THE SEEDS OF CREEDS

PMW 2021-006 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Though they are not on a par with Scripture itself, the ecumenical creeds are important instruments for securing, promoting, and defending the Christian faith. They are designed to secure the faith by outlining the broad doctrinal borders of true Christianity by defining the basics of what historic Christianity believes. They promote the faith by succinctly summarizing it so that the whole Bible does not have to be read and explained in order to present the gospel of salvation to unbelievers. They defend the Christian faith by exposing corruption entering into some of its basic biblical doctrines by means of confusion or heresy.

On a smaller scale, church confessions (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith) secure, promote, and defend the basics of Presbyterianism. Church confessions outline the distinctives of a particular body of Christians, whereas the ecumencial creeds outline the distinctives of the Christian faith as a particular worldview among men. Continue reading

FIGURES OF SPEECH IN SCRIPTURE

PMW 2021-005 by Ardel B. Caneday

“The Importance of Recognizing Figures of Speech in Scripture”

I had intended to post an article that would flow out from the one last week. However, my rather lengthy response to a friend’s question addresses an issue from which I believe others will benefit. The query raised was generated out of the inquisitor’s hearing my four lectures a few weeks ago at the Common Slaves Fall Conference where my theme was “Let Us Run the Race with Perseverance and Assurance.”

I think that I understand your concern. As I read your correspondence, the following statement leaps out to me: “In any case, I feel funny about it because it seems I’ve been trained to view the cross as the only thing in life or death worth really focusing on, or as the old line goes, beat a path to the cross since everything flows that direction.” I think that the issue that nags at you is the same one that I observed many years ago while listening to a sermon by a preacher whose fame was on the rise. I distinctly remember that while I sat and listened to that sermon I was frustrated with what struck me as needless obscuring of what should have been clear to anyone who occupies the pulpit and which the preacher should have made clear with relative ease if he had given sufficient attention to how the Apostle Paul expresses his thoughts. Some preachers, however, seem to have an uncanny knack for rendering biblical texts unduly complex and complicated.

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The preacher was preaching on Galatians 6:14—“May it never be that I would boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” What troubled the preacher is the exclusivity of the cross as the only thing in which the Apostle Paul would boast, yet elsewhere the Apostle seems to be boasting in other things. He was troubled by other texts where Paul uses the same word for “boast” or “exult” to speak of boasting or exulting in other things. He cited the following passages as sources of his disquiet.

We exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).
We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that they produce patience and approvedness and hope (Romans 5:3).
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

Thus, the preacher wondered, “So, if the Apostle can boast and exult in all these things, what does he mean when he claims that his exclusive boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Does Paul engage in double-talk? Is he contradicting himself by saying that he is exulting only in one thing but also exulting in other things?”

As I reflect on that sermon, it took many needless minutes for the preacher to reach some resolution of the tension, and yet, his resolution was neither sufficient nor satisfying as he presented it. Yes, he eventually did make the point that all our boasting or exulting should be exultation in the cross of Christ by affirming that exulting in the hope of God’s glory, exulting in tribulations, exulting in weaknesses, etc. should be an exulting in the cross. Why was it not sufficient or satisfying? The answer troubled me immensely as I listened to the sermon and it still troubles me because I heard him preach the same sermon on another occasion. That subsequent sermon showed that the preacher still did not understand the point that I am about to make. While I sat there in the pew listening intently to the sermon, I thought, “How is it that a highly educated preacher does not seem to grasp the literary nature of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians? How is it that a seminary educated preacher fails to apprehend the figure of speech that the Apostle Paul is using in Galatians 6:14? How simply and how clearly the preacher could have answered his own puzzlement and question and resolved the tension if he had simply assisted the pew people to understand that Paul is using a figure of speech in the passage, that Paul uses synecdoche when he mentions the cross of Jesus Christ just as he does elsewhere. How simple and clear it would be if only he would show the people that Paul uses ‘the cross’ as a principal aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the gospel.”


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As It Is Written: The Genesis Account Literal or Literary?
Book by Ken Gentry

Presents the exegetical evidence for Six-day Creation and against the Framework Hypothesis. Strong presentation and rebuttal to the Framework Hypothesis, while demonstrating and defending the Six-day Creation interpretation.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


Galatians 6:14 is not the only place where Paul uses “the cross” as an aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the whole gospel (synecdoche—a part used to represent the whole). Even more vividly Paul synecdoche in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18—“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Here, it is obvious that Paul substitutes “the gospel” with “the cross of Christ,” by way of synecdoche, when he mentions the cross again, he expands it to “the message of the cross.”

Without any doubt, the preacher eventually got it right in his sermon concerning why our boast must be in the cross of Christ. The reason is that everything, whether good or bad (for in God’s purposes all things work together for our good for all who are in Christ Jesus) was secured by the cross of Christ Jesus. Without his crucifixion, every one of us would receive nothing but divine punishment. Without the cross, ours would be only condemnation. Consequently, everything that we enjoy in Christ is due to the cross. Apart from the cross, there is no blessing at all.

Therefore, I am arguing that the conflict you are experiencing, as expressed in the statement I cite above, is no real conflict at all. Your own comment captures this well when you query, “Maybe it’s best thought of as a mental shift from cruci-centricity to a more fully-orbed Christocentricity?” My response to your query is this: To be cruci-centric is to be Christo-centric. Why? Because any proper featuring of the cross is not essentially a crucifix, the cross with Christ Jesus still on it. Rather, any proper featuring of the cross necessarily entails synecdoche, as the Apostle Paul conceives of the gospel, by featuring a principal aspect of Christ’s work, namely his sacrificial death on the cross, for the whole of Christ’s work. It is to feature an aspect of the gospel as a representative of the whole gospel. Any proper mention of the cross of Christ necessarily points to God’s Last Day verdict brought forward into the midst of history by Christ Jesus who brought forward both the verdict of God’s judgment and the vindicating life of resurrection from the Last Day. Thus, when Christ Jesus was crucified, he endured the wrath of God’s Last Day judgment on behalf of everyone who is in him. Likewise, when he was raised from the dead, his resurrection assured that all who are in him will most certainly rise from the dead unto eternal life on the Last Day, the Day Resurrection.

Thus, our prospective gaze upon Christ Jesus that we might lay hold of (Philippians 3:12-14) does not in the slightest diminish our cruci-centric affirmation. Rather . . . .
To finish reading the article, go to Ardel B. Caneday’s blogsite

TOWARD A BIBLICAL OPTIMISM

PMW 2021-005 by Timothy M. Kucij

At the time of our marriage, many years ago, my wife and I made some promises to ourselves, each other, and to God. One of these promises was that we would read the Scriptures daily in a devotional setting. As we focused on the general tenure of Scripture it became evident that here was an optimistic book. Christ is pictured throughout as the conquering Savior with a promise of the ultimate triumph of His people and His kingdom on earth in this age.

Most of the outstanding characters of the Bible reflected this optimism, even in the darkest of times. In Noah’s day the earth was filled with violence and wickedness. Noah was commissioned by God to build an ark to save the human race and certain animals from impending disaster. It must be remembered that he was surrounded by a mass of godless unbelievers who would come and see his work, attracted by curiosity, and no doubt remain to scoff at him. Still his faith remained. He preached a positive message of victory from disaster. Continue reading

PROTOLOGY & ESCHATOLOGY (4)

Stairway to heavenPMW 2021-003 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am returning to my analysis of the Framework Hypothesis which overthrows the long-held traditional interpretation of Gen 1 by changing the clear message of the creation narrative in Genesis 1. As noted previously, this is significant for the postmillennialist in that the postmillennial argument literally begins “In the beginning.”

In the two previous articles I quickly presented and briefly rebutted the first two arguments for the Framework view: (1) The triad of days (i.e., the framework) in Genesis 1. (2) The new interpretation of Gen 2:5 which allegedly presents God’s modus operandi in creation week (i.e., slow providence rather than instant miracle). In this article we come to the final theological argument for the Framework Hypothesis that Meredith Kline and his disciples employ: the two-register cosmogony. Continue reading

PROTOLOGY & ESCHATOLOGY (3)

Slow growthPMW-2021-002 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

As I have been noting in this series: creation and consummation are theologically-linked in Scripture. Therefore, a proper view of creation is significant for the eschatological argument for postmillennialism. Simply put: if you do not begin right, you will not end right. Therefore, when I present a full argument for postmillennialism, I begin with creation.

Not only am I a postmillennialist, but I am also a Six-day Creationist, hence a non-evolutionist.
In this series I am defending Six-day Creation against the Framework Hypothesis by demonstrating the Framework’s errors. This hypothesis is as a major evangelical opponent of Six-day Creation, and not surprisingly, is held mainly by amillennialists. Continue reading

Of Sundials, Clocks, and Humans

PROTOLOGY & ESCHATOLOGY (2)

Creation bookPMW 2021-001 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my last blog article I began presenting my latest book, As It Is Written, which is on creation. Creation necessarily impacts consummation because of the linear progress of history under God’s sovereignty. Therefore the postmillennialist should be interested in creation issues. And Six-day creation is a strong foundation stone for the postmillennial hope.

A rehearsal of the Framework argument

In that last article I pointed out the three exegetical foundations to the Framework Hypothesis, a major evangelical re-interpretive approach to the Creation narrative. I will quickly repeat those here, then provide a brief rebuttal to each. My book should be consulted for a thorough response. Continue reading