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Occasional biblical and theological postings of varied lengths by a student of the New Testament and of Biblical Theology.

Updated: 2017-10-30T02:50:59.900-05:00




Thank you for stopping by. I'm sorry. I should have announced this early this summer but neglected to do so. I am taking a hiatus from blogging here until furrther notice. I have several writing projects that call for my attention.

The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn


The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn

The greatest tragedy of progressive education is not the students' lack of skills, but of teachable character.

First in a Series on NT Uses of the OT


Find the first of my installments in a series  concerning the New Testament's Uses of the Old Testament on Credo Blog.

Greek Polytonic Keyboard for iPad


I learned that I need to clarify an entry that I had made last September. I failed to mention that use of the Greek polytonic keyboard for the iPad requires an external keyboard. The keyboard I use and highly recommend is the ZAGGfolio with keyboard. Occasionally I do use my iPad strictly as a tablet, but when I want to type a note of any significant length, I invariably use my ZAGGfolio keyboard. With a touch of the World key I change alphabets and begin to type in another language. To return to English, I touch the World key button to toggle back to English.

Oh, I should also mention that since the new iPad has the same dimensions as the iPad 2, the ZAGGfolio also works for it. Find it here.

Sowell on President Obama's Blather about the Supreme Court


Thomas Sowell, brilliant as always, and right.

Political Word Games

One of the highly developed talents of President Barack Obama is the ability to say things that are demonstrably false, and make them sound not only plausible but inspiring.

That talent was displayed just this week when he was asked whether he thought the Supreme Court would uphold ObamaCare as constitutional or strike it down as unconstitutional.

The Inevitable Consequences of Redistribution of Wealth in the Equal Distribution of Misery


This was published in 1949. I checked it out with Snopes. It appears quite authentic.

It makes the point quite effectively that it really takes little mental power to be able to project what will come to pass once a nation sets its foot on...
the path to Welfare Statism. But it hurts many folks' heads too much to give even a modicum of thought to the entirely natural and inevitable unintended consequences of government enforced redistribution of wealth. The inevitable consequences of redistribution of wealth is the equal distribution of misery, of sorrow, and of poverty.

President Obama's Mandate Assaults Freedom of Conscience for All Americans, Not Just for Catholics


Because I am a professor at a private Christian college I have done my own research whether President Obama's mandate concerning birth control and abortifacient pills affects our college and sister colleges (CCCU institutions). Many of my colleagues in the college where I teach and in sister colleges may not be aware that President Obama's birth control and abortifacient mandate affects all Christian colleges, not just Catholic colleges, universities, and social service agencies. Do not accept the media's portrayal of this as a "Catholic thing." It is not so. It affects all Christian colleges, universities, and social service agencies, Catholic or Protestant. Here is a link that makes this crucial point that President Obama's mandate is not just an anti-"Catholic thing." Christians Denounce Health Care Contraception Mandate - Christianity.comMore than 100 Catholic bishops and institutions across the nation have issued statements denouncing the Obama administration's national requirement to include contraception in employees' health benefits. The Affordable Care Act mandates faith-based employers offer employees’ health coverage that inc...Obama Faces More Lawsuits Over Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate | The Obama administration is facing yet another lawsuit related to the controvers...ial mandate President Barack Obama put in place that requires religious employers to pay for coverage for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.[...]

The Least Tolerant People on Campus are Liberals. They're Never Liberal with Tolerance toward Conservatives.


by Katherine Kersten

What was Tom Emmer thinking when he applied for a faculty position at Hamline University? Surely he knows that our campus intelligentsia generally view conservatives like him as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

At many campuses, Emmer might have made it to the second round of interviews if he had been a disabled "person of color" or confused about his sexuality. But even then he probably couldn't have overcome the cardinal rule of campus "diversity"—diversity of political views will not be tolerated.
Given his rejection by Hamline (after he thought he had a job), Emmer might be pleased to know that some aspiring conservative faculty members who are victims of political discrimination are gaining new traction through the courts.

Take Teresa Wagner, whose case was recently considered by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Iowa, Minnesota and other Midwestern states.
Some might question Wagner's sanity, since she applied—and was turned down for—a position at a law school whose 50-member faculty includes only one registered Republican.

Was this hotbed of liberalism Berkeley, or an Ivy League university where (one suspects) conservatives risk being burned at the stake?

Read more.

The Dumbing-Down of the Dissertation


by Scot Jaschik

The average humanities doctoral student takes nine years to earn a Ph.D. That fact was cited frequently here (and not with pride) at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association. Richard E. Miller, an English professor at Rutgers University's main campus in New Brunswick, said that the nine-year period means that those finishing dissertations today started them before Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Kindles, iPads or streaming video had been invented.

So much has changed, he said, but dissertation norms haven't, to the detriment of English and other language programs. "Are we writing books for the 19th century or preparing people to work in the 21st?" he asked.

Leaders of the MLA -- in several sessions and discussions here -- indicated that they are afraid that too many dissertations are indeed governed by out-of-date conventions, leading to the production of "proto-books" that may do little to promote scholarship and may not even be advancing the careers of graduate students. During the process, the graduate students accumulate debt and frustrations. Russell A. Berman, a professor of comparative literature and German studies at Stanford University, used his presidential address at the MLA to call for departments to find ways to cut "time to degree" for doctorates in half.

Read more: Inside Higher Ed

Recovering Rightful Respect and Displacing Wrongful Respect


This is a paragraph from a brief document and presentation that I found necessary to make to one of the classes I taught about a decade ago. If it was needful then, it probably has greater need now.

Students routinely make the mistake of thinking that their opinions should be respected and not challenged. Respect should not be shown to opinions. Respect should be shown to people while we challenge their opinions and ideas. Strangely, while many students insist upon the mistaken notion that their opinions should be respected by professors, not challenged and critiqued, many students do not show proper respect toward their professors. I respect students, and I speak respectfully to them. If I am required to respect students' opinions and not challenge their opinions and ideas, then I cannot teach anything as truthful and right. When what I teach runs cross-grain to students' opinions, this is when learning should begin to take place for a student rather than to take offense. But, how can any of us learn anything, if we cherish our opinions as unassailable and take offense whenever our opinions are challenged?

Faith Comes by Hearing


Here is my most recent contribution at Credo Magazine and Credo Blog--"Faith Comes by Hearing: The Inclusivists' Abuse of Romans 10:9-17."

Modern Statists Exploit Threats of Violence to Compel Citizens Subjects to Do Good


Here are some excellent thoughts concerning Romans 13:1-7 by James Wanliss, who posted a wonderful blog entry entitled "Utopian Impulses" which expresses well the responsibility of those who govern. Here are a few paragraphs to tease you to read the whole of it.
But moving from using the sword to remove evildoers, left wingers invariably pitch their tents on the questionable ground. They wish to use the sword to compel good, rather than prevent evil. And these days, more than ever, the desire to compel goodness comes through cowardly evasiveness based on the deadly euphemisms of political correctness. . . . 
So-called progressives have all the self-righteous certainty that it is good to use the threat of government violence to redistribute the fruits of my hard-earned labor to help others. The great-hearted politically correct will have the State love my neighbor on my behalf. . . . . 
The argument is that if we do not use violence, or the threat of violence, then who will help those who need help? Unless Peter is robbed, Paul will die. This is a false dilemma. Instead of using his energy to rob Peter, the prospective thief could choose instead to help Paul. Instead he is consumed with hate and envy that Peter is not doing enough, in his opinion, to help Paul. If he will not do it himself, he demands that strong men rob Peter, in the name of Caesar, God on earth. . . .

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The Intolerance of Tolerant Leftists


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Tom Emmer, the 2010 GOP candidate for Minnesota governor, a radio host and a former state politician, is claiming that Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., hired him — then reneged — based on his political views.

Emmer, whose views are widely known in the state, claims that the university offered him a position to teach business law as an “executive in residence.” In fact, he says he had already hashed the details out and attended a faculty meeting before he was later told that he wouldn’t be able to teach at the school.

Hamline, thus far, has been relatively mum about the situation. The university recently released a brief statement addressing the incident, though it sheds little light on the reasoning behind the school’s decision not to allow Emmer into the classroom. University spokeswoman JacQui Getty told the Pioneer Press that, at this point, the college would have no further comment on the matter.

Read the whole story.

Obama Administration Flouts Court Decisions


NAS Criticizes New "Diversity" Guidelines   

PRINCETON, NJ (December 6, 2011)The National Association of Scholars strongly criticized the Obama administration's new guidelines for enhancing racial diversity in college admissions. The new criteria, outlined in a fourteen-page document released on Friday under joint sponsorship of the federal education and justice departments, extol the value of a racially diverse student body and propose ways in which college and university administrators might factor race into their admissions decisions despite existing legal strictures.
NAS president Peter Wood observed, "The new guidelines represent a sharp departure from previous federal policy and on several points are unlikely to withstand judicial scrutiny. They seem to sanction common university practices which circumvent the law."

Wood, whose 2003 book, Diversity: The Invention of a Concept, is a standard work on the subject, says that the Obama administration has "adopted a highly aggressive approach aimed at making racial classification a much more salient part of college life, and of K-12 education too." The new guidelines for college were released along with a separate set of guidelines for enhancing racial diversity in elementary and secondary schools.

Wood continued, "The Departments of Education and Justice justify the new 'guidance' as an explanation of how colleges and universities can expand the use of race without running afoul of federal law. But they are very loose in their reading of Supreme Court rulings over the last decade. For example, they give college officials broad new powers to rely on their own 'judgment' for when and how to take race into account. This is contrary to the spirit of existing law."

"The Obama administration has, unfortunately, put itself on the side of higher education's 'diversicrats' who have already been engaging in racial discrimination under the pretext of pursuing diversity."

Wood alluded to the pending appeal of Fisher v. University of Texas, a racial preference case that the Supreme Court may take up this spring (see NAS’s friend-of-the-court brief). "We hope the Court agrees to take the case and makes clear that this new guidance is unlawful."

Grooming Counts, by Charles Colson


Grooming Counts—Charles Colson (1931 – ) Charles Colson is the author of many books (including Born Again, Loving God, and How Now Shall We Live?) and founder of the international ministry Prison Fellowship. In 1993, he was awarded the famed Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. In the following piece, Colson points out how seemingly small matters of dress and conduct can fuel a more general, and serious, demoralization of culture.

The coarsening of our culture is evident in our discourse. For example, news journals defer to our sensitivities, not by omitting vulgarities, as they once did, but by using three dashes after the first letter of offensive words. Really clever. Over the water cooler at work or in school corridors, no one seems embarrassed anymore by conversations sprinkled with four-letter words.

Nowhere is this coarsening more evident than in our dress. I'm used to being an anachronism—the only person on an airplane wearing a coat and tie. Yes, I know business is going casual. But T-shirts stretched over protruding bellies, shorts exposing hairy legs, and toes sprouting out of sandals are not casual—they're slovenly. And you see it more and more on airplanes, in restaurants, and even in church.

How we present ourselves to others says something about how we view ourselves. When I was a Marine, we checked our spit-shined shoes and starched khakis in a full-length mirror before leaving the barracks; it was drilled into us that if we were to be sharp we had to look sharp. That's the right kind of pride, the antidote to sloth.

How have we arrived at this state? In his A Study of History, the great historian Arnold Toynbee contends that one clear sign of a civilization's decline is when élites—people Toynbee labels the “dominant minority”—begin mimicking the vulgarity and promiscuity exhibited by society's bottom-dwellers. This is precisely what some political leaders and most media moguls have done. The result: The entire culture is vulgarized.

Christians need to be conscious of the subtle ways in which our culture is sinking into sloth. We must resist the slide by creating strong countercultural influences. We can start by elevating our own standards in speech and dress. One good place to start is in our worship services. I realize that casual is “in” for contemporary services—but “casual” should be decorous.1

Footnotes: 1 Charles Colson, “Slouching into Sloth,” Christianity Today, April 23, 2001, 120.

Fall 2011 Issue of JSPL


Table of Contents: JSPL 1.2 Fall 2011 ARTICLESCitizenship and Empire: Paul's Letter to the Philippians and Eric Liddell's Work in China 137Lynn H. CohickJudgment, Behavior, and Justification according to Paul's Gospel in Romans 2 153A. B. CanedayWhy Spain? Paul and His Mission Plans 193Allan ChappleTo Fall Short or Lack the Glory of God? The Translation and Implications of Romans 3:23 213Steven E. EnderleinReview Article: The Blackwell Companion to Paul and the Current State of Pauline Studies 225Nijay K. GuptaReview Article: How Should We Reconstruct the Historical Paul? Thomas E. Phillips's Paul, His Letters, and Acts 229Sean A. Adams[...]

Very Troubling! Students Know Best How to be Taught?


Socratic Backfire?
by Kaustuv Basu 
Some students didn't take well to Steven Maranville’s teaching style at Utah Valley University. They complained that in the professor’s “capstone” business course, he asked them questions in class even when they didn't raise their hands. They also didn't like it when he made them work in teams.

Those complaints against him led the university denying him tenure – a decision amounting to firing, according to a lawsuit Maranville filed against the university this month. Maranville, his lawyer and the university aren't talking about the case, although the suit details the dispute.

Maranville and his attorney did not return phone calls, but the allegations in the lawsuit raises questions that have been raised and debated about the value of student evaluations and opinions, how negative evaluations play into the career trajectory of affected professors and whether students today will accept teaching approaches such as the Socratic method.

Read more: Inside Higher Ed

Abstract of ETS Paper to Be Presented November 16


The Advent of God’s Son as Judgment in John’s Gospel: Justification and Condemnation Already Scripture’s announcement that salvation is found in “no other name” than in Christ Jesus necessarily entails an exclusive claim that apart from belief in him, no one will be saved. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus presents this exclusive claim in a familiar passage. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their works were evil. With his advent, God’s Son brought forward two correlated acts of God—resurrection and judgment—that belong to the last day that consummates the present age and ushers in the age to come. The mission of God’s incarnate Son sweeps forward both the wrath of God’s coming judgment revealed in his sacrificial death and the gift of God’s resurrection life disclosed in his glorious resurrection from the dead. Because Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the Father authorized him to have “life in himself” to bestow this life of the coming age to whomever he desires and to set in motion his execution of the coming judgment (John 5:21-29). Thus, even though John’s Gospel never uses the verb δικαιόω or the noun δικαίωσις, the Gospel contributes much to the biblically coherent teaching concerning justification and condemnation as the divine verdicts of judgment on the last day brought forward in incarnate coming of God’s Son. Throughout his Gospel John portrays Jesus as God’s Son who has already brought forward and set in motion things that properly belong to the coming age including judgment, salvation, eternal life, resurrection, justification, and condemnation. Everyone who hears the gospel and believes the Father already has eternal life and will not be condemned, which is the inverse way of saying “will be justified.” So, for example, Jesus assures, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into condemnation, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). When Jesus says “does not come into condemnation,” this is a figure of speech (litotes) that uses understatement that emphatically expresses the affirmative by negating its opposite. Thus, to say “does not come into condemnation” is an emphatic way of affirming “is most assuredly justified” by way of negating its opposite. If litotes does not sufficiently emphasize the correlation between eternal life and justification, Jesus underscores his announcement by asserting that everyone who believes the Father already experiences a phase of the resurrection life of the age to come because they have already crossed over from death to life. Resurrection unto life which stands opposite resurrection unto condemnation (5:29), both verdicts of the Day of Judgment, are already manifesting themselves in responses to the Word of God’s Son, the gospel. God’s Son did not come to condemn the world but that through him the world might be saved (3:17). Nevertheless, the arrival of God’s Son brings the Day of Judgment forward in that the gospel announces the verdict of judgment: “Whoever belie[...]

Ponder This!


Think about the literary significance of John's account concerning Nicodemus. He reports, "This man came to Jesus by night" (John 3:2). It may not be evident upon one's first reading of this that "by night" is not just a time indicator concerning when Nicodemus came to Jesus. Given the prominence of the "light"/"darkness" motif in John's Gospel, surely the mention of "night" also describes Nicodemus's spiritual condition--at that time he was in spiritual darkness.

Yet, there surely is more that John is suggesting by telling readers that Nicodemus came to Jesus "by night." The darkness of night is often the cover evil people use to conceal their evil deeds. Yet, here, Nicodemus, a man who is yet in spiritual darkness uses the darkness of night to conceal not an evil act but a good act, his coming to Jesus.

Trace the other accounts of Nicodemus in John's Gospel to discover that he finally emerges into the light. He begins to move from darkness to light, daring to raise his voice in dissent within the Sanhedrin (John 7:50) and later, in the end, he even does a good act in daylight not at night by assisting Joseph of Arimathea to receive and to bury the corpse of the Christ (John 7:50; 19:39).

Breaking Patterns


A north Minneapolis school at Olson Memorial Hwy. and Humboldt Avenue has demographics that seem a sure predictor of our state's most intractable education problem. The student population there is 99 percent black and 91 percent poor, and about 70 percent of the children come from single-parent families.

Such "racial isolation" is widely considered a formula for defeat—a hallmark of the cavernous "achievement gap" that separates poor, minority students from their more affluent white peers. In recent decades, Minnesota has spent billions of dollars attempting to narrow the gap but has little to show for it.
That's why the achievements of the school I just described should be shouted from the rooftops. In this year's state math tests in grades three through eight, this school outperformed every metro-area school district, including Edina and Wayzata. Its students outperformed all state students in reading proficiency (77 percent to 75 percent), and state white students in math proficiency (82 percent to 65 percent).

This extraordinary school is Harvest Preparatory School, a K-6 charter with five programs, including Best Academy, a K-8 boys program.

Black males are among our state's lowest-performing groups of students, but at Best Academy, 100 percent of eighth-grade boys scored proficient in reading. "Best Academy has the highest proportion of African-American boys of any institution in Minnesota," says founder and director Eric Mahmoud. "The only institution that competes with us is the prison system."

How have Mahmoud and his team worked this magic? Mahmoud is an electrical engineer by training. "At the factory I used to run, if we had a failure rate of 0.5 percent, we'd shut down the line until we figured out the problem," he says. "In our education system, we're failing with 40, 50, 60 percent of our African-American children, but we keep the system that turns out the same product, year after year."

Read more.

A New Credo Blog Enty


  Perhaps you have never wondered why Paul tells the Galatians, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel other than the gospel we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed" (Gal. 1:8). Nevertheless, maybe you have wondered what may have prompted Paul to make the statement. I would suggest that it was not simply his brilliance nor fanciful desperation that conjured up the specter of an angelic visitor that would subvert his gospel by proclaiming "a gospel other than the one we proclaimed to you." Instead, I would propose that Paul is alluding to an Old Testament precedence, an account in which an old prophet from Bethel deceived the man of God who came from Judah to prophesy against Jeroboam that a son born to the house of David, Josiah by name, would sacrifice the priests of the high places upon the altar Jeroboam had erected (1 Kings 13:1-10). The portion to which I am persuaded that Paul alludes follows:

Read more.

Attention, iPad Users.


Tim Dalton, at Theology Degrees On-Line, has posted a helpful entry titled "25 Incredible iPad Apps Every Theology Student Should Have." Take a look! I commend it.

Update (9/14/11): I should have included an item that I have found useful with my iPad2. Until someone comes out with an app that enables one to type in Greek characters, you may find useful. For instructions on its use look here. The tool generates Unicode Greek font.

Update (9/16/11): I discovered, today, that iPad 2 is capable of typing in polytonic Greek. So, now I use it instead of Woo hoo!

Fallen! Fallen! The Faculty Has Fallen.


The Faculty Has Fallen

Actually, it’s been pushed down by hordes of money- and power-hungry administrators.

By Robert Weissberg

Like many academics of a “certain age,” I have long noticed the growth of the campus bureaucracy. For example, at the University of Illinois—where I spent 28 years—it seemed that half of all new construction was to house administrators. The administrative expansion was relentless even though enrollments remained almost unchanged and faculty salaries remained flat.

Fortunately for myself and other puzzled but similarly observant academics (of “a certain age”), Professor Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty brilliantly (and with great wit) explains this rabbits-in-Australia phenomenon. Even better yet is his account of why this population explosion undermines the university’s core mission of teaching and research. To repeat a point impossible to exaggerate: the intellectual costs of bureaucratic expansion far exceed the extra salaries and expensive, wasted office space.

Read more.

Do Writers Actually Work?


On Labor Day, Gina Barreca asks, "Is Writing Work?"

Christian Smith Meets Robert Gundry. Smithereens!


I had intended to write a review of Christian Smith's The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture. However, now that senior evangelical statesman, Robert Gundry has done so and very well, anything I might have said is rendered superfluous. Read Gundry's superb review, Smithereens!, in Books & Culture.

Peter Leithart also has offered a review of Smith's book at First Things.

Kevin DeYoung offers a surrejoinder to Smith's rejoinder to his initial critique of the book.