Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 | 2 comments

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>   “…who spoke by the prophets.”   Semi-Arian, Pneumatomachian, Spirit fighters. These titles designate a heretical sect that emerged in the fourth-century whose followers denied the divinity of the Spirit. As Alex outlined in his introductory post, the Nicene Creed underwent a two-part development, the first in 325 and the second in 381. One of the important developments of the Creed in 381 regards the proclamation about the Holy Spirit: 325: And in the Holy Ghost. 381: And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. As can be seen, the 381 additions emphasizes the full divinity of the Holy Spirit as the third-person of the Trinity. But why the addition of “who spoke by the prophets?” In 379, Gregory of Nazianzus was...

Read More

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 | 8 comments

Are there really “different ways” of interpreting the Bible?

Are there really “different ways” of interpreting the Bible?

I want to make an observation about many (not all) of the contemporary controversies surrounding biblical interpretation. I don’t mean historical debates (such as when Paul wrote Galatians or whether John the Baptist was Essene), I mean the application end: what to conclude from the Bible about how Christians should live their lives. When we say “there are different ways of interpreting the Bible” we often imagine that these alternatives sit alongside one another, like flavours of ice-cream or paths at a fork in the road. We frame the debate in terms of “whether the Bible says X or Y” about a certain topic. But this way of picturing different interpretations of the Bible doesn’t capture what goes on for the majority of hot topics in today’s Christian world. Consider this list: Should women be silent in church? Did creation take six literal days? Is there such a place as hell? Is Jesus really God? Is church leadership only for men? Is homosexual marriage sinful? Should women wear head...

Read More

Posted by on May 5, 2014 | 1 comment

On How Different Exegetical Methods Work: An Allegorical Reading of Judges 3:21-22

On How Different Exegetical Methods Work: An Allegorical Reading of Judges 3:21-22

Judges 3:21-22: Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. Poor Ehud, exegesis has not been kind to him. While to some, the killing of Eglon is a morally reprehensible act, it is justifiable because it led to the freedom of a people enslaved. For these commentators the ends justify the means. To me this is not exactly an ethical high ground; it is not the principled paradigm you would want your children to copy. Another strike against Ehud is that every commentary I read picks up on the fact that he was not filled with the spirit of God. That he, in no uncertain terms, was a morally ambiguous and ambitious man acting out on his own volition. Ehud, it is highlighted in most commentaries, is the judge that begins...

Read More

Posted by on May 2, 2014 | 1 comment

No Going Back: Considering the Future of Theological Interpretation

No Going Back: Considering the Future of Theological Interpretation

Origen of Alexandria (c.185–c.243 CE) is the most influential allegorical reader of Scripture in the early church tradition. He read the entirety of the Christian Scriptures—Old and New Testaments—as containing the reality of Jesus Christ, which is fully revealed in the Gospels. Even in the most problematic of Old Testaments texts, like the conquest narratives of Joshua, Origen read with a conviction that Christ was embedded, at times hidden and at other times revealed, in the very fabric of the Bible. When the plain sense of the text—what we refer to as the literal or historical meaning—was not harmonious with the Gospel of Christ, Origen would look only to “higher,” spiritual levels of meaning. So, for example, when Origen writes his commentary on Joshua he equates Joshua with Jesus. He immediately “spiritualizes” a morally problematic text.[1] As Barney mentioned in his last post, over the past few centuries there has been a shift in biblical studies toward understanding the historical nature of the text. This shift has resulted in a rejection by...

Read More