I am honored to announce the release of the Fall 2020 edition of The Master’s Seminary Journal. This issue addresses a variety of theological disciplines with articles we believe will serve our readers in a number of important ways. Without question, the mind of the pastor must be multi-disciplined. He must be versed in New Testament, Old Testament, linguistics, biblical languages, systematic theology, historical theology, and biblical theology, to name several. His calling requires him to weave these disciplines together each week in his study. The Master’s Seminary exists to serve and benefit the church, and to do that well, we must serve in ways that equip the pastor to better exposit the Word and to guard the truth entrusted to him.
As President, my desire is that The Master’s Seminary Journal will serve you well by informing, equipping, and encouraging you in your own pursuit of faithful service to Christ through the careful, accurate exegesis and exposition of God’s Word. To that end, our goal is that each edition of the journal will be marked by faithful scholarship for the edification of the Church.
To God be the glory.
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Below are the abstracts for the articles included in the fall edition.
Analysis of Geerhardus Vos’ Nature and Method of Biblical Theology
Richard C. Barcellos (Ph.D., Associate Professor of Exegetical Theology, IRBS Theological Seminary)
When Geerhardus Vos stood to give his inaugural address for the “new chair” of biblical theology at the College of New Jersey in 1894 (now Princeton University), the field of study had been dominated by “the liberal/critical biblical-theological enterprise” for over one-hundred years. He was a Reformed-orthodox theologian entering a field of “perverse influences.” This paper traces the thought of Vos historically, beginning with his inaugural address (1894) and concluding with his last published work (1948). The focus of this paper is the nature and method of biblical theology as presented by Vos. This historical study discovers a harmony of thought—a hermeneutic grounded not only in how Scripture is formed, but in what it says and how it says it. He views revelation as pre-redemptive, redemptive, historical, organic, progressive, Christocentric, epochal-covenantal, and multiform. Vos would one day be considered “an all-time master in the field of Biblical Theology.” Whether or not readers agree with his methodology and/or doctrinal formulations, his work merits our attention, respect, and appreciation.
A Methodology for Janus Parallelism
Nathan LeMaster (Ph.D. Candidate, Cambridge University)
The Greek god of beginnings and endings had two faces, one looking to the future and the other to the past. This god was known by the name Janus. Thus, the masterful Hebrew literary device used to intentionally exploit a single word with two meanings—one meaning pointing to what has come before, and the other meaning to what has come after—was deemed Janus Parallelism. The conclusions one draws about Janus Parallelism impact a proper understanding of authorial intention and the semantic connections which existed in the mind of the Hebrew writer. The purpose of this article is to establish an initial methodology for identifying Janus Parallelism, as well as to expound the implications of Janus Parallelism for biblical studies. The pertinent question for this study is, how can one affirm that the biblical author purposefully exploited both meanings? While recent scholarship has been insightful on this issue, the danger of presuming upon the intention of the biblical author remains. This article argues that the first step in identifying Janus Parallelism is to prove a case of polysemy or homonymy (not ambiguity) within the Janus word. The second step is to demonstrate previously established semantic connections between both meanings of the Janus word and the immediate context. This initial methodology for determining Janus Parallelism will help to prove the intention of the biblical author, rather than allowing imagination of possible meanings to overshadow sound exegesis.
Divine Timelessness: A Recovery of the Foundational Doctrine of Classical Theism
Peter Sammons (Ph.D., Director of Academic Publications and Faculty Associate in Systematic Theology, The Master’s Seminary)
Toward the Worship of God as Actus Purus
Alan Quiñones (Ph.D. Candidate, The Master’s Seminary)
God is Actus Purus, which is to say that He is eternally all that He can be. Potentiality is a trait of creatures, not God. The concept of Actus Purus was first articulated by Aristotle in his argument for the unmoved mover, and through its history, the church has considered this notion a valid articulation of the absolute perfection and preeminence of God over all things. This paper, then, explores the exegetical footing of Actus Purus. It also will seek to understand its implications for systematic theology. Careful exegesis will demonstrate that the doctrine of pure actuality is deducible from Scripture by good and necessary consequence. It is an instrument that helps to sound the unbounded perfection of God and arrive at a more settled understanding of His meticulous sovereignty. In short, pure actuality conveys that life cannot but belong to God, because He decrees, wills, knows, and does everything entirely from Himself.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “Unity”
Kevin D. Zuber (Ph.D., Professor of Theology, The Master’s Seminary)
Recent Scholarship and the Quest to Understand Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Peter J. Goeman (Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Shepherds Theological Seminary)
The Hermeneutics of the American Revolution
Gregg L. Frazer (Ph.D., Professor of History and Political Sciences, The Master’s University)