Semanatorul 1-1

Semănătorul (The Sower)

The Journal of Ministry and Biblical Research

Emanuel University of Oradea, Romania

Volume 1, Number 1.

Articles published by the Faculty of Theology in Emanuel University of Oradea, and International Contributors, March 2020.

‘One Name Under Heaven’: Towards an Evangelical Response to Religious Pluralism

David Luke

ABSTRACT It is generally accepted that today we live in a pluralist society. It is not  just that society is plural in its variety of cultures, religions and lifestyles which it embraces, but in the sense that this plurality is celebrated as something to be approved and cherished. The New Testament proclaimed the message of salvation through Jesus and the exclusivity of that salvation. The result of these exclusivist claims was that the relationship between Christianity and other belief systems was at odds with each other. The majority of Evangelicals  ave sought to maintain this historic exclusivist approach of the Christian message. This article will examine some of the options from Christian scholars who favour a less rigorist position. It will then deal with what remain key sticking points for Evangelicals. Finally, it will suggest a New Testament approach that can help to shape our understanding of other religions. First, however, there is brief survey of some of the factors which have led to the popularisation of pluralism as a way to think about religious faith. KEY WORDS: Religion, pluralism, exclusivism, Evangelicals, salvation.

Roots, Shoots and Fruits: character, commands  and consequences in biblical ethics

Paul Coulter ABSTRACT This article focuses upon ethical issues, the challenges to Christian faith and witness in the present postmodern culture. It notes how with the present generation, there has been a shift towards moral relativism, with the State protecting the rights of autonomous individuals to choose their own path in  ife. In such a society there is a need for clarity about the nature of biblical  thics  and its relationship to the gospel and the mission of the Church. This  article provides a brief historical overview of ethical theories, which are  grouped into three major types, depending on whether their primary concern is the character of the person, duties to which the person is bound, or consequences of the person’s actions. It aims to provide a biblically faithful framework for approaching ethical issues, using the image of a fruit tree which is developed in a way that integrates virtue, deontological and consequentialist concerns. Reference is made to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 and Paul’s ethical teaching in Ephesians 5. Good roots in the character of God, can, through obedience to the Scriptures, produce good shoots which can result in good fruits, for the glory of God and the good of others. KEY WORDS: Postmodern culture, Biblical ethics, the character of God, obedience to the law, the Spirit.

The God of Qohelet: Positive Divine Attributes for an Age of Technology

Dr. Aurelian Botica ABSTRACT The book Ecclesiastes has been regarded as one of the most profound pieces of “wisdom” literature in the ancient Orient. It rivals in depth and the courage to challenge the institutional status quo with the literature from Mesopotamia and Egypt. It has puzzled readers in the last three millennia with its unparalleled courage to ask uncomfortable questions about faith, gods and humanity. Ironically, many of the questions that Ecclesiastes asked have found reverberations in the hearts of post-modern men and women today. On the one hand, the author affirms his belief that one can discern the “hand of God” dispensing justice even in the most tragic of circumstances. On the other hand, Ecclesiastes confesses that, even though he applied his heart “to know wisdom and to know madness and folly,” in the end he perceived “that this also is but a striving after wind.” His conclusion? “Vanity of vanities: all is vanity!” Statements like these have compelled us to approach Ecclesiastes in order to find the equilibrium in his vision between “despair” and “hope.” To do so, we will select a number of divine attributes that offer clarity not only to the vision of God in Ecclesiastes, but also to the sensitive issues of the meaning of life, suffering, justice, death and eternity. In the course of our analysis we will examine the views of contemporary scholars who have written on this subject. We will show how Ecclesiastes’ vision takes into account human suffering and despair, without sacrificing the integrity of hope. KEY WORDS: Ecclesiastes, death, creation, God, immortality.

Theology and Technology: Biblical and Practical Aspects

Ovidiu Hanc ABSTRACT The article seeks to define technology showing that it can be a tool which can be of practical use for humanity or can be of spiritual help or hindrance to believers. Consideration is given to the use of technology in the OT and NT, including its wrongful use. Technology and ethics present opportunities to discuss its rightful or wrongful use as it provides an appropriate framework for sin i.e., the internet. The article also considers information technology and how it has advanced the gospel but also how the use of online facilities leaves believers open to the neglect of real relationships and fellowship. Technology brings unexpected benefits but also unimaginable pitfalls in the area of consumerism and materialism. KEY WORDS: the definition of technology, internet, evangelism, consumerism, use for the glory of God.

Biblical – Pedagogical Foundations in the Training of the Church Musician for the Romanian Twenty-First Century Evangelical Church

Gary Methena ABSTRACT This article examines the biblical-pedagogical foundations related to the training of church musicians to serve the Romanian Evangelical church. The examination will centre around three pillars of Christian higher education taken from three pivotal pedagogical passages from the teachings of Christ as He prepared His disciples to become the worship leaders in the early church: (1) the process of Christian higher education is delineated in the Great  Commandment, (2) the purpose of Christian higher education is defined in the Great Commission, and (3) the product of higher education is described in the Sermon on the Mount. An examination of these three pillars of Christian higher education will reveal relevant principles that can be applied by Emanuel University in the training of its church musicians for effective ministry in the modern culture. KEY WORDS: worship leader, Emanuel University training, Great Commandment, Great Commission, the Sermon on the Mount.

Missional Witness in Modern Society: Principles from the Epistle to Titus 2:1-15.

Hamilton Moore ABSTRACT God does everything in his time. Both comings of Christ have not only been Divinely Planned but Divinely Timed. In Titus 2 Paul, in writing to his younger missionary colleague regarding both comings, outlines how the Christians in  the young churches of Crete were to live between the times. In this article we will look for some statements which we can take as reflecting the cultural and social life of the people of Crete and note Paul’s teaching given to Titus as to how he ought to direct the Christians as to their mission lifestyle on the island. Finally, we can consider what we can learn from the situation then and note principles which would be helpful for our own responsibilities in missional witness in the twenty-first century. KEY WORDS: mission, lifestyle, zeal for good works, the appearances of Christ, sound doctrine.

Inerrancy and Love: a Theological Exercise of Interpreting the Resistance of the Bible to Interpretation in Modern  Thinking.

Călin-Ioan Taloș ABSTRACT Recent research on Biblical criticism, highlighting certain controversial parts in the Bible, reveal that there is a wide range of conflicting interpretations with regard to Holy Scripture. As a consequence of these, the notion of inerrancy  has been revisited, the Scriptures’ supernatural character has been examined and their degree of reliability has been re-evaluated. In what follows, I will analyse a series of theological views which are more or less close to the twenty-five inerrantist theses formulated at Chicago in 1978, with the purpose that, in the end, based on the Biblical concept of divine love, I will propose a succinct interpretation affirming the divinity and humanity of Scripture. KEY WORDS: Biblical Criticism, interpretation, inerrancy, canon, authority of Scripture