Prolegomena Matters: Engaging with Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology

prolegomenaYesterday, I posted my review of the first section in Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic IntroductionAs with most theology textbooks, Bird opens with a discussion of how to do theology. In theological circles this is called the prolegomena and it portends to how the rest of the book will be developed.

As I mentioned in that review, I am encouraged by his focus on the gospel but concerned about how he is actually going to do his theology. In my review I mentioned in passing four general concerns. Today, I want to substantiate those concerns. Continue reading

Postmodernity and Envangelical Thought (3): The Basic Tenets of Postmodernism

Yesterday, I outlined a number of the basic features of modernity. Today, I pick up by looking at the shift from modernity to postmodernity.

Postmodernism’s Progenitors: Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche

It has been said that in the history of Western thought there have been two French Revolutions that gave birth to modernism and postmodernism.  In the Enlightenment, Frenchmen Rene Descartes brought about a new way of thinking when his Cogito turned Western thinking towards the subject.  Instead of keeping God at the center, now all centered on man.  This was the first French Revolution.  The second was the rise of Jacques Derrida, who not only questioned the Author of the universe, he questioned every single author who rose in his place.  Derrida has rightly been esteemed as the forefather of postmodern thought, and for good reason. Continue reading

Taste and See the Sweet Layers of Scripture

My wife is an excellent maker of cakes. My favorite is the homemade chocolate cake she makes. What makes it so good? Well, the sweet, moist cake is a good starting place, but it moves from good to great when she adds the frosting, and it goes from great to ‘out of this world,’ when she makes a double-layered cake with a large portion of frosting in the middle.

Makes you hungry, doesn’t it?

Well, the richness of a double-layered, chocolate is not unlike the word of God, which the Psalmist described as sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10). If he had chocolate in his vocabulary, I bet he would have made that comparison, as well.

Continue reading

For Your Edification (5.17.12)

For Your Edification is a bi-weekly set of resources on the subjects of Bible, Theology, Ministry, and Family Life.  Let me know what you think or if you have other resources that growing Christians should be aware.  

BIBLE

Is the Bible Really Living and Active?  Imagine a conversation at the end of Sunday service:

Pastor:  Fred, did you spend time in the word this week?

Fred: Oh, yes.  I spent hours in the word this week.  It was refreshing.  God says that he gives rest to those who ask, and when I was in the word this week, I felt the comfort of resting in the word.

Wilma, Fred’s wife (driving home later): Honey, I didn’t know that you spent so much time in the Word this week.  With your busy schedule, how did you do that?

Husband: Well, what I failed to mention was the fact that I named my Lazy Boy “the word,” so that whether I am watching TV, reading the paper, or reading my Bible, I can “be in the word.”

Wilma: Huh . . . that’s a good idea.  Maybe, I’ll try that.

Of course, no one would really say that.  Right?  But the point is made: The time we spend in the word is as effective as the way we spend it.  Jen Wilkin, mother of four, writes about why so many Christians get so little out of the word.  She nails down the fact that those who read the Bible, need to use effective means of Bible study, or they will just reinforce unbiblical ideas, and remain unchanged.  This is how she begins,

Why, with so many study options available, do many professing Christians remain unschooled and unchanged? Scripture teaches clearly that the living and active Word matures ustransforms usaccomplishes what it intends, increases our wisdom, and bears the fruit of right actions. There is no deficit in the ministry of the Word. If our exposure to it fails to result in transformation, particularly over the course of years, there are surely only two possible reasons why: either our Bible studies lack true converts, or our converts lack true Bible study.

Jen goes on to explain a number of common ways Christians “lack true Bible study.” Read the rest of her helpful article: Why Bible Study Doesn’t Transform Us?

Summer Bible Reading Plan.  Here is a 100 day Bible reading plan that would be great to use this summer if you do not currently have a reading schedule, or you have fallen off the wagon since January.  It is called E100, which stands for Essential 100 Scripture passages, and it designed to help Bible readers get through the whole of the Bible in a manageable amount of time.  It is published by Scripture Union and is designed to help young Bible readers or discouraged Bible readers make their way through the most important parts of the Bible.  The E100 website has more details; here is an easy access print-out.

THEOLOGY

Lessons in Ecclesiology.  Jonathan Leeman answers a couple important questions about the doctrine of the church.  First, he defines what the characteristics of a local church are.  Most importantly, in his article, What Is the Local Church?, he defines the difference between a ‘group of Christians’ and a ‘church’ (Hint: They are not the same thing!)  Then, he follows up by considering church membership.  In his article, What Is Church Membership?, he points out that a church is more than just a ‘voluntary organization.’ For those who want their church reflect the priorities of Christ, these are important questions, and Leeman gives biblical answers.

Additionally, Leeman is finishing his doctoral research on ecclesiology (i. e. the doctrine of the church) and has written a number of helpful resources on the subject, most recently: Church Membership and Church Discipline.  His larger work, The Church and the Surprising Offense of the Love of God: Reintroducing Church Membership and Discipline, goes even deeper into the biblical case for reclaiming a knowledge and practice of church health.

Carl Trueman on John Owen. John Owen has been described as the “Redwood of the Puritans” by J. I. Packer, and indeed his exegetical theology stands tall centuries after he has passed into glory.  Trueman, a church historian and gifted writer, introduces Owen in this ten minute biographical sketch that is worth watching to know better this great pastor-theologian.  For more on Owen, see John Piper’s biographical sermon: The Chief Design of My Life: Mortification and Universal Holiness.

FAMILY, LIFE, & MINISTRY

What Should We Say About Gay Marriage?  A few weeks before President Obama made his public declaration to endorse Gay Marriage, Southern Baptist Pastor, Mark Dever, sat down with seminary president, Albert Mohler, to discuss the subject of marriage according to the Bible and in our culture.  This discussion recorded at Together For the Gospel, will give you a good handle on a number of the key points in the gay marriage debate, and how Christians can defend God’s design in marriage–one man, one woman, united by law, until death.

Don’t Be a Passive Reader.  N. D. Wilson, author of Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl and a handful of other well-regarded fiction books, gives his critical review of The Hunger Games.  His review is spot-on and shows that Christians who enjoy the book/movie are in need of reading the book with much greater sensitivity to the world in which we live.  His review reminds us that when we read, watch, or listen to any sort of entertainment, we are imbibing a worldview (that is probably not inspired by the Holy Spirit) and thus we need to read pro-actively.  Beware of being a passive reader.  It may be more dangerous than the hunger games themselves.


May God use these resources to grow you in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

George Smeaton on Christ’s Own System of Hermeneutics

Ever wonder how the apostle’s developed their particular brand of Christ-centered hermeneutics?  This has been a frequently-discussed and hotly-debated subject over the last few years.  Numerous books have addressed the subject.  For instance, Greg Beale, ed. The Wrong Doctrine from the Right Texts?; Richard Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period; Dennis Johnson, Him We Proclaim; Sidney Greidnaus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament are a handful of them.

Yet, perhaps the best answer I have found goes back nearly 150 years.  In the opening pages of his book, The Apostles’ Doctrines of the Atonementnineteenth century New Testament theologian, George Smeaton, answers this question: How did the apostles develop their hermeneutics.

Without batting an eye, he turns to the forty days that Jesus spent with his disciples between his resurrection and ascension.  He posits that the “Lord’s system of hermeneutics” was passed on to these inspired authors and that in every instance where the disciples spoke of the terms, concepts, and types found in the Old Testament, they did so as learned pupils of their master teacher–Jesus Christ.

Smeaton’s quotation is lengthy, but well worth pondering.

But the fresh instruction which they received from personal interviews with the Redeemer subsequently to the resurrection must next be noticed.  This oral instruction received from the lips of the risen Lord is certain as to the matter of fact, and on many grounds was indispensably necessary.  Nor was it limited to the eleven alone.  Paul, too, received it at a later day, when he took rank among the apostles as one born out of due time.  How far the oral instruction of the risen Redeemer extended, it may be difficult for us to say.  Whether or not it comprehended all the great articles of divine truth, it certainly extended to the atonement (Luke xxiv. 25).  This was to be the substance and foundation of all their preaching [1 Cor 2:2], and it was indispensably necessary for them to possess the most accurate knowledge of it.  One object, therefore, which the Lord had in view during those forty days’ sojourn with the disciples after His resurrection, was to open their understandings in the course of these personal interviews, to apprehend with all possible precision the nature of His death–its necessity, consituent elements, and efficacy; against which, in every form, they had long entertained the most invincible prejudice.  He now made all things plain, showing that the Christ must have suffered these things.

How they were introduced into the theology of the Old Testament is specially worthy of notice.  A due consideration of this point serves to bring out one most important fact, viz. that Christ’s oral expositions are to be taken as THE MIDDLE TERM, or as the connecting link between Old Testament records on the one hand, and the apostolic commentary on the other.  In a word, He was Himself the interpreter of Scripture, and of His own history, in the course of those oral communications.  In the book of Acts, and in the epistles, we find numerous interpretations of the prophecies, as well as of the types and sacrifices which owe their origin to this source.  The evangelist Luke relates, that on the first resurrection-day, upon the Emmaus road, in order to instruct the two disciples with whom He entered into conversation, the Lord, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27); that is, He led them to a full survey of the typology and of the prophetical system of the Old Testament Scriptures.  The same evening He reviewed the whole subject not less fully in presence of the eleven and other disciples, expounding them how the Old Testament Scriptures received their fulfillment in Himself, and  opening all that related to His death and resurrection. . . . The evangelist [Luke] mentions that His exposition extended to the Law of Moses, to the Prophets, and to the Psalms.  The allusion to the Law of Moses recalls the whole range of typical theology–the sacrifices, the priestly institute, and the temple services.  The allusion to the prophets reminds us of the wide field of Messianic prophecy, form the first promise in the garden of Eden to the last of the prophets.  The allusion to the Psalms recalls those utterances which were put beforehand into the mouth of the suffering Messiah in a series of psalms in which the Lord Jesus found Himself.  He thus, in all these three divisions of Scripture, supplied them with the key which served to unlock what had never been so fully understood before in reference to His atoning death.

These invaluable expositions, which may be called in the modern phrase the Lord’s own system of hermeneutics, formed the apostles to be interpreters of the Old Testament, directing them where and how to find allusions to the suffering Messiah.  Hence the certainty and precision with which they ever afterwards preceded to expound those holy oracles in all their discourses.  Although these comments from the lips of the Messiah, have not been preserved to us in a separate form, they are doubtless to a large extent wrought into the texture of Scripture; and under the apostle’s allusions to the Old Testament we may read the Lord’s own commentary.  These expositions, whereby He opened their understandings to understand the Scriptures, introduced the apostles into the true significance of the Old Testament (Luke 24:44), throwing light on the two economies [Old and New], and thus bringing in the authority of Christ to direct them in all their future career.  His sanction is thus given to the apostolic interpretation of the Jewish rites; and we are warranted to say that we see the Lord’s own commentary underlying that of the apostles, whether we find allusion to the types, or to the prophecies, or to the Psalms, in their sermons and epistles.  These expositions made the apostles acquainted with the doctrine of the atonement, in its necessity and scope, in its constituent elements and saving results.  The apostles received the fullest instruction from the lips of their risen Lord; and on this theme it appears that the instruction was subject to none of the reserves which checked their curiousity upon another occasion, when they would make inquiries as to points bearing on the future of His kingdom (Acts 1:7).  (George Smeaton, The Apostle’s Doctrine of the Atonement, 4-7)

If you are not familiar with Smeaton, you should be.  He is a model exegete and a learned theologian.  In his day, he was the foremost New Testament scholar in Scotland and maybe beyond.  His two volumes on the atonement of Jesus Christ are excellent as is his reading of the gospels and the epistles.

May we continue to see Christ in all Scripture and faithfully show others how the Old and New Testaments are united in him.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss

Speaking of the Trinity

Keith Johnson, in his insightful new book, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralismprovides a concise survey of Augustine’s trinitarian theology.  He marks four traits about Augustine that are often obscured or slanted (52-55):

(1) Key to Augustine’s understanding of the trinity was the “inseparable operation” of the divine persons, meaning that in creation and salvation all members of the trinity were at work together–the Father as the Father, the Son as the Son, the Spirit as the Spirit.

(2) Augustine’s massive volume on the trinity is grounded in Scripture.  In fact, the first seven chapters are pure exegesis, and in hiw whole work he cites 6,800 biblical citations and allusions!  Despite contrary opinion, he is not a speculative theologian.  He cites from every book in the New Testament, minus Philemon, and twenty-seven Old Testament books as he makes a biblical, theological argument for the Trinity in chapters 1-7 and then as he considers how we might make sense of the Trinity in chapters 8-15 of the De Trinitate.

(3) “Despite popular claims to the contrary,” Johnson states, “Augustine’s teaching does not stand in sharp contrast to the trinitarian theology of the Cappadocians” (54).  Cf. Lewis Ayre’sAugustine and the Trinity.

(4) Augustine’s doctrine progresses over time.  Since his classic work took two decades to produce (AD 400-420), there is development in his understanding.  Johnson cites Ayres, “Augustine moves ‘towards a sophisticated account of the divine communion as resulting from the eternal intra-divine acts of the divine three” (Augustine and the Trinity3).

Two Rules By Which Augustine Interpreted Trinitarian Texts.

After presenting these basics, Johnson outlines three material ways that Augustine approached difficult texts about the Son.  He provides a handful of hermeneutical “rules” that serve current interpreters well as they come to the difficulty of reconciling passages that say things about God that seem to be in tension.

Combining these two rules, New Testament references to Christ can be grouped into three categories: (1) texts that refer to Son in the ‘form of God,’ in which he is equal to the Father (e.g., Jn 10:30; Phil 2:6); (2) texts that refer to the Son in the ‘form of a servant,’ in which he is ‘less’ than the Father (e.g., Jn 14:28); and (3) texts that suggest the Son is from the Father (e.g., Jn 5:19, 26)” (De Trinitate, 2.3, 98) (Keith Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism62).

Keith Johnson summarizes a hermeneutical rule that Augustine employed to discern different way in which Scripture spoke about the two natures of Christ:

In the form of God, Christ created all things (Jn 1:3), while in the form of a servant he was born of a woman (Gal 4:4).  In the form of God, Christ is equal to the Father (Jn 10:30), while in the form of a servant he obeys the Father (Jn 6:38). In the form of God, Christ is ‘true God’ (1 Jn 5:20), while in the form of a servant he is obedient to the point of death (Phil 2:8).  These two ‘forms’ exist in one person–the Son of God (De Trinitate, 1.28, 86) (Keith Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism60).

Last, Johnson points out another ‘rule’ that Augustine used to handle texts that speak of the Father sending the Son, or texts which speak of the Son coming from the Father.  Commenting on John 5:19, 26, Augustine observes,

So the reason for these statements can only be that the life of the Son is unchanging like the Father’s, and yet is from the Father [v. 26]; and that the work of the Father and Son is indivisible, and yet the Son’s working is from the Father just as he himself is from the Father [v. 19]; and the way in which the Son sees the Father is simply by being the Son (De Trinitate2.3, 99; quoted by Keith Johnson, Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism62).

In general, these ‘rules’ while not commanded in Scripture, come from someone who is saturated with the Bible, and who models well an approach to understanding the Trinity from the text of the Bible.  Next time you read 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, Philippians 2:5-11, or John 5, 8, or 10 consider how these rules might serve your understanding of the glorious relationship between Father and Son.

And if you have never read, Augustine’s De Trinitate, it is worth the effort.  The first half is Bible-rich, while the second half engages in epistemic reflection on how we might best understand the Trinity through the use of analogies.  For Augustine, these analogies are not paradigmatic or authoritative, so much as they are ministerial.  They help him and put in words an  understanding of the three-in-one, even while each of the proposal ultimately fails.

May we have eyes to see the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we read the Bible, not as blind monotheists, but as worshipers of the Triune God.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Biblical Interpretation Requires Both Testaments

At the close of his introduction to The Progress of RedemptionWillem Van Gemeren summarizes the need for including both testaments in our interpretation of the Bible. 

Interpretation also involves equal concern for the Old and New Testaments.  When the two parts of the Bible are held in careful balance, the continual tension between law and gospel, token and reality [VG's terminology for shadow and substance], promise and fulfillment, present age and future restoration, Israel and the church, and earthly and spiritual only enhances a christological and eschatological focus.”  (Van Gemeren, The Progress of Redemption38)

As you read and study Scripture, be aware that a right understanding of the immediate text requires awareness of what came before it (antecedent theology–types, shadows, terms, and concepts), what time it is (where in the storyline is the passage), and where it is ultimately going (Christology and eschatology).  Only as we relate the trees to the forest will we gain an appreciation for both.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss

The Genre of Genesis: A Soap Opera Under The Sovereignty of God

One of the most helpful things I have learned in the last few years about reading Scripture is the importance of determining the literary genre 0f any portion of Scripture.  For instance, to read Daniel’s apocalyptic visions with Pauline precision is to wind up with an overly literal reading, missing the ‘visual effect’ of the apocalyptic genre.  Likewise, reading Proverbs like laws etched in stone, puts too much weight on a literary form that is meant to convey probabilities that have reasonable exceptions, not laws of the universe.  So reading Scripture with an attentiveness to genre is helpful in avoiding misreadings, and there are many good–short and long–works on this subject.  For a whole Bible that treats the subject see The Literary Study Bible.

This week, as I was reading Genesis, the thought occurred: What kind of genre is this book, especially chapters 12-50?  It is certainly narrative in its structure.  Authors like Bruce Waltke and Jim Hamilton has shown in their recent works many literary devices, chiasms and the like.  It is historical, in that it conveys information of people, places, and events in a factual manner and in a linear fashion.  Moreover, it will develop mini biographies and include historical genealogies, all for the purpose of unfolding God’s plan of redemption and his covenantal commitments.  Still, it is also a colorful book of characters and stories that, while true, capture the imagination and draw out the readers imagination like any good story book.   So which is it?

It is certainly a combination of them all, but perhaps a modern analogy might be helpful.  Could it be said that God’s sovereign workings in Genesis are carried out in the midst of a twisting, turing Soap Opera.  Until, this week, I wouldn’t have said it that way, but in reading it again this week, that category certainly commends itself for understanding all that is going on, so long as it is always coupled with God’s inscrutable (and yet sometimes invisible) sovereignty.

Interestingly, based on the less than authoritative definition provided by wikipedia.com, Genesis would definitely fall into this category.  Here is there brief description of what we know as soap operas:

The main characteristics that define soap operas are “an emphasis on family life, personal relationships, sexual dramas, emotional and moral conflicts; some coverage of topical issues; set in familiar domestic interiors with only occasional excursions into new locations”.[3] Fitting in with these characteristics, most soap operas follow the lives of a group of characters who live or work in a particular place, or focus on a large extended family. The storylines follow the day-to-day activities and personal relationships of these characters. “Soap narratives, like those of film melodramas, are marked by what Steve Neale has described as ‘chance meetings, coincidences, missed meetings, sudden conversions, last-minute rescues and revelations, deus ex machina endings.’”

That about sums Genesis up, doesn’t it?  I think so.  It makes the book less pristine and more personal.  It touches the heart of the matter, that God has saved a people from sin, often times through the very act or acts of sin: “What you meant for evil,” Joseph said to his brothers, “God meant for good” (Gen 50:20).  Part of God’s glorious work of salvation is his ability to save people trapped in sin, in ways that soap opera writers could never script.  Likewise, such a view of Genesis encourages belief that when things in life get really, really messy, God still knows how to untie the Gordian knot, and even if it takes 13 years, as in Joseph’s case, or longer as in the case of Abraham (see Heb 11), He will make all things right in the end.  Therefore we await the reckoning!

It is amazing how God has worked in redemptive history–often in ways that do not commend repeating–in order to bring about his plan of salvation.  God is a merciful and patient God, and one proof is that he was able to bring through sinners like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as sinless Son who will one day liberate us from the soap operas of this life.  That is good news.

Hallelujah!  What a Savior!

dss

Reading Genesis 1-11

Today I preached Genesis 1-11: “In the Beginning: Creation, Corruption, and Christ.”  I love this section of Scripture because it is pregnant with so many themes that are developed in the rest of the Bible.  For instance, you can see the whole pattern of Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Creation if you pay careful attention to the literary structures of the passage. The Gospel of Genesis by Warren Gage is an excellent resource to help outline these themes.  So is Bruce Waltke’s illuminating outline below (An Old Testament Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007], 307-08).

What Gage and Waltke show is how Genesis 1-11 teaches us to read the rest of the Bible.  The explicit metanarrative in Scripture moves from Creation to New Creation, falling with sin, rising with Christ.  Notice how in the outline below that Noah and Abraham come as Christ-figures who anticipate the greater rest (Matt 11:28) and the fulfillment of all the promises (2 Cor 1:20).

Creation: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

A Creation out of chaotic water with divine blessing (1:1-2:3)

B Sin involving nakedness, seeing/covering nakedness; curse (2:4-3:24)

C Division of humanity into the people of God and the enemies of God (3:15-4:16)

D No descendents of sinful of murdered younger, righteous Abel (4:8)

E Descendents of sinful Cain: builds a city (4:17-24)

F Descendents of chosen son Seth: ten generations to Noah (5:1-32)

G Downfall: unlawful unions – men & women / marriage (6:1-4)

H Brief introduction to a faithful savior: Noah (6:5-8)

Re-Creation: Genesis 6:9-11:32

A’ Creation out of chaotic water with divine blessing (6:9-9:19)

B’ Sin involving nakedness, seeing/covering nakedness; curse (9:20-23)

C’ Division of humanity into the people of God and the enemies of God (9:24-27)

D’ Descendents of younger, righteous Japheth (10:1-5)

E’ Descendents of sinful son Ham: builds multiple cities (10:6-20)

F’ Descendents of chosen son Shem: ten generations to Terah (10:21-32)

G’ Downfall: unlawful union – men / government (11:1-9)

H’ Brief introduction to a faithful savior, Abram (11:27-32)

Our God is worthy of infinite praise for he is patient with sinners and perfect in his wisdom to bring salvation in his Son from eternity past to eternity future.  With Paul we sing:  “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”  Genesis 1-11 is an astounding passage that flickers with the light of God, light that will only grow brighter as the Scriptures continue until the light of the world comes to dwell with man (John 1:1-14).

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Eyes To See Him

Starting this week, a bunch of friends from Southern Seminary started a new Twitter account, and I hope it will be one worth ‘following.’

EyesToSeeHim is a Twitter venture designed to help others read the Bible better.  In particular, it is designed to help see the glory of Christ in every page of the Bible, 140 characters at a time.

Each of the guys who contribute to this “hermeneutical ministry” have a commitment to reading the Bible with Christ in view–some call this “Christocentric,” others call it “Christotelic.”  Either way, the aim is read Scripture with ‘Eyes To See Him.’

We read the Bible this way because this is how Jesus taught us to read the Scriptures (John 5:39; Luke 24:27).  It is the way that the Apostles read the Bible (Acts 28:23; Col 2:17).  And it is the way that most of us were assisted to the read the Bible while we studied at Southern Seminary.  I think it is fair to say that each of us did not arrive at this method of interpretation on our own–we were  helped immensely by our professors and teachers who themselves were taught.

In truth, none of us read the Bible well by ourselves.  The Spirit leads us into all truth (1 John 2:27), but he does so through the means of gifted teachers (Eph 4:11-16).  Left to our own devices we will put ourselves into the story of the Bible in the wrong places, and will be tempted to “moralize” the Scripture instead of believing the gospel message of the Bible and then responding with obedient faith.  Too many pulpits and Christian bookstores fail to put Christ in his proper place, as the telos of the Bible, and thus my hope is that we might help others read the Bible better, so that the gospel of Jesus Christ might grip the hearts of more and more Christians.  This is not an esoteric reading of the Bible, but one that reads each page in light of the full revelation of Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-3).

I hope you will benefit from this Twitter ministry and that it will help you read the Bible better.  Here are some of the contributors. I love these guys and am thankful for their ministry of the word. I would encourage you to keep up with them at their respective Twitter accounts, blogs, and/or ministries as they model Christ-centered ministry that renounces moralism and exalts the Messiah.

Phillip Bethancourt is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary working on the theme of warrior in Scripture.  He also works at the seminary and preaches regularly.

Jedidiah Coppenger is doctoral student at Southeastern Seminary who is working on a dissertation in area of gender studies and the church.  He also works for LifeWay and helps lead Baptist21.

Chip Dean is the hyper-active young pastor at Capshaw Baptist Church (near Huntsville, AL).  His youth ministry is a model for anyone wanting to bring biblical and systematic theology to local church ministry at the student level.

Sam Emadi is a Masters student at Southern Seminary and the youth pastor at Calvary Baptist Church (Seymour, IN).

Grant Gaines is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary who is researching local church ecclesiology.  He pastors Brushey Fork Baptist Church (Canaan, IN).

Trent Hunter is a graduate of Southern Seminary (M. Div.) who now works as a pastoral assistant to Ryan Kelly at the Desert Springs Church (Albuquerque, NM).

Robbie Sagers is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary researching the area of the Church and the Kingdom of Christ.  He is special assistant to Russell Moore at SBTS.

Justin Sampler is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a gifted preacher.  If you know of a good church in need of a good pastor, Justin is your guy.

Luke Stamps is a doctoral student at Southern Seminary researching the person of Christ.

The most important thing about each of these guys is their love for Christ, His Word, and their families–their wives and children, as well as, the family of God gathered in their local churches.   I have benefitted immensely from their insights into the Scriptures and their friendships and I hope others will too.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss