The Friday Briefing 15 (5 October 2018)

Every story casts His shadow Watch this brief video and see how the whole Old Testament points to Jesus Christ. It is inspirational.

From beelines to plotlines: typology that follows the covenantal topography of Scripture Dr David Schrock writes, “Perhaps you have heard or repeated Charles Spurgeon’s famous axiom, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.” The trouble is Charles Spurgeon probably never said it. Worse, the simplistic axiom fails to account for the textual shape and biblical contours of the Bible, not to mention the infelicitous way it misjudges the course of honeybees.” Focusing on the office of priesthood as an example, Dr Schrock guides us to a better understanding of how the types found in the Bible story point us to Jesus and His Church.

What did Jesus have against goats? Ian Paul throws some clear Biblical light on the well-known but often misunderstood illustration of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25.31-46)

A society without Psalms Mark Loughridge comments: “. . . the loss of biblical literacy is not merely an issue for the church and for our proclamation of the gospel, but is a felt absence by our world, a void which our culture must sense and will try to fill. This stirred my own thinking about a society without Psalms, . . . .”

At What Price Awakening? Examining the Theology and Practice of the Bethel Movement Stephen Tan calls attention to grave errors in the theology and their practices of the hyper-charismatic ‘Signs and Wonders’ movement with its epicentre at Bethel Church in Redding, California, and concerns about The Passion Translation of the Bible , which Bill Johnson, leader of the Bethel Church, enthusiastically endorses.

Every story casts His shadow.

Watch this brief video (a trailer for The Gospel Project) and see how the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ. Trevin Wax comments: “I get chills every time I watch this . . . .” From the video’s narrator: “Sixty six books. Dozens of authors. A holy canon thousands of years in the making. Consider the works…accounts of history and law. Prophecy and poetry. Verses of wisdom and letters from friends. Now. Look again. What do you see? . . . . Every story casts His shadow. Every word, every verse, bears His testimony — the Holy Messiah. Jesus Christ. Eternal King.”

The video is a trailer for The Gospel Project, published by LifeWay. The Gospel Project, provides, in their own words, “a chronological, Christ-centered Bible study plan for every age group in your church: preschoolers through adults. These studies are age-appropriate, easy to teach, and aligned by Scripture to help your entire church grow in the gospel together.” The Gospel Project’s home page is HERE.

Details of their current 3-year study plan is available for download HERE.

Read Trevin Wax’s article HERE.

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From beelines to plotlines: typology that follows the covenantal topography of Scripture.

Dr David Schrock comments, “Perhaps you have heard or repeated Charles Spurgeon’s famous axiom, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.” The trouble is Charles Spurgeon probably never said it. Worse, the simplistic axiom fails to account for the textual shape and biblical contours of the Bible, not to mention the infelicitous way it misjudges the course of honeybees.”

Dr. Schrock explains: “. . . this essay will argue for a thicker reading of Scripture. It will argue that standing underneath any legitimate type is a covenantal topography, a biblical terrain that rises and falls throughout Israel’s covenant history, which all types follow in their own unique way as they run toward Christ and his Church. Therefore, in addition to the standard ‘tests’ for valid types, I will demonstrate how biblical types follow this covenantal topography from historical prototype, through covenantal ectypes, to their intended antitype — namely, the person and work of Christ. From there, by union with Christ, typology experiences a new birth, as supratypes share covenantal attributes with and carry out the offices assigned by Jesus Christ. . . . . Typology, therefore, must be understood in relationship to the biblical covenants that unify and organize the Bible. But biblical types must also, as I will argue, be seen in relationship with creation, fall, and process of redemption found in God’s covenant history.”

In demonstrating his understanding of Biblical typology, Dr Schrock takes one concrete example – that of the priesthood. He writes, “. . . in what follows, I will show how the priesthood follows this covenantal topography moving from Adam to Christ through the peaks and valleys of Israel’s history. By following this one concrete example, my hope is to demonstrate a covenantal topography that all types follow as they move from the shadows of the old covenant to the substance of the new.”

Dr Schrock first present the Biblical texts and then shows the priestly office develops through the different periods of Bible history. He explains, “To give a sense of where we are going, I will first present in chart-form the biblical texts that serve as milestones for the priestly type. These priestly milestones will be accompanied by two other lines of personal milestones for the biblical offices of prophet and king. . . . . Second, I will provide hermeneutical commentary on each phase of covenant history that helps explain how the priestly office develops across the canon. These stages of development are: (1) Creation, (2) Patriarchs, (3) Law, (4) Prophets including (a) historical formation, (b) covenant-breaking deformation and (c) eschatological reformation, (5) Christ, and (6) the Church. It is the formation, deformation, and reformation in the period of the Prophets that I believe is most original to this article.”

Read the whole article HERE.

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What did Jesus have against goats?.

Ian Paul brings fresh insight into Jesus’s illustration of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25.31-46), in which he describes the Last Judgment. He writes, “The most common interpretation of the narrative allocates the people groups in the following way. The ‘least of these’ are the poor in general; the sheep are those (probably followers of Jesus, obeying his teaching here) who care for the poor rather than just having a theoretical faith; and the goats are those who neglect Jesus’ teaching. Thus this becomes a general argument of the importance of caring for the poor. But this interpretation has only been around since around 1850 (which raises issues about how we should response to ‘novel’ interpretations…) and in fact has some serious obstacles to it.”

Dr Paul lights up our understanding of the illustration of the sheep and the goats. He does this especially by taking us back to the Biblical art of shepherding that he recently heard explained by Richard Goode, of Newman University in Birmingham, at the British New Testament Conference. Dr Goode’s paper was entitled, What did Jesus have against goats? Setting Matthew 25:32-33 within the context of caprid husbandry of Roman Palestine. (You can see an abstract of this paper HERE – it’s the third paper of session 1; just click the  View abstract  button to see it.)

Read the whole article HERE.

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A society without Psalms.

Mark Loughridge writes, “When contemporary poet Edward Clarke turned 40, he set himself the task of reading through the Authorised Version of the Bible in one year . . . . As Clarke spent time in the Bible he shared that ‘one does feel enthralled to something greater’, and that while he is not a regular church goer, there was an element of spiritual catharsis in trying to think and write from the space the Scriptures provide. This, however, was no mere exercise in subjectivity, but the outcome of convictions which Clarke has developed about the 21st century and biblical literature.”

Loughridge comments: “. . . the loss of biblical literacy is not merely an issue for the church and for our proclamation of the gospel, but is a felt absence by our world, a void which our culture must sense and will try to fill. This stirred my own thinking about a society without Psalms, what our secular nation will look like without the bedrock of biblical categories through which to see the world, understand themselves, and articulate the things which most matter.”

Read the whole article HERE.

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At What Price Awakening? Examining the Theology and Practice of the Bethel Movement.

Stephen Tan, pastor of Regeneration Church, a new church in Clayton, Melbourne, Australia, writes: “”Australia for Jesus” is the motto of Awakening Australia, an event that seeks to unite every denomination under one mission: to bring revival to Australia. . . . . While revival, unity and nationwide prayer are good goals for Christians to have, I am unable to support Awakening Australia. . . . . My main contention with Awakening Australia is that it is part of a hyper-charismatic ‘Signs and Wonders’ movement with its epicentre at Bethel Church in Redding, California. In fact, the leader of Bethel Church, Bill Johnson, is the main speaker at Awakening Australia.”

Pastor Tan tells us: “If you log onto Bethel’s website (bethelredding.com), their mission is clear: to bring revival to Redding and to the whole world. They see themselves as having “a global impact” as “a revival resource and equipping centre”. They run “revival” conferences and rallies all over the world. Kingdom Invasion in Singapore draws thousands, as will Awakening Australia later this year. Bethel also runs their own ‘Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM)’ which teaches people to perform miracles and bring revival. BSSM spawns hundreds of similar schools around the world, including in Melbourne and in other cities in Australia. But what exactly does Bethel mean by revival?”

Pastor Tan calls attention to grave errors in their theology and their practices. He also voices his concerns about the Passion Translation, which Bill Johnson enthusiastically endorses. Tan comments: “What makes the Bethel movement dangerous is that their reach is extended through their music ministry. Jesus Culture and Bethel Music have created a brand of worship music that can genuinely compete with Hillsong. . . . . I fear Jesus Culture serves as a gateway drug that draws young and inexperienced Christians into a world of false teaching, unbiblical practices and spiritual disaster.”

He comments, “I am concerned that the upcoming ‘Awakening Australia’ event also fits the description and has the potential to cause much confusion and spiritual damage to thousands of unsuspecting Australians. To those who are supporting this event in the name of revival, may I ask this question: “At what price, awakening?” Is it worth pursuing awakening if it means that the gospel is compromised and that false teaching is promoted?”

Read the whole article HERE.

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The Friday Briefing 8 (27 April 2018)

Reading the Bible as one story Michael Goheen writes, “If the church is to be faithful to its missionary calling, it must recover the Bible as one true story. If the story of the Bible is fragmented into bits it can easily be absorbed into the reigning story of culture rather than challenging it. A fragmented Bible can lead to a church that is unfaithful, syncretistically accommodated to the idolatry of its cultural story, or in the words of Paul, a church “conformed to the world” (Romans 12.2).”

10 Bible translations you’ve never heard of Jost Zetzsche introduces ten lesser-known English translations, all but one of which were translated by individuals. He writes: “My hope is to pique your sense of adventure to seek out these or other translations and immerse yourself in them.”

The rise of comic superheroes and our longing for one Eric Geiger writes, “An unprecedented 20 superhero movies are expected to come to movie theaters between 2018 and 2020. Superhero movies are on the rise and people rave about the heroes in Black Panther, Avengers, and Spider-Man. Where does our longing for superheroes come from?”

Paul Young’s “Lies We Believe About God” Dismantles Precious Truths from Scripture Randy Alcorn writes, “Last year, Paul Young, author of The Shack, had a book come out called Lies We Believe About God. Ironically, many of the doctrinal concerns that I and many others expressed about his novel The Shack (and in response, were told “it’s just fiction” and “this isn’t theology” and “that’s not what he’s saying”) have proven to be true. This book clearly reveals the author’s actual theology.

Mission through meals Following on from last week’s review of Tim Chester’s book A Meal with Jesus, here is a video in which Tim explores the power of meals as a context for building community and sharing the gospel.

Reading the Bible as one story.

Michael Goheen writes, “All of human life is shaped by some story. . . . . For those of us living in the West, basically two stories are on offer: the biblical and the humanist. As [Lesslie] Newbigin points out: “In our contemporary culture . . . two quite different stories are told. One is the story of evolution, of the development of species through the survival of the strong, and the story of the rise of civilization, our type of civilization, and its success in giving humankind mastery of nature. The other story is the one embodied in the Bible, the story of creation and fall, of God’s election of a people to be the bearers of his purpose for humankind, and of the coming of the one in whom that purpose is to be fulfilled. These are two different and incompatible stories . . . .”

“The story of the Bible tells us the way the world really is. It is in the language of postmodernity it is a “metanarrative”; in the language of Hegel, “universal history.” Thus, the biblical story is not to be understood simply as a local tale about a certain ethnic group or religion. It begins with the creation of all things and ends with the renewal of all things. In between it offers an interpretation of the meaning of cosmic history. It, therefore, makes a comprehensive claim: our stories, our reality must find a place in this story.”

Michael concludes, “If the church is to be faithful to its missionary calling, it must recover the Bible as one true story. If the story of the Bible is fragmented into bits it can easily be absorbed into the reigning story of culture rather than challenging it. A fragmented Bible can lead to a church that is unfaithful, syncretistically accommodated to the idolatry of its cultural story, or in the words of Paul, a church “conformed to the world” (Romans 12.2). Much is at stake in reading the Bible as one story. Students who want to be faithful pastors or scholars would do well to master this story so that they might help others indwell it with them.

Read the whole article HERE.

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10 Bible translations you’ve never heard of
.

Jost Zetzsche writes, “English readers have access to more translations of the Bible than readers of any other language. The American Bible Society estimates that there have been around 900 full and partial biblical translations into English.” Jost introduces us to ten lesser-known English translations, all but one of which were translated by individuals. He writes: “My hope is to pique your sense of adventure to seek out these or other translations and immerse yourself in them. . . . . When it comes to having access to a richness of Bible translations, no other readers of the 7,000 or so world languages are as privileged as English readers. So why not use that resource? . . . . In the original preface to the King James Version of 1611, its translators wrote ‘that varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures.’” Read the whole article HERE.

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The rise of comic superheroes and our longing for one.

Eric Geiger writes, “An unprecedented 20 superhero movies are expected to come to movie theaters between 2018 and 2020. Superhero movies are on the rise and people rave about the heroes in Black Panther, Avengers, and Spider-Man. Where does our longing for superheroes come from?” Eric comments, “Stories of rescue that grip our culture remind us that people were created for the greater Story, for the greater Rescuer.” Read the whole article HERE.

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Paul Young’s “Lies We Believe About God” Dismantles Precious Truths from Scripture.

Randy Alcorn writes, “Last year, Paul Young, author of The Shack, had a book come out called Lies We Believe About God. Ironically, many of the doctrinal concerns that I and many others expressed about his novel The Shack (and in response, were told “it’s just fiction” and “this isn’t theology” and “that’s not what he’s saying”) have proven to be true. This book clearly reveals the author’s actual theology. I wanted to believe the best, and not be quick to misunderstand or accuse. I have friends who read Paul’s writings, and my desire isn’t to take away from the positives they’ve received from The Shack. However, Lies We Believe About God shows in the author’s own words how far he has departed from some basic and central evangelical doctrines. I’ve read the whole book, and I saw truth intermixed with unbiblical error. But as is often the case with false doctrine, the truth serves to make the error appear more credible. . . . . I recommend this summary of some of the unbiblical content in Lies We Believe About God, well expressed by Tim Challies. While Paul Young remains a likable person, this doesn’t change the danger of revising God’s truth and telling people nice-sounding things on God’s behalf, when some of those explicitly contradict what He tells us in His Word: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar” Proverbs 30:5-6 (ESV)).

Read Randy Alcorn’s whole article HERE.

Read Randy Alcorn’s earlier article Reflections on The Shack HERE.

Read Tim Challies’ article What Does The Shack Really Teach? “Lies We Believe About God” Tells Us HERE.

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”The Son of Man came eating and drinking”. (Matthew 11.19). Meals played a big part in the ministry of Jesus. In this video, Tim Chester explores the power of meals as a context for building community and sharing the gospel.

I review Tim Chester’s book A Meal with Jesus HERE.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations (apart from those in direct quotations) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, published by HarperCollins Publishers. © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.