Papers

Gospels for the Early Church: Means, Motive and Opportunity

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Presented at NW Regional ETS Conference, April 2019
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This paper considers the means, motive, and opportunity for the production of written Gospels by the apostles during the earliest years following the death and resurrection of Jesus, in support of an expanding church. Based on a review of contemporary Greek and Latin literature it will be shown that the publication of the Gospels was only a relatively modest accomplishment. Further, distribution of the earliest Gospel(s), once published, was supported by a Roman trade network which provided ample means for the circulation of these documents. Therefore, Gospel development theories should consider the possibility of early Gospel production and should be biased towards the assumption that each Gospel was produced with full awareness of prior publications. In addition, the scattering of early Jewish and Gentile believers who were accustomed to the use of written materials in support of oral presentations would have provided a sufficient motivation for the publication of Gospels. A collaborative development effort, especially while the apostles were yet in Jerusalem, offered an ideal opportunity where the effort would have been supported by local resources and a literate priesthood. Given these observations, modern synoptic development theories should be re-evaluated to ensure that they adequately consider the literary situation within the Roman empire, the potential demand of early believers for written materials, and the advantageous circumstances supporting publication of Gospels within the earliest years of the church.

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The Position of Encounter Christian Church Regarding Gender Dysphoria

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Abstract
Post-Modernistic Western culture and the issues surrounding gender have become a politically 
charged and complex for the community of Jesus’ followers. There are obvious differences regarding the origin of gender and subsequent medical and/or psychological path forward, with very little tolerance afforded to ideas different than those of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans, and Questioning (LGBTQ) community. Beyond the political and cultural polarization, there seems to be common ground regarding desired standards of treatment. The recent spike in identity dysphoric conditions seems to bear a correlative relationship with the propagation of broadly accessible social media, suggesting either a passive sympathetic replication or an active advocation via intervention. Encounter Christian Church adheres to the Biblical position on identity as presented in Genesis, predicated upon the concepts of human creation in God’s Image, the intrinsic and infinite worth attributed to each human life at conception, purpose of humankind to work as agents of God’s will reflecting His purpose in our own lives, and culminating in the perfect example of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. This position is that any worldview counter to these principles about identity is not God’s intent and that we as a church are called to love and serve all human beings, regardless of their present state, and introduce the good news of forgiveness and redemption, and to love them into a life with Jesus.

Keywords: dysphoria, gender, identity, disorder, body-image, self-mutilation, self-harm, suicide, child development, adolescent development, Biblical purpose, Biblical identity

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The UFO Phenomenon

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A Biblical Based Perspective
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Six Big Problems With The New Apostolic Reformation

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The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) can be characterized as a postmillennial restorationist movement which seeks to restore the so-called lost office of apostle and prophet with the goal of establishing the kingdom of God upon the earth.  Six broad values and beliefs of the movement are evaluated in the following order: postmillennialism, restorationism, manufactured continuationism, reconstructionism, experientialism and pragmatism.  It is argued that postmillennialism is a weak biblical position and that NAR’s brand (“dominionism”) wrongly places the responsibility of the kingdom on Christians rather than God.  It is argued under restorationism that the office of apostle was never lost to begin with.  With manufactured continuationism, there is a forcing and a faking of spiritual gifts resulting in charismania.  With reconstructionism, Christians are precariously pressured to directly engage in warfare against the forces of darkness to restore dominion lost from the Fall.  With experientialism, experience is placed above the Word of God.  And finally, with pragmatism, attempts are made to justify NAR by its rapid growth, but this is shown to be a weak argument.  All six beliefs and practices are unbiblical and should be avoided along with the movement itself.

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The Book of Enoch: Canonical, Authoritative or What?

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Douglas E. Potter

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Michael Polanyi - Part III: Away from Objectivity Towards Personal, Biblical Truth

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Michael Polanyi – Part III: Away from Objectivity and Towards Personal, Biblical Truth

The challenge to objectivity in casual and academic discourse is quite common by Christians and non-Christians.  This invitation is a hermeneutical device to correct fanciful, or even robust, disagreements.  But, the philosopher Thomas Nagel, calls this directive “a view from nowhere.”  That is, it is a viewpoint that is not only impossible to achieve, but one that cannot fulfill its intended purpose.  Michael Polanyi has soundly demonstrated that modern science is not objective and that the claim of objectivity is destructive to the pursuit of science, as well as social and academic freedom.  Instead, the pursuit of knowledge and truth is centered in the person and his or her calling.  This paper, then, is a beginning view at what apologetics and theology might achieve from such “personal knowledge” that is Biblically grounded.  Jesus statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” is one text among others that indicates this direction. A few theologians who have moved in this direction will be explored, along with other suggestions for future study.  The accusation of subjectivity is avoided by the objective nature of biblical inerrancy, sound theology, and principles of reason. 


        
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Review of Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?

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Book review of

Michael R. Licona, Why Are There Differences in the Gospels? What We Can Learn From Ancient

Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. 308 pp. $35.00. (Cloth) ISBN 9780190264260.

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An Old Tyme Baal Revival?

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Believer's Baptism: A Biblical and Theological Defense

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 Abstract Title: Believer’s Baptism: A Biblical and Theological Defense  Abstract: Believer’s Baptism: A Biblical and Theological Defense For the past two millennia, Believer's Baptism has been a crucial aspect of the New Testament church. This divine ordinance represents one of the central tenets of Baptist identity. Jesus Christ commanded His followers to be baptized, so it is incumbent upon Christians to fully understand and adhere to the biblical model set forth in the Word of God. Over the years, the subject of baptism has been fraught with controversy, resulting in sharp disagreements between individuals, churches, and denominations. This paper will examine various ideologies and will seek to define the meaning, method, and mode of baptism that is most closely aligned with Scripture. It will also serve as a defense for Southern Baptist beliefs on baptism as set forth in The Baptist Faith and Message. For the purpose of this research, an exegetical study of Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Acts 2:38 and 22:16, Romans 6:3-4, and 1 Peter 3:21 will be carefully examined. These select verses, coupled with apostolic teachings found within the New Testament, will provide a theological basis for Believer's Baptism. ISCA Membership: Student Conference: 2017 Daniel Howard, Ph.D. student at The Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary 

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