Monday, October 30, 2006

Finally, Apostolic Succession!

Does my shaking the hand of N.T. Wright (the "right hand of fellowship") and shooting the breeze with him for five minutes constitute Apolstolic Succession? Does the applying of his hand to my shoulder (his right hand, mind you--the one with his bishop's ring) transfer the bishop's power and authority? Is one hand enough? Does his parting words, "God bless you," count as the finally blessing/benediction and the fulfillment of my apostolic-succession ordination? I would tend to believe it does! Finally, Apostolic Succession!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Philippians 1:15-18 and The New York Times Best Sellers

Out of the 71 books listed on the New York Times' Best Sellers lists this past Sunday, 7 of them (nearly 10%) are dealing with Jesus in some way.

Hardcover Fiction: #1 The Di Vinci Code; Hardcover Non-Fiction: #5 Misquoting Jesus; Hardcover Non-Fiction: #12 What Jesus Meant; Paperback Fiction: #14 Angels and Demons; Paperback Non-Fiction: #13 Holy Blood, Holy Grail; Paperback Non-Fiction: #15 The End of Faith; Hardcover "How -To:" #2 The Purpose-Driven Life.

In Philippians 1:15-18 Paul says,

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love...The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition...But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

The question is: Would Paul rejoice after seeing the New York Times Best Seller lists? I believe that he would knowing that the resurrected Lord of the cosmos was being considered by people in some form or another!

Monday, March 20, 2006

What St. Paul Really Didn't Say: Ephesians 6:10-17

The Rev. Scott Strickman gears up to demonstrate to his congregation that the "Armor of God" is more readily available than most believe.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Four Steps on Becoming a "Full Professor" (a Photo Journal)

Step One: There must be at least one godly dressed man in the crowd!

(Left to right: Rev. Craig Higgins, Dr. Tremper Longman III, the godly dressed man, Dr. Pete Enns, Dr. Dan McCartney)

Step Two: One must be able to adopt the 1980's fluff-hit "The Lady in Red" as a theme song.

Step Three: At least two heretics must be present.

(Left to "right:" Dr. Douglas Green and Dr. John Franke)

Step Four: And the ridiculous looking hat award goes to...?
Rev. Craig Higgins

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Paying Homage Where, When and to Whom Homage Is Due

Professor Douglas Green assumes the proper posture when confronted by newly ordained Rev. Matthew Paul Buccheri. Douglas--who obviously understands the significance of apostolic succession--kneels to kiss the ring of the good Rev'd.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Huckster Finnster the Hipster

If Mark Twain had been born a century later in Williamburg, Brooklyn, then the title of his great work most likely would have been "Huckster Finnster the Hipster." Huckster's haberdasher would have insisted that he sport a trucker cap (slightly off center), a 1970's pin-stripe suit jacket (a bit too small), along with Levis (with grease stains), while kicking around with Pro Cons (Chuck Taylor's) as his rides. These clothing items would have replaced his straw weave hat, the suit that the widow Douglas purchased for him and his bare feet.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Redeemer Times NYC Equals Orthodoxy?

After months and months of phone calls, Michael Luo--the new religion-beat writer for the New York Times--finally hunted down Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and convinced him to cooperate for a front page article in the Sunday Times Metro Section. Most of you might be asking: Why would Keller (or any pastor) disapproave of such exposure? The truth is, Redeemer shies away from the media since it is a church of 4500 and growing.

What might be more interesting than the article itself (an article which I personally found to be a bit flat), is that Luo, an "evangelical" himself, has communicated to the Times that they need to take religion in general and "evangelicals" in particular more seriously. The Times for many years has associated evangelicals with mainstream American fundamentalism, and as a result, mocked this group of readers. But if you can recall, one of the subtexts of the article was to clearly point out Redeemer's discomfort with the term "evangelical" due to all the cultural baggage attached to it, and instead opt for the term "orthodoxy." Personally, I'm more comfortable with the term "orthodoxy" too, since it connects the church at large and Redeemer in particular to the historic Christian church of all times and all places.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Yes Bart, We Know! (And Have Always Known!)

Bart Ehrman, a NT scholar from North Carolina University, Chapel Hill, has recently published a new book entitled, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. The book--for the most part--is a conglomeration of all the well-known textual critical issues in the NT. The question the book leaves me with at this point in my reading (about half-way through) is: Why did Ehrman write this book?

It seems Ehrman is making another attempt to rattle the evangelical world--to remind evangelicals that the Bible that they read is riddled with "problems." It would be difficult in this brief review to interact with the many textual and transmissional issues that Ehrman touches on. What I can do, however, is (briefly) interact with two thoughts from the back cover.

In Misquoting Jesus Ehrman reveals that:

- The King James Bible was based on corrupted and inferior manuscripts that in many cases do not accurately represent the meaning of the original text.

- The favorite Bible story of Jesus's forgiving the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11) doesn't belong in the Bible.

Guess what Bart...we know! We know the KJV and the Textus Receptus are "inferior." We know that John 8:3-11 may be a later gloss and that it's not included in the earliest of manuscripts! My questions is: So what?! Is the way of salvation offered in the gospel obscured by any of this? Not in the least!

My parting comment to Ehrman is for him to read Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by Peter Enns.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Parting with Tradition

Fundamentalism has greatly--and I mean severely--affected Reformed thinking in America. The Bible--thanks to the fundamentalists--has been reduced to propositional statements about God and most American Christians read their Bibles in an ahistorical fashion. Scholars in this camp have no problem with the study of history per se, but to read the Bible as an historical document is seen as a "liberal" endeavor. But much of the reformed world in America would have no problem allying itself with the great founder of Twentieth-Century reformed thinking, J. Gresham Machen. But what does Machen himself believe?

The student of the New Testament should be primarily an historian. The centre and core of the Bible is history. Everything else that the Bible contains is fitted into an historical framework and leads to an historical climax.


Give up history, and you can retain some things. You can retain a belief in God. But philosophical theism has never been a powerful force in the world. You can retain a lofty ethical ideal. But be perfectly clear about one point--you can never retain a gospel. For gospel means 'good news', tidings, information about something that has happened. A gospel independent of history is simply a contradiction in terms.

Could it be any clearer?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Ordination and Installation of Reverend Matthew Paul Buccheri as Assistant Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC: January 22, 2006

After looking at this photo, some of you may be filled with disbelief, even with horror. Others, on the other hand--especially those who have supported my ministry efforts over the years--may be celebrating with me. Whatever the case (and whoever you may be), the picture is real and this really happened (regardless of what your opinion may be). By God's grace and after 6 long years of preparation, not to mention "a little help from my friends," I was ordained and installed yesterday morning as an assistant pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC.

I want to take the time to thank some of you who participated in the ordination service: The Rev. John Lin for his winsome opening and preparation that set the tone for the entire service; the Rev. Scott Strickman for his challenging, yet personal charge (Heb 12:2-3); the Rev. Dr. Timothy Keller for his appropriate "ordination prayer;" the Rev. David Bisgrove for our budding friendship; the Rev. Terry Gyger for always believing that I had a place at Redeemer; Webster Younce (elder) for his continued friendship and support (and for agreeing to be the commission secratary); Charlie Oswal (elder) for wearing his Ranger's home jersey at my request. And lastly to Yi Ya my wife and Hannah my daughter--no other two people have supported me more!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nick Perrin on Guy Waters in the New WTJ

For those of you who haven't heard, Nick Perrin (Asst. Prof. at Wheaton; formerly at Biblical; and formerly N.T. Wright's research assistant at Westminter Abbey) has just published a book review/critique of Guy Waters' "Justification and the New Perspective."

Perrin is more than fair as he points out Waters' unfairness. He points out that Waters' tone is less than Christian and inflammatory. Here's an excerpt:

First, it goes without saying that the book must be assessed not only for what it says, but for how it says what it says. On this score, even those who are sympathetic to Waters's conclusions would have to concede the book provides an unhelpful model as to how one engages in theological discussion. Inflammatory assertions like, '[I]ronically, it is the ignorance of historical theology on the part of Wright and other scholars that prompts them to make such affirmations...' is simply disrespectful and as such, sub-Christian (1 Peter 3:15-16).

This has always been a major critique of the Reformed critics of the NPP.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Ordination and Installation as Assistant Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church

By God's grace--and it's nothing less--I passed my ordination exams this past Saturday and will be ordained and installed as assiatant pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC on January 22, 2005. As for my ordination exam, all I can say is that it was very fair! And as for my ordination and installation service, Rev. John Lin will be introducing me and reading me my vows; Rev. Scott Strickman will be giving me my charge; and the Rev. Dr. Tim Keller will be praying the ordination prayer itself.