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HOT OFF THE PRESSES!

Peter J. Leithart & John Barach, eds., The Glory of Kings: A Festschrift in Honor of James B. Jordan (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011).

Foreword — R. R. Reno

Introduction — Peter J. Leithart

PART ONE: BIBLICAL STUDIES

1. The Glory of the Son of Man: An Exposition of Psalm 8 — John Barach

2. Judah’s Life from the Dead: The Gospel of Romans 11 — Tim Gallant

3. The Knotted Thread of Time: The Missing Daughter in Leviticus 18 — Peter J. Leithart

4. Holy War Fulfilled and Transformed: A Look at Some Important New Testament Texts — Rich Lusk

5. The Royal Priesthood in Exodus 19:6 — Ralph Allan Smith

6. Father Storm: A Theology of Sons in the Book of Job — Toby J. Sumpter

PART TWO: LITURGICAL THEOLOGY

7. On Earth as It Is in Heaven: The Pastoral Typology of James B. Jordan — Bill DeJong

8. Why Don’t We Sing the Songs Jesus Sang? The Birth, Death, and Resurrection of English Psalm Singing — Duane Garner

9. Psalm 46 — William Jordan

PART 3: THEOLOGY

10. A Pedagogical Paradigm for Understanding Reformed Eschatology with Special Emphasis on Basic Characteristics of Christ’s Person — C. Kee Hwang

11. Light and Shadow: Confessing the Doctrine of Election in the Sixteenth Century — Jeffrey J. Meyers

PART FOUR: CULTURE

12. James Jordan, Rosenstock-Huessy, and Beyond — Richard Bledsoe

13. Theology of Beauty in Evdokimov — Bogumil Jarmulak

14. Empire, Sports, and War — Douglas Wilson

Afterword — John M. Frame

The Writings of James B. Jordan, 1975–2011 — John Barach

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When I wrote my commentary on Ecclesiastes A Table in the Mist I took Eccl. 11:1-2 as a reference to the risk of international trade. It sure did seem to me like a reference to Solomon’s risky trade with other nations. Israel exported grain (bread) and Solomon’s ships returned to him with rich cargoes (1 Kings 5:1-12). This seems to fit with the theme of chapter 11. Solomon is issuing a call to be boldly generous and lavishly good to our neighbors.

But now I wonder if there’s another way to understand these verses.

Cast your bread into the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen in the land.

Michael Homan believes that Solomon is advocating the brewing and serving of beer (“Beer Production by Throwing Bread into Water: A New Interpretation of Qoh IX.1-2,” Vestus Testamentum 52:2 [2002]: 275-278).

This looks really promising. First, there are all the references in Ecclesiastes to wine. Solomon advises godly folk to “drink wine” and enjoy life (9:7) with one’s spouse. And this exhortation to make beer and share it with others fits with the idea that the troubles of this life are best alleviated with a joyful reception of food and drink with others (2:24, 25; 3:13; 5:11, 18; 8:15; 9:7).

Secondly, beer is just liquid bread. Or perhaps we should say, as James Jordan puts it, beer is glorified liquid bread. So casting your bread (grain) in the water and waiting many days to find it is about the process of fermentation, especially the anticipation of a glorious final brew.

Third, it needs to be stressed that in the Bible beer and wine are gifts of God given to gladden the hearts of the faithful, especially in times of trouble and distress. Proverbs 31:6 says, “Give beer to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress.” This fits with the last line of 11:2, “for you know not what disaster may happen on the earth.”

Fourth, the social context of this drinking is stressed in 11:2a, “Give a serving to seven, or even to eight.” As Homan notes, “The inclusion of “seven” or “eight” people in Qoh. xi 2 fits with the context of beer drinking as a social event.11 And finally, the term plq, “serving”, is also used for distribution of food to Levites (Deut, xviii 8) and at a festival com- memorating the ark’s entry into Jerusalem, when David distributes victuals to the people (2 Sam. vi 19).”

All of this fits in quite well with Solomon’s conclusion to the book. It highlights the fact that the way to cope with the vaporous quality of human life is to enjoy food and drink, especially wine and beer with others in the Lord’s presence.

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A Lenten Sermon
Providence Presbyterian Church
February 10, 2002
Text: John 18:28-40

by Pastor Jeffrey J. Meyers

With a little help this morning, I think you will be able see from the way this story is written, from the details that John has selected, what the Holy Spirit wants us to think about.

We are too used to reading the Gospels stories of Jesus arrest, trial,  condemnation, and death from a devotional perspective and so miss a lot of what’s going on.   We actually have a difficult time trying to figure out the meaning of the details of the story.  Of course, we will defend the historicity of the details of the story against unbelieving academics and liberal churchman.  But why these details? Why any details at all?

John, of course, has already wonderfully summarized things in chapter 1 and 3.  “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” and “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.”  But what does God’s provision of a lamb for the sins of the world have to do with this long story of what happens to Jesus the night before he dies?  What does God loving the world have to do with the machinations and conspiracies of Judas, the High Priests, Pilate, and the Jewish crowds?  A great deal, truly, but we will have to learn to read them a bit differently.

You see, here in the narrative of Jesus’ arrest and trial and condemnation we have a somewhat surprising perspective—it does not contradict or compete with the other apostolic explanations of Jesus’ death, rather, it complements and enriches them. Remember, the meaning of death of Jesus is far richer than we are often used to acknowledging. (more…)

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What follows is a debate that took place on my Facebook page last October (2009). It really shouldn’t be allowed to slip down the wormhole of past FB posts. It’s worth reviewing. Perhaps my RC sparring partner, Bryan Cross, will want to add something to this.

It began with me posting a quotation from Martin Luther on enforced priestly celibacy:

. . . the pope has as little power to give this command as he has to forbid eating, drinking, the natural processes. . . No one, therefore, is duty bound to keep this commandment, and the pope is responsible for all the sins that are committed against this ordinance, for all the souls lost thereby, and for all the consciences thereby confused and tortured (Plass, What Luther Says, p. 888).

That was the catalyst for the following debate. (The reader should know that my FB rules forbid posting links to Roman Catholic propaganda sites in comments. That will explain a few lacunae in the flow of the argument.)

1. Kevin Branson: The Church has deemed it best that her ministers be single, and celibate, as Paul deemed it best. At present, the Church therefore requires a vow of celibacy from priests. Someday, that could change, and in certain situations exceptions are made even now, but ordinarily, them’s the rules. Nobody puts a gun to a priest’s head and forces them to take a vow of celibacy, nor did anyone force Luther to do so. It was his own choice, as it was his own choice to break his vow of celibacy.

2. Shawn Honey: Celibacy was chosen by Paul and he recommended it to others; it was not bound upon him from the outside, nor did he bind others to it. Peter chose to marry as did other Apostles and, presumably, countless elders (“husband of one wife…”). I think the point pertains to whether a church has the right to bind the consciences of its ministers in a way that Scripture seems to speak against.

3. Craig Lawrence Brann: True as Mr. Branson’s points are, it remains that the Apostle Paul had good reason for suggesting that men facing an apocolypse not be wed and likewise that women not become pregnant—this counsel was not at all timeless or abstract and it really is one of the roman church’s silliest Order’s to make apology for. Wasn’t it the same Apostle who called forbidding marriage a, ‘doctrine of demons.’ Hardly a class of teaching that ought only be obtained by the clergy!

4. Jeff Meyers: Good points, Sean. Remember, too, that the 1 Tim 3 passage (“husband of one wife”) is about the qualifications for “bishop” (episkopos).

5. Jeff Meyers: Craig, right on. Enforced celibacy for pastors is demonic, as Paul says.
(more…)

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Readers of the BH blog will be interested in reading or listening to the presentations made a few days ago here in Dallas at the Colloquium on the Efficacy of the Sacraments. Will Barker, Rob Rayburn, Ligon Duncan, and Jeff Meyers (me) all made 30-minute presentations. You can find the links to the papers and the audio lectures here.

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We at Biblical Horizons have been interested in understanding the biblical texts on “sacrifice” for at least a couple of decades. There are a number of excellent tape sets from past BH conferences with great lectures on this topic. This morning one of the seminary students in my church forwarded me a link to a video of a “Jewish Priestly Passover Sacrifice.”

Unfortunately, I cannot embed it, so you’ll have to trust me that this link won’t take you to something inappropriate. Make sure you heed the warnings before you watch the video. If you are not a farmer or a hunter or used to killing and preparing game to eat, you might be grossed out.

(more…)

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“. . . and just when are you guys going to live up to your Sons of Thunder reputation? Huh? A lot of us are wondering about you two.” With that, the young man got up, climbed down the ladder, and stalked up the street toward the old city.

Jacob turned from watching the man and looked at his brother. This was not the first time he saw that expression on Johanan’s face. What was it? Bewilderment mixed with sadness maybe, but then too a hint of fear. Jacob empathized. For months now they had been hearing similar angry speeches. The younger men especially were given to reacting to the persecution with a show of strength, even force. Every apostle in Jerusalem has been approached with similar proposals. But now the situation appeared to have gotten worse. This man reported on activity that crossed the line. He actually urged them to join with the resistance.

(more…)

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