Archive for September, 2007

Why I don’t want to go to hell…

September 24, 2007

The air conditioning in the dorm broke Saturday night…since then, it has been a balmy/miserable 75 degrees all the time. I know I am being shallow, but I enjoy the privileges and blessings of living in the modern era and in America…living across the hall from two missionary kids (hey Dave and Ben!) doesn’t help my pout.

In other news, the most random thing happened Saturday night, as well. A man from my home church bakc in South Carolina came to visit his grandson, who attends Midwestern as well! We did that “I think I know you” double-take, then warmly greeted each other: really freaky…unless you’re me, a permanent resident of the “it’s a small Christian world”, where everyone I know from some church setting is inevitably connected to everyone else I know from some other church setting! Six degrees of separation, my big toe! More like two!!

Hopefully I’ll post before Saturday…unless I just go do something crazy in the meantime!

The week in review

September 22, 2007

Monday: spent two extra hours with my unofficially official mentor, Dr. T, “let your mantle fall on me, a double portion of your spirit!”, talking about Romans and leaven (it’s a seminary thing!)

Tuesday: was totally bored in OT survey I (corny video on the Exodus), but had the most awesome chapel (in fact, they have all been awesome, but) this guy puh-reached! I thought we were all going to become charismatic!

Wednesday: rocked my Greek grammar (I think everyone hates me in that class!) and pounded out the second listening to Monday’s class recording (note to other seminarians: record your lectures and re-listen…it has definitely helped me!)

Thursday: was totally in awe of how completely stupid some historians were in the early 70’s, I mean seriously, the 45-minute, self-narrated, film on where is Sinai sucked the life and meaning out of me for at least 1.5 hours! Then, to top it all off, read a disturbing anonymous letter and had a “denominational crisis of faith” (the crisis has been averted, but now I am on a righteous quest to right the worngs of carnal Christianity in our midst…pray that I do not become arrogant or sinful myself!)

Friday: professed my love for chicken, Sun Chips (R), and Coke/soda…I also like soft-batch chocolate chip cookies, but that is a different conversation! Again, was (not) surprised when drama went down here at MBTS (see Baptist Press for details)…I might have to drop out and battle the powers-that-be hand-to-hand at this rate (just kidding, Mom!)

 See ya’ll next week!

The drama that is 50 guys in one building…

September 17, 2007

Names have been changed to protect all involved and misdirect the snoopy!

For several weeks now, we have been trying to come up with nicknbames for some of the dorm inhabitants. “Ordo Aptay” refused to accept the name “peaches” and pretty much threw a hissy-fit worthy of that name! With four Andrew’s in the building, the following names (care of Who is Your Google Alter Ego?: http://www.gpeters.com/names/baby-names.php) are now official:

Andrew Burns is henceforth “Paul”

Andrew Goforth (a non-resident, but hangs out with some of us) is henceforth “Zan”

Andrew Huesing is henceforth “Bananaman”

and I am “Danger” , although I will probably go with “Higgy”, as is appropriate as a contraction for my twelve-letter last name (thanks UGA and Ben G. for popularizing it)

In other news, the upstairs kitchen has been gutted (but remarkably, they left the kitchen sink!) and many residents are in mourning. We will forever be burner-less, they tell us, though we are to make due with an additional microwave!

Tell you more next time!

Now we’re going to slow down…

September 17, 2007

Okay, I admit I was a little ambitious with my five chapters per week blogging schedule (no comments from the peanut gallery!) Also, I didn’t realize how intensive it is to not make blatant and near-heretic mistakes when teaching on a passage over the internet (thank you Dr. Tomlinson)! So, we’re going to slow this bad boy down!

New schedule: Once a week I blog on a Bible chapter, maybe do two if I feel up to it! When I can, usually four times a week, I’ll blog on the happenings here at MBTS. I’ll also promulgate my opines about various subjects and what-nots…beginning now!

The adversary appears…Job 1

September 13, 2007

It is not a small controversy surrounding the authorship and dating of Job. Many believe that it arrived in the Hebrew canon following the Babylonian captivity, penned by the rabbis of the exile as an object lesson for why the people were punished. This hypothesis is founded on the appearance of Satan (= “the adversary”), a name for the prince of evil not given in purportedly earlier works, but a figure (it is beleved) gleaned from the dualistic Zoroasterianism prevalent in that region. However, discovery of text from Job in the Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) materials in paleo-Hebrew, like the Pentateuch from the same source, implies that the Jews of the closed-canon community gave it an early dating. The authorship remains a mystery (not a new phenomenon for OT Scripture), being attributed to Moses, Job, and Elihu alternately (source: Wil Pounds,

http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/jobintro.html)

 (v.1-3) “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” His wealth is not unlike that of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob). The reference to “all the men of the east” could attribute Job to the Akkadian region from which Abraham’s family originates. Indeed, “the land of Uz” may refer to the domain of the descendants of a son of Aram the Shemite (Genesis 10:23; Jeremiah 25:20; Lamentations 4:21). If this is true, then Moses could have received this story as part of the oral history he used to compose the Pentateuch (some suggest he may also have used cuneiform tablets without loss of inspiration). Alternately, Job or Elihu could have composed it in proto-Hebrew (i.e. a common language of the Semite clans) and it was later discovered by the exiles in Babylon. The author presents this not to challenge or defend any one interpretation, other than that of an inerrant text.

 (v.4, 5) “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.” The righteousness of Job, stated in verse 1, is demonstrated by his desire to keep even his children ritually pure. This will become an issue in later chapters when the righteousness of Job is questioned.

 (v.6, 7) “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'” Satan appears! A unique aspect of this story is the appearance of Satan at all, given the implications of Isaiah 14:12-15. Though cast out from heaven, he still has access to God. Unlike us, who would be destroyed by the glory of the Lord because of our sin, Lucifer/Satan seems to be of stronger stuff! Perhaps, as will become apparent in the next verses, God allows Satan’s entrance as part of His display of Job’s righteousness.

 (v.8 ) “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'” My first reaction to this is “Thanks a lot, God!” (please forgive my impudence when speaking to the Most Holy God) Seriously, it is God, not Satan, who suggests this test of character. Indeed God, omnipotent, knows the outcome and the type of man Job is, but nonetheless I would not want to endure the hardships and despair to come! The answer of Diogenes is given, although I am not sure if the cynic of old would appreciate the reverence for Yahweh shown by Job.

 (v.9-11) “Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.'” The first test of poverty is given. Satan’s perspective is that we believe in God and worship Him because of His blessings to us. What an indictment of people throughout history, especially many “Christians” in America. Our Americanization of passages like “ask and you will receive” and the Prayer of Jabez only confirms what the Evil One accuses of us!

(v.12-19) “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, ‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,  and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was still speaking, another also came and said, ‘Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.'” Wow, Satan works quickly! All that Job has disappears in destruction within moments. I cannot fathom hearing one report after another of how all that you have and all whom you love are gone. The appearance of Sabeans (Sheba – Genesis 10:7) and Chaldeans (Genesis 11:28,31) would support the Mesopotamian locale previously proposed. The mixture of natural and human causes for the destruction, as well as their coincidence at various locations, signal the characters (and the reader) to view this as not just bad luck, but a higher power acting against Job.

(v.20-) “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,
          ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
          And naked I shall return there
          The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
          Blessed be the name of the LORD.’

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” Job enters into a period of deep mourning. Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, picks up this perspective on the reliance on God in Eccl 5:15. Job reveals the first aspect of his character, humble surrender: “I own nothing since all is God’s blessing, let Him do as he wishes.” (see also I Samuel 2:7)

Please return next week for Job 2…and may God bless and enlighten your understanding, along with mine…

Wednesday’s post of Job 1 will have to wait…sorry

September 12, 2007

ran out of time at the library computer…will post tomorrow afternoon! 🙂

Which theologian are you? I’m totally medieval!

September 11, 2007
You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man’s primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read ‘Cur Deus Homo?’

Anselm
93%
Karl Barth
87%
Martin Luther
87%
Jonathan Edwards
87%
Jürgen Moltmann
67%
John Calvin
53%
Charles Finney
47%
Friedrich Schleiermacher
40%
Augustine
33%
Paul Tillich
33%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

The transition begins…Joshua 1

September 11, 2007

 (v.1, 2a) “Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, ‘Moses My servant is dead….'” Joshua inherits a vast people, the children of former slaves, who have lived their entire lives in the wilderness of Sinai. He has assisted the great Moses in leading the people through hardship, disloyalty, and the conquest of the eastern territories. He must now go alone in leadership to cross the Jordan and conquer the land of Canaan. Daunting, to say the least!

(v.2b-5) “…now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” Sometimes in times of disarray, disappointment, and despair we need God to just tell us that He is with us. Not because we necessarily have forgotten, but so that we are confirmed in the knowledge that “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

 (v.6, 7, 9) “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go…. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” The temptation to Joshua and the people of Israel to try to conquer Canaan in their own strength, as they had before and failed (Numbers 14:39-45). This is not surprising given that some of God’s requirements were a little strange (blowing trumpets to destroy the wall of Jericho in Joshua 6). And some of Israel did eventually violate the standards and cost them all much (Achan’s greed cost them 36 men at Ai and his life in Joshua 7). The phrase “Only be strong and very courageous” should resonate with us still as we too try to shortcut or rethink God’s Ways – a parallel thought is given by Paul in Ephesians 6:10,11, 13b: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil…and having done everything, to stand firm. ” We’re just supposed to stand, not fight! We’re just supposed to be strong and courageous!

(v.8) “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” A parallel thought is given by the writer of Psalm 1: those that absorb God’s Word will be made useful and fulfilled by it and Him.

(v.10, 11) “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, ‘Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, “Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.”‘” No doubt Joshua, after forty-five years of assistantship, was already considered the rightful heir to the command of Israel. But mutinies had occurred before, by Miriam and Aaron in Numbers 12 and Korah (and 14,700 people) in Numbers 16. Still Joshua trusted the word he had jsut received from God and acted accordingly.

(v.12-15) “To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, ‘Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, “The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.” Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.'” Joshua reasserts the unity of Israel despite the easy excuse of the physical barrier between them. To assuage their hesitancy, he allows the women and children to remain behind in safety, a luxury not given to the other tribes.

(v.16-18) “They answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.'” God’s promise of His support of Joshua before the people is shown true. Notice the blessings with which they anoint Joshua as the new leader: “only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses.” and “only be strong and courageous.” Echoes of God’s own words from the lips of God’s own people!

 Please return next week for Joshua 2…and may God bless and enlighten your understanding, along with mine…

The first day…

September 10, 2007

Have you ever wondered why Genesis starts the way it does? I mean, why take seven days? Why even delineate out an order of creation? It’s not needed…at least now that the canon is complete:

 John 1:1-3 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

Colossians 1:16 – “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

So why the Creation account? To proclaim the glory of God’s Plan, of course! That God is not a God of disorder (1 Corinthians 14:33), but has a purpose for every historical event and planned them before time, should take us continually into a state of praise…we should thank God for His control over all things! We need not despair or resign ourselves to fate…we have a God, a Father, who has His Hands on the wheel while driving the car of reality!

Some thoughts:

(v.1) “In the beginning God…” The Bible never stops to “prove” the existence of God…it assumes the overwhelming evidence in nature (Romans 1:20) to be sufficient to demonstrate that point!

(v.2) “The earth was formless and void…” I am consciously going to avoid trying to overthink this phrase. Instead, I’ll emphasize the chaos that exists without God’s direction. This same wordplay is used in Jeremiah 4:23, when the prophet is speaking in lament concerning the sheer destruction that results from God’s wrath. Jeremiah sees Judah being swept so clean that is appears to him that the clock has returned to the beginning of time! Again God’s providential Plan is a welcome sight in the face of sheer, unfathomable directionlessness. With apologies to Sartre, this is the existential crisis: 1) without God, there really is no meaning or purpose, only eupathetic emptiness and 2) that “essence precedes existence”, that who/what we are foreshadows that we are.

“…and darkness was over the surface of the deep…” Again I hesitate to overthink this, but the parallelism that John uses in the first chapters of his gospel, particularly the images of light and darkness, are astounding: Light came to darkness and changed the darkness! Again, Order arrives on the scene and straightens out the jumble, brings peace to the state (of reality or Man) that wordlessly calls out for redemption.

“…and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Immanuel – God is near: He always has been and always will be. The sea is always an image of chaos in Scripture (thus its absence in the New Creation – Revelation 21:1) Even in the midst of His antithesis, God is present and protective (“moving” can also be translated “hovering” and is used elsewhere as part of a maternal image – Deuteronomy 32:11; Isaiah 31:5)

(v.3, 4) “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good…” Again we see the dichotomy of light and darkness. Again, in John 3:19-21, the Light is good and Darkness both reviles and rejects it.

“…and God separated the light from the darkness.” We cannot emphasize the incompatibility of the two natures. Each cannot abide the other (this is a theme throughout the Gospels) and God’s nature as Source and Light is, in my opinion, the reason why our sin must necessarily separate us from Him: were we to exist in that state one moment in His presence, His Glory would consume us like Fire (Leviticus 10:2; Numbers 11:1, 16:35)!

(v.5) “God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day. ” The last sentence might better (as to our understanding) be translated “And there was sunset and there was dawn, one 24-hour day” – sorry day-agers! The argument (given by some) that without a sun and moon, there can be no measurement of hours, is somewhat amusing: Day is the time of light, Night the time of darkness. These having been created, we now have (in addition to God’s own testimony to its veracity) the evidence for its duration.

Please return next week for the Second Day…and may God bless and enlighten your understanding, along with mine…

This goes out to Blake!

September 8, 2007

After what seems like eons of silence, I have returned to the blogosphere once again, my children! (For those of you new to my domain, please see fiveformfaith.wordpress.com) Blake has asked and I have answered! (BTW,Blake, you too need to blog your experiences as one from the Dirty South moved up to the Big Apple!)

 Here’s  how it is going to go each week:

MONDAY: I’ll post an entry on the Pentateuch and Revelation. As I calculate it, It will take me 243 weeks (50 chapters in Genesis + 40 in Exodus + 27 in Leviticus + 36 in Numbers + 34 in Deuteronomy + 22 in Revelation + 7 days of creation + 12 tribes of Israel + 10 commandments + 7 churches -Revelation 2 & 3).

TUESDAY: I’ll post an entry on the Old Testament History (Joshua – Esther). = 249 weeks.

WEDNESDAY: I’ll post an entry on the Old Testament Poetry (Job – Song of Solomon) = 243 weeks (since Psalm 119 will be divided out into 22 entries due to its length and structure).

THURSDAY: I’ll post an entry on the Old Testament Prophecy (Isaiah – Malachi) = 250 weeks.

FRIDAY: I’ll post an entry on theNew Testament (without Revelation) = 238 weeks.

 So basically I have proposed a five-year blogging arc!

SATURDAY: I’ll blog about the happenings of the previous week here at MBTS (see below for more details). Offline, I’ll work up the next week’s entries a la Scot McKnight to be posted each following weekday.

Details:

My name is A.W. or A-dub and I am the Higg (or AndyHigg) that occasionally visits other blogs and, not unlike the Tooth Fairy, leaves behind a valuable nugget of my wisdom. I am, at present, a seminary student at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS)…at this point, my classmates know exactly who I am, but hopefully, to the world at large, I am still quite anonymous! I am also unemployed, but looking for a job, and single, but looking for a lady — in short, I am quite pathetic and men should send me money and women should date me!

 Hopefully, this time school won’t get in the way of the more important task of pontificating on the internet! Welcome all and hope to see you often!