Month: November 2007

Heart Issues on the Heiser/Bokovoy Exchange, Part 3

p1050674_edited-1.jpgFive Page Discussion


Todd: After briefly touching on the coining of such terms as monotheism, inclusive monotheism, tolerant monolatry, incipient monotheism, and henotheism, Heiser urges the unusual language for evangelicals to describe Israel’s religion,

The proposal offered here is that scholars should stop trying to define Israel’s religion with singular, imprecise modern terms and instead stick to describing what Israel believed. Monotheism as it is currently understood means that no other gods exist. This term is inadequate for describing Israelite religion, but suggesting it be done away with would no doubt cause considerable consternation among certain parts of the academic community, not to mention the interested laity. Henotheism and monolatry, while perhaps better, are inadequate because they do not say enough about what the canonical writer believed. Israel was certainly monolatrous, but that term comments only on what Israel believed about the proper object of worship, not what it believed about Yahweh’s nature and attributes with respect to the other gods (239).

Undergirding this would be the persuasion of Heiser calling for greater exactness on the use of elohim in Scripture.

We have fortunately become accustomed to talking and writing about the word elohim with imprecision. Since the word is often used as proper noun in the Hebrew Bible, and since we have used a modern term like monotheism to define what Israelites believed, letting the text say what it plainly says—that there are multiple elohim—has become a painful, fearful experience for evangelicals. This phobia can be (and should be) cured by letting the text of the Hebrew Bible hold sway over our theology (240).

Within the spiritual plane of elohim, Heiser includes (Israelite) YHWH-EL (Deut. 4:35), sons of God (Ps. 82:1, 6), demons (Deut. 32:17), and human disembodied dead (I Sam. 28:13). Of course, Heiser distinguishes the unbridgeable, ontological chasm between YHWH and other elohim. “Yahweh is an elohim, but no other elohim are Yahweh. Yahweh is haelohim.”

In looking at what Heiser is suggesting, should we consider this as a radically new outlook? I don’t particularly see this as painful or fearful, especially with our current church family book studies and what we have been learning in John’s Gospel on Sunday morning, Genesis on Sunday evening, and Isaiah on Wednesday evening. (more…)

2007 LDS and Baptist Movies on Repentance

In an age of fast action, I am sure that the middling non-religious American would lump both of these new DVD releases as boring drivel.  But many Baptist families have been watching Flywheel (2007 Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany, Georgia), whereas many LDS families have been enjoying Turn Around (2007 Candlelight Media Group).

John Bytheway speaks of Turn Around as “a nice story of repentance, forgiveness and perseverance!”

And yet so is Flywheel.

I have watched them both.  And though the LDS flick involves conversion change in a teen while the evangelical flick centers on the conversion change in a father, I would be interested in the responses of my LDS friends who have viewed them both. (more…)

Heart Issues on the Heiser/Bokovoy Exchange, Part 2

Todd:  Michael Heiser writes,

Even the fact that elohim in Exodus 22:8 agrees with a plural predicator does not force us to interpret haelohim in that verse as referring to a group.  The noun elohim plus plural predication occurs in one of nine instances of which I am aware in the Hebrew Bible [8].  For now, it should be noted that only one of them might indicate divine beings, but that is shaky at best and would only serve to argue in my favor here [9] (229). (more…)