Beale on the OT in the NT

Writing in the journal Irish Biblical Studies [Volume 21, November 1999], Greg Beale talks about the use of OT scripture in the NT and says:

I gave the analogy of picking an apple off a tree and making it part of a decorative table arrangement of fruit. The new context does not obliterate the apple’s original identity but it must now be viewed not merely in relation to its original context but in connection to its new context. Old Testament references gain “new significance” but not “new meaning” when placed in a new context. The original “meaning” does not change but the “significance” of that meaning changes.

Ending the Anglican Alphabet Soup

With the creation of the Anglican Church in North America, the time has come to end the various sub-groups which were necessary for the time of trials just passed through. Part of me doesn’t like this much because I think that parts of the AMiA are the best current representation of what a Biblical Church should look like. But it seems to me that every dollar spent on maintaining separate organizational structures is wasted. Why have a separate communications structure for CANA, AMiA, REC, etc? It’s waste of effort and money. And yet we see Bishop Minns saying:

Since Day 1, CANA has been and will continue to be a full participant in the life of the new province, and will continue to maintain our own identity.  We will encourage groups of congregations when they are ready, to establish themselves as free-standing dioceses.  Our goal is to support the work, mission, and ministry of the gospel on this continent and bring our own particular distinctive to that task.

Bishop Murphy has said similar things about AMiA continuing in something of a “Canterbury and York” model. Indeed, as I was writing this I received an e-mail from AMiA where Bishop Murphy says:

As a founding member of both the Common Cause Partnership and the emerging province, we will continue to fully participate in ACNA.  As we have consistently explained, however, we remain a missionary outreach of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda under the authority of Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini.  This allows us to enjoy dual citizenship, a similar relationship to that of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

But I think we need to ask whether in ten or twenty years we will need all of these separate groups? It’s great for AMia and CANA to continue missionary efforts, but they should be able to do this as some kind of missionary diocese under ACNA, without needing their own leadership and headquarters. How much of this division is due to leftover animosities between bishops and churches?

I do understand some legitimate reasons for staying apart. As my friend Jim said to me, many folks won’t want to be under a Bishop who approves of women’s ordination, for example. But these issues need to be worked out from within ACNA unless it becomes obvious that it will never change and is un-reformable, which is hardly the case right now at its inception. I think good Anglican in all the bodies that make up ACNA should voice their desire for unity to their leaders and pray for change.

Mormon disobeys Ammaron

In the book of Mormon – by this I mean the book by that name within the overall Book of Mormon – the record keeper Ammaron chooses Mormon to be the next keper of the plates of Nephi and the other sacred records of his people. Ammaron has hidden these records in a hill called Shim. Ammaron tells Mormon:

And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye have observed concerning this people.

Ammaron’s command to take the plates of Nephi is obeyed by Mormon, however, Mormon disobeys his command to leave the rest of the records in the place where they are in Mormon 4.23. Instead, he removes ALL of the records during his second visit to the hill. His justification is that the Lamanites were going to overthrow the land, but the same thing happens later when Moroni hides the records and God preserves them until Joseph Smith recovers them in the 19th century. All we know is that Ammaron commanded him to leave the remainder of the the records and Mormon disobeyed that command.

Iran as a Redeemer Nation

In a manner akin to various messianic national strains in Western thought (such as the American city on a hill), R.K. Ramazani describes Iran’s vision of itself as the Redeemer Nation. Here is an extended quote from his book:

The key to understanding Khomeini’s concept of Islamic world order is the idea of the vilayat-e faqih (rule of the leading jurisprudent). The concept of hukumat (government) in his political thought is rooted in that of vilayat (rulership), a rulership that belongs to God, to the Prophet Muhammad, to the infallible Imams (ma’sumin), and, by extension, to the learned and pious faqih. To the faqih belongs temporal as well as spiritual authority, which he should exercise in the absence of the Twelfth Imam, who will appear (zuhur) ultimately as the Mahdi (Messiah) or the Sahib-e Zaman (master of the age) to establish just and equitable rule.
The rule of the faqih during the waiting period, or before the appearance of the Mahdi, is preparatory to the ultimate establishment of “Islamic world government” by the Mahdi. In other words, the faqih paves the way for the Mahdi’s eventual creation of just and equitable government throughout the world. But where will the way be paved for the fulfillment of that divine promise? In Khomeini’s own words, “the way will be opened for the world government of imam mahdi…once the governments of the meek will be [are?] established.” But in Khomenini’s view and in that of his disciples so far, “the government of God” has been established only in one country, and that is Iran, as a result of the Iranian Revolution. It has been established, in Khomeini’s words, in ” a country which wishes to establish divine justice in the world, first of all in Iran itself.” It is more than implicit in the view of Khomeini and his close adherents that because of this unusual rule of the faqih, it is Iran that is uniquely qualified as a nation to pave the way for the ultimate founding of world government by the expected Mahdi.
Since the virtuous government is in the process of being established in Iran, it is Iran that has become, as it were, the “redeemer nation.” As such, it is Iran that aspires to spread justice throughout the world and, to borrow Prime Minister Mir-HusseinMusavi’s words, to make possible “the liberation of mankind.”
[end of quote]

I see parallels in this system of thought to the rule of the Judges in Israel. Khomeini sees a chain of authority from:

Muhammad (and the inscripturated will of God in the Qur’an)
The infallible Imams of the past
The modern jurists (AKA clerics)

In Israel, prior to the reign of Saul you had God ruling via the judges meditating on his law as revealed to Moses. Meditating on the law and being filled with the Spirit caused the judges to grow in wisdom. In our age the Church should disciple the nations and one part of this discipling is to reflect on ALL of the inscripturated Word of God in order to grow wise at whatever we set our hands to do. The primary difference is that no one nation on earth is going to be a redeemer nation, exporting God’s rule to the world. The Church itself is the redeemer nation that consists of every tribe and tongue. Khomeni’s vision is of course flawed because:

[a] It is based on a false god and a false scripture.
[b] It suppresses dissent via massive state-sanctioned violence. It sacrifices the teaching role for conversions with an iron fist.
[c] Islam does not adequately discern between the nation and the people of God.

The fruit of this Revolution is tragic. People who are zealous for god and thirst to expand his rule fail because they reject the true God as revealed in Jesus the Messiah. Further, the blind hatred for the State of Israel is a demonic madness which clouds all the rest of their thinking. Also, suppressing internal dissent by torture, beating people with pipes, chains and other meansdoesn’t not seem to accord well with the benevolent revolution promised by Khomeni. Still, because it is a perversion of the true vision of the true God for the world, the Shia Islamic vision of a chiliastic perfection has an attraction in our age.


I finally finished The Fifth Head of Cerberus and The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Good reads. You should read them too. Wolfe is a dense writer who demands your attention and writes in puzzles. He makes your head spin trying to figure out what just happened. Most of his stories involve someone recording things in a book, so they include gaps in the action, frustrating omissions, and unreliable narrators. Glorious.

Moussavi and Israel

We seem to be viewing the events in Iran with the idea that Mr. Moussavi is the Gorbachev of Iran and will bring sweeping changes to Iran riding on the wave of the phony Obama “change” movement in the USA. As providence would have it, I went to a sweet used book store in Orange, VA this week and picked up a book called Revolutionary Iran, Challenge and Response in the Middle East by R.K. Ramazani. The book mentions Moussavi as he was Prime Minister in the early post-revolutionary years. His views may have changed between now and then, but look at what he was saying back in the day. During the days of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, the following happened:

To stress the seriousness of their purpose in fighting against Israel in Lebanon, other Iranian leaders made many statements that fell just short of a formal declaration of war against Tel Aviv. Under the constitution, such a declaration was solely the prerogative of Khomeini. Prime Minister Musavi unfurled the banner of “victory to Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) in asking his cabinet to approve a budget for the war against Israel. He was also the first Iranian leader to say that Palestine was “a part of [the] Islamic homeland.”

Subsequently, the Iranian government also decided to make public its “plan for an Islamic front” worldwide, which, according to Mussavi, would be “followed up” by the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs, “because the fight against imperialism should take place all over the world.”

When Israel killed some Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon, Moussavi responded:

…he also predicted that Israel’s “desperate move against the Islamic Revolution” would have the effect of “the Islamization of the struggle against Zionism and imperialism in the region.” He believed that the Arab-Israeli conflict had been transformed into an Islamic-Israeli struggle involving “all Muslims against Israel.”

I also recall the Khatami years were nothing discernable changed in regard to western relations with Iran. Let’s not get too excited about this movement, as if values based on centuries of Christendom are suddenly going to take root in Iran.

Baptism, Salvation

Writing on the Wrightsaid e-mail list, James Jordan addresses several topics and interacts with Wright a bit:

1. “Baptism saves.” But when someone affirms or denies this, it matters what he thinks “salvation” is, and whether a person can lose it. Consider the OT usage. The word yasha, found in the name Joshua and Jesus, does not imply a change of heart, but a transfer of a person from an old world into a new world. That’s just what Joshua did. I myself would say that baptism transfers a child — any child baptized — out of the old world of Egypt into the new world of the New Creation. Whether he will grow up and remain there is another question. But whether he does or not, he has objectively been given this gift from God, sovereignly bestowed on him by God via the church and because of who his parents are. If he grows up and rebels, that is also in the sovereign plan of God.

2. I would view baptism as God’s sovereign gift and call, which calls for us to respond in faith. And that faith is not a one-time acceptance, but is daily. Other Presbyterians seem to think that baptism is a sign of a person’s own personal faith, and is given to infants as a kind of exception. Well, these aren’t the same theologies of infant baptism. I imagine Wright thinks more along the former lines than the latter.

3. Can a person lose this salvation? Clearly, yes, in the sovereign plan of God. The parables of the sower and of the unrighteous steward who had his debts forgiven and then put back on him, make this clear. So does the book of Hebrews. But it’s all predestined. Continue reading “Baptism, Salvation”

Coronation Vows

It is astounding to see the explicitly Christian language used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. It’s hard to believe that it will be repeated in our day.

Archbishop: Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?

Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?

Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England?

And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

Queen: All this I promise to do.

Then the Queen arising out of her Chair, supported as before, the Sword of State being carried before her, shall go to the Altar, and make her solemn Oath in the sight of

[The Bible to be brought.]

all the people to observe the premisses: laying her right hand upon the Holy Gospel in the great Bible (which was before carried in the procession and is now brought from the altar by the Archbishop, and tendered to her as she kneels upon the steps), and saying these words:

The things which I have here promised, I will perform, and keep. So help me God.

Then the Queen shall kiss the Book and sign the Oath.

The Queen having thus taken her Oath, shall return again to her Chair, and the Bible shall be delivered to the Dean of Westminster.

V. The Presenting of the Holy Bible

When the Queen is again seated, the Archbishop shall go to her Chair; and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, receiving the Bible from the Dean of Westminster, shall bring it to the Queen and present it to her, the Archbishop saying these words:

Our gracious Queen:

to keep your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God

as the Rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes,

we present you with this Book,

the most valuable thing that this world affords.

And the Moderator shall continue:

Here is Wisdom;

This is the royal Law;

These are the lively Oracles of God.

The Interview Project

I’ve been watching the episodes of the Interview Project by David Lynch as they are made available. My impression of America from the project thus far is what a depressing wasteland much of our country is. Dirty, untended, barren, bleak, and forlorn. Most of the west and much of the midwest is flat, unappealing and dirty. I’m glad for the cultivated parts and for man taking dominion over this land. Now if only we all had the Dutch passion for cleanliness.

Augustine’s On Christian Teaching

I finished reading St. Augustine’s “On Christian Teaching.” Like all the books of Augustine that I’ve read, it has flashes of brilliance and times where you can really feel his personality and picture him as a person talking to you. But it also has stretches that bore me to tears and probably demand a better grasp of life in Rome than I have.

His discussions of rhetoric at the end of the book were mystifying and dull to me.  The discussion of exegesis were far more interesting and shed light on how he approached the Bible. There are several sections that I love and which make me think that he is my favorite writer. Here he discusses the final day:

And as he is expected to come from heaven as judge of the living and the dead, he instills great fear into the uncommitted, so that they may develop a serious commitment and yearn for him in lives of goodness rather than fear him in lives of wickedness. For what words can express, and what thoughts can conceive, the reward which he is going to give at the end?