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Why “Asphaleia?”

July 29, 2006

It means “certainty” in Greek. I take it from the introduction to the gospel according to Luke:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. Luke 1:1-4 (ESV)

Luke was not an apostle, not even a Jew, but he did travel and minister with the apostle Paul. By training he was a physician, but he became a writer, at least of two works, his gospel and the book of acts. In fact, with these two works, Luke wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer, even Paul with his thirteen epistles.

At some point he apparently felt compelled to begin writing with a goal of setting the record straight with regard to what he heard being taught around him. Then as now winds of teaching and opinion were blowing left and right. I don’t know how long he put up with the foolishness he encountered before taking up the pen for himself, but I have long found a kindred spirit in the words of his preamble. By “certainty” I don’t mean that I possess unassailable truth, but that I have something to say that seems to me to be true and is worth putting forth in the great conversation. Truth is out there, and we can know some of it and have confidence that we do. I invite your comments of course; that is the point of this weblog.

My main preoccupation is the Scriptures and how they relate to life as we know it. Another reason I feel an affinity for Luke is that he was a physician who became a missionary. I have been a missionary and am now a medical professional. A particular interest of mine has been the biblical languages. I have studied Greek for more than three decades now, and Hebrew for almost as long. I might as well state at this point that my undergraduate degree is in Greek, and I have a Masters of Theology in New Testament, and a Masters of Arts in applied linguistics, with an emphasis on translation.

You’ll eventually be able to peg me from my postings but to save you the trouble, I’ll toss out a few labels that seem to apply. I unabashedly believe in the Bible and hold to its authority and inerrancy. In soteriology, Calvinist, as I understand it, but not generally Reformed in other areas. Progressive dispensationalist and premillennial (though I have never read the LaHaye books and have no plan to). Non-cessationist but non-Charismatic, non-Pentecostal, in the Vineyard movement. Complementarian. Home-schooling. To be more abstruse: five cases not eight, not-Majority text. I believe doctrine is important and scandalously under taught. I believe in balance, which means God did not give me everything I need on my own, but I have others I need to listen to as well as something to contribute to the whole body. This is often an irritating process, since I have plenty of residual depravity to go around and since you do as well.

My preferred English Bible translation is the English Standard Version. I have appreciated the level of readability of the New International Version despite a few areas of disappointment with its renderings. Despite the self-description in the publishing blurb (“essentially literal”), I find the ESV very near the NIV on the spectrum, but with some of my pet peeves “corrected.” Regarding, The Message, don’t get me started (okay, do). I think very highly of the King James Version, but not very highly of KJV-only-ers.

I like some people who probably don’t like each other’s theology. I like John Wimber and Bill Gothard; R.C. Sproul and Thomas Ice; Darrel Bock and Daniel Wallace (big fan) from D.T.S. and also Jack Deere. Wayne Grudem, Alistair Begg. Of course C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer. I like my pastor Bob, and pastor Don, and pastors emeriti Glenn and George. On the radio give me Michael Medved and Dennis Prager (may they come to meet their Messiah) but especially Hugh Hewitt. Michael Horton irritates me less than he did a decade ago, but he needs to be heard.

Can’t do me no N.T. Wright; sure can’t do me no John Eldridge.

I hope to get into all of the above and more, and I hope you’ll join in on the conversation.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 13, 2006 2:07 pm

    What is a “progressive dispensationalist”?

  2. Anonymous permalink
    August 13, 2006 2:14 pm

    Why does Michael Horton irritate you less than he did a decade ago? Has his understanding of you changed or has your understanding of him changed? Might you be friends in another decade?

  3. December 1, 2008 7:18 pm

    Hmm, having just finished Simply Christian as a study text regarding worship that I found very thought provoking and a good, different and more expansive way to look at God and His ways toward us I am wondering if you are not liking his style or have issue with a particular perspective?

    I have heard his more literary texts (like huge compared to Simply Christian) are harder to get through.

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