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Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

17th Century Baptist Literature is being published

February 17, 2014 4 comments

Are We Entering a Golden Age of 17th Century Baptist Literature?

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Steve Weaver

I certainly hope so. Having done my PhD in this largely unmined area of church history, I have a vested interest in making the inspiring stories and helpful theological musings of our 17th-century Baptist counterparts known. I’m committed to doing my part. In recent days, I have been encouraged by the number of solid publications about or containing the original works of 17th-century Baptists that have either been recently released or are slated to be released soon. In addition to the works listed below, I am currently revising my dissertation on Hercules Collins for publication and plan to separately publish Collins’ The Temple Repair’d in the near future.

Available Now:

Jonathan W. Arnold, The Reformed Theology of Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) (Regent’s Park College Publications, 2013).

Jonathan Arnold completed his dissertation on the most important seventeenth-century English Particular Baptist at Regent’s Park College of Oxford University. This work is a slightly revised version published in Regent’s Park College Publications excellent Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies series. As the title suggests, Arnold explores Keach as a Reformed theologian.

Clint C. Bass, Thomas Grantham (1633-1692) and General Baptist Theology (Regent’s Park College Publications, 2013).

At the same time that Arnold was working on his dissertation on Keach at Regent’s Park, Clint Bass was also working on his dissertation there on the most important seventeenth-century English General Baptist. This work is a slightly revised version published in Regent’s Park College Publications excellent Centre for Baptist History and Heritage Studies series. This work explores General Baptist theology through the prism of the life, ministry, and theological writings of Thomas Grantham.

John Inscore Essick, Thomas Grantham: God’s Messenger from Lincolnshire (Mercer University Press, 2013).

Another important work on Grantham was also released in 2013 by Mercer University Press. The publication of two major works on Grantham indicate something of his importance to understanding the General Baptists of the seventeenth century.

Larry J. Kreitzer, William Kiffen and his World (3 Volume Set) (Regent’s Park College Publications, 2010-2013).

Larry Kreitzer is a New Testament scholar who teaches at the OxfordUniversity’s Regent’s ParkCollege. On the side, he is a sleuth of seventeenth-century Baptist primary sources. His gift is masterfully mining archives for previously undiscovered primary source material on early English Baptists. I’ve seen his skill first hand as he showed me around the London Metropolitan Archives for material on Hercules Collins. His three-volume work on William Kiffen is a treasure trove of primary sources on this important seventeenth-century Baptist pastor (the only one to sign both the 1644 and 1689 London Confessions). I believe Kreitzer’s research will produce a fresh outburst of Kiffen scholarship.

J. Stephen Yuille, Looking unto Jesus: The Christ-Centered Piety of Seventeenth-Century Baptists (Pickwick Publications, 2013).

Stephen Yuille, an expert guide to Puritan spirituality, uncovers the Puritan-esqe spirituality of two seventeenth-century Particular Baptists–Thomas Wilcox and Vavasor Powell. This short work includes a sermon by Wilcox and a short treatise by Powell. Both demonstrate the Christ-centered piety of the Particular Baptists. Yuille includes two excellent essays of his own exploring the spirituality in the primary sources included.

Coming Soon:

Jason G. Duesing, Henry Jessey: Puritan Chaplain, Independent and Baptist Pastor, Millenarian Politician and Prophet (Borderstone Press, forthcoming).

Jason Duesing,Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has revised his excellent dissertation on Henry Jessey for publication in Borderstone Press’ Thesis Imprint series. Jessey is an important figure in Baptist life. He was one of the first three pastors of the famous J-L-J independent congregation (Jacob-Lathrop-Jessey) from which early English Particular Baptist life sprung. He also became a Baptist himself!

Brian L. Hanson and Michael A.G. Haykin. Waiting on the Spirit of Promise: The Life and Theology of Suffering of Abraham Cheare (Pickwick Publications, forthcoming).

Brian Hanson and Michael Haykin present an introduction to the life and theology of Abraham Cheare, a seventeenth-century Particular Baptist pastor who suffered imprisonment for his gospel ministry. Along with their analysis of Cheare, four primary sources by Cheare are included in this work.

Michael A.G. Haykin and G. Stephen Weaver, Jr. An Orthodox Catechism (Reformed Baptist Academic Press, forthcoming).

Michael Haykin and I are publishing a revised, updated version of Hercules Collins’ 1680 An Orthodox Catechism, which is itself a Baptist revision of the 1563 Heidelberg Catechism. In addition to the text of the catechism, Haykin and I have authored a historical introduction to the catechism. This books should be available within a week or so.

 

Source: [Thoughts of a Pastor-Historian]

Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?

December 17, 2013 2 comments

By Dr. Terry Mortenson-The New Answers Book 3-Chapter 8

Anyone who has read the Bible very much will recognize that there are different kinds of literature in the Old and New Testaments. There are parables, poetry, prophetic visions, dreams, epistles, proverbs, and historical narrative, with the majority being the latter. So, how should we interpret Genesis 1–11? Is it history? Is it mythology? Is it symbolic poetry? Is it allegory? Is it a parable? Is it a prophetic vision? Is it a mixture of these kinds of literature or some kind of unique genre? And does it really matter anyway?

We will come back to the last question later, but suffice it to say here that the correct conclusion on genre of literature is foundational to the question of the correct interpretation. If we interpret something literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, then we will misunderstand the text. When Jesus said “I am the door” (John 10:9), He did not mean that He was made of wood with hinges attached to His side. Conversely, if we interpret something figuratively that the author intended to be taken literally, we will err. When Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 17:22–23), He clearly meant it just as literally as if I said to my wife, “Margie, I’m going to fill up the gas tank with gas and will be back in a few minutes.”

There are many lines of evidence we could consider to determine the genre of Genesis 1–11, such as the internal evidence within the Book of Genesis and how the Church has viewed these chapters throughout church history. But in this chapter we want to answer the question, “How did the other biblical authors (besides Moses, who wrote Genesis1) and Jesus interpret them?” From my reading and experience it appears that most people who consider the question of how to interpret the early chapters of Genesis have never asked, much less answered, that question.

 

Read the entire article here.

Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2

Last week I began a post discussing two Charismatic Pastors, of which I know personally. The first Charismatic I called ‘The Teacher’ and the second Pastor’s name is Otis Graves. Before I begin my post concerning these two individuals I want to lay down a few things concerning examining other ministers.

I realize that what I proclaim from this blog is not popular in today’s church world. Many think that it is condescending or critical to examine a Charismatic’s doctrines. They think that you are being unloving because you examine what Charismatics have preached from the pulpit. The reason that I know that these things are unpopular is because I can get almost a hundred views on these post and not one person will comment. If I were spreading the doctrines that the Charismatics do, then my comment section would fill up.

I want to say from the beginning that it is not unloving to examine what another minister states from the pulpit, over the radio, or through the television screen. I happen to believe that it is unloving to stay silent if you hear something that is unscriptural and do not speak out against it. Paul told the elders atEphesusin Acts 20:28-30 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thechurchofGod, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves.

The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

One thing I will commend Otis Graves for is that he is not like the ‘Teacher’; he has refrained from putting his sermons on audio. This is because he contradicts himself so much that if someone went back and listened to his sermon from last week, then they would catch him saying something entirely different this week. Though he doesn’t record his sermons on to audio, nevertheless when I was under his ministry I wrote down some of the stuff he stated from the pulpit.

For instance, onAugust 31, 2008Otis Graves made the statement, “that whosoever Jesus sets free is free indeed, but not entirely. Once Jesus sets us free, then we must go on and set ourselves free from things that Jesus did not free us from.” Otis was actually saying that Jesus is not enough and we need something more. This teaching denies the Reformation principle of ‘soli Christo’ or Christ Alone. This teaching also is a distorted interpretation of John 8.  A more fitting interpretation would be: The Jews believed that they were not in bondage, but Jesus goes on to explain to them that if they commit sin (and we all do) then they are the servants of sin. In other words they are slaves to sin. Jesus tells them that if he makes them free, they shall be free. In other words if they become his disciples, then they will no longer be a slave to sin.

This leads me to my next point and that is that we have no right to twist or distort the scriptures to fit our doctrines. I am not going to defend the Roman Catholic Church, but to its credit I will say that they warned Luther against putting the scriptures into the hands of ignorant and unlearned men. They told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it. They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves.

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them.

The main point I want to focus on today is the principles of a proper methodology. In other words, Mr. ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves, it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will agree on the exact interpretation of every scripture, but we should agree on the fundamental approach to biblical interpretation. In other words we ought to be using the same methods on how to interpret scripture. There is a difference between an occasional misinterpretation and unacceptable methods of biblical interpretation. The former is common to us all and the latter no one should be guilty of holding to.

Had you two studied you would have realized that the church has developed a method of interpretation that makes everyone approach the scriptures the same way. The church developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ Hermeneutics is the science and art of interpretation. Holding to a proper hermeneutic will keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. (I challenge both of you to go to my web site and click my Hermeneutics page link and study up on this principle.)

Many today claim to hold to a literal interpretation of scripture, but what they are talking about has nothing to do with proper interpretation. In other words they believe that if the Bible plainly says something, then we can take that something and use it anyway we want to. This is not literal interpretation. The word literal comes from the Latin word ‘literalis’ and means the literature in which it was written. In other words, to use the literal interpretation method means that we are to interpret scripture according to the literature in which it was written.

Scripture is written in many forms of literature, some of which are: poetry, proverbs, narrative, didactic, apocalyptic and so forth. We are never to take narrative scriptures and make doctrines out of them because they are giving us a story of what happened and not trying to teach us what we should or should not do. For instance Charismatics are big on using the book of Acts to build their doctrines on, but the book of Acts is recording events that happened within history and not trying to teach us doctrines. There may be doctrine within the book, but it is still a history record. We are to only use the didactic or the instructional material of scripture to build our doctrines on.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time.

I want to say one more thing before I close this post. I want to tell the ‘Teacher’ and Mr. Otis Graves that there is only one interpretation to every scripture in the Bible. In other words the writer was writing to a specific audience of his day and meant a specific thing when he wrote what he did. Therefore we should try to understand the Bible in its grammatical-historical-redemptive setting. In other words we are to interpret a scripture according to the grammar it was written in, according to the historical setting of which it was written, and according to the redemptive plan of God in history.

No one reads a newspaper, magazine, book, or any other piece of literature any different than what I have described. If we ripped a sentence out of a newspaper article, then we could make it say whatever we wanted it to. We must understand it within the author’s original intent and within the context of what has been said around it. We are then to take it and apply it to today. Though there is only one true interpretation of every scripture, nevertheless there may be many applications to that scripture. In other words we may be able to apply that scripture to many of today’s problems and so forth, but we should only do that after we have understood that scripture within the author’s original meaning.

So I am calling on both of you to study the science of hermeneutics. We may misinterpret a scripture from time to time, but your methods of approaching scripture are unacceptable and lead to distortion.

I will close for now and come back later and finish some more on this article.

 

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.