Some do more im…

Some do more improve their privileges than others do; now they cannot rationally expect the best and richest fruits of this gift, and to be enabled and enlarged by the Spirit, who do not give such ready entertainment and obedience to his motions, as the more serious and fruitful Christian doth.

– Thomas Manton


Your Wife is Your Co-Worker

I have successfully committed a number of errors in discussion making, and then there are the occasional burst of brilliancy I feel without a shadow of doubt that I have made the right one. Telling your wife there is a job opening at your current employer, I guess I will find out the pros and cons as I go. Besides thinking to hard on the matter, I am excited to see my wife’s transition from research assistant for an optometrist to office manager for Granite Classical Tutorials. Out Administrator Mrs. Paul wrote the announcement last Thursday saying the following,

As many of you know, we’ve been working to hire an office manager.  We were blessed with and interviewed a number of very qualified applicants and truly felt God’s direction as we made our decision.  We are excited to announce that our new office manager, Mrs. Emily Dewalt, will be joining the administrative staff on Wednesday, October 16.  You may be wondering if Mrs. Dewalt is related to our very own Mr. Dewalt and Wyatt… and yes indeed, she is!  Mrs. Dewalt is Wyatt’s mom and the wife of Mr. Dewalt.  We are delighted to have her on board.  If you get the opportunity, please welcome her.  As you can imagine, it will take a bit of time to get up to speed; your patience is greatly appreciated!

Positive, I now have a partner for my hour commute. Negative, how am I ever going to get my wife to agree to listen to iTunes University or audio books?

Ohio State Ups Ante in Band War

Rethinking the Great Commission

In response to Timothy Beougher’s article “Must Every Christian Evangelize?” I should have titled this post, “the difference between the elder’s calling to evangelize and laity’s mandate to witness,” but who has time to write that book. Instead I decided to stick to dealing with the major concern, the Great Apostles Commission and the theological importance that it has on the Church today. I am by no means arguing that laity are not called to be a witness, but the question that must be asked with dealing with such issues is this, how does one get anything about lay evangelism from Jesus Christ’s Commission to his Apostles? The apostles were officers, they were not laity. Matthew 28:18-20 reads,

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

The-CommissionOne of the more popular passages of the Scripture within Evangelicalism is what is commonly known as the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. At times this particular commission serves as the foundation for Evangelicalism and other cross-cultural mission work. More recently in the past century American evangelicalism has embraced the need to see that all Christians, of all generations must carry out this particular commission more so than others. Often times the Great Commission is used as the vision or mission statement in various Evangelical ministries. Some of these ministries may include private education, missionary organizations, and various para-church ministries. The unfortunate mishap of these organizations is that the majority of them misinterpret the Great Commission, limiting its original meaning and intent for the Church of Christ. Jesus’ command to teach disciples and baptize whole nations has been replaced by various educational, missionary, and para-church ministries. This gives the aim of this problematic passage paper – an examination of Matthew 28:16-20 and understanding its original meaning and significance for the officers of the Church.

Most commonly Evangelicals see that the Great Commission gives the case for lay evangelism within the Church. How this goes about being carried out within the Church is where Evangelicals lose the theology of the Commission. The most common misinterpretations of the Great Commission can be found in a number of various evangelical ministries that claim to help serve the Church, but in such cases stop and rob the Church of what it is called to do. Of all places, it is in Christian education as well – in private elementary and high schools, college and universities, to higher education like seminaries that commonly mistaken and misinterpret Matthew 28:18-20 using it as the goal of their institution.

Background Information
Offering an historical biography of the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel According to Matthew covers a historical time period from 4 B.C – 33 A.D. As the prophets of old predicted, long awaited the coming Messiah who would come to save their people, Matthew serves Israel’s long awaited event. The promise of a redeemer from Adam (Genesis 3:15), the awaited Redeemer of Job (19:25), the day Abraham rejoiced to see (John 8:56), the reward Moses waited to see (Hebrews 11:24-26), the awaited resurrection of David (2:29-31), and “the prophets who prophesied about the grace” in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:8), has now come in the flesh, to earth, to “not come to abolish them but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17). This brings much light for the reason of Matthews gospel account, written by a Jew, to the Jews that may represent the questions of Israel pertaining whether or not Jesus was who he said he was, namely Israel’s long awaited Messiah.

The Church has traditionally connected the Gospel of Matthew to the authorship of Matthew, once named Levi (Mark 2:14), once tax collector in Palestine (Matthew 9:9), and better known as a discipline of Jesus Christ (Mark 2:15). Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook makes note of this accepted tradition of authorship by referring to “the early Christian leader Papias said that ‘Matthew composed the logia in the Hebrew language and everyone interpreted them as best they could’ (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.16).” In reference to the type of translation Papias makes mention, “Hebrew language.” It is important to note that no Aramaic gospel of Matthew has been found, and most scholars agree that Matthew is not a greek translation of an Aramaic original. Furthermore both Drs. Wilkinson and Boa have made mention that, “some believe that Matthew wrote an abbreviated version of Jesus’ is saying in Aramaic before writing his gospel in Greek for a larger circle of readers.” Matthew’s gospel account is the only reference to refer to Matthew as a tax collector (Matthew 10:3). Some scholars have noted that a constant theme of money is woven in and throughout his gospel account. One example of this would be the only account of Jesus paying the temple tax can be found in the Gospel according to Matthew. For most scholars, the dating of the Gospels can be hard to track down, and a precise date of the writing of the account is not known. Scholars have argued for a vast difference in dating between 40 A.D. to 140 A.D, while others (post-millennial) argue for a more specific dating at 70 A.D. Dr. Michael J. Wilkins with explanation of this stance, “for a date later than the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, since Jesus alludes to this event in 24:1-28. Of course, such a conclusion is warranted only if one denies Jesus’s ability to predict the future. In light of Irenaeus’s assertion that Matthew composed his Gospel while Peter and Paul were still living it is traditionally dated to the late 50s or early 60s.” Some critics have taken the argument that Matthew relies heavily upon Mark’s earlier written account of Jesus Christ. If this is true, then Matthew would follow the dating of the Gospel According to Mark after 58 A.D. One can conclude from its authorship, Christ prophesying of future events, relationship with Mark’s Gospel, and its audience that the Gospel According to Matthew is written between 58 – 70 A.D. and “may have been written in Palestine or Syrian Antioch.”

A most striking feature of Matthew’s account is that a “60 percent of Matthew’s 1,071 verses contain the spoken word of Jesus.” Thus, Matthew lays out his account of Christ in a way that relates to his readers – discourses, miracles, parables, and questions. Something that his readers, the Jewish community would have been quite familiar with during its time, thus making Matthew the most Jewish gospel of the four. Dr. Wilkins points out, “many scholars have suggested that the prominent church in Antioch of Syria, whose members included both Jewish and Gentile Christians, was the intended audience of Matthew’s Gospel.” This thought comes from the influence that Matthew’s Gospel had on the early church father Ignatius, an early church bishop of Antioch. As one scholar has pointed out, “Matthew is very concerned to show that Jesus is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah who fulfills God’s promises made to Israel,” making one of the central themes of Matthews account the Kingship of Jesus Christ, the one whom Israel awaited.

Geographical & Historical Context
For most theologians, the assumption is that the author of the gospel wrote his account to meet the needs of those in their area. This is not the case for Matthew’s account. D.A. Carson comments on this issue making reference to Matthew’s geographical location saying, “there is a prima facie realism… that Matthew was working  in the centers of large Jewish populations… since the book betrays so many Jewish features,” tying together Matthew’s historical and geographical background with its audience to the Jewish people. Throughout Matthew’s account there are different types of prominent Jewish customs and traditions, without their explanation. Thus his readers of his account would have been familiar with that which they read during his writing. One cannot suggest that Matthew’s account was for only Jewish readers. D.A. Carson writes, “but it is not implausible to suggest that Matthew wrote his gospel with certain kinds of readers in mind, rather than their geographic location.” Carson goes on to add that “tensions between Jews and Christians must have been high when this book was written.” One reason for such a claim is that while Matthew’s gospel account assumes and includes much Jewish culture, it includes at times common Church order that was happening during his authorship.

The Great Commission in its early context can help shed light and give a reader much aid in properly interpreting its meaning. Robert Thomas has done this when it comes to studying the Great Commission passage. Dr. Thomas when beginning to take a look at the Great Commission comments, “A comparison of the early church’s handling of the Commission lays a historical foundation for proceeding through various periods to see the similarities and differences. A century-by-century survey of the ancient church reflects how the early fathers responded to Jesus’ parting commission.” It is evident from the 2nd and 3rd centuries that the ancient church father’s agreed, and took the Great Commission seriously within the New Covenant Church. Of the many historical church fathers that wrote on the topic, two of them are worth making mention, Ignatius and Tertullian. Ignatius writes on the Commission, “Wherefore also the Lord, when he sent forth the apostles to make disciples of all nations, commanded them to “baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” not unto one [person] having three names, nor into three [persons] who became incarnate, but into three possessed of equal honor.”

While the focus of Ignatius writing here is placed upon being baptized in the name of the trinity, one can see by whom the administration of the baptism is done. Ignatius saw that it was the apostles that were commissioned to carry out the word and deed. Tertullian follows the thought of Ignatius when he writes regrading Jesus’ instructions to the apostles, “Accordingly, after one of these had been struck off, He commanded the eleven others on His departure to the Father, to “go and teach all nations, who were to be baptized into the Father, and into the Son, and into the Holy Ghost.” While both church fathers agree that the Commission was an historical event having meaning for the Church, they also agree with one another that this historical event was closely related with it being designated to specifically the apostles, and what they were to carry out, namely the preaching of the word, and sacraments.

Information on Textual Problems
One of the largest textual problems that lie in the Great Commission is who exactly the Commission extends to. While commentators Ignatius and Tertullian make mention who the recipients of the Great Commission are, how does the end of the text “and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” fit within the interpretation that Christ’s Great Commission was the Apostles Commission? Here lies one of the largest separations between New Covenant believers interpretation of the Commission.  Is the (Great) Commission for the whole of the Church, or to the (Apostles) Officers of the Church? As one great Dutch theologian has commentated on this question,

“His (Jesus) authority is manifested in… the means of Grace which the church must administer, namely, the word and the sacraments, Matthew 28:19-20. In these matters no one else has the right to legislate.” Louis Berkhof saw that Christ’s Commission was the Apostles ordination. The keys of the Kingdom of God were passed from the authority of Jesus Christ to the Apostles, to carry out the duties of the New Testament Church, namely making disciples (preaching) and baptizing (sacraments). Louis Berkhof goes further in his explanation, “he gave to the church its constitution and officers, and with divine authority, so that they can speak and act in his name.” This one sees the first officers of the New Covenant being ordained as officers of the New Testament administration of the Church, given authority and power, and what duties they are to carry out.

Grammar and Syntax
The giving of the (Great) Commission has been debated throughout Christendom  and gives much weight to how a Church practices its evangelism, or goes about its witness. Specially the debate lays to whom exactly was the commission directed to and who are its beneficiaries? Exegetically breaking down the text will help one see its original meaning and application to the question above.

Verses 16
 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee” shows that during this commission only some of Jesus’ disciples were present. As Dr. Freeman has made mention concerning this, “the phrase ‘the eleven disciples’ is a reminder of the tragedy of Judas’ failure and subsequent suicide.” The fact that the disciples went on to Galilee shows two points of importance. One, that the disciples followed Jesus Christ’s command in Matthew 28:10, “Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” This shows that the beginning and the end of Jesus Christ’s minstry was in Galilee, full of Gentiles.

The second item brings much weight to the greater context of the Commission. John Calvin writes about this stating, “Matthew, passing by those occurrences which we have taken out of the other three evangelists, mentions only in what the 11 disciples were completed to the apostolic office… Matthew has therefore selected what was of the greatest importance to us, namely, that when Christ appeared to the disciples, he likewise commissioned them to be apostles, to convey into every part of the world the message of eternal life. Jesus Christ’s intention to meet with his disciples, who would soon become apostolic officers of the New Covenant community, given a specific task that would be carried out with the coming of the Holy Ghost, that they might tell the world of the message of Jesus Christ. For this was the very reason that Jesus Christ summoned his brothers to Galilee. For if Jesus Christ’s Commission was given to the whole of the Church, then why not include Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to see the tomb in Matthew 28:1. No, instead Christ appeared to them, the eleven, so that he might summon His officers of the New Covenant, that they might meet him alone for His own purposes, namely that is to Commission them to their New Covenant duties of Apostleship. For “to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them,” this likely refers to the mountain in Galilee known to Mary.  John MacArthur has commented, “This seems the most likely location for the massive gathering of disciples Paul describes in 1 Corinthians. 15:6.”  Dr. MacArthur speculates that Matthew’s account is in accordance with Paul’s reference of the “500 brethren at once” that Christ appeared to. Matthew’s account gives no indication that this is fact. Matthew’s account to “now the eleven disciples,” no more, no less, these are who were summoned by Jesus Christ for Mary and Mary to send, and these are who Matthew accounts for being present at the mountain in Galilee.

Verse 17
Many, like Dr. MacAruthur read the following in Matthew 28:17, “and when they saw him they worshipped, but some doubted” as proof to the assumption that many more were gathered at the mountain in Galilee, because how and why would have the disciples “worshipped” by yet still “doubted.” Dr. Freeman list three possible interpretations of this text.

  1. One possibility is that Matthew describes the responses of two different groups within the circle of the eleven
  2. Two, that Matthew refers to a group other than the eleven disciples. Thus, the disciples worshipped Jesus while others, who were also present but not mentioned, doubted.
  3. The third interpretation takes the nominative in hoi de to have the same subject as the main verb. That is, those who worship and those who doubt are, in fact, the same individuals.

Interpretation three seems to be what Matthew is writing. Matthew’s intent is not to state whether some of the disciples had no faith at all, but to mention that some of the disciples still yet hesitated to approach Jesus, while yet some of them instantly went to worship Jesus Christ after seeing him. Here Matthew relays the message to his readers that when the disciples, and they alone came to Jesus Christ, they came in confusion, some in worship, some in doubt, but they came to be Commissioned. Calvin shows how  an individual might reconcile the same two feelings in one act, “then they worshipped, because the splendour of his divine glory was manifest. And perhaps it was the same reason that suddenly caused them to doubt, and afterwards led them to worship him; namely, that he had laid aside the form of a servant, and had nothing in his appearance but what was heavenly.” Here the disciples hung in the balance of what was about to take place, while worshiping Jesus Christ, and some in doubt, they awaited for what reason they were called upon by Jesus Christ. This very well could have been the reason some of them doubted, for what reason were they summoned to meet Jesus Christ in Galilee? Matthew uses the term “ἐδίστασαν” (doubted) not because it was another people group, but in conjunction (δὲ [but]) to “προσκυνέω” (worshipped). The same individuals that came to “ἰδόντες ” (they saw) came with the same doubt and worship. Some may then ask as to why Matthew then included a negative connotation such as this doubt within the disciples? One can agree with Dr. Freeman’s critique, “he… lets the reader know that a disciple still lives with a certain amount of tension. Disciples are those who know Jesus is the risen Lord and yet may still be confused.”

Verse 18
As the resurrected Lord, Jesus calls his apostles to make disciples of all people groups through the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus then comes to the disciples saying to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” With sovereign authority, lordship over all, Jesus Christ comes to his disciples by making the claim that his authority, is given from heaven. Some scholars have noted, “Their doubts were quickly dispelled, for Jesus spoke to them claiming all authority in heaven and on earth.” Matthew here uses “ἐξουσία” to show the official right and power that Jesus Christ has been given by his Father. Matthew has elsewhere used this term describing the person and work of Jesus Christ, including the forgiveness of sins in Matthew 9:16 and that all things have been given to Him by the Father in Matthew 11:27. The importance of the later authority brings light to the authority Matthew includes here give by Jesus Christ. The authority given by God that Matthew perviously has written of, now is the same authority that Jesus Christ comes with to commission the disciples. Jude makes mention of Jesus’ authority in the same specific apostolic that Matthews has when he writes in verse 25, “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” It is in this authority Jesus Christ comes that gives the disciples such confidence in carrying out the coming Commission they are given. John Calvin writes on this matter,

“Never, certainly, would the Apostles have had sufficient confidence to undertake so arduous an office, if they had not known that their Protector sitteth in heaven, and that the highest authority is given to him; for without such a support it would have been impossible for them to make any progress.” The authority from God, given to Jesus Christ, is now coming before and to the disciples. Some scholars have noted that this claim to have been given authority is in fulfillment to Daniel. Jesus most certainly is the fulfillment of Daniel’s reference to the “Son of Man,” it is not clear if “all authority is given to me” is directly drawn from Daniel 7:14, “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.” Dr. G.K. Beale comments on this theme in his Biblical Theology, “Jesus is the “last Adam figure,” and this is partially why he did not listen delete identifies himself with the Daniels “Son of Man” in issuing the universal commission to his followers in 28:18 he is the “son of Adam,” the equivalent to Daniel’s “Son of Man,” finally accomplishing what the first Adam should have and what Daniel predicts the messianic end-time Adam would do.” The main thrust of Matthew’s reference to Jesus Christ’s authority is that He, is who the disciples must fully rely upon for the Commission, and submit to in obedience fulfilling  the Commission.

Verse 19
Matthew moves on in his gospel account by using “οὖν” (therefore) to give his readers the understanding that the coming commission flows out of the previous reasoning, Jesus’ authority. Dr. MacArthur has pointed out that it is, “His (Jesus Christ) authority, the disciples were sent to make disciples of all nations.” Theologian R.D. Culver have argued that since “πορεύομαι” starts the verse, that one may translate it not as a command, but as a present participle “as you go.” Seeing that “as you go” is a present participle (going), leaves the only command in the entire commission being “make disciples.” The question that lies here, is to what length does this particular command “make disciples of all the nations” extend to? If further than only the Apostles, to exactly who? While some theologians are inclined to believe that this (Great) Commission is given to the whole of the Church, the importance of the passage lies here in the directive command give by Jesus Christ, by his authority, to a selective group of people, namely the Apostles. These men, were in a sense, moving forward from being discipled and now commanded to teach others, like Jesus Christ taught them. For Christ’s work was complete, and the present leader of His people was soon to leave. It is here that Christ authorizes by his God given authority the new officers of the New Covenant Community, the Apostles.

Matthew in verse 20 personalizes the command “make disciples” by adding personal pronouns “ὑμῖν” and “ὑμῶν.” Thus, the recent individuals (disciples) are the same individuals that have been commanded to meet in Galilee, have worship and doubted, and now been commissioned. Here Jesus Christ extends his God-given authority to those that have followed him for the past three years. G.K. Beale writes on this stating, “Even the divine accompaniment formula occurs in Matthew 28:20 to indicate how the disciples will be empowered to carry out the commission.” It is the authority by which God has given Christ, that now Christ is passing on to the officers of the Church, the Apostles. For there are no more prophets or kings in office to govern God’s people, but the Prophet and the King is ordaining his disciples to a new office of Apostles. John Calvin comments on this office and passage stating, “let us learn from this passage, that the apostleship is not an empty title, but a laborious his office, and that, consequently, nothing is more absurd or intolerable than that this honour should be claimed by hypocrites, who live like kings at their ease, and disdainfully throw away from themselves the office of teaching.

Before looking at what the Commission requires of the Apostles to administrate in “making disciples,” one sees that this command is to extend to “all nations.” This is commonly where 20th century evangelicalism has gone to defend, prove, and use the Great Commission for the Church today. The text states “all nations” including Brazil, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, as if they existed when Jesus Christ’s command was given. Yet, this is what happens hermeneutically when the application is placed before the proper exegesis. The command “make disciples of all nations” does include Brazil, Spain, Mexico, South Africa, and many more, but here the Apostles understood that their message and process of “making disciples” was to go further than their nationally, the Jewish people. For Jesus has now established his Kingdom, and its message is to be offered to all. “Of all nations” entails the extent of the command, not the nationality of the command. Matthew Henry explains this by saying, “Not that they must go all together into every place, but by consent disperse themselves in such manner as might best diffuse the light of the gospel.” Henry goes further giving three theological points of the command given to “all nations”:  “First, That the covenant of peculiarity, made with the Jews, should now be cancelled and disannulled. This word broke down the middle wall of partition, which had so long excluded the Gentiles from a visible church-state; and whereas the apostles, when first sent out, were forbidden to go into the way of the Gentiles, now they were sent to all nations. Secondly, That salvation by Christ should be offered to all, and none excluded that did not by their unbelief and impenitence exclude themselves. The salvation they were to preach is a common salvation; whoever will, let him come, and take the benefit of the act of indemnity; for there is no difference of Jew or Greek in Christ Jesus. Thirdly, That Christianity should be twisted in with national constitutions, that the kingdoms of the world should become Christ’s kingdoms, and their kings the church’s nursing-fathers.”

Matthew Henry draws the significance of the Apostleship’s office and its relationship differences from that of the Old Covenant. Jesus Christ’s unlimited authority is addressing the length to which the Apostles are to go proclaiming the Gospel. As long as there is Jew and Gentile, they are to continue proclaiming the truth concerning Jesus Christ’s person and work. Under the Old Testament administration kings, prophets, and priest had limitations in their duties of the Old Covenant. Here Jesus Christ removes this Old Covenant distinction by commanding the new officers of the New Covenant that there are no distinctions, or limitations to who they are to make disciples. John Calvin writes on this distinction, “Here Christ… makes the Gentiles equal to the Jews, and admits both indiscriminately to a participation in the covenant.” The Commission for the Apostles is to “make disciples.” Jesus Christ includes two items that the Apostles are to carry out in their process of making disciples. One, to baptize and two, teaching. Of the first, baptism, three notes can be made from the text. To paraphrase Matthew Henry, they are: who administrates baptism, how baptism is administrated, and how baptism makes one a disciple. Jesus Christ commands this duty of administration to his officers of the Church. Reformer Robert Rollock stated, “for the Lord gives his apostles commission to preach the gospel, and to baptize.” The instructions/duties for Apostleship are to administrate both the baptizing and the teaching says Jesus Christ. Dr. Freeman notes here that, “Baptizing is referred to without any explanation, so Matthew must have presupposed his reader needed no explanation.” Matthew here uses three participles in the Greek to include the duties of this office: going, baptizing, and teaching. It is by dispersal of the Apostles, and their teaching the word, and practice of the sacraments that all nations will be made disciples. Robert Rollock preached a message dealing with the issue at hand, stating, “These words teach us that these two points of the calling of the ministry, teaching and baptizing, were not committed to divers and sundry persons, but both were committed to one and the self-same person. So that he who is ordained to preach is ordained to baptize; and he who cannot preach has no power nor liberty granted him of the Lord to baptize; and if he baptized, he does it without the Lords commandment, he has no award of him; and, therefore, is doing is but a profanation of that holy sacrament of baptism.”

Rev. Rollock saw the importance of those that Jesus Christ has given unto office for his holy bride. One can certainly understand and agree that not all of the Church can baptize, or all of the Church can preach and teach the Scriptures. Then how can one interpret that this (Great) Commission is extended to all of the Church to evangelize? By understanding that Christ Commissions his disciples to office bearers of the Church, specifically, to Apostles. When the Apostles administrate this baptism, they are to do so in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. John Calvin notes that this particular administration was only to be done by those to whom Christ’s command was given. He writes, “Now since this charge is expressly given to the apostles along with the preaching of the word, it follows that none can lawfully administer baptism but those who are also the ministers of doctrine. When private persons, and even women, are permitted to baptize, nothing can be more at variance with the ordinance of Christ, nor is it any thing else than a mere profanation.”

One of these duties of the Apostles Commission is to administrate (those that believe upon Jesus Christ) the sacrament of baptism for the sake of identification with Jesus Christ. Such an act associates one with Jesus Christ, making them a disciple of him. The verb here “βαπτίζω” (baptizing) serves as a present active participle, used as an imperative. Robert James Utley has commented on this stating, “This (baptizing) is balanced with “teach” (v.20)… They cannot and must not be separated! The two items that Jesus Christ includes to make disciples for his Apostles look very similar to the same two items the officers of the church carry out today – teaching the Word, and carrying out the sacraments.

Verse 20
The second item of “making disciples” includes “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  The second present active participle that is place in conjunction with “baptizing.” Along with baptism, teaching is the way that Jesus Christ commands his Apostles to “make disciples.” Scottish pastor and theologian Iain Campbell writes, “Disciples are made by teaching and are nurtured by teaching.” The Apostles are not to use their own laws, or own inventions, but are to teach believers the commands of Jesus Christ, the same commands that Christ himself had taught his disciples while on earth. This one sees the duties of the office of Apostleship – teaching the Scripture, and practicing the sacraments. The same elements that later would be passed down from the Apostles to the office eldership. Jesus Christ though does not entirely resign from his office, but continues to teach those by his Word through the officers and teachers of his Church. At the end of the Commission, Christ gives the Apostles a promise, “I am with you always” along with assurance “to the end of the age.” “I am with you always,” is given with the conjunction “ἰδού” (behold) “to strengthen their faith, and engage their observation of it.” This emphatic introduction to Jesus Christ “I am with you always” promises the personal presence of him with his Apostles. Matthew Poole comments, “I am and I will be with you, and those who succeed you in the work of the ministry.” While Christ does not psychically remain with his Apostles, his spiritual presence is promised to them as they carry out the office of Apostleship during the progress of the New Testament Church. Many scholars have noted, “At the outset of the Gospel, Jesus was named ‘Immanuel’, God with us (1:23), and he promises in the course of the Gospel narrative that even where two people gather in his name he is there (18:20).” The very presence of God, placed in Christ, by the Holy Spirit is now promised to the Apostles as they carrying out this Commission.

As the Apostles follow Christ Commission, preaching the Word and practicing the sacraments, it is this promise that aids their process in “making disciples.” Many have argued that “to the end of the age” gives textual proof that this Commission is great in recipients. This cannot be the case, the promise is to those who are the officers of the Church, not laity. For how can a woman, let alone child preach and teach the Scriptures,  and carry out the administration of the sacraments for the congregation? While the promise is true for the whole of the Church, it does not state that all are called to the Commission. Calvin notes, “for the Lord promises his assistance not for a single age only, but even to the end of the world. It is as if he had said, that though the ministers of the gospel be weak and suffer the want of all things, he will be their guardian, so that they will rise victorious over all the opposition of the world.” Jesus Christ, establishing His Kingdom, sends out his officers of the New Testament Church in his comforting promise as they await for his bodily return to judge and gather those that are his. Promising “to the end of this age” gives the Apostles assurance that what Jesus Christ started with them over three years ago will not cease when he ascends to heaven. As the Apostles are sent out to preach and teach the Word and administrate the Church, they had Jesus Christ’s great promise till time is no more.

Meaning of the Text
Jesus Christ as King and head of his Church has appointed a government, in the hand of the church offices which remains distinct from the civil magistrate. To the officers of the Church the keys of the kingdom are handed (Matthew 16 & 18). Jesus Christ did not authorize the civil magistrate to use the keys of the kingdom, but has Commissioned his disciples unto the New Testament Office of Apostleship. Jesus Christ gave the keys to the visible, institutional Church to be administered by her officers under his authority. This (Great) Commission was the ordaining of the Apostles unto this office, so that they may preach and teach the Scriptures that Jesus Christ himself had expounded to them (Luke 24:44-47), and carry out the administration of the sacraments, Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and baptism (Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus ordaining the disciples into the office of Apostleship, passing the keys and authority that had been given to Him from His father, sending out the Apostles on their commission, “to teach and baptize… to all the nations” meaning both to the Jew and Gentile takes place before His ascension. Later in the New Testament, it is this office of Apostles and commission of teaching and baptizing that had been given to them by Jesus Christ himself that is passed to the office of eldership (Acts 14:23, 20:28; Titus 1:5).  Jesus Christ commands the twelve apostles to go and reproduce that of which Jesus Christ had done with them. Thus the Apostles, officers,  are called to evangelize, and not the laity.

Application for the Church Today
The question that must be asked is this, how does one get anything about lay evangelism from Jesus Christ’s Commission to his Apostles? The apostles were officers, they were not laity. Something that seems evident, yet consistently forgotten when reading and interpreting the text. Robert Rollock while preaching on Matthew 28:18-20, interpreted that Christ’s Commission was directed and given to the Apostles, and the officers of the Church. As the keys of the Kingdom were passed from Jesus Christ to the Apostles, so the Apostles ordain elders to the preaching and practicing of the sacraments. Rev. Rollock spoke, “for the Lord says, I shall be with you unto the end of the world; but so it is, that the apostles are now dead, they are no more in the world. Therefore this promise is made unto the ministers of the church, to the successors of the apostles, who should remain in the church until Christ’s coming to judgment.” The Commission, is the passing of the keys of the Kingdom, with all his authority given by God, through Jesus Christ, and the coming enablement of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ established his church of the New Covenant on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets (Ephesians. 4:11). It is here in Jesus Christ’s commission that the apostles are appointed to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, testifying by the enablement of the Holy Spirit, of what they had seen and heard.

In what way might this apply, better yet change the way that the Church sees evangelism? By understanding that not all are called to the spiritual gift of evangelism. No doubt is the whole of Jesus Christ’s bride to be a witness, a city on a hill, both salt and light to the earth, but as the Apostle Paul has said in Ephesians 4:11, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” It is the Evangelists here Paul speaks of that are called unto ministry, gifted, and commissioned unto office by the authority and power in heaven, Jesus Christ.  The Evangelists, in common with other ministries, is elder, one who functions like that of the pastor, who is distinctive to the role of an Evangelist. This gift and calling is not for everyone, but for those called upon by the authority of Jesus Christ, through the promise of God the Father, enabled through the Spirit to serve and promote his Church.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Puritans on Adoption

The most important Puritan works ever written on adoption, are:

Ÿ John Crabb, A Testimony concerning the VVorks of the Living God. Shewing how the mysteries of his workings hath worked many wayes in and amongst mankind. Or, The knowledge of God revealed, which shews the way from the bondage of darkness into the liberty of the Sons of God.

Ÿ Simon Ford, The Spirit of Bondage and Adoption: Largely and Practically handled, with reference to the way and manner of working both those Effects; and the proper Cases of Conscience belonging to them both.

Ÿ M.G., The Glorious Excellencie of the Spirit of Adoption.

Ÿ Thomas Granger, A Looking-Glasse for Christians. Or, The Comfortable Doctrine of Adoption.

Ÿ Cotton Mather, The Sealed Servants of our God, Appearing with Two Witnesses, to produce a Well-Established Assurance of their being the Children of the Lord Almighty or, the Witness of the Holy Spirit, with the Spirit of the Beleever, to his Adoption of God; briefly and plainly Described.

Ÿ Samuel Petto, The Voice of the Spirit. Or, An essay towards a discoverie of the witnessings of the Spirit.

Ÿ Samuel Willard, The Child’s Portion: Or the unseen Glory of the Children of God, Asserted, and proved: Together with several other Sermons Occasionally Preached.

Sadly, none of these books have been reprinted, which, in part, serves to promote the misrepresentation that the Puritans rarely addressed this subject. However, you can fully be made aware of the Puritans understanding and theological development on the doctrine of adoption in Dr. Joel Beeke’s Heirs with Christ through RHB Publications. 

The Puritan Practical Use of Election

The Puritans used this doctrine to preach to the unconverted, knowing that it humbles man and can alarm man. Puritan Dickson wrote on this topic,

“Election and reprobation may be safely taught, others say it could make men despair, let none take offense at this doctrine, because Christ’s sheep will hear his voice, forces men to turn to God or force men to become reprobates, either turn to God or take home the black news that they are reprobate, very needful to put men to their decisions.”

The Puritans used the doctrine to the comfort and awakening of distressed souls. Thomas Horton wrote on the matter,

“Doctrine of comfort takes all out of ourselves and deserts, doctrine of arrogance, presumption are of despair they will not hold out or support a man when he is in need of them, doctrines of free grace are doctrines of comfort because it reduces everything to God that he will fulfill what he has promised.”

Parr writes,

“Unworthiness may dismay thee, but remember it is God’s will that matters. Use this doctrine of election for believers to teach them of their privileges and safety, use their election as a motive to live holy unto God.”

Owen writes,

“God makes a consideration of electing love as free and undeserved, his principal argument for obedience, (Col. 3) as elect of God, bowels of mercies, also an encouragement to holiness, the fountain of electing grace will never fail us.”

Contribution the Wrong Way


There is No Falling Back

The whole human race is connected onto the belt of Adam, common person for us natural man, and when we are taken from Adam and hung on Christ’s belt, there is no falling back (election). We believe by faith in Christ, rooted in election.

Deny the doctrine of election, you deny the Gospel, you are enabled to believe because you are elected.

An Act Immutable

The number of the elect can neither be increased or diminished, this act cannot be changed, contains the whole sum and scope of the Gospel.

God was not drawn on to love us beyond what he intended, there is no new thing to God, known from beginning of time.

The Duty & Necessity of Meditation

The Puritans stressed the need for meditation in six major thoughts, they are the following.

1. Our God who commands us to believe, commands us also to meditate, sufficient for doing it. Deut. 6:7; Psalm 19:14; 119 7x; Luke 4:44, John 4:24, Eph. 1:18; Heb. 3:1; used biblical characters, Melchisedec, Isaac, Moses, Paul, Timothy, Joshua, David, Mary.

2. Meditate on the word because it is God’s letter to us; not run over God’s letter in haste, but meditate on his love in sending it, Ps. 119.

3. One can not be a mature Christian without meditation; Manton: faith is lean and ready to starve without meditation.

4. Without meditation the preached word will fail to benefit us; reading without meditation is like swallowing raw and undigested food, Baxter, a man may eat too much, but cannot digest too well.

5. Without meditation our prayers will not be effective; a middle sort of duty between word and prayer; word feeds med. and med. Feeds prayer; hear that we be not erroneous, meditate so that we be not barren.

6. Christians who fail to meditate are unable to defend the truth, no backbone, no self-knowledge, Manton: man who is a stranger to meditation does not know himself; Watson: tis meditation that makes a Christian.

HT: Notes taken from Puritan Theology, taught by Dr. Joel Beeke.

Friday Family Foto

me and em

2006 College Spring Banquet

Boy… what eight years will do to you.

Knowing vs. Feeling in Worship

HT: Nathan W. Bingham writes, “In this excerpt from his message at our 2009 West Coast Conference, Alistair Begg reminds us of the importance of knowledge in worship.”

Lessons from Richard Greenham on Reading the Word

Puritan Greenham, A Profitable Treatise for the reading and understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Dr. Beeke writes, “Though Greenham is used here as a model, many Puritans have addresed the “how-to” of Bible reading.” His points are worthy of your time;

1. Diligence, if you read The Scriptures diligently it will make your rough places plain, difficult easy, and unsavory tasty.

2. Wisdom, choice of matter, do not spend the bulk of time on the most difficult portion of the Word, do not move from revealed to unrevealed, the wise reader will aim to be established in a well rounded doctrine. Time, never let a day pass without reading the Bible, Sunday most of the day.

3. Preparation, approach the Bible with a reverential fear, swift to hear, and slow to speak. Approach with faith in Jesus Christ, sincerely desirous to learn of God, and put your heart into reading the Bible.

4. Meditation, if you don’t meditate you won’t get depth, the difference between rowing and drifting to a destination in a boat; reading without meditation is barren

5. Conference, Proverbs 21:7, iron sharpening iron, concerned about small group discussions, not too large; should be able to be free to speak.

6. Faith, faith is the key to profitable reception.

7. Practice, the doing of a sermon; “is the sermon finished?  It has been preached, but not yet been done” reply of a Puritan husband to his wife’s question upon returning home from church.

8. Prayer, indispensable for all our reading of Scripture; before and after the reading of the Bible, pray as you read them, memorize verses, meditate, think about it and then put it into practice.

If you need nourishment of your body, then you need a blessing for nourishment of spiritual things; we need to do these things to get the bible into us; we must get into it in a genuine and saving way.

HT: Notes taking while in Puritan Theology under Dr. Joel Beeke. Read his full article on Reading and Hearing the Word in a Puritan Way.

Considering Whether Aspects of Keller’s Teaching are Biblical

Dr. William Schweitzer writes,

Keller has two different ways of communicating the doctrine of hell, on for “traditionalists” and the other for “postmoderns”. … Keller’s teaching for the traditionalists seems consistent with the traditional doctrine. The real questions come regarding the message for postmoderns (52).

Evangelical Press has recently released Engaging with Keller: Thinking Through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical, a book which has not stirred up as much publicity as I thought would – then again it is engaging those who make the publicity. At any rate, if one is interested in reading an in-depth review without wanting to spend the time reading the whole book, Rachel Miller has done that for you. Rachel Miller is News Editor for the Aquila Report, she is also a homeschooling mother of 3 boys and member of a PCA church in Spring, Texas. This article first appeared on her blog, and you can read it here. It is rather long, enjoy.

Friday Family Foto


2012 Fall Family Pictures

Lincoln, Christians, & Slavery

The observations made by the friends and associates of Lincoln as a youth and young adult are consistent with letters and speeches later written by him. As a skillful writer, lawyer and politician, Lincoln, crafted documents. In several of Lincoln’s writings leading up to and through his Presidency, it can be seen that his decision to fight for the emancipation of the slaves was not based on him being a believer of the Christian faith. In a letter from Lincoln to Senator Stephen Douglas, he wrote:

“I have not allowed myself to forget that the abolition of the Slave-trade by Great Britain, was agitated a hundred years before it was a final success; that the measure had it’s open fire-eating opponents; it’s stealthy “don’t care” opponents; it’s dollar and cent opponents; it’s inferior race opponents; its negro equality opponents; and its religion and good order opponents; that all these opponents got offices, and their adversaries got none.[1]

The true meaning behind the statement can not be stated with absolute certainty by the writer, but could Lincoln be presenting his view of Christians? Could he wonder how those Bible-thumping Christians accept slavery as a way of life? “Religion” is often used synonymously with “Christianity.” Is it possible that all the pious Christians that Lincoln attended Church with as a youth and young adult, he felt, were hypocrites? His letter, one of his first anti-slavery writings places “religion and good order opponents” in a category characterized by groups that are contradictory to Christian principles.

[1] – Abraham Lincoln, “The Higher Object of This Contest,” in In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, Eds. Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk, (New York: Bantam Dell, 2009) 54.

Friday Family Foto


2006 “spring” break hike on the AT

Jesus On Every Page

It was spring break 2007 and I was three months into seminary education. Twenty-two years old, working thirty-two hours a week third shift, and attending PRTS as a full time M.A.R. student. That spring semester was rough; Reformation Church History with Dr. Joel Beeke, Ancient Church History with Dr. Michael Haykin, Reformed Theological Research with Drs. Richard Muller & Joel Beeke, and Preaching Christ in the OT with David Murray. Who? That is right, Dr. David P. Murray. I knew who my other profs were, but not this one. Hey, the class was on Christ in the Old Testament, it did not matter who taught the course, and most importantly at the age of twenty-two, fresh out of classical dispensational, Christ-less, Old Testament Hermeneutics, this topic had become my favorite while finishing undergrad. Little did I, nor himself know that within a year, he would come back to PRTS to teach, but as a full time professor.

I still remember it like yesterday, a one week module from 9AM – 5PM offered as an elective for M.A.R., M.Div., & Th.M. students, taught by Dr. Murray in classroom one. I had just got off work at 8AM, and drove down to the seminary to arrive for class. To my surprise the class consisted of about ten thirty to forty year-old, graduated minsters dressed in suites studying in the Th.M. program, one M.Div. student (Nathan Eshelman), and myself dress in dickie work pants and a flannel. I felt a bit out of my league, and had not an idea what I was in-store for.  In walks another forty some year old man, white shirt, black suite and tie, and could not have weighed a pound over 150. Surely this was another HRC or FRC minster taking the course – wait, that is Dr. Murray? Setting up his computer and power point slide show, I begin to read the syllabus, and boy was I excited. The course outline was broken down into nine lectures;

1. The Problem, the Plan, and the Purpose
2. The Presuppositions
B. Preaching Christ from…
3. His Prophets
4. His Pictures
5. His Presence
6. His Precepts
7. His Past
8. His People
C. Conclusion
9. The Practice

I am not sure if that is the layout of his newly published book, Jesus on Every Page, (because I somehow managed not to get a copy [unlike the last two books he wrote]), but if it is even close to the course, it would be worth anyone’s time, money, and for pastors, their practice. It was two years later in 2009, I went back to the course lectures, notes, and reviewed them as I graduated. I can easily say that it was one of my favorite courses I took while at PRTS, and personally believe that not only should it be mandatory for pastors to take, but practice as well. For those who have graduated seminary studies without such a course, you should strongly consider reading Jesus on Every Page.

Speaking of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, one of my Th.M. cohorts, Rev. Batzig posted a great article this morning on the Old Testament Personal Types and Shadows of Christ. It is a bit lengthy (3,506 words), but then again Presbyterians usually only want Presbyterians to read their posts.

Preaching Christ in Every Sermon

Fred Malone has been writing a series on the topic of preaching Christ in every sermon. Today the Founder Ministeries posted the 4th in the series, How Should We Preach Christ in Every Sermon? – Leviticus 18:5. The post starts by saying,

“My last three posts have attempted to answer three questions: (1) “Should We Preach Christ in Every Sermon?”, (2) “Why Should We Preach Christ in Every Sermon?, and (3) “How Should We Preach Christ in Every Sermon?” In this post, I would like to illustrate how we should preach Christ in every sermon from Leviticus 18:5, which says, “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.”

Malone early writes, “There have been times, however, when I’ve heard expositional preaching that makes little or no mention of the Lord Jesus Christ,” an unfortunate, but yet commonly made mistake from those that claim that expositional preaching is the only type of preaching. The series over the past two months has reminded me of the works that I read myself that forever changed my understanding of hermeneutics in 2005. Books like; Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Goldsworthy, God-Centered Interpretation by Poythress, and Beginning at Moses by Michael Barrett. The series of post is worth your time to read, and more so, to use.

Relation to the Living God & the Fact of Sin

Unfortunately, as Gresham J. Machen observed;

modern liberalism in the Church, whatever  judgment  may be passed upon it , is at any rate is no longer a matter merely of theological seminaries or universities. On the contrary, its attack upon the fundamentals of the Christian faith is being carried on vigorously by Sunday School “lesson helps,” by the pulpit and by the religious press.”[1]

In other words, the fight for the truth is no longer confined to the Seminaries alone; although, it must be noted that the Seminary remains a vital organ for contending for the faith since one of the objectives of establishing a seminary is to train people for the ministry and the service of the Church. The implication of this is that no one can take a neutral stance. All Christians are expected to identify with what they truly believe. A major issue in the doctrinal debate which was strongly contested by Machen  is the term often used by Liberal theologians that “Christianity is a life, not a doctrine.” Machen was of the view that making such assertions cheaply without considering the fact that it has to be understood that Christianity was based on an historical evidence witnessed, recorded and expected to be lived out. Apostle John wrote,

That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;). That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship us : and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ. 1John. 1:1-3.

In the light of this revelation, we have to agree with Machen that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded on a message.

In as much as this discourse is not an exposition of the Bible we cannot do without making reference to the book out which the doctrinal controversial issues find its foundation. A systematic approach to the Bible clearly shows that the theme of the Bible is redemption. God’s redemptive purpose is clearly revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore if the doctrinal issues being contended for were placed before the mirror of the word of God, all the controversies would have been laid to rest. Machen expounded further that modern liberalism, has lost sight of the two great presuppositions of the Christian message. This is in relation to the living God, and the fact of sin.

[1] Gresham J.Machen Christianity and Liberalism, (Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Publishin Company,1923),17.

Abraham Lincoln’s Frist Inaugural Address

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln gave his first Inaugural Address. The Inaugural Address provides Lincoln the opportunity to highlight his agenda, appeal to the Congress and the people he will govern for support, and provide further insight on the new leader and the principles on which he stands. It was clear that Lincoln would continue his pursuit of the emancipation of the slaves and made an appeal for a united north and south, or at least that is what the movie made it seem like.

“In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth, and that justice, will surely  prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American people.”[1]

References to God are common in many politicians Inaugural Addresses, especially the President of the United States. Lincoln was no different and he continued his pursuit of emancipation for the slaves with references to the “Almighty Ruler of nations,” which would be the strongest reference to God that the researcher has found at this time of Lincoln’s life. But this Inaugural Address was drafted by William Seward.[2] Presidents often have speech writers to help craft the words that they present. After knowing the person for whom the speech writer is crafting the speech, the speech writer is able to write the speech as if they were the one for whom the speech is written. Seward followed the practice of Lincoln by not mentioning God specifically, but did provide a tone in his writings of a power greater than ourselves; someone who has all power in His hand. In attempting to avoid a hasty action, he wrote, “Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.”[3] The reference to “a firm reliance on Him” is a far different concept than Lincoln provided less than one month before when he wrote, “Without the assistance of that Divine Being” in his Farewell to Springfield Speech.[4] Lincoln wrote, poetically, the closing to the Inaugural Address, referring to “better angels of our nature,” but as in previous writings, not directly acknowledging God.

“I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memorys, streching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”[5]

[1] Abraham Lincoln, “First Inaugural Address,” In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, Eds. Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk, (New York: Bantam Dell, 2009) 82-3.

[2] Abraham Lincoln, “First Inaugural Address,” in In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, 83.

[3] Abraham Lincoln, “First Inaugural Address,” in In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, Eds. Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk, (New York: Bantam Dell, 2009), 83.

[4] Abraham Lincoln, “Farewell to Springfield,” in In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, Eds. Harold Holzer and Joshua Wolf Shenk, (New York: Bantam Dell, 2009), 78

[5] Abraham Lincoln, “First Inaugural Address,” in In Lincoln’s Hand His Original Transcripts, 82.

Election is Not Driven by Works

Since election is not driven by works it can only be attributed to God’s saving grace; or to the glory of God. John Calvin writes,

We shall never be clearly convinced as we ought to be, that our salvation flows from the fountain of God’s free mercy, till we are acquainted with his eternal election, which illustrates the grace of God by this comparison, that he adopts all promiscuously to the hope of salvation but gives to some what he refuses others.”

Avoiding Plagiarism Like the Plague

Plagiarism is a growing problem both domestically and internationally. Even more so in circles it should not, namely seminary education. The word plagiarize is defined in Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition) as

“to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own.”

Plagiarism can take one of two forms: intentional or unintentional. When a writer knowingly uses other authors’ works without providing appropriate reference citations, he or she is intentionally plagiarizing. If, on the other hand, a writer uses others’ thoughts or ideas and does not realize that credit must be provided, he or she is guilty of unintentional plagiarism. Unfortunately, both types of mistakes can result in serious consequences. Here is a helpful remembrance,

It is incumbent on the writer to be forthright and honest with regard to using original and/or existing writing. Plagiarism can be easily avoided if the writer simply provides appropriate credit when borrowing ideas or citing directly from another individual’s work.

**Quote taken from Houghton, Peggy M.; Houghton, Timothy J. (2008-12-18). Turabian: The Easy Way! (Kindle Locations 213-215). Baker College. Kindle Edition.

Having a Research Mindset

Researchers start their work from the premise that knowledge is attainable and that finding truth is possible. The quest may be long and difficult, but results are assured. Without this optimistic mindset, little research would take place. The research mindset is characterized by objectivity, focus, clearly set-forth presuppositions, logical organization, and intellectual honesty. In a more biblical frame, it is adorned by humility.

Quote taken from Vyhmeister, Nancy Jean (2009-06-26). Quality Research Papers: For Students of Religion and Theology (Kindle Locations 1268-1271). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Bill Gates 11 Rules

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone
with kids of any age, here’s some advice. Bill Gates once gave a Commencement speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.