Sunday, August 31, 2008

prayer of the week

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

from Book of Common Prayer


Andrew said...


I don't think I have the time or patience to read all the hundreds of posts on Susan's blog, especially as they turn to creation days. Let's get serious; that debate will never be resolved ever. As I study Genesis this year, perhaps a little more clarity will come to my own mind, but I won't freak out if it doesn't.

Anyway, I read through the excerpt you quoted from Witherington's commentary on Ephesians. I have just been reading briefly some things on Karl Barth's view of election, and Witherington sounds very Barthian. I would have to read more thoroughly and reconsider passages in light of all that before I could even begin to see something other than the traditional Calvinist/Reformed understanding of foreknowledge, predestination, and election. I think that the exegesis regarding the Reformed position is incredibly solid, along with its corollaries in regneration, faith and repentance as gifts, etc. I have never read a satisfactory explanation of these from a Wesleyan/Arminian viewpoint. But Witherington/Barth sound at least plausible.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your take on that.

Yes, I went in a direction on Susan,AKA,Halfmom as explained there, which I surely shouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole. #1- I don't know enough to go there, and #2- I doubt that much good work has been done on that- I mean on true myth. Also, in my case though my opinion means nothing as I'm neither a scientist or scientific- I'm a skeptic over evolution, believing in the too many missing links in its own theory take, and likewise not really wanting to put alot of weight in any science, even though the weight here is supposed to be in the science itself, and not in a scientism (claiming it alone can give us truth about the world) which involves a naturalism which is faith oriented. But the faith aspect does so easily come into play.

I think my biggest mistake over there is the issue of abandoning the text which I never meant to do. Even in what I was saying, one should never abandon the text, but we have to let the text of God's word speak for itself on its own term, and then let the chips fall as they may (as I read in a theology book by Grenz, yesterday).

Your comments brought alot of light on the scene for me, and your folks over there should be proud of you, and I'm sure they are! :)

About Barth and Witherington and the Reformers, I tend to believe in a combination of the Reformers exegesis and some of the New Perspective work, which in Galatians and in some areas is irrefutable. N.T. Wright is maybe the best at bringing out the good there. There are problems in the New Perspective, and there are problems in Reformation exegesis as well. The Reformers were not only men of their time, but what they built on, especially Augustine himself, has been shown to have his own problems.

Yes, Barth has influenced nearly all of us; he was a giant in the twentieth century, maybe the giant theologian of the past century, but he certainly had/has problems in his exegesis of Scripture as well. I think some of his work is astounding though challenging, not to say he was the only theologian of that century, because there are some good ones.

As for me, I tend to want to stay on the exegetical side of things. That's where Witherington excels (and why I like him- not to say he doesn't get into theology from that because he does to some extent) and the breadth of his knowledge in reading about the Biblical background and writing done on passages, is outstanding. I certainly don't always agree with him, but I don't know enough to put him squarely in the camp of Barth. You would appreciate much of what he writes. His book on Scripture takes N.T. Wright to task, a little, on not bringing out the importance of truth in our consideration of Scripture, along with authority- and Witherington takes Peter Enns apart as well in one chapter (he was the one Westminster Theological Seminary let go, and after reading what he said, and Witherington's critique, I can understand why). Witherington also gets after Brian McLaren a little in the book, and wants to defend Donald Miller and Rob Bell (whom he has criticized a bit before, along with commendations) as not being postmodern at all, and believing in truth.

Here's a post at "Jesus Creed" in which Scot McKnight said he was thinking about myth and Scripture after reading Enns on it. I didn't have time to read the book, and so was going on what I read there, and all too often it's a quick read with probably insufficient knowledge heading in and going out. But after reading Witherington on it, I am harldy sanguine about Enns at all, as his statements on truth are problematical.

I really like what Don Carson in the book I emailed you about, his recent: "Christ and Culture Revisited" said about truth. I think he covers himself well in the charges made against him by some in the emergent group, and theologically I think I stand with him. He's not saying what some allege he was saying, and he clarifies that well. But that book just looks like a great read.

How blessed are those who make a living reading books, teaching, maybe even writing. And I hardly have the time to read at all, though that is what I like to do every chance I can get, if I can stay awake in the process (after a day at work).

Keep up the good work, Andrew. Thanks for taking the time to comment on this blog, and for jumping in over there at Susan's blog.