[Some All Saints Day (and late “Reformation Day”) musings, tying together my dual roles as a high school Biblical Greek teacher and a student of church history.]
Martin Luther did not mean to start the Reformation. In 1517, Luther, a teacher of theology in Germany, posted some items for an academic discussion on the church door in Wittenberg (really a community bulletin board back then). At this point in his career, he had no intention to break away from the Roman Catholic church—as a “doctor” of theology Luther had the right, and the obligation, to express concerns about the church. Luther was attacking the practices of some extreme “indulgence preachers” who were basically selling get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards (indulgences). Luther had no idea how far up the chain of authority this corruption went. In fact, Pope Leo X gave his official blessing to this indulgence fund-raiser in order to finance his massive building project at St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in Christendom. Continue reading ““Greek Life” @ Cary Christian School – Training the Next Generation of Reformers”
Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People by Constantine R. Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This short book is a must-read for anyone who is studying, has studied, or wants to study Biblical Greek. Actually, it has useful tips for studying any language, especially “academic” languages and the Biblical languages. Con Campbell, a professor at Moore Theological College, has distilled a wealth of learning and practical insight for those of us who struggle with Greek. I’ve taught Koine (Biblical) Greek for about 7 years now, to juniors and seniors at a Christian school. I wish I had this book when I started teaching!!! I’ve had to learn things the hard way (I’m still learning them), and Campbell’s book would have helped me to teach much more effectively.
Campbell’s book began as a series of blog posts, and he includes some of the comments to his original blog posts in this book. It preserves the interactive feel of a blog, and the blog-readers have their own important contributions and tips which are quite helpful.
Each chapter begins with a short observation on the practical and theological value of learning Biblical Greek from a recognized scholar. I especially liked Dr. Daniel Wallace’s admission that he nearly failed his first year of Greek! I guess there’s hope for the rest of us.
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(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.)
Normally, I revel in the fact that my ancestors worn horned hats, swung battle-axes, drank lots of mead, and carried their boats overland to the Black Sea to raid Russia. But, given how socialist and totalitarian Sweden is becoming, I’m rather ashamed of my heritage right now.
It seems that the Swedish government is out to abolish religious instruction and homeschooling.
From the article: “Regimes that have banned home schooling in the past include the National Socialists (Nazis) in Germany, since Hitler feared it could lead to “parallel societies,” and the Soviet communist dictatorship, where government was the sole arbiter of what children would learn. “
Scot McKnight – “The Gospel for iGens” – “Sometimes I think we forget that no where in the pages of the New Testament do we find what many of us heard when we were gospeled: God loves us, we are sinners, God still loves us and sent his Son to die for our sins, and if we receive God’s plan we will spend eternity with him and be empowered by grace for a new life now. I believe every line in that gospel to be true, but no one said it quite that way in the New Testament.” (This article is very helpful for Christian teachers, as we struggle to communicate the gospel to the next generation.)
“Muslims Next Door” – An interview with Naeem Fazal
Dr. Steve Henderson – “Investing in Their Faith: How your teen’s college choice can impact their future” – some depressing studies show that tons of Christian kids fall away at college.
Paul House provides a succint summary of Deuteronomy’s priniciples for covenantal education. It is both inspiring, as well as humbling, as I consider my role as a teacher and a parent:
“Third, Yahweh commands the people to internalize the covenant and teach their children to do the same (6:6-9). Each new member of the holy community must be taught God’s ways. Faith does not occur automatically. It must be understood and owned (6:6), so each parent must teach his or her children, just as Moses has been teaching them. Instruction must be purposefule, even to the point of becoming public (6:9). The idea is to ‘impress, or inscribe’ truth on the heart, not simply to suggest it. Such careful teaching will help avoid forgetting Yahweh in prosperity (6:10-12), in new settings (6:13-19) or when new generations emerge, uncertain of what the old revelation means (6:20-25). Only scrupulous intergenerational teaching can keep exclusive love of Yahweh alive in a polytheistic culture” (Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology, 178).
Two bits from my reading diet caught my eye:
“Nevertheless we still experience sin and death within us, wrestle with them and fight against them. You may tie a hog ever so well, but you cannot prevent it from grunting. Thus is is with the sins in our flesh,” (Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, vol. 1, 247).
“Precisely because the totality of the gift, the new being [the one justified by faith] knows that there is nothing to do to gain heaven. Thus the Christian is called to the tasks of daily life in this world, for the time being. Students, for instance, are sometimes very pious and idealistic about ‘doing something,’ and so get caught up in this or that movement ‘for good.’ It never seems to dawn on them that perhaps for the time being, at least, their calling is simply to be a good student! It is not particularly in acts of piety that we are sanctified, but in our call to live and act as Christians” (Gerald O. Forde, “The Lutheran View” in Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification, ed. Donald L. Alexander, 31).