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Month: January 2020

Book Review: Kerux Commentary Philippians

Book Review: Kerux Commentary Philippians

Pastors and teachers are always looking for commentaries that help them expound the Scriptures with clarity and ease. This is what the Kerux Commentary series has set out to do. The latest in this series is their commentary on Paul’s letter to the Philippians by Thomas Moore and Timothy D. Sprankle.

In the Editor’s Preface, we see that the focus of the Kerux series is to give preaching units that focus on three different areas. They focus on the exegetical, theological, and homiletical purposes of the text. This means the job of the teacher is greatly eased by giving tools necessary that they would already be using. How does this work?

The first section of the commentary gives a summary of each preaching unit. It starts with a section of the text, for this review we will look at Philippians 2:5-8. Under that, they give the three areas discussed above. So, for example, in this section, the exegetical idea is how Christ modeled a servant. The Theological focus is humility. And, finally, the preaching idea is to climb down the ladder of privilege to reflect the attitude of Christ. 

After the three areas of focus, the commentary, in the summary section, lists “Preaching Pointers” that give the preacher/teacher ideas about what they should drive home when delivering the text.

As in most commentaries, the Kerux Philippians volume has an introduction with the typical information about the Epistle such as an outline, authorship, date of writing, location, audience, cultural issues, and the overall historical setting. This helps the teacher with major research into the history of the book saving them time in getting to exegete the actual text.

But where the commentary shines is in the meat of each preaching unit. The volume goes into literary structures, gives an exposition of the text, and then goes into academic analysis of various translations of different Greek words between English translations as well as other theological issues. Finally, it gives application that can be used for your congregation, class, or small group.

In summary, I find that the Kerux Commentary on Philippians is a technical, but easy to follow, commentary that is faithful to the biblical text and theologically conservative. It would serve any pastor or teacher well as part of their personal library. I give it four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

The Lamb of God: John 1:19-34

The Lamb of God: John 1:19-34

Building on the Deity of Christ found in the Prologue of John, the Apostle writes about the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world as proclaimed by John the Baptist. This section of Scripture has some of the most beautiful truths in all of God’s Word.

In the first part of chapter one, we saw the Word became flesh. Here, we see the Word as the perfect lamb of God, without sin and spot, that would be sacrificed on our behalf. The imagery and foreshadow of what Christ’s purpose was is unmistakable. Christ came to be a sacrifice for our sins. He would be a sacrifice for all people, not just the Jews.

In the second section of the first chapter, we see the first run-in with the Pharisees. These men had an agenda. They wanted to keep power. They were looking to root out false messiahs and, in doing so, they missed the real Messiah. How tragic!

They questioned John the Baptist and his authority. What authority did he have if he were not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet? The answer is that he had authority from God. He was the fulfillment of prophecy. He was the voice preparing the way for Christ because Christ had come into the world.

That voice in the desert would serve as the forerunner to Christ. But that forerunner understood that he was below Christ. He said that he was not even worthy enough to tie the strap of Christ’s sandal. Why do we not have that kind of reverence for Christ today?

There is much to learn from the second part of John 1. Let us learn about the true Lamb of God.

J.D. Greear and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

J.D. Greear and Gender-Neutral Pronouns

J.D. Greear (courtesy of jdgreear.com)

I have been meaning to write about this for quite some time and just have not gotten around to it. But it was widely reported back in November 2019, that Southern Baptist Convention President, JD Greear, has called for the use of Gender-Neutral Pronouns to be more hospitable to those who call themselves transgender.

When I first read this I assumed it must be some sort of joke or satire. But it was not. It was published on Greear’s website as well. So I decided to look more into what Greear actually has said and what he is advocating for.

First, he does state that gender is determined by DNA:

The real answer is genetics: However things look on the outside, sex (male/female) is hardwired into our DNA.

J.D. Greear

However, Greear qualifies this by going into modern-day qualifiers that muddy the waters. He then goes on to describe intersex individuals, which is a known anomaly but definitely not the normal course of events in human DNA and makeup.

And finally, he gets to Gender Pronouns. What are we to do with pronouns for people who refuse to acknowledge, or are confused about, the sex that they have been given by God? Here is what Greear says:“When we apply Paul’s linguistic approach to the pronouns we use about transgender people, I believe we arrive at a posture of pronoun hospitality: a willingness to accommodate the pronouns of our transgender neighbors regardless of our own views about the Christian ethics of gender identity” (11.10).

Based off of Acts 17

J. D. Greear

So Greear goes the “hospitable” route on gender pronouns. But why? Why should we do this?

In this position, Greear misses the mark of biblical fidelity. If we allow people to use preferred pronouns, as opposed to the pronouns that actually describe their gender, we are allowing them legitimacy in their sin. People who support this viewpoint can say that is not the case but it is. Why would you let someone continue in the lie that they portray every time they say they are something that they are not? There is simply no justification for it other than to say you have sold out to the culture.

Be Anxious For Nothing

Be Anxious For Nothing

In the past week we have heard many reports about the instability in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Iran. We hear about wars and rumors of wars. We hear about the politics. We hear about imminent attacks. The 24/7 news cycle puts us in a state of fear, anxiousness and worry.

But in these troubled times we need to remind ourselves what Paul said to the Philippian church. Be anxious for nothing (Phil. 4:6-7).

So what are we to do? The answer is simple. Pray. We are to pray and read the Word of God. We are to rest in His arms knowing that He is the one who makes the decisions. He decides our futures. He decides what will or will not happen to us. Our lives do not rest in the arms (or weapons) of men but of God.

What did Jesus say?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:26–34 (ESV)

We do not need to worry about what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow will take care of itself. All we need to concern ourselves with is that we are right with God and that we are spreading His Gospel to a weary land.

The Word Became Flesh: John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh: John 1:1-18

The Gospel of John

Starting a new series on Sunday Nights on the Gospel of John, David Taylor preaches on the Word became flesh.

The Gospel of John shows the majesty of the deity of Christ. This is found no better than in the opening prologue of the Gospel. Jesus is the Word, the Word is God. That Word, Jesus, is the Light of the world. However, the Word was rejected by most unless they were granted to Him by the Father.

David goes verse by verse through this glorious section of Scripture to bring out the truths of who Christ is, and what our relation is to Him.

Thoughts on the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation

Thoughts on the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation

By now most people have heard about the proposal coming from leaders in the United Methodist Church regarding the separation of the denomination over issues of homosexuality. It is being called the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation. It is being heralded as a great compromise for an impossible situation. But I wanted to give a few thoughts on it.

First, why is it that those who are staying true to the teaching of Scripture and the United Methodist Church, which still holds homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, are the ones who are being forced out? Why should those who do not want to follow Scripture and defy the church the ones that get to keep the church? I’ve read articles about this very thing and none of them hold any logic that falls within the realm of reality.

Second, why are we earmarking so much money for social justice issues in this proposal? I have a real problem with the idea of reparations and that is exactly what this proposal includes, to the tune of $39 million dollars. This money is to support communities “historically marginalized by racism.”

Third, for churches who just want out of anything to do with United Methodist this plan is a non-starter. Yes there is a traditionalist denomination that would be started. But for those who have issues other than just human sexuality with the church this does not help us. If we wanted to join a different denomination, or just be independent altogether, we must go through the same exit plan that there is now and must obtain the approval of our annual conference. This, as every other plan, leaves the local church virtually powerless.

On the other hand, the plan is not finalized. It will be debated, discussed, and amended. So there is hope that the plan can be improved to help “the little church” that just wants a clear-cut exit. Only time will tell.