Monday, December 15, 2008

This makes my day ...

This won't seem like a big deal to many of you, but it struck me as a thing of beauty.

Recently, a fellow named Keith Mathison posted a list of what he feels are the "Top 5 Commentaries on Ephesians" on the blog of Ligonier Ministries.

In particular, I was very pleasantly surprised by how Mathison handled the work of Harold Hoehner, a scholar whose views are different from his own. To be specific, Mathison is a covenant theology guy, and Hoehner is, like me, a dispensationalist (I actually took a course or two from Hoehner while I was at Dallas Seminary).

Now behold:

Mathison writes with maturity and magnanimity. I understand that he is addressing a Reformed/covenantal audience, so I am not offended that he feels compelled to warn them about Hoehner's 'dispensationalism shining through.' I would do the same if I were presenting a covenantal text to a group of laity at my own church.

And I find it very big of Mathison that he can still recommend Hoehner's work, as something that contains material that will benefit his audience, even though he knows they will have to be discerning in their use of it.

Instead of hardening me in my own hermeneutical stance, I am drawn by Mathison's charity to open up to the claims of his tradition, and to dialogue. This is the way forward.

Thank you, Keith Mathison, for showing us how to agree to disagree. We need much more of this kind of thing in the evangelical 'discussion' that takes place on- and offline.


Allen R. Mickle, Jr. said...

I think Hoehner's commentary is probably the best on the book although quite detailed. I used it with much profit when studying Ephesians

Chris Ross said...

Thanks for the quick review, Allen.

Dave Sarafolean said...

I apologize for the lateness of this comment -- I haven't visited for a while.

If I am not mistaken I think that Keith Mathison is from a dispensational background (he may have even studied at DTS). Somewhere along the way he and R.C. Sproul crossed paths. Now he is heavily involved at Ligonier Ministries.

I hope that this will shed some light on him and his review of this commentary.

Chris Ross said...

Dave S., thanks for the info. That would certainly explain Mathison's openness to Hoehner's work. I wonder how he would then get along at Ligonier ...

Dave Sarafolean said...


Well...I think that Mathison's views have changed. He wrote a book entitled "Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God" (1995 Presbyterian and Reformed). I haven't read the book so I cannot comment on its contents. He wrote a good book on The Lord's Supper entitled, "Given for You" (Presbyterian and Reformed). I have read a good portion of that book and found it very helpful. He has another book out on eschatology (hyper-preterism) which I haven't read. It was published in 2004 by Presbyterian and Reformed and is entitled, "When Shall These Things Be?" It looks he was the editor of this volume which features essays by Strimple, Kistemaker, Sproul, and Pratt to name a few.

Hope this helps.

He and Sproul seem to be in agreement on most things.

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