Plans

As the New Year rolls out I wanted to say something about some things I hope to achieve over the next 12 months – Lord willing.  It would be wonderful if the Lord would return for his Church and make what follows academic.  It’s not that important anyway 🙂

The School

The small school I am privileged to run, Veritas School of Theology (not to be confused with Veritas Theological Seminary, which was named after ours btw), enters 2012 with some promising students and a robust outlook.  When the Lord providentially guided me to start this work I knew I didn’t want it to be just like all the other seminaries out there.  I have no real beef with them, other than I think many of them are too big and pander to “the mammon of unrighteousness.”  We are not trendy.  We are a Bible school.  I couldn’t care less about evangelical superstars and about following the herd.  I just want to teach the Bible and its theology to people who care more for Truth for Truth’s sake than they do for “getting on in the world.”

As I look at the evangelical landscape today I see what to me is a disturbing movement away from the plain-sense of Scripture toward excessive typological and allegorical understandings of texts.  There is a pretense at thorough exegesis, when in fact what is happening is that types and other adumbrations are being searched for without regard for context or normal rules of communication.  It seems to me that the only writer who consistently does not mean what He says is the Holy Spirit!  Meanwhile most who call themselves Dispensationalists are happy to keep their thoughts in yesteryear and let this trend continue without any intelligent counter.  While a few are doing some notable work (a shining example being Michael Vlach), for the most part those who take the Bible “literally” have yielded the field.  VST seeks to learn from those with whom we disagree while developing a plain-sense alternative understanding of the Bible and it’s theology.

As most of our students have quickly experienced, we are no degree mill.  The courses require thought and commitment.  A student can express disagreement with a professor and still make an ‘A’ – albeit they have to properly represent and then argue against what they were taught.  Feedback remains very positive, and we are gratified that the instruction is making a difference in lives.  My prayer is that the Lord will allow us to expand our ministry and reach more people with it, both here and abroad.

May God help us to do that better in 2012.

The Blog

“Dr Reluctant” is a moniker given to me by a friend as I was starting blogging about four years ago.  I have tried to write about things which will help my students as well as topics which I find interesting.  I deliberately confine my writing to a few subjects like Apologetics, Systematic and Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Book Reviews.  This is my blog and I keep to the advice I was given before I wrote my first post, namely, “write what you want to write, that’s all.”  I try not to plow the same furrow too much, although I do have two or three series I want to get through which might make it seem a bit “samey” at times.  These series are “The Parameters of Meaning” and a kind of subsidiary set on “Some Problems I Have With Covenant Theology.”  Then there will be another series laying out in more detail the “C1 to C5 Categories” I employ to test theological propositions against the Scriptures they claim to use.  I can’t think of a nifty anagram for my approach, but perhaps I’ll get some inspiration before I start to write those posts?

Another series I intend to write (DV) is entitled “Teleology and Eschatology,” and is a description of my approach to Biblical Theology and the storyline of the Bible as set out in my courses at Veritas.  I hope to begin posting on that soon, although I am reading Greg Beale’s new tome and may have to delay until I’m much further into that work.  I also hope to give the blog a fresh look before very long.

Books

The mention of Beale brings me nicely on to the subject of books.  There are always more books to read than time to read them, and that goes also for books which should be read (there are many which shouldn’t because they waste ones time).

Here is a list of the books I most want to complete as things stand today.  Those with an (r) after them are scheduled for review:

G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology (r)

Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics (r?)

Rodney Stark, Discovering God and more

Anthony Thiselton, Hermeneutics: An Introduction

Dan Phillips, The World-Tilting Gospel (r)

David T. Lamb, God Behaving Badly (r)

David Dockery & Roger Duke (eds), John A. Broadus (r)

Darrell Bock & Robert Webb (eds), Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus (r?)

Michael Horton, The Christian Faith (r?)

Larry Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ

N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God

Darrell Bock & Buist Fanning (eds), Interpreting the New Testament (r?)

Richard C. Gamble, The Whole Counsel of God (1)

 

Of course, I shall read more than this.  I shall continue reading through Barth, and I will try to reread Sailhamer’s The Meaning of the Pentateuch, as well as stopping off as usual to delve into Van Til and others.  I really need to get back to my Puritans too!  But we’ll see how it goes.

Whatever happens, I hope I grow in my understanding of God’s Word and in my walk with His Spirit.

Amen

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Hi Paul, do you have a personal e-mail address that I could send an e-mail address to? There is a question that I would like to ask through private channels.

    Many thanks im advance.

    Blessings,

    Joel

  2. Dr. Henebury, I am very encouraged by your concerns of the “evangelical landscape”. I am a layman have been reading your blog almost daily for a couple of months and I am learning much. I grew up in a strong dispensational tradition (Plymouth Brethren) and I am concerned about the trend toward covenant/reformed theology. “Covenant” churches (2) in our small town of 65,000 people, are being populated more and more by the twenty-somethings. Meanwhile, Baptists and independant dispensational churches are dwindling in numbers and closing their doors. I know the covenant churches have many people who have attended pre-millenial/pre-tribulational churches most of their life. Many attending don’t know the difference, although some do.

    I am with you in wanting the plain sense of scripture, and Truth for Truth’s sake to prevail. I am not a dispensationalist who is content to keep my thoughts in yesteryear. I believe that the the dispensational positions of a straightforward hermanuetic and the seperate roles of Israel and the Church are grounded in truth and will become pre-eminant once again.

    I am writing this to encourage you and help you understand that there is concern out here in the hinterlands.

    I am interested in learning more about Covenant theology. Do you recommend reading Michael Horton’s book “God of Promise – Introducing Covenant Theology”?

    May God Bless you and your efforts with Veritas.

    Bill

    1. Thanks Bill, for your words. Your question about the Horton book is not as easy to answer as one might think. Overall he does a good job of presenting CT. The book is not a primer and demands a lot of concentration, but is quite good.

      It may surprise you to learn that there is not one really good work on CT. Not one that all CT’s would agree upon anyway. Horton is good. Robertson’s “Christ of the Covenants” is often recommended, though he renames the standard theological covenants.

      I suppose my recommendation would be Graeme Goldsworthy’s “According To Plan.”

      Hope that helps.

      Your brother,

      Paul

      1. Thanks Paul. I will explore those options and spend some my Christmas gift card on one of them. By “Standard Theological Covenants” do you mean Noah, Abrahamic, Mosaic, etc.?

        Bill

      2. By “the standard theological covenants” I mean the non-biblical covenants of redemption, works and grace. These covenants are not stated in Scripture yet they perform a magisterial role within covenant theology: particularly the cov. of grace.

  3. I think Bill’s analysis looks spot on, dispensationalism may hopefully swing back in popularity. Although it is just as likely we may end up in a much worse scenario that, for a few generations at least, as in the British Isles the theological system will be regarded as a historical curiousity. For example, you can do researches on millennialism at Trinity College Dublin looking at dispensationalism as a purely historical strand of theology.

    I’m aware of someone who identified himself as an English Reformed-leaning seminary student on a popular dispensational forum years ago. He is now a post-doc at TCD researching on dispensationalism’s impacts on American popular culture, and this believer’s biblical framework is as amillennial as you get.

    1. Thanks Joel. My hope in dispensationalisms return to greater acceptance is based in the fact that God always seems to have his voice and truth proclaimed no matter the circumstances. We see it throughout the Bible in the past, and we see it in Revelation with the two witnesses and the 144,000. More and more I see its need in the imperfect human organism of the church.

      Regarding TCD, isn’t that where J, N. Darby attended? If so, what irony.

      In God’s love

      Bill

  4. Paul: I am a bible teacher and avid student of theology, which is why I follow your e-mails so closely. I have read your concerns about the lack of writing about Dispensational Theology, of which I am an adamant teacher, and I share your concern. We have moved to an area of the country where you might assume the Word of God is considered precious, but such is not the case. We have visited 7 or 8 churches in the past two months and have yet to find a church where I think I can work. I have come up with what might be an answer to your question of why no writing on DT. Aside from some seminarians and possibly a few preachers, no one knows what it is. In fact, most people have no idea of what theology is all about. Why is this? Because no one teaches theology of any kind in the local churches. Not in the service nor in the Sunday Schools. Because most people who would buy books know nothing about theology, they wouldn’t buy theology books. What I HAVE discovered is that most of the people of the Presbyterian (Calvinistic) persuasion do indeed understand Covenant Theology and can cite chapter and verse after verse on a moments notice. Of course many Catholics can cite Catholic dogma without any verses of support. It seems to me that all of the denominations are holding to some form of false doctrine, of which Paul warns us against. If we could get churches of the DT persuasion to TEACH DT to the adults and young people alike, we could have a market for more materials on DT as well as a manifold increase in the numbers of people who could now understand their Bibles. And maybe explain the plan of God and the Gospel of Grace as we are instructed to do. When I ask a theological question or something regarding DT, I GET THE STANDARD ANSWER: “Well, I know Jesus as my Saviour and that’s enough for me. I don’t worry about the rest of it”. When we visit a new church, which we do all too often, usually weekly, and I ask the Pastor or staff member about the theology of their church, I get all kinds of answers, many that make no sense. One pastor actually told me that his church was of the covenantal origin, but went into the Bretheren, but was really Wesleyan, he thought!!! I got all of that in two sentences!!! My concern is : if we don’t teach DT in the churches and Sunday Schools, and, maybe only restrict it to a line or two in our “Doctrinal Statement”, is it any wonder why no one writes about it? I wonder if my appreciation of DT and my adherence to DT is the reason no one wants a “Bible Teacher. Maybe it’s because I’m 75 years old!! Maybe we are further into the “last days” and the accompanying “False Doctrine”. I am getting ready to go to a Democrat meeting ( I’m independent or Republican) where the visiting Reverend Dr. is going to lead a discussion on the separation of Church and State. I have no idea which direction the discussion will take, but I will be there and will be prepared. I still think this is a ” Christian” nation. Anyway, I hope my observation of the lack of teaching theology and more importantly Dispensational Theology gives some insight into the dearth of DT written information. If no one knows about it, who would care enough to read about it? Many thanks for your blogs and writings that I have been printing for some time now and have had to put them in a three ring binder for reference, if I get an opportunity to teach again. I live in a large retirement community, Willow Valley, in Lancaster PA. I might have to start my own Bible Study course, including theology, right here. There are more than 500 residents here. Thanks for listening; I hope I have contributed some understanding to the reason for the lack of interest in DT. I hope I’m wrong!!!

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