1 Corinthians 11:17-34: “Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?”

250px-Agape_feast_03I posted a series on 1 Corinthians several months ago in preparation for teaching a class covering the epistle. Today, I taught on the problems with the Lord’s Supper described in 1 Cor 11:17-34.

Until I was preparing for class this morning, I’d been struggling to resolve the tension among three facts:

Fact 1: The early church ate a common meal called the love feast or agapē. They ate in homes, and they took communion as part of the meal. The early church meal was not a symbolic sip and a cracker. It was a full meal, just as was the Passover. Continue reading

Posted in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians, Lord's Supper | 10 Comments

Gravity Waves, Continued

gravitywaves

Gravity Waves

Some further thoughts regarding yesterday’s post

[This will not be on the final. Just to illustrate how very complex a single proton is. You don’t have to watch the whole thing.] Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Gravity Waves

gravitational_waves

From XKCD.com

A reader asked me to comment on the profound theological significance of gravity waves. Seems like a good idea. So here goes …

Background

About 100 years ago, Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity (GTR), which has been confirmed by countless experiments. But not all of its predictions have been confirmed — most famously, until a few days ago, gravity waves. Continue reading

Posted in Apologetics, Uncategorized | 31 Comments

The Revelation: More than Conquerors, Part 3 (College football and other commentaries)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaIt’s a little surprising that Hendriksen’s book is titled More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. After all, the phrase “more than conquerors” is from Romans 8:37, not the Revelation. But the Revelation does speak of Christians conquering (or prevailing) repeatedly. So it fits.

But I’ve always been intrigued by this turn of phrase. I remember the first time I read it (I was in high school, I think). It was exciting! I enjoy winning, and to be more than a winner sounded pretty cool — much better than the damned-to-hell preaching that was common in that time and place. I loved Paul’s optimism.

But what does it mean? I mean, if I win, I win. How can I win more than win? How can I prevail more than prevailing? Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

The Revelation: More than Conquerors, Part 2 (What the parallel visions teach us)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaIn the last post, we considered the approach to interpreting the Revelation offered by William Hendriksen’s 1939 More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

I posted the last few verses of each of seven parallel visions, all concluding with God’s victory over Satan. But they are not the same. They offer radically different perspectives.
Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Revelation: More Than Conquerors, Part 1 (Hendriksen’s theory of interpretation)

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaAs I mentioned in the last post, a very influential book regarding the interpretation of the Revelation is William Hendriksen’s 1939 More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

Unlike Foy Wallace and the Gospel Advocate commentary by John T. Hinds, Hendriksen rejects any connection of the visions in the Revelation with particular historic events — pre- or post-AD 70. Rather, he sees the Revelation as a series of seven parallel prophecies speaking generally of the challenges faced by Christians and the church, each promising a triumphal ending.

I borrow this summary from UK Apologetics: Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Revelation: History of Interpretation in the Churches of Christ

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaI grew up in North Alabama. The northern realms of Alabama at one time had the highest number of Churches of Christ per capita in the world. This is not a good thing. The large number of congregations was the result of a large number of church splits.

The church of my preschool years split twice before I left for college. My home congregation cleaved off the original church over the orphan’s home issue — whether church funds might be used to support orphanages. Really.

All the other congregations in the area were “non-institutional,” although we said “Anti” — pronounced with a certain curl of the lip. So I grew in a world where supporting orphanages out of the treasury was considered “liberal.” Fellowship halls damned. Youth ministers were considered with great suspicion.

Foy E. Wallace, Jr.

Orthodoxy — soundness — was defined by Foy E. Wallace, Jr. Among his many pet issues, Wallace pushed hard against the Churches of Christ’s historic pacifism and premillennial and postmillennial teachings. (We had some in both camps.) Wallace considered premillennialism a step toward Universalism, and hence surely damning. Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 33 Comments

The Revelation: Of Dragons, Beasts, and Other Monsters, Part 3

lion-dove-lamb-yeshua

We continue our study of the many monstrous characters in the Revelation.

Babylon the Harlot

John refers to Rome as “Babylon” and then as a harlot (or whore or prostitute, depending on the translation). This is one of many parts of the Revelation that makes it difficult to teach in high school — although less so today than when I was in high school.

The “great whore” (17:1 NRSV) or harlot of chapter 17 is called Babylon (17:5), a Jezebel-like figure and a parody of the feminine images of Roma Aeterna and Dea Roma (Eternal Rome and Goddess Rome). She is “seated” on many waters (peoples; 17:15) and on the blasphemous beast with seven heads (17:2–3). These heads are identified (17:9–10) as both seven mountains (as in Rome’s seven hills) and seven kings (the fullness of emperors). Clad in luxury, the whore has fornicated with the inhabitants of the earth and become drunk with the blood of the saints (17:2–6), and as the all-powerful city who rules all others (17:18), she has ten client kings in her grip who will make war on the Lamb but also eventually turn on her (17:12–17).

Gorman, Michael J. (2011-01-01). Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb into the New Creation (Kindle Locations 3134-3140). Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Revelation: Of Dragons, Beasts, and Other Monsters, Part 2

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaThe Beast from the Land

The second beast, from the land, functions primarily to promote the worship of the first beast (13:12). It operates with borrowed power and by means of deception. Its lamb-like appearance is a mask for Satanic speech (13:11), and its public display of signs is really smoke and mirrors to deceive people into worshiping the first beast (13:13–15). It requires elites and non-elites alike to receive the mark of the beast to participate in the economy (13:16–17).

… The second beast, from the earth (that is, of local origin [in contrast to Rome, which conquered Asia Minor from the sea]), is then seen as those who promote the imperial cult, perhaps local government and/or religious officials in and around cities like Ephesus and Pergamum. The mark of the beast might be an imperial slogan, seal, or image.

Gorman, Michael J. (2011-01-01). Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb into the New Creation (Kindle Locations 2989-2997). Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition. Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Revelation: Of Dragons, Beasts, and Other Monsters, Part 1

lion-dove-lamb-yeshuaIn the last post, we saw how John the Seer received a vision of the Trinity. The pages of Revelation are filled with images of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

But in the Revelation, the members of the Trinity have enemies. We need to identify and study them.

The cosmic, apocalyptic drama portrayed in Revelation has as its protagonist the triune God and as its antagonist a somewhat parallel unholy trinity of Satan and two beasts, a parody of God-Christ-Spirit.[12]

[12] The parallels are rather stunning. In each trinity, the first member (God the Father; Satan) is the source of the power and rule of the second (the Lamb/Son; the beast from the sea); both the first and the second are worshiped; both the first and the second resemble figures in Daniel 7; and the third (the Spirit; the beast from the land) promotes and speaks for the second.

Gorman, Michael J. (2011-01-01). Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb into the New Creation (Kindle Locations 2966-2968; 3305-3307). Cascade Books, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition (the “[12]” indicates a footnote. Not sure why Gorman hid this cool bit of information in the footnotes.) Continue reading

Posted in Revelation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments