Join us for a guest lecture: The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel

At noon on Wednesday, April 4, Austin Graduate School of Theology will host a brown-bag lecture by Dr. Choon-Leong Seow, Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University on the topic “The Reign of God in the Book of Daniel.” Everyone interested in the subject is welcome to bring a lunch and join us in the Hocott Student Commons. … [Read more...]

The Chronicler as a Writer

What is the Chronicler up to as a writer? He quotes Bible passages, expands them homiletically, he omits sections not of interest to him, and he interprets them according to his approach as a theological preacher in the post-exilic era. Not unlike what we do! The Chronicler takes the Bible and ancient historical documents, and he interprets them for the discouraged community of believers in the Persian Empire. … [Read more...]

Return, Restoration, and Renewal in Chronicles and Today

Last week I explored restoration as a concept in the book of Chronicles and now I'm going to jump into the return, restoration, and renewal in both Chronicles and today. One of the Chronicler’s main concerns is “all Israel,” north and south, as a unified community. To the Chronicler, Israel was an ideal entity, a twelve tribe whole, in contrast with the fractured remnants which are his reality in the post-exilic age. This concern for the restoration of all Israel and to demonstrate the continuity of the post-exilic community with pre-exilic Israel is demonstrated already in the genealogies of 1 Chron 1-9. … [Read more...]

Restoration in the Book of Chronicles

It is ironic that those of us in the American Restoration Movement, who have emphasized the restoration of biblical doctrine and practices, the unity of the Spirit, and the life of faith have missed the most obvious model for restoration in the Bible. The Chronicler’s vision of restoration includes Israel as a faithful, worshipping community, a community which seeks to recover scripture, and the unity of God’s people. Nothing could be more pertinent to the ideals of Restorationism. One of the Chronicler’s main concerns is indeed with the restoration of all Israel—politically, socially, and religiously—in the post-exilic age. The way the … [Read more...]

Why are David & Solomon Whitewashed in Chronicles? (part 2)

  Eariler this week I wrote in detail through part one why David and Solomon's  accounts of idolatry, adultery, murder, intrigue, and oppression were whitewashed from its source in Samuel and Kings -- and presented as virtually sinless.  What does all this mean? The following points are, I think, clear: 1) Chronicles uses Samuel and Kings as the source for roughly 50% of the writing; 2) almost anything negative about David, and everything negative about Solomon, has been expunged from the Chronicler’s account; 3) David and Solomon are together the twin ideal monarchs in Israel’s early history; 4) David is the … [Read more...]

Why are David & Solomon Whitewashed in Chronicles? (part 1)

David and Solomon’s accounts of idolatry, adultery, murder, intrigue, and oppression have been whitewashed from its source in Samuel and Kings. They are presented as virtually sinless. Why is this? Why was it important for the Jews in exile to hear of the faults and foibles of their forebears, but for the post-exilic Jews to hear accounts of their faithfulness and successes? I think the answer has something to do with the temple and with the kingship of David. Most scholars have been mislead by the Chronicler’s obvious emphasis upon the temple and its worship into over-emphasizing this aspect and downplaying the Chronicler’s equal concern … [Read more...]

The Greatest Invitation from God to Israel and to Us Today

Mike Cope tells the story of how Don Jackson, an elder in the church, served part of his career in government as senior U.S. liaison officer to the Court of Saint James. Listen to his personal description of being invited into the presence of the queen of England: “I was aware of a commotion outside of my office window at the American Embassy in London. I looked out the window and saw a royal carriage painted red and gold and drawn by four magnificent , matched, dapple-gray horses, and accompanied by a troop of Royal Grenadiers. I returned to my desk, and shortly my secretary appeared at the door and said, "You have a guest." She stepped back … [Read more...]

What the Servant of Isaiah 53 Set in Motion

One of the pleasant features of retirement from ministry is that I finally can concentrate closely on everything that takes place in the flow of the service.  For some of you this doesn’t sound quite right.  But I confess.  I am like a lot of others.  When you have some clear responsibility to fulfill, those duties are never far from your mind. So I haven’t always paid the closest of attention to the talks given by those who preside at the table.  But during the last several years it has become different.  I now listen carefully and I have learned a few things.  One of the clearest impressions is the … [Read more...]

Simple reminders make all the difference (Isaiah 51)

Christopher O'Keefe is a student in the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program. Sometimes, a simple reminder can make all the difference. My first semester at Austin Grad was such a time. My bachelor’s degree is in mathematics. And as you can probably imagine, a degree in mathematics is a world apart from a degree in theology. During my years studying math, I probably wrote no more than two or three small writing assignments. Writing was not a strength. In fact, writing was pretty scary at the time. When I entered the theology program at Austin Grad, I didn’t realize how writing intensive the program would be. About half-way … [Read more...]

Isaiah 49: Thinking Big about Your Important Mission

A man, driving a very expensive sports car, found himself lost in an impoverished area of a major city.  As the man sat in his parked car attempting to gain a sense of direction, he was approached by a young boy.  The boy said, “Mister that is a really nice car.  Are you lost?” The man replied, “My brother gave me this car as a gift and yes I am lost”. Then the man made the boy the following offer, “If you will help me find the street I am looking for, I will give you a ride in my car.”  … [Read more...]