“New Perspectives on Paul”

Justification in PerspectiveI just finished reading what is probably the best summary and most mature exposition of the contours of N. T. Wright’s theology of justification that I have read so far: “New Perspectives on Paul” by N. T. Wright, the final essay in the new volume Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges (2006), edited by Bruce L. McCormack. Wright responds to the numerous critiques that have been leveled against him over the past several years. The result is a more carefully nuanced and cogently expressed discussion of the central issues.

One thing I found very interesting was Wright’s assertion that the essence of his views on Paul was pre-Sanders. In other words, Wright didn’t rely on Sanders for his ideas. Rather, Wright came to his convictions independently—many of Sanders’s central points merely confirming what Wright had already been thinking (245–46).

Continue Reading →

ESV Bible Refalizer

James Anderson has created a very handy Firefox extension that automatically turns any Bible reference into a hyperlink to the ESV website. Very nice. I recommend it. He also has an NIV version that will take you to BibleGateway.com. Check it out.

By Faith, Not By Sight

by-faith-not-by-sight.jpgRichard B. Gaffin Jr., By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation. Paternoster, 2006. 114 pp.

[rate 4.5]

I’ve been reading portions of Richard Gaffin’s new book, By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (WTSBooks), and have found it helpful. Particularly insightful are his comments on (1) justification and the center of Paul’s theology and (2) the concept of eschatological justification.

The Center of Paul’s Theology

This selection summarizes his position well:

Continue Reading →

ATP 2GB ToughDrive 200X USB Flash Drive

The ATP 2GB ToughDrive 200X USB Flash Drive is one of the best USB flash drives available. (1) Along with the Patriot Xporter XT, it’s one of the fastest (30MBps read/20MBps write), making it a great choice for use with Windows Vista’s ReadyBoost technology. (See the results of a comparison of various USB drives here.) (2) It’s incredibly durable and built for rough handling (including a 5-year warranty). (3) It’s a great price—on sale for $59.16 at Buy.com, with free shipping. There’s a $25 mail-in rebate, and if you open up a Buy.com credit card (takes about 3 minutes), the price ends up being $16.41 (after mail-in rebate). Not bad for a high-speed 2GB USB drive! I was hoping to be able to save an additional $10 by using Google Checkout, but they don’t allow that in conjunction with the 30% off credit card deal. If you want to go the Google-Checkout route, you’re final cost ends up being $24.16—still a great price. So if you’re in the market for a good USB drive for yourself or as a Christmas present, you might want to check this one out.

Fighting for a Clean Conscience

I just posted an excerpt from John Ensor’s The Great Work of the Gospel: How We Experience God’s Grace. It’s an encouraging read that I needed. I commend it to you. Here is a portion of that excerpt:


Not that this sense of liberty is always there and never flags. It surely does. One problem is that our conscience is not sufficiently informed about the gospel. It needs training in righteousness. In terms of human experience, we must often “reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart” (1 John 3:19-20). I take this to mean that we need to bring the work of God in Christ to bear on our stubborn conscience. We must grasp the truth of the cross and wrestle our conscience into alignment and conformity. We must instruct our conscience about the cross until our conviction of guilt gives way to joy and confidence. Hebrews 10:22 calls this having “our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil [burdened] conscience.”

Continue Reading →

Google Books, Google Scholar, and Amazon Books

There’s a new article at the SBL website entitled “Google Books and Biblical Studies: A Developing Resource.” If you’re not familiar with Google Books, this article will give you a good overview of the potential that Google Books has for research.

Google also has a site called Google Scholar, which, in addition to searching all the books from Google Books, searches lots of major journals like Journal of Biblical Literature, Novum Testamentum, The American Journal of Theology, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and other things like Society of Biblical Literature: Seminar Papers. With a couple of these (SBL and NT) you won’t be able to view the hits in the resources themselves, but at least you are taken to the first page of the article so you know where to look it up in the print copy if it looks promising.

I also recently found out that you can search all of Amazon’s searchable books at the same time. Go to A9.com and select “books by Amazon.”

These are valuable resources that you’ll want to bookmark and use.

Is Παύσονται Deponent?

1 Corinthians 13:8 is a much disputed passage: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” In Greek it reads, “Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.” Not a few interpreters have pointed out that Paul switches verbs when he mentions tongues. Carson is convinced that we have nothing more than stylistic variation: “This view assumes without warrant that the switch to this verb is more than a stylistic variation” (Showing the Spirit, 66). I’m not so sure, but that’s beside the point of this post.

The real issue is that Carson argues that παύσονται is deponent: “The middle form may be used while the active force is preserved. At such points the verb is deponent” (Showing the Spirit, 66). But a deponent is not merely a verb that carries an active meaning in the middle voice. To prove a deponent middle, one must demonstrate the active voice has fallen out of use and that the middle has taken over the force of the active. Is this the case with παύσονται?

Continue Reading →

Carson on 1 Cor 13:8–13—What Am I Missing?

On Sunday I’m teaching our Sunday school class on the subject of tongues. I’m basically going to do an overview using the paper I wrote for Dr. Reimers’s Pneumatology class. In doing a little review, I reread Gaffin’s article in Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? Four Views and found it insightful and solid. I then decided to take a look at Carson’s Showing the Spirit since I bought it recently for my Libronix Digital Library System. Carson takes issue with Gaffin on a few points, but I’m at a loss to understand one of Carson’s objections. Maybe you can help me see what I’m missing.

Gaffin says,

It is gratuitous to insist that this passage teaches that the modes of revelation mentioned, prophecy and tongues, are to continue functioning until Christ’s return. Paul is not intending to specify the time when any particular mode will cease. What he does affirm is the termination of the believer’s present, fragmentary knowledge, based on likewise temporary modes of revelation, when “the perfect” comes. The time of the cessation of prophecy and tongues is an open question so far as this passage is concerned. (Perspectives on Pentecost, 111; quoted in Showing the Spirit, 69 n. 57)

Continue Reading →

Create Your Own Search Engine

I recently found out about Google Co-op. It allows you to create your own web search, or as many different searches as you want. In other words, you tell it which websites to search, and it will search just those sites or simply put those sites first. Take all your favorite biblical resources sites, create a search, and then add it to your Google homepage (or bookmark it) and share it with others.

I’ve played around with a few, and I think this has real potential to be very helpful! Try out my Reformed Theology search, and feel free to edit it by adding other Reformed sites. Maybe we could start an MP3 search for sermons and lectures. Lots of potential here. Let me know if you create any.

A Pauline Response to Voice

Greg Linscott of SharperIron asks, “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” in response to Curtis Allen’s presence at John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. You can view the video on YouTube. It’s also embedded below.

Continue Reading →