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Author Archives: Dr. Larry Dixon

About Dr. Larry Dixon

Seminary professor, teaching systematic theology and other topics. Grandfather, wicked tennis & table tennis player, love playing chess on letsplaychess.com. Please check out the six books I've written. "The heart cannot rejoiced in what the mind rejects as false!"

What animals are thinking #4 (scroll down)

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Posted by on April 19, 2014 in humor

 

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“DAY OF HOPE” ON WMHK (Part 3 of 3)

Friends:

Our radio station on our campus, WMHK, had me answer a few questions this morning during their “Day of Hope” program.

These segments are quite brief.  I’ll post the third below.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Twenty-Nine Years Ago TODAY!

Friends:
It is hard to believe, but 29 years ago today I passed FirefoxScreenSnapz420my oral examination for my Ph.D.! I did my degree in historical theology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

You might be interested in a little story preceding my oral defense. I had to take two years of coursework at Drew University, pass competency exams in French and German, and successfully complete four major exams in order to get to the dissertation stage.

The very first course I had to take was called “Theology in the Modern Era.” I distinctly remember the professor coming in and saying, “As we all know the four Gospels contradict each other in major ways.” The professor’s FirefoxScreenSnapz422name was Dr. Ryan, a man who had grown up in a theologically conservative home but had embraced Unitarian Universalism. As I remember, the class was composed of 39 women students studying for the Methodist ministry, and myself.

As Dr. Ryan made his initial statement, I heard a voice in the class say, “Oh, Really?” It was a deep voice. It was my voice.

For the rest of that semester Dr. Ryan turned to me when he knew that I, as a conservative Christian, would have a different perspective on theological issues. He would make liberal statements like, “We know that Jesus did not rise bodily from the dead, but he has indeed risen in our hearts!” He would ask me my perspective, and I would refer to I Corinthians 15 and the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I remember the ladies in the course gathering around me after class and asking me, “Where did you get all this information?” My response was, “Have you heard of the Apostle Paul?”

At any rate I got through Ryan’s class okay, then had to take those exams and pass those language tests, and finally got to the dissertation (research) stage. The dean of the graduate school decided who the three professors would be on my dissertation committee. You guessed it! One of the members was Dr. Ryan.

As I began writing my dissertation chapters, Dr. Ryan approved each one  KeynoteScreenSnapz091but then we had a strange telephone conversation. He expressed his concern that I had remained a “Fundamentalist” or Evangelical during my years at Drew. He said “Evangelicals cannot do academic work!”

This comment, of course, terrified me. He was on my dissertation committee! I remember talking to one of the other dissertation committee members, and he said, “Did Dr. Ryan pass you on each of the chapters you’ve written?” I said yes, and he said, “Well, he has to play by the rules. In the oral examination, if he asks you a question about a subject that was not the topic of your dissertation, politely respond to his question and then point out, ‘Dr. Ryan, that, however, was not the focus of my dissertation.’”

The oral exam for a Ph.D. candidate can consist of 3 to 6 hours of grilling by the dissertation committee.  Their verdict is literally thumbs up or thumbs down. My examination took place on April 15, 1985. True to form, Dr. Ryan asked me several questions that were not the focus of my dissertation. I answered as best I could, but then pointed oFirefoxScreenSnapz421ut that those were not the primary focus of my research. I could see the other two members of the committee congratulating me for encouraging him to play by the rules. I unanimously passed my oral examination and received my degree.

Twenty-nine years.  Wow.  And, you know what?  God’s grace is still sufficient!

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Evangelical

 

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“DAY OF HOPE” on WMHK (Part 2 of 3)

Friends:

Our radio station on our campus, WMHK, had me answer a few questions this morning during their “Day of Hope” program.

These segments are quite brief.  I’ll post the second below.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in taking Bible literally

 

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What animals are thinking #3 (scroll down)

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Posted by on April 13, 2014 in debate

 

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“Day of Hope” on WMHK (Part 1 of 3)

Friends:

Our radio station on our campus, WMHK, had me answer a few questions this morning during their “Day of Hope” program.

These segments are quite brief.  I’ll post the first below.  Would love your comments.  Blessings.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in reading

 

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What animals are thinking #2 (scroll down)

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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in humor

 

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Update on “Iron Sharpens Iron” Upcoming Conference at Emmaus Bible College (Part 1)

FirefoxScreenSnapz361I am honored to participate in this year’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference for church and assembly leaders which will be held on May 22-25.  Details on the conference may be found here.

I have the privilege of speaking to the conference as a whole twice:  My message at the beginning of the conference is entitled:  “Orthodoxy Under Fire:  Who’s Shooting and Why?”  My message at the end of the conference is entitled: “A Life of Living Biblically.”

I also get to do four workshops.  The titles are:KeynoteScreenSnapz081

I want to share a couple of details of these upcoming messages — and welcome feedback from my readers.

PLENARY SESSION #1:  “Orthodoxy Under Fire:  Who’s Shooting and Why?”

There are so many questions to deal with in this session.  Can “orthodoxy” even be defined?  Can it be achieved or attained?  There are those who say that no one has reached orthodoxy yet.  I will be sharing the results of my study of the use of the word “truth” by the Lord Jesus in the gospels and the expression “the faith” used in the New Testament epistles.

FirefoxScreenSnapz407To the question, “Who’s Shooting?”, I hope to touch on several critics of orthodox Christianity, both “the sons of the church” (meaning those who have been in the Evangelical environment and have turned away) as well as outsiders.  Brian McLaren, a friend of 40 years ago who has embraced classical liberalism, writes:  “I don’t think the liberals have it right. But I don’t think we have it right either. None of us has arrived at orthodoxy.”  (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  Where do you see orthodoxy challenged?

2.  What biblical principles guide you in dealing with those who are denying the Christian faith?

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in heresy

 

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What animals are thinking! (scroll down)

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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in humor

 

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How Do You Look at Yourself?

FirefoxScreenSnapz375How do you look at yourself?  Is your nose too big, your ears too hairy (mine are), your wrinkles permanent and botox-proof?  What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

One of the great benefits of being a grandfather is that I can take all the pictures I want of my grandchildren and can find a few to use to make a theological point in this blog!

This is my granddaughter Mary Katherine (a little over four months old) admiring herself in her play mirror.  I wonder what she is thinking about?  I’m pretty sure it’s “When is my Mommy coming to get me?  I’m hungry!”

How we look at ourselves determines so much in life, doesn’t it?  If I think I’m visually flawed (and aren’t we all, in so many ways, flawed?), it will impact how I think others see me.  If I think, “Lord, you did such a good job in creating me!”, then that kind of boastfulness is bound to come out in my interactions with others.

The Bible speaks of itself as a mirror.  We read in James 1:

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

A mirror’s purpose is to show us truth.  My granddaughter Mary Katherine’s mirror is somewhat warped, kind of like those fun house mirrors that make us look skinny (when we’re not) or fat (when we, uh, might be).  An excellent mirror is one which gives us an accurate reflection of exactly what we look like.

Really?

Really?

God’s Word, the Bible, does precisely that.  I completely understand some Christians who don’t get into the Word in a serious way.  Why would one want to be reminded day after day after day what one is really like?

If I see myself in a mirror and do nothing to better my physical appearance, one can argue that the mirror served no useful purpose.  God’s Word as my mirror confronts me with the truth that I am not all that God wants me to be, that my “appearance” might be fine to other flawed human beings, but I need more than mere cosmetic improvement.  I need to look intently into God’s freedom-giving, perfect law — and then act upon what it tells me.  How about you?

Questions:

1.  Would you go a full day without looking into any mirror FirefoxScreenSnapz376of any kind?  Of course not.   How is it, then, that followers of Jesus can go a full day (or more) without intensely looking into God’s mirror, His Word?  Your thoughts?

2.  Truth not obeyed is truth lost.  What truth have you learned recently from God’s Word that you know you need to put into practice?

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in self-image

 

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