Sermon: “A Newer, Truer Hope”

This is the audio (31:10, 28.5 MB) of a sermon delivered at First Presbyterian Church of Norristown, PA, entitled, “A Newer, Truer Hope.” The text is John 10:22-39, which describes an encounter between Jesus and zealous Jews on the occasion of the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah).

Audio: ©2017 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.

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Sermon: “What Gain Is There?”

This is the audio (37:13, 34.1MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 19 entitled, “Toil Under the Sun: What Gain Is There?”

The sermon is in part the fruit of my study in preparation for the Hebrew Wisdom and Poetry course at LCC this past term. I set out to compare two core texts in Psalms and Proverbs with three troublesome passages from Ecclesiastes.

Audio and text: ©2016 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.

Sermon: “The Wrong Kind of Glory”

This is the audio (35:53, 32.8MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 28 entitled, “The Wrong Kind of Glory.” The text is 2 Corinthians 11:16-33. I cite N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God as the source of the notion of the corona muralis parody in verses 30-33.

Here is an excerpt of the sermon:

Paul speaks to the Corinthian church about this impulse to gain the respect and admiration of others, and to have that respect live on beyond our earthly days. He speaks to them harshly but playfully, even sarcastically, because their idea of glory and respect is so skewed away from what it should be. He shows them how absurd their expectations are, but points them instead to his own example as an apostle, and to the example of the Messiah who laid down his life to rescue them.

Audio and text: ©2015 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.

Sermon: “A Future and a Hope?”

This is the audio (32:05, 29.3MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 28 entitled, “A Future and a Hope?” The text is Jeremiah 29:1-14. Dedicated readers of THTW know that I Love Ruining Bible Verses; this sermon fleshes out some ideas in that post.

Here is an excerpt:

The danger in taking the promises in verse 11 out of context and applying them directly to our lives is that we can so easily replace God’s plans, God’s future, and God’s hope with our plans, our future, and our hope. God is the sovereign Lord of all his creation, including me. He doesn’t have to conform his plans for my life to my plans for my life; he can use me however he chooses. Even when he makes promises to his people because of the special covenant relationship he has with them, he doesn’t always fulfill them as we would want them fulfilled. I’m sure that the exiles in Babylon would not have chosen seventy years, if it had been up to them.

And yet, when we accept God’s plans for our future, we can see that they are infinitely better than our own plans. Yes, God brought Israel back from exile—but things were never as glorious for them as they had hoped. In fact, the spiritual state of exile continues on for hundreds of years–interestingly, in the book of Daniel chapter 9, Daniel is praying based on this Jeremiah passage, and an angel tells him that the exile is not 70 years, but 70 times 7 years! But when the fullness of time had come, Paul says in Galatians, God came to them directly, in the person of Jesus Christ, to rescue his people from their spiritual exile and bondage to sin. That promise of rescue from exile, and a future hope of resurrection from the dead, is offered to all who confess their sin and throw all their hope and trust in Jesus.

Audio and text: ©2015 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.

#12: Dating and Interpreting the Book of Daniel

Benj and Bekah discuss the merits of a 6th- or 5th-century date for the Book of Daniel (MT) vs. a 2nd-century date for the book, as well as the implications for interpretation and the authority of this book of scripture.

Further Reading:

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Essay: “When Nothing Arrives”

Rebekah has a great new piece at her blog, “The Doxological Life,” entitled, “When Nothing Arrives.” An excerpt:

“My generation knows it needs to find a different kind of knowing, not one that is necessarily antithetical to Christian dogma, but one that sees faith, doubt, and dogma working together. But we are often at a loss as to how to rebuild our faith without resorting to cookie-cutter answers and insincere platitudes in responses to real suffering and tough theological problems. We’re so scared of resorting to the unfettered dogmatism of our forebears that we go in the opposite direction. Uncertainty and doubt become their own kinds of dogmatism, their own creeds.”

#11: Boiling the Paschal Sacrifice, or, Inner-Biblical Harmonistic Exegesis

Bekah and Benj discuss the apparent tension between the methods of cooking the Passover sacrifice (and the type of sacrifice) prescribed in Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16. We address the phenomenon of inner-biblical exegesis, particularly the Chronicler’s harmonistic exegesis of these two passages in 2 Chronicles 35. Along the way, we discuss why “someone is wrong on the internet” and how to solve this problem.

The texts in question:

  • “They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire (צלי־אשׁ), and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water (בשׁל מבשׁל במים), but rather roasted with fire (כי אם־צלי אשׁ), both its head and its legs along with its entrails” (Exod 12:8-9).
  • “You shall boil (ובשׁלת) and eat it in the place which the LORD your God chooses” (Deut 16:7a).
  • The Chronicler has harmonized the two traditions by specifying that it was “boiled with fire” (ויבשׁלו הפסח באשׁ כמשׁפט).

Further Reading:

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