Published during: February 2013

This at least seems to me the main problem for philosophers, and is in a manner the main problem of this book. How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? How can this queer cosmic town, with its many-legged citizens, with its monstrous and ancient lamps, how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town and the comfort and honour of being our own town?

—G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Bless Yahweh!

The following paper was prepared for Dr. Steven McKinion’s Hermeneutics class, with the constraint that it be between 600 and 625 words.

Psalm 103

The meaning of the text

In Psalm 103, David spirals out from a poetic meditation on Yahweh’s self-revelation in Exodus 34 into reflection on man’s finitude and a call to worship. He opens and closes the psalm with the refrain, “Bless Yahweh,” directing the call to praise to his own soul, the angels, the mighty ones who do Yahweh’s word, Yahweh’s hosts, Yahweh’s ministers, and ultimately to “all his works in all places of his dominion”—that is, to everything, everywhere.

Yahweh is worthy of worship by all—by men, by angels, by all his works—in light of his character, his steadfast love, and his righteousness. Read on, intrepid explorer →

And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father— doing this, moreover, of His loving-kindness, to the end that, firstly, all being held to have died in Him, the law involving the ruin of men might be undone (inasmuch as its power was fully spent in the Lord’s body, and had no longer holding-ground against men, his peers), and that, secondly, whereas men had turned toward corruption, He might turn them again toward incorruption, and quicken them from death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of the Resurrection, banishing death from them like straw from the fire.

—Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word of God

He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery— lest the creature should perish, and His Father’s handiwork in men be spent for naught— He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours.

—Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word of God

The negative regard with which too many in the Free Church have approached the pre-Reformation church has prevented them from seeing that Christ’s promise to build his church and cause it to prevail against the “gates of Hell” (Matt. 16:18) pertains no less to this period [between the apostles and the Reformation] of church history. This promise was meant not merely for evangelical churches! Christ is himself the head of his body which is the church (Eph. 4:16). This is the church which Christ loves and for which he gave himself up in order “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:27). To understand these words in solely spiritualist or eschatalogical terms would do an injustice to the present sense of the passage, by refusing to see that Christ’s establishing the church in holiness is a part of the process of every age since his ascension.

—Daniel H. Williams, Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants

Revelation and Salvation in Psalm 19

The following paper was prepared for Dr. Steven McKinion’s Hermeneutics class, with the constraint that it be between 600 and 625 words.

Psalm 19

The Meaning of the Text

Broadly speaking, the Psalm runs from revelation to salvation. David begins with natural revelation: in verses 1–4a he indicates that the heavens declare the glory of God, and in verses 4b–6 he illustrates this thesis with the sun. He then considers supernatural revelation in the form of Yahweh’s word: his law, testimony, precepts, commandment, rules, and (interestingly) the fear of him. These, he declares, are better than gold and sweeter than honey; they warn and reward.

He then turns toward salvation: he admits he cannot see his own sins clearly, recognizes the need for innocence even of hidden failings, and pleads for salvation from willful sins. Concluding, he pleads that he might be acceptable to Yahweh.

Yahweh’s self-revelation is undeniable and gloriously good, and salvation from the guilt and power of sin are to be found only in him. Read on, intrepid explorer →

This emphasis on the glory of God is far more than a decorative flower on the Great Commission. More than ever we must work together with a shared passion that Christ be named and that Christ is praised in every people. A “doxological” (having to do with glory) vision of world evangelization offers practical wisdom essential for the finishing of the remaining task.

—Steven C. Hawthorne, “The Story of His Glory”, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement