Joseph: A Worthy Model

by Joe Wooddell

josephChristmas reminds us of baby Jesus, of course, but we also think of his mother Mary. One character we sometimes forget, however, is Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, but we do so to our detriment. There is much we can learn from his example in Matthew 1 and 2.

In Matthew 1 we read how Joseph is both righteous and compassionate. He’s already engaged, and Mary turns up pregnant! What would you do if you knew the baby wasn’t yours? He’s righteous, so he can’t marry her and bring shame to himself, admitting guilt when he wasn’t really guilty. But he’s also compassionate – he doesn’t want to disgrace her and cause her more trouble than necessary. So he decides to “send her away secretly” (v.19; NASB). Doing so will protect his righteous name (Prov. 22:1, “a good name is more desirable than great riches”; NIV), but it will also give Mary a chance to live! Joseph, like his Son later in John 8, will not cast the first stone. Continue reading

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Criswell College: Engaging Minds. Transforming Culture.

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by Dr. Barry Creamer, President & Professor of Humanities, Criswell College

Language is incredibly powerful, especially when it is ambiguous. Most of us learn that ambiguity is bad from an early age, but that’s because most of the people who influence us confuse it with vagueness. Poets cram expansive meaning into minuscule phrases through ambiguity. So do sloganeers.

A little while back key leaders from every part of Criswell College sat around a table and looked for a phrase to catch and communicate our deep-seated commitment to following Jesus, educating students, mentoring disciples, serving churches, and impacting the community and culture around us. After our goldilocks committee had tasted and rejected every too-long, too-hot, too-narrow, too-cold, and too-already-taken option set before us, we found one that works: “Engaging Minds. Transforming Culture.”

Being a relaxed (in my opinion) grammar maven, I suspect it is not obvious to everyone why this participially weighted slogan is just right for us. Participles provide one of the simplest ways to add ambiguity to a phrase. They have two meanings prima facie; that is, as adjectives and as verbs. (Of course, given the right context, a participial form might even be more; for instance, a gerund.) Having a lot to say and very little space to say it, as in a slogan, just begs for a participle with ambiguity. What does that mean for Criswell’s slogan? Glad you asked. Continue reading

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ENT Theology

by Kirk Spencer

00 ENT TheologyI recently found myself sitting at the “kid’s” table. Other than me, the ages ranged from 5 to 9. If you ever sat at the kid’s table, you will know if was all quite silly. However when the “conversation” wandered into theology, things began to get interesting.  Did you know that “we evolved from boogers sneezed from the nose of God and that Adam was the first man, except for the cavemen, because they don’t count.” Even at this impressionable age, we find attempts to mix the Word of God and the ideas of Man. The first single celled organisms may have looked like boogers and if God did the creating then it makes sense that they must have come from His nose. And if cavemen were older than Adam, then they would not count because the Bible is clear that Adam was first. (Theologians have also discussed the possibility of “preadamite man.”) Continue reading

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Sovereignty and Submission: Mary and the Christmas Story

by Joe Wooddell

mary and angelThe Christmas season is upon us, and there is so much we can learn from the various Scriptures that speak about the subject. In Luke 1:26-38 God’s power and Mary’s submission are clearly seen: “Nothing will be impossible with God,” and “Behold the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (vv.37-38, NASB). As the season flies by us, let us not forget these two important lessons: God is powerful, and we, like Mary, ought humbly to submit. Continue reading

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The Lion’s Den: A Q&A with Criswell College Professors

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Four Criswell College professors recently got together for a “Lion’s Den” panel where they answered difficult practical or theological questions submitted by students. Topics included prophetic dreams and visions, singleness and marriage, gluttony, and eschatology. Continue reading

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Endowed by Our CR

by Kirk Spencer

00.EndowedByOurBen Affleck said that “we are endowed by our CR…” He was attempting to quote that famous line from the Declaration of Independence—that we are “endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.”  Ben only barely got the first two letters of creator, then quickly recovered and continued with “…our forefathers…” So we are now “endowed by our forefathers with certain unalienable rights.”

He may be right. Continue reading

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Maintaining Good Reading Habits

by Bill Watson

readingReading well is not easy. Many of us recognize the value of being well-read but few of us really know how to become well-read. Becoming well-read requires that we read books that are not necessarily of immediate interest to us. Many readers, particularly those who are not naturally inclined to reading deep books, focus on “low-grade” literature that is of dubious value. By “low-grade,” I mean here the kind of literature that relies almost entirely on evoking and provoking our immediate passions. These books are like roller-coasters or pop music, they assault our raw senses but rarely challenge the way we think about the world, about ourselves. Books that actually change us tend to be less immediately appealing to the novice reader. So it is important to think about how to keep reading interesting while still reading books that are important and influential. Continue reading

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