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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sunday, December 8, 2019

FREED BYTE - Why I Can't Be a Dispensationalist

In this short Freed Byte episode, I talk about two passages that make it nearly impossible for me to become a Dispensationalist. And yes... there is an easter-egg from my son at the end (thanks Uncle Fred!)

(TEXT of this episode)


-          Dispensationalism – Rightly Dividing the People of God?
-          House Divided: The Break Up of Dispensational Theology
-          Podcast Series: Theology Simply Profound

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Is Jeremiah 18 the OT Text Behind Paul’s Use of the Potter/Clay Motif in Romans 9:19-24?

A common Provisionist reading of Paul's use of the Potter/Clay Motif in Romans 9 relies on their assumption that the conceptual background to which Paul alludes to is that of Jeremiah 18. In this episode I explore far more plausible backgrounds for Paul's use of the PCM.

For the text version:
Is Jeremiah 18 the OT Text Behind Paul’s Use of the Potter/Clay Motif in Romans 9:19-24?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

CosmicSkeptic and His Jesus Mythicist Fail

In this episode I give some critical comments about the method and argumentation of Alex O'Conner (CosmicSkeptic) in his recent debate with Jonathan McLatchie.

The basic points of contention - his failed epistemological standard and use of hyper-skepticism as a method, and his advancement of the failed thesis of Jesus Mythicism and unchecked parroting of arguments made by the likes of unemployed blogger, Richard Carrier.

Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Various Calvinist Musings

In this episode I give various Calvinistic musings, ranging from why Inspiration and basic Christian orthodoxy are good arguments for a kind of Calvinistic Compatiblism/Soft Determinism, thoughts on why discussions about sovereignty often fail before they get started, and if Calvinists can "know" that they are elect.

Enjoy the show!

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Munus Triplex of Christ

In this episode I present a paper I wrote breaking down what theologians have called the Munus Triples, or the Threefold Office of Christ - that is Prophet, Priest, and King. I explore how Christ is the fulfillment of each of the three Biblical offices and how he functions in each prior to his incarnation, during his earthly ministry, and in glory.

(And yes... with a migraine and a cold I absolutely butcher some Greek, Hebrew and even a Latin term in this episode! Yikes.)

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Argument from Inspiration for Compatiblism

According to standard Protestant/Evangelical views on Inspiration (Verbal Plenary Inspiration) God, by the Spirit brought about the exact text and wording such that what the authors of the various scriptural texts wrote could properly be called God's word. However at the same time, we Protestants can rightly say that Paul wrote Romans based on his own beliefs, personality, style, history, autobiography and that inspiration is neither via dictation nor merely of general concepts, nor a kind of sentimental "inspiration" like Shakespeare being inspired by a summer's day.

There is concurrence where God determines the exact wording of the scriptures while the authors are also freely writing what they desired to write.

I think this is a good example of Compatiblism. I can say that the Pentateuch is the direct word of God and that Moses should be praised as a literary genius for his composition of Genesis. Whether we think that this is by supervenience or concurrence or some other thesis, the question can be asked - Was it God who determined the content of his word or the authors? To which it is correctly responded - Both/and, yes.

Many Incompatiblists attempt to make a principled objection that if God causally determines the outcome of some action that the agent is not free in their actions. Inspiration seems to provide a clear exception to the principled objection that shows the assumption of Libertarian forms of Incompatiblism to false.

A Molinist may attempt to say that God merely foreknew what Paul would write and actualized a world where Paul wrote what God would have wanted him to write had he intervened. This poses two problems.

1. Why think such a world is feasible? Maybe the Bible is the best that God could get in a feasible world so it's his Plan B (still a plan but not his perfect word to be sure). And why not Plan C? Or D? or AABB?

2. The Molinist would need to give the metaphysics of how that is a concept of inspiration of the Biblical text specifically and not of any other text, for surely God equally foreknew and actualized the world with War and Peace written in the way that we have it. If the exact metaphysics of the Molinist accounts for the Bible in precisely the same way that it does War and Peace or the Devil's Bible, then in what conceptually significant way can we say that the Bible is inspired in a special way or that it is, properly speaking, "the Word of God"?

To the Incompatiblists reading this, based on the numerous objections to Compatiblism (that it undermines freedom, that it removes the ability to be praise/blameworthy, that if we are determined we cannot said to be rational, etc.) does that fact that God exhaustively determined the Scriptures mean that Paul and the other authors were not free, praiseworthy, rational, etc. in their composition of their texts?

Or to escape this problem, do you then feel the need to alter your view of Inspiration to affirm either a Dictation view or an Aeshetic Inspiration view?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Does Baptizo Always Mean Full Immersion?

Someone in a Facebook group asked this question: 

"If infant baptism is proper practice, then why wasn't Jesus sprinkled? The bible only speaks to His full immersion baptism..."

 Here is my answer: 

1. Because Jesus was circumcised as the sign of the covenant, not baptized. He underwent the ceremonial cleansing of John's baptism. In many ways John's baptism was disanalogous to Christian baptism as the covenant sign and seal.

2. What passage is unequivocal that he was immersed? Like most passages, down to the water / up from the water does not necessarily mean immersion and can refer to him literally going down the bank to stand in the water and then walking back up the bank out of the water. So you must beg the question that Jesus was immersed anyway. (I'm not saying he for sure wasnt, just that you cannot build an argument from that assumption without begging the question). 

3. The root word Bapto seems to typically mean "dip/immerse" but Baptizo does not. It seems to almost universally mean to wash/cleanse, without reference to means. 

4. Jews baptizo'd their hands when they washed and we know this was done by pouring over their hands into a basin. 

5. The author of Hebrews in 9 talks about the baptizo's of the OT (sprinkling of the blood of bulls and goats) which were not done by immersion, but it spells out the various baptizo'd os sprinkling of the blood as the chapter progresses. 

6. If you claim that baptizo MUST mean immersion then you actually make Jesus a liar. In Acts 1:5 we read, "For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."" So Jesus is say that what is going to happen at Pentecost is a baptizo (on your view, a "full immersion") in the Spirit.

Yet when Peter says what happened as seen by the tongues of fire, he conveys it via Joel 2 where the Spirit is poured out. In 2:17-18, Peter cites Joel saying, 

"I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy." 

So Jesus calls it a baptizo and Peter says that it was expressly a pouring. So if Baptizo ONLY means immersion, then either Jesus is wrong or Peter/Joel is wrong. 

7. Even when I was a Credo-baptist I didnt find the case convincing that it was only "immersion." So my denominational affiliation has nothing to do with it. For example, in Acts 8 (where Philip baptizes the Ethiopian Eunuch, the term "eis" is used for "to/toward/into" and is present ELEVEN times in the chapter. With the exception of v38 (which is the verse in question about them going to or into the water), all the other instances clearly are directional - to/toward. They are never "into." The term "ek" is also far more often the directional term "from" rather than a "from out of." So it is a very normal reading that they went down the bank to the river and came back from the river. In fact, the last location marker was the chariot itself which acts as a focal point - they went down FROM the chariot (v38) TO the river and then when they come FROM the water it is implied that they are going back TO the chariot. It is there where Stephen vanishes. 

8. We can also see that in Acts 9 Paul was baptized in the house of a commoner in Damascas. People did not have bath tubs back then. They would have wash basins over which they would pour water over their heads or use some kind of rag to basically give themselves sponge baths. It's wildly unlikely that they would have had anything like a modern baptismal to do full immersion baptisms. 

9. Josephus records that the Jordan River, at that location was about ankle deep and would maybe be waist deep at flood levels. Unless it was flood levels, fully immersing someone in a couple of inches of water... not probable. 


The simple fact is, outside of simply bald assertion that it only means immersion, unless you beg the question that it means immersion, there are almost no texts where baptizo is clearly something being fully immersed.  Now, this does not prove Paedobaptism nor disprove Credo-Only Baptism. What it does is simply make the lexical case that Baptizo simply DID NOT only or even mostly mean full immersion.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Freedway Thinker #16: Allegory vs. Metaphor... Literally.

Equivocations abound when discussing hermeneutics and whether a text is allegorical, metaphorical, symbolic, literal, historical and so forth. I try to quickly unravel the knot that many have made.

Enjoy the show!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

SERMON: A Plan For Suffering

In this sermon I preach from Romans 8 and why we can have assurance in the love and sovereign plan of God, even in suffering, not because of anything good about us, but because our God is a God who keeps his promises to us.