• Hermeneutics,  Theology

    How do You Define Dispensationalism?

    I have written previously on the beliefs that are often linked with a dispensationalism, yet should not be associated with the theological system itself. Those beliefs are not inherent to the system of dispensationalism, and therefore are not essential to a dispensationalist. Today we turn the page and look at which beliefs define dispensationalism. We can define dispensationalism as a set of doctrinal beliefs that deal with hermeneutics, ecclesiology, and eschatology. This means that within those three spheres, a dispensationalist must hold to a specific set of beliefs concerning how one understands Scripture, the role and function of the church, and the end times. Thus, what follows are the four beliefs which each dispensationalist must hold to. Dispensationalism teaches that the Old Testament must be interpreted within its own context. This is, in my opinion, the most important belief of a dispensationalist because it leads to the rest. The core…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament

    When We Wrestle with God for the Wrong Reasons

    I recently was pointed to an article by Desiring God which encourages the believer to wrestle with God like Jacob wrestled with God at Peniel/Mahanaim (Gen 32:1-32). The implication of the article is that Jacob’s wrestling match with God is a pattern for us to follow—we too ought to wrestle with God! I have written before about the bad habit of reading Bible stories inappropriately, but this is a good example of this bad practice. Like many well-intentioned Bible readers, the author assumes that the actions of the characters in the story are to be emulated and the events of the story should form our expectations of how God operates with us. For example, the author notes the following: God will meet you in your anguish, fear, and uncertainty. But he may not meet you in the way you expect or desire. Your greatest ally may show up looking at…

  • Christian Living,  Church,  Ethics,  Hermeneutics

    Should Women Wear Head Coverings?

    If you walk into almost any church in North America this Sunday you will not see many (if any) women wearing a head covering. However, 1 Cor 11:2-16 seems to indicate that head coverings should be worn by women during the church service. To further complicate matters, one of the reasons given in 1 Cor 11 is because of God’s created order. If Paul is supporting head coverings from the created order, are we not obligated to continue this practice which all the churches of Paul’s time observed (1 Cor 11:16)? This is notoriously one of the most difficult passages to interpret. Some people claim that  because of the many exegetical difficulties, this passage should not be used for discussion on gender and roles. However, despite some of the contextual difficulties, I think the passage is clear enough to trace the overall argument and make an informed theological decision regarding…

  • Hermeneutics,  Textual Criticism

    The Use of Amos 9 in Acts 15 in JODT

    I recently became aware that The Journal of Dispensational Theology published one of my articles in October. The bibliography information is as follows: Peter J Goeman, “The Role of the LXX in James’ Use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:15-18” Journal of Dispensational Theology (Summer/Fall 2014): 107-25. Although the article itself requires a certain proficiency in Greek and Hebrew, I will try to summarize the main point of the article here. First, notice the comparison between Amos 9 and Acts 15: Amos 9:11-12 (MT) Amos 9:11-12 (LXX) Acts 15:16-18 In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this. (Amos 9:11-12, NASB)   On that day I will raise up the tent…

  • Hermeneutics

    The Prophecy of Caiaphus and Sensus Plenior

    Sensus plenior is Latin for “fuller sense.”  It is the belief that there is at least a partial disconnect between the human author and the divine author of Scripture. In other words, what the human author means in his historical context may not be the full intent of the meaning of Scripture. Those who believe in sensus plenior say that God can have a “fuller” intention behind the words that He inspires, and this “fuller sense” may not be understood until later on. I believe the best understanding of how Scripture is written is best described by what is called confluence. Confluence is the belief that God works through the understanding and the words of the human author so that God’s words and meaning are supernaturally the same words and meaning of the human author. This belief is largely based passages such as 2 Peter 1:20-21 which states: