A Trustworthy Word

Sunday, September 1st, 2019.

 

Sources:

Gordon D. Fee. Listening to the Spirit in the Text. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.

— New Testament Exegesis (Third Edition). Louisville: WJK, 2002.

Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All its Worth (3rd Ed). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

Luke Timothy Johnson. The First and Second Letters to Timothy (AB). New Haven: Yale, 2001.

William D. Mounce. Pastoral Epistles (WBC). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000.

Stanley E. Porter. The Apostle Paul: His Life, Thought, and Letters. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016.

Philip H. Towner. The Letters to Timothy and Titus (NICNT). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.

Robert Wall. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (THNTC). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.

Ben Witherington III. Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Vol. 1: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy, and 1-3 John. Downer’s Grove: IVP Academic, 2006.

Posted in A Trustworthy Word, church, discipleship, gospel, hermeneutics, leadership, New Testament, Pastoral Epistles, Paul, Sermon Podcast, theology | Leave a comment

Uncomfortable, Pt. 2

Sunday, August 11th, 2019. Uncomfortable, Pt. 2 (Psalm 137)

 

*there is a gap in the recording in which brief samples of a few recordings of “By the Rivers of Babylon” were played.

Sources:

Leslie C. Allen. Psalms 101-150 (WBC). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

Nancy deClaisse-Walford, Rolf A. Jacobson, & Beth LaNeel Tanner. The Book of Psalms (NICOT). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014.

John Goldingay. Psalms Volume 3: Psalms 90-150 (BCOTWP). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.

Jill Middlemas. The Templeless Age: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the “Exile”. Louisville: WJK, 2007.

Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm. “Psalms”. The Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1968.

Posted in church, discipleship, Lament, Old Testament, Psalms, Sermon Podcast, worship | Leave a comment

Uncomfortable

Sunday, August 4th, 2019. “Uncomfortable, Pt. 1: Lamentations” (Lamentations 1:1-10)

 

Sources:

Dianne Bergant. Lamentations (AOTC). Nashville: Abingdon, 2003.

Adele Berlin. Lamentations (OTL). Louisville: WJK, 2004.

Mark J. Boda. A Severe Mercy: Sin and Its Remedy in the Old Testament. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2009.

Walter Brueggemann. A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.

Philip Jenkins. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Jill Middlemas. The Templeless Age: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the “Exile”. Louisville: WJK, 2007.

Robin A. Parry. Lamentations (THOTC). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010.

Soong-Chan Rah. Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times. Downer’s Grove: IVP, 2015.

Phil C. Zylla. The Roots of Sorrow: A Pastoral Theology of Suffering. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Posted in church, culture, history, Jeremiah, Lament, Lamentations, Old Testament, practical theology, Sermon Podcast, Suffering, theology | Leave a comment

A (Sort of) Book Review: Ever Ancient, Ever New

Winfield Bevins. Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019.

I was incredibly excited about this one. Sometimes when you look at a book you think “this was written just for me”. That’s basically where my mind was on this one before I dove in. Winfield Bevins, Director of Church Planting at Asbury Seminary, sought to depict something of the movement of millenials and younger GenXers back to high liturgical forms of Church. As I’ve noted elsewhere, even though I am part of free church movement, I absolutely love “high” liturgy type worship. and the Spiritual practices of these traditions (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican). I find the forms work really well for me, keep my easily distracted mind engaged, and are saturated by Scripture, beauty, wonder, and (this may sound odd) a logical structure.

On some levels, this book came up short (more below), but it did resonate on a lot of personal levels. The stories of folks discovering the beauty, rooted spirituality, and discipleship potential of liturgical traditions was reassuring to find. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this.

Ever Ancient, Ever New is divided into three sections: “Foundations” which looks at some trends observed in movements away from consumerist influenced evangelical churches to traditional, “high liturgical” ones; “Journeys” which looks at some of the reasons why this is happening; and “Practices” which provides some basic laying out of what these churches look like for those not familiar with the practices. Without being overly harsh on evangelical free church forms, he critiques the forms for their occasionally consumerist approach in which things are driven by the quality of the worship band, charisma of the preacher, and hip look of the worship space. In a culture where GenXers and millenials want more than a performance; they desire a community in which they are fully engaged participants, the forms of high liturgy can speak powerfully, as worship is intentionally structure to facilitate the participation of all voices with the leaders, each other, and most importantly with God.

What I found did not work is that it is primarily anecdotal, with no real hard data. Is this really a significant trend, or did Bevins find a few examples of this and from that suggest a general trend? Is this a trickle, a tsunami, or a leak in a dam about to busrt? I realize Bevins wasn’t conducting scientific research (though I suspect some data is available somewhere which could have been cited?). This is mainly an exercise in letting the stories and experiences of others be heard. But I’m interested in whether this is something isolated to a few pockets or real movement. The stories help personalize things, to understand motivations straight from the people involved, but perhaps the stories should be illustrative rather than the core. He’s asking why this is happening, without establishing what is actually happening.

The second issue I had was in the “Practices” section. It was quite shallow, giving just a few paragraphs which don’t really depict how and why these practices are done, just that they are done. For example, the description of Lectio Divina does not explain the four aspects (lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio). I would have hoped for more on that. The section on practices, instead, is primarily focused on the intersections of worship and mission, especially the interest in social justice. This is good and important, but it doesn’t answer the question of where those liturgical practices come from, the biblical/theological underpinnings, why they matter, and how they can be done for beginners. Bevins leaves out a lot of the information on why and how the liturgical tradition developed the way it did. How did the Church at the time these traditions were established understand Scripture, theology, worship, prayer, the Eucharist, and their place in the world? Andrew McGowan’s outstanding work, Ancient Christian Worship examines these roots, and some of that would speak powerfully in Bevins work.

Overall, I think Bevins achieved his goal of sharing the experience of those who have discovered something eye-opening and live-giving in liturgical traditions. He allows the voices of those for whom this is their reality to speak without getting in the way and adding too much of his own commentary. He has written something which can be picked up and understood by a general audience, and because it comes from a publisher which usually produces material for those not of the high church tradition, it has the potential to engage an audience which may benefit from hearing these stories, and understand more of the history of worship and church identity.

Posted in books, church, culture, liturgy, practical theology, worship | 2 Comments

Fall Sermon Series

The Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) have not featured much in my preaching. I can’t say specifically why. Perhaps it’s because of the difficult issues with critical scholarship, alleged pseudonymity (i.e., much of scholarship in the late 19th and most of the 20th century concluded Paul did not write these documents), and the seemingly regressive positions on gender, the Torah, authority/leadership, etc. taken by Paul compared to other documents. I periodically come in and out of the lectionary readings for my preaching. Year C features Philemon, 1 & 2 Timothy, and 2 Thessalonians. I preached a four part series on Philemon not too long ago, so I figured, working with the lectionary but tweeking it a bit (basically dropping Philemon and 2 Thess and switching some ordering around) I could have great opportunity to work through the Pastorals, and the difficult issues of leading through conflict, character formation, and discipleship. Come join us and be encouraged, challenged, and hopefully provoked to wrestle with Scripture.

Posted in church, discipleship, ethics, hermeneutics, leadership, New Testament, Pastoral Epistles, Paul, practical theology, preaching, sermon, theology | Leave a comment

Clothed with Christ

 

Sources:

F.F. Bruce. The Epistle to the Galatians (NIGTC). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.

David A. deSilva. The Letter to the Galatians (NICNT). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018.

James D.G. Dunn. The Epistle to the Galatians (BNTC). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1993.

Gordon D. Fee. Galatians (Pentecostal Commentary Series). Blandford Forum: Deo Publishing, 2007.

Richard N. Longenecker. Galatians (WBC). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990.

E.P. Sanders. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1977.

Posted in baptism, church, egalitarianism, Galatians, gospel, hermeneutics, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Judaism, mission, New Testament, Paul, practical theology, Sermon Podcast, theology | Leave a comment

You Can’t Handle the Truth

 

Sources:

Raymond E. Brown. The Gospel According to John I-XII. (AB). Garden City: Doubleday, 1966.

Larry W. Hurtado. Lord Jesus Christ:  Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

Francis Moloney, S.D.B. The Gospel of John (SP). Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1998.

Marianne Meye Thompson. John (NTL). Louisville: WJK, 2015.

Kallistos Ware. The Orthodox Way (Revised Edition). Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003.

 

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