Extracurricular Activities – September 21, 2013
Ben Witherington Helps us Visualize Paul's Corinth
Part 1—Schematics of what Paul’s Corinth, around A.D. 50 will have looked like.
Part 2—Ruins of theaters, temples, shops and villas.
Part 3—Here is a small map showing Corinth, the isthmus, and the two seaports east (Cenchreae) and west (Laecheum) which served Corinth.
At this year’s BNTC I had the honour of giving the (now annual) Graham Stanton Lecture, in honour of this much-admired colleague. My lecture title = ”Fashions, Fallacies and Futures in NT Studies.” I briefly mentioned one or two obvious “fashions” (emphases that rise in interest and then fall just as quickly), but spent more time on a couple of views long and widely held that are now rather clearly seen as fallacies. My purpose was not to gloat, but to urge us to learn from these things. I’ll briefly mention here the two fallacies that I discussed.
I just finished Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s moving testimony, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I read the first chapter before bed, and then, against my better judgment, I read the next chapter when I awoke, and then I couldn’t stop until I had finished it. What a timely story for today, honestly told with godly insight! For those who may not know, Butterfield was a tenured professor in the English and Women’s Studies department at Syracuse University, and an influential lesbian. She would seem to be the most unlikely convert since Chuck Colson, and maybe even a little more. Here are only a few of the things that I appreciated about the book and learned from her story:
When the Apostles’ Creed begins with the words “I believe” it is asking people who recite the creed to recognize their need to know, trust, and belong to something beyond themselves. It is an affirmation of one’s needs, needs that cannot be fulfilled or satisfied by our own efforts, but are met in the faith which is thereafter professed by the speaker. While we have many needs like food, shelter, purpose and companionship, perhaps our most basic need, one hard wired into the very constitution of our humanity, is to know God.
I used to never bother with sermon illustrations because I believed their number one myth. I thought the purpose of illustrations is to help explain the passage you are preaching. I figured if I did a good job teaching the text, I could avoid the work of crafting modern-day connections. The result was sermons heavy on explanation, light on application, and empty of illustrations. My perspective took a 180-degree turn after listening to Bryan Chapell's lectures on Christ-centered preaching. He argues that illustrations are not for the head so much as the heart. They don't primarily explain, they motivate.
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