Congratulations to Dr. Barry Joslin!

Paternoster's Biblical Monographs SeriesCongratulations to my best friend of 22 years, Dr. Barry Joslin of Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. I found out today that Paternoster will be publishing his dissertation in their Biblical Monographs series. Barry’s book will be an important contribution to the study of the theology of the book of Hebrews. It’s titled The Theology of the Mosaic Law in Hebrews 7-10.

Barry’s dissertation will be the third monograph appearing in this series by a graduate of Southern Seminary’s Ph.D. program. The other two that I know of are by Rob Plummer and Shawn Wright.

So, I just wanted to give a hearty “atta boy” to Barry and to Southern Seminary. Keep up the good work!

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‘Wow, look at that.’

Dr. T. J. BettsThe Baptist Press reports that my good friend Dr. T. J. Betts witnessed a Hezbollah rocket attack while he was on an archeological dig in Israel last week. T. J. heard the explosion and saw the smoke billowing up after the rocket detonated about a mile from where he was working. My favorite part of the report is T. J.’s understated reaction to the attack: “Wow, look at that.”

I’m happy to learn that T. J. and his team are now evacuated and back in the U. S. You can read the rest of T. J.’s story here: “Prof witnesses rocket attack at Israeli archaeological site.”

Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend

This one’s for the boys. As I write this, I have in mind you single guys who read this blog. When it comes to dating, too many guys are more influenced by the spirit of the age than by the Spirit of God. I hope that you will take a few minutes and give careful attention to “Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend” by Michael Lawrence. Here’s a teaser: Continue reading Stop Test Driving Your Girlfriend

Barry Breaks-in to Blogosphere

Denny & Barry at RA camp-out, circa 1985My best friend of 22 years, Barry Joslin, has a new blog, on which he has posted a favorable review of a certain book (a book whose name I don’t want to mention seeing as how I don’t want to appear self-serving, though please don’t expect me to direct your attention to any negative reviews of said book 🙂 ).

Go check out Barry’s new site. As the kids say, it’s da bomb!

Book Notice

Articular Infinitives in the Greek of the New TestamentThank the Lord! The book is done and has been published in Sheffield Phoenix Press’s New Testament Monographs series. The book is number 14 in the series, and the title is Articular Infinitives in the Greek of the New Testament: On the Exegetical Benefit of Grammatical Precision.

As you can tell from the title, this book promises to be a real page-turner. I fully anticipate for my wife and me to be able to retire on the proceeds that I will receive from this blockbuster treatise. This book will likely be the surprise hit of the summer, and I expect it will be flying off book store shelves so fast it will make The Prayer of Jabez look like a backwater snail race. Look out Purpose Driven Life! Here I come!

Seriously though, last year some readers of this blog sent me suggestions for a title that might be more appealing to a broader Christian audience. Here are some of my favorites: Continue reading Book Notice

A Song for Family and Friends Waiting for Rita

“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”
By William Cowper (1731-1800)

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

What do college students do when they aren’t studying?

Denny and Rev. Lipscomb(Right: My Greek teacher Rev. James Lipscomb and I during one of our tutoring sessions at his home in Ruston, LA , circa 1994.)

What do college students do when they aren’t studying?” According to the Wall Street Journal’s Naomi Riley’s review of two books about college life, college students are primarily engaged in idleness.

No, they are not studying and going to class forty hours a week. They certainly are not becoming avid readers. Rather, they are in pursuit of the ideal represented in their ubiquitous watchword: “fun.” “Fun” includes among other things a great deal of binge drinking (often beginning on Thursday night and going through the weekend) and frequent casual sexual encounters.

This sad state of affairs comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the decline of university life over the last thirty years or so. We are no longer shocked by Jay Leno’s undergraduate “Jay Walking All-Stars” who don’t even know who the vice-president of the United States is. We simply assume that a significant number of undergraduates will be idle dead-heads who really don’t learn that much by the end of their seven years of college.

There was a time in the history of higher education in America when going to college meant going to get an education. To be an undergraduate student was more than merely hanging around old buildings with books in them.

My own undergraduate experience began with the same shiftlessness portrayed in Ms. Riley’s article (minus the partying and dissipation). Academically speaking, I was just there to get a piece of paper. Somebody told me I needed that paper, so I was there to get it. I had no clue about how an education could enrich one’s life and faith. But that all changed during my sophomore year.

During my second year in college, I entered into a profound crisis of faith. As a result of one professor in particular and a few other key influences, I came to doubt the reliability of the sourcebook of my faith: the Bible. It was as if someone had yanked the rug out from under me and I had no where else to stand.

But God used this spiritual and emotional crisis to drive me to a whole new perspective on Him and my education. In addition to being driven back to the Bible, I became blood-earnest about understanding history, philosophy, theology and all the other big worldview disciplines that have impacted Christianity over the centuries.

For me, it wasn’t an academic exercise, it was a matter of spiritual life and death to understand the Bible and where it came from, to understand the history of theology, and to think God’s thoughts after others who have gone before.

My love of the Greek Bible began in earnest during this period because I knew that I had to read this book for myself. I could no longer allow the secularists to tell me what the Bible is, what it is saying, and where it came from. I had to know God’s revelation for myself or I felt as if I would drown in the morass of conflicting opinions about it.

I’m not saying that everyone’s experience should be like mine or that everyone should go to college so that they can become a New Testament professor. What I am saying is that an education is not coextensive with a piece of paper. Many people with the piece of paper don’t have an education.

An education relates to how we view the mind that God has given us. Are we going to be passive receptacles for the world’s tripe, or will we discipline ourselves for the glory of God to learn about Him and the world in which He’s put us? An education is not just about knowledge (though it certainly includes that!), but it is also the formation of our character under God and the shaping of our minds according to a biblical worldview.

I fear that the majority of what passes for undergraduate education today is very far from such an ideal. May God allow us to see this tide turned in our generation for the glory of God.

(For more on philosophical and theological roots of the current crisis, see my review of George Marsden’s The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief.)