MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

Volume 2, Number 1 (Spring 1991)

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  • by John F. MacArthur

    The church's right to counsel from the Bible has been reconfirmed in court rulings of recent times. Yet in many instances the church has surrendered that right and responsibility because of the "professionalization" of the counseling ministry among Christians. This is tragic because the behavioral sciences are not, as is commonly believed, scientific. Neither have they proven effective in changing the human heart. "Christian psychology," with its claim of a secret knowledge about dealing with people, has made deep inroads into the church, but it is no more than a duplication of its secular counterpart with Scripture references occasionally interspersed. A reliance on Christ, the "Wonderful Counsellor," and God's sufficient Word as dispensed by spiritually gifted Christians to one another is the church's only solution in meeting the spiritual needs of its people.




  • by James E. Rosscup

    Prayer is not an elective but the principal element in the kaleidoscope of spiritual characteristics that mark a preacher. These traits unite into a powerful spiritual force. They build a spokesman for God. Jesus, the finest model, and other effective spokesmen for God have been mighty in prayer coupled with the virtues of godliness and dependence on God. The composite that centers in prayer is conspicuous in God's long line of proclaimers in the OT, NT, and church history even to the present day. Some books on essentials for preaching slight prayer, but others acknowledge its invaluable role. Preachers who follow the biblical model take prayer very seriously. In sermon preparation, they steep themselves in prayer.




  • by David C. Deuel

    A large and significant part of the Bible is devoted to sections of narrative literature, also referred to as "story." The advantages of preaching from this type of passage have not been fully realized because preachers have not preached the sections just as they are in the text. Advantages to be capitalized on include the intrinsic interest involved in such stories, the patterned nature of the stories, the timeless truths illustrated in the stories, and the way the stories lend themselves to easy application. Yet certain precautions are necessary in preaching narrative sections. An artificial structure must not be imposed on them. They must not be used solely as a resource of illustrations for the rest of the Bible. They are not just examples of obeying or disobeying God's law. By observing these guidelines and precautions, the expository preacher can utilize narrative sections to great advantage in his preaching.




  • by Francis J. Beckwith

    A new interest in the God of the orthodox Hebrew-Christian tradition has arisen recently among contemporary philosophers. This new interest in theism can be traced to the demise of logical positivism, a lack of intellectual rigor in theological liberalism, and the increased sophistication of theistic arguments. Two arguments illustrate the many contemporary proofs for theism that have attracted wide interest. One argues that belief in God is rational apart from any special evidence. The other, called the kalam cosmological argument, maintains that everything which begins has a cause, the universe had a beginning, and therefore, the universe has a cause. This argument is supported by the reasonableness of a series of choices, beginning with whether or not the universe had a beginning. These arguments are satisfying proof of the existence of God for those who are philosophically inclined.




  • by Robert L. Thomas

    A relatively new field of specialized NT study is a careful examination of the literary genre or style of different books. Revelation has often been classified as a kind of literature called "apocalyptic," but the category of "prophetic" is probably a better classification for the book. The book calls itself a prophecy. If the genre were primarily apocalyptic, this might constitute a basis for interpreting the book in a non-literal way. The preterist, tradition-historical, continuous-historical, and idealist approaches to the book have at times spiritualized the book in accord with the assumption that its apocalyptic style makes it different from other books. If the book is basically prophetic, however, only a literal interpretation will suffice. The symbols of the book lend themselves to literal interpretation, with allowances for normal figures of speech.








Volume 2, Number 2 (Fall 1991)

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  • by David C. Deuel

    Ezra provides an unusually clear and inspiring pattern of expository preaching in his ministry to the people of Judah at the outset of the postexilic period. He models an expositor's commitment-studying, practicing godliness, and teaching-which leads him to perform an expositor's task-reading distinctly and explaining the Scriptures. In so doing, he challenges expositors of all generations to handle accurately the Word of truth.




  • by Irv A. Busenitz

    To be truly biblical, preaching can and should be expository, even if it is thematic, theological, historical, or biographical. Expository sermons of these types must be thoroughly biblical, not only in their foundation but in their superstructure as well. The effectiveness of the messenger and the power of the message depend upon a close attention to the Word presented with grammatical, historical, literary, and contextual accuracy. For these special kinds of expository messages, certain guidelines must prevail, and many tools are available to assist the research process, but there are no shortcuts. The path to powerful preaching inevitably demands diligence in the Word.




  • by F. David Farnell

    Spiritual gifts have long been a major topic of discussion in evangelicalism, but in recent years the focus has shifted somewhat from a discussion of gifts like tongues to the gift of prophecy. Wayne A. Grudem has proposed a novel definition of prophecy that he attempts to support from the NT. He traces part of his definition to cessationists and part to Charismatics in hopes of finding a middle ground acceptable to both. A central platform in Grudem's hypothesis is Eph 2:20, a verse whose interpretation he misrepresents because of a grammatical misunderstanding. Other weaknesses in his theory include his assumption of a strict discontinuity from OT to NT prophecy, a mistaken understanding of the prestige of the NT prophet, and a misapprehension of the need of continuous evaluation of NT prophecy.




  • by Robert L. Thomas

    The distinctive characteristic of expository preaching is its instructional function. An explanation of the details of a given text imparts information that is otherwise unavailable to the average untrained parishioner and provides him with a foundation for Christian growth and service. The importance and centrality of thorough exegesis in preparing the expositor for this service cannot be overstated. Exegesis must itself be on a solid footing and must lead to development in supplementary fields that, in turn, provide important data for expository preaching, too. With the raw material of sermon preparation thus obtained, common-sense principles must be applied in putting the material into a form that the congregation can receive with ease and learn from.