Archive | Theology/Bible

John Piper delivers a little Hermeneutics 101

Many readers give very little thought to what they are aiming to do when they read a text. Most want to understand the meaning of the text, but very few could tell you what they mean by meaning. And that is a problem for a couple of reasons.

1. Some people define meaning as a reader’s response to what he is reading. Because there can be as many responses as there are readers, this theory implies that there can be as many different meanings of text as there are readers.

2. Some people define meaning as a property of the text without respect to the author who wrote it. This view believes that we can only learn the meaning of a text after we have learned the rules of the game–the norms of the language.

Neither one of these approaches is very helpful at the end of the day. To define meaning, we need to recognize that meaning is not a property of the text independently conceived. Nor is reading a property of the reader’s interaction with the text. Rather, meaning is defined as the message that the author intended to communicate at the time that he wrote.

That basic hermeneutical lesson is the one that John Piper explains so well in the video above. It’s Hermeneutics 101, and I commend it to you.

Thin Complementarianism?

David Talcott weighs-in late on a Complemenatrian controversey pitting Aimee Byrd and Carl Trueman against John Piper. Talcott explains:

Several weeks back there was a bit of a dust-up in conservative Reformed Protestant circles over the following simple question: Does being a man or a woman have any ethical significance for the way we live together in civil society? Despite the success of feminism in radically reworking gender roles over the past half century, conservative Evangelicalism has maintained a modest conviction that our sexuality has ethical import. Certain New Testament passages compel conservative Evangelicals to maintain that women should not be pastors and that the husband is in some way the head of the home. The group of Evangelicals who hold to this, which readers will quickly ascertain is simply a boringly normal version of the historic Christian and Jewish teaching on such matters, are commonly called Complementarians. In their view, men and women are distinctive complements to one another rather than identical and universally interchangeable parts.
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What is the role of women in ministry?

Todd Wagner is the pastor of Watermark Community Church in Dallas, Texas. He was my pastor for several years when I was a student in seminary, and I am very grateful for his ministry. In the video above, he gives a quick answer to the question, “What is the role of women in ministry?” It is a concise, eight-minute summary of biblical manhood and womanhood, and I commend it to you.

Eric Metaxas has stimulating interview with Owen Strachan about “The Colson Way”

Owen Strachan is the author of the fantastic new book The Colson Way, a book about the life and influence of the late Chuck Colson. Last week, Owen visited “The Eric Metaxas Show” to talk about the book (listen above). This is a stimulating conversation about an important book and person. Listen to the podcast. Get the book. Continue Reading →

Dueling articles on transgender at The Public Discourse

There is an important conversation going on at The Public Discourse—two articles with dueling views on transgender. Jennifer Gruenke makes the case for a biological basis for transgender identity. Greg Brown responds with a strong counterargument exposing some critical weaknesses in Gruenke’s essay.

I am with Brown on this one, and I commend his careful response to you. I would add just a few brief observations of my own about Gruenke’s article: Continue Reading →

Culpable Ignorance: You have no excuse for not knowing what abortion is.

The third video exposing Planned Parenthood was just released today (see below). It is the worst one yet as it depicts the actual carnage of abortion. It is difficult to watch, but everyone who supports the legality of this barbarism is morally obligated to watch it. It is clearly a human being that has been torn apart and killed in utero. If you did not know that before, you will know after seeing this video. The images don’t lie.

If you support this kind of thing being legal and don’t watch the video, your ignorance of the horror will not absolve your indifference. One of Jesus’ last utterances from the cross helps us to understand our responsibility in light of these videos. Unfortunately, the connection is often missed because his words are widely misunderstood. Continue Reading →

A word to pastors preaching in the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges

I am a pastor. I preach the word of God regularly to the congregation that I serve. And this morning I am thinking about and praying for other pastors across the country who will be ascending the sacred desk tomorrow morning to deliver a message to God’s people. Some of them are wondering what to say in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that seems designed to marginalize our ancient faith. I don’t know that I have anything particularly earth-shattering to offer here, but I would like to encourage you pastors in several specific ways as you prepare. Continue Reading →

Jim Hamilton on the Song of Songs

James M. Hamilton, Jr., Song of Songs: A Biblical-Theological, Allegorical, Christological Interpretation, Focus on the Bible (Scotland: Christian Focus, 2015). 154pp. $14.99.

Jim Hamilton has recently published a stimulating commentary on the Song of Songs. Readers familiar with Jim’s work know his passion for doing whole Bible theology. Likewise, this volume exposits the Song with respect to the overall storyline of scripture. In short, it’s a work of biblical theology.

One of the big questions that any commentator on the Song has to answer is what this book is all about. Is it to be interpreted literally or allegorically? Is it about human love only or about Christ’s love for his church? Jim’s answer to those questions is “yes.” It’s not an either/or thing but a both/and thing. The Song depicts real human love, but that love serves to illustrate Yahweh’s covenant with Israel. Yes, the Song is about the King’s love for his bride, but it is also about Christ’s love for the church.

This is an accessible exposition of the text and highly recommended for anyone trying to understand the message of the Song. Purchase it here.

New Podcast on Same-Sex Attraction, Temptation, and Sin

Whenever I speak on the topic of homosexuality, it seems that one question keeps coming up: “Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?” How you answer this question has tremendous practical implications, not only for those who experience SSA but also for those trying to minister to them.

I recently sat down for a brief interview with Heath Lambert to answer this very query. In short, my answer to the question is “Yes, it is.” If you are interested to hear how and why, you can download it here or listen to it below. You can sign-up for the excellent ACBC podcast here. Read about it here.

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