Dec 8 2014

Reading Galatians Backwards


or Sacramental Sorcery and the Seed of Abraham

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”

Having written a (basically word-by-word) commentary on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, one which demonstrates his use of the biblical pattern of maturity at every point and every level, it amazes me how sacramentalists are not aware that their doctrine makes them the modern targets of Paul’s ire.

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Mar 25 2014

Text As Image Bearer

The Shape of Galatians: A Covenant-Literary Analysis is now available on amazon. An ebook edition will follow shortly. As of writing, the ‘look inside’ function is not yet functional, but the introduction is as follows: Continue reading

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Jan 31 2014

Shape of Galatians Review

The book is currently with the editor for a polish and will be available soon. Here’s a unique review from Steven Opp, who is actually quoted in the book, but don’t let his bias deter you. I still reckon the literary “riffs” are the Apostle Paul’s, not mine, so imagine it’s Paul up there on stage with a “drumitar” and a heart full of jazz.

Several years ago I went with my brother Ryan to see Béla Fleck and the Flecktones in concert. They are an instrumental fusion band consisting of a banjo, sax, bass, and “drumitar” (if you donʼt know what a drumitar is, go on youtube and find out!) As we waited for the curtains to open, I asked Ryan if he knew what songs theyʼd be playing. He said they would do some of their hits but that it would probably morph into a jam session. But not just any jam session. We would witness some of the worldʼs best jazz and bluegrass artists come together and just have some fun. “The truth is,” he said,“weʼre basically going to watch four really talented guys get on stage and play with their toys for a couple hours.” As the night unfolded, I realized he was right. And it was a great concert!

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Jan 16 2014

My Firstborn Son

or Baptism into Baal

Then you shall say to Pharaoh,
‘Thus says the Lord,
Israel is my firstborn son,
and I say to you,
“Let my son go that he may serve me.”
If you refuse to let him go,
I will kill your firstborn son.’”
(Exodus 4:22)

My Federal Vision friends believe baptism is an important subject, from both theological and pastoral points of view. I agree, but for me it is also an issue of aesthetics. The Bible has a wonderfully consistent internal logic, and paedobaptism crunches the gears at every turn.

Peter Leithart just posted something concerning baptism, and it’s worth answering, not only “because somebody on the internet is wrong,” but also because it is an issue I’ve just finished dealing with in The Shape of Galatians. It should be noted that Trinity House is hosting some lectures on sacraments by a baptist, so Dr Leithart and his colleagues have a spirit that should be imitated by theologians everywhere. My own posts here are always bait in the hope of a bite, a friendly disputatio, so don’t take them the wrong way. If a friend has soup on his tie, or wax in his ear, or a fertility rite in his sacrament, what sort of friend isn’t going to point it out!?

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Jan 5 2014

The Shape of Galatians

Here’s a new book based on the recent series of blog posts on the structure of Galatians. They’ve been worked over thoroughly, with a fair amount of helpful material (introduction, appendixes and some diagrams) added. Find out what Paul meant by “large letters” written with his own hand, how he subtly refers to the Levitical offerings, and why he structured the epistle like a ziggurat.

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Nov 16 2013

Galatians – 12

How to Fulfill the Law

“…men are enthroned as elohim (judicial ‘gods’) but not as God intended. Those who sit in the seat of Moses often lack his meekness before God, and their rule is like that of Lamech. Their seventy times seven ‘fulfilling of the Law’ is vengeance not forgiveness.”

We continue with the Deuteronomy section of Galatians, which has seven cycles. Paul moves from an Ascension/Firstfruits motif to an Testing/Pentecost motif. Being the center of this final group of cycles, and at the center of its Ethics cycles, here we have its turning point. The first half of this cycle is about sacrificial binding. The last half is about being loosed on account of the sacrifice.

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Nov 1 2013

Galatians – 11

A Debtor to the Law

“Any commentary that misses the fact that the first century isn’t about Jew versus Gentile, but about the Noahic nations of the old world versus the birth of the Christian nations of the new, is way off the mark.”

We continue with the Deuteronomy section of Galatians, which has seven cycles. Paul moves from a Division/Passover motif to an Ascension/Firstfruits motif. That is, Paul gets all Levitical. It’s all about sex and death.

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Oct 28 2013

Galatians – 10

Born from Above

I’m currently working hard on Bible Matrix III: The House of God. This third volume is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It really is. Being so engrossed in the shape and processes of the Bible (yes, even more than usual), it has struck me how foreign the various theological schools’ thinking and speech is to the actual text.

The debates about “Pauline Theology” are the perfect example, especially the focus on narrow (yet important) topics such as justification. An academic divides and redivides the text in the way an expert in any science overspecializes. He ends up knowing everything about nothing. After spending a few hours each day wandering and describing the halls of biblical architecture, I am more convinced than ever that the only way to fully understand Scripture is architecturally. This is because, for our glorious God, architecture is ethics, and ethics is architecture. Divorced from the biblical mud map, the Edenic grid, modern theologians are discussing less than a dim distorted reflection of the book God has given us. They are feeling their way around the house with their eyes shut. Continue reading

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Oct 18 2013

Galatians – 9

Paul’s Deuteronomy

That day Moses charged the people, saying, “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. (Deuteronomy 27:11-13)

Paul now moves into the Deuteronomy section of his epistle to the Galatians, and it becomes clear that, structurally-speaking, Galatians gets no further than Moses. The epistle is fivefold in nature, a recapitulation of the Torah, and thus it ends on the wilderness side of the Jordan. Like Moses, Paul will not live to see the new order, except from afar.

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Oct 7 2013

Galatians – 8

“The Spirit consistently puts earthly Succession to death, dividing families, communities and entire countries, as we see today. To claim otherwise is to work against the Spirit in the world. My heredity, my household, my culture, is the target of my ministry, not its source.”

It’s time to get back into Galatians. To recap, the epistle follows the Covenant structure, but gives the central point, the Ethics, its own Covenant structure. If this thesis is correct, what we should expect in the next “cycle” (Gal. 3:26-4:7) is a discussion of Covenant Succession. Lo and behold, this is exactly what we find.

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