Posted by: chuckbumgardner | July 3, 2012

Reading Report, June 2012

I’ve been reading ahead on a class I’ll be taking on the Pastoral Epistles; I’m working through Towner’s commentary and reading other material to supplement that reading.  I’ve listed material related to that class in its own section below.

Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal [Paperback]6/28/12  T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns: How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal (P&R, 2010).  Approaching the worship wars from the perspective of a media ecologist, Gordon suggests that the ubiquitous nature of pop music (we hear it all the time, and it’s almost all we hear) has rendered much of our culture nearly incapable of embracing anything else as music.  This is not heathly for the church because pop music is oriented toward contemporanetity, sentimentality, and entertainment.  He inveighs against the guitar as an accompanying instrument for congregational singing.  A good quote (given in response to the notion that we have to incorporate the music of the youth culture in order to win youth): “Biblically, the goal of youth is to leave it as rapidly as possible . . . To ‘reach’ the young by propogating youth culture would be analogous to Jesus’ ‘reaching’ the rich young man by giving him money.  Money was part of the particular sinner’s problem, part of the reason he needed to be readhed.  Extended adolescence is part of what our youth need to be delivered from.” (161-162)

6/28/12  Natasha Vins, Children of the Storm: The Autobiography of Natasha Vins (JourneyForth, 2002).

6/24/12  Heart, Soul, Mind: Meditations on Knowing and Loving God, ed. Kevin T. Bauder (Central Seminary Press, 2012).

6/24/12  The Gospel of Mark

Small6/14/12  John Piper and D. A. Carson, The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry (Crossway, 2011).  Very enjoyable and very helpful.  I had heard much of Piper’s material here and there in various contexts, but Carson’s contribution was less autobiographical and, I think, more helpful overall (particularly this point).  I would have profited from reading this before I hit seminary!

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books6/14/12  Michael J. Kruger, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012).  Utilizing a helpful taxonomy, Kruger argues that most canonical approaches ground canon in either community (historical-critical model, Roman Catholic model, canonical-criticism model, existential/neoorthodox model) or history (canon-within-the-canon model, criteria-of-canonicity model). Kruger argues that instead of appealing solely to an external authority (whether community or history), the canon should be considered “self-authenticating” or autopistic.

In essence, to say that the canon is self-authenticating is simply to recognize that one cannot authenticate the canon without appealing to the canon. It sets the terms for its own validation and investigation. A self-authenticating canon is not just a canon that claims to have authority, nor is it simply a canon that bears internal evidence of authority, but but one that guides and determines how that authority is to be established. (91)

The three “components” of this self-authenticating canon include providential exposure (the church must have corporate knowledge of a particular book), attributes of canonicity (evidences of divine inspiration), and the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit (recognition of the presence and validity of attributes of canonicity). Within the component of the “attributes of canonicity” are included three mutually reinforcing items: divine qualities (specifically, the beauty and excellency of Scripture, its efficacy and power, and its unity and harmony), corporate reception, and apostolic origins.
Among the various approaches, the matter of definition is key. Some approaches define the canon exclusively: the canon only exists when there is a final, closed list, which technically speaking means that NT books didn’t become canonical around the third or fourth century. Others define the canon functionally: “when books function as authoritative Scripture for the community,” which yields a NT canon by the mid-second century, if not before. Finally, the canon may be defined ontologically, “the scriptural books that God gave the corporate church,” which naturally indicates the NT canon was complete when the last NT book was written.
Kruger understands his self-authenticating model to accommodate all three definitions of canon, understanding each definition to have appropriate applications and uses, each capturing a true attribute of canon and implying the other two. Within his model, the attribute of “corporate reception” connects with an exclusive definition of canon; the attribute of “divine qualities” connects with the functional definition; and the attribute of “apostolic origins” connects with the ontological definition. The story of canon, broadly speaking, is a process and not a point in time; “canon” has a multidimensional meaning. God gave his books through the apostles (ontological), the books were recognized and used as Scripture by early Christians (functional), and the corporate church achieved a consensus around these books (exclusive). In the end, then, Kruger’s definition of canon (with all of the above as background) is “the collection of apostolic writings that is regarded as Scripture by the corporate church” (120).
The rest of the book deals with proposed “defeaters” for the self-authenticating model. The attribute of “divine qualities” is challenged by apparent disagreements and/or contradictions between NT books; the attribute of “apostolic origins” is challenged by the suggestion that a number of NT books are pseudonymous forgeries; and the attribute of “corporate reception” is challenged by the notion that there was widespread disagreement in the early church that lasted well into the fourth century (and beyond).

Small6/14/12  The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, ed. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2009).  I very much enjoyed this book.  Paul Tripp is always an enjoyable read (and, of course, not merely enjoyable but convicting as well!).  Ferguson was more vanilla (who wouldn’t be, after Tripp?), but presented a good exposition of James 3.  I appreciated Piper’s nuancing of eloquence in the light of various Scriptures that seem in some cases to laud it and in others to seriously downplay it.  Driscoll was thought-provoking as he addressed the notion of sharp, even satirical, words in the service of Christ and the church; I very much appreciated his list of ways to pray for one’s shepherd.  Daniel Taylor’s address on “story-shaped faith” was thought-provoking as well, reminding me that the many invaluable propositions upon which the faith is grounded are given in the context of stories and the Story, and that it is the stories our children hear that formatively shape their moral imaginations.   Kauflin’s address on singing had many excellent points.

6/13/12  Frederica Mathewes-Green, “What Women Need: Three Bad Ideas about Women & What to Do About Them,” Touchstone (July/August 2001).  Three (interlocking) bad ideas that sprang from the feminist movement are abortion, careerism, and promiscuity.  Mathewes-Green argues that the latter two (both adopted from men) made the first necessary: the nearly inevitable result of promiscuity (pregnancy) makes careerism difficult at best, and abortion is the answer.  She responds to these three bad ideas with “three good ideas”: personally support women who are pregnant outside of marriage, offer grief counseling for post-abortion women, and give young people the resources and incentives to remain chaste.

40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (40 Questions & Answers Series)6/8/12  Thomas R. Schreiner, 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law (Kregel, 2010).  Schreiner is a good, clear writer, and the bite-sized nature of the volume (40 questions dealt with over 230 pages) makes it eminently readable.  Schreiner sees discontinuity between the Mosaic Law and the Christian, and is generally fairly close to Doug Moo’s position.

6/6/12  Charles C. Ryrie, “The End of the Law,” BibSac 124 (1967): 239-47.

6/6/12  David A. Dorsey, “The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise,” JETS 34 (1991): 322-24.  I found this to be an excellent article.  (See The Christian and the Law)

6/3/12 The Gospel of Matthew


(Material related to the Pastoral Epistles)

6/30/12  Sydney Page, “Marital Expectations of Church Leaders in the Pastoral Epistles,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 50 (1993): 105-20.  Sees the “one-woman man” requirement not as directly indicating marital status (e.g., divorced, widowed and remarried) but “the characteristic of being devoted exclusively to one’s spouse” (113-14).  “[T]he phrase does not describe a condition which is the result of something that happened in the past but a moral quality which is currently being demonstrated” (114).  This interpretation is supported by the observation that “Not only do the items in the lists express basic ethical standards all believers were to follow, they also refer to present, observable behaviour” (115).  Page sets forth Musonius Rufus as “illustrative of the thinking of the moral philosophers” in that he supports marital fidelity, but Oseik/Balch indicate that Musonius “stands as a lonely voice in his insistence that sexual fidelity should not operate on a double standard” (Families in the NT World, 63), i.e., Musonius is rather unique in his calling for the same standard of fidelity for both husbands and wives.

6/30/12  John Barclay, “The Jews of the Diaspora,” in Early Christian Thought in Its Jewish Context, ed. John Barclay and John Sweet (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 27-39.  “…whether as children, competitors, mimics or heirs, the early Christians can barely be understood except by reference to Diaspora Judaism. . . . the chequered history of Jews in the Diaspora influenced the development of early Christianity variously, according to particular local conditions.  But there were few if any churches which were not deeply influenced by their friendly, hostile or (usually) ambiguous relationship to Diaspora Jews.” (38)  Barclay notes in several places that objections resulted from the local populace when a Jewish community of the Diaspora sent money to Jerusalem to support the temple: “civic communities struggling to maintain or revive their ancestral traditions were apparently displeased that the Jewish communities enjoyed the fruits of civic life while sending large sums of money to a city and a temple in Judaea.”  How might this practice (or even, perhaps, local objection to it) connect with Paul’s collection for the saints?

Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (Family, Religion, and Culture)6/30/12  Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (Westminster John Knox, 1997), vii-102.  I suspect at times the authors are conforming the NT churches to closely to prevailing social practices, for instance, in the areas of patronage and social status being replicated in the church.

6/29/12  Warren Carter, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Journal of Religion 80:1 (2000): 177-79.

6/29/12  Susan R. Garrett, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Christian Century 115:35 (1998): 1223, 1225, 1227, 1229.

6/29/12  Stuart L. Love, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61:2 (1999): 373-75.

6/29/12  Bonnie Bowman Thurston, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Encounter 60:3 (1999): 433-34.

6/29/12  Robert Holst, review of Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches, by Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Concordia Journal 25:4 (1999): 469-470.

6/27/12  Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Hermeneutics of 1 Timothy 2:9-15,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 155-196.

6/27/12  Harold O. J. Brown, “The New Testament Against Itself: 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and the ‘Breakthrough’ of Galatians 3:28,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 197-209.  “…when opinions and convictions suddenly undergo dramatic alteration, although nothing new has been discovered and the only things that has dramatically changed is the spirit of the age, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that that spirit has had an important role to play in the shift.” (199)

6/27/12  Philip H. Towner, “Households and Household Codes,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (InterVarsity, 1993), 417-19.  “…it is reasonable to say that the ‘fixed’ pattern of teaching [reflected in the form of canonical ‘household codes’] reflects a depth of interest in the household on the part of the early church equivalent to that of the pagan ethical writers.  From this it can also be suggested that Paul’s use of the Christian household code reflects his (and the church’s) sensitivity to wider social expectations.  Moreover, the emphasis, especially in the Pastoral Letters, on behavior that is visibly respectable and appropriate would seem to imply that the apostle desired the church to meet those social expectations as far as possible.” (419)

6/27/12  Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15: A Dialogue with Scholarship,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 105-154.  Schreiner defends the traditional view, agreeing with the “congruent creation” view which Doriani explicated: 2:14 indicates women should not teach or exercise authority over men since they “are more prone to introduce deception into the church since they are more nurturing and relational than men.  It is not that they do not have the capacity to teach doctrine or the ability to understand it.  Women are less likely to perceive the need to take a stand on doctrinal non-negotiable [sic] since they prize harmonious relationships more than men do.” (153)

6/26/12  Daniel Doriani, “A History of the Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2,” in in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 213-267.  Such an interesting treatment!  Not only does Doriani document the contours of the history of reception, he demonstrates how traditionalists have differed in their support of the traditional interpretation.  He divides those responses into ones that ground the subordinate role of women purely in God’s will (God said so, and that settles it) — a Scotist view; and ones that go on to give natural and/or theological reasons for the subordinate role of women — a Thomist view.  He points out that the trajectory of the twentieth century has been toward a Scotist view, as “recent conservative theologians have shied from ontological arguments for male headship” (259).  In response, he asks, “Do twentieth-century traditionalists want to affirm that God has ordered men to lead the church, and then give no reason for it?  Has he fashioned no difference whatsoever, to fit men to lead and women to receive their guidance?” (265)  Doriani himself embraces a “congruent creation” view (which he sees in Duns Scotus, Thomas Aquinas, Calvin, Hodge, and others): “men lead in home and church because God desired an ordered creation.  He sovereignly chose to order it through male headship, a headship given to them without a view to any merit on their part.  Yet God established a coherence or congruence between his decree and his creation.  Congruence thinkers affirm that God shaped the minds, proclivities and perhaps even the bodies of humans to reflect his decree. . . . God has engraved reflections of his sovereign decree into human nature.  In this view, because women generally focus on relationships more than abstract rational analysis, enmeshment in relationships could compromise a woman’s willingness to uproot heresy in the church.” (263, 265)

6/25/12  S. M. Baugh, “A Foreign World: Ephesus in the First Century,” in Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Kostenberger et al. (Baker, 1995), 13-52.  Through a survey of pertinent archaeological and epigraphic evidence, puts to rest the myth that Ephesus was a bastion of feminism in the first century.

6/24/12  C. Spicq, “semnos, semnotes” in TLNT, 244-248.

6/24/12  R. Alastair Campbell, “Identifying the Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Epistles,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 54 (1994): 73-86.  Campbell argues that the debate over the precise content of the “faithful sayings” can be resolved in light of a pattern (with occasional omissions of one part) of introductory formula + parenthetical reinforcement + saying + further qualification.  In light of this, the heavily debated “faithful saying” of 3:1 he sees as 3:16, with a significant interruption consisting of leadership qualifications.

6/23/12  N. J. McEleney, “The Vice-Lists of the Pastoral Epistles,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 26 (1974): 203-19.  “…the variations in the vice lists of the Pastorals suggest that no specific and detailed list circulated as an Urkatalog which one might hopefully yet discover or at least reconstruct as a source for the materials here, but rather that certain influences and themes present in the literature of antiquity illumine the background from which the author drew these lists.” (217) “…the vice lists of the Pastorals have been influenced by more or less of these elements: (1) reference to the Decalogue or other commands of the Law; (2) polemic against immoral pagan idolaters; (3) Hellenistic conceptions of virtue and vice as qualifications of a man; (4) moral dualism due to various inclinations or spirits in a man causing him to walk in one of two ways; (5) the theme of eschatological punishment.” (218)

6/23/12  J. D. Charles, “Vice and Virtue Lists,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background (InterVarsity, 2000), 1252-57.  “On the whole, NT virtue lists both bear similarity to and diverge from their pagan counterparts.” (1256)

The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius6/23/12  Portions of Paul Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (Eerdmans, 2004), including the section on the PE in chapter 8, “The wider culture and the readers of the Pastorals, the Johannine Letters and Revelation: Acculturation, Assimilation and Accommodation” (pp 351-84) and 197-236 (matters of introduction), 507-528 (women), 553-69 (self-designation).  Trebilco examines the congregation in Ephesus through the writings of Paul, Acts, the Pastorals (which he sees as pseudonymous), the Johannine Epistles, and Rev 2:1-7.  Trebilco sees the church in Ephesus at the time of the Pastorals (c. 80-100) as engaging in a significant level of acculturation, in that the author of the Pastorals assumes his readers will be able to understand the number of terms, forms of thought, concepts and attitudes which he adopts from the Hellenistic world.  There is a strong concern for the opinion of contemporary society.

6/22/12  Benjamin Fiore, “Introduction” in The Pastoral Epistles, Sacra Pagina (Liturgical Press, 2007), xi-24.

Product Details6/19/12  Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul’s Theology in the Pastoral Epistles, ed. Andreas J. Kostenberger and Terry L. Wilder (B&H, 2010).  Kostenberger provides a good orienting chapter summarizing basic hermeneutical issues and exegetical cruxes in the PE (apart from the whole debate on women and the church); Wilder does a fine job addressing his area of specialization, pseudonymity, in relation to the PE.  Wolfe’s essay on the use of the OT in the PE is well done, and Madsen’s work on ethics is interesting; Ho’s treatment of mission in the PE addresses a neglected area.  Akin and Merkle give workmanlike treatments of Christology and ecclesiology in the PE, respectively.  Tomlinson (purpose/stewardship theme), Van Neste (cohesion/structure), Couser (theology proper), and Wieland (soteriology) all give more technical treatments that appear to be condensations of much longer works.  One of the present-day deans of the PE, Marshall provides a solid gold concluding chapter on the PE in recent study (since 1999, when his own ICC commentary was published), addressing works in both English and German.

6/2/12  David C. Verner, The Household of God: The Social World of the Pastoral Epistles, SBLDS 71 (Scholars, 1983).


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