Extracurricular Activities — November 23, 2013
We live-blogged the session on 5 Views on Biblical Inerrancy this morning, which took place at the 65th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Baltimore, MD.
The panel featured R. Albert Mohler, Peter Enns, Michael F. Bird, a video from Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and John R. Franke, who are contributors to a new book on biblical inerrancy in the Counterpoints series from Zondervan.
I recently ran across a couple of different writers raising questions about the value of affirming inerrancy or infallibility for the Bible, both of which hinged on the link between the text and interpretation. One wondered aloud at the coherence of claiming an infallible text when you're a finite sinner, whose faculties are limited, likely disordered by sin and self-will, and whose interpretations must therefore be flawed. The other, a little more boldly, claimed the doctrine unnecessary, only serving human arrogance by lending added weight to the claimant's own fallible pronouncements.
While both objections are quite understandable, and the first quite reasonable, they share a common failure to distinguish between theological claims being made about the Bible itself, and those for our interpretation of the Bible.
For some time now, the general view has been that earliest Christians met (e.g., for group worship) in houses, at least mainly. In a newly-published study, Dr. Edward Adams (Kings College London) queries this, contending that the evidence for this view isn’t as solid and consistent as commonly thought, and that the extant evidence suggests instead a variety of settings. The book results from a research project that extended over a few years, and should be considered carefully by anyone seriously interested in the question.
The heart of the question centers on Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:21: ”He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
In what sense did Jesus become “sin on our behalf”? Does that phrase mean that Jesus literally became a sinner on the cross?
To come back to the original question: “Did Jesus become the literal embodiment of sin, ortake on a sin nature, or become a sinner when He died at Calvary?” My answer to that question is a resounding no.
Here are five reasons why:
I recently spoke about Calvinism and Arminianism at a large church in Springfield, Missouri (Central Assembly of God) and at the AG Seminary there. One questioner (after my talk) asked why a person would promote Arminianism since we don’t really know what Arminius himself said. He was under the false impression that Arminius’ main treatises were written by his students after his death—based on notes from his lectures. I corrected that for him. But his question indicated a belief that being Arminian is somehow tied to agreeing with what the man Jacob Arminius actually believed and said.
“Arminianism” is a theological construct not tied wholly to Arminius. “Calvinism” is the same—a theological construct (with variations) not wholly tied to John Calvin. Charles Hodge, for example, in his Systematic Theology, makes the point that one can be a Calvinist, as he was, without agreeing with Calvin about everything.
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