A Snyder’s Soapbox Review of, “When my Ox Gores my Neighbor: Using Hermeneutics to Travel from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Zion” by Josiah Nichols.

oxgore.jpeg

I was contacted by a mutual friend to do this review. Up until that point I had not heard of Josiah Nichols. This would be the first work that I have read of his. It might also be his first published work. It isn’t a long book, nor is it a book that requires a seminary education to read. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate how he employs hermeneutics to interpret, and derive applications from Exodus 21:28-32. The book is very evangelistic. I would say that it has been far more evangelistic than many theological books that I’ve recently read.

From reading the title, and the author’s intended goal treating the topic of hermeneutics, I expected a more in depth primer on hermeneutics, and a demonstration of the analytical methods of hermeneutics on the cited verses. While the author accomplished this goal, I think occasionally the author also got a little lost in some peripheral details.

It is also evident that the author is a big fan of Wretched Radio/TV and their work. Todd Friel is the host of the programs as well as the podcast. The people over there at Wretched have put out a number of very useful videos, and educational products. Josiah refers to, “Hermen Who?” numerous times throughout the book. Wretched should thank him for the plug 🙂 I liked both the book, and Wretched. I am a big fan of their work to, so I share that with the author.

The questions I consider for book purchases are, is it theologically accurate, and will it add value to the individual’s Christian library? That’s it. That’s how simple it is for me to decide, “yes” or “no” for a book. The answer to the first question is, yes this book is good and accurate if you are Reformed in your soteriology. If you are not, it is still accurate, and you are the one with the problem lol.  As far as value goes, it does add value to your library as a resource to loan out. This book is evangelistic. I would feel good handing this to someone who is new in the faith. It will teach them a bit about hermeneutics, and much more about other doctrines of God.

After reading it, I am still hard pressed to categorize this book, or write a more fitting title. The author does analyze Exodus 21:28-32. He does so accurately. He did not twist the scripture, or impose a meaning on it that was not intended by the author of scripture. It would be educational for a new Christian. I believe that was his intended audience. I look forward to seeing Josiah’s future projects. I think we will see bigger and better works from him. He was precise and nuanced without being rhetorical. Some theological books for laymen seem as if the authors had forgotten who their audience was. If Josiah reads this, “Keep up the good work.” You can pick up a copy of his book at Amazon, Christianbook, or Westbow to name a few. It can be purchased from many other online book retail sites.

ISBN-13: 978-1512782530

Proof-texting, its dangers, and benefits.

stephen-a-martyr-for-god_jpg_crop_display

            Proof-texting is the practice of quoting a verse, or verses from the text of the Bible, to support, or refute a doctrine.  This practice has been used by the orthodox and the heretic.  The dangers of proof-texting are varied and manifold.  With proper presuppositions proof-texting can be a valuable tool for supporting orthodox doctrines. 

            First, we will go over the problems with proof-texting.  The biggest problem is when a person or group starts with a false presupposition.  For example, a Mormon starts with the presupposition that Jesus is a created being.  They hold this false presupposition because they believe the words of a false prophet, and teacher in authority over God’s very own word.  The Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims, do the same thing. 

With this presupposition when they run into texts like John 3:16 “…For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life…”  They wrongly understand the word, “begotten” to mean that Jesus was the progeny of the Father.  They then, in turn use this as a proof-text for their false doctrine that deny the eternal deity of Jesus, in stark disregard for His proclamation of being the, “I Am.”  This, in turn requires more eisegesis, and proof-texting, in an attempt to refute the true doctrines, in conflict with their false ones.  When apologetically engaged with a heretic or cult member they are usually more than thrilled to proof-text ad nauseum.  This can quickly become counterproductive.  If this is done in a public forum it can be disastrous.  The onlookers could be convinced of the heretical doctrines.

            Our apologetics should be from a capable well rounded understanding of the entire Bible in its own context.  It should be founded on the presupposition that the Bible is the truth, and the authority, on What God has to say to man.  When we start with a true presupposition, and are exegetical in our reading of the Bible, we can proof-text like Paul to the Jews in Hebrews.  When proof-texting is done correctly it can win people’s minds to the truths of the Bible.  There is nothing like a good section of scripture quoted in context at the right time to hammer home sound doctrine.  God’s word is authoritative and when we speak truthfully with the authority of scripture it is a powerful thing to witness.