one commenter (Lindsay) said below, we don’t see the word ‘butterfly’ and assume it’s a fly made of butter. Simply because Jesus said “Deliver us from evil” doesn’t mean that ‘evil‘ will encompass both the immediate and all of the peripheral meanings.

And leaving that discussion to one of “expecting anything less?“, yes, we should expect ‘less.’ I’ll explain more in a second, but if we are Christians and we still experience pain (which we do), what are we to do then? Are we not holding tight enough to our beliefs?

What is poverty? I have more money than 85% percent of the world. I can read. I can write.  I have a computer. But what about Christians living in third-world countries? Do they not have enough faith to bring themselves out of their situation?

In his second letter, Peter says we are looking forward to the consummation of new creation [2 Pet 3.10-13], and in Revelation 21-22 the former things have passed away and all things are made new. It is where the garden of eden ‘temple’ (where God’s presence was) and the mandate for Adam and Eve to ‘be fruitful,’ ‘fill the earth,’ and ‘subdue it’ [Gen 1.28] so that the ‘earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” [Hab 2.14] are fulfilled.

Pain Doesn’t Prepare

Johnson doesn’t see God using pain to build character. “Faith lives within the revealed will of God. When I have misconceptions of who He is and what He is like, my faith is restricted by those misconceptions. For example, if I believe that God allows sickness in order to build character, I’ll not have confidence praying in most situations where healing is needed…. A woman who needed a miracle once told me that she felt God had allowed her sickness for a purpose. I told her if I treated my children that way I’d be arrested for child abuse” (p. 45). Johnson then states she agreed with him, allowed him to pray for her, and she was healed within minutes.

He goes on to say, “Unbelief is anchored in what is visible or reasonable apart from God. It honors the natural realm as superior to the invisible. The apostle Paul states that what you can see is temporal, and what you can’t see is eternal*. Unbelief is faith in the inferior [* 2 Cor. 4.18](p. 45).

Contrary to Johnson’s point, this is not at all Paul’s point in 2 Cor. 4.18. Johnson fails to keep 4.18 in it’s proper context. In 4.7 Paul says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” Though he is afflicted (4.8), struck down (4.8), and carries in the body the death of Jesus (4.10), he manifests Christ’s life through his flesh and does not lose heart (4.16).

Paul isn’t saying “don’t believe what you see, God is able to work wondrous miracles before your eyes to keep you healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He’s saying, “We don’t lose heart. Even though our outer self is wasting away (from affliction [4.9-11]), our inner self is being renewed day by day [cf. 3.18]. This affliction that is light and momentary is preparing for us a glory that is weighty and eternal, as we look not to the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen” (4.16-18, paraphrase). So what is unseen? The “building” we have “from God,” “eternal in the heavens.” But we know we will be further clothed in Christ in our resurrection bodies (5.2, 4) because God “has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (5.5).

My faith is put into the fact that God works through our (and my own) suffering, preparing an eternal glory; our resurrected bodies. It’s not child abuse. God gives suffering so that the glory to come is put into its proper perspective (eternal, weighty, glorious). God prepares us by giving us a foretaste of glory to come, in order that the suffering may be put into proper perspective (momentary, light, affliction) (Rom 5.1-5; 8.16-24).

That God is faithful and can heal me at every turn, but even if I did die from this illness/pain/affliction, I will triumph over death through and because of Christ (1 Cor. 15.21-26).


Conclusion

This first review covered who Bill Johnson is, how I will review this book, if it is recommended, while going over three quotes from Johnson. Throughout his book Johnson has in view a Dominion theology, where, in Christ, we are now taking the place of Adam and Eve to fill and subdue the earth. I have no problem with that, yet he also tacks on that we should be as Adam and Eve were, perfect and pain free. We should be able to, by faith, call down God’s Spirit, bind the enemy, and bring miracles to hard hearts and hurting people. Yet this is not what the Bible teaches. We are to be weak and lowly. We are to a be picture of Christ. As the world begins and continues to afflict us in their hatred of Christ, we persevere in Christ’s resurrection power that is at work in us now (2 Cor. 4.12).

Next Time

In my next review I’ll go over Johnson’s belief in Fideism (or believing that faith is true knowledge), how he cuts up verses to take them out of context (with Hebrews 11.3 as a case study), and the leap of faith he takes by saying faith is superior to knowledge.

 After that we’ll look at “rejecting everything we don’t understand” and pitting Paul against Pentecost.

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Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense

This week I taught chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians. In light of verse 21 (along with 4.14, 16-18, 5.1-10, 17; Isa. 52.13-53.12), I find this hymn fitting.

Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense

By: Berlin

Jesus Christ, my sure defense
And my Savior, now is living!
Knowing this, my confidence
Rests upon the hope here given
Though the night of death be fraught
Still with many an anxious thought.

Jesus, my redeemer, lives;
Likewise I to life shall waken.
He will bring me where he is;
Shall my courage then be shaken?
Shall I fear, or could the head
Rise and leave his members dead?

No, I am too closely bound
By my hope to Christ forever;
Faith’s strong hand the rock has found,
Grasped it, and will leave it never;
Even death now cannot part
From its Lord the trusting heart.

I am flesh and must return
To the dust, whence I am taken;
But by faith I now discern
That from death I will awaken
With my Savior to abide
In his glory, at his side.

Then these eyes my Lord will know,
My redeemer and my brother;
In his love my soul will glow
I myself and not another!
Then the weakness I feel here
Will forever disappear.

Then take comfort and rejoice,
For his members Christ will cherish
Fear not, they will hear his voice;
Dying, they will never perish;
For the very grave is stirred
When the trumpet’s blast is heard.

Oh, then, draw away your hearts
From all pleasures base and hollow.
Strive to share what he imparts
While you here his footsteps follow.
As you now still wait to rise,
Fix your hearts beyond the skies.

 


Hymn # 266 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Cruger
Tune: Jesus, Meine Zuversicht
1st Published in: 1653

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For the Glory of God

For the Glory of God

Now that I’m almost finished reading (but not cross-referencing – that’s a whole ‘nother animal) Beale’s tome, The Temple and the Church’s Mission, I’ve started reading Block’s For the Glory of God, a biblical theology of worship. I’ll post more about this chunky (381 pgs.) book as time goes on, but for now I’ll leave you with an extended quote from the preface. After reading just this much I’m already excited about this book. Block holds a concern about the biblical form worship that much of the western world needs to hear.


“A number of years ago I preached in a large church with three Sunday morning services. I shall never forget when, at a transitional moment in the service, the ‘pastor of music and worship’ declared to the congregation, ‘Now, before we continue our worship, let me read a passage from Colossians 3’—as if reading and hearing the Scriptures are not exercises in worship.

This restricted notion of worship is common in our day and is reflected in the ubiquitous labeling of CDs as ‘praise and worship’ music, the specification in church bulletins of the singing period as ‘worship time,’ and the identification of musicians on the pastoral staff as ‘worship ministers’ or ‘ministers of worship arts.’ In fact, the worship industry tends to equate worship not only with music but with a particular type of music: contemporary praise.

These practices raise all sorts of questions, not only about the significance of other aspects of the Sunday service (prayer, preaching, testimonials, etc.) but also about religious rituals in the Bible and the Scriptures’ relative minor emphasis on music in worship. Not only is music rarely associated with worship in the New Testament but the Pentateuch is altogether silent on music associated with tabernacle worship. All of this highlights our skewed preoccupation with music in the current conflicts over worship” (xi).


Block then names a handful of issues faced by evangelical churches at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and the problems ran much deeper than differences over musical taste. Those differences were symptoms of a more serious infection.


In a recent book on worship, Edith Humphrey correctly identifies five maladies that plague worship in the North American church: (1) trivializing worship by a preoccupation with atmospherics/mood (it’s all about how worship makes me feel); (2) misdirecting worship by having a human-centered rather than God-centered focus (it’s all about me, the worshiper); (3) deadening worship by substituting stones for bread (the loss of the Word of God); (4) perverting worship with emotional, self-indulgent experiences at the expense of true liturgy; and (5) exploiting worship with market-driven values. After observing trends in worship for a half century, I agree with Humphrey completely” (xii).

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A Good Law?

Sumerian Prayer

This semester I’ve been reading through Daniel Block’s How I Love Your Torah, O Lord: Studies in the Book of Deuteronomy. His first chapter “The Grace of Torah” really caught my eye. Block interprets “the Torah of YHWH” as the book of Deuteronomy, and this book is a guide to help us live in light of the Torah, Deuteronomy.

For many of us, when we think of the studying Torah, the Law, or Deuteronomy, our first inclination isn’t to think “FUN!” It’s usually instead, “Great…..another snoozefest of hearing about laws we don’t need to keep.” What is there to enjoy about a list of Do’s-and-Don’t’s? Why can’t we simply be free? We’re under grace now. What are we doing trying to put this yoke of bondage back onto us?

What Mean These Laws?

In Deut. 6.20, Moses asks his listeners an important question. “When your sons ask you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the covenant stipulations and the ordinances and the laws that YHWH our God has commanded you?’…” (Block’s translation). the idea behind this question is one posed for every day life: your children will ask questions about what God has done. How will you answer them?

Moses’ First Answer

“Moses stated that knowledge of the will of God is the supreme privilege of the covenant people of God” (pg. 5, author’s emphasis).

  1. In Deut 4.1-8, Moses tells the people that what he says (prescribed by YHWH) is “normative and canonical by definition (vv1-2)” (pg. 6).
  2. Obedience to the Torah was the key to life (vv3-4).
  3. “Knowledge of the Torah was the highest privilege imaginable” (pg. 8) [vv5-8].
    • Deut 4.6-7 doesn’t say, “You must keep the commandments and do them, for that is your duty and obligation in the sight of the people who, when they hear all these ordinances, will say, ‘Surely this unfortunate nation is a sorrowful and burdened people’” (pg. 8).

Sumerian Prayer

Now what I really want to get at with this post: To understand the significance of the Torah to God’s people, a nation of kings and priests (Ex 19.6), we have to look at what the surrounding nations in that culture were experiencing in their religious contexts. To show how significant the Torah was, I’ll relay a Sumerian prayer from the second millennium (2000-1000 BC).

This prayer is repetitious, but it gets to the point of how confused other people and cultures were in their vague and ambiguous religions.

“May the fury of my lord’s heart by quieted toward me.
May the god who is not known be quieted toward me;
May the goddess who is not known be quieted toward me.
May the god whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me;
May the goddess whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me.
May the heart of my god be quieted toward me;
May the heart of my goddess be quieted toward me.
May the god [who has become angry with me] be quieted toward me;
May the goddess [who has become angry with me] be quieted toward me;
[Lines 11-18 cannot be restored with certainty.]
In ignorance I have eaten that forbidden of my god;
In ignorance I have set foot on that prohibited by my goddess.
O Lord, my transgressions are many; great are my sins.
O my god, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins.
O my goddess, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins.
O god, whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins;
O goddess, whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are many; great are (my) sins.
The transgression that I have committed, indeed I do not know;
The sin that I have done, indeed I do not know.
The forbidden thing that I have eaten, indeed I do not know;
The prohibited (place) on which I have set foot, indeed I do not know.
The lord in the anger of his heart looked at me;
The god in the rage of his heart confronted me;
When the goddess was angry with me, she made me become ill.
The god whom I know or do not know has oppressed me;
The goddess whom I know or do not know has places suffering upon me.
Although I am constantly looking for help, no one takes me by the hand;
When I weep they do not come to my side.
I utter laments, but no one hears me;
I am troubled;
I am overwhelmed;
I cannot see.
O my god, merciful one, I address to you the prayer.
“Ever incline to me”;
I kiss the feet of my goddess;
I crawl before you.
[Lines 41-49 are mostly broken and cannot be restored with certainty.]
How long, O my goddess, whom I know or do not know, before your hostile heart will be quieted?
Man is dumb; he knows nothing;
Mankind, everyone that exists – what does he know?
Whether he is committing sin or doing good, he does not even know.
O my lord, do not cast your servant down;
He is plunged into the waters of a swamp; take him by the hand.
The sin I have done, turn into goodness;
The transgression that I have committed let the wind carry away;
My many misdeeds strip off like a garment.
Oh my god, (my) transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions;
O my goddess, (my) transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions;
O god whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions;
O goddess whom I know or do not know, (my) transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions.
Remove my transgressions (and) I will sing your praise.
May your heart, like the heart of a real mother, be quieted toward me;
Like a real mother (and) a real father may it be quieted toward me” (pg.8-10).

This man had a keen sense of sin. He had an awareness of ultimate accountability. He expresses greater enlightenment than most in the west today. Yet Block tells us there were three insurmountable problems:

  1. He didn’t know which god he had offended.
  2. He didn’t know what the offense was.
  3. He didn’t know what it would take to satisfy the god or gods.

But unlike the other nations, YHWH revealed Himself to His people on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19. He showed His mighty deeds through plaguing Egypt ten times, by leading His people through the split Red Sea, by demolishing the gods of Egypt along with the greatest army on earth, and by providing the grumbling people with water, manna, and quail. Now He provides them with His law so that they know Who is in charge (Ex. 20.2-3, 4-17), what is required of them, and what do do when sin occurs (Lev. 1-7).

YHWH hears his people when they cry (Ex. 3.7) and when they call (Deut. 4.7).

Moses’ Second Answer

To keep this brief, “Obedience to the will of God is the supreme delight of the covenant people of God…The primary motive for an Israelite’s life was not a system of rules but the knowledge of the salvation YHWH wrought on their behalf by His mighty power and grace” (pg. 11).

They were to obey in faith, awaiting the fateful day when the Seed of the woman, the Messiah, would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3.15) and deliver the sinful world back to (or into) the orderly, good creation it was supposed to be (Rom. 8.20-23).

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Back to School

It’s been quite a while (almost three months), and I’ve finally taken the moment to sit down and write up this post. If you’ve been wondering, or if not, I’ve been in York, England again for my fifth semester here (seventh overall). I’m interning here again while also teaching through Paul’s second canonical epistle to the Corinthians (which you might know as ‘Second Corinthians’). After my review on Doug Moo’s The Old Testament in the Gospel Passion Narratives, I took some time off to study 2 Corinthians, visit my wife-to-be in Norway, and come over and get settled into the CCBCY schedule.

We are now six weeks into the semester, and on Monday I finished my fourth class on 2 Corinthians. We covered chapters 3.7-4.6 where Paul explains his boldness as a minister of the New Covenant Christians under the New Covenant and contrasts it with the veiled Moses who ministered to the hard hearted, Old Covenant Israel. While believers can be transformed by gazing on the glory of God in face of Christ, unbelievers are blinded by the god of this world.

For this semester, I have plans for more reviews (see below), posts on what I’m reading, along with summaries of 2 Corinthians as I work my way through Paul’s letter, looking at themes of forgiveness, the New Covenant, new creation, the resurrection, the temple, and God’s glory through suffering.

Review Books

Antinomianism by Mark Jones
By the River Chebar by Daniel Bock
The End of the Law by Jason Meyer
For the Glory of God by Daniel Bock
How I Love Your Torah, O Lord by Daniel Bock
The Temple and the Church’s Mission by G. K. Beale

There will be a special review series on Bill Johnson’ book When Heaven Invades Earth. Johnson is the pastor of Bethel in Redding, CA, and I’m fascinated (to put it one way) by what he gets away with in his book. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on when that will be coming up.

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