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.

Nov 10, 2017

Papers Delivered at the "Bible Faculty Summit" (August 2017)

Every year I try to attend the "Bible Faculty Summit" held for those professors and academics more-or-less identifying themselves as moderate-fundamentalist (this includes more than just Baptist). I've been meaning to give a brief description of this year's papers for my audience (however, if you want a copy of any of them, you will have to contact the individual authors).

This year's Bible Faculty Summit was held at the absolutely gorgeous Appalachian Bible College (seriously, this has to be one of the most beautiful settings in North America for a Bible college). The theme for this year (no surprise!) was "The Reformation" (and for the first time in my life I got to research and write a paper on the Anabaptists! Many thanks, by the way, to the "Mennonite Historical Library" in Goshen, Indiana, for facilitating my research).

Every year there's always one or two papers that stand out in making a unique and fascinating contribution to biblical studies, theology, or church history. For me, I felt this year's best contribution was:

1. Mark Sidwell (prof. of Social Science at Bob Jones U.) on "Did Women Have a Reformation? The Case of Katherine Zell." The reason this paper fascinated me was that it raised an issue that I had never even considered, namely how the Protestant Reformation created a new class of women, nay, even a new type of position in the church, namely the "pastor's wife" (a class of which Katherine Zell is an excellent example). Consider: up until this point in history, clergy were supposed to be single and celibate (supposed to be, of course, does not mean that they always were). However, the 1500s saw the Protestant repudiation of that standard with many clergyman taking a wife (Luther himself setting the example for many). Sidwell does an absolutely fantastic job of discussing what, exactly, that entailed and how Katherine Zell, for one, both embraced her role and struggled with the implications of this hitherto unknown (for 1200+ years, probably!) social concept of "the pastor's wife."

If the reader will pardon a joke on this topic: Two friends, a young catholic boy and a young anglican boy, were walking down the street. Along comes the local Anglican priest. "Hello, Father," says the Anglican boy, reflexively. His Catholic friend turns to him and says incredulously  "He can't be a 'Father'! He's got three kids!"

Other papers were:

2. Scott Aniol, who has produced some helpful publications grappling with church music and worship (including one that came out just recently with Kregel), gave a paper entitled "Polishing Brass on a Sinking Ship: Toward a Dispensational Philosophy of the Church and Cultural Engagement." Here he defends dispensationalism (properly defined) against the accusation that it does not possess any appropriate model to engage culture. In the process he deals with various philosophical positions, e.g., "Two Kingdom Theology," Neo-Kuyperianism, etc.

3. Brian C. Collins, who works for BJU Press, presented on "Soli Deo Gloria or Beatitude: Aquinas, Calvin, and His Heirs on the Chief End of Man." Drawing off the work of Thomas Watson and the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Collins explores how "blessedness" and "God's glory" are potentially interrelated as the telos of humanity.

4. Kyle C. Dunham, who teaches at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, presented on "'For Our Good Always': How the Intertextual Links between Deuteronomy and Ecclesiastes Reinforce Qohelet's Positive Message." As Dunham puts it, ultimately the Preacher of Ecclesiastes draws from Deuteronomy to "commend obedience and joy, but not merely as a means of obtaining superior wisdom. He commends obedience and joy as an antidote to the pain and suffering endemic to a fallen world."

5. C. J. Harris (Positive Action for Christ) wrote and delivered a highly informative paper on "The Huguenot Mission to Brazil, 1556-58," describing for us the trials and tribulations of what was essentially one of the first overseas missionary attempts out of the Protestant Reformation.

6. Troy Manning, who is a language specialist for Bibles International, presented on "Literacy in Bible Times." He noted that, in spite of (1.) the low literacy rate in biblical times, (2.) the fact that literacy itself was never a biblical, "moral obligation", and (3.) the effectiveness of oral transmission, nonetheless writing Scripture down was a necessity for God's community, and that even today,what may be a primarily oral culture will still ultimately benefit from having written Scripture.

7. My fellow Petrine specialist Tim Miller (prof of New Testament at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary; Tim also has a doctorate in theology from Westminster) focused on the "milk of the word" phrase of 1 Peter 2:1-3. He defended the more traditional reading of the phrase as a reference to the Word of God (his primary scholarly foil in this paper was naturally Karen Jobes, who has published some significant material on the topic). Those interested should note that Tim will also be presenting this same paper at ETS in Rhode Island this year (wish I could be there!)

8. Joel Pinter spoke to us on the "Refutation of Saracens by M. Luther Then and Now," i.e. a discussion of Luther's polemic against Islam, based off of Luther's own discovery of a 200 year old book (which has "just recently become available to the English-speaking world") by Dominican monk Riccoldo Pennini (1200s). The modern English version of this book is translated by Londini Ensis.

9. Jon Pratt, professor of New Testament at Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, Minnesota) presented on "The 'Israel of God' in Galatians 6:16," an exegetical paper that deals with whether or not the phrase refers to both Gentiles and Jews or only ethnic Jews. He concludes,
"In the end, the syntactical arguments point toward the Israel-as-ethnic-Jews position with the normal use of kai establishing a good foundation for this viewpoint and the use of the genitive providing solid evidence for a connection between Paul's usage of 'Israel' in Rom 9:6 and his use of 'Israel of God' in Gal 16:16, because the limiting function of the genitive requires a larger group (all ethnic Jews) from which the smaller group ('Israel of God') is distinguished. This leads to the strongest argument for the Israel-as-ethnic-Jews position: the consistent use of 'Israel' as referring to ethnic Jews throughout Paul's writings."

10. Mark Ward, who works for Logos/Faithlife, gave us a very practical and informative paper on "New Tools for Teaching Textual Criticism to Laypeople." He focused especially on: 1. "The Exploring Biblical Manuscripts" interactive feature of Logos software itself; 2. "The Lexham Textual Notes on the New Testament," and 3. his own ongoing project, "KJVParallelBible.org" (I might add, this latter one is a very helpful tool especially within Independent Baptist circles; it does not push an agenda, it merely points out all the areas where the King James differs from the standard critical Greek text). Ward also mentioned some helpful "introductory books" (I would especially like to highlight two from his list: David Alan Black, New Testament Textual Criticism: A Concise Guide and J. B. Williams and Randolph Shaylor, eds. God's Word in Our Hands: The Bible Preserved for Us). The reader should also note Mark's forthcoming book: Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible (Lexham Press). Mark's purpose is not to push one particular view of textual criticism, but simply to note how the difficulty of the KJV language (in this modern era) can lead to hermeneutical abuse.

11. Finally, my own paper, "A Canonical Anomaly: Why Did the Anabaptists Cite Wisdom of Solomon as Scripture" attempted to grapple with (and solve) a mystery that has bothered me since I took the excellent doctoral class "New Testament Canon" with Dr. L. Scott Kellum at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. That mystery is: why were the Anabaptists (part of the "Radical Reformation") quoting Wisdom of Solomon as Scripture when it seems that the Magisterial Reformation, although occasionally appreciative of the Apocrypha, were not granting it canonical status? In other words, how could the Anabaptists, generally speaking, have the same canon as the Roman Catholic Church even while radically different from them in theology?