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Archive for the 'Bible Study' Category

Alden Thompson and the Law as Gospel

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 by Elgin Hushbeck

Alden Thompson’s recent article, The Law As Gospel, has an instructive view of the law. For many evangelicals, the law is, for the most part, ignored.  The law is in the Old Testament, and something the Jews followed or tried to follow before Jesus.  Now, we are under grace. We do not need to follow the law, at least as gentiles.

This is all true. Still, it is not the complete picture and Thompson, seeks to present “a more balanced view.” The law is part of God’s scripture and his plan and not something we should ignore.   Towards the end, Thompson presents two views. In one, “the cross is pointed heavenward and the demands of the law.” In the other, “sees the cross pointed earthward, towards the human heart.”  The first Thompson calls “objective atonement” and sees Romans 8 as “a good source for that view.”  The other he calls “subjective atonement,” which he finds in John 14-17.   Thompson concludes,

Some of you will find Romans 8 more helpful, the cross pointed heavenward to the demands of the law.  Others will be blessed by John 14-17, the cross pointed earthward to the needs of the human heart. By God’s grace, you will find what nurtures your soul best.

There is a lot to be said for Thompson’s views. The message of both the Old and New Testament is both simple and yet rich and complex. You can study them for a lifetime and still feel like you are scratching the surface.   We are also complex, unique individuals.  So it is no wonder that some passages and some messages will resonate more with some than others.

Sadly, some Christians conclude there is some deficiency or error on the part of others when this happens.  If only they were as spiritual as I am, they would share my concern.   Not only is this view wrong, but it also damages the unity of the body.  Thompson’s article is a corrective to this view.   It is also a corrective to the common ignoring of the law among evangelicals. 

Thompson is not arguing that we under the law, but neither should we ignore it. Thompson very effectively uses the examples of seatbelts. If the laws concerning seatbelts went away, would it then follow that we should ignore seatbelts?  We are not under the law, so does it follow that we should ignore it?  This is not a backdoor way of getting people under the law while not being under it. What Thompson seeks is to “paint a more balanced view of law,” and there is a lot to think about in his article.  Some of the laws are to protect; some are to teach; some concerns ceremonial matters.  Some are more applicable today than others.  We can learn from all of them, even the ones we need not follow.

I do have one quibble, a minor disagreement, with something Thompson says.  In talking about the shift from fear as a motivator found in the Old Testament to the love found in the New, Thompson says, “love cannot be commanded.”  Here my disagreement is not so much with Thompson, but a disagreement with a common view of our times.  

As I write in “To Love and Cherish: Ephesians 5 and the Challenge of Christian Marriage,” the common view today is that love is just something that happens. You either have it, or you don’t. It is not something you can control. Yet God repeatedly commands us to love.  We are to love one another, love our neighbor, love the stranger, and husbands are commanded to love their wives. What do such commands mean if love cannot be commanded? If love is something over which we have no control?

Still, this does not detract from Thompsons’ overall message. It is a message worth considering.

Hebrews 11:9-16

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
    A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
        2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)
        3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
        4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
        5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
        6    Link (11:39-40)
    B   The Method – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 11:4-8

Thursday, February 26th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
    A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
        2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)
        3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
        4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
        5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
        6    Link (11:39-40)
    B   The Method – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 11:2-4

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
   A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
        1    A definition of Faith (11:1-3)
        2    Faith to Abraham (11:4-19)

        3    Faith to Moses (11:20-28)
        4    Faith of the Exodus (11:29-31)
        5    Faith – Ongoing (11:32-38)
        6    Link (11:39-40)
    B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

 

Hebrews 10:32-34

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)
        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)
V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
    A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
    B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 10:26-31

Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)
        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)

        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)
V    Accessing The Work (11:1-12:13)
    A   The Means – Faith (11:1-40)
    B   The Meathod – Look to Jesus (12:1-13)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 10:21-26

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    D    A Better Result (10:1-18)
        1    The Old Covenant could not save (10:1-4)
        2    Christ established a New Covenant (10:5-10)
        3    An eternal Result (10:11-14)
        4    Confirmed by the Holy Spirit (10:15-18)
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)
        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)

        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 10:15-20

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    D    A Better Result (10:1-18)
        1    The Old Covenant could not save (10:1-4)
        2    Christ established a New Covenant (10:5-10)
        3    An eternal Result (10:11-14)
        4    Confirmed by the Holy Spirit (10:15-18)
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)

        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 10:10-14

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    D    A Better Result (10:1-18)
        1    The Old Covenant could not save (10:1-4)
        2    Christ established a New Covenant (10:5-10)
        3    An eternal Result (10:11-14)

        4    Confirmed by the Holy Spirit (10:15-18)
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)
        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm

Hebrews 10:1-9

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Elgin Hushbeck

A verse by verse study of Hebrews
    D    A Better Result (10:1-18)
        1    The Old Covenant could not save (10:1-4)
        2    Christ established a New Covenant (10:5-10)

        3    An eternal Result (10:11-14)
        4    Confirmed by the Holy Spirit (10:15-18)
    E    E. Closing Exhortation (10:19-39)
        1    Our new status (10:19-21)
        2    Draw near to God (10:22-25)
        3    Keep sinning no sacrifice (10:26-27)
        4    Analogy – Breaking the Laws of Moses (10:28-31)
        5    Confidence in past suffering (10:32-35)
        6    God is trustworthy (10:36-37)
        7    Link (10:38-9)

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineShort.htm

http://www.consider.org/Classes/Hebrews/OutlineLong.htm