Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2000-2009: A Decade Gone By

As 2009 comes to a close in less than 10 hours, it is not only a new year that will begin, but also a new decade. We will say good-bye to what has been most commonly been referred to as the 2000's and enter into the 10's. What will 2010-2019 bring us? So much has changed in the last 10 years, and it appears as if society is only going to continue to expand and get more complicated as time continues.

Over the last 10 years we have seen many significant events take place both in our country and across the world, in sports and in entertainment, and even in my own life. We have had 3 presidents: Clinton (for less than a month), Bush (for 8 years), and Obama (for almost one year). September 11, 2001, changed our nation and world forever. Since then airport security has been enhanced, and recently another terrorist attempt has been seen reminding us that we are not done fighting against terror. The decade is ending just like it began.

Before 2000 most people did not use Google, did not have cell phones everywhere they went, did not have fast personal computers, and did not have IPods or other Mp3s. Even gaming systems were different, the N64 being the latest for Nintendo. VHS tapes were still popular as DVDs were just beginning to come out, and now as the decade ends we are shifting to Blue Ray and 3D movies at the theater. Most notably about the decade was Y2K, which never happened. Can you believe 10 years ago today, that was our major concern?

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, and that has not been the only natural disaster of the decade. Typhoons, tidal waves, earthquakes, and tornadoes have killed millions across the world, as we have seen some of the worst of nature over the last few years. 2005 was a record year for Atlantic Hurricanes, and since then tornadoes have come in record numbers across America. 2008 marked my one and only experience with a tornado.

In sports, the Patriots have dominated the NFL this decade, whereas Jimmie Johnson has dominated NASCAR in the second half of the decade. We lost Dale Earnhardt at the beginning of the 2000's along with several other drivers in similar situations. College football has been filled with controversy as the BCS rankings began to become less favorable as the years ticked away, and for Tennessee fans, this decade marked the end of Phil Fulmer in Knoxville. There were 4 Olympic Games as well, think of Shaun White or Michael Phelps.

Celebrities have also made the headlines, but not in good ways, over the last 10 years. Who will forget names like Anna Nicole Smith, Lindsey Lohan, Brittney Spears, Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods, Jon and Kate, Tom Cruise (the couch), and the list could go on and on. Whether it was death or drugs, divorce or child custody battles, celebrities have had their names in the headlines, and that will not change.

This list is far from exhaustive. It would be impossible to list everything that has occurred in this decade. But just sitting here thinking back makes me realize that this decade consists of almost half of my life, and there have been things that have happened in these 10 years that altered my life forever. 9/11 changed us all, but other than that, there are so many personal things that have occurred as well.

I hope you are ready for the new year and the new decade. But take a moment and think about what these last 10 years consisted of in your life. How did the news headlines change your life, and what personal things occurred. It is always good to reflect back on your life, so take a moment to do that before 2010 gets here.

As for the blog, hopefully 2010 will be a new start. December has been a waste on here. With school, work, and Christmas, I did not find anytime to write. So one New Years' Resolution I may have this next year is to get back to writing more. See you next year!


Saturday, November 28, 2009


In recent years it seems like when we say the words "Union University," "construction" seems to soon follow. Construction never ends on our campus, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The next few months will see the completion of the Bowlds Commons, which also completes the 4 Quads. Starting next semester, the Commons will be open. Inside, there will be TV rooms, study rooms, a gym, 2 apartments (for the RD's), fireplaces, grills outside, and even rooms that will be used as classrooms. I recently talked to someone who told me that their schedule said that one of their classes would be in Bowlds Commons. So 2 years after the tornado, construction will be completed for the rebuilding process.

However, during our time of rebuilding, our campus did not quit growing. Due to our continual growth over the last 2 years, more dorms are desperately needed. Therefore, construction has begun in another section of campus to build new Quads, slated to be completed by the Fall of 2010. I think that they are only projecting one Quad to be completed by the date, but anything will be helpful at this point.

Finally, the Pharmacy building is moving right along. Construction has come along quickly on that building. Last Tuesday, while leaving campus, I noticed that the roof was being started on this building. This building is also being stated as being completed by next Fall. If this happens, the pharmacy department will be moved out of the PAC (the main building), across campus, and into a new building. Also, I heard that some of the other sciences will have classrooms in this building.

So construction is a good thing, especially when you are growing. It does get old seeing cranes and equipment constantly on campus. I get tired of always having a dirty car due to construction. But it is exciting to see the university continuing to grow. In my 4 years at Union there has not been a time when there was no construction on campus. Since beginning in the Fall of 2006, I have witnessed the construction of White Hall, The Grants Center, The New Dorms, Bowlds Commons, The Soccer Complex, the beginnings of the Pharmacy Building, and the beginning of more New Dorms. Union is not the same place that it was even 3 years ago. And it will probably look quite different in another 3 years.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Twice Freed - Part 2

Picking up from yesterday, here is the rest of my review of Twice Freed:

Again, this is one instance where I feel that we forget that there is a story behind these letters of the New Testament. We read Philemon and just think that Paul sent a letter to some random man who had a slave, correcting him for his wrong. But if you really think about this letter, it becomes obvious that Paul and Philemon were good friends and that they had had some type of interaction prior to the writing of this letter. This is where St. John’s story comes in, especially the scene between Philemon and Paul at Ephesus. Furthermore, Paul states that he is sending Onesimus back to Philemon, a detail that I have always skipped over. I had never noticed that Onesimus was being sent back; I assumed he was already with Philemon. This story has helped me read the letter more carefully, noticing that I too missed a detail in the biblical story.

Now there are many more scenes I could discuss, but I want to hit this last one. Onesimus, in the story, is sent back to Philemon after having spent time with Paul in Rome. This scene appears to parallel the biblical story. Paul writes in Philemon that he is imprisoned, and that Onesimus has joined him in his imprisonment. So it seems entirely possible that the two met and spent some time together in Rome. Furthermore, Paul lists several men at the end of his letter that have been in Rome with them, and all of these people appear as characters in Twice Freed. These final verses of the letter are probably commonly overlooked as well. Once more, St. John’s interpretation has helped me look more closely at the letter itself.

This close attention to detail is the book’s strongest quality, and although I really do appreciate this book, the way that it was written, and the ideas that were presented, there were two aspects of the book that bothered me. First of all, near the beginning of the book, there are some characters who are discussing the freedom that we can all have in Christ. They make the comment that in Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, etc. This is definitely a truth that is presented in the Bible, and St. John works it well into her story. However, in the listing of “opposites,” St. John also throws in that there is neither “black nor white.” That one little phrase caught me off guard. I think that it was probably an oversight on St. John’s part for including that phrase because so much of her book reads and feels like an ancient culture (the first century). But nevertheless, such a distinction would not have been thought of in the first century. I do not feel like this would have been a big deal in the Roman Empire as it is today. That is not to say that there were not different races in the Roman Empire, for I know there were (the book mentions Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East). But to say that they would have made a distinction between black and white seems to be St. John adding a modern problem to the first century context.

The second problem that I saw in this book deals with what seemed to be a hymn that was sung. While in Ephesus, there is a time when some of the characters seem to quote 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Now I am not sure if this was a common saying prior to the writing of 2 Timothy or not. If it was, then my argument falls apart, and this scene was completely appropriate. However, if this was not a common saying or hymn, then it would appear as if St. John mixed up some of her events. 2 Timothy is Paul’s final letter, written at the end of his life. At this point in St. John’s story, Paul is still in Ephesus, having not been to Rome yet. That being the case, it would be impossible for the people to have knowledge of this saying unless it was already a common saying or hymn of the day.

I want to say that this is a common saying because other than this one instance, I did not notice any other mistakes in the timeline (as far as I know). She seemed to be quite particular in the details she chose to include within her story. Therefore, it is hard for me to imagine that she would miss such an obvious mistake. However, if she did make such a mistake, then this is one of those minor faults that I found in the book, one of the only faults.

So after reading and thinking about this book, I have been encouraged to pay closer attention to what I read in Scripture. So many times we miss the details of the passage, rushing through just to say that we have read it. We fail to read it carefully and thus miss out on what the passage might be teaching us. We have also forgotten that the Bible is filled with true stories. Too many times we forget this fact and it hinders our study as well. Now I am not saying that we should just view Scripture as a story, for that would be going to the other extreme. But we must not forget this fact, and we must find a balance between reading the Scripture for what it means today and what it meant when it was written. The historical background of a passage can sometimes be helpful. This simple children’s story has encouraged me to make sure that I pay close attention to what I read in the future.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twice Freed - Part 1

I read this book in my Pauline Epistles course, and it is the story of Onesimus from the book of Philemon. I wrote a five page book report on the paper, and this is the first half of that paper. I have left off in the middle of the report, so tune in later this week for the rest of the paper.

Patricia St. John’s historical fiction book, Twice Freed tells the story of Philemon’s slave Onesimus. In the Bible, the book of Philemon is only twenty-five verses long, but St. John extends the story into over two hundred pages. When thinking of books of this nature, the question has to be raised as to whether it is adequate or appropriate to extend the biblical text in such lengths. The biggest problem is that there is no way that anyone today knows exactly what happened during the first century. Therefore, when someone attempts to write a book such as this, readers have to remember that the majority of the book is purely speculation and really has no relation to the biblical text. That is not to say that these books are heretical or false, it is just to say that Scripture is limited as to the historical background in most of the New Testament letters, so all the details are purely left to interpretation and imagination. However, with all of these “problems” facing St. John in this book, she conquers them quite well.

Over all, I feel like Twice Freed is a well written story. When thinking about how fiction books are written, I tend to want them to be exciting, with a good plot, and not one that drags on and on. If the book does not grab my attention at the beginning, or if the suspense level decreases half way through the book, I will struggle the rest of the way through. At times, I might not even finish the book. Thankfully, Twice Freed is not this type of a book. The book begins in an exciting fashion, and I think that is partly due to the fact that I was curious as to how St. John was planning on interpreting the story of Philemon. But the book did not lose its sense of excitement. Most of this is because the book is targeted to a much younger audience, and if the book does not remain exciting and interesting then kids would refuse to continue reading the story.

Twice Freed is not the first book of this type that I have read. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins have also taken a stab at writing historical fiction. They are currently in the middle of a series that looks at the lives of the four writers of the Gospels. I have read the first two books in this series, dealing with John and John Mark. It was actually interesting to see some of the same ideas and speculations come up in Twice Freed when Onesimus was speaking with John Mark during the end of the book. LaHaye and Jenkins center John Mark’s story around that of Peter and show how John Mark was present during Jesus’ ministry. They also focus in on how John Mark loved being with his mother, which according to them, might be one of the reasons as to why John Mark left Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Just like LaHaye and Jenkins, St. John takes a similar approach in interpreting the life of John Mark.

But in some ways, St. John’s task was much greater. Whereas LaHaye and Jenkins have chapters and chapters of information to build off of (the Gospels and Acts), St. John only has twenty-five verses. She really has to be creative in developing a storyline that will fit the few details that are mentioned in the book of Philemon. But again, I do feel that she accomplishes this task. The biggest aid to anyone who attempts to write a historical fiction book based off of the Bible is the fact that Luke wrote the book of Acts. Acts is the only book of history in the New Testament, and it helps fill in some of the gaps that Paul’s letters leave out. It helps put the life of Paul in perspective and has even helped many scholars take a stab at ordering the letters of Paul chronologically. Knowing this suggested order of letters and how they correlate with the events recorded in Acts (primarily Paul’s trips), writers such as St. John can build off of a basic framework already in place.

One of the greatest benefits of writing or reading one of these books comes in this reorganization of Paul’s letters. Many times I feel like we decide that we are going to read through one of Paul’s letters and we neglect to think about the context in which it was written. True, we can still gain much insight and find applications for our lives today by just reading the letter. However, if we know the reason why Paul wrote the letter in the first place, then our reading and understanding will only be enhanced. Too many times we forget that the New Testament was real. These were real people that Paul wrote to who had real problems that needed to be dealt with. Instead of viewing it like a story, we tend to see it as an instruction manual. We in essence have lost our sense of imagination. St. John takes hold of that imagination and ponders about what life might have actually been like for the Apostles and the early Christians.

I really appreciated the wide use of cities and characters that St. John included within the story. At the beginning, when it was primarily Philemon, his family, and Onesimus mentioned, I began to think that this story was going to really be stretched only focusing on them in their town. I was pleased to see that St. John included other cities and characters to help tie the story into other letters of Paul. The first big instance in which she does this is when Philemon travels to Ephesus (where he is converted). Now although this is purely speculation (as is much of the book), I felt it was appropriate for St. John to connect Philemon with Paul directly as she did in this scene. Philemon speaks directly with Paul and eventually becomes one of his students. Therefore, it is absolutely appropriate for Paul to directly write to Philemon at the end of the story.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

9. The Angel of the Lord - Bibliography


Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa Theologica: Volume I. New York: Benziger Bros., 1948.

Augustine. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Augustine On the Holy Trinity Doctrinal Treatises. Edited by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1994.

Enns, Peter. Exodus: The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

Erickson, Millard J. God in Three Persons: A Contemporary Interpretation of the Trinity. Grand Rapids: Barker Books, 1995.

Eusebius, Church History, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Volume I, ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Company, 1980. http://www.n (accessed October 17, 2009).

Howard, David M., Jr. Joshua: The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.

Ireaneus, Against Heresies. Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1867. (accessed October 17, 2009).

Lee, Francis Nigel. “More Than One Angel? – alias Who Is ‘The Angel of the Lord’?” http://w (accessed October 17, 2009).

Luther, Martin. Luther’s Works: Lectures on Genesis Chapters 15-20. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1961.

––––– Luther’s Works: Lectures on Genesis Chapters 21-25. Edited by Jaroslav Pelikan. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964.

Matthews, Kenneth A. Genesis 11:27-50:26: The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005.

Tertullian, Against Marcion, in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3, ed. Philip Schaff. Grand Rapids: WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976. 30.htm#TopOfPage (accessed October 17, 2009).

Younger, K. Lawson, Jr. Judges/Ruth: The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.

That is the end of my Doctrine of God paper. As I continue to turn in papers this semester and finish my textbooks, I will continue to post my thoughts. Stay tuned.


8. The Angel of The Lord - Conclusion


After looking at many of the options and views that have been given over the last two thousand years, what is the answer to this hard question? Should one of the three options listed at the beginning of this discussion be considered, and if so, which one? In some ways, all of the options seem to offer some truth. For instance, option one suggests that the angel is simply an angel sent for a specific purpose. In many ways this is true, for many have concluded that the angel can be viewed much like the prophets of the Old Testament who delivered God’s messages to His people.

Yet there also seems to be an indication that the angel is in some way connected to the Lord. So is it like option two where God directly speaks to his children, such as Abraham, Moses, or Joshua? Again, this option seems possible as well. There are many instances where Scripture is quite ambiguous as to who is speaking, stating that the angel appears and yet the Lord speaks. But there are also instances where Scripture does not call the men angels or God, such as Genesis 18. In this instance, Scripture states that three men appeared to Abraham. So could these instances be God revealing Himself to man? Although this option does seem possible, Scripture also speaks on how God does not allow man to see His face. He tells Moses that he cannot see His face and live and allows Moses to only see His back. If this instance with Abraham truly is God in human form, then it would have to be an instance such as Christ appearing to people during His time on the earth, which leads to option three.

Maybe these instances are actually a pre-incarnation of Christ, or at least a foreshadowing of what Christ will be like. Enns and Howard made a good argument for the latter. Now that the New Testament has been revealed, the Old Testament can be read in light of the New Testament. So whereas these passages would have not made sense to Old Testament and early New Testament believers, people today can read these stories in light of the revelation of Christ. Maybe these almost pre-incarnate instances were God’s way of preparing the world for the coming of His Son.

Ultimately, it does not appear as if any of these three options are adequate in and of themselves. Therefore, here is a fourth option and hopefully an answer to this discussion from Millard Erickson: “We are drawn to the conclusion that in some way, not really explicated in Scripture, the angel of the Lord is both the Lord and not the Lord.” It does not appear as if any one thinker developed an adequate explanation as to the identification of the angel of the Lord. Instead, they all did their part to further the discussion, investigate the options, and try to make sense of all of these passages. The problem, as previously noted, is that many of these passages are drastically different. Some tend to be more ambiguous while others are clearer. Some begin with the appearance of the angel of the Lord while others, such as Genesis 18, do not even mention the presence of angels. And finally, there are even distinctions between the angel of the Lord passages and passages in which a normal angel appears.

Therefore, it seems as if Enns, Howard, and Erickson may have developed the best answer. At times, Scripture intends for readers to see the angel as the Lord, especially in the passages when it seems to foreshadow Christ. But this reading is only possible in light of the New Testament. Therefore, in some real sense, these passages are supposed to be read verbatim. Yet God also spoke through His angels to deliver specific messages to His children, and at these times it was not God physically present on earth. So who is the angel of the Lord? It appears as if that answer is still up for debate. There is not one solitary answer that scholars agree on. Yet Erickson’s quote seems to sum it up best. The angel of the Lord can most definitely be viewed as the Lord, but only in certain passages. At other times, the passage must be read as is, without any other presuppositions or ideas being added to it. Consider this final point. All of these passages are different, and they cannot all be lumped into one main group. Instead, they must each be considered separately. There are times when the angel of the Lord appears to be only a messenger. But there are other times when Scripture intends to somehow connect the angel of the Lord with God or Christ. If all of these passages are placed into one large group, then there will be confusion, but when these distinctions are made, it becomes clear that each passage is different, and that the identity of the angel of the Lord depends on the passage.


Monday, November 23, 2009

7. The Angel of the Lord - Howard and Younger

A Modern Look 2

Enns made several good suggestions, and in many ways David M. Howard agrees. Looking at
Joshua 5:13-15, Howard offers his take on the angel of the Lord. In one sense, Howard wants to suggest that these passages cannot be viewed as there being an ordinary angel. In some way, God is present in these instances. For instance, as already seen, both Moses and Joshua are told they are standing on holy ground in Exodus 3 and Joshua 5 respectively, and they appear to worship the Lord in these instances. At the same time, in Exodus 23:21, it appears as if the angel is given the authority to forgive sins. However, there are also times in which there are clear distinctions made between the angel and God. In Exodus 33:2-3, God sends the angel ahead with the Israelites while He stays behind. Thinking on these passages, it appears as if Howard and Enns are making a similar argument. God is present with the angel of the Lord in that He speaks through the angel, using the angel as one of His messengers. But once again, that does not necessarily mean that the angel should be equated with the Lord.

Finally, Howard looks at the possibility of the angel being a representation of the pre-incarnate Christ. He agrees that there are several instances in the Old Testament where it seems appropriate to assume that a pre-incarnate Christ is present, but he cannot get past the fact that the New Testament does not make any such claim. In fact Scripture is particularly silent as to the real identification of this angel. There is not really a clear cut answer. Howard makes one final conclusion, much like Enns, believing that the angel of the Lord might be a type of typology of Christ. This statement once again suggests that there are connections between the angel and the Lord, but there may not be a one-to-one parallel between the two.

In one final example, K. Lawson Younger looks at Judges 13, when an angel appears to the parents of Samson. Younger points out that in this passage it is not a question as to the identity of an angel, for Scripture plainly states that this is an angel or messenger of the Lord. This example shows one last group of passages that must be considered. Although there are many instances within Scripture that are ambiguous, and there is much debate as to who the angel of the Lord might be, there are instances in which the angel is clearly an angel. In instances such as these, the reader is not expected to draw out any connections to the Lord or think in terms of Christology. So it is important that these other passages are not confused with the angel of the Lord passages. They are a case unto themselves.

We have almost made it to the end. Tomorrow I will post the conclusion of this paper, along with the Bibliography so that you can see how I came to my conclusion on this difficult topic...


Sunday, November 22, 2009

6. The Angel of the Lord - Matthews and Enns

A Modern Look

Beginning with Genesis 16:7, Kenneth Matthews looks into the identity of the angel, offering several explanations. In this passage, he considers the fact that the text clearly states that the Lord speaks to Hagar on several occasions. Although it is the angel who appears to Hagar, the Lord Himself is said to speak to her. For this reason, Matthews suggests that there times, such as this passage, when the angel of the Lord must be equated with the Lord. In this instance, Matthews appears to be agreeing with Eusebius, who took the text for what it explicitly said. But Matthews also believes that there is a certain ambiguity in this passage. Although this instance appears to suggest that the Lord appeared to Hagar, other such passages are not as clear.

In Genesis 18-19, three men appear to Abraham, and Matthews believes that one of these must be God while the other two are angels, the angels who eventually go to destroy Sodom. Furthermore, he suggests that these three men represent a theophany. Once more, Matthews connects the angels and messengers of God to the Lord. This suggestion lines up with Luther’s thoughts on the topic. He too suggested that these three men were a representation of the Trinity, and just as Luther tended to lump these passages into two categories, Matthews might be seeing a distinction in these passages as well.

He moves on to Genesis 31, once more finding an ambiguous passage. Like Genesis 16:7, specifics are not stated. This passage begins in the same way by stating that it was the angel of the Lord that appeared to Jacob. However, as the passage progresses, it once again appears as if it is the Lord who is speaking and wrestling with Jacob. Matthews clearly states that although it is not explicitly stated, he believes that this must be God (suggesting another theophany). There are clearly some strong parallels in Genesis 16:7 and Genesis 31, and both passages tend to be unclear on the true identity of the angel. The question for Matthews is the same as it was for Eusebius. Is it adequate to assume the Lord’s identity solely on the fact that the text at times states that “the Lord says”? Or should Augustine’s suggestion that the angels could be viewed in the same light as the prophets who delivered God’s messages be considered?

Clearly Matthews’s research further complicates the discussion, yet he did make a few new suggestions, even tying in Eusebius and Luther into his argument. His idea that some of these instances could be a theophany is not unique to him. But as already seen, not everyone believes that these passages should be viewed as representations of God on earth. One such man of the modern era is Peter Enns. By tying his discussion into Exodus 3, he makes a claim that the angel of the Lord should not be equated with the Lord.

Enns looks at the meaning of the Hebrew word for angel, stating that it can also mean “messenger.” If that be the case, then these angels could also be viewed as a simple messenger sent from God down to earth to deliver a message. Much like Augustine, Enns believes that although these angels appear to be closely identified with the Lord, they should not be equated with Him. Therefore, he would deny the claims made by Matthews and suggest that just because the passage states that the Lord is speaking does not mean that the Lord is physically present in the form of an angel. In fact, in the Ancient Near East culture, lords and masters commonly sent messengers to speak for them. In the same way, the Lord could have sent His angels only for the sake of delivering a message. So when they spoke the Lord’s commands, they were speaking in a way very similar to that of the prophets.

But this terminology debate is not the only reason Enns gives for suggesting that the angel of the Lord should not be viewed as the Lord Himself. He also discusses the idea as to whether the angel is a representation of the pre-incarnate Christ. As already seen, many scholars have found it easy to equate the angel of the Lord with God. But there were also some who suggested that the angel of the Lord was actually an Old Testament example of Christ, much like the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego story. But Enns denies this possibility stating that the angel of the Lord is actually a foreshadowing of Christ in the same ways that “Moses, the priesthood, and the sacrificial system” are. He agrees that a pre-incarnate Christ idea is a good theological point, but he is hesitant to suggest that Christ actually appeared in bodily form prior to His incarnation. Therefore, he concludes with the suggestion that it might all be foreshadowing.

Enns takes a huge step in understanding the angel of the Lord. He does not flat out deny the possibility that God cannot somehow be equated with the angel of the Lord, but he does want to make a distinction between the two. Yes, Scripture is ambiguous when it introduces the angel of the Lord and later suggests that it is God who is speaking, but Enns makes a good point in saying that these passages can be viewed in light of God speaking through the angel or messenger. Furthermore, he preserves the idea that in some sense these instances could point to Christ. Again, he is hesitant to equate the two directly, but he does suggest the possibility of foreshadowing.

Sources used in this section of the paper consist of commentaries written by Matthews and Enns. Next, we will look at the final two modern figures: Howard and Younger...


Saturday, November 21, 2009

5. The Angel of the Lord - Luther

A Historical Approach 4

To end this historical look on the angel of the Lord, consider Martin Luther, one of the Reformers. Skipping ahead to the sixteenth century, Luther began a new era that has become known today as the Reformation. During this time he wrote a series of lectures on the book of Genesis and other passages. In his lectures on Genesis, Luther deals with the passages that refer to the angel of the Lord, but he neglects to look at some of the other passages scattered throughout the Old Testament. He also takes a different approach to these passages in that he does not speak of Moses or Joshua’s encounters and even separates the passages in Genesis into two separate categories.

He begins with Hagar’s encounter with the angel of the Lord prefacing his discussion with the idea that the angels were sent to earth as guardians for God. They were sent to guard Eden, protect Lot in Sodom, encourage the disciples at Jesus’ ascension, and in this case, protect Hagar in her present dilemma. In this explanation, Luther lumps together the passages that specifically mention the angel of the Lord with those that show how one or more angels were sent to deliver messages or protect God’s people. It seems as if he does not feel comfortable with making any distinctions between the different instances in which angels appear. Furthermore, he disagrees with Hilary who “thinks it was God Himself who spoke with Hagar” in Genesis 16:7-9. Instead, Luther believes that there are times in which the “angel had assumed the appearance of a human being.” He then looks at Genesis 21:17 and Genesis 22:11, where he once more suggests that God does not appear to Hagar and Abraham. In these instances, Luther sides more with Augustine who believed that the angels should not be equated with the Lord.

However, Luther also seems to believe that there were times in which God or Christ was present in physical form on the earth prior to the Incarnation. In his discussion on Genesis 18, Luther makes it clear that the three men who appeared were the Lord. In fact, he interprets Abraham and Sarah’s actions as being oblivious to the fact that they are in the presence of the Lord. At first, Abraham accepts these men as he would accept any visitors. When Sarah hears that she is to bear a son, she laughs in unbelief. Luther suggests that Sarah may have only considered these men to be messengers of God rather than God Himself. But in the end, Abraham does appear to worship these three men, an act intended for someone of divinity. From this encounter, it appears as if these three men can be viewed as a representation of the Trinity.

Now although Luther does not look to any of the other angel of the Lord passages for support, he does put forward two interesting cases. In one sense, he adamantly states that anytime the angel of the Lord is said to appear, the passage should be taken literally. The angel of the Lord is just that, an angel sent from the Lord, not the Lord Himself. However, in the vaguer situations, such as the three men who appear to Abraham, it may be possible that these types of passages can be viewed as the Lord appearing in physical form. Even though Luther does not look at Exodus 3 or Joshua 5, it appears as if he would classify these passages with Genesis 18. Since they explicitly state that the Lord appeared to Moses and Joshua respectively, and since both Moses and Joshua end up worshipping the Lord, these passages hold some strong parallels to Genesis 18. Therefore, Luther’s view seems to be split into two distinct types. He would suggest that the angel of the Lord passages should not be grouped with Genesis 18 and other passages of the like. Instead, there are two distinct groups: one where God sends His angels with a message, the other where God delivers the message Himself.

After taking this historical approach in looking at the angel of the Lord, what is the conclusion? As previously noted, confusion still abounds. The church fathers and scholars of the last two thousand years do not give a definitive answer to this difficult topic. Their opinions have shifted and changed. Therefore, consider some of the ideas presented in the last few years.

In the next post, we will begin looking at a more modern look to see what ideas they have presented in answering this question...


Friday, November 20, 2009

4. The Angel of the Lord - Augustine and Aquinas

A Historical Approach 3

During the fourth century, Augustine wrote On the Holy Trinity and devoted part of this work to the discussion of the angel of the Lord. Unlike those who had come before him, Augustine was not as quick to say that the angel of the Lord should be viewed as being God in bodily form, or even suggesting that the angel is Christ. He did, however, look at many of the same passages that the others had already dealt with. Yet one of the major differences in his view and the others is his reference to the prophets. Augustine is the first of these four to say that it is possible that God spoke through this angel in a similar fashion as to when he spoke through His prophets. In fact, Augustine is somewhat hesitant to claim that the angel is indeed the Lord God Himself. He comments on Stephen’s record of God speaking to Abraham, but he is also careful at claiming that God appeared directly to Abraham. As he moves on to Exodus 3, a slight problem rises in his argument as he cannot get away from the fact that it appears as if the angel and the Lord are one in the same as they speak with Moses. So which side is Augustine taking? Does he side with thinkers such as Ireaneus, Tertullian, and Eusebius, or is he developing a new line of thought? It appears as if Augustine is taking this discussion in a new direction, ready to offer a new opinion on the topic.

So he looks at Genesis 18, Abraham’s meeting with the three men. This passage serves as one of the key texts for those who claim that God appeared in the form of an angel to speak with His children. They latch onto this passage, claiming that these three men are an early look at the Trinity. Yet Augustine believes that these men had to be angels (although the text does not make this claim). He has already said that he does not believe that God appears to His children to where they could see Him with their eyes. Therefore, he cannot turn around and claim that these three men are an example of God in three physical persons, for that would be God directly revealing Himself to Abraham. God does not allow Moses to see His face in Exodus, so why would He allow Abraham to in this passage? By claiming that these are angels, Augustine sets up his discussion on Genesis 22. He is fine with stating that God sends angels to deliver His messages, and he is fine with saying that it is not God Himself who makes the appearance. So when Abraham is in the process of sacrificing his son, Isaac, Augustine believes that this situation is an instance where God speaks His message through a messenger or an angel. So ultimately, Augustine does not really agree with the opinions of those before him. In one sense, he wants to be able to say that the angel of the Lord is God, but he has trouble accepting the fact that God physically revealed Himself to His children. Therefore, Augustine concludes by comparing the angel of the Lord to the prophets. This angel is simply a messenger of the Lord (at a time before the prophets) who was sent to deliver a specific message to specific people in a specific time.

For the first time it appears as if the conversation is beginning to shift. For a few centuries it was commonly accepted that God appeared to His children, at times in the form of an angel. However, with Augustine’s research a new idea was presented. Maybe these passages should no longer be viewed as a physical representation of God on earth. Instead, maybe these angels and men are nothing more than an early prophet, sent by God to deliver a message. The problem though is that neither option adequately deals with all the passages mentioned at once. Whereas some passages such as Exodus 3 appear to make it clear that God appears in the form of an angel or that the angel should be viewed as God Himself, other passages question this assumption when the Lord Himself is not even mentioned.

Several centuries later, Aquinas took up this discussion, building off of some of Augustine’s claims. There is quite a large time gap between Augustine and Aquinas spanning almost one thousand years. But there was not much change in the discussion over these one thousand years. In Summa Theologica, Aquinas comments on some of the ideas that had appeared since Augustine. For instance, it appears as if there were some thinkers who claimed that the angels did not appear in bodily form, the same argument that Tertullian dealt with in reaction to Marcion. In many ways, Aquinas’ argument mirrors that of Tertullian. Like Tertullian, Aquinas did not specifically deal with the passages that mentioned the angel of the Lord. Instead, his goal was to prove that the angels could in fact appear in physical form.

To do so, Aquinas looked at Genesis 19. His claim is that if an angel intends to appear to one specific person in some spiritual or imaginary sense, then only that one person would see him. However, in Genesis 19, Abraham, along with Lot and those in Sodom, saw the angels. Now Aquinas is not arguing that angels exist only in bodies. Instead, he suggests that at specific times such as these, the angels assumed bodies to deliver the message to those on earth. The problem is that Aquinas does not deal with the angel of the Lord passages. Whereas Tertullian extends his proof about the angel’s physical appearance into a discussion on the identity of the angel of the Lord, Aquinas basically ends his discussion.

Yet there is one last point that Aquinas makes. He connects the angels, who deliver the word of God, to the word of God. He compares the idea of the angels taking on a bodily form to the idea that God’s word would one day come in bodily form, in Jesus. In this closing statement it appears as if Aquinas agrees with Augustine, in that the angels should be seen more like a prophet rather than a human manifestation of God. Now Aquinas does not explicitly state this, so this all purely speculation, but since he claims that it is the word that comes in the bodily form of Jesus and not the angels, it does not appear as if he wants to make the connection between the angel of the Lord and God. Instead, it seems as if the angel is God’s messenger, delivering His truths. God and Jesus, then, are completely separate from the angel, Jesus being the word made flesh.

Once more, all quotes and ideas came directly from the works of Augustine and Aquinas. The next post will finish out this historical approach as we look at Martin Luther...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

3. The Angel of the Lord - Eusebius

A Historical Approach 2

However, that means that as the third century began this topic had not yet been adequately dealt with. The option that Jesus was indeed connected with these physical appearances of men and angels was prominent, and appears to be the most prominent view held, but there was no further discussion on the issue. During the third century, Eusebius wrote his work entitled Church History and dealt with this issue in one section of his work. Unlike Ireaneus and Tertullian who did not provide enough discussion or evidence to support their claims, Eusebius looked into several passages as he struggled with the angel’s identity.

Beginning with Abraham’s encounter with God in Genesis 18, Eusebius plainly states that “the Lord God…appeared as a common man to Abraham while he was sitting at the oak of Mamre.” But Eusebius did not end his discussion here. Instead, he looked at Abraham’s reaction to this angel/man throughout the rest of the chapter. Genesis 18 shows Abraham worshipping and serving this being, and in verse twenty-five, Abraham clearly addresses this being as “Lord.” Furthermore, Eusebius looks at Moses’ description of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. At the beginning of chapter nineteen, Moses states that two angels appeared at Sodom, but later in the chapter it claims that the Lord is the one who destroyed the city. Eusebius’ claim here is that since the text clearly states that it was the Lord, then the beings who first appeared in Sodom were the Lord as well. Next he looks at Jacob’s encounter with God in Genesis 32, once again looking at the actual words that Moses used to describe the scene. The text specifically calls this being with whom Jacob wrestles, God. So once again, Eusebius takes this direct identification as proof as to the identity of the man who appeared to Jacob.

Eusebius provides a few more examples, but first there may be some problems with Eusebius’ train of thought up to this point. Although Eusebius has made some ground from the arguments of Irenaeus and Tertullian, he may be taking some shortcuts as well. It is true that one should completely depend on the actual text of Scripture, taking it as utter truth and not doubting what it has to say. However, there are many times in Scripture where God speaks through others, such as the prophets, an argument that Augustine would deal with later. During these times, God speaks through the prophets and the text clearly states that the message is spoken by God or that God is the one who takes certain actions against His people. Although the prophets speak these words that are from God, they themselves are not the Lord, and no one makes the claim that men like Isaiah, Elijah, or Daniel are the Lord. Yet that seems to be what Eusebius is doing with the Genesis 19 and Genesis 32. Since the text claims that God is speaking or that God is acting in a certain way, he automatically assumes that this means that the angels mentioned earlier in each passage must be directly equated with the Lord. But could not these angels be delivering a message in a similar manner to the prophets later on in the Bible? Maybe Eusebius too is making too big of a jump with his claims. But these are not the only examples given by Eusebius.

He continues by looking at Exodus 3. Moses encounters the angel of the Lord in the burning bush, according to verse two. Yet as the passage progresses, the text identifies the man in the bush as God Himself. Eusebius takes this verse literally, stating that God is the one who is speaking with Moses, thus making a connection between God and the angel of this passage. He concludes his argument by looking at Joshua 5 where Joshua meets the commander of the Lord’s army. Eusebius focuses in on the parallels between Moses’ encounter at the bush with Joshua’s encounter at Jericho. Thus, Eusebius claims that this man to whom Joshua speaks can also be identified as the Lord. These two passages strengthen Eusebius’ argument. Unlike the Genesis passages, Exodus 3 actually identifies the being as the angel of the Lord, and this is the first time in which Eusebius deals with a passage that explicitly identifies the man as an angel. Furthermore, Eusebius uses his previous method of depending solely on the text in identifying the being. Since Exodus 3 later states that God is the one speaking to Moses, Eusebius draws the connection between the angel at the beginning of the passage with God. Then, by using Joshua 5 as a parallel, he concludes that God is the one speaking with Joshua as well. Although Eusebius does not explicitly parallel the “standing on holy ground” phrases, this phrase also seems to support his argument. Why would Moses and Joshua worship an angelic being in this manner? The only one who deserves worship is the Lord.

Although Eusebius initially appears to be taking a shortcut in his argument, he ends up making a more solid claim than that of Ireaneus or Tertullian. He searches Scripture for various examples and attempts to bridge some connections. He agrees with these two previous men in that the angel of the Lord can many times be identified as the Lord Himself, and he greatly appreciates Scripture, taking it for what it says. But this is still only one side of the argument. Others would soon arise, and Augustine would be the next one to offer his opinion on this controversial topic.

Sources for this post came directly from the works of Eusebius. Augustine is next, as well as Aquinas...


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2. The Angel of the Lord - Irenaeus and Tertullian

A Historical Approach

First, consider Irenaeus and his work Against Heresies. In the second century, Irenaeus proposed that the angel of the Lord passages referred directly to Jesus. By making connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament, Irenaeus believed that Jesus Himself was the one speaking with the Patriarchs and other Old Testament figures. He even claims that when Jesus states in John 5:39-40 that Moses spoke of Him in his writings, that this claim proves that these encounters link Jesus to the angel of the Lord. However, that does not appear to be the connection that Jesus is trying to make in John 5. Jesus does say that Moses wrote of Him in the Pentateuch, but Jesus does not explicitly connect the angel of the Lord passages with Himself. Although this does not discount the fact that the passages could be speaking of Jesus, Jesus does not come right out and make that claim. So Irenaeus appears to be stretching the words of Jesus in these two verses to fit his beliefs about the angel of the Lord.

Although it appears as if Irenaeus may be trying too hard to match his beliefs with what is presented in Scripture, both the New and the Old Testaments, he does make an argument that several other men have made throughout the centuries. For example, Irenaeus specifically targets the passages that picture the angel or the Lord in physical form. He speaks of the encounter between the three men and Abraham in Genesis 18, Jacob’s encounter with God in Genesis 31, and Moses’ time at the burning bush, claiming that these instances prove that the Son of God was present in Old Testament stories. But yet again, his argument may have a few holes. It does appear to be quite evident that the Lord directly spoke to these men, whether in some type of physical form or through a bush. And although this statement could be argued, many people would agree that his viewpoint is a very good option. However, do these three instances give ample evidence to support the passages where it plainly states that an angel of the Lord appeared? The dilemma lies within his take on other such passages, and Irenaeus does not go into any further explanation.

Irenaeus makes a valid claim when he states that it appears as if the Son of God is present within the Old Testament. Many would agree, even thinking of the encounter that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had in the fiery furnace when a fourth man that looked as if he might be the Son of God appeared. However, it does not seem as if Irenaeus provides enough evidence to support his claims. Instead, he quotes Jesus from only two verses and tries to apply Jesus’ broad statement to his belief system. When he develops a fairly solid argument from a few passages, he attempts to apply that argument to other similar passages, not considering the staggering differences. Irenaeus made a good start in the second century on attempting to bridge the connection between the angel of the Lord passages and the New Testament, but he was unable to fully develop his argument.

Therefore, other writers must be considered. Around the same time that Irenaeus was investigating and recording his thoughts, Tertullian published his own thoughts in his work Against Marcion. The beginning of his argument deals with the discussion as to whether the angels that appeared on earth were truly in physical flesh, like a human. Apparently, Marcion, to whom this work was directed, denied the fact that an angel could appear in physical form. Tertullian disagreed with this possibility, asking why this manifestation could not be possible. So why would this discussion be important for Tertullian in reference to the angel of the Lord passages? Like Irenaeus, Tertullian believed that at least one of the three men who appeared to Abraham was Christ. Yet it also seems as if Tertullian is suggesting that these men are also angels. So if Tertullian wants to connect Christ to the angels, then it is important for him to suggest that these men are also physical beings. Christ, the Son, came in human form, and with the connection that Tertullian is making between Christ and the angels, it is important for him to believe that the angels can appear in human form as well.

It appears as if Tertullian attempts to further the argument for Christ’s connection to the angel of the Lord, but much like Irenaeus, he might fall short as well. Is it adequate to only offer one example from Scripture as proof for this claim? Although Tertullian seems to justify his argument on the angels actually appearing in physical, human form, he does not offer enough support to suggest that Christ can actually be considered to be the angel of the Lord. Basically, Tertullian only states his opinion. He does not search the Scriptures for more examples and neglects to look at the other instances that occur even in the book of Genesis. As other scholars later suggest, some passages are more controversial than the one found in Genesis 18, and these passages cause many to believe that one cannot connect Christ to this angel of the Lord. However, to the defense of Tertullian, it does not appear as if this was the point of his argument against Marcion. His main objective was to prove that Marcion was wrong in believing that angels could not appear in physical form on earth, and Tertullian appears to succeed in this argument. So if it was not even Tertullian’s goal to prove the connection between Christ and the angel, then it would be appropriate to accept his belief as his opinion and not hold him to further explanation.

Next we will look at Eusebius's ideas as he begins to take the conversation in a different direction...

Also note that I still cannot get the sources into blogger, but all quotes came directly from their personal works, and that is the way it will be for all the men that I look at in this paper.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1. The Angel of the Lord - Introduction

I recently wrote and presented this paper on the Angel of the Lord. For some reason, I am no longer able to copy and paste my papers into blogger like I was able to a few months ago, so I am having to go about this in a different manner. Therefore, I will not have my footnotes and sources for this paper. However, once I finish uploading this paper to the blog, I will publish all of my sources into a separate post. Sorry for the inconvenience. Here is the paper:

Throughout the history of the church, Christians have struggled with the doctrine of God. Ranging from discussions on the character of God Himself to discussions on how God should be viewed as a Trinity, Christians have continued to debate how the God of the Bible should be viewed. Many of these discussions have been solved, giving Christians some solid ground to unite around. For instance, if a person does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity today, then they are no longer considered to be part of the Christian faith, for that is one of the central doctrines of Christianity. However, there are still some discussions in the world of Christianity that have not been settled, areas where people continue to debate by searching the Scriptures and seeing what the church fathers have come up with over the last two thousand years. One such instance deals with the passages that speak of “the angel of the Lord.”

Who is this mysterious being that speaks to the Patriarchs in the opening books of the
Bible? Ultimately there seem to be three options: “(1) It is simply an angel with a special commission. (2) It may be a momentary descent of God himself into visibility. (3) It may be the Logos himself (Christ) ‘a kind of temporary preincarnation of the second person of the Trinity.’” Over the last two thousand years, all three of these views have been considered and held by many of the church fathers, and like many debatable topics in the Church, there have been trends of thought where one of the options were more prevalent than others at certain times in history. So the question that remains is who was right? Have scholars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries developed a final answer? After looking through several commentaries on these various passages, it seems as if there is still much confusion as to the true identification of the angel, but significant ground has been covered.

So what does Scripture itself say about the angel? The final word on this difficult doctrine should not lie on the shoulders of these great men of God but on the word of God. Therefore, it is important to look at the passages in which the angel of the Lord appears and see if Scripture can provide a definitive answer of this staggering question. Throughout the Old Testament, God sends the angel of the Lord to deliver messages to many of the Patriarchs. One of the first instances of his appearance is found in Genesis 16:7 where he promises Hagar that she will bear a son to Abraham. In chapter eighteen, the text states that the Lord appears to Abraham, but then it mentions that there are three men with Abraham. Although these men are not specifically called angels, it shows some messenger of the Lord (maybe even the Lord Himself) in a physical body speaking with Abraham, which has caused scholars to wonder if these instances with the angel could be paralleled to this passage. In chapter nineteen, two angels appear in Sodom to destroy the city, and once again the question arises as to their connection with God. Furthermore, some wonder if these might be the other two men that had appeared to Abraham in chapter eighteen. Later, in chapter twenty-two, an angel once again appears to Abraham, this time to prevent him from sacrificing Isaac. Finally, in chapter thirty-one, an angel appears to Jacob in a dream but declares that he is the Lord. In these five passages alone, the dilemma is introduced, providing a basis for each of the three options listed above, causing one to wonder who this angel is and if he can be connected to God.

But the problem is only further complicated as Scripture continues. In Exodus 3, the identity of the being to whom Moses is speaking shifts mid-text. The text first claims that an angel of the Lord appeared to Moses, but a few verses later it states that it was the Lord who met with Moses at the bush. A similar instance occurs with Joshua in Joshua 5. Instead of an angel, the text identifies the man as the commander of the Lord, but the situation is very similar to the other appearances of the angel. Furthermore, the man tells Joshua that he is standing on holy ground, which could possibly mark this man as being divine. Finally, in Judges, there are several more instances when the angel of the Lord appears to God’s people. Judges 6 shows another shift where the passage begins with the angel speaking and ends with the Lord speaking, this time to Gideon. Yet Judges 13 introduces the angel of the Lord to be strictly an angel, such as when Manoah’s wife says that the man looked like a messenger of the Lord.

Although this listing of passages is not exhaustive, for there are other instances at which the angel of the Lord appears to God’s people, it encompasses a good selection of occurrences that must be dealt with. How should these passages be read? Can this angel be directly identified as God, or is it simply a messenger of the Lord? And finally, what have some of the church fathers and heroes of the faith had to say about such passages? Although it may not be wise to fully depend on the opinion of others, for Scripture is the basis of our faith, their studies and conclusions can prove to be valuable. Therefore it is important to consider what men like Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius, Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther had to say about the angel of the Lord.

Stay tuned as we look next at what some historical figures said about these passages...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

GO Fort Hays State 2010

Life at Union is great! We have now made it half-way through the Fall semester, and so far it has been a great semester.

Quick Construction Update: The Commons appears to be fully bricked (at least of what I have seen by walking around campus). If it is not fully bricked, then it is close. Also, the soccer field complex is almost finished as well. We now have at least twice as many stands as well as a press box at the fields, which has been really nice this season. And the Pharmacy building is currently under construction next to Jennings Hall. The steel beams are up, and it is coming along nicely.

Last week was the Baptist Conference that I have been reporting on these last few days, and next week (when we get back) is Faith and Practice Week 2009. David Platt will be back with us for three days, preaching the Word. About a month ago, we had GO week, being introduced to a variety of ways that we can get involved locally, nationally, and internationally. Now, almost one month later the teams for the GO Trips have been set.

In filling out my application, I put Fort Hays State as my number one choice. After talking with many of my team members from last year, I discovered that many were applying for new trips or were not planning on going anywhere this year. Furthermore, our leaders last year are not leading this year's trip either. Primary reason, they are having a baby. I have been accustomed to returning to the same place on multiple mission trips to continue to build relationships and continue to serve alongside the same people. So after praying about where to go, I felt like Fort Hays State should top my list. Thankfully, those who organized the trips allowed me to have the opportunity to return to Hays, Kansas next Spring.

So last night, after going through a series of activities with my new team members, we found our leader and our team. Now we will begin the process of getting to know each other, preparing for the trip, and connecting with Christian Challenge in Hays. I have been able to keep up with some of the students in Hays since we left in April, and I cannot wait to get back so that we can work alongside them once more. This will be my final Union University GO Trip, and I cannot wait to see what God will do this year.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Future of the Southern Baptist Convention

Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism

Thursday, October 8, 2009 - Dr. Daniel Akin

Times are changing in the Southern Baptist Convention, and I did not realize how much had changed over the past year. I guess this shows that I have not kept up with it lately, but Dr. Akin mentioned that the president of the NAMB and IMB are retired or are retiring within the year as well as the president of the Executive Board. Changes such as these can be both exciting and scary at the same time. With such a dramatic change within the same year, people have a right to wonder what the future of our convention holds. But Dr. Akin wanted to sound hopeful. He said that he sympathizes with the fact that with the decline of baptisms and understands why many people would think that we have a bleak future. In fact, he suggests that the future will be bleak if we do not stay on the right track with Christ.

First off, Akin said that as Southern Baptists, we must remain in submission to Christ’s Lordship. If we fail in this area, then nothing else will matter. We can attempt to develop the greatest convention with the greatest programs. We can rally around great “names” of the great men of the day. But if we do not remain with Christ, then it does not matter what else we do in life. Christ has to be our foundation. Thankfully, I feel like we have allowed Christ to be our foundation, and as long as we never forget this central truth, there will always be a hopeful future for our convention.

Dr. Akin’s next few points focused on the importance of Scripture and the doctrines that we rally around as Southern Baptists. First, Akin expressed the importance of committing to God’s word, believing it to be infallible. Once more, this is an issue that Baptist’s have been united on for decades (if not centuries), and if we remain committed to His word, we have nothing to worry about right now. But the Christian life is not about knowledge. We can know all sorts of information of how we are to live or how God would have us live, but we must also actively serve Him. Although works are not necessary for salvation, they show our commitment to Christ. If we do not live out what we believe, then we will have no influence on the lost. So Dr. Akin also commented on how our message must be theologically based, as we unite around the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. This pamphlet outlines our common beliefs, what Southern Baptists rally around. These are theological truths that there is (or at least should not be) any discussion on. If you find yourself outside these boundaries, then you must reconsider your commitment to the SBC. But we must remember that although there are also secondary issues that we do not all agree on (such as worship), and since we differ, we must never allow these issues to split churches and friendships. We must remain united around our most common beliefs.

The next few points Dr. Akin made were about how the convention should be run. First, we must reflect the racial diversity of the world, not limiting ourselves to one race. Revelation 7:9-10 shows us the future, and as Christians, we have been commissioned by God to reach the nations. So as Baptists, we must not allow nationality or ethnicity or social classes to prevent us from preaching the Gospel. We must go to all the nations, without question. As a result, if we need to rethink the way that the SBC is organized, then we must be willing to change. Now although we cannot change for the sake of change, if change is needed, then we must be willing to allow this to happen for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Who are we to suppress the advancement of God’s kingdom?

Finally, we must be Gospel centered. Our foundation is on Christ, as we saw at the beginning. So if that is the case, then we must follow the commands that He has given us, to spread the Good News to those who have not yet heard. Our churches should be founded on Christ and centered on the Gospel. Therefore those in our churches must view themselves as missionaries. We need people to understand that a missionary is not just someone who travels to another country to preach God’s Word. We are all missionaries, for we are called to peach God’s Word.

So is there a future for our denomination? Yes, if we remain focused on Christ and the Great Commission. I appreciate Dr. Akin’s suggestions, and believe that this is a message that many of our churches need to hear. Some of us need to be reminded of our purpose, and some of us may just need to change so that we make sure that we are focused on what Christ is doing in this world and join Him.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Church's One Foundation

Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - Dr. Robert Smith

Dr. Smith provided a powerful message with more information than I have to cover. But I will touch on some of his main points. One theme running through the conference has been the necessity in making the denomination’s “doctrine” something we personally believe, focusing on the local church and even more specifically on the individual. Like speakers before him, Dr. Smith commented on the necessity of uniting around common beliefs, like those presented in the Baptist Faith and Message, but he also spoke on how we are to make it our own confession as well. In that, he presented several convicting points that we must consider.

Our theology, as Dr. Smith believes, must be one “of the feet and not a theology of the seat.” We cannot sit at home in front of our TVs or in our rooms with the knowledge we have about God. If we do, we are failing at what He has called us to do. Instead, we must be active in serving those around us and spreading the Good News to those who have not yet heard. What good are our beliefs if we keep them hidden from the despite world around us? We must each consider this statement personally. I should ask myself how I am carrying out the Great Commission, and you must ask yourself the same thing. Are we like Philip in Acts 8 who fulfilled the Great Commission when he spoke with the Ethiopian Eunuch.? Do we allow God to put us in those positions specifically for the purpose of sharing His Word with those around us or do we shy away from those opportunities, ultimately disobeying God’s command?

I fear that too many of us (and I have been guilty of this as well) have shied away from those opportunities too many times. One reason we fail to proclaim Christ is because we do not fully believe. Many times this week we have seen how knowledge is pointless without action. Well today we have a lot of knowledge of who Christ is (believing the things He did in the Bible or in our own lives), but we tend to believe that He cannot help us in the here and now. If we do not believe that Christ is all that He says He is, then how can we tell others this glorious news? If we, if I, do not believe that Christ truly is enough and that our lives revolve completely around Him, then how will I ever have a desire to spread His word to others? Simply, I will not.

When our knowledge about who Christ is becomes more than knowledge, then and only then can we boldly proclaim Christ to the nations. We argue today about the necessity of works, and although many believe that they are necessary but not required for salvation, too many have used this statement as a crutch to do nothing. Since works are not necessary unto salvation, many believe that we can just sit at home while the world dies around us. But that is simply not true. Going back to Dr. Smith’s quote at the beginning, our theology (our ministry) is not something we can sit on. Instead, it is something we must act upon. We must be like Philip, actively pursuing the lost, serving the lost, and telling the lost about Christ. If we find ourselves content with doing nothing, then we must do a major spiritual checkup on ourselves. In fact, it may be healthy to do a spiritual checkup now. Am I serving Christ, or am I sitting in my home doing nothing? Do I have a heart for the lost, or am I content with watching them die around us? Am I willing to get up and go, or will I continue to sit around doing nothing? Will I meet someone one-on-one and share Christ’s love with them, or will I cower away from those personal interactions afraid of what the outcome might be? If we find ourselves in any of the latter examples, then we must decide what changes we need to make. But no matter where we fall, we must make sure that we know this Jesus we are proclaiming. Whether we are actively serving Him today or are just now committing to serve Him again, we must never portray the wrong image of Christ. Study the Word, have a knowledge and a belief of who God/Jesus is, but do not let it end there. Do not let our life end with the head knowledge. Instead, carry it through to service and tell the world about Christ.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pastoral Ministry in Southern Baptist and Evangelical Life

Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - Dr. Ray Van Neste

Too many times today, preachers seem to believe that the central goal of the pastoral ministry is to preach the word. They believe that their presence in the pulpit over the congregation (a position that is removed from the personal relationships he could have with those people) is the most important aspect of their ministry. Now while the proclamation of God’s Word from the pulpit is key to their ministry, it is not the most central element. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that the Gospel is not central to ministry for I believe it is the central element of our ministry. The problem that has arisen today is the fact that too many preachers no longer invest in the lives of their congregation.

A pastor is commanded to shepherd the flock. Dr. Van Neste pointed out that John 10:11-15 is an example of this ministry, an example that comes from the perfect example, Jesus. In this passage, Jesus portrays Himself as the Good Shepherd, the one who takes care of the sheep, the one who faces danger in order to protect His sheep. He does not run away when the trials come. He does not abandon the sheep in the difficult times. Instead He guards them so that they might persevere through those difficult times. The goal of today’s pastor should be more focused on taking care of the souls of his congregation (personally reaching out to the individuals) and not so much on preaching from the pulpit (hoping that someone might possibly hear the word and choose to respond without any prior personal interaction).

Paul is an excellent example of what this ministry should look like. Paul preached from the pulpit, and although it may seem as if that practice has been beaten down at this point, there is a time and a place for preaching. But Paul did not exclusively preach the Gospel from the pulpit like so many do today. Instead, he made sure that he took time out of his schedule to visit those in his congregation. He made sure that his ministry was also public, going from house to house to invest in the lives of his people.

Dr. Van Neste mentioned that many young pastors today are encouraged to stay distanced from their congregation. They are warned to not get too close lest they have to rebuke someone. But he suggested that this view is completely backwards. Pastors do need to be involved in the lives of their pastors. As for the practice of rebuking, it is much more effective when it comes from a close friend who cares about the spiritual condition of the person than it is when it comes from someone who has never shown any interest in the condition of their soul. Thinking on this, I believe that although it would hurt worse (which is the point), I would much rather one of my close friends rebuke my sinful ways than someone who I barely know. I may feel that these other people are picking on me, trying to make me feel bad, finding joy in my suffering, or I may just not know how to take them since I do not know them. But I would understand that my close friend had my best interest in mind, wanting me to draw closer to God once more. Now while this is just one example of why the pastor should be involved in the lives of the congregation, Dr. Van Neste also mentioned more.

But I will close with this one last observation. In the end, when judgment day comes, God will judge us according to the work that He gave us to do on this earth. He entrusted us with the souls of the many people that we would come in contact with in life (for the pastor, this would be his congregation). What will be the modern pastor’s excuse when God asks him why he did not reach out to those in his congregation? God gave us a mission, the Great Commission. And although it is honorable to preach God’s Word to the multitudes, we must also preach to the individuals, caring enough about their souls to share God’s word with them unashamedly.


Friday, October 9, 2009

"The Faith, My Faith, and the Church's Faith"

Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - Dr. Timothy George

Dr. Timothy George looked at Jude 3 as he discussed the role of faith in our lives and in the life of our church. Jude 3 states, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude was written during a time of crisis near the end of the first century. Unlike today, grace was not cheap and the cross had not been reduced to a metaphor. It seems like today we have forgotten about the power of the cross in some aspects of our lives. The people in Jude’s day either remembered the cross from a firsthand experience or had close friends who had been with or seen Jesus. More than likely, there were more and more people who had not actually seen Jesus on a firsthand basis, thus ushering in a greater need for faith. Not only did they have to believe that Jesus actually had the power to die for their sins, but they also had to believe that there actually was a man named Jesus. So Jude wrote on what this “faith” was. He knew that he would only have time to write a short letter, so he wrote about what he felt was most important for his readers to hear.

But this “faith” is nothing if it is not personal. We can look to passages such as Jude 3 or read the stories in the New Testament all day long, but without faith it is pointless. Without faith, we are reading and studying in vain. So the question that we face today is whether we make Scripture and the creeds that have been developed over the last 2000 years a part of what we believe. Again, we can have head knowledge all day long, but without faith we have nothing. Without action (a direct result of our faith) we have nothing.

Finally, what about the “church’s faith?” Dr. George stated that any one of these three categories can lead to dead ends by themselves. We have already seen how faith is powerless unless it is also personal, our own faith. So how do we relate this to the church? The question now is what is it that we believe? As Christians, we have the message of hope, meant to carry out to the world, to all the nations, as commanded in the Great Commission. That is our statement of faith, what we believe, the message we receive in Scripture. This is where the “church’s faith” is rooted, Scripture.

Over the last 2000 years, the church has demonstrated their faith in a variety of methods: songs, confessions, prayers, and sermons. Now here is the connection between the individual and the church. Obviously, individuals write songs or sermons. Small groups of people develop confessions or statements of faith. But songs, confessions, prayers, and sermons are not kept to ourselves. Instead, they are shared with the congregation of believers. Instead of it being a strictly personal faith, it becomes a public faith that we share with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

We can get lost when we remain isolated, to ourselves, in our faith. When we solely depend on the church to tell us what we believe and do not search Scripture for the answers, we may not even know what we truly believe. But when we unite these two together (actually all three), they will support one another. We must have a faith that is our own personal faith (one that we have searched the Scriptures for) that is also supported by the church’s faith (what the church stands for, such as a confession of faith). All three of these “types” of faith must go hand-in-hand or we will find ourselves at a dead end.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Is There a Future for Denominationalism?

This past week I have been attending a conference here at Union: Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Future of Denominationalism. While I have not had the opportunity to attend every session (mostly due to class), I have attended several over the past few days. This post begins a series of posts where I will briefly share with you what I have learned. Please understand upfront that I am not able to capture all that was said in each session, and I do not do justice to what these great speakers have spoke on this week, but these posts will serve as a summary of some of the ideas brought up at the conference.

If you would like more information on the conference itself or would like to here the sessions that have been posted online, please go to:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 - Dr. Ed Stetzer Session:

To begin with, Dr. Stetzer spoke really fast during his session and I fear that I did not catch everything that he mentioned in the session. The session itself was a response to the above question: is there a future for denominationalism? In recent years, commitment to denominations has been on the decline. In fact, 50 of the current top 100 largest and fastest growing churches are labeled as “non-denominational,” not connected with an organization such as the Southern Baptist Convention. Furthermore, leaders in these top denominations are admitting that there are current struggles in denominational life.

Dr. Stetzer agrees that there are struggles today, but he spent much of his time speaking on why denominations are important. But to preface his positive reasons for denominations, let me explain his view of denominationalism. We do not really need denominations today, they are not absolutely necessary (something I had not thought of in those terms before). They are not the key to the Gospel or the key to spreading the Gospel, for that ministry thrives through the ministries of the local church. But denominations can provide connection and guidance in the larger ministry to which we have been called. However, we must never focus so much on the machine (denominations) that we forget our purpose (to spread God’s word to the nations).

It was suggested that denominations are inevitable because as humans we tend to group ourselves with those of like-mind. So in matters of faith, we tend to group ourselves with those who believe along the same lines as we do. As a result, groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention are formed. These connections begin to extend beyond the local church and allow believers to connect with believers of like-mind across the country and entire world. These connections are particularly helpful when storms arise. We can lean on one another and whether life’s storms together.

Another positive side of denominations gives believers a sense of rootedness, knowing what we believe in and what we were founded on. So the question raised now is what were we founded on? As Baptists, we must know where we come from. Our leaders set certain parameters when they developed the Baptist Faith and Message, the most recent edition in 2000. With confessionals, boundaries are established, which develops a sense of exclusivity. Those who do not find themselves within the set boundaries cannot be included in the denomination. For instance, the Baptist Faith and Message, outlines the basic beliefs of Baptists, basic beliefs that all churches associated with the denomination must agree on (beliefs that I myself agree on). But beyond this confessional are other issues, such as worship styles, how to run certain ministries in the church, and even issues such as expository preaching (some of the examples Dr. Stetzer mentioned). Since the Baptist Faith and Message does not specifically deal with these issues, there is a certain freedom that each church has in dealing with these issues. And we cannot form divisions and factions based on these secondary issues, for that undermines the purpose of the denomination. I have seen something similar to this happen before, and it tore the church apart. Matters such as these should never split a church.

So what is the denomination’s purpose? Our purpose is to spread the Gospel to all who are willing to hear across the world, the Great Commission. But we must remember that the denomination should assist the local church, not vice versa. If we get this concept backwards, then we neglect to fulfill the Great Commission. The denomination was created to assist local churches in doing ministry. Yes, the local church should support the denomination they are a part of, but ultimately the denomination is developed to assist the local church. Ultimately, we cannot forget the command to preach God’s word. If we fail in this aspect, then being included in a denomination is pointless.

To answer the question of this session, Dr. Stetzer concluded with saying that there is a future for denominationalism, and I agree with that. This session was a challenge to look at the way we view the denomination and how the local church should be run as a result.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend of Losses

In the world of sports, it was a hard weekend. As I was trying to get some things done this weekend and get ahead on a few projects, I spent most of time in front of the TV. The fall seems to be the best time to watch sports. The NFL and college football start in and continue through the fall, and the NASCAR Chase is in the fall. This weekend in particular was especially exciting.

Tennessee vs. Florida (epic rival); Chase race #1 (start of the championship); and Packers vs. Bengals (a chance to be 2-0).

But things did not turn out so well. First off, Tennessee did end up losing to Florida, which was expected by most people. I had hope though, thinking that we could very well pull out an upset. Although we did end up losing, it was not a slaughter as most people had predicted. We actually scored on Florida (touchdown and field goals), and we caused Florida to end a few of their streaks. Losing is never good, but when it is compared to last season, it does not seem quite as bad.

The Packers had a close game as well. We only lost by a touchdown in the end, and much of the game was spent tied. Although I did not get to see the game live, I saw highlights, and the end was exciting. They were down by 10, and they had the ball. The Packers ended up getting a field goal out of the drive and did not have much time left on the clock. So the only option was to go for an onside kick, which they did. They then won the onside kick and had possession once more. Now all they needed to do was to capitalize on that play. However, things did not work out so well. They could not go for another field goal; it had to be a touchdown. Although we did get back into the red zone, they could not capitalize and we ended up gaining a 1-1 record. Hopefully next week will change things.

Finally, the race was not good either. Gordon had a dominant car at the start, but once they made a small adjustment in the first pit stop, things went down hill. I am not sure what happened or why Gordon could not get back to the front, but once he got further back in the pack, he was unable to pass. Part of this was due to the fact that he brushed the wall and the side of Johnson's car. But I thought he had a chance at winning the race and working his way to the lead in the Chase. With 9 races left, he is not out of it, but now it will take more work to get that 5th championship.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dollar for a Drink

Have you ever thought about the people in third world countries that struggle just to survive? I think it is easy for us to forget about the daily struggles some people face across the world because we really do have it all in America. But just because we may be blind to the fact that others are struggling to meet their daily needs does not mean that it is not actually happening. Right now, in Sudan, people are struggling to find good, clean water. Water! I can get up from my computer right now and go get a drink of water without even thinking about it. But those people in Sudan must traverse miles to even find a water source, and even then they are limited as to how much they can bring back. They are then limited as to how much they can drink, for they must ration it out. And yet, here we are with an abundance of water, more than we know what to do with.

So here is my challenge. A friend of mine here at Union, Joshua Guthrie, created an organization called Dollar For A Drink last fall. From October to December 2008, he raised $8,000. That was how much it cost to build just one well in Sudan. He actually exceeded his goal last fall, which made him go on and set a new goal for the fall of 2009. So this fall, the goal has been increased to $24,000! With that money, 3 new wells can be built in Sudan.

The good news: In just 1 month, for this new goal began at the beginning of September, 1/3 of that goal has already been met. Enough money has almost been raised to cover 1 of the 3 new wells!

The bad news: 1 of 3 is not enough. People are dying each day in the Sudan because of a lack of water. That is why Joshua wants our help, yes, me included.

How can you help? By donating $1... that's it! If 24,000 people donated $1 apiece, the goal would be met. But if you feel led to donate more, go right ahead. The idea is to give up $1 for a drink (such as a cup of coffee, a coke, a bottle of water) that you would have during the day. You may challenge yourself to go a week without that extra coke at break during work. That would be $7. See the idea? It does not matter what you give, but I encourage you to give to this great cause.

So how do you do it? It's simple. Go to and find out how you can donate. There is an online method or you can do it by mail. Also, you will find much more information on the website about what this non-profit organization was designed for. Furthermore, you can promote this cause at your school, business, or church. The more people that hear about it, the fast the goal can be met.

So can you do it? Yes. The question is... will you do it? It's your choice. I am not going to place guilt on you, but I do encourage you to seriously consider what you give. These people in Sudan are literally depending on us, on our sacrifice.

It's really quite easy... $1 for 1 drink.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering the Persecuted

This week has been GO Week at Union, and we have been focusing on local, national, and international missions throughout the week. It is an opportunity for students to get involved in some form or fashion for the glory of God. This year the theme is "to the nations." Now some may argue that we need to be focused on our local area, and I completely agree! However, there must be a balance. If we are going to the nations without going to our neighbor, something is wrong. If we remain in our bubble without thinking about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ across the world, something is wrong as well.

Tonight was a focus on those brothers and sisters scattered across the world. In America, we do not suffer persecution from the government. We are free to gather and worship Christ. We are free to spread His word to those around us. But so many people today do not have that freedom. So tonight, we pretended to be in those situations (although we could never do it justly, for we have no idea what these people suffer each day). We "secretly" met in the gym to have a Bible study without use of any Bibles. Scripture was strictly from memory. Our meetings were quiet and in the dark. Now this pales in comparison to what people are suffering this very moment across the world, but hopefully it gave us some idea of how free we are in our own country.

The main focus tonight was to remember to pray for those who are suffering. Many have died even today for the sake of the Gospel. People are killed, imprisoned, and persecuted daily just because they proclaimed the name of Jesus. Can you imagine? People are tricked, lied about, and arrested (sometimes over things they never did). And here we are sitting in our churches, sitting in our homes, going about our daily lives forgetting that we have brothers and sisters who are suffering. We are ONE body in Christ, and when one member suffers, we all do. But how many times do we forget this?

Now do not think that I am lashing out against Christians because this convicted me as much as anybody. It made me stop once again and think about how I live my life. How often do I forget?

One last thing... do not only pray for our fellow Christians, but also remember those who are doing the persecuting. Steve Booth has been our speaker this week, and he reminded us tonight that they need our prayers as well. He reminded us of Paul, one of the greatest persecutors we have ever known. But did God give up on Paul? Of course not, and if He had of, we would not have half of our New Testament. If God can change Paul's life, he change the lives of those across the world today. So do not forget the persecuted or the persecutors!


Friday, September 11, 2009


The question is, where were you 8 years ago? Can you even remember that far back? In some ways, the events of that day seem so distant now. In other ways, it feels as if it were only yesterday. I am sure that those who lost loved ones on that day still feel as if it was yesterday. But what about the rest of us? Have we forgotten the fear that we felt 8 years ago? Has September 11th become "just another day."

I have to admit that now that we are on our 8th anniversary of those awful attacks, it is getting fuzzier. I do not remember the details of that morning as much as I once did. But I did not lose anyone, and maybe that is why. But a tradition that I have developed over the last 8 years is watching FOX's coverage from 2001 each year. When I got up this morning and turned on the TV, FOX was showing the same video that I have watched year in and year out, marking each significant event of that morning. And even 8 years later, it still sends chills through my spine, fear. I wonder... could it happen again? Are we really safe? Could there be another attack one day?

For some, this day may be beginning to become routine again. But we must be careful not to let September 11th become another ordinary day. True, we no longer dwell on it as we once did. However, it is good to have that reminder each year that we must watch out, we must remember our military, we must remain safe, and we must turn to God as we did on the days that followed 9-11-2001.

Some people may have moved on since 2001, but after talking with several people on campus today, for many of us, we have not forgotten. We all spoke of where we were that morning, what we remembered feeling, how our schools and communities reacted, how our churches reacted. For those of us who were just kids on that dreadful morning, we have not forgotten, and I do not think that we ever will.

To close this out, I just want to thank all who worked so hard that morning in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania (even those who lost their lives). And I want to thank those who are continuing to fight the war that began that morning. May we never forget the sacrifice that so many have paid for us in recent years.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Green - Coming Full Circle

Green, by Ted Dekker is the conclusion to the beloved Circle Trilogy, Paradise Series, and Lost Books Series. It completes the "circle," and wraps up the Books of History Chronicles.

I cannot really tell you much of the plot of this book without ruining it. But I can say that if you have read any of the books in this massive series, you will most definitely enjoy this one. Dekker includes the best elements from all of the other books and piles it all into one. Characters range from those in "other" earth to those in our own earth to those from the monastery to characters that we might have even forgotten about. But the pure genius behind this book is that it can be read as the "grand finale" or the "beginning."

What I mean is, those who have never picked up one of the Books of History Chronicles could begin with Green and begin reading with Book 0. The rest of the series is summed up in the opening pages, but those who have not read those other books would never understand the connections. Then, once they grab hold of the rest of the series, they would be amazed at the connections Dekker created.

Now while I cannot tell you which way is best... the original order or this new order that begins with Green, I can say this. No matter where you start, read the separate series in order. I will list those later on. I prefer the original order because that is the way I read it. For 5 years now, I have read these books as they were published, and the twists and connections along the way kept me hooked. I am sad that the series is over, but I am excited about going back and rereading the series. I feel like a good book is one that can be reread. Although I already know the twists that are to come, I am excited to see them knowing the ending. This series never gets old!

So here is my preferred order (the original publishing order):
Now although this is my preferred order, it does not have to be read in this order. Keep the series together, dive deep, and read the Books of History (the common theme through all the books).
  • Circle Series - Black, Red, White, Green or Green, Black, Red, White
  • Paradise Novels - Showdown, Saint, Sinner
  • Lost Books (CIRCLE) - Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, Chaos, Lunatic, Elyon
  • Stand Alone Novels with Connections - House, Skin

This is the end of the Books of History Chronicles... but for someone, it might just be the beginning.