Thou Shalt Not Proof-Text

What Proof-Texting Is

Proof-texting is “that process whereby a person ‘proves’ a doctrine or practice merely by aluding to a text without considering its original inspired meaning.”1 As Charles Simpson put it, “… proof-texting is like shooting an arrow into a wall and then painting the target around it. Religious proof-texters use one or two verses of Scripture to “paint” a specific doctrine and then arrogantly portray their position as Scripturally infallible.”2

Mark W. Foreman notes that, “Believers often search anxiously to discover some verse or passage they presume will prove a particular point, all the while ignoring the serious exegetical work involved in interpreting and applying Scripture. Often they force a verse to say something it was never intended to mean and which usually has nothing to do with its original and historical and literary context. Rather than treating the Bible as a historical document written to the specific needs and issues of the original audience, and to be interpreted and applied appropriately, it is instead treated as a divinely authoritative version of Bartlett’s book of quotations. This quote-a-verse mentality permeates the modern evangelical church and is problematic.”3

What Are Some Common Proof-Texts?

Craig Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary4, partnered with Seedbed to produce a three part video on “Bad Bible Proof-Texts.” Some of the passages examined include Psalm 50:10, Psalm 118:24, Song of Solomon 2:1, Joel 2:9, and Joel 3:10.

Why Should We Not Proof-Text?

Proof-texting would allow a person to make the Bible say whatever he/she wants it to say. A fine example would be the following which “uses” biblical texts to demonstrate that Jesus is not God.

“There is a direct statement about Jesus being the Son of Jehovah in the Psalms: “…He said to me, ‘You [Jesus] are my son, today I [Jehovah] have begotten you.” (Psalm 2:7)

Jehovah spoke to Jesus, in His pre-human existence, concerning the creation of Adam and Eve: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ….'” (Genesis 1:26)

There were plans, from the beginning, to make Jesus a human as shown in Deuteronomy: “…he [Jehovah] will raise up for you a Prophet [Jesus] like me [Moses], an Israeli, a man to whom you must listen and whom you must obey.” (Deuteronomy 18:15, TLB; see also Acts 3:22)

During His ministry on Earth, Jesus stated that He taught not His own wisdom, but that of His Father, Jehovah: “For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49)

There are a large number of Bible verses which can be used to prove that Jesus was not God, but the Son of God. The chapter of this thesis, “VII. Bible Verses Prove Trinity False”, lists over a hundred such texts.

The Bible, therefore, teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jehovah said He would send His Son and Jesus made the statement that Jehovah was His Father. The Apostles taught these facts. The Bible does not teach that Jesus was Jehovah and neither Jesus nor His followers claimed otherwise.”5

Not yet convinced of the proposition? See also “90 Verses That Say: Jesus Is Not God Nor The Literal Son of God.”6

In addition, C. Michael Patton highlights four problems associated with proof-texting and they are i) the problem of interpretation, ii) the problem of understanding, iii) the problem of communication, and iv) the problem of arrogance. 7

What Then Should We Do?

So how do we avoid the dangers associated with proof-texting? The answer is proper exegesis and hermeneutics. When confronted with a barrage of texts allegedly proving a particular doctrine, go through the texts one by one and examine its grammatical-historical context. Milton S. Terry dubbed the Grammatical-Historical method as “… the method which fully commends itself to the judgement and conscience of Christian scholars. Its fundamental principle is to gather from the Scriptures themselves the precise meaning which the writers intended to convey. It applies to the sacred books the same principles, the same grammatical process and exercise of common sense and reason which we apply to other books.”8

As Gordon Fee and Douglas Stewart point out, “A text cannot mean what it could never have meant for its original readers/hearers … the true meaning of the biblical text for us is what God originally intended it to mean when it was first spoken or written.”9 Well known exegete Tremper Longman III once said, “when I interpret a text of Scripture, my goal is to understand the passage or book in its Old Testament context and from that understanding to bridge the gap to my situation today.”10

Mark Strauss’s Ten Steps for Exegesis11 provides a great guideline in what to do when interpreting a particular verse/passage. The ten steps are:

1. Identify the Genre (the Literary Form)
2. Establish the Historical and Literary Context
3. Develop a Thesis Statement
4. Outline the Progress of Thought in the Passage
5. Consult Secondary Sources (a Good Commentary)
6. Analyze Syntactical Relationships
7. Analyze Key Terms and Themes
8. Resolve Interpretive Issues and Problems
9. Evaluate Your Results From the Perspective of Wider Contextual and Theological Issues
10. Summarize Your Results

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way views of the institutions to which he is affiliated  and/or the other Laikos Theologos contributors.

The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church (1887) [Selected Chapters]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

A) About the author of the book:

“George H. Gerberding was born in Pittsburgh in 1847. He served as a missionary and pastor in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Fargo, North Dakota, and as president of the Lutheran Synod of the Northwest and of the Chicago Synod. He was a professor at the Chicago Lutheran Seminary and Northwestern Lutheran Seminary.” [1]

The following are his educational qualification: “Graduate Thiel College, Greenville, Pennsylvania, 1873. Bachelor of Arts, A.M., Muhlenberg College, Pennsylvania, 1873. Doctor of Divinity, Muhlenberg, 1894. Doctor of Laws, Lenoir College, 1915.” [2]

[1] https://www.lutheranlibrary.org/108tc-gerberding-lutheran-church-in-the-country/

[2] https://prabook.com/web/george_henry.gerberding/1098467

Chapter IV: Baptism, A Divinely Appointed Means of Grace

(pp.45-52)

“Our Catechism here also teaches nothing but the pure truth of the Word, when it asserts that baptism “worketh forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlasting life and salvation on all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.” Our solid and impregnable Augsburg Confession, also, when in Article II. it confesses that the new birth by baptism and the Holy Spirit delivers from the power and penalty of original sin. Also in Article IX., “of baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that by baptism the Grace of God is offered, and that children are to be baptized, who by baptism being offered to God, are received into God’s favor.””[1]

“Is baptism so absolutely essential to salvation, that unbaptized children are lost? To this we would briefly reply, that the very men who drew up our Confessions deny emphatically that it is thus absolutely necessary. Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen and others, repudiate the idea that an unbaptized infant is lost. No single acknowledged theologian of the Lutheran Church ever taught this repulsive doctrine.

Why then does our Confession say baptism is necessary to salvation? It is necessary in the same sense in which it is necessary to use all Christ’s ordinances. The necessity is ordinary, notabsolute. Ordinarily Christ bestows His Grace on the child through baptism, as the means or channel through which the Holy Spirit is conferred. But when, through no fault of its own, this is not applied, He can reach it in some other way.”[2]

Chapter V: The Baptismal Covenant can be kept unbroken—Aim and Responsibility of Parents

(pp.53-59)

“Our Church does not teach with Rome that “sin (original) is destroyed in baptism, so that it no longer exists.” Hollazius says: “The guilt and dominion of sin is taken away by baptism, but not the root or tinder of sin.” Luther also writes that “Baptism takes away the guilt of sin, although the material, called concupiscence, remains.””[3]

Chapter XVIII: Conversion, It’s Nature and Necessity

(pp.151-157)

“The original and simple meaning of the word convert is to turn—to turn about. This is also the meaning of the Latin word from which the English comes. The Greek word, which in the New Testament is translated “convert” or “conversion,” also refers to the act of turning.”[4]

“Applying this word now to a moral or religious use,it means a turning  from sin to righteousness, from Satan to God. The transgressor who had been walking in the way of disobedience and enmity against God, and towards eternal death, is turned about into the way of righteousness, towards eternal life. This is a change of direction, but it is also something more. It is a change of state—from a state of sin to a state of Grace. It is still more. It is a change of nature—from a sinner unto a saint. It is finally a change of relation—from an outcast and stranger unto a child and heir. Thus there is an outward and an inward turning, a complete change.”[5]

“If we now inquire more particularly into the nature, or process of this change which is called “conversion,” we find in it two constituent elements. The one is penitence or contrition, the other is faith. Taken together, they make up conversion. In passing, we may briefly notice that sometimes the Scriptures use the word “repentance” as embracing both penitence and faith, thus making it synonymous with conversion.

Penitence or contrition, as the first part of conversion, is sorrow for sin. It is a realizing sense of the nature and guilt of sin; of its heinousness and damnable character. True penitence is indeed a painful experience. A penitent heart is, therefore, called “a broken and a contrite heart.” It takes from the sinner his self-satisfaction and false peace. It makes him restless, dissatisfied and troubled. Instead of loving and delighting in sin, it makes him hate sin and turn from it with aversion. It brings the sinner low in the dust. He cries out, “I am vile;” “I loathe myself;” “God be merciful to me a sinner” …

 

But penitence must not stop with hating and bemoaning sin, and longing for deliverance. The penitent sinner must resolutely turn from sin towards Jesus Christ the Saviour. He must believe that he took upon Himself the punishment due to his sins, and by His death atoned for them; that he satisfied a violated law, and an offended Law-giver; that thus he has become his Substitute and Redeemer, and has taken away all his sins. This the penitent must believe. Thus must he cast himself upon Christ, and trust in Him with a childlike confidence, knowing that there is now, therefore, no condemnation. Having this faith, he is justified, and “being justified by faith, he has peace with God.””[6]

Continue reading “The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church (1887) [Selected Chapters]”

Whosoever Will (2010) [Chapter 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Sermon on John 3:16

(pp.13-28)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Jerry Vines “was educated at Mercer University (B.A.), New Orleans Theological Seminary (B.D.), and Luther Rice Seminary, (Th.D.).

He was [also] elected President of the Alabama Pastors’ Conference in 1976, President of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference for 1976 -1977. He also served two terms as President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1988 – 1989.” [1]

[1] https://www.jerryvines.com/about-us/

B) Chapter Summary:

A. T. Robertson: “[The world in John 3:16] means the entire human race.”[1]

R. G. Lee: “Jesus was the only One ever born who had a heavenly Father but no heavenly mother; an earthly mother but no earthly father. The only One ever born older than His mother and as old as His Father.”[2]

“Had Jesus not been born of a virgin, He would have had a sinful nature. Thus, He could not have lived a sinless life. Had Jesus not lived a sinless life, His death would not have been a perfect sacrifice for sin. By the virgin birth, God short-circuited the sin cycle so that Jesus was never tainted by original sin.”[3]

Gerald Borchart: “God is the initiator and principal actor in salvation, and we should never think salvation originated with us. God, however, has given humanity a sense of freedom and requires us to make a choice. Accordingly, people are responsible for their believing. It is unproductive theological speculation, therefore, to minimize either the role of God or humanity in the salvation process. The Bible and John 3:16 recognize the roles of both.”[4]

“The transliteration of the Greek word is pas. It is used 1,228 times in the New Testament. It is translated as “whosoever,” “all,” and “every.” It is a pronominal substantival adjective.”[5]

“Here [in John 3:16] it [i.e. pas] carries the idea of totality. Kittel says it means a totality and an inclusion of all individual parts.13 The Dictionary of New Testament Theology says, “Stress may be laid on each of the many individuals or parts which make up the totality.”14”[6]

13 – B. Reicke, “pas,” in The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1969), 5:887

14 – F. Graber, “All, Many,” in The Dictionary of New Testament Theology (ed. C. Brown; 1967), 1:94

“Herschel Hobbs on the Southern Baptist Peace Committee, often reminding us of the use of pas in the phrase “all Scripture” in 2 Tim. 3:16, said it meant the whole of Scripture and every part of Scripture is inspired of God. Likewise, here [in John 3:16] it [i.e. pas] means God loves the whole world collectively, and He loves and will save “whosoever” individually.”[7]

“It is the design of the sovereign God to make the salvation of all people possible and to secure the salvation of all who believe. What kind of God would not make salvation possible for all?”[8]

“It is fascinating to note how often pas occurs in passages about salvation. “He … should taste death for every (pas) man” (Heb. 2:9). “The Lord … is not willing that any should perish, but that all (pas) should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). God “will have all (pas) men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). God “is the Savior of all (pas) men, specially of those that believe” (1 Tim. 4:10).”[9]

“Three basic ideas are involved [in John’s idea of saving faith]. First is the mental aspect – confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the idea conveyed in John 20:30-31. The use of pisteuōn in 3:15 seems to emphasize the mental aspect of second faith.

Second is the volitional aspect – commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The preposition eis is used in John 3:16 and carries the idea of movement toward.

Third is the emotional aspect – communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. The use of the active participle and auton here suggest a continuing relationship with a living Person.”[10]

“How does this saving faith come about? A sovereign God has given every person the faculty of faith and a will to exercise it (see Rom. 12:3). This does not rob God of His sovereignty. Humans exercise the faculty of faith everyday. They trust that their spouse is not poisoning them, so they eat their breakfast. They trust the banker to keep their money safe so they make their deposit. They trust the pilot is capable so they board the plane.

As Norman Geisler says about humans’ capacity to choose – it has been “effaced, not erased; limited, not lost; damaged, not destroyed.””[11]

“But Paul said to him [i.e. the jailer], “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!” (Acts 16:30-31). It would be unreasonable to command someone to do something impossible for them to do. It would be like commanding an armless man to embrace you.”[12]

“John 3:16 begins with the explanatory conjunction gar, which ties it to the preceding verses. In the opening pericope of the chapter, we have the interview of Nicodemus with Jesus, during which the Lord told him he must be born again. The question of how rebirth can occur is raised and is followed with an illustration from the Old Testament. Numbers 21 includes the account of the snakebitten Israelites who could receive new life by looking at the brazen serpent on the pole.”[13]

“The Greek word apolētai, translated “perish,” is an aorist middle subjunctive. The verbs are now in the subjunctive mood, the mood of potential and possibility. This word is used in two ways: a physical destruction (see “Lord, save us: we perish,” Matt 8:25) or a spiritual condition.”[14]

A. Oepke: “[apollymi refers to] an eternal plunge into hades and a hopeless destiny of death … an everlasting state of torment and death.”[15]

R. O. Yeager: “The ingressive and cumulative effects of perishing are eternal. The onset of the perishable state (ingressive) results in the culmination of a total state of separation from God (culminative).”[16]

“The verb [in the phrase “have everlasting life”] is in the present active subjunctive tense. It means “to have now and forever.” The phrase “have everlasting life” occurs 17 times in John’s Gospel. It carries the ideas of qualitative and quantitative life. The idea is of endless and never-ending life and of a difference in quality. This eternal life can be a present possession (see 1 John 5:12) and a hope (see Titus 3:7).”[17]

 

[1] A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. V: The Fourth Gospel and the Epistle to the Hebrews (1932), p.50

[2] Cited in p.21

[3] p.21

[4] Gerald Borchart, John 1-11, New American Commentary (2002), 25b:184

[5] p.24

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] p.25

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] p.26

[13] Ibid.

[14] p.27

[15] A. Oepke, “apollymi,” in The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; 1969), 1:394

[16] R. O. Yeager, The Renaissance of the New Testament, vol. 4 (1979), p.415

[17] p.28

Introduction to Soteriology (Books)

Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, is arguably one of the most controversial doctrines within Christendom. If you are somewhat new to it and are looking to study it deeper, on top of the books listed below, consider also a previous article of mine titled “Introduction to Soteriology (Creeds & Confessions).”12

In order to avoid the strawman fallacy, that is, “[a] misrepresentation of an opponent’s position or a competitor’s product to tout one’s own argument or product as superior.”2, it is greatly recommended that one reads and learns the different soteriological positions from its original sources. This would include the works of those who hold to that particular position.

The following is by no means intended to be an extensive list. There are many other works out there on the topic and, seeing how soteriology is still contentious 400+ years after the time of Luther, Calvin, and Arminius, I believe there will be many more books written on the subject. For introductory purposes, the books listed below will suffice.

 

For Arminianism

The Grace of God, the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism, edited by Clark Pinnock (Harper Collins, 1989)

Grace, Faith, Free Will (Randall House Publications, 2002) by Robert Picirilli

Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (InterVarsity Press, 2006) by Roger Olson

Understanding Assurance & Salvation (Randall House Publications, 2006)  by Robert Picirilli

Classical Arminianism: A Theology of Salvation (Randall House, 2011) by F Leroy Forlines

Grace for All: The Arminian Dynamics of Salvation, edited by Clark Pinnock and John D Wagner (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015)

 

For Calvinism

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination (1932) by Lorraine Boettner

The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented (P&R Publishing,  1963) by David Steele and Curtis Thomas

Chosen By God (Tyndale House Publishers, 1994) by R.C. Sproul

The Potter’s Freedom (Calvary Press, 2000) by James White

For Calvinism (Zondervan, 2011) by Michael Horton

 

For Lutheranism

The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: Exhibited, and Verified from the Original Sources (Lutheran Publication Society, 1876) by Heinrich Schmidt

Lutheran Theology (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011) by Steven Paulson

The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church (Tredition, 2012) by George Geberding

The Great Divide: A Lutheran Evaluation of Reformed Theology (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015) by Jordan Cooper

 

For Traditionalism/Provisionalism/Provisionism

Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism, edited by David Allen and Steve Lemke (B&H Publishing Group, 2010)

The Potter’s Promise (Booktango, 2015) by Leighton Flowers

Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of “Traditional” Southern Baptist Soteriology, edited by David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, Adam Harwood (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016)

 

Misc [optional]

Chosen But Free (Bethany House, 2001) by Norman Geisler 3

Calvinism Vs. Arminianism (Author House, 2014) by Steve Urick

Is God Calvinist or Arminian?: The Closing Argument (WestBow Press, 2018) by Bob Raymond

 

Disclaimer: The recommendations in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way views of the institutions to which he is affiliated  and/or the other Laikos Theologos contributors.

Your Mind Matters (2013) [Chapters 1-2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Mindless Christianity

(pp.13-18)

Why Use Our Minds?

(pp.19-42)

A) About the author of the chapters:

“Educated at Cambridge University, [John] Stott was one of the most influential clergymen in the Church of England in the twentieth century. In 1950 he became rector of All Souls Church in London (the parish where he was born), and in 1975 rector emeritus. From 1952 to 1977 he led missions to university students on five continents. In 1982 he founded the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (now part of Christian Impact), serving as director up to 1986 and president from 1986. Chaplian to the queen from 1959 to 1991, he was appointed extra chaplain from 1991 onward and was awarded a Lambeth D.D. in 1983.”4

B) Summary of the chapters:

“What Paul wrote about unbelieving Jews in his day could be said, I fear, of some believing Christians in ours: “I hear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened.” Many have a zeal without knowledge, enthusiasm without enlightenment. In modern jargon, they are keen but clueless.”2

“Now I thank God for zeal. Heaven forbid that knowledge without zeal should replace zeal without knowledge! God’s purpose is both, zeal directed by knowledge, knowledge fired with zeal.”3

“As I once heard Dr. John Mackay say, when he was president of Princeton seminary, “Commitment without reflection is fanaticism in action. But reflection without commitment is the paralysis of all action.””4

“… outward ceremony is not to be despised if it is a clear and seemly expression of biblical truth. The danger of ritual is that it easily degenerates into ritualism, that is, into a mere performance in which the ceremony has become an end in itself, a meaningless substitute for intellectual worship.”5

“God made man in his own image, and one of the noblest features of the divine likeness in man is his capacity to think …

Scriptures assumes and portrays this from the beginning of man’s creation. In Genesis 2 and 3 we see God communicating with man in a way that he does not communicate with animals. He expects man to cooperate with him, consciously and intelligently, in tilling and keeping the garden in which he has placed him, and to discriminate – rationally as well as morally – between what he is permitted to do and the one thing he is prohibited from doing.”6

“It is quite true that man’s mind has shared in the devastating results of the Fall. The “total depravity” of man means that every constituent part of his humanness has been to some degree corrupted, including his mind, which Scripture describes as “darkened” …

So then, in spite of the fallenness of man’s mind, commands to _think_, to use his mind, are still addressed to him as a human being. God invites rebellious Israel: “Come now, let us reason says the LORD.” And Jesus accused the unbelieving multitudes, including the Pharisees and Sadducees, of being able to interpret the sky and forecast the weather but quite unable to interpret “the signs of the times” and forecast the judgement of God.”7

“What Scripture teaches concerning man’s basic rationality, constituted by his creation and not altogether destroyed by his fall, secular society everywhere assumes.”8

“The simple and glorious facts that God is a self-revealing God and that he has revealed himself to man indicate the importance of our minds. For all God’s revelation is rational revelation, both his general revelation in nature and his special revelation in Scripture and in Christ.”9

See Psalms 19:1-4, Romans 1:19-21, 1 Corinthians 1:21

“One may perhaps say that if in nature God’s revelation is visualized, in Scripture it is verbalized, and in Christ it is both, for he is “the Word made flesh.””10

“One of the highest and noblest functions of man’s mind is to listen to God’s Word and so to read his mind and think his thoughts after him, both in nature and in Scripture.”11

“For, although men’s minds are dark and their eyes are blind, although the unregenerate cannot by themselves receive or understand spiritual things “because they are spiritually discerned,” nevertheless the gospel is still addressed to their minds, since it is the divinely ordained means of opening their eyes, enlightening their minds and saving them.”12

“… redemption carries with it the renewal of the divine image in man which was distorted by the Fall.”13

See Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:23, 1 Corinthians 2:16

“… the essence of the argument of the apostle Paul in the early chapters of his letter to the Romans is that all men are guilty before God precisely because all men possess some knowledge – the Jews through God’s written law and the Gentiles through nature and through God’s law written on their hearts – but no one has lived up to the knowledge he has.”14

“God has constituted us thinking beings; he has treated us as such by communicating with us in words; he has renewed us in Christ and given us the mind of Christ; and he will hold us responsible for the knowledge we have.”15

Grace for All (2015) [Chapters 1-2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Arminianism is God Centered Theology

(pp.1-17)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Roger Olson is Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. Before joining the Baylor community, he taught at Bethel College (now Bethel University) in St. Paul Minnesota.

His alma mater is Rice University (Ph.D in Religious Studies). He also graduated from North American Baptist Seminary (now Sioux Falls Seminary). [1]

“A past president of the American Theological Society (Midwest Division), Olson has been the co-chair of the Evangelical Theology Group of the American Academy of Religion for two years.” [2]

[1] www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerolson/biography-2/

[2] https://www.baylor.edu/truett/index.php?id=927923

B) Chapter Summary:

“What would count as truly God-centered theology to these Reformed critics of Arminianism? First, human depravity must be emphasized as much as possible so that humans are not capable, even with supernatural divine assistance, of cooperating with God’s grace in salvation.”[1]

“Second, apparently, for the Reformed critics of Arminianism, God-centered theology must view God as the all-determining reality including the one who ordains, designs, governs and controls sin and evil which are then imported into God’s plan, purpose and will. God’s perfect will is always being done, even when it paradoxically grieves him to see it (as John Piper likes to affirm).”[2]

“The only view of God’s sovereignty that will satisfy these Reformed critics of Arminianism is meticulous providence in which God plans everything and renders it certain down to the minutest decisions of creatures. Most notably this includes the Fall of humanity and its consequences including the eternal suffering of sinners in hell.”[3]

David Bentley Hart: “It is a strange thing indeed to seek [God-centered theology] … at a cost of a God rendered morally loathsome.”[4]

“Third, to satisfy Arminianism’s Reformed critics, God-centeredness requires that human beings are mere pawns in God’s great scheme to glorify himself; their happiness and fulfillment cannot be mentioned as having any value for God. But this means, then, that one can hardly mention God’s love for all people.”[5]

“… It accomplishes very little to construct a God-centered theology if the God at its center is sheer, naked power of ambiguous moral character. “Glory” is an ambiguous term. When divorced from virtue, it is unworthy of devotion.”[6]

“God is glorious because he is both and good, and his goodness, like his greatness, must have some resonance with our best and highest notions of goodness or else it is meaningless.”[7]

“Real Arminianism has always believed in human freedom for one main reason – to protect the goodness of God and thus God’s reputation in a world filled with evil. There is only one reason why Classical Arminian theology emphasizes free will, but it has two sides. First, to protect and defend God’s goodness; second to make clear human responsibility for sin and evil. It has nothing to do whatsoever with any humanistic desire for creaturely autonomy or credit for salvation.”[8]

John Wesley: “you suppose him [viz., God] to send them [viz., the reprobate] into eternal fire, for not escaping from sin! That is in plain terms, for not having that grace which God had decreed they should never have! O strange justice! What a picture do you draw of the Judge of all the earth!”[9]

“The point that Boice and other critics continually make is that in the Arminian system the saved person can boast because he or she did not resist God’s grace and others did. All Arminian theologians from Arminius to Wesley to Wiley have pointed out that a person who receives a life-saving gift cannot boast if all he or she did was accept it. All the glory for such a gift goes to the giver and none to the receiver.”[10]

“All [Classical Arminians] emphasize the sovereignty of God over his creation including specific providence and all underscore God’s power limited only by his goodness. What throws off Reformed (and perhaps other) critics is the underlying Arminian assumption of God’s voluntary self-limitation in relation to humanity. However, that God limits himself by no means implies that he is essentially limited. According to Arminian theology God is sovereign over his sovereignty and his goodness conditions his power.”[11]

[1] p.4

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea (2005), p.99

[5] p.5

[6] p.6

[7] Ibid.

[8] p.7

[9] John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley (1872), p.221

[10] p.10

[11] pp.10-11

Continue reading “Grace for All (2015) [Chapters 1-2]”

Faithful Preaching of the Gospel in a Sermon

Guest Contributor: Calan Moy

“all [sermon] messages given were relevant … as well as faithful to the Gospel.”

The words of my friend sat in my head as I tried to wrap my head around how the seemingly “Christian” event he had went to had portrayed that concept to him since it was an event that was notoriously known for the lack of attention given to sermons. After contemplating for several weeks, I have came up with what I think is a good reference to discern sermons that are preached through a biblical perspective:

1) Faithful preaching of the gospel in a sermon is expository in nature

An exposition of the text simply brings out the meaning of the text to explicitly show the gospel from every location in scripture, hence the preaching fundamentally roots itself in the power of the words of the text, and not in the preacher.

2) Faithful preaching of the gospel is rooted in systematic theology

Faithful preaching understands, grounds and applies theology that has been derived from Scripture and it understands the nature of God in a deep and reverent fashion. It understands the truths about God’s justice shown in his awful fury and judgement towards sinners and yet restrains these truths with the love of God towards the righteous and unrighteous. The effect of systematic theology is that it acts as a control for the preaching. It preaches the “whole counsel of God” without missing out the essentials of the gospel.

3) Faithful preaching of the gospel is God-glorifying

The preacher of the gospel, ultimately, does not want people to hear what he has to say but wants people to hear what God has to say about Himself and about them. An emphasis that focuses on men, with a positive note as to what men achieve without the work of Christ in their lives, achieves the opposite effect of being God-glorifying.

4) Faithful preaching of the gospel is a blade

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that ”…the word of God is active, sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart…”
Be very afraid of preaching that is faithful to the gospel. It is a blade (or a scalpel) that surgically slices you and reveals your motives as for what they are. It shows you to be what you really are.

5) Faithful preaching of the gospel has a basic understanding of biblical anthropology

Anthropology, which means the study of men and their beings, makes the condition and being of men the point of the preaching. It points out the deficiencies and incapability of men rather than teach a positive and high view of what man is.

6) Faithful preaching of the gospel grounds itself in the power of the Holy Spirit

The gospel which is exposited, relies wholly upon the Holy Spirit to convict and bring men to repentance. It is not of the preachers own doing. It does not rely upon the things that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 2:4, i.e. “…clever and persuasive speeches”, but rather, upon “(the) demonstration of the Spirit and of power”.

7) Faithful preaching of the gospel does not advocate legalism

The preaching of the gospel brings about the change within believers that only God can do and only by the sanctifying power of the word. It changes people to orient their thoughts and attitudes towards the good of both God and the neighbour, and thus smashes the power of legalism for it leaves the believers only with the law of love/Christ due to the work of Christ on the cross.

8) Faithful preaching of the gospel is Christ-centred

It centres itself around the nature, incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession of Christ, in his kingly, priestly and prophetic roles. I am convinced that to leave out any one of the 3 roles mentioned above is to deprive Christ of his majesty and glory, as well as to reject the Old Testament understanding of the “Messiah”. To preach Christ as Lord and Saviour requires all 3 roles to be rightly expounded and understood.

9) Faithful preaching of the gospel is apologetic in nature

The gospel when rightly proclaimed, teaches, rebukes and corrects our thoughts that are mistaken or which deviate from the truth of God. The gospel is, according to 1 Corinthians, “…foolishness to the world” as the world cannot comprehend the mind of God. Hence, the gospel serves as the argument that defends the truth of God and what He has revealed to us. We recognise that the gospel as an apologetic tool will never make sense to the world unless they repent and believe in it. The gospel either brings the unbeliever to repentance when confronted with the truth, or it pushes the unbeliever away with that exact same truth.

Conclusion

I believe that God still works through sermons that do not rightly have Christ at the centre. However, while admitting this, we must acknowledge that an abnormality does not equal to the norm. Instead, we should constantly hold to being “semper reformanda” (constantly reforming), in light of God’s word as these are dark and sinful times we are in. Therefore, all the more do we need to have a sharpness and a discernment of the truth that a preacher in the pulpit brings to us!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way views of the institutions to which he is affiliated  and/or the other Laikos Theologos contributors.

Editor’s Note: The author welcomes any feedback on the article and can be contacted at calanmoy20142015 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Jewish Theology Systematically and Historically Considered (1918) [Chapter 4]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Jewish Articles of Faith

(pp.19-28)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Kaufman Kohler “… was educated at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Leipzig, (1865-69), and received the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen in 1868.” [1]

“Feb. 26, 1903, he was elected to the presidency of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati.” [2]

[1] https://www.jta.org/1926/01/29/archive/dr-kaufmann-kohler-president-emeritus-of-hebrew-union-college-dies

[2] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9419-kohler-kaufmann

B) Chapter Summary:

“… the word used in Jewish literature for faith is Emunah, from the root Aman, to be firm; this denotes firm reliance upon God, and likewise firm adherence to him, hence both faith and faithfulness. Both Scripture and the Rabbis demanded confiding trust in God, His messengers, and His words, not the formal acceptance of a prescribed belief.”16

“Only when contact with the non-Jewish world emphasized the need for a clear expression of the belief in the unity of God, such as was found in the Shema, and when the proselyte was expected to declare in some definite form the fundamentals of the faith he espoused, was the importance of a concrete confession felt.”2

“… Judaism lays all stress upon conduct, not confession; upon a hallowed life, not a hollow creed.”3

“To the rabbis, the “root” of faith is the recognition of a divine Judge to whom we owe account for all our doings. The recital of the Shema, which is called in the Mishnah “accepting the yoke of God’s sovereignty,” and which is followed by the solemn affirmation, “True and firm belief is this for us” (Emeth we Yatzib or Emeth we Emunah), is, in fact, the earliest form of the confession of faith. In the course of time this confession of belief in the unity of God was no longer deemed sufficient to serve as basis for the whole structure of Judaism; so the various schools and authorities endeavored to work out in detail a series of fundamental doctrines.”4

“3. The Mishnah, in Sanhedrin, X, 1, which seems to date back to the beginnings of Pharisaism, declares the following three to have no share in the world to come: he who denies the resurrection of the dead; he who says that the Torah—both the written and the oral Law—is not divinely revealed; and the Epicurean, who does not believe in the moral government of the world.”5

“Rabbi Hananel, the great North African Talmudist, about the middle of the tenth century, seems to have been under the influence of Mohammedan and Karaite doctrines, when he speaks of four fundamentals of the faith: God, the prophets, the future reward and punishment, and the Messiah.”6

See Rappaport; “Biography of R. Hananel,” in Bikkure ha Ittim, 1842.

“4. The doctrine of the One and Only God stands, as a matter of course, in the foreground. Philo of Alexandria, at the end of his treatise on Creation, singles out five principles which are bound up with it, viz.: 1, God’s existence and His government of the world; 2, His unity; 3, the world as His creation; 4, the harmonious plan by which it was established; and 5, His Providence.

Josephus, too, in his apology for Judaism written against Apion, emphasizes the belief in God’s all-encompassing Providence, His incorporeality, and His self-sufficiency as the Creator of the universe.”7

“Abraham ben David (Ibn Daud) of Toledo sets forth in his “Sublime Faith” six essentials of the Jewish faith: 1, the existence; 2, the unity; 3, the incorporeality; 4, the omnipotence of God (to this he subjoins the existence of angelic beings); 5, revelation and the immutability of the Law; and 6, divine Providence.

Maimonides, the greatest of all medieval thinkers, propounded thirteen articles of faith, which took the place of a creed in the Synagogue for the following centuries, as they were incorporated in the liturgy both in the form of a credo (Ani Maamin) and in a poetic version. His first five articles were: 1, the existence; 2, the unity; 3, the incorporeality; 4, the eternity of God; and 5, that He alone should be the object of worship; to which we must add his 10th, divine Providence.”8

“[Samuel David Luzzatto] holds that Judaism, as the faith transmitted to us from Abraham our ancestor, must be considered, not as a mere speculative mode of reasoning, but as a moral life force, manifested in the practice of righteousness and brotherly love. Indeed, this view is supported by modern Biblical research, which brings out as the salient point in Biblical teaching the ethical character of the God taught by the prophets, and shows that the essential truth of revelation is not to be found in a metaphysical but in an ethical monotheism.”9

“The Jewish conception of God thus makes truth, as well as righteousness and love, both a moral duty for man and a historical task comprising all humanity.”10

“5. The second fundamental article of the Jewish faith is divine revelation, or, as the Mishnah expresses it, the belief that the Torah emanates from God (min ha shamayim). In the Maimonidean thirteen articles, this is divided into four: his 6th, belief in the prophets; 7, in the prophecy of Moses as the greatest of all; 8, in the divine origin of the Torah, both the written and the oral Law; and 9, its immutability.”11

“6. The third fundamental article of the Jewish faith is the belief in a moral government of the world, which manifests itself in the reward of good and the punishment of evil, either here or hereafter. Maimonides divides this into two articles, which really belong together, his 10th, God’s knowledge of all human acts and motives, and 11, reward and punishment. The latter includes the hereafter and the last Day of Judgment, which, of course, applies to all human beings.”12 

“7. Closely connected with retribution is the belief in the resurrection of the dead, which is last among the thirteen articles. This belief, which originally among the Pharisees had a national and political character, and was therefore connected especially with the Holy Land (as will be seen in Chapter LIV below), received in the Rabbinical schools more and more a universal form. Maimonides went so far as to follow the Platonic view rather than that of the Bible or the Talmud, and thus transformed it into a belief in the continuity of the soul after death. In this form, however, it is actually a postulate, or corollary, of the belief in retribution.”13

“8. The old hope for the national resurrection of Israel took in the Maimonidean system the form of a belief in the coming of the Messiah (article 12), to which, in the commentary on the Mishnah, he gives the character of a belief in the restoration of the Davidic dynasty. Joseph Albo, with others, disputes strongly the fundamental character of this belief; he shows the untenability of Maimonides’ position by referring to many Talmudic passages, and at the same time he casts polemical side glances upon the Christian Church, which is really founded on Messianism in the special form of its Christology. Jehuda ha Levi, in his Cuzari, substitutes for this as a fundamental doctrine the belief in the election of Israel for its world-mission.”14

“9. The thirteen articles of Maimonides, in setting forth a Jewish Credo, formed a vigorous opposition to the Christian and Mohammedan creeds; they therefore met almost universal acceptance among the Jewish people, and were given a place in the common prayerbook, in spite of their deficiencies, as shown by Crescas and his school.”15

“10. Another doctrine of Judaism, which was greatly underrated by medieval scholars, and which has been emphasized in modern times only in contrast to the Christian theory of original sin, is that man was created in the image of God. Judaism holds that the soul of man came forth pure from the hand of its Maker, endowed with freedom, unsullied by any inherent evil or inherited sin. Thus man is, through the exercise of his own free will, capable of attaining to an ever higher degree his mental, moral, and spiritual powers in the course of history. This is the Biblical idea of God’s spirit as immanent in man; all prophetic truth is based upon it; and though it was often obscured, this theory was voiced by many of the masters of Rabbinical lore, such as R. Akiba and others.”16

“11. Every attempt to formulate the doctrines or articles of faith of Judaism was made, in order to guard the Jewish faith from the intrusion of foreign beliefs, never to impose disputed beliefs upon the Jewish community itself. Many, indeed, challenged the fundamental character of the thirteen articles of Maimonides. Albo reduced them to three, viz.: the belief in God, in revelation, and retribution; others, with more arbitrariness than judgement, singled out three, five, six, or even more as principal doctrines; while rigid conservatives, such as Isaac Abravanel and David ben Zimra, altogether disapproved the attempt to formulate articles of faith.”17

“The present age of historical research imposes the same necessity of restatement or reformulation upon us. We must do as Maimonides did,—as Jews have always done,—point out anew the really fundamental doctrines, and discard those which have lost their holdup on the modern Jew, or which conflict directly with his religious consciousness. If Judaism is to retain its prominent position among the powers of thought, and to be clearly understood by the modern world, it must again reshape its religious truths in harmony with the dominant ideas of the age.” 18 

“Many attempts of this character have been made by modern rabbis and teachers, most of them founded upon Albo’s three articles. Those who penetrated somewhat more deeply into the essence of Judaism added a fourth article, the belief in Israel’s priestly mission, and at the same time, instead of the belief in retribution, included the doctrine of man’s kinship with God, or, if one may coin the word, his God-childship.”19

The Literature and History of the New Testament (1915) [Lesson 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Greek Background of Christianity

(pp.15-20)

A) About the author of the chapter:

John Gresham Machen “studied at Johns Hopkins University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the universities at Marburg and Göttingen. In 1906 he joined the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary …

He left Princeton in 1929, after the school was reorganized and adopted a more accepting attitude toward liberal Protestantism, and he helped found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.” [1]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Gresham-Machen

B) Chapter Summary:

1) The Hellenistic Age

“The Greek world culture which prevailed after the conquest of Alexander was widely different from the Greek life of the classical period. The earlier period is called the “Hellenic” period, the later period is designated as “Hellenistic.”” [1]

“When Greek thought made itself master of the world, it became mingled with numberless foreign elements. The mixture appears most clearly, perhaps, in the sphere of religion. Polytheism was capable of indefinite expansion. New gods could easily be identified with the old, or else be received along with them without a conflict. The religion of the Greco-Roman world is therefore different from that of ancient Greece.” [2]

“The learning of the Hellenistic age was centered in Alexandria in Egypt, a city which had been founded by Alexander the Great.” [3]

“Greek culture had ceased to belong to Greece in the narrower sense. It had become a possession of the world. The great library of Alexandria was a sign of the times. The Hellenistic age was an age of widespread learning.” [4]

“When Rome became master of the eastern world, conditions were not fundamentally changed. Rome merely hastened a process that was already at work. Already the nations had been brought together by the spread of Greek culture; Roman law merely added the additional bond of political unity. The Roman legions were missionaries of an all-pervading Hellenism.” [5]

“The Greco-Roman world was astonishingly modern. It was modern in its cosmopolitanism. In our own time the nations have again been brought together. The external agencies for their welding are far more perfect to-day than they were under the empire. Even the Roman roads would be but a poor substitute for the railroad and the telegraph and the steamship. But on the other hand we lack the bond of a common language. In some ways the civilized world was even more of a unit in the first century than it is to-day.” [6]

2) The Greek Bible

“The Church originated in Palestine. The first missionaries were native Jews. Yet even they had been affected by the cosmopolitanism of the time. Even they could use Greek, in addition to their native language. And Paul, the greatest of the missionaries, though a Jew, was a citizen of a Greek city.” [7]

“The Old Testament was a Hebrew book, but before the Christian era it had been translated into Greek. From the beginning Christianity was provided with a Greek Bible.” [8]

“Everything was prepared for the gospel. God’s time had come. Roman rule had brought peace. Greek culture had produced unity of speech. There was a Greek world, there were Greek-speaking missionaries, and there was a Greek Bible. In the first century, the salvation that was of the Jews could become a salvation for the whole world.” [9]

3) The Papyri

“”Papyri” are pieces of papyrus. Papyrus was the common writing material of antiquity up to about A. D. 300, when vellum, or parchment, came into general use. Unfortunately papyrus, which was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, is not a very durable substance, so that ancient papyri have been preserved until modern times only under exceptionally favorable conditions. These conditions are found in Egypt, where the dry climate has kept the papyrus from disintegration.” [10]

“In Egypt, within the last thirty years, have been discovered large numbers of papyrus sheets with Greek writing.

Of these the “literary papyri” contain simply parts of books. They differ from other copies of the works in question only in that they are usually older than the vellum manuscripts.

The “non-literary papyri,” on the other hand, are unique. They are private documents of all sorts—receipts, petitions, wills, contracts, census returns, and most interesting of all, private letters. It was usually not intended that these documents should be preserved. They were simply thrown away upon rubbish heaps or used as wrappings of mummies. They have been preserved only by chance.

The non-literary papyri are important first of all in the study of language. They exhibit the language of everyday life, as distinguished from the language of literature.” [11]

“The language of the New Testament is more like the language of the non-literary papyri than it is like the language of contemporary literature. The papyri indicate, therefore, that the New Testament is composed in the natural living language of the time rather than according to the canons of an artificial rhetoric.” [12]

4) A Gospel in a Real World

“The people that are introduced to us so intimately in the papyri are probably very fair representatives of the people among whom the gospel was first proclaimed …

The people of the papyri are not the great men of the time; they are just plain folk.” [13]

“Many of the early Christians were slaves, many were humble tradesmen.” [14]

[1] p.15

[2] pp.15-16

[3] p.16

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] p.17

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] p.18

[11] Ibid.

[12] p.19

[13] pp.19-20

[14] p.20

Modern Day Apostles?

Mid-2017, there was a healing rally in my country, Malaysia 20, led by an individual who goes by the name of Apostle G. Maldonado on social media.2 More recently, in September 2018, a local church in Malaysia hosted a prayer conference featuring Apostle Julius Suubi. 3

Naturally, within my circles, this sparked discussion about whether or not there are apostles today in light of the close of the canon.

A) Are there apostles today?

The answer to this question would depend on your definition of an apostle. Marcelo Souza, in his article “Are There Apostles Today?” notes the biblical requirement for apostleship.

“1. The apostle had to be an eyewitness of the risen Jesus [see Acts 1:2-3, 21-22; 4:33; 9:1-6; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:7-9] …

2. The apostle had to have been commissioned directly by Jesus [see Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:21-26; Gal. 1:1, 26].” 4

However, the requirements he laid out refers to a narrow sense of the term apostle. There is a broader sense which will be considered below.

Wescott and Hort defines ‘apostolos’ (the Greek word for “apostle”) as “a messenger, envoy, delegate, one commissioned by another to represent him in some way, especially a man sent out by Jesus Christ Himself to preach the Gospel; an apostle.”5

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance’s definition is “a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ [“apostle“] (with miraculous powers): – apostle, messenger, he that is sent.”6

Thayer in his NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon (1999) defines ‘apostolos’ as “1. a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders … 2. Specially applied to the twelve disciples whom Christ selected, out of the multitude of his adherents, to be his constant companions and the heralds to proclaim to men the kingdom of God … 3. In a broader sense the name is transferred to other eminent Christian teachers; as Barnabas, Acts 14:14, and perhaps also Timothy and Silvanus, 1 Thessalonians 2:7 (6), cf. too Romans 16:7 (?) …” 7

“According to BDAG [i.e. a Greek lexicon], apostolos “can also mean delegate, envoy, messenger … perhaps missionary.””8

So what I would argue is that we do have apostles today (in the broad sense of the word) and they would include missionaries, for the very reason that missionaries are sent out to preach the Gospel.

we do have apostles today (in the broad sense of the word) and they would include missionaries Click To Tweet

There are no longer any apostles in the narrow sense of the word because no one in the 21st century would be able to fulfill the two requirements of apostleship as quoted above.

There are no longer any apostles in the narrow sense of the word because no one in the 21st century would be able to fulfill the two requirements of apostleship Click To Tweet

Another way to see it is according to Gordon Fee’s distinction in his commentary the First Epistle to the Corinthians (1987). He distinguishes between the “functional” (ongoing ministry) and “positional/official” use of the term9. So today, we would have apostles in the functional sense, but not in the positional/official sense.

Tl;dr – There is a difference between apostles in the technical/specific/narrow sense of the word apostolos (Gk 652) and the non-technical/broad sense of the same word. We no longer have the former, but we can have the latter.

B) What are their roles?

With regard to the role of apostles, their general role is, together with the other offices/positions in Ephesians 4, “… to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”10

More specifically, based on the semantic range of the Greek word apostolos, an apostle’s role would be to go out and perform the tasks to which they have been assigned. If the task is to go to Area A and plant/start a church there, that is that particular apostle’s role.

C) Should we shy away from using the term “apostle”?

The short answer is no. We should not shy away from using the term apostle just because it is misused by certain quarters. There are cults leaders who refer to themselves as pastors.11 Should we then no longer use the term pastor12 despite it being a biblical role?

Instead, what we should be doing is educating Christians about what the Bible teaches on apostles so that they would know how to distinguish between the functional and the positional/official sense of the word.

For further reading, see the following great articles by Dr Craig Keener of Asbury Theological Seminary13:-

Are There Apostles Today? (Part 1)

Are There Apostles Today? (Part 2)

Are There Apostles Today? (Part 3)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and they do not reflect in any way views of the institutions to which he is affiliated  and/or the other Laikos Theologos contributors.