Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Archive for May 2015

Behind the Bow Tie: A profile of Dr. Robert Plummer

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Here is a nice video profile of my former hermeneutics professor, Dr. Robert Plummer, a New Testament professor at Southern Seminary. I loved going to class with Dr. Plummer. He is friendly, engaging, and well-loved on the seminary campus. His hermeneutical approach is outlined in a book released by Kregel a few years ago, “40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible.” It’s an excellent book and I commend it to you. In addition he hosts a website called “Daily Dose of Greek” in which someone can learn how to read the Greek NT from the ground up. I watch Dr. Plummer’s Greek video updates every day, which is a great way to keep my Greek fresh.

Written by Josh Philpot

May 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Kevin Vanhoozer, Drama King

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Over at Christian Today, Wesley Hill has a fascinating bio of theologian Kevin Vanhoozer that is worth your time: 

Formerly a senior lecturer at Edinburgh University, now a longtime research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, Vanhoozer is one of the biggest names in academic theology. The author of six books and the editor of at least a dozen more, his sessions at the annual American Academy of Religion and Evangelical Theological Society meetings are always overflowing.

But in and through all the groundbreaking research and years of teaching, Vanhoozer views himself principally as one who practices the “care of words.”

“Theology is a bridging exercise,” he says. “We’re always trying to reach people.” The way Vanhoozer does it is by looking for the playful, visionary, creative angle from which to speak and write.

Read the rest here: Kevin Vanhoozer, Drama King | Christianity Today

Written by Josh Philpot

May 28, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Richard Hays on Gospel-Shaped Hermeneutics

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Last weekend I attended a lecture by Richard B. Hays at the Lanier Theological Library. I read Hays’ new book, “Reading Backwards,” last year and it’s excellent. This lecture was an overview of that book. The library usually posts their lectures for free here, but this most recent one is not up yet. The central thesis or aim of the lecture of the view that the Gospels teach us how to read the OT, and—at the same time—the OT teaches us how to read the Gospels. Or, as Hays reiterates over again, we learn to read the OT by reading backwards, and—at the same time—we learn how to read the Gospels by reading forwards from the OT. In the lecture, Hays offered Seven Proposals for Gospel-Shaped Hermeneutics: 

  1. A Gospel-shaped hermeneutic actually requires us to “read backwards,” and the meaning of the narrative of the OT can only be understood in retrospect. Hays was careful to point out that this hermeneutic does not require the view that the OT authors knew the full implications of their words. 
  2. Scripture must be interpreted in light of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. 
  3. The diverse use of OT texts in the Gospels summon us to read their narratives creatively and not rigidly. 
  4. In the view of the Gospel writers, Israel’s scripture told the true story of the world, and thus we must give care attention to the large, narrative arc of the Bible. 
  5. Reading Israel’s story in retrospect (i.e. in light of Jesus) is not a negation of Israel’s history but a transfiguration and continuation of that history. 
  6. The diverse references and allusions to the OT are “metaleptic” (metalepsis), which Hays explains as the literary phenomenon that occurs when an author cites or alludes to a text in such a way as to bring the entire context of the citation into view. 
  7. The more deeply we probe the Jewish and OT world of the Gospel writers, the more we come to see that they understand Jesus to be the embodiment of Israel’s God. 

Hays did mention at one point that although he uses the term “figural” instead of “typological” he means essentially the same thing. He said that he avoids the term “type” so as not to add to the debate between typological and allegorical readings of the Bible. 

Written by Josh Philpot

May 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

Music in Wartime

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Peter Leithart posted an excellent essay today on how music helps the church in wartime, that is, when she is in immanent danger and under siege on all sides. He shows that in Scripture, music isn’t useless ornamentation. It is integral to warfare and to witness:

To warfare: Because kings make and play musical instruments. Because playing music is an extension of dominion over the world. Because David drove away evil spirits with his harp. Because God trained David’s sword-hand to fight and his harp-fingers for battle. Because David organized Levitical singers and players like an army. Because Jehoshaphat dispersed the Moabites and Ammonites with singers. Because we are filled with the Spirit of power to speak in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Because music disposes the soul to courage. Music makes happy warriors.

To witness: Because Miriam sang the song of the sea, testifying to the Lord. Because Moses sang the Song of Moses, testifying against Israel. Because exiles sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land. Because David composed the Lord’s songs in a land of strangers. Because we sing to declare the Name of the Lord. Because Paul and Silas sang til midnight in a Philippian jail, singing the jailer into the kingdom. Because Jesus sings in the midst of the congregation.

At the beginning of Revelation 14, John sees the Lamb standing on Zion, surrounded by the 144,000 who have been sealed on the forehead for priestly service. Like Jesus, each is simultaneously priest and sacrifice, each offering himself. Before they shed their blood, they learn the song of heaven. Before they join the company of martyrs, they join the choir of angels. And by shedding their blood, these singer-martyrs seal the doom of Babylon.

When things fall apart, the church needs are courageous witnesses who obey the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus no matter what. As we offer the breath of our bodies to God in music, we are prepared to offer our blood too. As living sacrifices offering our reasonable worship, we are prepared to offer our dying sacrifices, pouring ourselves out as drink offerings on the sacrifice and service of faith.

Read the whole thing via Music in Wartime | Theopolis Institute | Bible. Liturgy. Culture.: “”

Written by Josh Philpot

May 19, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Music, Worship

Trueman on Andy Stanley and People With Hard Lives

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I reviewed that dreadful book by Charles Stanley’s son recently, Andy Stanley. You know: people want to be happy, so just make them happy from the pulpit. Well Andy Stanley pastors a church of 100,000 people or something ridiculous, where presumably he’s well-insulated from people who are unhappy. But I’ve got people in my congregation who have hard lives. And I would be lying to them on a Sunday if I was to say to them, “You know, trust God, and your life’s going to get better, and you’re going to get happy.”

I can’t say to the person who is eighty, and they’re chopping bits of him away, slowly but surely, because he’s got gangrene in his foot, “Just believe, and you’ll be fine. Your foot will grow back.” No! I can’t do that for a person. What can I give him? I can give him the theology of the cross. I can say, “You know, the logic of the cross is that we enter paradise, ultimately, through suffering. In order to reach paradise you’ve got to die and be resurrected, and that’s horrible and painful, but it faces us all at some point.”

The logic of the cross is this: Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom. The second thief was the one guy that day who didn’t say, “Come down off the cross, and prove you’re the King of the Jews.” He effectively said, “Lord, I know you’re going to die, and through that you’re going to come into your kingdom. And when you get there, remember me.”

Being a theologian of the cross gives you something to say to real people who are suffering. To that person who is poor, and they don’t have many qualifications, and they’re living in bad housing, and they’re never going to live in anything but bad housing, what hope do you give that person? You give them the hope of the resurrection. Andy Stanley has nothing to say to those people. I don’t care if he pastors a church of a million people: he’s got nothing to say to them.

Via Andrew Wilson at Think Theology. The review he’s referring to can be found here.

Written by Josh Philpot

May 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Book Reviews, Culture