Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cause Russell Has an Awesome Prophet's Beard

My reader (or readers; lets be optimistic) may be aware that I come from a charismatic background. This is the type of background that generally gives the impression that if Christ hasn't returned by the time the minister makes it to the front of the church, we'll all be very surprised. Indeed, as Lance would usually practice his sermon in the car on the way to church, I feel relatively certain that there were times he could have expressed a deep and personal longing for the Blessed Event, and while he was walking up to the front and the Advent proved to be indefinitely delayed, I feel equally certain that he experienced a deepening knowledge of the Personality of God, a knowledge not necessarily inconsistent with expletives.

Well, in the similar growth in my understanding, I now believe that many of the verses I had applied to the Second Coming actually should have been applied to the first Advent of Christ, and His judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70. Herein lies the crux: which of these verses apply to the past and which to the future return of our Lord? There is safety in a multitude of counsel, and the Christian Church has historically held to a future return of Christ, which will be accompanied by a bodily resurrection and the one great hope of every Christian, given to us by John the Revelator in 1. John 3, that when Christ is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He Is. Because of this, denying a future return of Christ is not an option. So, I got a book written by someone with my particular predicament in mind, and here we are. Or at least here I am, drinking a ridiculously overpriced drink that George Harrell informs me is not pink, but fuscia (which I would have guessed to be in the fauna division of God's creation) while mooching the internet in the only coffee shop/public house named after a reformer who claimed that his greatest aim and failure in life was to teach John Calvin to tell a joke.

It is my aim to go through C. Jonathin Seraiah's book, The End of All Things: A Defense of the Future--which I already am favorably disposed toward, what with its black cover, Hieronymus Bosch-esque painting on the front, foreword by R.C. Sproul Jr, and Seraiah's acknowledgment to the unfortunate soul that spent so much time fixing the demon-spawn computer from the abyss--it is my aim to go through this book attempting to maintain the heretical position, that there is no future advent of Christ, against all of his arguments. I expect several future posts to be devoted to this purpose.

(If the Lord should tarry.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Answers in an Hour,

if you went to public school.

Why the End is Not NearWhy the End is Not Near by Duane Garner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, I was greatly torn between giving a three and a four star review. For its intended audience, this book is excellent. If you have questions, this book will not be the one to answer them. If you are debating the exact meaning of a particular verse, this book will be of absolutely no use. If, however, you are looking for a brief summary of the general views of dispensational premillennialism over and against other views, this is a magnificent book.

Not only is it quite good for what it is, but the reason it got a four-star review from me is that it introduced two new arguments to me, which was delightful. It also had numerous commonplaces, which I thoroughly enjoyed. To top that off, it took me a total of fifteen minutes to read, and the new arguments were very simple and practical.

So, a very worthwhile read: quite enjoyable, informative and intelligently written.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More John Chapter Two

In reading my most recent post, I realized that I entirely failed to say the one thing that is the most interesting about the literary structure of the passage, and that my absolute love for the genius of John may, as a result, not have been quite so infectious as it ought to be. I'm naming all of my kids after John (especially Mordecai and Judah). He is absolutely amazing, and here is why.

The entire point of a chiasm is to focus a story around a single, central point. Everything else in the story serves to buttress and flesh out that one point. The entire point of a miracle is the event: the natural before the event and the natural after the event are bridged by this one tremendous act that violates all "laws" that the universe abides by: the blind man is not extraordinary, and neither is the seeing man. The extraordinary fact is that it's the same man. The tremendous and unnatural event is what connects the two, the hungry people with no food to the full people with twelve extra baskets; the dead girl and the teenager needing to be fed; the cripple and the man carrying his stretcher home.

In this passage, both are missing: the chiasm has no point, and there is no miracle. The miracle would occur between verses seven and eight of chapter two, but it doesn't. They pour water into the pots, and they draw wine out of it. The center of the chiasm is right between these same verses, but it isn't there. It is exactly as if there is one verse omitted from the absolute center of the story, as if some disillusioned monk decided to have a bit of fun with the next twenty thousand years of Biblical scholarship by removing the entire point of the story.

But, the omission is clean, neat, and entirely intentional. The point of the story? The point of the story is that there isn't one. And this is why I love John.

The John Cometh Into Chapter Two

I'm no longer even going to defend these chiasms; I'm just going to toss them out there.

The end of verse 43: "follow me" is the center of 35-51, but also of 34-51, which ties this section to all of the ones before it, in the following general manner:


where verse 34 is both A' and A.

Then, in chapter 2, I'm having difficulty pinning down an exact center, which gives me tons of stuff to work with.

One and two correspond exactly to eleven and twelve, which could simply indicate an inclusio. However, verse three's "wine" and verse ten's "wine" correspond too clearly to simply be accidental, especially with all the chiasms we've had so far. Then it starts to get interesting.

I would postulate that the mother speaking to Jesus about wine is equivalent to the master of the feast speaking to the bridegroom about wine. If you grant this, it's loads of fun. Then you have servants in five and servants in nine, the water of verses six and nine, and the actual ambiguity of the miracle being the center. If you really want, you can try to make 7a correspond to 8, but 7b and 8b correspond too well to make 7b the chiastic center. Both verses are the center, making this an


type of chiasm, with the actual center occurring offstage: the waterpots are filled with water, wine is drawn out. The miracle has to have occurred between these, but it's hidden from us, and it's the point of the entire thing. So ponder this: why is it hidden? Why doesn't John simply tell us what happened? What is the significance of this?

Isn't this fun?

However, this is just the structural skeleton: the muscular ramifications are where it gets really fun, and those I will largely leave to you. I am simply demonstrating the door; you get to walk through it, as there is an infinite amount of material in the room, and what would mean a great deal to you would mean nothing to me, and vice versa.

However, I will give you a few things to note: 1). Christ = bridegroom, and He Is one that never will run out of wine. 2). The water was what they washed in to become clean, and it became what filled them to make them clean (wine always equates to the Spirit) in a very simple Old/New, Type/Antitype, Shadow/Fulfillment relationship. And 3). It was good, good wine.

Jesse Broussard

Wodehousian Fun