Thursday, June 12, 2008

Preach the Word

I just added a Shared Item--part 4 of a series of articles by Sam Storms, entitled "Why We’re Not Emergent (by two guys who should be)". This part is about the Emergent disdain for preaching.

I'm liking this guy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Abraham faithed God and it was credited to him as righteousness

For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3).

I have much to owe to Dr. Gene Scott for my understanding of the word 'faith'. However, my thinking has undergone a MAJOR SHIFT in the last 2 weeks, thanks in no small part to the unintended effect of the comments of one John Volkoff, a contributor to Dr. Scott unwaveringly taught and preached that the Greek word pisteuo, usually translated 'to believe', means Action based upon Belief, supported by Confidence. He called this the ABC's of faith, and coined a new verb for the English language--to faithe--since he saw that 'to believe' is too weak a term to translate pisteuo. However, John Volkoff, apparently someone with a reformed perspective, countered this understanding on the above-mentioned newsgroup by stating that pisteuo only refers to the BC part: Belief supported by Confidence. The Action, though always connected, is logically distinct. And we are justified by faith, which is just belief/confidence, not by something involving action.

This must have been brewing in my soul, since I took it on to study, with great importance. Remembering what Dr. Scott said about the way you understand what New Testament Greek words mean, I went to the Septuagint. Dr. Scott taught that pisteuo, or a derivative of the word, is a translation in the Septuagint of three Hebrew words: chacah (pronounced khaw-saw' with a hard 'h'), batach (pronounced baw-tach'), and 'aman (pronounced aw-man'). (Just an aside, there are at least two variants of 'aman--'emuwn and 'emuwnah--which are also relevant.) chacah means to run to a shelter, batach means to lean on a staff, and 'aman means to have the firm fixed state of mind and heart that would automatically do the two former actions. So based on this, Dr. Scott said that faith was action.

However, I looked at (what I hope are) all of the occurrences of these words in the Hebrew, and cross-referenced what they were translated to in the Septuagint and was shocked at what I found. chacah and batach, the action words, were always translated either into peitho or elpizo (in some form), and never into a form of pistis, pisteuo, or pistos. In the 100 or so occurrences or so that I found (using's Interlinear Study Bible), 'aman the inner state word, was almost always translated pistis, or pisteuo, or pistos. Only once was it translated peitho (Prov. 26:25). 'emuwnah was often translated a form of pistis or pisteuo, or a form of alethia, meaning truth or truthfulness. So the upshot is that the Greek word for faith, by which we are justified, is never a translation of the Hebrew action words, only of 'aman, which is the fixed settled confidence. And forgetting that one in a hundred exception, the two categories are, logically speaking, mutually exclusive, so that one may conclude that the hebrew 'aman only translates to pistis/pisteou/pistos, and batach and chacah only translate to peitho or elpizo.

The implications of this are monumentous for me. Up until now I've believed (pun unintended, but oddly relevant) Gene Scott's explanation of the terms, but now I must beg to differ. I understand now that we're justified by 'aman, what Norman Grubb refers to as the fixed inner witness.

Now, real faith will produce all sorts of actions (see Hebrews 11, which is, as Dr. Scott always said, the only Chapter in the Bible where God eulogizes man), and is proved by them. But it precedes these actions, and is not these actions.