In a recent post, I observed that a message by C.H. Spurgeon had some striking similarities to a course on NT theology that I am working through with a few men in our church. Tuesday morning, while preparing for my Sunday sermon, I came across another parallel, this time in good old Matthew Henry.
One of Dr. Beale's specialties is the subject of idolatry among the people of God. A few weeks ago, Dr. Beale made the charge that the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day had made an idol of their commitment to the traditions of their heritage. They were proud of the fact that they did not profane themselves with the idols of their fathers, but they fell into a new idolatry nonetheless. This connection made sense and it left an impression.
In his commentary on Zechariah 13:2, particularly the phrase "...I will cut off the names of the idols from the land," Matthew Henry writes:
This was fulfilled in the rooted aversion which the Jews had, after the captivity, to idols and idolatry, and still retain to this day; it was fulfilled also in the ready conversion of many to the faith of Christ, by which they were taken off from making an idol of the ceremonial law, as the unbelieving Jews did; and it is still in the fulfilling when souls are brought off from the world and the flesh, those two great idols, that they may cleave to God only.
Dr. Beale has no reason to feel "busted," of course, but it is neat to see themes emerge across the centuries. Evangelical Biblical Theology has been around for a very long time, no matter what names it has worn. The first to make these connections were the writers of Scripture themselves, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
A few of us in the church are working through a course by Dr. Greg Beale on NT Theology. It has been very profitable. Dr. Beale's "Big Idea" for understanding the Bible is "New Creation" (see Dr. Beale's "Bible in a sentence" summary here).
I just discovered a Spurgeon sermon from about six months before he died. If he hadn't died in 1892, I would have thought that he had been reading Dr. Beale's notes. I love the way he applies New Creation themes for both now and for the future Consummation.
The older I get the more I appreciate the great older teachers like Spurgeon, Matthew Henry and many others. They really make my heart sing.