Volume 22 Issue 2
Being a professor, I’m told, is one of the most rewarding professions a person can perform. Not surprisingly, we seem to retire later than most, and keep working at our profession even after that, right to our last moments. We will teach adjunct for our favorite course, take on special projects for our schools, do more speaking, and almost always more writing and reviewing, some producing their magnum opus after retirement. Being professors of Bible and related areas, we may devote more time to our local church, or preaching at needy congregations. And we will always keep reading, maybe a bit more fiction and biography than we did earlier but still we have our eye on the next biblical or theological volume read.
As students, educators, and scholars, we hold in deep admiration and devotion our dear professors. They gain a special place of endearment in our hearts because they—each in their own way—nurtured us in our path toward being professors and scholars and studied preachers ourselves. We owe them so much for who we have become. I have seen giants of my life pass, I. Howard Marshall (University of Aber – deen), James D. Strauss (Lincoln Christian Seminary), Norm Ericson, and Grant Osborne (Both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). Just the utterance of one of the names conjures up classroom memories—even memories of specific things learned. What a loss to so many when they go on to be with the Lord.
When preparing this issue, I planned that we would honor the memory of one special colleague who taught at Lincoln Christian Seminary for over 25 years, Gary Hall, who died on June 15, 2019, at the age of 78, after a long battle with brain cancer and other complications. The planned tribute article to Gary was written and bibliography compiled by former student, Blair Wilgus, Professor of Old Testament at Hope International University. Blair and two others, Jason Lecureux, and James Estep, respectfully put together an excellent festschrift in honor of Gary, published in 2013 by Mosaic Press, entitled Deuteronomy: The Life of the Prophets and the Life of the Church. The very handsome volume includes very good articles, five from former students who have earned doctorates in OT, plus seven by Lincoln colleagues and academic friends. Unfortunately, Mosaic (located in Australia) has closed and no copies are now available to the public other than through libraries.
After not hearing back regarding one author’s final read-through of his article being published in this issue, I did some digging only to discover that he had passed two months before Gary. Daniel Fletcher, who taught for Amridge University from his home in Norwood, Pemmsylvania, died on March 27, 2019, at the age of 44. He died due to complications from cystic fibrosis which he dealt with his whole life. And even later, as I was editing through the book reviews, I discovered we also have a review in this issue of Daniel’s last book, published in 2018, titled: Psalms of Christ: The Messiah in Non-Messianic Psalms. Publication of Daniel’s article and review of his book stand as a memorium to him in this issue.
I was fortunate to be a good friend of Gary’s and was blessed to be able to see him shortly before his passing. He seemed gratified that his life work as a professor was recognized by the Lifetime Achievement Award we were able to present to him by video at this year’s SCJ Conference at Johnson University. He so much deserved to be only our third honoree of this award, his life serving as a picture-perfect role model of a scholar-teacher with a pastor’s heart. I am so indebted to him for his contribution to SCJ and the SCJ Conference. He served as consulting editor for thirteen years, for much of that time also managing Old Testament book reviews as well as evaluating OT articles that I received. He has been a constant presence at the SCJ Conference from the beginning, delivering numerous parallel sessions. He is among the original few who for the eight years before that was part of just a handful of scholars who held “Fellowship of Professors” meetings while I was at St. Louis Christian College (giving a paper as early as 1992). With fewer attendees, I was constantly in need of people to present papers, and Gary would always come through to present his well-prepared papers, usually on Deuteronomy, one of the books to which he devoted his life.
I still remember with deep gratitude my first contact with Gary in 1984 while he was dean at Kentucky Christian College. I was a PhD student near to completing my degree in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, sending out resumes to deans for potential job hopes. Gary responded with the most encouraging letter of all. Not knowing me at all, he gave me hope to keep moving toward my future to teach. Little did I know then that Gary would wind up being such a good friend and advisor. He has been a treasure to be able to know.
I did not know Daniel Fletcher, but I have seen the posts of several former students who speak of gratitude and thanksgiving for his influence on them. He received his Ph.D. in New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, having previously earned his M.Div. from Lipscomb University, as well as his Master and Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies from there. He wrote his dissertation on “The Wilderness Motif in John 3:1-21 and Its Impact on Johannine Signs of Faith,” which was published by Wipf and Stock in 2014. Daniel published five academic articles, including two in Restoration Quarterly, one on Alexander Campbell and adult baptism, as well as articles in other publications, including the twelve in the
Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary
. Daniel certainly made his mark in the few short years he was able to be actively engaged in teaching and scholarship.
Both Gary and Daniel I am sure leave behind not just beloved family but many, many students who feel so blessed to have come under their influence.
Daniel’s article in this issue focuses on the intriguing topic of how Sirach’s misogynistic teaching on women from Genesis 3 influenced both Jewish and Christian interpreters who followed. John Young’s article investigates how the Christadelphians shifted focus over the generations on what exactly from the early church should be restored. John Davis Jones’s article uncovers how Alexander Campbell’s postmillennial view colored his interpretation of Daniel. Jonathan Totty’s article, winner of the 2017 SCJ Conference graduate student paper award, explains how the ontology of Irenaeus should be described as “participatory” because it expects humanity to be involved in doing the work of God. David Fiensy’s article represents his 2019 SCJ Conference lecture which delves into the similarity between common diseases of “ordinary folk” in the New Testament period and many, current populations. Lastly, Craig Keener’s article, one of his two lectures from the 2019 SCJ conference, reveals Paul’s teaching regarding the renewal of the mind in Romans to be fueled by the energizing of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives.
The 19th annual SCJ conference heads back to Johnson University, Knoxville, TN, on March 20-21, 2020 (Friday, 8:00 AM–8:00 PM; Sat, 8:00 AM–1:00 PM). This represents a date change from earlier announcements. The theme is Politics and the Stone-Campbell Movement. Featured speakers include: Shaun Casey, Director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and Public Affairs and Professor of the Practice in Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, who will present “The Impact of Stone-Campbell Ideals: My Life in Political and Public Service” and “The Office of Religion and Global Affairs under Barack Obama: My Perspective”; Jess Hale, Attorney with the Tennessee General Assembly and Staff to a Tennessee Governor and a U.S. Senator, who will present “Disciples at Public Tables: A Public Servant’s View of SCM Engagement with Public Policy;” and Richard Cherok, Professor of History, Ozark Christian College, “Citizen Campbell: Alexander Camp – bell and Early American Politics.” For more information on parallel sessions, study groups, registration, and accommodation, go to: stone-campbelljounal.com. Preregistration opens January 20 and closes March 8.
William R. Baker, Editor
- Editor's Preface
- 165View AbstractThis article explores how beliefs about the earliest Christians changed over time within Christadelphian theology. The Christadelphians descend from the Stone-Campbell Movement, and like many restorationist groups, they contend that the blueprints for rebuilding the original Christian community are clearly spelled out within Scripture. Yet examining a selection of representative theological works from across several generations reveals that even as Christadelphians continued to believe that the early church should be restored, the specifics of what they sought to restore changed.
- 179View AbstractAlexander Campbell’s postmillennialism influenced his interpretation of Daniel’s kingdom prophecies and informed his understanding of the mission of Restoration Movement churches. While few would likely agree with his interpretations today, all would do well to emulate Campbell in the way his eschatological hope helped fuel his unceasing efforts for the sake of the kingdom.
- 189View AbstractIrenaeus’s theme of the divine economy describes a participatory ontology because it expresses his understanding of humanity’s participation in the life and work of God as it pertains to ontology. His conception of the divine economy develops in the context of his interaction with second-century heresies and the Scriptures. Irenaeus conceives reality as a participatory ontology in which what it means to be authentically human is determined by economy of God.
- The Interpretive Tradition of Eve and the Fall of Humanity in Sirach and Other Jewish and Christian Writings199View AbstractFor Ben Sira, a scribe passes on Israel’s interpretive traditions to successive generations, often transmitting the tradition in his own words or even creating it himself. Ben Sira exhibits this latter phenomenon with his interpretation of the fall in Genesis 3 and his resounding condemnation of Eve. This article proposes he inherits a particular view of women from his Hellenistic culture and then creates an interpretive tradition that reads the Genesis narrative through misogynistic lenses. Ben Sira—true to his profession as a scribe—passes on his original interpretation to future generations of interpreters, including the author of Life of Adam and Eve, the Apostle Paul, Philo, and Irenaeus, each of whom transmit the tradition uniquely.
- 217View AbstractWhile excavations of cities, villages, palaces, and art works have their place in providing context for NT texts, the lives of the non-elites—the ninety-nine percent— are increasingly recognized as important to biblical interpretation. This essay presents evidence of disease from archaeological excavations of Late Second Temple Israel and the wider Roman Empire and compares it with modern demographics. In doing so, it seeks to offer insight into the “ordinary folk” who populated the Greco-Roman world at the time of Jesus and the early church.
- 235View AbstractContrary to the tendency of modern Western churches to dichotomize the activities of the human mind and spirit, Paul’s depiction of believers’ renewal in Christ emphasizes both. This essay explores several Pauline passages concerning the Spirit’s renewal of the mind. Paul urges believers to live not according to the reasoning of this world but from the eternal perspective this foretaste of the coming age offers.
- 249View AbstractGary Hall passed away on June 15, 2019, surrounded by his family. His life and work impacted people all over the world and their lives and their Kingdom work are better for having known him.
- Book Reviews