Saturday, January 30, 2010

Neighbors Knocking in the Night

This morning Jenn and I were awakened at a quarter to 5 by our doorbell ringing again and again. I quickly (or as quickly as someone with only half their wits about them stumbling in the dark towards the door having been abruptly yanked from a deep sleep) answered the door. It was one of my neighbors. He had accidentally locked himself out of his rental house and his garage, and needed the code for opening the garage from the owner of house. So he needed to use a phone to call. After finally getting into his garage and taking off for work I was reminded (in my still half-stupour) of the story Jesus told about the annoying neighbor (and no you won't find that as the title of the section in your Bible) in Luke 11:5-10
5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: "Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,
6 'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.'
7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you.'
8 But I tell you this-- though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
I was not going to just stay in bed (as nice as that thought was) since I didn't want my kids being woken up by the incessant ringing (besides I'd like to at least think I'm a good neighbor :-).

The story Jesus told had a slightly different take on the reason that the man gave bread to his neighbor in the middle of the night -- the neighbor wouldn't stop with the asking and in Israel in those days houses were all crammed together and very small. So as the neighbor in the street was trying to get this man to wake up and give him bread for guests (providing food for guests was REQUIRED in a near eastern perspective no matter how much it put you out) other neighbors would have likely heard the raucous and could likely hear the response of the man being wakened. No matter how much the man didn't want to get up, he would do it just because he was being publicly shamed into doing it.

The whole point was simply that if someone through incessant requests could motivate a response from us (being less than friendly or feeling generous...especially in the least for some of us), then how much more so will God give to us what is good and what is the gift of Himself by His Spirit. The Lord actually wants us to "bug" Him with requests for the blessing of His presence. So don't quit asking! Don't quit seeking! And especially don't quit ringing His doorbell...or knocking...or whatever it takes!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When God Throws Poo

Last week during my devotional reading I came across this statement in Nahum:
Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will make nations look at your nakedness and kingdoms at your shame.  I will throw filth at you and treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. (Nah. 3:5-6 ESV)
I can't honestly say I've considered God lifting skirts over heads and throwing poo at those who would prostitute themselves (in this context the Assyrians specifically of Ninevah). What a strange description, but the punishment is really akin to the way the Assyrians treated Israel and the cities of Judah that were conquered and taken into captivity. Exposure of nakedness while being paraded down the street is something no one (unless they are out of their mind) wants done to them. To be defiled with poo is to be treated like garbage and made incapable of worship (not to mention relationships with those who have to see and smell you :-).

Once we remember that the prophet Jonah had already preached the judgment of God against Ninevah (not too many years before the prophet Nahum) and they had repented...then we understand that when they returned again to their whoring idolatry and defiling abuse of the nations (particularly the people of Israel and Judah) that God will judge them as they have judged others. This is something true of all of us and reminds me that in the same way I treat others I will indeed be treated (Luke 6:37-38). This is why we seek mercy rather than judgment (James 2:12-13 -- not that judgment is absolutely excluded -- 1 Cor. 6:1-3 -- but it is always given in mercy). We must indeed pray: Father, forgive us our debts as we forgive others their debts against us (Matt. 6:12, 14-15)...

Friday, January 22, 2010

A letter to the Assemblies from beyond the grave

(The following was an assignment for a class I took last year that I found fun to do. We were to write a letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to our church fellowship/denomination using only Scripture and Bonhoeffer's Ethics. If you have read Bonhoeffer what would you think he might say to your church?):

Grüße euch Gott und des Herrn Jesus Christus,

I am writing to you to encourage your continued growth in the Lord. As a fellowship of churches constituting the Assemblies of God you have accomplished tremendous things in the work of Spirit empowered global evangelism in your less than one hundred year history. With great fervor, you have preached what has been proclaimed as the “full gospel”. In your fervor to be true to the full account of Scripture, you have managed to steer the right course (past the shipwreck of countless other movements) through many treacherous theological and ethical waters.

However, there is one area in the sea of ethics that has become to you a hidden rock beneath the surface. You have rightly emphasized the life of holiness as inherent and necessary to the life of all believers. I would continue to affirm your strong desire to obey the command of Christ in everything and to “be holy as He is holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Where you have steered wrongly is in the area – most clearly visible to even your own constituents – of declaring ethical principles as if they were direct correlatives of the command of Christ. In turn, holiness has become the guise for legalism and thereby the beckoning song (“Biblical Principles”) of those ancient Sirens – “Self-Righteousness” and “Judmentalism” – has been heeded to the detriment and endangerment of all.

You may ask, “How could biblical principles ever lead anyone to ruin?” The answer is multi-faceted, but the peril of heeding the allure of biblical principles lies in the inherent deceptiveness of the very idea. Principles, be they labeled “biblical” or otherwise, are a ruinous “attempt to reduce ethics to a static basic formula.”[1] Formulas in turn fail precisely because they do not allow for the treatment of the living individual as living or individual, nor do they allow God to be properly God.

Let me explain what I mean further. The principles that you have regarded as “biblical” should in fact be regarded not as principles at all. They should either be recognized as the living command of the living God to living humanity or else as altogether unbiblical. Certain of your historically held and explicitly stated principles (do not smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, attend theatres or dances) should certainly be included in the latter category as “unbiblical”. Nowhere do we find the command of God regarding these specific issues as you have treated them. In fact, the implications of much of scripture would actually allow for all of these supposed restrictions to be permitted, even though not necessarily beneficial.

Concerning the former type of principles that you have wrongly believed “biblical,” we must discuss in further detail. You have, for many years now, made it clear that no minister having been divorced may ever remarry without losing his or her credentials. There may possibly be biblical support for this highly nuanced interpretation (1 Timothy 3:2). Yet, it has been treated not as the living command of the living God to living humanity, but as a universal principle to be applied without regard for any variance in circumstances. The principal ignores context “regardless of the consequences” and the consequences grow direr as time presses on.[2]

Too long have you denied your co-laborers the opportunity and calling of God upon their lives by ignoring each one’s circumstances. While not every one of them will be fit to the ministry of pastor, why should all be excluded without due consideration of each one as an individual that stands before God? Has the Lord regarded you in this way? Does He not treat you with grace and mercy according to your circumstances? Does His calling and commandment not speak specifically to you in your exact context?

Have you so readily exchanged grace – as the free gift of God – for the righteousness of self? Alternatively, have you surrendered mercy of God for the judgment that you think rightly belongs to you? Has God placed these at your disposal to be disregarded for the sake of obeying a “principle”? Consider your brothers and sisters in the Lord not as those whom you can treat lightly or dishonorably, without thought to their story, but treat them instead as recipients of God’s sovereign grace and mercy. Thereby, you might witness what the Lord’s specific will is for each of them instead of trying to determine ahead of time what was never yours to determine anyways.

In as much as your calling is to live responsibly as things should be, you are called to live in reality.[3] You must not entertain the false notion that you have been given responsibility to declare righteous or unrighteous by the application of one “principle”. The command of God is specific to context and as such deals mercifully and graciously and not as the principle. Do not disregard what is, for what you think should be. Encounter what is through love, that is grace and mercy, and allow God to resolve the issues of what should be and indeed, what will be.[4] Leave the determination of what is right and what must be to Him.

You might further respond, “If we leave the determination only to God then is there any room for our judging right and wrong?” There is certainly room to make the determination of right and wrong, but it belongs to God. You must not simply ask, “what did God say,” but rightly “what is God saying?” His commandment is living. His commandment is life. That life is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is not abstract or universal principle to be comprehended then applied. He is the living commandment of God to be encountered and lived out daily in life as “new every morning” (Lam.3:23).

Each new encounter requires freshness and discernment. We must repeatedly and humbly approach the Lord through His Word and hear His voice. What is the Lord Jesus – the eternal and living Word – saying through the Spirit to the church in each particular place and circumstance? If He did not regard the churches of Asia (Rev.2-3) as under universal principle, but spoke a particular message to each, how much more so will He continue to speak to each church and each person through His Spirit concerning their particular circumstances? You must once again hear His voice over the dissonant din of self-righteousness and judgmentalism.

Self-righteousness is that righteousness that seeks and even demands to be right. It is a righteousness which knows itself to be righteousness and no longer has need of grace and mercy. It is the church of Laodicea that pronounces herself as having “need of nothing” and yet the Lord Jesus reserves the most scathing rebuke for her and declares her as actually having nothing, because she needs nothing (Rev.3:17). Grace and mercy demand open confession of unrighteousness and open the door to the knocking Lord (Rev.3:19-20).[5]

This self-righteousness creates new lords instead of owning the Lord. You must reject every pretense of righteousness that exists apart from the judgment and righteousness of Christ (Rom.5:17).[6] His righteousness is the only righteousness and he is the only one given the authority to declare righteous. Do not presume to declare yourselves righteous in these ethical matters because you have followed a principle. Can you make or even call yourselves righteous when he has reserved this for himself (1 Cor.4:4)? Silence the voice of self-righteousness!

Judgmentalism is that wicked sister to self-righteousness. Judgmentalism rests on the strength and merit of the one who is self proclaimed righteous. It casts a condemning eye upon all that is not like self and finally even upon the self. It is the act of a person bound to forever repeat the sin of the Garden. It asks, “Did God really say…?” and then answers with the proud proclamation of having ascended above the very throne of God Himself (Gen.3:1 NIV; Isa.14:13; Rom.10:6). The judged then becomes the judge.

Do not dare to proclaim judgment for yourself where God reserves it to Himself. Do not pretend to know the mind of God concerning every situation or even any situation. Instead, let God speak again and let him who judges rightly be the judge. Jesus did not even judge while on the earth, but left this to the Father. How much more so should we reserve judgment to “Him who judges justly” (1 Pet.2:23 NIV). By this, you will shut the mouth of judgmentalism!

You have, of late, begun to shift course and attempt to turn from the destruction that would soon befall you. Do not loose heart in your struggle to be holy and yet a people of grace and mercy! Continue to change what has for too long been regarded as “principle” into what must become rightly the living command of God. Hear his voice calling your name and speaking into your situation. Do not allow for sin, but do not determine for yourselves what sin is. Allow the Holy Spirit to direct and guide you. Let the Holy One take the helm and guide you safely along in your blessed journey.

If only your “principles” had sooner been corrected and exchanged for the living command. That is, before there were countless persons treated with utter disregard in the rampage of the over-zealous and grace-deficient. The living command may yet restore much of what was damaged and once again give you the blessing promised (Joel 2:25). His judgment of you will be merciful if you will be merciful. It was our Lord Jesus who declared that in as much as you forgive others their sins (even personal sins against you), you will be forgiven yours (Matt.6:14-15; 7:12; 18:21-35). Therefore, forgive and be forgiven.

Let the living command of God be life to you and those around you. Walk in mercy, proclaiming the forgiveness of God to everyone that will receive it. Embrace and bless those that by “principle” are your enemies as if they were your brother or your neighbor (Rom.12:14, 17, 20-21). Love them and do not judge them, but let God deal with them (Rom.12:19). Plead to God for mercy on their behalf, whether those without voice or without the current will to plead for themselves (Matt.5:44). Perhaps God will grant them and yourself the mercy that is so desperately and daily needed.

Even more so, love those that are of the family of God (Rom.12:10; Gal.6:10). Pray for them, have mercy on them, forgive them, do not judge, but do confront in love and with all humility (Gal.6:1-5). Treat sin seriously and do not allow ongoing rebellion against the living command of God. Break fellowship when demanded, but seek earnestly to restore fellowship freely (1 Cor.5-6; Gal.6:1; Eph.5:5-7). While holding your pastoral and elder leadership responsible to right living, do not treat them by principle, but treat them as living persons before the living God. Encourage them and uphold them in prayer that the gospel might spread ever wider and with greater power (Matt.9:38; 1 Tim.2:1-4). Pray that they might lead by the living command of God, guided by the ever-speaking Holy Spirit.

Finally, I do commend those of you that have been brave enough to warn the others of the impending doom of your misguided course. There have been many voices (may there be many more) and their crescendo has risen as they give notice of the crashing waves against the rock of legalism. Your Assemblies must not continue headlong towards the beckoning and bewitching voices of “Self-Righeousness” and “Judgmentalism”. You must resist their call at every turn. Lend your ear instead to the overwhelming harmony of Grace and Mercy cried loudly upon Calvary’s tree and hear again the victorious melody, “Do this and you shall live” (Luke 10:28 NIV).

Your Fellow Traveler and Coworker In Christ,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (Vol. 6 of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works; Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005), 220.
[2] Ibid., 220.
[3] Ibid., 222.
[4] Ibid., 225, 233.
[5] Ibid., 136.
[6] Ibid., 142.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Myth and Meaning (That Won't Last?)

N.T.Wright has made a brief video over at Biologos where he discusses "myth" in relation to Genesis 1-3.  He (as many others I've read) suggest that "myth" is a perfectly acceptable term referring to something which is true even if not historical in the sense of a strictly historical account (he even says those who reject "myth" in relation to Genesis should "lighten up" since the meaning is what really matters in the account).  "Myth" therefore suggests some greater meaning behind the "history" of the text.  It is meaning-laden and not simply a recounting of events.  While it is certainly true that the portions of Scripture purporting historical accounts indeed convey more meaning that goes beyond a simple recounting of events, yet does greater meaning imply lack of historical veracity?  This notion seems (all too) often to be applied to Genesis (but only the first 11 chapters), but not to other portions of Scripture like the Gospels.  I find this phenomenon fascinating and disturbing at the same time. 

Kudos to those who can (inconsistently) hold to such views and maintain their faith in the historicity of the life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and see this same essential belief as non-essential regarding the very creation of the world and the fall into sin.  If the "meaning" is all that matters and not the "fact" or historicity of an event then why do they still hold to such concerning Jesus?  Because this is considered essential to faith in the revelation given.  Why then do they deny the historicity of Genesis 1-11?  Because they have "evidence" that tells them otherwise (i.e., the geological record, apparent age of the cosmos, etc.).  But doesn't the "evidence" also tell us that people are not born of virgins?  Doesn't the "evidence" also tell us that the dead stay dead (especially after being assured of death and being buried)?  I'm not sure why the "evidence" concerning beginnings should be deemed more credible (considering it is completely impossible to reproduce and therefore belongs more to philosophical science than experiential) than the evidence concerning how people are born and die? 

While I would never say that anyone who denies the clear statements of Genesis as referring to historical events (albeit events of great meaning) cannot be saved...but if such foundational doctrines as creation, the imaging of God, human origins, and the beginning of sin and death can be dismissed as simply meaningful (i.e. "myth") and not historical, then where will that leave those who follow in our footsteps and no longer care to hold to other "meaningful" events as indeed historical (i.e., the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus).  Will such "meaning" last in the face of rejecting the historicity of the events?  Only time will tell...

Remember Me...

As I was reading Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007) today I was struck by several comments made in regard to "remembering" (specifically in reference to John's Gospel account) and how they might relate to the "remembering" of the Lord's Supper. In light of the "remembering" concerning Christ that occurs after the resurrection of our Lord (and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit), there is something profound that occurs at the table of the Lord.
The Resurrection teaches us a new way of makes it possible to enter into the interiority of the events into the intrinsic coherence of God's speaking and acting (pg.232).
The "remembering" is not simply an intellectual assent to bare facts (like remembering some event that occured in the past), but a "remembering" that is vivified by the Holy Spirit; it gives life to those who "remember" and death to those who partake of it in an "unworthy manner" and thereby are disdaining the body and blood of Christ (see 1 Cor.11:27-30). It is a "remembering" that incorporates us into the hidden life of Christ; incorporates us into the very real life of the Trinity.  It is a "remembering" that changes is both of thought, word and action.  It is a "remembering" that bridges the gap of 2000 years and participates in the ever present life of the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus who is now seated at the right hand of the Father where we are already present with Him (Eph.2:6) and where He is already present with us by His indwelling and empowering Spirit (Matt.28:20).
This remembering is an understanding under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; by remembering, the believer enters into the depth of the event and sees what could not be seen on an immediate and merely superficial level....This remembering is no mere psychological or intellectual process; it is a pneumatic event [i.e., an event imbued with the Pneuma, or the Holy Spirit]. The Church's remembering is not merely a private affair; it transcends the sphere of our own human understanding and knowing. It is a being-led by the Holy Spirit, who shows us the connectedness of Scripture, the connection between word and reality, and, in doing that, leads us "into all truth" (pgs.233-234).
I certainly reject transubstantiation concerning Communion, but affirm a real presence of Christ by the Holy Spirit that does not actually involve a changing of the elements of the bread and cup. Christ is truly present in the "remembering" that is empowered by the Holy Spirit...the "remembering" that proclaims Christ Jesus death until he comes again (1 Cor.11:26).  May we "remember" until that glorious Day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons

Anyone wishing to come to grips with the complexities of the doctrine of God would do well to read this magisterial volume by T. F. Torrance. His writing style is dense and his theological reflection truly mature. He argues from an extensive (and breath-taking) familiarity with the Church Fathers wherein he interacts with their works. His presentation is both thoroughly ecumenical and evangelical (something not usually found anywhere with any great regularity). He certainly deserves a wider reading than he has tended to receive in American Evangelicalism (which has perhaps been denied him by his close connection to Karl Barth as both a student and translator). I pray others find the joy of taking the time to wade through the depths of this volume (and others by Torrance) and thereby draw ever nearer our Great Lord and Savior. With the forgoing stated...below I offer my own brief précis of the work.

The Christian Perspective; The Biblical Frame; The Trinitarian Mind
Any proper description of God must begin with God’s Trinitarian self-revelation. God is unknowable and indescribable apart from this self-revelation and through God’s self-revelation we may now humbly know and speak of God in perfect accord with this revelation. The self-revelation is most clearly made known in the Word of God. God’s act and being are in perfect harmony in His Word and therefore provide the only sure basis upon which to know God. The Word as the One who reveals God is testified to most truly in the Scriptures as by the witness of the Spirit of God. The Word made flesh perfectly reveals the Spirit and the Father, it is only in this revelation that Father, and Spirit may be known as Father and Spirit, and the Word as Son. The revelation of God also conceals God in his ineffable glory. The only way to know God is through His revelation in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the center. He sets aside all human conceptions of God and reveals God as He truly is – Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. God is unknowable apart from Christ Jesus. He is the Revelation of God – the true mystery and revelation of God bound in his being and doing.

One Being, Three Persons; Three Persons, One Being
God has revealed Himself as “I AM” and as such we must confess God as One, but understand that to properly speak of God as One (as to His ousia or being) is to speak of God as perfect fellowship with and for the other. The three persons (or hypostasis) of the Trinity are not extracted from the One but are inherent to the One. He is the I AM and I will be – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Father in relation to the Son and is only knowable as the Father through the Son by the Spirit. The Son is the Son in relation to the Father and is only knowable as the Son by the Spirit from the Father. The Spirit is the Spirit in relation to procession from the Father (as Monarchia) and communion with and between the Father and Son. The one Act of God is grounded in the one essential Being of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While God has made Himself known in this very human manner, yet humanity cannot fully comprehend nor define God in His being and necessarily needs the ongoing revelation (grounded in the once for all revelation) of the eternal, free and interpenetrating grace and love of the One God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity; The Sovereign Creator; The Unchangeableness of God
Perichoresis is the way the inter-relatedness as to being and doing, which both identifies and distinguishes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was described by the Church Fathers. It affirms the equality being and doing of Jesus as the being and doing of the Father and the Spirit, while also maintaining the distinction within the inter-relatedness of the being and doing of the Trinity. The Monarchia of God is not to be conceived as belonging only to any one of the Trinity but to the Trinity as a whole, while recognizing the distinction held in the perichoretic inter-penetrative relations of the Trinity. The Father in the absolute sense of ousia is God, but in the relational sense of hypostasis is Father of the Son. Thus the Spirit properly proceeds through the Son from the Father as to the ousia, the one Monarchia or koinonia of God. The Father, Son and Spirit are true God of true God and as such in their perichoretic relation the activity of creation, redemption, and reconciliation is carried out. Who God is and what God does are to be identified as indistinguishable. The act of creation, redemption and reconciliation are inherent to God as eternal Father, though enacted temporally. Thus, God reveals the love that belongs rightly to His inner being and inner relatedness through the act of creation, redemption and reconciliation and this is particularly evident in the incarnation. In the incarnation, the freedom of God’s love is manifest and poured out in power to give life. The providential care of God can only be understood properly in light of the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. God who is perfectly correlated in “Word and Act and Person” is dynamically unchangeable. The newness of the Act of God in creation, redemption and reconciliation belongs to the free inter-related unchangeableness of God’s being. In Christ Jesus, the dynamically unchangeable God faithfully and freely binds the temporal and the eternal in His love.

Torrance, Thomas F. The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2006.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Books of 2009/2010

In the spirit of New Year's resolutions...and reflecting on the previous year...I thought I'd share some of my most memorable book reads of 2009 (most of the books I've read just aren't nearly so memorable and some are downright BORING even for me :-) --

Barth, Karl. Dogmatics in Outline. Harper torchbooks, TB56. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959.
Barth, Karl. The Humanity of God. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1960.
Basil, and David Anderson. On the Holy Spirit. Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980.
Batterson, Mark. In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Sisters, Or: Multnomah Publishers, 2006.
Blocher, Henri. In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1984.
Konkel, August H. 1 & 2 Kings. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2006.
Newbigin, Leslie. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society. S. P. C. K., 1989.
Newbigin, Leslie. The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans, 1982.
Tolkien, J. R. R., Tolkien, Christopher, and Lee, Alan. The Children of Hurin. Paw Prints, 2009.
Treier, Daniel J. Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2008.
Walton, John H. Genesis : from Biblical Text ... to Contemporary Life. The NIV application commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2001.
Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009.
Watson, Wilfred G. E. Classical Hebrew Poetry: A Guide to Its Techniques. Journal for the study of the Old Testament, 26. Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, Dept. of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, 1984.

...and some of the books I'm looking forward to (resolved to???) reading in 2010 just for the fun of it and think will be well worth the read (just what my wife wanted to hear me say...that I'm going to read more this year :-) --
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, and Clifford J. Green. Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Vol. 1. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, and John W. de Gruchy. Letters and Papers from Prison. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works Vol. 8. Minneapolis: Fortress, (due to be published in) 2010.
Herodotus, Robin Waterfield, and Carolyn Dewald. The Histories. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press, 1998.
Piper, John. The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, 1983.
Piper, John. The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2007.
(Ratzinger, Joseph) Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration. New York: Doubleday, 2007.
Wright, N. T. The New Testament and the People of God. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.

Year in Review

2009 was a particularly memorable year for me. The following is not really arranged in any particular order (other than how things come to mind for me):

I broke my first bone EVER -- it was my nose (and I did it by punching MYSELF in the face even).

I've had multiple surgeries to try to 'fix' my pain problem that has persisted now for nearly 5 months. In the course of pain I've been inundated by the love and compassion of my church family and friends.

I shared preaching/teaching on "Last Things" in a 7 week long series with a Baptist pastor friend (thanks Dave!).

I took a fishing trip to West Virginia with my Dad, Father-in-Law and brothers-in-law that involved 24 hours straight for driving there and another for coming back and LOTS of 'feeding' the multitudes of river trout that we watched meandering around.

I started work on yet another 'dead' language...Ugaritic (as if Jenn could handle me working on yet another one :-).

I crossed the half-way mark for finishing my Master of Divinity (63 credits as of the end of 2009) and officially started work on my thesis (I can almost see "the end"...or should I say the beginning of Ph.D. work???).

I took my family (wife and four kids) on a three week driving vacation (longest vacation time ever and also the most relaxing and fun ever) to Myrtle Beach, Washington, D.C. and NYC (as well as spending many fun-filled days with family and friends -- both old and new -- all across this great land of ours)...WOW...Minnesota (especially where we live in NW Minnesota) is a LONG ways from anywhere.

Looking forward to whatever 2010 holds for the Wadholm clan! The Lord is Good!