Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Peter Gentry on Daniel 9 and upcoming publications

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Over at My Digital Seminary there is an interview with Peter Gentry on Daniel 9:24-27. At the end of the interview he lists the projects he is currently working on, all of which are of interest for biblical studies: 

  • My magnum opus is a critical edition of Ecclesiastes for the Goettingen Septuaginta. Hope to finish it this summer. 
  • Steve Welllum and I are producing a 250-page abridgement of KTC. 
  • I am translating from French the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written, showing that it is a direct prophecy of the virgin Mary. 
  • I am working on a discourse grammar commentary on Isaiah (In the Hearing the Message of Scripture series). 
  • In collaboration with others, I am writing state of the art information on Origen and his Hexapla.”

I’m particularly interested in “the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written.” 

Written by Josh Philpot

November 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Old Testament

The Word of God in Our Mouths | Doxology and Theology

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Over at the Doxology and Theology blog I have a post on The Word of God in Our Mouths. Here’s an excerpt: 

The task of worship planning is a pastoral discipline. I say pastoral because the planning and leading of worship services is a matter of teaching good theology. Like any good pastor, we should desire to get the Word of God into our people at every point of the service, which means that we’re doing more than leading songs for our congregations: we’re putting words in their mouths. We’re causing our people to actually say specific words and to respond in specific ways. So what we do has great influence.

We’re giving our churches categories of understanding for doctrine and response. Through our liturgies we’re teaching them the gospel, the true nature and work of Jesus, and how we take part in the story of God reconciling all things through Christ. In this sense, our worship leading has more to do with formation/sanctification than it does with affection. There are some who plan services around what affects them emotionally. But our affections do not always change our actions. The truth of God does.

Read the rest here

Written by Josh Philpot

November 11, 2014 at 3:14 am

Posted in Theology, Worship

Chiastic Structure of Daniel

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In Jim Hamilton’s new book, “With Clouds of Heaven,” he proposes the following structure for the book of Daniel:

1, Exile to the unclean realm of the dead
     2, Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
          3, Deliverance of the trusting from the fiery furnace 
               4, Humbling of proud King Nebuchadnezzar
               5, Humbling of proud King Belshazzar
          6, Deliverance of the trusting from the lions’ den
     7–9, Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
10–12, Return from exile and resurrection from the dead

Hamilton then attempts to give the message of Daniel in one sentence: “Daniel encourages the faithful by showing them that though Israel was exiled from the land of promise, they will be restored to the realm of life at the resurrection of the dead, when the four kingdoms are followed by the kingdom of God, so the people of God can trust him and persevere through persecution until God humbles proud human kings, gives everlasting dominion to the son of man, and the saints reign with him” (83).  

Hamilton, James M., Jr. With Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology. New Studies in Biblical Theology 32. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2014.  

 

Written by Josh Philpot

August 21, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Old Testament, Theology

Jonathan Swift on “Wisdom”

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Keen insights from Jonathan Swift as described by the hack narrator in A Tale of a Tub

[W]isdom is a fox, who after long hunting, will at last cost you the pains to dig out. It is a cheese which, by how much the richer, has the thicker, the homelier, and the coarser coat, and whereof to a judicious palate the maggots are the best. It is a sack-posset, wherein the deeper you go you will find it the sweeter. Wisdom is a hen whose cackling we must value and consider, because it is attended with an egg. But then, lastly, it is a nut, which, unless you choose with judgment, may cost you a tooth, and pay you with nothing but a worm.

Written by Josh Philpot

August 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Books, Culture, Wisdom

Farewell Gungor

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Yesterday, an article was published in World Magazine about the uber-hipster artists Michael and Lisa Gungor and their drift from biblical orthodoxy in their music. Michael Gungor in particular seems to have “lost” his traditional faith at some point along the road, choosing to express in his music a spirituality mixed with some form of doubt. Apparently, Gungor has teamed up with the king of doubt, Mr. Rob Bell himself, to write poetry for a few new EPs, also collaborating with Rachel Held Evans in expressing how “God is mother.” 

The drift from traditional biblical orthodoxy is evident in Gungor’s earlier songs too, and anyone with a keen theological sense could probably see where Gungor was headed. In his 2013 song, “Yesternite,” Gungor writes, “Yesternite the gods they disappeared from sight / the angels flapped their wings and took their songs to flight / the shadows lift their hands and praise the light.” The article in World Magazine points to Gungor’s description of these lyrics on his blog, where he uses “gods” as a general mythological construct to represent the stories that “we thought were true, but no longer are. Stories that we lived by, defined ourselves with, but can no longer believe in.” Regarding Adam and Even or the biblical account of the flood, Gungor admits that he has “no more ability to believe in these things then I do to believe in Santa Claus.”

The news is very disappointing and sad, especially since Gungor’s music is so rich and creative from a musical standpoint, even if Gungor’s lyrics are ambivalent on the theological issues he addresses in his songs. Gungor’s most popular song, “Beautiful Things,” is often sung in churches:

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

I guess all of this is now in doubt from Gungor’s perspective. But we should be wary of doubt as a spiritually helpful way to evaluate our convictions and traditions. Jesus counseled his disciples with regard to his real nature and his power over the sea, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matt 14:31). Gungor may not perceive what he is doing, but he’s actually teaching people doctrine with his ambiguous language and, in my view, belittling God by casting doubt on God’s word. This reminds me Matthew 15:8-9. Quoting from Isaiah 29:13, Jesus says, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” 

Our convictions should rest in Jesus, whether we find him hard to believe or not. But the good thing is that Jesus is convincing, and he has given us the true story of the world and of our God. God does indeed make beautiful things out dust, and makes hope spring around us, and calls light out of chaos—through Jesus. And we should have faith in him and his word. His commandments are true and righteous altogether. Let’s not depart from them as Gungor has. 

Written by Josh Philpot

August 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Posted in Music, Theology, Worship

Reverberations of Exodus

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Peter Leithart offers the following critique of a new book, Reverberations of Exodus, which I bought recently but haven’t started:

What [the authors] miss is the cumulative inter-textuality of the Bible. If Joshua and Ezekiel are new Moseses who enact, somehow, new exoduses, then the New Testament allusions and echoes to exodus should reverberate across the whole [instead of in isolated texts]. When Jesus leads an exodus, he should be understood not just as new Moses but as new Moses-Joshua-Ezra-Ezekiel. By the time we get to the New Testament, exodus doesn’t strike a single note or an octave but a chord that reverberates, sometimes discordantly, throughout the Scriptures from the end to the beginning.

(Via Peter J. Leithart)

Written by Josh Philpot

July 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Academic workflows on a Mac

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Over at the Macademic blog there is a list of good software on the Mac that is particularly useful for academics, teaching, writing, etc. I’ve used most of the software on this list (or at least experimented with a lot of them), but everyone’s workflow is different. Some of these will only frustrate your writing experience, especially if you’re diving into a big project like a dissertation that has unparalleled citation and formatting demands. So tread lightly and don’t make an impulse purchase, if that is your temptation. When I began writing my dissertation I had hoped to use something other than Microsoft Word, but I quickly found out that other applications would be unacceptable for submission. I wrote my prospectus in Scrivener, but I had to spend a couple of days after it was completed just converting the file into a .doc for review. That process was a real pain, particularly with in-text citations and footnotes. The writing experience in Scrivener is excellent, however, just not suitable for the parameters of a dissertation. 

What software do I really need for academic work on Mac? | Academic workflows on a Mac

A. General tools

LaunchBar – a launcher and an automator (€24) /alt: Alfred, check here for comparison

TextExpander* – Mac typing shortcut utility (€35)

1Password* – password, identities and other sensitive information management (€40)

Dropbox* – file sharing (free) /alt: Box


B. File and e-mail organizing and management

Hazel – file management automator, indispensable for managing reference files (€20)

Papers – managing scientific articles, also used for annotation, citation and bibliographies in writing (see D); check Macademic reviews (€60) /alt: Sente, Bookends

Foxtrot – a professional search engine; “goodbye haystack, hello needle!” ($40 or $130 for the professional version) /alt: Leap, DevonThink, HoudahSpot

MailTags – tagging mail messages in Apple Mail ($30)

Mail Act-On – processing and organizing email with keyboard shortcuts in Apple Mail ($25)


C. Calendar, task and project management

Fantastical* – natural language calendaring, part of the Macademic Ninja Kit (€16)

BusyCal – professional calendar management (€40) /alt: Mac’s native Calendar

OmniOutliner* – outlining for brainstorming and project planning; also used for writing outlines (see D) ($50 or $100 for professional version) /alt: MindNote

OmniFocus* – unparalleled task management app extensively reviewed on Macademic; however tempting it is, don’t try to put all your life in there! ($40 or $80 for the professional version /alt: Things, TheHitList, TaskPaper


D. Note-taking, research and writing

NValt – plain text and markdown no-frills note-taking (free) /many alternatives

Evernote* – capturing text notes, documents, images, photos and screenshots and sharing them including on iOS devices (free with some paid features)

Ulysses – a rapidly evolving software for taking and organizing notes using searches, tags and folders; I use it extensively for teaching (€37) /many alternatives

OmniOutliner* – writing outlines, also used for project management (see C) ($50 or $99 for the professional version) /many alternatives

Byword* – simple and efficient text and markdown editor for Mac (€8) /many alternatives

Scrivener – writing software, especially suitable for theses and other complex texts ($45)

Pages* – Apple native word processor producing beautifully formatted documents, features sharing through iCloud (free with OS X) /alt: Mellel, Nisus

Microsoft Word for Mac – very powerful word processor, a standard for many publishers and in the Windows world, sometimes irreplaceable but should not be over- or misused (various pricing models) /alt: MellelNisus

Papers – citation and bibliography management, article annotation, also used for managing scientific articles (see B) (€59) /alt: Sente, Bookends, EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero

 

E. Data processing, presentation and graphic design


Microsoft Excel for Mac – an extremely powerful electronic spreadsheet (various pricing models) /alt: Numbers

OmniGraffle – vector graphic software for diagrams and other illustrations ($100 or $200 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Illustrator, iDraw

Keynote* – the most powerful presentation software with amazing possibilities (free with OS X) /alt: Microsoft Powerpoint, Prezi

PDFPen – editing pdf files ($60, $100 for the professional version) /alt: Adobe Acrobat

Written by Josh Philpot

July 5, 2014 at 11:43 am