The Meaning of the Millennium: Fall 2013 Issue, Volume 11, Issue 1

CTR Fall 13 Front CoverFor centuries, the millennium that is mentioned in Revelation 20 has been a source of spirited discussion among Christians. So in recognition of the potential for robust scholarly engagement about such an important topic, on October 12, 2012, Criswell College hosted a conference on The Future Kingdom: Perspectives on the Millennial Reign of Christ.

The intent of this forum was to allow attendants to hear presentations from scholars who represented differing viewpoints on the theological spectrum of the millennial debate. In doing so, because the leadership of Criswell College is committed to the premillennial view of the return of Christ, three variations of premillennialism were represented by distinct advocates of traditional dispensational premillennialism, progressive dispensational premillennialism, and historic premillennialism.  Likewise, the conference welcomed proponents of opposing viewpoints including amillennialism, postmillennialism, and even full preterism. Altogether the presentations were rich in content and elicited fruitful dialogue among the presenters and with the audience.  Therefore, this edition of CTR intends to provide the material that was shared at the conference. Continue reading

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Upcoming Issue: Fall 2013, Volume 11, Issue 1

The theme for the upcoming Fall 2013 edition of CTR will be Eschatology. It will include papers that were given at a conference on “Views of the Millennium,” which Criswell College held last year. The presenters included Wayne House (classical dispensational premillennialism), Craig Blaising (progressive dispensational premillennialism), Craig Blomberg (historic premillennialism), G. K. Beale (amillennialism), Kenneth Gentry (Postmillennialism), and Don Preston (Full Preterism). Likewise, two stand-alone articles will be included as well. Brian Kidwell will examine the role of Adam in the theology of Paul as seen in his epistle to the Romans.

Everett Berry, Editor

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Current Issue: Spring 2013, Volume 10, Issue 2

Did Adam (and Eve) actually exist? Historically, the general confession among believers of all Christian traditions has been a resounding yes.  Likewise, the faculty and administration here at Criswell College unequivocally affirm that Scripture teaches this truth.  However in recent years certain advancements in scientific research have persuaded some evangelical scholars that this conviction needs to be revisited.  As a result, there is now a growing polarization between evangelicals who believe in an historical Adam and a growing consortium that does not.

So in light of this development, the Spring 2013 edition of CTR is devoted to the significance of an historical Adam for biblical and theological studies.  As we will see in this compilation of articles, there are numerous issues that are contributing to this theological impasse.  Some of those matters include the hermeneutical complexities related to interpreting the Genesis creation account; whether scientific and biblical claims can be complimentary or not; how we should identify the textual derivation of Genesis 1-3 in light of comparative studies with various ancient Near Eastern creation myths; and most recently, whether the idea of humanity being traced back to one parental couple is compatible with current discoveries in genetic research.  All in all then, we have put this volume together so our readers can see how this discussion is developing within Christian academics.

To begin, our lead article defends the historicity of Adam and it is written by C. Marvin Pate who is the Chair of the Department of Christian Theology and Elma Cobb Professor of Christian Theology at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  His article, which is entitled “Genesis: Creation and Adam in Context,” discusses exegetical issues that are pertinent to the contemporary literature on this debate including the literary structure of Genesis 1-2, the possible priestly background of Gen 1, recent interpretations of Genesis 1-2 in light of ancient Near Eastern creation accounts, and the role of Adam in the theology of Paul.

The second article defending the historicity of Adam is by Robert Chisholm, Jr., who currently serves as the Chair of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.  His article, which is entitled “For This Reason”: Etiology and Its Implications for the Historicity of Adam,” argues that the way in which author of Genesis connects the creation account to the fall and other subsequent events necessitates an historical Adam because the original readers were expected to interpret their present experience in light of Adam’s previous existence.

The third entry comes in the form of an interview entitled “The Bible, Science, and the Historical Adam.”  This exchange is between CTR and Denis Lamoureux, who is Associate Professor of Science and Religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada.  Lamoureux brings a wealth of expertise to this discussion, having earned three doctorates (dentistry, theology, and biology) and published two books on the subject (A Christian Approach to Evolution, 2008) and (I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution, 2009).  Lamoureux represents the first author in this discussion who claims to be an evangelical who affirms biblical authority and the core doctrines of the faith but openly denies the existence of Adam.

Our fourth contribution briefly engages the work of Old Testament scholar Peter Enns who has recently published a book critiquing the idea of an historical Adam (The Evolution of Adam, 2012).  The article is entitled “A Literal and Historical Adam and Eve?  Reflections on the Work of Peter Enns,” and it is provided by the esteemed Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., who is President Emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts and now is the Coleman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Old Testament Ethics.

The fifth and final article that concludes this edition of CTR is written by Robert C. Kurka, who currently serves as Professor of Theology and Church in Culture at Lincoln Christian Seminary, which is part of Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois.  Kurka’s article surveys specific issues in genetics, evolutionary theory, and historical theology that relate to the ongoing conversations about Adam.  He concludes that the belief in a historical Adam is proving to be extremely problematic and that evangelicals who choose to maintain this position will continue to face significant challenges in the future.  

Finally, this volume concludes with several book reviews in the hopes that they can inform readers about works that can improve their theological libraries. And also remember that past issues of CTR can be accessed online at atla.com. Your local university or seminary can provide you with a password.

Everett Berry, Editor

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Fall 2012, Volume 10, Issue 1

The Fall of 2012 marks a new transition in the life of the Criswell Theological Review.  For approximately a decade, Dr. R. Alan Streett has served as editor and successfully maintained a high standard of scholarship for this publication.  Scholars from numerous backgrounds have contributed to previous volumes with the byproduct being a healthy colloquial setting.    Now as a colleague of Dr. Streett, I humbly step into the role as editor with the determination to maintain the same standard of quality so that our readership can continue to benefit.

That being said, the Fall 2012 edition includes a compilation of articles on numerous topics.  Our first two articles are lectures that were presented in the Fall of 2011 at the annual Criswell Theological Lectures Series at Criswell College.  The speaker was Dr. Andreas Kӧstenberger, who serves as Professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.  The lead article is a lecture wherein Kӧstenberger presented his reflections on the nature of biblical hermeneutics which were based on a current book that he co-wrote with Richard D. Patterson entitled Invitation to Biblical Interpretation.  The second article was a subsequent lecture in which Kӧstenberger admonished young seminarians to pursue character as well as academic excellence.  This lecture was also based upon a current volume Kӧstenberger had written entitled Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit fo Scholarly Virtue. Continue reading

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Spring 2012, Volume 9, Issue 2

The Spring 2012 edition of Criswell Theological Review features several articles on the theme of Jewish Studies, including essays on Jewish and Gentile identity “in Christ.”  As our readers know, this issue is the focus of much debate among scholars of all theological persuasions.

Our lead article, “Romans 11 and Christian-Jewish Relations,” is contributed by Mark Nanos, the Soebbing Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Rockhurst University (MO).  Based on his careful exegesis of the text, Nanos challenges translation committees whose English word choices has led many to conclude erroneously that God’s people (Jews) as natural branches have been severed from the Olive tree, had their hearts hardened, and thus have become enemies of the gospel.  Nanos then suggests that alternative translation options, based on contextual and historical considerations, which will lead to a more accurate interpretation of this well-known passage. Continue reading

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Fall 2011, Volume 9, Issue 1

The Fall 2011 edition of Criswell Theological Review offers our subscribers several articles dealing with biblical and theological studies. Rusty Osborne, editor and moderator of lawprophetssandwritings.com, examines Ezekiel’s use of irony in Ezekiel 20:1-44 as a means of maximizing prophetic rhetoric.  This is an important article for those teaching through the Book of Ezekiel.

In his article, “‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, With His People’: Paul’s Intra-Jewish Rhetoric in Philippians 3:1-9,” Chris Zoccali challenges the traditional scholarly view that this text represents an anti-Jewish polemic and offers an alternative view that it is actually concerned with Gentile Christ-followers retaining their own ethnic identity.

Glenn Kreider, Professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, contributes “God’s Humility: Reflections on an Unappreciated Attribute of the father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  In this provocative article Kreider explores the implication of Christ’s incarnation, especially as it relates to his human obedience and submission to his heavenly Father through the power of the Spirit. Continue reading

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Spring 2011, Volume 8, Issue 2

This edition of CTR features the contributions of six scholars.  Of these, three deal specifically with issues related to the General Epistles.

In the lead article, “The Authorship of Hebrews,” David Allen, Dean of the School of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX) makes a survey of historical literature that supports his position that Luke was responsible for penning Hebrews.  With an abundance of evidence, Allen presents a compelling case for his position.

Respected NT scholar Peter H. Davids, Professor of NT at St. Stephen’s University (Saint Stephen, NB), examines the “larger theology” of the Epistle of James.  Breaking new ground, he shows that James has much to say about God and the human situation in the context of the Roman Empire. Continue reading

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Fall 2010, Volume 8, Issue 1

Herbert Benson, M.D., Associate Professor at Harvard medical School, is known as the “Father of the Relaxation response,” a method used to cope with stress and its results, e.g. elevated blood pressure.  Since the mid- 1970’s Benson has been on the cutting edge of mind body medicine.  His most recent book, The Relaxation Revolution, co-authored with William Proctor, J.D., presents the latest scientific data that validates the effectiveness of relaxation as a therapeutic tool.   

In our lead article, “The Coming Relaxation Revolution: Introducing Evangelical Christians to the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Therapy,” Benson and Proctor make a case that relaxation techniques are compatible with the Christian belief system and suggest ways that evangelicals can practice the Relaxation Response to attain better health.  An informative interview with the authors follows the article. Continue reading

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Spring 2010, Volume 7, Issue 2 [2010]

FROM THE EDITOR

MIND-BODY CONNECTION

The Spring 2010 edition of CTR is devoted in its entirety to exploring the mind-body connection. To this end we have invited scholars from the disciplines of theology and psychology to address the issue.

Mind-body research is an exciting field of inquiry. Neuroscientists are beginning to prove quantitatively the amazing power of the human brain to accomplish tasks hitherto unthinkable. Now biblical scholars are beginning to ask what relationship exists between soul (mind, spirit, personality) and brain. Our authors address this question from different perspectives. Continue reading

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Fall 2009, Volume 7, Issue 1 [2009]

Editor’s Page
-R. Alan Streett

“‘Even We Have Believed’: Galatians 2:15-16 Revisited”
-Don Garlington

“Acts 2 and the Old Testament: The Pentecost Event in Light of Sinai, Babel and the Table of Nations”
-Jud Davis

“The Covenant in the Book of Job”
-Max Rogland

“Qumran and the Messianic Hope”
-Lamar E. Cooper, Sr.

“Speech-Act Theory as a Corollary for Describing the Communicative Dynamics of Biblical Revelation: Some Recommendations and Reservations”
-Everett Berry

Book Reviews

Index of Book Reviews

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