Faith Comes Through Hearing, and Hearing through the Word of Christ: The Centrality of Scripture in the Early Presbyterian Missions to Korea (1884-1910)

In this paper, I argue that central to the early Presbyterian Missions to Korea (until 1910) was a high doctrine of Scripture. The stuanch biblicism of these missionaries and the church they founded was one of the defining characteristics, if not the defining characteristic, of Korean Presbyterian Church at this time.


You can read or download it here.

Thoughts on Hebrew Poetry

Hebrew poetry, like Hebrew prose, is holographic: it revisits the same idea from different perspectives to communicate the whole picture–this is a feature that makes terseness possible. Its manifestation in poetry is the structural priority of parallelism, in all its various forms. That is, Hebrew poetry achieves a poetic rhythm through a multi-layered paralelism of lines, words, grammar, syntax, and sounds. It introduces ambiguity with terse lines which is disambiugated by the following lines and greater structures (e.g., inclusio, chiasm). “Parallelism, then, consists of a network of equivalences and/or contrast involving many aspects and levels of langauge. Moreover, by means of these linguistic equivalences and contrasts, parallelism calls attention to itself and to the message which it bears” (Berlin, The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism, 141). Lines that follow clarify, emphasize, and build upon preceding lines to, together, achieve multi-dimensional literary communication, to paint a 3D picture. The preponderance of lexical/semantic parallelism in Hebrew poetry is a gift from God enabling effective translation of Hebrew poetry in to receptor languages.

Parallelism occurs on level of the line, between lines (colon), and macro level (strophe, stanza). Line-level parallelisms involve the correspondence and contrast of morphology, lexica, sounds, and syntactic positions. Hebrew poetry, on this level, employs assonacnce (instead of rhyme), root-based and phonetic word play, syntactical shuffling (often Chiasmus), and the alternation of verbal forms. On the level of the colon, Hebrew poetry is often juxtaposed (asyndeton), with less coordination than prose, yet at times has more subordination (especially the use of כי  ki) than either English poetry or Hebrew prose. At the macro level, the strophe and stanza is mainly used for progression (1 –> 2 –> 3: e.g., Deut 32) or holographic description (1a – 1b – 1c: Hab. 3 [here there is also progression, but the emphasis is on the multiperspectival presentation of a single event (he, you, me), Yahweh’s salvific act through Chaldea]). Because there is infinite potential for parallel relationships, understanding Hebrew poetry is not contingent on the production of a taxonomy of possible relations and uses but learning the ground rules, understanding what Hebrew poetry does, and being alert for these features as you read.

Prevenient Grace Book Description

If a plant grows with shallow roots, the storms of a season will wither away and uproot it; like a house built on sand, a poor foundation will doom its fate. But this isn’t a book on botany, nor on architecture; foundations, good roots, are essential to thought structures as well as material structures. In theology, a bad foundation will produce results as catastrophic as bad roots or shifting sand. How we think about God and His work in the world will profoundly affect how we live and work out our Christian faith. This book evolved from the conviction that a prominent theological system rests on a fragile foundation. It is written as a small contribution towards refounding our understanding of God’s relationship with the world and our salvation on His Word.

The theology in question is Arminianism; the foundation is prevenient grace. Deep within Evangelical Arminianism lies the essential doctrine that God has acted in the life of all human beings, giving them enabling grace enough to respond or reject His offer of salvation. The contention of this book is that this doctrine has no biblical grounds and is rationally unfounded and that Arminianism itself stands or falls on this doctrine.


In order to establish the necessary groundwork for analyzing prevenient grace, I present in the first chapter a biblical theology and then systematic synthesis of the doctrine of total depravity. Then, after defining the doctrine of prevenient grace in Chapter 2, I consider every available argument in favour of prevenient grace, beginning with the biblical texts used to defend it in Chapter 3 and then the philosophical and theological arguments in Chapters 4 and 5. With the arguments for the doctrine considered, I then present theological, philosophical, and biblical arguments against the doctrine in Chapters 6-8. The weight of this offensive critique lies in the presentation of the case for the doctrines of unconditional election and the effectual call in Chapters 7 & 8.


The desired audience for the book is undergraduate students, lay theologians, and pastors, but the argument and analysis within will make it useful to the graduate student and scholar. To make it accessible to those just entering the debate over God’s sovereignty in salvation, frequent use is made of in-text and footnote definitions for technical terms, with a glossary of all obscure terms in the appendices.


Prevenient Grace is available on paperback or kindle through Amazon.

Book Published!

For a while I have been posting content from various book projects I have been working on; finally, by God’s grace, the first if finished and available for purchase! Prevenient Grace: An Investigation into Arminianism is now available through my create space page (,–soon international amazon sites–and will be available in the next 24 hours on kindle. For a preview of its contents, see the page

Snippet from Habakkuk Commentary Notes on Hab 1:5-6b

This snippet, taken from a section of my forthcoming commentary on Habakkuk, reflects upon the theological significance of Hab. 1:5-6b for our present circumstances.