Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Monday, April 14, 2008

Irregular bloggers, of whom I am chief

In this past October’s edition of Christianity Today, there was a brief article entitled “The Death of Blogs” about… well, I’ll let you guess what it was about. Author Ted Olsen notes the immense number of blogs started, the immense number of blogs discontinued, and the fickleness of at least some of those who read them. Many bloggers (those who are read, that is) find it difficult to keep up a regular blogging schedule, and so lose readers as a result of their inconsistency. Many bloggers end up shutting down their blogs because of lack of readership.

I, however, have no intentions of doing that. I have a counter, so I know how many hits this page gets, which, as of late, is about three per day. I figure that’s three of my friends who absolutely love what I write and would rather remain anonymous, so I would like to thank all three of you, whoever you may be. And since you three are probably my friends, you know that I have picked up an extra day of work in recent weeks, and am in a Bible study on Daniel on Monday nights, plus a Bible study on Romans on Wednesday nights. This has resulted in blogging falling a few notches on the list of important things to do, though I will try to do better in coming weeks. For now, here are a few “here’s what’s going on in life” thoughts.

For those who haven’t noticed, I updated my links list a few weeks back. I cut out a couple of things, but I mostly just added a few. Most notable is the ever-hilarious Go there in much sadness, and have happy time.

I also included website related to the ministry of a local pastor named Roger Wiles. Roger is the pastor of Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Winston-Salem. He also has a weblog, which I’ve linked, as well as a local radio show, called Reformation Today, the website of which I’ve linked as well. Roger is a good man, as I’ve discovered in the few opportunities to speak to him. In a time when so many Presbyterian churches are sacrificing truth and godly practice in order to embrace the seeker-centered model of ministry, Pastor Wiles has refused to compromise on the essentials of the faith. He and the ministries he engages in deserve your prayers.

I added links to some other blogs and websites, but I’ll leave those for your perusal rather than discussing them in detail.

In our Bible study on Daniel, we are using an Intervarsity Press study guide by a fellow named Douglas Connelly. It is fairly well done so far, though very simplistic, as most study guides tend to be. I have been supplementing it with James Jordan’s commentary on Daniel, which, at about 700 pages in length, I hope to have mostly read by the end of the study. If I do finish it, it will be by far the longest book I’ve ever read, so it will be quite an accomplishment for me. I must add (in a fit of faux humility), however, that the print is rather large, and the appendices include about fifty pages of detailed dating and chronology matters that I intend to skip over. Nonetheless, it will be a task to be proud of (in that non-sinful, prideful sort of way, if you know what I mean). How much I will retain will be another question. Jordan is in one sense easy to read. In another sense, however, he is hard to read, in that it isn’t always easy to understand where he’s coming from. He has a certain grasp of typology and a certain set of assumptions he’s working with that, unless you’re tracking right in line with his thinking, can make him hard to follow. Doug Wilson once quoted one wit as saying of Jordan, “Sometimes you think he’s onto something, other times you think he’s on something.” Those are my feelings as I read Jordan. I often run into things he says that he doesn’t convince me of – sometimes I am later convinced he’s right, other times not. Nonetheless, he’s one of the most insightful scholars around, and reading his commentary on Daniel has been invaluable.

To illustrate his insight, here’s one from my current reading. When one pays attention, the reader of Scripture discovers quite a bit of scatological humor in Scripture. Sadly, this is usually veiled by the translator’s overly queasy pen. Daniel 5, which our group will be covering tomorrow night, contains such a passage. Belshazzar is hosting a feast, which, Jordan notes, is obviously a religious or worship feast, as indicated by the fact that he brings out the vessels of the temple to drink wine from and by the fact that he and his companions praised the gods in their drinking. (This is something hard to imagine for the average conservative reacting to the seeker model of worship. While the contemporary worship model makes use of the concept of “celebrating” in worship in an illegitimate way, this doesn’t mean that worship isn’t a celebration. It just means that Christians who prefer the contemporary model don’t know how to party.) A hand, the hand of God, appears, and writes on the wall (echoed, notes Jordan, in the case of the woman caught in adultery in John 8). We are told that “the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together” (English Standard Version). Jordan translates this thus: “Then the king’s splendors were changed in him, and his thoughts troubled him, and the knots of his loins were untied, and his knees were knocking one against another.” In a footnote, as well as later in the commentary, Jordan notes that the third phrase means that Belshazzar “wet his pants or dirtied his trousers, or both”, citing a paper from the Journal of Biblical literature by Al Wolters for support. Jordan also notes that the sequence of statements about the king’s physical and emotional responses parallel the structure of the metal figure (head, chest, loins, legs) in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter two. This is appropriate, as the fulfillment of the prophecy given initially in the dream, that the kingdom would be taken from the Babylonians (gold head) and given to another (silver chest and arms), was to be fulfilled that night, as Belshazzar was killed and Babylon was taken over by the Persian empire.

It is worth noting as well that if, as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 indicates, the same kingdom held by the Babylonians was handed down all the way to the Romans, where it was defeated by God who set up an eternal kingdom, then the only eschatological system that comports with Scripture is Postmillennial Preterism.

This will have to do for now, though I hope to blog a little more regularly. “More regularly”, “irregular bloggers”… the scatological humor never stops.


Blogger James said...

...may hymnusdeo's days be long upon the earth.

9:21 AM  

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