Category Archives: About Joe
In the first part of this series (if it should even be called that) I filled you in on my work with Third Millennium Ministries and the first of 2 great benefits this project has had one me. The first benefit was encouragement: Third Mill is working hard to bless the universal church. This second great benefit I’ve experience working with Third Mill has been the reawakening of my love for New Testament study. Let me explain a bit and then give the old tip-of-the-hat to some of the resources I’ve made use of in the course of writing for Third Mill.
After I began to get into serious study of theology a little over a decade ago all I would read was the New Testament (I was only a Christian for a few years at this point). Shortly I became the standard stereotype of the evangelical Protestant: All Paul, and not much else. Oh, I read the Gospels and the non-Pauline letters several times, but my steady diet of Pauline literature surpassed my reading of the others by a ratio of something like 4:1. not to mention the Old Testament. I read Genesis several times, most of Exodus, and other bits but largely had no concept of the overall unity in the plotline of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole. My love and passion for the Old Testament came during my first semester in seminary while sitting under the teaching of Richard Pratt (President of Third Mill). Pratt brought a unity to my understand of the Bible that I previously lacked and got me excited about rereading the Old Testament, as if for the first time. Though I wasn’t a theological or biblical studies major in seminary (I was in college), I began to read more and more of the Old Testament, and works on the Old Testament. For nearly the next 5 years I’ve done little more than do research into Old Testament Theology.
Sure, I read the NT during this time, but my OT to NT reading diet had flipped: about 3:1 in favor of OT.
Well, in working on a lesson on the Gospels for Third Mill, my attention was pulled back to the NT. I’ve “reentered” the world of New Testament study, and having had my head in the ancient world of the Old Testament for a few years, I see the NT with new eyes. OT references and allusions make much more sense, in fact my reading is transformed.
Here are some of the works I’ve consulted in my study.
- Introduction to the New Testament
- Theology of the New Testament
- New Testament Theology
- Theology of the New Testament
- The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown
- The New Testament in Antiquity
- Survey of the New Testament
Last year I began a project with Third Millennium Ministries. They’re working to create a New Testament Survey course and I’ve been doing some work on their lesson on the synoptic Gospels/Acts, as well as their lesson on John’s writings (his Gospel and epistles). Other than merely collecting a paycheck, this project had done 2 things to me. I’ll mention the first in this post and follow it up in another.
First, it has made me appreciate the work of Third Mill that much more. Their goal is more than admirable; it is a testament to the love of Christ for his Church. Dr. Richard Pratt and the team at Third Mill are working tirelessly to develop a full seminary curriculum for the purpose of spreading free theological training to those who don’t have access to such resources. Listen to Dr. Gideon Umukoru from the Servant Leadership Institute speak of the need to develop theologically trained pastors in Nigeria.
As mentioned above, Third Mill makes all of their material available for free. They do this both in shipping their material abroad and posting all of their lessons online, and all for free. This ministries in nearly completely funded by donors who share their vision and see the importance of what they’re doing. Here’s Dr. Pratt on the goal of Third Mill:
Working along side the folks at Third Mill has encouraged me that their as many here in the western church who see God doing things outside of our sphere and clearly recognize that this is cause for rejoicing and not envy. Just as Paul collected an offering from the churches he served in order to bless and encourage the struggling Jerusalem church, Third Millennium ministries, and those who so graciously support them, are investing their time and treasure for the cause of Christian brotherhood, sharing from their abundance of resources with their dearly beloved family who do not.
May God continue to richly bless Third Mill and bring to completion the work he has started in them! Please consider prayerfully or financially supporting this wonderful ministry.
This update is for my students who inquired about whether I’d be in on Wednesday (considering I just had my tonsils removed).
Nyack students: It looks like I will not be in on Wednesday. My ability to speak is come-and-go, and it is especially difficult in the morning. Please continue to keep me in your prayers for a speedily recovery. Please inform any other students, notably those in my Christian Worldview course.
In November, i’ll be presenting a paper at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (in New Orleans). Here’s the proposal I submitted to the commitee:
Perhaps the single most common argument against a presuppositional apologetic methodology is the charge of fideism. One doesn’t have to look far in the relevent literature to find Van Tillian methodology dismissed or said to hold to a position that undermines the task of Christian apologetics. Though the term “fideism” is being rehabilatated in some circles, it is still widely understood as a dogmatic proclaimation of one’s view irrespective of rational argumentation. Nothing, it is believed, seems to demonstrate the fideism of the presuppositional method as well as their rejection of linear argumentation. Van Tillians are said to embrace, as a fundemental rule of their approach, circular reasoning.
The aim of this essay is twofold. First, I will show that the charge of fideism against Van Tillian presuppositionalism is both imprecise and inaccurate. This will be done by showing that while some definitions of faith and reason are incompatible, others are not. Second, we will examine the charge of presuppositionalism’s alleged embrace of begging the question. This will be done by distinguishing between vicious and virtuous circularity, arguing that presuppositionalists embrace the latter, but eschew the former as strongly as their critics.
So, other than teaching, this is what I’ll be focusing on for the next several months. Please keep me in prayer that the Lord would open up time to get this done and a provide me with clarity of thought to accurately address the topic.
A number of weeks ago I posted what were my selections for summer reading. In the fall semester, I’ll be teaching a course on systematic theology, so naturally I’ve been doing a bit of prep reading for that. Sadly,I haven’t done ll the reading I wanted to. I still have a month before the class starts, but I think that’s hardly enough time to tackle the “leisure” reading I planned for myself.
So, here are the books I have read since my last ‘Summer Reading’ entry:
1) Understanding Dispensationalists- Poythress
2) The End Times Made Simple- Walton
3) A Case for Amillennialism- Riddlebarger
4) Selections from Systematic Theology- Grudem
5) Salvation Belongs to Our God- Wright
I just wanted to quickly apology for my lack of blog writting as of late. Since late December, i’ve been prepping for a Sunday school class that I’m currently teaching for my local church on Christian ethics.
The bad part is that this has taken time away from blogging, the good new is that I’m getting a 3 week break very soon! And with all the material I’ve worked on, it should give me healthy bit to talk about.
So stay tuned!! I haven’t given up on Kingdomview and neither should you!
During this summer, I’ve made it a point to brush up on some books of the Old Testament. Within a week and half period I read through Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. Now, for me, that’s a lot! I’m not an incredibly fast reader, and I tend to be even slower when reading Scripture.
How then, do you ask, did such a slow reader make it through so much Bible in so little time (you are asking that, aren’t you? )? Here’s my plan of attack. Currently I’m reading the NIV translation of the Bible, coupled by listening to the NIV on my Ipod. The version I’m listening to is Max McLean’s The Listener’s Bible.
Note: You need to match the version of the Bible you’re listening to with the version of the Bible you’re reading, otherwise it can have the reverse effect of helping you speed up your reading and heighten your retention rate.
I get roughly 7-11 chapters read in a sitting. Why? Because my eyes follow along the text as I hear it read. I can’t stop reading, because Max won’t stop speaking. At the beginning of each new chapter I pause it and write down a time marker (in case I want to jump to that chapter in the future). Also, because I’m doubling the sensory input (sight and sound), I retain more details and tend to catch things I wouldn’t if I only read silently (repetition of key words, phrases, etc.). With 2 sittings of Bible reading, I can get anywhere from 14-22 chapters read in a day.
Also, reading in this manner helps to paint the overall picture of the Old Testament. Since I can now read all of Deuteronomy and Joshua within a 2 day span, I can easily see the points of continuity and development. I can trace themes through the OT and, in fact, pick up the major plot lines (drawing to mind how they are all fulfilled in Christ) without have to settle for a 1 chapter here, 2 chapters there approach.
I encourage you to try this if you haven’t completed your Bible yet and have been trying for quite some time. It would cut down those Bible in a Year reading plans to mere months (or weeks, if you’re crazy). I especially recommend it for the Old Testament. Most Christians have read much more of the New Testament than Old (I know I’m guilty of this). And as a result we’ve become only “half-Bible” believers, weakening our worldview and witness. Most of the OT was written in a narrative form, i.e. they were to be read as stories, and read out loud. Hearing the Scriptures makes the stories come alive in a fresh way. And looking at the text while listening helps to keep us focused and retain more.
Downloading the OT straight from the listenersbible.com cost $34.95. It’s an investment and indeed well worth the price.
If you try this, please give me feedback. I’d love to know how this is working for you.
Ok, this is where you get to know a bit more about me personally. I don’t watch much television, but just a few minutes ago (right now it’s 8:22pm) I tuned in to the FOX news channel. I was about to look away when I noticed something, a drawing of Captian America. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this American comic book icon, he was created back in 1941 by the Marvel Comics corporation as a booster for both their sales as well as national morale. Now, this image of the Captian grabbed me because I love comic books. I draw, attended art schools at both the junior high and high school level, and have wanted to get into the business for the first 19 years of my life, before my interested veered in the direction of theology. So, when I see a comic book hero on a news channel I pay close attention.
Anyway, apparently something has happened to the Captain to warrant news coverage. The event? He’s dead! Captain America is dead!!! Argghhh!!! Marvel Comics has had a series going on for the past several months called Civil War, with Iron Man on one side, and Captian American on the other. I’ll spare you the details. But it seems like this news regarding the Captain is something that happens in the last issue of the 7 part series, an issue I do not own yet. Curse you, FOX news, you’ve ruined the plot twist for me!!!!!
That’s how you can tell that these people aren’t comic readers, they tell you major comic events on the day the issue is published, before most people get their chance to read it! Needless to say, this is not cool…
Hi, I’m Joseph Emmanuel Torres (which is why you’ll find stuff written here signed JET). I thought it would be nice to formally introduce myself to my readers (both of you!) I earned my Master’s Degree in Christian Thought at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. I also earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological studies at Nyack College (Manhattan Campus), in New York City (my home town).