Thursday, May 10, 2012

"The Only Way To Deal With The Golden Calf Is With A Sledgehammer": John Oswalt Addresses The 2012 Graduating Class Of Wesley Biblical Seminary

Dr. John N. Oswalt, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, gave the commencement address at the 2012 graduation ceremony at Wesley Biblical Seminary (WBS). (Dr. Oswalt was Research Professor of Old Testament at WBS when I attended WBS. His message to the graduating class: if one is to survive in ministry today, there had better be a depth in him or her greater than anything that they will meet in the form of broken individuals. The greatest danger of a seminary education, Dr. Oswalt warns, is that it trains us to appear spiritual when we are not. It teaches us ways to project an image when all we are really doing is seeking what we think is our own self interest. To be a successful minister in God's eyes, self interest is the main enemy to be dealt with. And it must be dealt with ruthlessly, or it will not be dealt with at all. "The only way to deal with the Golden Calf is with a sledgehammer" Dr. Oswalt says. In place of self interest, we must have an undivided heart, a passion for God. The mission of WBS, proclaims Oswalt, is that we can have a heart that is wholly God's. A joyous ministry is the by-product, not the end, of having an undivided heart. Here is a link to Dr. Oswalt's commencement address. (Click the link to the WBS podcast page.) It is 29:04 in length.

In the near future I will be reviewing two books by Dr. Oswalt: The Bible Among the Myths and Called to Be Holy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Major New Commentary on Hebrews By A Wesley Biblical Seminary Professor

Dr. Gareth L. Cockerill, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary, is a major American authority on the book of Hebrews. When I attended Wesley Biblical Seminary, Dr. Cockerill was the chairman of the Hebrews Study Group for the Evangelical Theological Society. (I don't know if that is still the case.) Dr. Cockerill was chosen to write an updated commentary on Hebrews for the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICOT). This new commentary is to replace the commentary written by the late F.F. Bruce. To be chosen for such a task is a tribute to Dr. Cockerill's scholarship as F.F. Bruce was one of the 20th century's most renowned New Testament scholars. Roy Ingle, at his Arminian Today blog, has a good review of Dr. Cockerill's commentary here. ( Roy does misidentify Wesley Biblical Seminary (WBS) as Wesley Seminary. WBS is in Jackson, MS. The other seminary is in Indiana.) Dr. Cockerill has written other commentaries on Hebrews. His Hebrews: A Commentary for Bible Students is an excellent resource for pastors who wish to teach a series on Hebrews from the pulpit or in a class. Dr. Cockerill wrote the Guidebook for Pilgrims to the Heavenly City so that Hebrews could be shared with a Muslim audience. Dr. Cockerill's commentary is published by Eerdmans.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Not The Father's Moses

Plans are in the works for Steven Spielberg to produce a remake of The Ten Commandments. However, Spielberg's Moses will hardly resemble the Biblical portrayal of Moses. Spielberg's Moses will be predominantly a war-like figure, instead of the humble leader the Bible tells us he was. See here.

Moses is not the only Old Testament figure that is going to receive the modern Hollywood treatment. Russell Crowe has signed on to play the role of Noah. Rumor has it that the those producing the film are less interested in the religious significance of Noah's story than as portraying Moses as the first environmentalist. So, there you have it folks. We have Hollywood appropriating a historical figure from the one true religion to serve environmentalism, just one of the many religious alternatives to the Gospel.