D. William Springer (author), Bruce Guenther (thesis supervisor), Archie Spencer (second reader), Craig Allert (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
This thesis examines apostolic memory and the manner in which these memories were leveraged in the early church. Chapter One provides a summary of the apostolic portrait in the New Testament and charts all references to the twelve among the apostolic fathers, through to Justin and Hegesippus. These writers reveal a view of the apostles distinguished primarily for their honoured role as Christ’s messengers. Chapter Two demonstrates how Irenaeus utilized apostolic memory in such a way that led to an all-encompassing apostolic identity for the church. This development is compared with Tertullian’s ideas, and the comparison reveals a marked difference in emphasis and strategy. In contrast to Irenaeus, Tertullian minimized apostolic referencing and identification, and instead utilized language more dependent on Christocentric identity. These differences are explained in Chapter Three, which argues that the key point of differentiation was the writers’ perspectives on the apostles’ empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Paul R. Foth (author), Bruce L. Guenther (thesis supervisor), Robert K. Burkinshaw (second reader), Don M. Lewis (third reader), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
Beginning in the late twentieth century, some evangelical Protestants in America turned to historic Catholic saints as inspirational exemplars of Christian faith. A surprisingly diverse range of American evangelicals appealed to Saint Francis of Assisi because he was perceived as a quintessentially authentic Christian. Saint Francis provided historical justification for some of these evangelicals’ own ideals of Christian discipleship, and served as an example for inspiration and emulation as they navigated contemporary American culture and the evolving evangelical movement. This thesis examines a range of American evangelical appropriations of Saint Francis of Assisi from 1972 to 2013, focusing on several sub-groups or movements within American evangelicalism. This examination of the evangelical reception of Saint Francis of Assisi contributes to a deeper understanding of evangelical Protestant interactions with Catholic spirituality, while also illuminating changing evangelical conceptions of what constitutes true Christian faith.
Janick Fortier (author), Andrew Krause (thesis supervisor), Robert J. V. Hiebert (second reader), Lissa M. Wray Beal (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
How does one differentiate between true and false prophets? The Bible gives numerous criteria for such discernment, but biblical scholars have long recognized the challenge to their applicability. Focusing on the book of Jeremiah, my investigation leads me toward a clearer understanding of what constitute a true prophet and a list of criteria on how to distinguish them from false prophets. My criteria bring attention primarily to the person and the message of the prophet. These criteria do not eliminate all doubts for all prophetic claims, but I argue that they prove to be useful enough to inspire confidence for the assessment of prophets. It is my contention that complexity and difficulties should not lead one to conclude that prophetic discernment is impossible. Like in many more areas, discernment criteria expect the use of prudence and wisdom in their application.
Douglas Dunbar (author), Robert Hiebert (thesis supervisor), Larry Perkins (second reader), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution), Dirk Büchner (external examiner)
Well-written narratives communicate more than information. What a story communicates is as important as how the story communicates. The narrative flow of a story engages the reader in the action. Narrative conventions assist the reader in connecting prior knowledge or experience with the story. Authors also make linguistic decisions as to how the story is conveyed. The syntax of clauses, sentences, paragraphs and whole documents conveys the story to the reader in expected, and at times unexpected, ways. This study merges narrative and text-linguistic exegetical methods in the reading of Exodus 2-4. Text-linguistics, the primary method employed, examines the syntax of the story in an effort to understand how the language has been employed in the communicative act. These observations are then combined with narrative observations: characterization, plot, type-scenes, and connections with other stories within the same work, in this case the Pentateuch.
Joel F. Korytko (author), Larry J. Perkins (thesis supervisor), Robert J. V. Hiebert (second reader), Dirk Büchner (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
Septuagint Exodus has long been recognized as an outlier when it comes to the general rigidity and stereotypical translation practices found in other books within the LXX corpus. The general freedom exhibited by the translator, though expressed within careful limits, is well-documented when it comes to grammatical, syntactical, and lexicographical evaluations. This thesis, while engaging in the descriptive analysis of these topics, is also directed towards a new type of synthesis: a comparison of the translation with Ptolemaic legal norms. It is due to the idiosyncrasies and anomalies arising from a translation-technical analysis that the question is asked, “Could these differences be accounted for by consulting Greek legal and societal standards?” With respect to Exodus 21.1-32, the answer in many cases is, “Yes.” This study demarcates these potential influences on a verse by verse basis after briefly identifying the broader legal structures and forces at play in Ptolemaic Egypt.
Suzette Benjamin (author), Archibald Spencer (thesis supervisor), Ken Radant (second reader), Ross Hastings (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
Karl Barth claims in Church Dogmatics that calling upon God as Father in prayer (invocation) is exemplary human action. Barth’s treatment of prayer in this way provides a different vantage point on the topic of prayer than is often studied in contemporary Christian scholarship, where Christian prayer is studied to establish its devotional or community value. Barth’s presentation of prayer is worth studying because it reveals prayer as the vehicle through which humans learn about themselves and about God. Moreover, prayer reveals God’s divine nature as He connects with the Christian pray-er. Barth calls this relationship between God and the Christian divine–human correspondence. My focus is to explore Barth’s theology to determine the significance of prayer in the context of divine–human correspondence and then to relate it to prayer in everyday Christian life. I conclude that prayer, as effective human action, is inherent to human correspondence with God.
Rob AJ Blazecka (author), Archie Spencer (thesis supervisor), Bruce Guenther (second reader), Craig Allert (third reader), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
This thesis is an attempt to articulate Tertullian’s principles of hermeneutics. It gathers relevant statements from across his recognized works, and attempts to synthesize his thought on hermeneutics. What emerges are eight principles that determine his Scriptural interpretation. In the first chapter, Tertullian’s treatises are placed in the literary context of classical rhetoric, and an argument is advanced that Tertullian took much influence from the rhetorical tradition, but does not uniformly conform to exact parameters of Ciceronian rhetoric. Rather, Tertullian is an original writer who synthesized classical rhetoric with the literary structures of the Scriptural canon as he saw it. The second chapter explores Tertullian’s view of the Scriptures, arguing that he held to a unified canon of writings that he understood to be God’s word. The third chapter is the mainstay of this thesis, and argues that many of Tertullian’s treatises are best read as a unified theological project. It is argued that many of his writings evince an effort on Tertullian’s part to apply hermeneutic principles to an array of theological topics, and thus may profitably be read as a concentrated literary effort in hermeneutics. Lastly, an attempt to state his hermeneutics in eight principles are explained and demonstrated.
Tyler J. R. Harper (author), Archie Spencer (thesis supervisor), Kenneth Radant (second reader), Ross Hastings (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
In opposition to the historical context of twentieth-century human centered religion, Karl Barth argues for a theologically based anthropology, fixing human self-knowledge on divine revelation and so constructing his understanding of humanity from within his Christology. In founding his concept of humanity on the reality of Christ, Barth is able to avoid the twin pitfalls of optimistic and pessimistic descriptions of humanity in the surrounding zeitgeist. Barth’s anthropology depicts the existence of true humanity as it is only made possible and represented by the person of Jesus Christ, who is simultaneously God for humanity and humanity for God. For Barth, this is humankind as it was created to be. This thesis examines Barth’s corpus to answer the question: Does a coherent theological treatment of humanity exist throughout Barth’s corpus, as it is grounded in the person of Jesus Christ?
Chris H. Christiansen (author), Paul Chamberlain (thesis supervisor), Kent Clarke (external examiner), Brian Rapske (second reader), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine and refute the arguments made by mythicists, who deny the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. It begins by investigating the historical development of myth. Next, it explores the history of mythicism since its inception in the eighteenth century. The penultimate chapter outlines the main criticisms that mythicists level against the Gospels; the final chapter responds to these arguments. There are two major findings of this thesis. First, the mythicists’ standard for evidence is not applied consistently. Second, they fail to show why their interpretations of the available data are better than more traditional approaches. The conclusion is that they do not provide sufficient reasons for doubting the existence of Jesus as a human in history.
Erika M. McAuley (author), Archie Spencer (thesis supervisor), Bruce Guenther (second reader), Christopher Morrissey (external examiner), Trinity Western University GSTS (Degree granting institution)
By his poetic declarations concerning Jesus Christ, Prudentius appeals to some as a flagship for fourth-century Nicene theology. This thesis investigates the poet’s concept of salvation to determine its congruity with Nicaea’s underlying soteriology. To that end, Athanasius’ Against the Gentiles-On the Incarnation and Prudentius’ Liber Cathemerinon are read in juxtaposition, drawing out and comparing theological themes. Prudentius exhibits an inherent fixation on the problem of sin and its effect on salvation. This diminishes the significance and hope offered by the Incarnation. Yet, Athanasius purports that Nicaea’s Christological proclamations are founded on God’s saving action in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, while the Christological confessions of Nicaea appear to prefigure the theology of Prudentius in his pastiche, Liber Cathemerinon, a closer analysis reveals that his conception of salvation is inconsistent with the underlying soteriological impetus of Nicene theology.