Consider the Old Temple in light of the New Temple (Christ)

The primary objectives of expiatory rites prescribed here involve rare practices called rites of riddance, which effect the removal and destruction of impurity. The transgressions of the Israelites and their priests, which produce impurity, are dramatically transferred to the scapegoat, which is driven into the wilderness, never to return. Certain parts of sin offerings are burned to ashes outside the encampment rather than the altar. Chapter 16 also ordains the use of sacrificial blood in unusual ways during the purification of the sanctuary. These two processes- purification through sacrificial blood and purification by riddance- are woven into one of the most complex rituals to have reached us from any ancient society […] The primary objective of expiatory rites like the ones set forth in chapter 16 was to maintain a pure sanctuary. An impure, or defiled, sanctuary induced God to withdraw his presence from the Israelite community. Obviously, the greatest threat to the purity of the sanctuary came from the priesthood itself, whose members functioned within its sacred precincts and who bore primary responsibility for its maintenance. The sanctuary was also threatened by major transgressions of the laws of purity involving the entire Israelite community or by the failure of individual Israelites to attend to their own purification […] As long as impurity persisted, God remained offended, so to speak, and the danger of his wrath and possible alienation was imminent.

-Baruch A. Levine The JPS Torah Commentary on Leviticus (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 99.

The Day of Atonement, which this passage summarizes, is given significant typological reference in the book of Hebrews. When you understand that Christ, who was our perfect High Priest, lived sinlessly, it brings stark realization that the first temple was merely ceremonial and sub-standard to what God would eventually reveal, a sinless “Temple” providing unaided access. At further point this new Temple (Christ) actually approached us and invited us into him. And it is imperative to understand that throughout scripture, the indication is given that sacrifice never really removed sin, but was merely an ordered ritual as commanded by God.

Now, what I have written is nothing but mere theological speculation, but we must consider the Old Tabernacle found in Leviticus in light of the New Temple (Christ). Not that Christ is the temple, but he serves a representative by which we are capable of approaching God, through his body, which was sinless.

Advertisements

This is unbelievable

Life is busy

Life is very busy right now.

(1) I have a massive Life and Teachings of Christ test on Friday that I am nervous about.

(2) I am compiling research/getting ready to write an exegetical over Lev. 16.6-10.

(3) I am weighing the considerations for my research paper over the “Politics of Jesus.”

(4) Hebrew is rather irritating right now

(5) I have been doing some preliminary work on my Princeton Theological Seminary application. Its’ not due until October (I am applying for early decision), but considering the choice I have chosen, I am already beginning to look at the essay questions and respond/revise. I am having a hard time gaging how to respond. For one, I don’t want to give the typical evangelical response as though I talk about Jesus as if he were my prom date. Second, since its Princeton, it’s important to combine a strong academic tone while maintaining the proper level of devotional attitude. Luckily, I am having Matt Easter (SBU Alum ’05), a current Duke Divinity School student “coaching” me on the techniques of applying to prestigious seminaries. Here is how I have responded to the first question:

In one paragraph, comment on a book, issue, or theological idea that has engaged your attention recently.
I have come upon Richard B. Hayes’ The Moral Vision of the New Testament and found it highly formative in matters related to shaping my theological/ethical convictions. And, contrary to the modern church at large, Hayes gives significant and convictional deliberation to complex and nuanced ethical issues that are typically used as matters to classify one’s theological and ecclesiastical affiliation. I find, whether one agrees or disagrees with his ethical conclusions, one must admit he presents his position in an ostensibly non-hostile manner in regard to controversial topics facing the church today. More personally, his high view of scripture fused with a methodical capacity for detail and sound logic presents a formidable piece of scholarly work that theologians, pastors, and scholars must interact with and respond to in a calculated manner. Indeed, welcoming complexities while providing sound exegesis in a tone of compassion is an aspect of my future ministry that I hold to as invaluable. As Hayes demonstrates throughout this masterpiece, ministry and scholarship combined involves close examination of theological and biblical convictions while providing coherent understanding to guide us into all truth

I promise. More postings are going to come!

Red Herring…Non-sequitor

If anyone is interested in new SBC controversey, please check out sbcoutpost.com or stevekmccoy.com to read their response of Roger Moran and the supposed alignment he sees between the emerging church and the SBC.

Blogging 2.0

I am now going to be blogging from my new site, http://www.theologyislife.wordpress.com. If anyone is interested, WordPress is incredibly efficient. I would suggest you try it out. I plan on giving more detail on the name of this blog in the near future.

A Thought on the SBU Alcohol Controversey

Certain issues arise in our times that are of certain importance. Unfortunately, how we address such significance or importance is usually dependent upon a social context that is put together by social mores and social norms that guide us as a people. As well, some issues are more provocative and polarizing than others, too. Indeed, if you evaluate the realms of historical trends, history reveals that our theology is affected by our history and our history is affected by our theology. They are one in the same when it comes to having a practical theology that drives one’s life.

Admittedly, I regret the feeling of conviction that is causing the need to write this, for I have nothing but respect and goodwill toward Dr. Taylor. Rather, I write this response because I feel the need to address the issue of alcohol, as humbly as possible; in a manner I see fitting, both theologically and biblically. As. C.S. Lewis once remarked “good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”

Consequently, when we, as institution, garner such a policy as abstinence around an issue such as alcohol, it only creates reactionary attitudes and tendencies, which in turn drives people’s obsession with it. For many students, alcohol is only an issue because it’s forbidden. Perhaps our own stigma is causing the abuse of alcohol. Or we could go further in saying that one of the precipitating sins surrounding alcohol is the stigma we attach to it, eventually leading to our inability to discuss the issue fairly or in open dialogue.

Pursuing this further, I resent that Dr. Taylor chose to regard the consumption of alcohol as an indication of one’s spiritual life. John Calvin’s annual salary package included 250 gallons of wine to be enjoyed by himself and dinner guests. Additionally, the great reformer, Martin Luther, who we find inaugurating the idea of the sufficiency of scripture, married a former nun named Catherine who was herself a skilled brewer. Luther, in letters to his wife while traveling, would lament that he could not drink her beer. When the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, the first building erected was not a church, but a brewery. As you can see, levying the idea that alcohol gives indication of one’s spiritual condition is wrong and honestly insulting when compared to the voice of Christian tradition and the likes of such powerful reformers whose beliefs we hold so dearly to present day.

Moreover, if we claim the sufficiency in scripture that we do, then let scripture speak freely of proof texts and isolated biblical passages. Or more, where the Bible is silent, let us be silent as well when it comes to developing theologies and paradigms that can and will perhaps divide us as a body of the living Christ. For when the Bible does not ban, let us be silent. Most alcohol-abstaining Christian will themselves admit that the Bible speaks of no absolute mandate restricting the consumption of alcohol. Let that admission be sufficient.
To this end, don’t let the legalism of the Southern Baptist Convention continue to affect our lives. Other evangelical Christians of different denominations have no problem with drinking. Why is it that our denomination has chosen to place an unwarranted stigma on alcohol?

To illustrate, when the Apostle Paul writes of the “Weak” in 1 Corinthians 9.22, he is referring to those whose consciousness’s were not granting them the pleasure of Christian freedom to consume meat that had been sacrificed to idols, though Paul knew it to be a permissive issue. As theologian and biblical scholar David Stern puts it, Paul is referring to “those with overactive but misguided consciences”. To parallel this to our present situation, the weak in today’s society are not those who chose to openly abstain from alcohol from conviction, but rather those who believe that drinking alcohol provides us a measure to gauge our spirituality, or to use the common Christian lingo, legalism.

Instead, the job of the Christian is redemption, not participation in a worldly kingdom that only sees in terms of black and white and right and wrong. Biblically speaking, there are many issues throughout scripture that when taken only at first glance, usually resort to a misinterpretation in the name of hermeneutical ease. Rather than being indicted, let us be co-creators in bringing about the redemption that Romans 8 long about.

Let me be first to admit that the consumption of alcohol can lead to terrible and tragic circumstances in life. And let me also say that my own liberty as a Christian does not result in licensing myself to do or say whatever I want in the comfort of grace. But, I believe we have been lead astray to believe that alcohol necessitates the presence of drunkenness. If that were the case, shallow logic is in place here. When Dr. Taylor chose to isolate and proof text Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise” he blatantly ignored the underlying assumption. From first reading, it is apparent that this scripture is not restricting the consumption of alcohol, but being lead astray by over consumption. We can all agree that over-indulgence in alcohol (or anything for that matter) leads to gluttony, over dependency, and other negative ramifications.

In contrast, the presence of alcohol denotes the presence of a blessing in scripture (Psalm 104.14-15). Festivals and dinners were weighed and measured by the presence and quality of alcohol (John 2). Additionally, the absence of wine reflects an absence of joy in scripture (Isaiah 16.10; Joel 1.5,12). And the case has to be made; Jesus drank during his ministry. Many have argued that the alcohol Jesus consumed had a much lower level alcohol content than today’s normal content. From research, this claim is clearly wrong (Isaiah 1:22). Diluted wine was frowned upon. Thus, the case that the Bible presents no mandate on consumption is clear.

Here is my resolution; thoughtful consideration by the administration on the level of biblical faithfulness on this issue should be evaluated. Secondly, students should check their motives incongruence with their convictions. And last, pursuing alternative paths that lead us all beyond cynicism and apathy would be greatly appreciated. If we all agreed to be biblical, mature, understanding, and loving on this issue, our polarization of alcohol could turn a hot-button issue into a non-issue.

In the mean time, I fear that SBU and the Southern Baptist Convention at large is only continuing the trend that portrays us being known more for what we are against than for what we love. And perhaps worse for SBU, I fear that this issue only attacks and diminishes our pursuit of what we are constantly seeking to grasp and refine: an identity based not on outward conformity to a manmade regulation, but rather to the imputed righteousness that Christ gives us to build his kingdom (Ephesians 2.9-10).

In the end, we need to be trusted rather coddled, respected rather than guided, and taught rather than conform. For surely, the more we withdraw and seclude ourselves in the pious ranks of self-righteousness in the name of appearance, we must then crucify our Lord one more time in hopes of completing the necessary redemption and glorification that He missed the first time around.

I’m Back…I think

Wedding pictures taken by the photographer are now available to view . To view the pictures, go to:

http://www.iphotos.us

Under “Photo Search,” type in “Locke” or “Walker” and click on our names. The login password is “Artistic.” You can then watch a slideshow of all pictures.

Okay, beyond that, I probably should get back to the blog, but for some reason, I cannot bring myself to the needed level of desire that would require the maintenance necessary to do so.


October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031