Monthly Archives: March 2012

Housekeeping: New Site

I was content to continue this free blog indefinitely. I found out, however, that WordPress adds ads to the bottom of blog posts published under their free site. I never saw them, which is likely due to an ad blocker on my browser (highly recommended). Ads are understandable on free services, though, but I still don’t like that I can’t control them.

Since I have a choice, one that is still free for now, I have begun MattOlmstead.com and plan to post there, suspending the action here. Most of my traffic comes from Facebook, which means that almost all the readers of this blog don’t need to care. But there’s the information anyway.

In the new site, I have incorporated a family site for my wife to populate with videos and information (HT to my friend Andy Naselli and his web designer for the idea). It is public for now.

See you over there!

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Around Cyberspace

What to do when the original text makes no sense. Dr. Snoeberger of Detroit Seminary wrestles with 1 Samuel 13:1 and the ESV’s “little-advertised translation change.” What is interesting in this post is Mark’s conclusion: “(1) Translation is never simple, and formal equivalence will rarely work for more than a verse or two before it must be abandoned. We might talk about a version being “more formal” or “less formal” than another, but never purely formal. (2) Translation always involves interpretation. Always. Even the decision of the RSV to supply ellipses instead of words is an exercise in theological interpretation. (3) The most “literal” translations at times are sometimes very dynamic, and the most dynamic of translations are sometimes very literal. (4) People sometimes need expert help when they read the Bible. That’s why we have translators and that’s why we have teachers. Do translators and teachers sometimes betray us? Absolutely. But without them, the Christian life would be exceedingly difficult.”

How Sunday School Can Change Your Church’s Culture. Churches use Sunday School in different ways and the scriptures don’t dictate how that ought to be. Here is an intriguing example of how a church used its Sunday School and how it changed the culture of the church: “Wonderfully, our adult Sunday school program has effected changes not only in our church’s dating culture, but in other areas as well. Conversations about church discipline, fear of man, evangelism, gender, and singleness increasingly embody the content of their respective Sunday School classes.”

Steadfast Faith. Bob Jones University’s Annual Bible Conference finished up this past week. SoundForth released their newest recording on Wednesday. I watched some of the concert on Wednesday night. The recording is all men this year and sounded good. I look forward to adding this to my library soon.

One of my alma maters recently published a new promotional video:

I’m Gunna Apply from Maranatha Baptist Bible College on Vimeo.


Preventative Care is Cheap! (Dental)

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I got a math bug. I wondered how much floss I could buy with $700, which is the cost of a crown. Here’s my math:

  • Each package of floss contains 43.7 yards of floss and costs $3.37
  • The last time I had a crown put on, it cost over $800, but let’s take that number for the calculation
  • Assuming my math is correct (see below), if I used two-thirds of a yard (.6) for each floss and flossed three times a day, every day, I could floss for over 15-and-a-half years before I had spent enough on floss to cover a crown.

Caveats: (1) This scenario is a bit simplistic because more may go into dental care than floss (e.g., tooth paste, tooth brushes, and mouth wash). (2) Floss does not necessarily prevent the kind of decay that brings the need for a crown. (3) I’m not a mathematician, so my calculations may be off.

———-

Math: [cost of root canal]/[floss unit cost]=[number of units/root canal] • [floss/unit]*[number of units/root canal]=[total length of floss/root canal] • [total length of floss/root canal]/([est length/use]*[3 uses/day]/[365 days/year]=[number of years of floss/root canal]


Preaching that Is Faithful to the Text

I was reading through one of my homiletics books this morning and came upon a sample sermon outline:

Really, the Bible can be made to say almost anything you want it to say. The critical question is this: Are you saying what the Bible wanted to say? For example, I heard a fine message on Luke 19:29-40 offer the following truths:

Jesus and the Donkey

  • You are like the donkey (vv. 29-30)
    • You are tied to someone other than the owner to whom you really belong (v. 30a)
    • You are still young–no one has sat on you (v. 30b)
  • Jesus commands you to be set free (v. 30c)
    • He sets you free through his disciples (vv. 31-32)
    • There will be objections when you are being freed to serve Christ (v. 33)
    • But he has need of you (v. 34)
  • Are you Christ’s donkey? (vv. 35-40)
    • Is he riding you?
    • Are you bringing praise to him?

Can this sermon be preached? Is already has been! Is it textually faithful? No! Why? Ask this critical question: Are these points what the author intended to convey and what the original audience understood through this narrative?

Richard goes on to call this type of preaching moralistic, which, says Richard, presents several problems relating to the preacher:

  1. You do not really need Scripture to come up with such instruction.
  2. Every text becomes an illustration of a higher moral principle.
  3. Your preaching lacks textual authority.
  4. Such interpretation lacks objective controls.
  5. The central proposition of your sermon is not discernibly related to or derived from the central proposition of the text.

Philosophy of Discipleship and Evangelism

Author’s note: This is a philosophy statement I recently submitted for consideration at a church.

Update (23 March 2012): Here is a pdf file of this statement

Discipleship and evangelism hold an important position in the purpose of the local church. Whereas the primary purpose of the local church is to exalt God, the secondary and tertiary purposes of the local church are to edify the saints and evangelize the lost respectively. This document is an offering toward a biblical philosophy of discipleship and evangelism. The reader will notice the order in which this document considers these two purposes. The order accounts for the nature of local church ministry—i.e., in some measure evangelism cannot occur unless discipleship has occurred. Christian discipleship will be considered first.

The primary basis for the oughtness of local church discipleship and evangelism is Matthew 28:19-20. This passage is a record of where the Lord Jesus initiated  The Great Commission. This commission includes not only the mandate of evangelism but also the mandate of discipleship. Implicit in this commission is the universal scope relating to who is to heed the mandate. That is, all believers ought to obey the command to “make disciples.” In obedience to the Lord’s command, the local church should seek to faithfully proclaim the message of the gospel to the lost and see those who trust Christ and come under the authority of the local church become disciple-making disciples (cf. 2 Tim 2:1-2). Continue reading