The John Wesley Fellowship began in 1977, with Steve Harper and yours truly being two of the first John Wesley Fellows chosen. I have told the story of Ed Robb and AFTE this past Fall on the blog so I will not repeat it. Here are some of the senior fellows attending the meeting. […]
The third volume in my little trilogy on the Protestant ‘sacraments’ (baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Word of God) is now out, and honestly I think it is one of the best and most practical books I have ever written. I have tried to make it a sort of one stop shopping kind of book which you can see from scanning the table of contents:
CHAPTER ONE: SEEKING THE WORD OF GOD ( here I explain the subject of the book and why I am taking the particular approach I take. The subject of this book is the ‘truth’ about what sort of truth claims the Bible actually makes, and in the case of this particular book I am focusing on the NT and its truth claims)
CHAPTER TWO: INSPIRATION WITHOUT AN EXPIRATION DATE (in this chapter we look at questions like, how was inspiration viewed in Biblical times? Did the NT writers think they were inspired? How did inspiration actually work? Was it a matter of mechanical dictation, or not? What did the phrase ‘Word of God’ mean when used by Paul and other NT writers?)
CHAPTER THREE: THE ENDS OF ENNS (Here I am critiquing a particular recent study on the Bible and its authority and inspiration– the book by Peter Enns in which he tries to suggest that the Bible is analogous to the classic Nicean notions of two natures of Christ, one of which was human, one of which was divine. I am dealing with the problems with this whole approach, particularly problems with taking a pass on historical truth claims that the Bible seems to be making).
CHAPTER FOUR: TRUTH TELLING AS AN ART FORM (here we deal with the whole question of how genre affects truth claims. What sort of truth claims should we expect to be made in the context of using forms like the ancient biography or Hellenistic history writing, or rhetorical discourses and sermons, or ancient letters, or an apocalypse? The issue here is that genre is the key to understanding what sort of information a Biblical author is trying to convey)
CHAPTER FIVE: CAN THESE THINGS BE TRUE? ( here I am discussing problems of various sorts– historical, ethical theological, exegetical etc. that various texts raise for us. I am saying that there are reasonable explanations for what we find, provided we interpret the material in the proper contexts and ways)
CHAPTER SIX: DID THE CANON AND ITS TRANSLATORS MISFIRE? (here the subject is coming to grips with the process by which the NT books became part of the canon. How did this happen, were their mistakes made, and what do we make of the fact that these books were translated into numerous languages long before English came along. Is the Bible the Word of God in translation, or is it only the Word of God if we have it in the original languages? Why is it often said that every translation is already an interpretation?)
CHAPTER SEVEN: HOW TO PICK A TRANSLATION WITHOUT LOSING YOUR RELIGION (this is intended to be a practical chapter to help one see that differing translations and Bibles serve differing audiences and functions, and one should therefore be prepared to ask the question what one intends to do with the Bible before deciding which Bible or translation to go with. We also discuss thorny issues like the inclusive language debate)
CHAPTER EIGHT: RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH ( here we offer a basic survey of the various rules usually used to guide how we ought to interpret the Bible e.g. Scripture is its own best interpreter and so on. There we also discuss how to move from proper interpretation to application, and how not to jump the gun by going straight for application without properly understanding the meaning of the text. This is one of the major problems in the misuse of 1 Cor. 14.33b-36 and 1 Tim. 2.8-15 to prevent women from being involved in pastoral ministry of various sorts).
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE ART OF READING SCRIPTURE IN A POST MODERN WORLD
( this chapter deals with how post-modernism has affected Biblical interpretation, and also comes to grip with Miller, Bell, and McClaren who all are often thought to reflect post-modern approaches to the Bible).
AFTER WORDS: THE SACRIFICE OF THE INTELLECT? ( Here I am stressing that it is not the sacrifice but rather the sanctification of the intellect which is required to study and understand the inspired Word of God)
APPENDIX– BIBLE Q AND A– (having been the Bible Q and A guy for Beliefnet website since that most viewed of all religious websites began, I hear reprint by permission some of the more interesting questions and the ways I tried to answer the questions).
It is not necessary to have read the previous two books on baptism and the Lord’s Supper to benefit from this book, as it stands on its own and can be read as a self-contained argument.
Let me know what you think when you check this one out.