Saturday, June 28, 2008

Paul Ellingworth on Reading Through Hebrews 1-7

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Paul Ellingworth, "Reading through Hebrews 1-7," Epworth Review 12.1 (Jan. 1985): 80-88.

I found this to be a very good overview from a specialist on the epistle to the Hebrews- well worth a read.

Ronald E. Clements on Prophecy and Fulfillment

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Ronald E. Clements, "Prophecy and Fulfillment," Epworth Review 10.3 (Sept. 1983): 72-82.

While I disagree that fulfilled prophecy no longer has any value in apologetics I found this an interesting study.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

F.F. Bruce on Commentaries on Acts

The following article is now online in PDF:

F.F. Bruce, "Commentaries on Acts," Epworth Review 8.3 (Sept. 1981): 82-87.

I was fortunate recently to have access to the full run of Epworth Review and Methodist Publishing House have given me permission to reproduce a number of articles. In this article F.F. Bruce provides a helpful review of commentaries written on Acts up to 1981.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Articles in other Languages? That's a Good Idea

I am in the early stages of discussions with someone who is wanting to translate some of the articles from Themelios into Spanish. For some time I have had it on my heart to increase the number of people able to benefit from the material I have online. I currently get visitors from all but about 6 countries around the world (around 1,600 visits a day on at present), but I am aware that the content is only accessible to those who can read English. I am also aware that I lack the ability to do this myself. I therefore look forward to seeing how this develops and hope that tranlations into other languages, such as French, Portuguese, Mandarin and Cantonese (the list could be extended), might also become a reality. If you know of anyone willing to do this kind of work please let me know [rob(at)].

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Max Turner on Spiritual Gifts then and now

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Max Turner, "Spiritual Gifts Then and Now," Vox Evangelica 15 (1985): 7-64.

This article makes up the large part of Volume 15 of Vox Evangelica provides some valuable insights to those (like myself) interested in the subject of spiritual gifts. This passage in particular caught my attention: Tongues as an Aid to Private Devotion?

This, the usual explanation given by Pentecostals, Charismatics and, for that matter, by most New Testament scholars, has been vigorously denied by Edgar who insists: (1) that such a view contradicts the purpose stated in 1 Corinthians 14:22; Mark 16:15-17 and implicit in Acts 2:1-13. (2) A private gift would not be for the edification of the church and makes it unique. (3) Such a gift would be self-centred. (4) If the gift of tongues could edify it would surely be given to all. (5) If the purpose is private devotion directed to God why should there be a gift of interpret­ation? (6) Anyway Paul says that tongues do not edify the believer; his mind remains fallow. (7) It is clear that in 1 Corinthians 14:2 using a gift to speak ‘only to God’ is equivalent to ‘speaking into the air’ (14:9): it is, for Paul, a negative concept, not something to be exercised. (8) In 14:14-16 Paul discourages praying with the Spirit alone (which is not tongues anyway) and urges praying with the mind also.

These points need not delay us long. We take them seriatim: (1) There is no contradiction between tongues viewed as an aid in devotion and what is said in 1 Corinthians 14:22; Mark 16:15-17 and Acts 2:1-13 unless one arbitrarily asserts tongues may only have one function. Edgar does just this, but he is inconsistent here for he is forced to admit that Acts 10:46; 19:6 do not denote sign-gifts of evangelistic import. Edgar is wrong in giving exclusive place, or even primary place, to the function of tongues stated in the long ending of Mark and implied in Acts 2: in doing this he almost certainly misrepresents Paul. (2) As exercised in the church, with interpretation, the gift does edify. And if used privately to build up the individual this also (albeit indirectly) edifies the church. But the notion that no gift could possibly be given to benefit the receiver/user (rather than the church he serves) is quite arbitrary and fails to see that all the other gifts build up the endowed as well (though we admit not exclusively). (3) Why can the gift not be God-centred? (4) If tongues is merely one gift amongst many by which an endowed person might be built up then he who has not received the gift is not thereby necessarily impoverished. (5) On Edgar’s view it should be an anomaly that the gift of interpretation is required at all: but on the view presented above the speaker who has tongues and interpretation will not only edify the church more, but also edify himself more (note that Paul assumes that it is the tongues-speaker who should interpret usually, vv.5, 13). (6) Edgar’s antithesis is false; Paul allows that spiritual activity not cognitively recognized by the practitioner may edify (cf. Rom. 8:26). (7) To be sure, Paul bans the phenomenon (if uninterpreted) from the assembly; but he fully recognizes that it is genuinely a speaking to God (14:2, 28)―the problem for the assembly is that unless interpreted it is ‘only to God’. It is perfectly right of Edgar to say that Paul does not hereby positively advocate private devotional tongues; but what Paul says nevertheless entails that he considered it an appropriate use. Later, however, in 1 Corinthians 14:28 Paul commands that if glōssai are not interpreted the speaker should then be silent in church; he should speak rather ‘to himself and to God’. As it is improbable that Paul is counselling private use of tongues in church when another is ministering, this seems to be a positive injunction to private use. (8) Praying and singing with the Spirit are almost certainly tongues (or, at least, not forms understood to the speaker) else the contrast with prayer en nō(i) makes contextually less sense. This is confirmed by the contrast en glōssē(i)/en nō(i) lalein in verse 19. However much we agree with Edgar that Paul encourages prayer ‘with the mind also’, he clearly recognizes―as valid―prayer that is not with the mind, but is merely glōssē(i) (14:14).

We conclude that Paul saw a variety of functions to be fulfilled by tongues-speech, but probably saw its major role to be a private one.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Winner of June Giveaway

The winner of the June Giveaway is Jeffrey Carter. I have not published Jeffrey's comment because I do not wish to reveal his e-mail address (which he helpfully included) to the search engines. I will include another Giveaway as and when suitable material comes into my hands. Many thanks to those who passed on their good wishes regarding our news. My wife and I would value your ongoing prayer support.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

W. Ward Gasque on The Historical Value of the Book of Acts - a British Perspective

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

W. Ward Gasque, "The Historical Value of the Book of Acts: The Perspective of British Scholarship," Theologische Zeitschrift 28 (1972), 177-196.

Following my publication of his Evangelical Quarterly article on this topic Professor Gasque asked me to place on-line this article as well, which I am pleased to do. It discusses the contributions of J.B. Lightfoot, Sir William Ramsay and F.F. Bruce to the study of Acts. The article appears with permission of the current editor of Theologische Zeitschrift.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Update on the on-line Version of Themelios

I have just heard that the Gospel Coalition have suspended their plans to place back-issues of Themelios on-line. The problem is that the authors own the copyright to their articles not the journal and so they cannot appear on-line without each author giving his/her permission (I was already aware of this from my work on the articles).

Your Help Needed!
I have offered to assist by putting them in touch with the authors I have been in correspondence with. If you are a Themelios author and would like your article(s) to appear on the Gospel Coalition website please email me at rob(at) and send you the address of my contact at the Gospel Coalition. Please pass this message on to any Themelios authors you might know.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June Giveaway - Volume 10 of Vox Evangelica

This month's giveaway is Volume 10 of Vox Evangelica. You can see the table of contents of this volume here. To be entered into the draw leave a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday 8th June. I will draw one winner at random and post their name on this blog early next week - so remember to check back then. Entries from outside of the UK are welcome.

I am currently working at compiling a table of contents for the Bulletin on the John Rylands Library - perhaps an undervalued journal judging by some of the articles is contains. You can get a sneak peak at progress so far by clicking here. I am now on my summertime schedule which means that my free time is now divided between my family (which take priority), my allotment and my websites.

I rarely mention personal news here, but I am pleased to announce that we are expecting another baby in November. (Regular readers of this blog will remember that my wife and lost our baby girl with Edward's Syndrome in Sept. 2006.)