Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 Year Highlights

Week 1 of the Men's Leadership training series
Teaching the summer Introduction to the Bible class

After the Ordination of Wesley Chuang.
In the back row: Rev. Lin, Rev. Shih, and Rev. Tsai (of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), Dr. Lu (O.P.C.), Dr. Wang (R.P.C.T.), Dr. Yates (P.C.A.), Dr. McCafferty (P.C.A) (of the Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei)
 In the front row: Rev. Pilson (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service), the Chuang family, Rev. Lin (from the Philippines), Dr. Yeo (with C.R.T.S.), and Dr. Linton (P.C.A. with Mission Sending Service)
Men's leadership training class at New Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taipei
Interviewing some young children who are professing their faith (including our youngest, Seren)
Although New Hope has a bi-lingual English-Mandarin worship service, the church also provides a Taiwanese-language Sunday school class after lunch. Providing venues for Taiwanese language shows welcome to a large percentage of the people whose heart-language is Taiwanese rather than Mandarin.
The Introduction to the Bible class that Dr. Linton taught
Temperate rain forest in the higher elevations of the mountains of sub-tropical Yilan County. During Taiwan's 50 years under the Japanese Empire from A.D. 1895 to 1945, Yilan was a major producer of Formosa Cypress timber. This tree species is now endangered and protected by the government.
Our youngest, Seren, did well on the hike
Yilan County church plant Saturday Bible study. Dr. Linton teaches mostly in Taiwanese. The reading and discussions are in both Taiwanese and Mandarin.
Hosting the Poythresses in Yilan County (always fun) 

October meeting of the Second Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

Three cute church kids
The sign of God's gracious covenant with Noah. We do not see rainbows very often in Yilan County because either it is too cloudy and rainy or the clouds build up in the west above the mountains in the afternoon.

Driving New Hope ruling elder Mark Kuo and his family to the airport.
The Kuo's moved to America so Mark could attend Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's M.Div. program.

Rice is harvested once a year in the summer. In other parts of Taiwan, rice can be harvested two or three times a year. But Yilan County is too rainy in the winter when the second crop would need to ripen in dry weather.

We took care of 14 chickens this summer for another family while they went to the U.S.

We sing one Taiwanese-language hymn before our Saturday Romans Bible study class in Yilan County

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What does the Bible say about itself?

I periodically teach on what God's Word says about itself. Does it contain a record of man's experience with God as Karl Barth claimed? Or does it contain God's Word down to every word choice: singular or plural, masculine or feminine pronouns?

Rather than approaching the Bible based on our own constructed theories, it is good to consider what the Bible claims about itself, what Jesus claims about the Bible and what the Apostles claim about the Bible.
You might disagree with them, but we have to say this is the Bible's testimony about itself.
So what does the Bible say about itself?
Even within all these different prophets of the Old Testament who have different writing styles, they say "Thus says the Lord."
Or look at the New Testament writers:
The testimony of the Apostle Paul: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 1 Timothy 3:16-17
The testimony of Apostle Peter: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
And the Apostle Peter also testified that Paul's writings were Scripture: "... just as our dear brother Paul also wrote with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable men distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's writings are treated as equivalent to the other Scriptures.
Now how do Jesus and Paul treat the Scripture? They make their argument based on every single word, even whether the word choice was singular or plural. Jesus states "and the Scripture cannot be broken."
That means that although the Holy Spirit used individual men to write Scripture and they wrote in their own styles, that every single word in the Bible is inspired by God even to whether the word is singular or plural.
There is no half-way point. If you want to except anything in the Bible, you have to accept it all. Otherwise, it is just a collection of opinions of man and can be thrown away.

All Scripture quotes are taken from the NIV1984 translation.