Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Apostle of the Last Days - By Marvin Pate

Did I like this book? Yes and no, but inclining more towards the latter.  The Apostle of the Last Days is an argument for Paul's life, letters and theology being eschatologically focused/united and that the troubles in the Churches Paul communicated with were because of faulty eschatologies.  Pate goes through the letters written by Paul and explains the Roman Eschatology/Roman Imperial Cult, non-Christian Jewish Eschatology and professing Christian faulty eschatology.  He then explains Paul's correction of them.
 Did I like this book? Yes and no, but inclining more towards the latter. The Apostle of the Last Days is an argument for Paul's life, letters and theology being eschatologically focused/united and that the troubles in the Churches Paul communicated with were because of faulty eschatologies. Pate goes through the letters written by Paul and explains the Roman Eschatology/Roman Imperial Cult, non-Christian Jewish Eschatology and professing Christian faulty eschatology. He then explains Paul's correction of them.
 
Some of it was quite interesting, especially where he explains Paul's counter to the Jewish view that justification of people before God would not happen until the "age to come".  I especially liked his overviews of the epistles, they were interesting summaries.  "Justification by Faith - God's end time verdict now"  is how he subtitles the chapter on Galatians.  His explanation that Christ "inaugurated the kingdom of God at his first coming and will complete that kingdom at his return" is among the topics discussed throughout the book. 


But then there are some things are a bit hard to keep straight. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 14:34 Pate says, "These controversial words probably mean no more than that Christian wives, enjoying their freedom in Christ to prophesy and speak tongues, should be careful not to let things get out of control by becoming overly enthusiastic to the point of being boisterous in the worship services.  Rather than all speak at once, the ladies should discuss spiritual matters at home with their husbands."   So, what about the verse afterwards that says that it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church?  So women have the freedom to act shamefully in the church, but wives shouldn't use that freedom?   What about 1 Timothy 2:11-15?
 
And then, although Mr. Pate seems to be pre-millennial, he believes that the true Israel is made up of Christian Jews and Gentiles. Biblically, I don't know why people don't see a continuity between the Israel of God and the remnant of Israel.  I don't understand why they think that Gentiles need to be an actual part of Israel rather than partaking with Israel in God's blessings as Gentiles not Israelites.  The Bible indicates that God planned to save and bless the Gentiles as Gentiles not as Israelites.  Christian Gentiles are a part of the people of God without having to become Jews.  

Some other statements were odd too…Pate thought that some things  "…suggest that the apostle, like the book of Revelation, feared that the antichrist was about to dawn in the form of the roman emperor."  This almost make it sound like the book of Revelation was written by someone simply observing modern trends of events rather than truly receiving a revelation.  I'm assuming that Pate didn't mean it that way, but it is still odd...

There were other things both good and bad, but I'll end my review now with a quote that I liked:

"But the eschatological battle that wages within the Christian does not result in a stalemate, because the believer possesses the Holy Spirit, the gift of the end times par excellence, according to Romans 8:1-16.  The Spirit enables Christians to obey God and thus live a life of righteousness."

Thanks to Kregel Academic for sending me a free review copy of this book!  My review did not have to be favorable. 

This book may be purchased at Kregel Academic and on Amazon

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chronological Life Application Study Bible

I wouldn't call this Bible uniquely applicable to a person's daily life as the Scripture is always applicable. That is not to say that I don't like this format, I do! I just needed to clarify that I don't quite agree with the title. This is a chronological Bible, interweaving chapters from various books of the Bible in their probable sequential order. This means that some chapters are split up and other parts of other chapters are placed in the gap to stay chronological.  

There are many helpful charts to support the chronological aspect, some of my favorites being the several charts throughout the accounts of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, showing the "Kings To Date and Their Enemies"…I always get a bit confused about them. One of the other things I found very helpful were the little maps throughout, demonstrating where people went and where such and such a town was located. It gives you more comprehension of Biblical geography. There are also several large pictures of what Jerusalem and the Temple looked like in certain eras. Also included throughout are small full-color modern pictures of the various places that are spoken of, such as the Parthenon in Athens, Samaria, and there are also pictures of things as well, such as a millstone, and biblical manuscripts.

The notes are interesting, and even though they are apparently against the complete sovereignty of God, the notes in Romans are still interesting, part of the note on Romans 11:7 reads: "Resisting God is like saying to him, 'Leave me alone!' But because God is always and everywhere present, his answer to that prayer might be to agree and make that person less sensitive, more hardened to him…" I do not like that the writers of the notes do not take a stand on the age of the earth, they give the impression that it is not important for the beginning of the Bible to be literally understood, which can give a wrong impression as to the rest of the Bible. 

I also need to mention that at least one of the pictures is inappropriate(Adam and Eve), you'll want to scribble it out, I have not seen all of the pictures yet so there may be more. I don’t know why they thought that was okay to put in, even if it isn't as bad as it could be it still contradicts Genesis 3 where God gives them clothing(keep in mind that they were also husband and wife), why is it okay for their offspring to depict them in what is now their shame? We still live after the fall, not before it, so why contradict that?  

Anyway, I do like all of the maps and several of the charts and pictures of the locations, it really is interesting to have a visual picture as one reads along. 

Click here to view the website for this Bible


Many thanks to the Tyndale Blog Network from whom I received a free review copy of this Bible.