Creation Seminar at Tunkhannock Baptist Church

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Last week end I did a four-part Biblical Creation Seminar at Tunkhannock Baptist Church in Tunkhannock, PA, “God’s land” (I grew up in western PA), followed by my speaking twice on Sunday at the church. Between the sessions on creationism and my Sunday messages, the interaction and hospitality of the church greatly encouraged me. I thank our Lord for the time of blessing that I had at Tunkhannock Baptist Church.

Here are the sessions that I did on Friday night and Saturday.

Genesis 1 and Creationism

Death & Decay in Genesis 3

The Impact of Noah’s Flood on the World Today

Two Contrasting Worldviews

On Sunday I spoke in the AM and PM services. Sunday morning I spoke on “God’s Delight in Creation” from Psalm 104, and in the evening on “The Works of God’s Declaring God’s Glory” from Psalm 19:1-6.

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Jonah & Nahum: Summer 2010

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During the weeks of June 1-11, I am teaching an English Bible class on Jonah & Nahum. The class is set up for Master of Divinity and Master of Theology students. The major difference between the two groups is that the prerequisite for ThM students is an MDiv degree. As far as class work is concerned, ThM students must do additional work, such as writing a critical book review and being able to translate on sight the books of Jonah and Nahum from a Hebrew Old Testament.

My class is one of six that are being taught this semester. Our summer school classes are set up so that two classes are taught over a two-week period followed by two subsequent two-week periods of classes. Below is DBTS’s summer school schedule for 2010.

Summer School 2010

If you are enrolled in my class or have an interest in Jonah & Nahum, you can download a copy of the requirements by going here.

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Interpreting the Book of Proverbs (Part 12)

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With parts 10 and 11 of this series, I examined the theological framework of Proverbs. In this post and the next, we will look at the sixth guideline for interpreting Proverbs: problematic passages in Proverbs should be interpreted by the rest of Scripture.

VI. Interpreting Problematic passages in Proverbs with the Rest of Scripture.

This hermeneutical axiom is what the Reformers referred to as the analogia fidei, “the analogia of faith.” This is also referred to as analogia scriptura, “the analogy of Scripture.” This hermeneutical principle maintains that Scripture interprets Scripture. What this means is that the entirety of Scripture is the context and the guide in interpreting specific passages in Scripture.

How is a passage such as Proverbs 17:8 (“A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; wherever he turns, he prospers”) to be harmonized with 17:23 (“A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice”), or Exodus 23:8 and Deuteronomy 16:18¬–19? On a broader level, how do we respond to some critics who maintain that the book of Proverbs is less authoritative than the special revelation contained in the Prophets? To establish their point that Proverbs is inferior in authority, critics point to supposed contradictions within Proverbs. For example, Proverbs 26:4 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” This is supposedly contradicted in the following verse, “Answer a fool as his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Do we answer the fool or avoid answering the fool? According to some, if either of these proverbs is “inspired” and, therefore, presents absolute truth, only one of them can be absolute. How can this be special revelation from God if it is contradictory? How is the Bible-believing Christian to explain these problematic verses, as well as similar problem passages in Proverbs? Are we to say that the book of Proverbs is less inspired and, therefore, less authoritative than other parts of the Bible?

We would contend that every verse when originally written in our canonical book of Proverbs was as fully inspired as the Prophets or any other portion of Scripture (see 2 Tim 3:16). If the entirety of Proverbs is inspired, then it is inerrant. Consequently, Proverbs in its entirety is descriptive truth. This guarantees the accurate preservation of the entirety of Proverbs. However, not all of Proverbs is prescriptive truth. This is also true with the rest of Scripture. All Scripture is descriptive truth, but not all Scripture is prescriptive truth. For example, Satan’s desire to get Job to curse God in Job 2:4–5 and his lie in Genesis 3 are both examples of descriptive truth. Descriptive truth demands that whatever Scripture originally recorded was preserved with historical accuracy. Satan really did what Scripture says he did in Job 2 and Genesis 3. However, prescriptive truth pertains to those truths by which the people of God are to regulate their lives. Satan’s lies and deceitful tactics are not to be followed by God’s people.

How then do we determine if a proverb is prescriptive truth? Comparing Scripture with Scripture most easily does this. More specifically, by comparing a proverb with other biblical revelation, we can determine if we should view a proverb simply as descriptive truth or, more normatively, as prescriptive truth.

A. Descriptive proverbs

A descriptive proverb describes a situation of life without noting how it applies or what its exceptions are (Klein, Blomberg, Hubbard, pp. 313–14). It is not seeking to influence behavior, rather it seeks to present life the way it actually occurs. It is the reader’s responsibility to discern what is prescriptive and to accept the rest as descriptive truth. An example of a descriptive proverb is 17:8, “A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; wherever he turns, he prospers.” Another example is found in Proverbs 14:20, “The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but those who love the rich are many.” A further example is Proverbs 31:6–7, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his trouble no more.” The point of this proverb is that it is describing the way life is. This neither condemns nor condones the use of alcohol. To determine what use of alcohol is condemned or approved, we must look at the rest of Scripture. Proverbs 31:6-7 is a descriptive proverb.

With my next post, we will look at prescriptive proverbs

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The Nature of the Noahic Flood

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Earlier this week on Monday eveming, we finished our Biblical Creationism class. We looked at the ninth of ten lessons in my syllabus. This lesson is on “the Nature of the Noahic Flood.” The initial part of this lesson covers seven biblical reasons supporting the global nature of the Genesis Flood. We treated these reasons in the first part of our class (classes at DBTS are just short of two-hours in length). In the second part we looked at a DVD on the Grand Canyon and Noah’s Flood.

In the first half of class, we looked at biblical reasons that provide support for the Genesis Flood being global.

A. The depth of the flood, Genesis 7:19–20

B. The duration of the flood, Genesis 7:11 and 8:13–14

C. The geology of the flood, Genesis 7:11

D. The size of the ark, Genesis 6:15

E. The need of an ark, Genesis 6:13, 7:2, 6:19–20, 7:9, 15

F. The testimony of the apostle Peter, 2 Peter 3:3-7

G. The purpose of the flood, Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13 (see Whitcomb, The World That Perished, pp. 47-65).

In the class syllabus, I have two other major sections in this lesson: God’s involvement with the flood and results from the flood. Because of class time constraints, I recommended for the class to read the final portions of this lesson after class.

When I went white water rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon in the summer of 2008, I became convinced that this Canyon of Canyons was a monument to the Genesis flood (concerning my trip, I did a blog entry here; one of my colleagues on this trip, Dr. Del Tackett, has an outstanding series of 10 posts summarizing each day of our trip along with outstanding pictures; to look at this, you should start with first post “The ‘Canyon'” and follow his posts by going to his section “Science“; and finally, for an advertisement for this year’s trip, go here). Because of my trip, I had resolved to give more attention to the Grand Canyon in my Biblical Creation class. What better way in a classroom is there to get a sense of the Canyon than taking a 55-minute visual trip through the Grand Canyon, while listening to the expert voices of 5 creation scientists. So, for the last hour of our class, we watched the DVD “The Grand Canyon: Monument to the Flood.”

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Though a DVD is not the same as an actual trip in which you get soaked with river water where temperatures are between 46 to 50 degrees, bake under the sun in 120 degree temperatures, etc., you get a sense of the Canyon while being guided by Drs. Steve Austin, George Van Burbach, John Morris, Andrew Snelling, and Kurt Wise. This DVD presents seven evidences that support the Canyon having been formed as a result of the global flood in Noah’s day.

Ocean waters covered the continents

Rapid burial of plants and animals

Widespread strata

Short time between strata

Massive tectonic upheaval

Rapid erosion

Doubtful dating methods

In short, Drs. Austin, Van Burbach, Morris, Snelling, and Wise provide both geological and biblical evidence that clearly explain the provenance and history of the Canyon. Because of the colorful graphics, aerial pictures, and interviews with these men, I would highly recommend that you purchase this DVD from here.

In the final analysis, this was an enriching semester for me for two reasons. First, besides having solid testimonies and a commitment to understanding biblical truth, the desire of the 15-students in this class to understand the early chapters of Genesis made this a great milieu in which to teach. Second, because evangelicalism is being inundated with voices that support an old-earth cosmogony, this class reinforced my commitment to defending a literal interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis that unambiguously affirm that God created the heavens, the earth and all things therein a few thousand years ago.

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