Archive for ‘Science’

June 29, 2015

The Transmission of the Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15)

P1000083

Dr. Daniel B. Wallace (Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts) rubs elbows with Pastor Joseph L. Troutman.

On Sunday, June 14, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached on the transmission of the apostolic tradition from 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15.

The Lord used spoken and written means to transmit his word that man might know him and know how to be saved.

1. Many Things Jesus Did—There was a tremendous amount of information about the words and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle John wrote his gospel after the fall of Jerusalem. Paul wrote his letters without the four gospels or the rest of the New Testament to consult. John included material in his gospel which adds to that which is found in the earlier synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and the rest of the New Testament (See John 20:30-31). Paul had to learn about Jesus from the other apostles and directly from the Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23).

2. Hold To the Traditions—In addition to his letters, Paul also engaged in oral tradition. Paul writes to calm the Thessalonians’s fears regarding the return of Christ. Paul refers to the gospel as the traditions which have been believed by us. The traditions of the Roman Catholic Church differ from those to which Paul refers, and so are “traditions of men” (Colossians 2:8).

3. By Spoken Word or Letter—In the first century AD, the gospel was transmitted to the church by both spoken word and by letter. Many things about Jesus were written, and many others were only transmitted orally. These oral traditions were certainly passed on to the second and third centuries. One such story is called “The Pericope of the Adulteress” (or, pericope adulterae; hereafter “PA”) which is found in John 7:53-8:11. Notable Christian scholars such as F.F. Bruce, Bruce Metzger and Daniel Wallace believe the events in this passage actually happened. The Codex Bezae, which dates to the 5th century contains the pericope of the adulteress. Kyle Hughes reports that this pericope may be traced as far back as AD 50. Unbelieving scholars, such as Bart Ehrman, use the PA to argue against the reliability of the New Testament, and his recent books have persuaded many to disbelieve the Bible. What you don’t know about the transmission of the text of the New Testament is being exploited by unbelieving scholars like Ehrman to destroy the faith of the common believer.

Oral tradition is generally considered unreliable, yet true events in 2 Thessalonians were transmitted orally. Skeptical scholars doubt its reliability, and they err on the side of late dates for New Testament writings, and discard them as inauthentic. Appeals to the telephone game are often made to undermine the value of oral transmission, but this is a case of modern understanding being imposed on ancient people. Ken Bailey, in “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition in the Gospels” demonstrates that ancient traditions are transmitted with a high degree of accuracy, and so Western views of ancient Eastern traditions are inaccurate.

If the PA is not original to the gospel of John, then how did it get there? It was told and retold by the apostles between AD 50 through the 70s. The pericope features many similarities to the vocabulary of Luke in his gospel and his book of the Acts of the Apostles. It may be that Luke influenced the wording of this unique passage. Its textual pedigree includes a citation by Papias in his Didaskalia, the Codex Bezae and 900 New Testament manuscripts. These have been the means by which this oral tradition was transmitted to us from the apostolic era. No doubt, God orchestrated the transmission of this passage and its inclusion in the New Testament canon.

Simply put, the pericope of the adulteress in John 7:53-8:11 is just another story of Jesus showing compassion toward a repentant sinner, and his convicting hypocrites for their rejection of him. Be thankful for the means of God’s transmission of the gospel.

Listen to The Transmission of the Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15) at mcopc.org.

For further reading

Where is the Story of the Woman Caught in Adultery really from? (by Daniel B. Wallace)
Informal Controlled Oral Tradition in the Gospels (by Kenneth Bailey)

Advertisements
June 22, 2015

God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied

God Adam and You CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

What difference does Adam make? The answer, to many Christians today, is “not much.”

Adam, we are told, is a mythological figure who can safely be abandoned without compromising the authority and infallibility of Scripture. After all, is holding on to a historical Adam more important than downplaying Genesis 1-3 enough to mediate the gospel to our secular culture?

The Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology joins with historic Christianity in saying that yes, it is. Adam is not only necessary to our Christian faith and witness, but he makes a world of difference to our understanding of God, mankind, the Bible—and even the gospel itself.

The following contributors examine what the truth of Adam means about the truth of Scripture as a whole, how he shows us what it means to bear God’s image, and what an understanding of Adam teaches us about Christ.

Derek W. H. Thomas—The Bible’s First Word
Joel R. Beeke—The Case for Adam
Kevin DeYoung—Two Views of the Human Person
Liam Goligher—Adam, Lord of the Garden
Richard D. Phillips—The Bible and Evolution
Richard D. Phillips—God’s Design for Gender, Marriage and Sex
Derek W. H. Thomas—Differing Views on the Days of Creation
Joel R. Beeke—Christ, the Second Adam
Richard D. Phillips—From God’s Garden to God’s City
Carl R. Trueman—Original Sin and Modern Theology

Learn what difference the historical Adam makes to us today, as followers of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

Dr. Richard D. Phillips

About the Author

Richard D. Phillips is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of The Gospel Coalition, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.

Book Details

Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: P&R Publishing
Pages: 212

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

June 8, 2015

The Sufficiency of Scripture

The Sufficiency of Scripture CoverStatus: Available

Publisher’s Description

Even though Scripture is the cornerstone of the Christian faith, there is much confusion on the doctrine of Scripture. This has led to its inspiration and authority becoming an area of debate. Here, in this new and comprehensive study, Dr. Weeks brings his multi-disciplinary learning to bear on the question of the sufficiency of Scripture.

The author believes that the debate about the Bible has shifted its centre of gravity in recent years. The older distinctions between fundamentalist and modernist, evangelical and liberal, have become obsolete as more subtle distinctions have emerged. In view of this, The Sufficiency of Scripture deals with such diverse issues as revelation, translation, creation, prophecy, and the role of women in the church. Dr. Weeks provides careful analysis of the biblical teaching in these areas, giving ‘depth criticism’ of much of the superficial and false thinking expressed in some contemporary discussions of these questions.

The Sufficiency of Scripture combines unusually wide learning with radical criticism. Thorough in its approach, instructive in its handling of material, it is deeply provocative and provides a unique contribution to the modern debate on the Bible. Noel Weeks’ contentions cannot be ignored by Christians who take seriously their commitment to the Bible as the Word of God.

About the Author

Noel K. Weeks, born at Grafton, Australia, earned a B.Sc. (Honours) in Zoology from the University of New England, Armidale (Australia), a B.D. and Th.M. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. (Mediterranean Studies, dealing with some of the Nuzi texts) from Brandeis University, Massachusetts.

He retired in 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Sydney, but remains an Associate in their Department of Classics and Ancient History, with an interest in the Ancient Near East, specializing in Mesopotamia and Israel, and the Akkadian Language.

A member of the Reformed Churches of Australia, Noel Weeks is sought after as a speaker and writer on many issues. He has served as President of the association for the largest parent-controlled Christian School in New South Wales and as Chairman of the Middle East Reformed Fellowship Australia.

Book Details
312 Pages
Publisher: Banner of Truth
Publication Date: May 1988

Source: WTS Books

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

April 25, 2015

Lectures on Calvinism

Lectures on Calvinism CoverStatus: Checked Out

Publisher’s Description

The word “Calvinism” has many different meanings. In its broadest sense, as reflected in these six classic lectures first delivered at Princeton in 1898, it refers to a system of life that brings theological reflection to bear on all aspects of human experience. Like all ways of looking at the world, Calvinism offers a set of option regarding three fundamental questions of life: How does one properly relate to God, to others, and to the wider world?

Kuyper’s lectures posit that the original vision of Calvinism has merit for both today and the future. He introduces Calvinism as a system of life, traces its relationship to religion, politics, science, and art, and finally inquires into its prospects for the future.

This work is the classic expression of a vigorous and culturally engaged stream of the Reformed faith. Far from out of date, Kuyper’s work gives needed historical perspective to many conflicts still being worked out more than a century later.

Abraham Kuyper

Image by ReformationArt.com

About the Author

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was an internationally esteemed pastor, educator, author, editor, and politician. Tireless in his efforts to apply the Christian faith to every area of life, he founded the Free University of Amsterdam in 1880 and served from 1901 to 1905 as Prime Minster of the Netherlands.

Book Details

208 Pages
Publisher: Eerdmans Publishing Company
Publication Date: 1943

Source: WTS Books