Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Contradictions in the Biblical Text? A Concise Answer.

Dr. Micheal Licona, a NT Historian, gives a concise answer to the question if there are contradictions in the canonical gospels.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who wrote Ephesians?

(Theater is Ephesus) Image Library. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009.
           Ephesians clearly starts off as Paul identifying himself as the main source behind the letter stating, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, the saints in Ephesus[1] (Eph 1:1 NIV84), but some have called into question if this is actually true starting with F. C Baur in 1845.[2]  Dianne Bergant and Robert J. Karris imply that the      author is unknown claiming someone put Paul’s name at the beginning to make specific point.  They write, “By writing in Paul’s name, the author clearly wanted to anchor his or her own teaching in the apostolic tradition.”[3]  NT Historian and Textual Critic Bart Ehrman, being more forthright, labels Ephesians as a “Deutero-Pauline” letter along with several Colossians and 1st Thessalonians.[4] One of the objections some make that there is not a direct Paul did not have a direct connection to the penning of Ephesians cite a lack of, according to the Apologetics Study Bible, “..personal references that are present in most of Paul’s other letters to churches.[5] 

           However, there are good arguments for Pauline authorship. 1) He refers twice that he is the one writing or being the direct source behind the letter (Eph 1:1, 3:1). 2) He refers to being in prison stating, “for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”(Eph 6:20NIV84)  3) The differences that skeptical scholars point out have reasonable explanations for example in Ephesians 4:11 Paul acknowledges that there are five types of spiritual gifts.  He states, “
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” (Eph 4:11 NIV84)  However, in the Pauline corpus(well recognized letters being authored by Paul), Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 have many gifts these letters list thus some coming to the conclusion Ephesians was written later since the list of recognized gifts is more structured and less charismatic.[6]  However, a reasonable explanation can be offered for this difference as commentator Walter Liefield proposes:
In the Pastoral Epistles, also claimed to be later, spiritual endowment was conveyed by the laying on of hands along with prophecy (1 Tim 4:14). This is a practice consistent with the charismatic emphasis in the Corinthian letters. Conversely, although 1 Corinthians 12:4–11 mentions a number of spiritual gifts, verses 28–30 of that chapter refers to a limited group of leaders like that in Ephesians 4:11.[7]

 These reasons and more have led commentators like Walter L. Liefeld that “…the epistle was indeed written by Paul the apostle.”[8]

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), Eph 1:1.
[2] Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1761.
[3] Dianne Bergant and Robert J. Karris, The Collegeville Bible Commentary : Based on the New American Bible With Revised New Testament (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1989), 1188.
[4]Ehrman, Bart D. (2009-01-23). Misquoting Jesus (p. 219). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
[5] Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1761.
[6] Walter L. Liefeld, vol. 10, Ephesians, The IVP New Testament commentary series (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997).
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Health Care, Supreme Court, and the Commerce Clause

This week, the Supreme Court will hear 6 hours of oral arguments on the question if parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (which has been branded “Obamacare”) are constitutional.[1]  Lower courts have come to different conclusions.[2]  One of the major questions is can congress mandate Americans to buy health insurance.  Some say the can under what is called the “Commerce Clause” in the constitution which states that congress are, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes[3]” Others would say that there are limitations to this clause which the founders never meant for congress to overstep.  The Supreme Court has given more time for oral arguments in this case then other cases they hear.  This is really the first case of its kind when dealing with the Commerce Clause.  It will be interesting to see what their decision will be when it is decided in a few months.   

[2] Ibid
[3] The Constitution of the United States of America, elecronic ed. (Oak Harbor WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1998).

Friday, March 16, 2012

What are Resonable Accomodations?

What are reasonable accommodations?  Reasonable accommodations, according to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, are modifications which may, “…include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted.”[1]
Accommodations vary from college to college as in one study most professionals agreed that accommodations should be provided in the class room, but to what degree varied.[2]  However, in another study up to 25% of the professors polled stated that, “…faculty should not accept alternative assignments or provide copies of lecture notes to students with ADHD.” [3] Why accommodations vary or even be denied is a question for which I could not find an answer, but ADHD students do benefit from accommodations.[4] Noël Gregg and Donald D Deshler suggest a possible answer to this question: “The most significant barrier facing individuals qualified to receive specific accommodations is the lack of professional knowledge about issues pertaining to these accommodations.”[5] 
However, I think professionals within the realm of upper academia want individuals with ADHD to succeed in school as those with ADHD typically rate just as intelligent or above compared to their peers (Non-ADHD). [6]  Unfortunately, it seems few with learning disabilities (like ADHD) use academic disability services.[7]  There seems to be some truth to what Gregg and Deshler suggest. If there is an underdeveloped understanding of what accommodations are by those who will be the gatekeepers (Deans, Professors, etc) to those accommodations then this poses a major problem.  My prayer is that college institutions seek to understand accommodation law and what needs to be done to follow it.

[2] Vance and Weynandt cite a study done by Nelson, Dodd, and Smith writing, “Nelson, Dodd, and Smith11 sought to evaluate the instructional practices of faculty when students with learning disabilities were present in the classroom, as well as to identify if differences in willingness to accommodate students were apparent among the academic departments. A questionnaire sent to 141 faculty in a northwestern college indicated that
faculty were willing to provide accommodations to students with learning disabilities. Responses varied, however, on what type of accommodations should be provided.” Vance, Teresa Ann, and Lisa Weyandt. 2008. "Professor Perceptions of College Students With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." Journal Of American College Health 57, no. 3: 303-308
[3]  Ibid
[4] David Kraft reports that, “Although ADHD students often showed strengths in attitudes, information processing, and the use of study aids, they had weaknesses in test strategies, selecting main ideas, and concentration, compared to their peers. Many students with ADHD benefited from accommodations for standardized testing and classroom testing (such as extended time to overcome distractibility and slow processing speed), small group or individual teaching methods (to overcome distractibility), and/or computerized documents (to counteract cognitive-organizational problems). Teachers may also want to use oral exams, take-home projects, or more frequent exams covering smaller amounts of material with ADHD students.“ Kraft, David P. "Nonmedication Treatments for Adult ADHD: Evaluating Impact on Daily Functioning and Well-being, by J. Russell Ramsay, PhD." Journal of American College Health 59, no. 1 (2010): 57-9;  There can also be a inference argued that ADHD students do not usually finish secondary education reasonable accommodations would greatly help.  Reaser, Abigail, Prevatt, Petscher, and Proctor write, “Students of all ages with ADHD are at risk for academic achievement problems and school failure and are less likely to complete a postsecondary education (Barkley, 1998; Faraone, Biederman, &Lehman, 1993; Gaub & Carlson, 1997).”  Reaser, Abigail, Frances  Prevatt, Yaacov Petscher, and Briley Proctor. 2007. "The learning and study strategies of college students with ADHD." Psychology In The Schools 44, no. 6: 627-638
[5] Gregg, Noël; Deshler PhD, Donald D. (2009-01-16). Adolescents and Adults with Learning Disabilities and ADHD (Kindle Locations 348-351). Guilford Press. Kindle Edition.
[6] Prevatt, Frances, Abigail Reaser, Briley Proctor, and Yaacov Petscher. "The Learning/Study Strategies of College Students with ADHD." The ADHD Report 15, no. 6 (2007): 6-9
[7] Meaux, J. B., Green, A. A., & Broussard, L. L. (2009). ADHD in the college student: a block in the road. Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, 16(3), 248-256