Month: November 2011

a wee outline for a not-so-wee topic

Scot McKnight ‘swiped’ this from Patrick Mitchel, and I’m swiping it from McKnight. This is a truly wonderful summary on the biblical view of the Spirit, and I am especially pleased to see this sort of discussion happening in the church–specifically in a ‘forum’-type format. (Go here to see more about this format. This is great stuff). My favourite points in this outline are 4 and 6.


Last night in our wee church we had our monthly ‘Forum’ on an issue related to the Christian faith. It was my turn to lead and I proposed 6 things and we had a really good discussion which continued over a pint afterwards. [Here’s] a skeleton summary for what it’s worth.

CONTENTION 1; The blessing of the Spirit is the eschatological fulfillment of God’s promises and includes both Jews and Gentiles

CONTENTION 2: The Christian life begins and continues in and through the Spirit

1.   It is the Spirit who reveals the gospel

2.   The Spirit brings the believer into an objectively new position before God

3.   The Spirit brings the believer into an ongoing relational experience of God

CONTENTION 3 :The church is essentially a fellowship of the Spirit

CONTENTION 4. Christians belong to the new age of the Spirit as opposed to the old age of the flesh (which is not some sort of inner existential struggle between two natures within the believer)

CONTENTION 5: sanctification has  past, present and future aspects

i. A Finished Reality (‘This is who you are’)

ii. Ongoing spiritual and ethical transformation by the Spirit (‘Be who you are’)

iii. Future Glory (‘This is who you will be’)

CONTENTION 6: Perhaps the biggest differences among Christians is how much spiritual progress Christians should make through the empowering presence of the Spirit

And I have to bring in Gordon Fee here [note his wee dig at Luther’s ‘justified sinner’ ( simil iustus et peccator)]

‘Paul expected people to exhibit changed behaviour … because the Spirit empowers this new life, Paul has little patience for the point of view that allows for people to be “justified sinners” without appropriate changes in attitudes and conduct … Nor would Paul understand an appeal to helplessness on the part of those who live in and walk by the Spirit … in which the “flesh” continually proves to be the greater power.’ FeeEmpowering Presence, 879-80

But the last word to Paul

‘And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.’ (Colossians 1:10)

a little self disclosure

This is totally boosted from Mark Steven’s blog, with a few necessary changes of course. Happy reading.

A week or so ago Dave Black posted the following facts about himself and asked for some fun facts about us in return. I thought I’d give it a go!

  • My favourite food is . . . most things Italian, a good steak (I’m a meatatarian, deal with it), and a nice curry.
  • I cannot stomach . . . tripe (never had it, but I’m just guessing it wouldn’t go down well).
  • My favourite TV show of all time is . . . The West Wing, Big Bang Theory, Boston Legal, and Modern Family.
  • In my spare time I . . . read, write, browse charity shops with my lovely wife, and relax.
  • One word used to describe me when growing up . . . I’m never good at this sort of thing; ask my wife, she knew me then.
  • One word used to describe me today . . . undeserving.
  • If I had a million dollars I’d . . . pay off my school loans, take my gorgeous wife on a world cruise, keep a small portion to invest, and give the rest away.
  • I send this many emails each day . . . depends on the day.
  • Being a pastor is . . . surprisingly hard, but unbelievably rewarding.
  • My favourite book that I’ve read is . . . strangely, Down Under (Bill Bryson).
  • Before I die I want to meet . . . Jamie Oliver, Stephen Fry, and the guys at Top Gear.
  • My (earthly) hero is . . . not sure if I really have one.
  • My favourite theologian is . . . too many to choose from.  To name a few: AM Hunter, Frank Matera, Andrew Lincoln, and Tom Thatcher.
  • I went to high school at . . . Shamrock High School (no longer in existence)
  • My favourite spot on earth is . . . anywhere with my wife.
  • If I wasn’t an pastor I would be . . . doing what I’m doing now: studying to be a professor/scholar/etc
  • My favourite Bible verse is . . . I’ve never liked this question.
  • My favourite pet is . . . Lady Middleton Fuzzyboots–i.e. our Siamese cat.
  • My favourite commentary on Matthew is by . . . Robert Stein. (Admittedly, I haven’t read too many commentaries on Matthew).
  • I am embarrassed that I . . . fail to remember people’s names.
  • I used to pastor in . . . northern Kentucky (as a Children’s Minister).
  • I love . . . my beautiful wife, my wonderful family, my dear friends; coffee, good food, old books, and golf (even though I suck at it).
  • I really love . . . the life I have.
  • I once preached . . . yeah, I have nothing exciting for this one.
  • We honeymooned . . . at DisneyWorld (Orlando).
  • Our first mission trip together was to . . . Jenn and I have not done a mission trip together.
  • I was once asked to . . . be a best man in a wedding via webcam.
  • I have only recently given up on my dream of . . . making it as a painter (in the artistic sense). Actually, I gave up on that a long time ago.
  • As a child I wanted to be . . . chef or veterinarian.
  • I used to work as . . . (in order) dishboy, sports retail, Chick-fil-A, cook at Italian Oven, fine art framing, driver for the ’96 Olympics, student recruiting, clothing retail, day care worker, insurance billing, Children’s Minister, research assistant, cafe barista, medical records scanner, adjunct instructor, and adjunct tutor (England).
  • My favourite movie (Non series) is . . . Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, Great Escape, and O Brother Where Art Thou.
  • Most people don’t know that I . . . have a difficult time in large groups.
  • I have never been in . . . Canada.
  • I hope to one day . . . to be a father.
  • While in high school I . . . neglected to apply myself, that is until the final year.
  • I am from a Christian home.
  • I have had coffee with . . . Ravi Zacharias and NT Wright.
  • I hope to one day . . . to write a book.
  • I would love to pray and read my Bible more.
  • Finally, I hope to be . . . the best husband to my stunning wife and the greatest father to our children.

So . . . what are some fun facts about you?

oversensitivity or ignorance of the rules

A curse of ADD is that while doing one thing, something will catch my attention and I’ll want to pursue it in more detail. On some days this sort of thing is really bad–not to mention mentally exhausting–while on others it can be quite rewarding. (I’ve thought about attempting a written documentation of what happens in my head on a bad day. Maybe one day I’ll try it). Today seems to be riding the fence.

In the past I have pointed out instances of what very well appears to be plagiarism (see e.g. here, herehere). Whether stated or not, I maintain that plagiarism is not only sloppy, poor scholarship and unacceptable; it is also theft, pure and simple. In the words of Ron White: ‘I tell you that story to tell you this one.’ While following up on a minor detail in my research, I ventured (briefly) into the ‘Jesus and Paul’ debate–i.e. how much of the historical Jesus did Paul know–and came across something rather troubling. This is an occasion where I’m not 100% sure what to conclude.  I’ll let you look for yourselves first.

First, check out Richard Longenecker’s book, Studies in Paul, Exegetical and Theological (2004) and begin reading on page 2, under the heading: ‘Saul and the Historical Jesus’ (specifically the second paragraph in that section).  Once you’re done with that, check out J. Stanly Jones’ book, A Study of Pauline Interpretation: Ethical Sayings in ‘Q’ and Its Significance in Today’s Indian Context (2007) and read footnote 76 on page 19. Look familiar? Granted, Jones’ reference is to an earlier work of Longenecker, which, if you read it here (pages 19-20), mirrors exactly what appears in the 2004 work.  (I originally mentioned the 2004 work because that’s what I read first; I only came to know about the 1997 after reading Jones’ entry).

Now, before going any further, let me be clear about one thing: I am not accusing J. Stanly Jones of plagiarism. (Read that again in case there is any confusion or uncertainty in what I’m saying). Completely unlike the examples in my earlier discussions on plagiarism, Jones openly and willingly gives the reference from which he is drawing his information. So, that being said: because Jones provides the source, how are we to deal with the similarities in content? Is there a grey area in this regard? I ask because I am genuinely concerned and want to make sure I do things properly in my own writing.

Any thoughts?