In a lecture on Biblical theology, Dr. Edmund Clowney states the following,
Now…I was taught that…you can’t find any type in the New Testament that’s not identified as a type in the New Testament. But…that’s certainly safe. You know, it’s like you got a book of math or something; and you can’t solve any problem if it’s not given in the back of the book. I mean, you know the answer’s right ’cause it’s in the back of the book; but you say [conclude], “you can’t work any of the problems yourself; you can only look in the back of the book.” It’s kind of a confession of hermeneutical bankruptcy from one perspective. It’s saying, “the New Testament writers can interpret these things; but we don’t have a clue on how they did it. If we knew how they did it, we could do it. But we don’t know how they did it, so we can’t do it. So to play safe, we won’t identify anything as a type if it’s not already identified as a type.” And see, my argument is that they [the New Testament authors] have taught us a lot by the way they identify types.
Hear me out. I full heartedly believe that practical application is important. And I also believe that every portion of Scripture has practical implications for our lives because every text has theological significance and all theology is practical; don’t misunderstand me. But, over the past few days I’ve been thinking…
Currently I am in the middle of writing a sermon on Acts 1:15-26 for a class. This passage was assigned to me; I don’t have choice. It’s not an easy passage on which to write a sermon (which is why they assigned it). It’s about the 11 apostles casting lots for the 12th apostle to replace Judas after his suicide. This passage does not provide any direct or explicit application for our lives today. It does not tell us to do something, to do anything! That’s not to say it lacks practical implications. Luke puts this section in his book for a reason. Therefore, through this literary purpose, it communicates theology at some level. And since all theology has practical implications, the text is practical.
But the passage isn’t directly about me. It’s not about you. It wasn’t written for this reason–to be about us. And I’m okay with that. “Devotional literature” is not the Bible’s overarching genre. Contrary to the common cliche, the Bible’s genre is not “love letter to Kirk Miller.”
The following belongs to a series on the continuation or cessation of the miraculous phenomena of tongues-speaking. Read the previous post here.
Special Revelation and Tongues-Speaking
If no other argument up until this point has been persuasive, this next argument is the most decisive point cessationism has. The argument is as follows: 1) since tongues-speaking is revelatory (1 Cor 14:6, 26)1 and 2) since the canon of scripture (special revelation) is closed, then 3) no tongues utterances can be given in this age. Denying the second premise is dangerous business and places one outside of historical evangelicalism. Consequently, in order to deny this argument continuationists typically deny the first premise by arguing that the revelation given via tongues is different than that of scripture, and therefore, tongues’ continual existence is not inconsistent with a closed canon.2 However, problems surface when such a distinction is made.
The following four power points (see links below) are pedagogical aids from four out of the five messages I presented at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp last summer when I was the Bible speaker for a youth week (upper elementary to lower junior high grade levels). The theme last summer was “Get a Clue: God’s Word has the Answers” based on the text 2 Timothy 3:16-17. When I was asked to speak for a week on this theme I determined to start off with a message on God’s Word itself, how we can trust it (an apologetic), and some basic doctrines concerning the Bible and how it was written (inspiration, inerrancy, preservation). After having laid that foundation, I presented a “three step method” of studying/reading the Bible: 1) read it, 2) understand it, and 3) live it. These four messages are for what the power points below were made. They probably won’t make entire sense to you at various points apart from hearing the actual messages. But I hope you might find browsing through them to be beneficial.
Day 1 – The Bible – God’s Very Word (Power Point)
Day 2 – Step 1 – Read It (Power Point)
Day 3 – Step 2 – Understand It (Power Point)
Day 5 – Step 3 – Live It (Power Point)