The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jul 29, 2016

The 2016 Bible Faculty Summit

This week my father and I had the privilege of attending the annual "Bible Faculty Summit" (this year hosted by Maranatha Baptist University, Watertown WI). Here's a brief description of the papers:

1. Troy Manning of Bibles International (an excellent ministry that focuses on Bible translation) presented their "philosophy of ministry"--less an academic paper, compared to the others, and more an attempt to get critical feedback from fellow academics. Troy Manning is a brilliant guy with Ph.D. who has truly immersed himself in Bible translation ministry, especially to people groups that do not have the Word of God.

2. Johnathan Cheek, a Ph.D. candidate at Bob Jones University, explored "Jesus' Interaction  with the World." This is part of his dissertation on a NT "theology of the world." The main focus of this paper was how we should view Jesus' interaction (e.g., dinners) with tax collectors, sinners, etc.

3. Dr. Bruce Compton, from Detroit Theological Seminary, wrote on "The Design and Extent of Christ's Atonement," defending an atonement that is unlimited in "provision" but limited in "application." Dr. Compton, however, does so from a Calvinist perspective (and, in Q&A, stated that he would strongly differ from an Arminian perspective that prevenient grace is the foundation for an unlimited atonement).

4. What I would consider the highest quality paper at this seminar, as far as structure, flow of thought,  and unique contribution, would be Mark L. Ward's paper on "The Story of Arsenokoites according to BDAG." Rather than simply re-treading new ground about the meaning of the word (which refers to a male partner in a homosexual act), Ward's purpose is two-fold, that we might: 1. "learn the major outlines of the debate over arsenokoites so you can speak knowledgeably and persuasively about the Bible's teaching on homosexuality," and 2. "use the 'as-one-of-your-own-poets-hath-said' strategy by appealing to the authority of an honest and respectable mainline liberal Protestant, namely Frederick W. Danker, the D in BDAG." I feel Ward did an excellent job in fulfilling his stated purpose.
Dr. Ward has graciously given me a direct link to the paper for the readers of this blog. Click here.

5.  Ryan J. Martin gave us a chapter from his PhD dissertation at Central Seminary, a detailed look at "Human Affections in Pre-Modern Theology," to help us better "understand older ways of thinking about human affectivity" (in contrast to the modern idea of "emotions"). Martin examines how Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, William Ames, Peter van Mastricht, etc., influenced the theology of Johnathan Edwards.

6. My own presentation drew from research I did for my book Foreknowledge and Social Identity in 1 Peter (published by Wipf&Stock in 2014; click here) regarding the need to consider semantic range  (i.e., how a word was actually used in Koine Greek) when determining a word's meaning (specifically, for prognwsis and proginwskw). I definitely got more "push-back" on this paper than I've ever gotten before, including my 2 previous presentations at the Bible Faculty Summit and my 5 previous ETS presentations (1 national, 4 regional)! Most of the push-back revolved around my interpretation of Rom 8:29. I am grateful for the feedback, which has given me plenty of "food-for-thought" for revising and refining my argument.

7. What I felt was the most persuasive paper overall (as in, "did a good job of proving an argument I had never considered before) was by Dr. Brian Hand (seminary professor at Bob Jones University), on "The Prayer of Faith Will Save the Sick: Revisiting a Complex Passage in Light of Intertextuality and New Testament Context--James 5:13-18." Although the paper was actually a bit short on the intertexuality part, his overall argument, that astheneia here actually refers to spiritual weakness, as in discouragement or a "crisis of faith," was very convincing.

8. Brian Collins, who works  at BJU Press, gave us an excellent critique of "Progressive Covenantalism" vis-a-vis how it handles the land promises in Scripture. My main takeaway from this paper was the key point that, although the land promises are, in a sense, expanded to include the rest of the earth, this is inexorably linked with the Son of David ruling from Jerusalem as the Jewish Messiah.

9. Randy Leedy presented a very technical paper on "Does the Bible Allow Remarriage after Divorce Based on Adultery?" Leedy's contribution to the discussion was to note how the discussion of divorce in Matthew 5 is a sub-unit under the discussion of adultery. In other words, the entire pericope is not primarily meant to tell us when divorce is "allowable," but rather how divorce leads to adultery. Thus Jesus is refuting anybody who would say, "See, unlike those Gentiles, I'm actually divorcing my wife before taking another (prettier!) woman, so I must be okay!" Leedy also discusses the difficulty of reconciling Matthew 5:32 with 19:9.

10. Dr. Alan Patterson, veteran missionary to Japan (now retired from Japan but still heavily involved in missions and teaching missions) gave us "A Theology of Persecution: Biblical Counsel for Those Suffering for the Name of Christ," a paper that I hope will morph into a more comprehensive biblical and practical theology of persecution (which, I think, would fill a niche in missiological texts).

11. My fellow Southeastern alumnus, Greg Steikes, did a fascinating paper on "Natural Theology and Truth: Does Thomism Augment Belief in the Resurrection," a very balanced approach to the issue of evidential apologetics in regards to Jesus' resurrection.

12. Finally, John Wivell writes on "Jesus' Answer to the Sadducees about the Resurrection" re.: the marriage question. While not positing any radically new answer (sadly, it still doesn't look like marriage exists after the resurrection :) ) Wivell provides an in-depth look at why, exactly, the Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus with this question, including an examination of Levirate marriage and the "moral dillemma" that occurs when 7 brothers, implied by the story to be the ultimate in Torah-observers, suddenly wake up in the Resurrection to realize they are guilty of the sin of polyandry (i.e., the Sadducees were attempting to pit Jesus' teaching against  the logical outworking of the Torah).

All of the papers were well-written, and I'm grateful for the fellowship and interaction we had there. Next year's "Bible Faculty Summit" will be held at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, and I'm already planning my paper! (Maybe something a bit less controversial! :)