A Few Words concerning the Half Way Point

Here I am at the half way point. Two years are done and two years are ahead. I have three papers to write. Then on to achieving approval for my dissertation thesis. Finally, researching and writing the dissertation. I learned last week up to a third of my dissertation can come from previous work done during my doctoral studies. For instance a 200 page dissertation can contain up to 67 pages from early work completed as part of this program. A small change instituted by CES…all dissertations submitted must be in electronic form only, no printed forms.

There is something I go through on every degree, the half way blues. It is when you are too far into the program to back out and too much work yet to do to start getting excited about the end. I call them the half way blues. I am officially in the half way blues. It goes away but really sucks while experiencing them. One good part, this is the last time Ii  will have to go through the half way blues.

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Introduction ot a Review of Norman Geisler’s Soteriology

Norman Geisler is a theologian with over fifty years of experience. A prolific writer, Geisler has had numerous articles, essays, journal articles, and books published, among them the four-volume set, Systematic Theology. In Volume Three, he details his position on Humanity/Sin and Soteriology and identifies himself as a moderate Calvinist. Geisler states, “As the foregoing and following analysis shows, the biblical, theological, and historical evidence favors the moderate Calvinist view.” Geisler’s soteriology includes a defense against extreme Calvinism and extreme Arminianism, plus support for his moderate Calvinism.
Over the years, an impressive number of scholars have stated they do not support Geisler’s positions. These include, but are not limited to, James White, Craig Blomberg, and Michael Liconia. Geisler seeks to answer the objections of other scholars and details his positions on origins of salvation, theories of salvation, assurance of salvation, extent of salvation, universalism, and pluralism. Further, he details the differences between his moderate Calvinism and the traditional extreme Calvinism.
This author has chosen to review Norman Geisler’s Soteriology found in Volume Three of his Systematic Theology. The critique will include Free Will versus Predestination, Theory of Atonement, and Perseverance of the Saints.

The rest of this essay can be found at academia.edu.

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The Relevancy of Proverbs 29:18

It has been a while since I posted anything. I am currently working on a paper entitled, “A Review of Norman Geisler’s Soteriology.” This post does not directly pertain to that project. One of the major arguments against Christianity and particularly the Bible is neither is relevant for the 21st Century. Proverbs 29:18 KJV states, “Without a vision the people perish.” The NASB puts it this way, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.” Finally the ESV puts it this way, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.”

With the news of Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlin Jenner it seems some people have definitely cast off restraint. Many people in our society clearly have no divine vision and are casting off restraint. Then there is the idea of ESPN giving Jenner an award for bravery is just simply crazy. The reaction by social media to anyone who disagrees is horrendous. Man does not determine what is right or wrong, but rather that comes from God. Last time I checked God is still omnibenevolent and unchanging.

We need to return to a divinely inspired vision for our planet, our country, and our lives……….

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Norman Geisler’s Presuppositions to Theology Critique

Starting another paper. Here is my introduction.

Norman Geisler has written over eighty different books. During the years of 2000-2005 he released a four volume set entitled, Systematic Theology. In Volume One Geisler reveals his Prolegomena to include nine different presuppositions required to conduct theology. Prolegomena consists of two Greek words, Pro meaning before or toward and legomena meaning to speak. Simply put, Prolegomena is the before section prior to an author detailing the different aspects of the scholar’s theology.

Geisler lists nine different presuppositions needed prior to beginning the details of his theology. Rudolf Bultman determined, “There can be no exegesis without presupposition.” Therefore, before one begins to detail the different elements of one’s theology, it is important to determine the presuppositions those elements are based on. Geisler’s presuppositions include: metaphysical, supernatural, revelational, rational, semantical, epistemological, oppositional, linguistical, hermeneutical, historical, and methodological.

This author has selected three of Geisler’s presuppositions to critique. These three include metaphysics (the study of being), epistemology (the study of knowledge to include defining truth), and linguistics (the study of language).

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God’s Holiness….the idea of separateness

The writers of the Old Testament used the word holy over eight hundred times.[1] In the Old Testament, the word group most often referenced to the word holy or holiness is the verb קָדַשׁ, (qadash) to be holy, removed from common use.[2] The standard interpretation of this verb is the idea of separation. This concept has developed over a period of many hundreds, if not, thousands of years. A thorough understanding of this concept is paramount in determining the original intent of the Old Testament authors.

A use frequency in excess of eight hundred provides a broad range of usage and entails numerous nuances. The most common similarities are the idea of separation. The full spectrum includes separation of evil from good, common to a holy use, and the foundational nature of holiness.[3] Because of the importance of this term a survey of its many uses and forms will follow.

The verb qādaš, found eleven times in the Old Testament, in the Qal connotes the state of that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred.[4] When the verb occurs in the Piel and Hiphil stems, it represents the activity used to set apart a person or object from common to sacred use. One use of the Piel stem is when God set apart the Sabbath for his purposes (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 31:13).[5] The Hiphil stem occurs when God commands the Israelites to set apart the firstborn of the men and the animals (Numbers 8:17). These two uses of the verb קָדַשׁ, illustrate the action that separates a person or object from common use to sacred use.

This Qadash word group also have several other forms that will further assist in understanding the idea of holy as proposed by the Old Testament writers. One cognate word is מִקְדָּשׁ (sanctuary), found 74 times in the Old Testament and is used to refer to the tabernacle and the temple, both being places set apart for worship.

Second, the term קָדוֹשׁ (holy) occurs 116 times in the Old Testament and designates that which is intrinsically sacred or is part of the sacred by a divine act.[6] This form of the verb exists in connection with people, things, and even water (Deuteronomy 14:2; Exodus 29:31; Numbers 5:17). When this form appears in connection with God, it projects the significance of a divine scale. Isaiah used this form in his title, The Holy One of Israel. Isaiah used this term twenty-five times and contrasted the evil of Israel to the moral perfection of God and God’s separation from sin (Isaiah 17:7; 30:11). Isaiah also used this in his vision of the throne of God to speak of God’s transcendence and moral holiness.[7] Louis Berkhof refers to God’s transcendent holiness as his majesty-holiness and describes this as God’s absolute distinction from all His creatures.[8]

A second aspect when קָדוֹשׁ exists in the Hebrew text with reference to God, refers to his transcendence, and moral purity. Isaiah’s reaction to his vision properly reflects both the transcendence and purity of God. Isaiah cried out, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).

The final form is the noun קֹדֶשׁ, (holiness) found over four hundred times in the Old Testament. Once again, the idea of separation appears. This separation occurs in reference to the Sabbath and the separation of this holy day from the other days of the week (Exodus 16:23-26; Isaiah 58:13-14). McCabe states, “Whatever the holy God set apart as קֹדֶשׁ is separated from everyday use and consecrated for his holy purpose.”[9]

[1] Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann, eds., Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament, vol. 2, trans. Mark D. Biddle (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997), p. 1107.

[2] Robert V. McCabe, “The Old Testament Foundation for Separation” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 7 (2002): p. 5.

[3] John Randolph Jaeggli, “A Historical-Theological Analysis of the Holy One of Israel in Isaiah Forty through Sixty-Six” (Ph.D. dissertation, Bob Jones University, 1987), pp. 40–41.

[4] Thomas E. McComiskey, “1990 קָדַשׁ,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), p. 786.

[5] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture is from the English Standard Version Bible (Crossway Bibles, Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2008).

[6] McComiskey, p. 786.

[7] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2002), p. 28.

[8] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), p. 73; see also Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), p. 311.

[9] McCabe, p. 9.

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God’s Holiness Reviewed

The twenty-first century church speaks of God’s attribute of love with a high degree of frequency. A person can hardly go a single day without someone, either within the church or outside the church, speaking of or relating to God’s love. Some theologians consider love to be an essential attribute of God.[1] Reminders exist in both print and from the pulpits of this time in history how Christians are to remember the biblical commands to love God, love each other, and love their enemies. Unbelievers and liberal leaning Christians use the reality of God’s command to love as part of their methodology in an attempt to advance their agendas.

God does not have just one attribute. Even though one does not hear of them with the frequency of God’s love, God has many different characteristics. God’s attributes include omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, immutability, goodness, simplicity, and holiness to mention only a few. Jonathan Edwards considered God’s holiness one of his most dear attributes:

The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all His attributes. The doctrines of God’s absolute sovereignty, and free grace, in showing mercy to whom he would show mercy; and man’s absolute dependence on the operation of God’s Holy Spirit, have very much appeared to me as sweet and glorious doctrines.[2]

The Old Testament often spoke of God’s attribute of holiness. Rarely does an article appear concerning God’s holiness, and even less does one hear a sermon coming from the pulpits of the twenty-first century church on God’s holiness. Augustus Hopkins Strong insisted, “Not all God’s acts are acts of love, but all are acts of holiness.”[3] This author proposes the question, “What does one mean when they speak of God’s holiness and is God holy since people rarely talk about it?”

[1] Millard Erikson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), p. 305.

[2] Jonathan Edwards, “Personal Narrative,” in Letters and Personal Writings, ed. George S. Glaghorn, vol. 16 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 793.

[3] Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), p. 275.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 250 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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