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Volume 18 Issue 1

Study or pray—that is the question. As biblical scholars where are we drawn to find kinship with God? For most believers, the answer is clear: pray regularly and sincerely. For those of us who invest ourselves into biblical and theological research, pouring over books being intellectually and spiritually mined for a closer understanding of God in some particular aspect of his character, his ways, and his book, the answer can get complicated. Our closest moments with God seem to come from deep ideas that blossom into an awakening of truth when we read something in a book or discover something from a rich study of a biblical text. Prayer can seem like something else sometimes, like shallow ritual in comparison. It is not surprising to us to hear Jewish rabbinic literature say that biblical study is worship. But does it have to seem so divided for us? Pray or study?

Early, impactful, evangelical theologian B. B. Warfield considers this question and makes this extended comment found Selected Shorter Writings of B.B. Warfield (1:412):

Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your book. ‘What!' is the appropriate response, ‘than ten hours over your books, on your knees?' Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God? If learning and devotion are as antagonistic as that, then the intellectual life is in itself accursed, and there can be no question of a religious life for a student, even of theology.

He concludes, "There can be no 'either-or' here—either a student or a man of God. You must be both." Although we sometimes pray and sometimes study, it seems the two should not be rigidly divided; each should bleed into to the other. The truths we discover in our study should inform and deepen our times of prayer, and our study should be nurtured by our devotion and prayer. Sometimes they might completely overlap as an insight leads us directly into a nearness to God that overwhelms us in worship and prayer or when prayer leads us into truths about God we have been studying. And, of course, all of this should inform our entire life and character as we go about our day.

—Lord, bless us with being near to you in our study and our prayer.

This issue contains a vibrant collection of articles. Michael Strickland opens the issue up with a sobering slice of late 19th-century Stone-Campbell history in England, with the tale of W. T. Moore and the West End Tabernacle in London. Aaron Burgess and James Sedlacek provide the results of unique formal research involving Christian churches (independent) that analyzes issues of academic freedom. Steven Cone, an SCJ Consulting Editor presents thought-provoking insight into Anselm's satisfaction theory. Charles Rix gives a thoroughly delightful and creative read on the Apple Logo. Amy Smith Carman delves into Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 to reveal a woman to admire. Finally, John Harrison, a member of the SCJ Editorial Board, examines closely Jesus' parable of the weeds in Matt 13:36-43 to determine whether a political overtone might be heard by Matthew's readers.

Please take note that the 15th annual SCJ Conference will take place April 1- 2, 2016, at Johnson University. The theme is War and Peace: The Effect of War on Early American Religion. Featured speakers include: James Byrd, Associate Professor of Religious History, Vanderbilt University, who will present "The Bible and the American Revolution," and "The Bible and the Civil War"; Douglas Foster, Professor of Church History, Abilene Christian University, who will present "The Effect of Civil War on the Stone-Campbell Movement"; and John Nugent, Professor of Old Testament, Great Lakes Christian College, who will present "Christians and War." Watch for more information in the mail and on our website regarding our thirteen study groups, call for parallel papers, information on the student paper contests, registration costs and dates, and more.

William R. Baker, Editor

3
Amridge University

Abstract

In 1882, W. T. Moore of the Foreign Christian Missionary Society inherited the pastorate and ownership of the West London Tabernacle, a 2,000-seat cathedral in Notting Hill. For nearly 30 years, a succession of ministers struggled to make the congregation grow and become financially viable. Though the tabernacle closed before WWI, its story contains much of interest with regard to the ministers who served it and the missionaries it sent to foreign fields, as well as the prime example of the Disciples' struggles in England.

13
Cincinnati Christian University, Manchester University

Abstract

Historically, the “Sermon on the Law” has represented for many the totality of Alexander Campbell’s view of the OT. However, this article argues that the “Sermon on the Law” is not comprehensive of Campbell’s view of the OT but merely presents a single hermeneutical principle. By examining Campbell’s use of the OT in his other writings and his early development, this article contends that Campbell recognized the OT as part of inspired revelation useful for many aspects of the Christian life.

27
Lincoln Christian University

Abstract

Christ’s work on the cross is traditionally understood as an act of retributive justice in which God punishes Christ in the place of sinful humanity. But this penal view of the atonement is inconsistent with the intrinsic relationship between God’s justice and love. An examination informed by Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory demonstrates the cross is punishment on sin alone and a declaration in which the Father manifests his justice and love in Christ’s offering what we owe, bringing about a new world order of distributive justice.

47
Pepperdine University

Abstract

Abigail's wise and independent intervention to avert the impending disaster sparked by her foolish husband saves herself and her household from slaughter and Israel’s future king from presumption and bloodguilt. An examination of the 1 Samuel 25 narrative concerning Abigail’s prophetic act of mediation, which draws David’s gratitude and Yahweh’s blessing, contributes to the understanding of the role women played in ancient Israel.

61
Oklahoma Christian University

Abstract

Multinational technology master Apple’s popularity and profitability has made its logo among the world’s most recognizable, and its gadgets have had a profound impact on 21st-century culture. Speculation about whether its logo has ties to the biblical story of Adam and Eve may be unfounded, but read through an Apple-inspired hermeneutic, the story of Genesis 2–4 reveals rulebreaking nonconformity as a powerful path to human progress but cautions against the risk of its benefits: obscuring the needs of others nearby.

73
Oklahoma Christian University

Abstract

Matthew 13:36-43 offers an allegorical interpretation of Jesus’ Wheat and Weeds parable that emphasizes eschatological judgment of the wicked. An examination of the parable in light of its first-century Galilean economic and political context and in comparison with its Gospel of Thomas parallel suggests the allegory is a depoliticized reinterpretation of the parable’s original promise of insurrection on behalf of the oppressed.

Download book reviews for this issue.

LIST OF BOOKS REVIEWED IN THIS ISSUE

Peter Gardella, American Civil Religion: What Americans Hold Sacred (Joshua W. Jeffrey, Sr., Vanderbilt University)

Everett Ferguson, The Early Church and Today, vol. 2. Christian Life, Scripture, and Restoration (Shaun C. Brown, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto)

Marcia L. Colish, Faith, Fiction & Force in Medieval Baptismal Debates (Lee Blackburn, Milligan College)

Nancy Koester, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Spiritual Life (Loretta Long Hunnicutt, Pepperdine University)

John S. Burns, John R. Shoup, and Donald C. Simmons, Jr., eds., Organizational Leadership: Foundations and Practices for Christians (Cody Christensen, Johnson University, Boise Bible College)

James W. Skillen, The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction (Jess O. Hale, Jr., Johnson University)

Jeremy R. Treat, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (K. C. Richardson, Hope International University)

Jennifer R. Ayres, Good Food: Grounded Practical Theology (Robert J. Turner, Harding School of Theology)

Curtis Freeman, Contesting Catholicity: A Theology for Other Baptists (Alden Lee Bass, St. Louis University)

Moisés Silva, ed., New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Jordan Kellicut, Portage, Michigan)

Alister McGrath, C.S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (Rick Cherok, Cincinnati Christian University)

Peter W. Gosnell, The Ethical Vision of the Bible: Learning Good from Knowing God (Daryl Docterman, Cincinnati Christian University)

Chuck Degroat, Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life—Including Yourself (J. Michael Shannon, Cincinnati Christian University)

Brian K. Blount, Invasion of the Dead: Preaching Resurrection (Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

Jerome F. D. Creach, Violence in Scripture (John C. Nugent, Great Lakes Christian College)

J. K. Jones and Mark Scott, Letting the Text Win (Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

Ruth C. Duck, Worship for the Whole People of God: Vital Worship for the 21st Century (Dinelle Frankland, Lincoln Christian Seminary)

Margaret Bendroth, The Spiritual Practice of Remembering (Rick Cherok, Cincinnati Christian University)

Patricia J. Sotirin and Laura L. Ellingson. Where the Aunts Are: Family, Feminism, and Kinship in Popular Culture (Dawn Gentry, Milligan College)

Steven L. McKensie and John Kaltner, eds., New Meanings for Ancient Texts: Recent Approaches to Biblical Criticisms and Their Applications (Judith A. Odor, Asbury Theological Seminary)

Timothy Michael Law, When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible (Thomas Scott Caulley, Kentucky Christian University)

Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins (Jason T. LeCureux, Trinity College, Queensland, Australia)

Frederick J. Murphy, Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World (Jared Poznich, Emmanuel Christian Seminary)

J. Merrick and Stephen M. Garrett, general eds., Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Robert C. Kurka, Lincoln Christian Seminary)

William G. Dever, The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel: Where Archaeology and the Bible Intersect (J. Blair Wilgus, Hope International University)

Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy: A Commentary (Glenn Pemberton, Abilene Christian University)

John Harrison and James Dvorak, eds., The New Testament Church: The Challenge of Developing Ecclesiologies (Joseph Grana, Hope International University)

Lee Martin McDonald, The Story of Jesus in History and Faith: An Introduction (Daniel M. Yencich, The University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology)

M. Eugene Boring, An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology (Carl Toney, Hope International University)

Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald, eds., The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social and Historical Contexts (Joseph Mueller, Lincoln Christian University)

Thomas R. Hatina, New Testament Theology and Its Quest for Relevance (Frank E. Dicken, Lincoln Christian University)

David Crump, Encountering Jesus, Encountering Scripture: Reading the Bible Critically in Faith (Bill Thompson, Harvest Pointe Christian Church)

Chris Keith, Jesus against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict (Cambry Pardee, Loyola University Chicago)

Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Daniel M. Yencich, The University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology)

Rodney J. Decker, Reading Koine Greek: An Introduction and Integrated Workbook (Ronald D. Peters, Great Lakes Christian College)

Ron D. Peters, The Greek Article: A Functional Study of the o- Items in the Greek New Testament with Special Emphasis on the Greek Article (James E. Sedlacek, The University of Manchester, U.K.)

Gregory P. Fewster, Creation Language in Romans 8: A Study in Monosemy (James E. Sedlacek, The University of Manchester, U.K.)

Michael F. Bird, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus (Chris Keith, St. Mary’s University, Twickenham)

Ron Clark, Jesus Unleashed: Luke’s Gospel for Emerging Christians (Amy Smith Carman, Pepperdine University)

J.B. Lightfoot, ed. by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still, The Acts of the Apostles: A Newly Discovered Commentary (Judith Odor, Asbury Theological Seminary)

Karen H. Jobes, 1, 2, and 3 John (Thomas Scott Caulley, Kentucky Christian University)

Bruce Chilton, Visions of the Apocalypse: Reception of John’s Revelation in Western Imagination (Les Hardin, Johnson University Florida)

SCJ 18.1 Quotables
Chosen by Laura Locke Estes
Abilene Christian University

Featured Quote

"In the death of Christ, we see the generosity of God." Steven D. Cone, "Non-Penal Atonement and Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory," (SCJ 18.1:44)

To enter into an eternal blessedness while being, in fact, a miserable and unjust creature is a contradiction in terms and the state in which humans would have been left had God merely forgiven and not made satisfaction through the incarnation. But because of the work of Christ, the status of humans can change.

Steven D. Cone, "Non-Penal Atonement and Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory," (SCJ 18.1:31)

The nonpenal character of the atonement shows the wisdom and love of God, not any way that God is satisfied by violence. It furthermore coheres with the char- acter of God, who is justice and love and who is not essentially wrathful. In the death of Christ, we see the generosity of God, who sets right, at his own cost, the universe he made and is determined to redeem. 

Steven D. Cone, "Non-Penal Atonement and Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory," (SCJ 18.1:44)

"In the late nineteenth century, the urge to take the gospel back to the home of the English language led many preachers and their supporters to invest in what was thought to be a ripe mission field, but the successes were always minimal compared to other, especially non-European, fields." 

Michael Strickland, "The West London Tabernacle: The SCMs Cathedral in England from 1992 –1910," (SCJ 18.1:10)

"Americans had found that doing mission work in England was expensive, and Willett’s ultimate example of the great cost was the West End Tabernacle."

Michael Strickland, "The West London Tabernacle: The SCMs Cathedral in England from 1992 –1910," (SCJ 18.1:10)

"The role of academic freedom in a seminary and in the larger faith community was to insure that a dialogue continued in a meaningful way and not just to overthrow dogma or tradition but to keep the community vibrant, preventing it from stagnating to a point where the theological and biblical beliefs of the faith community can no longer speak to the world at large. In other words, a seminary exists to aid the church in maintaining its relevancy in society."

Aaron Burgess and James Sedlacek, "Academic Freedom in Christian Church (Independent) Institutions of Higher Education: Critical Matters Regarding Academic Freedom," (SCJ 18.1:16)

"Congregations have a vested interest in the quality of education since their ministers are products of their colleges and seminaries. As a result, church leaders ought to be concerned about academic freedom, as it is a crucial component of fostering excellence in seminary education and the formation of ministers."

Aaron Burgess and James Sedlacek, "Academic Freedom in Christian Church (Independent) Institutions of Higher Education: Critical Matters Regarding Academic Freedom," (SCJ 18.1:25)

The power of Abigail’s case lies in her prophetic emphasis on David’s future and the effect his current actions will have in altering his fate. She recognizes the Lord is using her to stop David from committing ‘bloodguilt and taking vengeance with [his] own hand’ (25:26). Then, she makes the striking declaration that ‘the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house’ (25:28a).

Later rabbis viewed these declarations as prophetic; Abigail is counted among the seven women in the Hebrew Bible who were said to have been graced by the Holy Spirit. Her language is nearly identical to Nathan’s prophecy in 2 Sam 7:16, which further emphasizes the author’s intentional casting of Abigail as a prophetess."

Amy Smith Carman, "Abigail: The Wise Woman of Carmel," (SCJ 18.1:51)

"The author emphasizes their dissimilarity through chiasm in 25:3, making it painfully apparent to the audience that Nabal is not worthy of his wife. Abigail is the embodiment of ???, (sekel; "prudence," "discernment"); she is the Proverbs 31 wife. Conversely, Nabal’s very name means fool (??? na?ba?l); he is the foil of his wife. Literarily, the two characters personify wisdom and foolishness." 

Amy Smith Carman, "Abigail: The Wise Woman of Carmel," (SCJ 18.1:48-49)

"Dangling from the tree of knowledge is the iFruit: a piece of the sleek, beguiling, warmly cool fruit: the Yahweh-created technology able to transport the Human elsewhere toward wisdom and divinelike qualities. It is not the serpent but this luscious piece of technology that excites the desire and curiosity of Human 2.0 to "Think different" and risk new connections." 

Charles M. Rix, "Bitten. Branded. Bought: The Apple Logo in Popular Culture and the Bible," (SCJ 18.1:69)

"Reading through Apple’s iFruit, the biblical story reveals rule-breaking non- conformity as a powerful path to human progress but cautions against the risk of its benefits: obscuring the needs of others nearby. As with the ancient story of origins, a bite from the cyber-apple continues to provoke questions concerning ways in which human beings can interact with technological advancement in such a way that the plight of vulnerable others are not swiped away."

Charles M. Rix, "Bitten. Branded. Bought: The Apple Logo in Popular Culture and the Bible," (SCJ 18.1:71)

"A parable that could have been heard as a political promise concerning the destruction of oppressors who have arisen among the inheritors of God’s kingdom has been "depoliticized." Jesus’ teaching could easily have been heard as an indirect critique of the economic and political injustices threatening the lives of the righteous. 

But this indirect speech has been converted for a different audience who needs to love and pray for their enemies. What might have played powerfully in the country has been tamed for urban Christians by stressing God’s direct eschatological vengeance upon the evil ones at the end of the age. Hope in insurrectionists now becomes hope in angelic forces of justice."

John Harrison, "Weeds: Jesus’ Parable and Economic and Political Threats to the Poor in Roman Galilee," (SCJ 18.1:88)

"Many first-century Galilean Jews had witnessed such a system of economic oppression along with the influx of Gentiles into the newly created cities built by Herod and Herod Antipas. Within this context, Jesus’ Galilean audience could easily have interpreted his parable as a promise that God would send people (intermediaries between workers and wealthy landowners) as "harvesters" to eradicate the "weeds" among them. They could have also interpreted the parable along the same lines as it is interpreted in 13:36-43."

John Harrison, "Weeds: Jesus’ Parable and Economic and Political Threats to the Poor in Roman Galilee," (SCJ 18.1:86)

 
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