On Preaching the Word

As someone who loves theology and biblical studies I’ve come to realize over time that it’s simply best to preach the word in a congregational context. What I mean is simply this: Preach the text and let all the theology flow from it. Don’t spend too much time speculating. Use the information gained from biblical studies to illuminate it but don’t make biblical studies the focus to the exclusion of what the text is saying.

I’ve learned that trying to turn Bible study (at least in the two churches I’ve been a member of) into miniature seminary lectures isn’t greatly effective. The glazed over eyes are usually the best indication that it’s not hitting home. And that’s okay. People who want seminary lectures should by all means attend seminary. The average believer that I’ve encountered just wants to know what the Bible says and find ways to apply it to life.

Your experience may very well be different. If it is I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know.


On Bultmann’s Clarity

30 years ago today Rudolf Karl Bultmann died. I’ve noted many times on this blog that he was an exceptionally clear communicator and I thought to commemorate the anniversary of his death that I’d mention it again. He was a biblical scholar and theologian of the first rate. Sure, many of his ideas are quite simply wrong, but he was able to put them across in such a way that one doesn’t have to guess at what he’s saying. This is quite different from many of his German contemporaries (e.g., Karl Barth) or those who came after him (e.g., Pannenberg or Moltmann). It is my honest opinion that he was the best German to ever put pen to paper when it comes to biblical studies and theology. Not because I agree with so much of what he says—I don’t—but because I can understand it (at least in English translation).


Mum’s the Word

I’ve twice attempted to publish the same little nugget of insight that I’ve gained in a recent study—first on Twitter and just now on my blog—and I’ve not been able to bring myself to do it. My church has been doing a series on the fruit of the Spirit and I’ll be rounding it out in August with a message on self-control. I’ve gotta keep this under my hat until then. It’s a curious little irony though and something that I’ve never really noticed until recently. I’ll share it in due course. I promise.


Just Ordered

So I got the new iMac, right. Okay, well and good. It’s display is glorious and I’ve only got it set at the 2560 x 1440 resolution. The 5k is way sharper than anything I need and makes everything minuscule anyway. To the left of the iMac is a 23″ Acer monitor that was linked to the church’s 13″ MacBook Pro as a second display as well as my Toshiba Satellite Pro as the main display since the laptop screen died on me quite some time ago.

I don’t use the church computer enough to need a second display. I really have it just for doing the multimedia stuff on Sundays and Wednesdays and logging in the offerings, which requires little more than data input twice a week. So the second display wasn’t really necessary. I hope you’re following me. I’m going somewhere. I promise. Alright, so, I decided to hook the 23″ Acer monitor up to the iMac as a second display. The truth is that my workflow is such that I require two displays. I’ve been working like this for more than a year with my MacBook Pro hooked up to dual 24″ Dell monitors.

Still with me? Good. Okay, so I discovered that while I have way more pixels with the gorgeous 27″ iMac display, I still needed another monitor to handle the stuff I do. I thought the Acer would suffice. Problem is, it doesn’t. The discrepancy in size is annoying to start. But the way the new desk is set up also presents a problem since the monitors are right next to each other and positioned straight across. They really need to be angled inward to be useful to me.

Am I making sense? I hope so. Let’s continue… So I decided that I need another 27″ monitor. I would have loved to get a 1440p Dell monitor but I didn’t want to spend over $500 on one. So I opted to go with a 1080p Dell display. I chose the 27″version of the 24″ monitors I already have. It was an easy choice since I already know how great these displays are and how much I love them. I got a good deal from NewEgg and it will be here today.

The 23″ Acer is going to my daughter so she can plug her ChromeBook into it at her desk and have a second monitor or even use it as her main display. The church’s MacBook might have to come down off of the Rain Design mStand and simply be rested on the desk in clamshell mode if there’s not enough room to accommodate everything. We’ll have to see what’s possible. But the great thing about the monitor I chose is that I’ll be able to have the iMac, MacBook, and Toshiba all plugged into it and toggle through the systems at my leisure! Can’t wait.

Thanks for listening. Until next time…


In the Mail

I went away for a few days last week and neglected to mention that Lexham Press sent along the first three volumes of Geerhardus Vos’ Reformed Dogmatics for review. These are slim books with the volumes on Theology Proper and Christology coming in at around 250 pages each while the volume on Anthropology is about 150 pages. This is a welcome change from the systematic theology sets I’m used to.

I’ve also just received a copy of All that the Prophets Have Declared, edited by Matthew R. Malcolm. Matthew recently blogged summaries of the book’s contents so when he asked if anyone would be interested in reviewing the book I naturally jumped at the chance.


Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day! Some years ago I did a series of posts reflecting on God as Father. I wish I had time this week to add to them but I will add this one reflection. God the Father sent his only begotten Son so that we would be given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). John tells us that this birth doesn’t come from “natural descent… human decision or a husband’s will” (John 1:13 NIV) but of God.

God didn’t need us. I’ve heard it preached that because God is love and love needs to be expressed that God needed to express it by enlarging his family. This simply isn’t the case. God’s love has been expressed throughout eternity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was purely out of God’s freedom (or pleasure and will to use Paul’s language in Ephesians) that he chose to create us so that the elect in Christ could become members of his family.

That’s mind-boggling. So think about that as you celebrate your Father’s Day. You are a child of God because he wanted you to be and for no other reason than that…