Aboard Air France

We are aboard our aircraft. Susan, my beautiful wife who is usually reluctant to have her picture made, has agreed for me to share her happy likeness. We have ordered our cod, and we are on our way! We thank God for a safe trip, and we pray for His watchful care as we head west.

Our last breakfast in France

This morning Susan and I enjoyed our final breakfast in Paris . . . unless we return in 2020!

We have enjoyed our days [Bonjour!] and nights [Bonsoir] in France. The people are polite and helpful. Most we met could speak some English.

We recommend our hotel, The Renaissance, located at 4 Rue du Mont Thabor in Paris. It is a Marriott property situated in the heart of the city. We didn’t have to walk far to reach the things we wanted to see, and clean taxis were readily available when we needed them.

The trip to the Charles de Gaulle airport took about 40 minutes, at a fare of less than 60 Euros. We are now ensconced in the pleasant Air France lounge awaiting our return to St. Louis, via Detroit, Michigan. This reminds me of Bobby Bare’s 1963 country song, “Detroit City,” with its plaintive cry, “Oh how I want to go home.” Yes, I well remember those cotton fields.

Au revoir!

A rainy day in Paris . . .

I asked our concierge if she could stop the rain. She could not, but she made some recommendations and loaned us an umbrella.

Our first stop was two right turns from our hotel, where we savored authentic French onion soup, a salad featuring crisp and carefully stacked green beans, and the view from the second floor dining room [the French refer to it as the first floor; what we call the first floor is to them the “0” floor or l’etage] of Le Castiglioni on Rue Saint-Honoré.

When we left this delightful place, the rain had stopped. We walked along Rue de Rivoli, stopping at small shop where Susan discovered some attractive scarves to add to her collection.

On our way back to our hotel, we purchased some chocolate delicacies at Edwart’s, a chocolatier recommended by our concierge.

Then we arrived at Angelina’s of Paris, another establishment we learned of from our concierge, and joined the long line of those waiting to imbibe in the world famous – or at least that’s what they claim – hot chocolate from the African continent. It lived up to its reputation, so pudding like that the spoon nearly stands up in the cup. When we left Angelina’s, the line seemed as long as it was when we entered.

I wondered about the veracity of this sign, but after sticking my head into the shop, I might be able to be convinced.

We are back in our room, preparing for tomorrow’s departure. We have loved France, but Dogwood Meadow Court beckons, with its hummingbirds, bright red cardinals, geese, and occasional deer.

Bon soir!

Our last day in Paris

Tomorrow, Susan and I will fly home from Paris. We have enjoyed all our adventures in France, from being greeted by the Nowackis to last night’s Eiffel Tower experience, with the exception of being caught in the midst of a scuffle between the police and illegal peddlers of Eiffel trinkets.

Before we ascended the Tower, we enjoyed a delicious dinner cruise on the Seine.

Before we boarded our Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Dinner Cruise, we enjoyed watching other boats traveling the river.

The dinner cruise concluded with an excellent choice of coffee.

Little is more entertaining than people watching while awaiting the arrival of our tour guide for the Eiffel Tower.

After we left the melee behind, which included armed police chasing sellers of cheaply made wares and warning shouts among those pursued, Susan and I recaptured the romantic ambiance of an evening stroll along the Seine toward our hotel. At least we recaptured it until we were strolled out and decided to hail a taxi. To walk into the lobby of our hotel once again was like coming home.

Through a glass, not so darkly. Susan waves from the window of our hotel room as I gaze up in admiration from the lobby atrium. We just received a text from Delta Airlines inviting us to check in. Only 24 hours remain of our Parisienne days.

Au revoir!

Strolling around Paris . . .

Someone suggested we should not limit our adventures in Paris to well known tourist vistas. We are visiting typical tourist sites, but we are also exploring by simply strolling along. What a delightful experience!

A little shop named for my hometown . . . St. Louis, MO. I was born there in 1946.

Exploring a book display filled with small volumes all subtitled something like “A Short Introduction to . . . .” Each is about 100 pages long. I am looking at one titled “A Short Introduction to Miracles.” The bibliography includes a book on miracles written by Graham Twelftree, an Australian scholar who was one of my professors in my Ph.D. Program. The display gave me the idea to write short books on topics relevant to biblical studies. Who knows? Now that I’m retired . . .

An eye level plaque commemorating the commitment of the United States to the revitalization of Western Europe after World War II. The U.S. investment would have equaled $200 billions in 2016.

We rounded the corner and there they were! Napoleon’s Egyptian obelisk he brought back to Paris after his July 21, 1798 victory in Egypt, during which he destroyed nearly the entire Egyptian army. Josephine had asked him to bring home “a small obelisk.” This one is covered with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

And then, the Eiffel Tower, built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Susan and I plan to ascend to the top of the tower tonight after a dinner cruise on the Seine River.

Should I, or shouldn’t I? Bicycling is a common form of transportation around Paris, along with scooters, motorbikes, tiny cars and feet. I’ll go with the feet.

Maxim’s. I’ve heard of it, but that’s all I know. It’s on the wrong side of the street!

Our Visit to France

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Twenty-one students attended the week long sessions of the French Bible Institute, hosted by the headquarters church in Melun, France, where Missionary John Nowacki [far right] is pastor. Brother Nowacki and his wife, Anne [next to Brother Nowacki], founded the work of the United Pentecostal Church International in France in 1977 with four people in attendance. Today Brother Nowacki is president of the UPCI in France, with twenty churches. The headquarters church has two services each Sunday morning, with an average attendance of 600.

On Friday, August 17, 2018, Susan and I arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Missionary John Nowacki picked us up and drove us to Melun, where we were scheduled to be in the two Sunday services at the headquarters church.

We had heard before our trip that Brother and Sister Nowacki (John and Anne) were excellent hosts, and we discovered that to be true. Two days before we arrived, they had just returned from a trip to Canada, and they were still dealing with jet lag. Nevertheless, they served us a delicious breakfast in their beautiful home, then Brother Nowacki drove us to our hotel, located near the church.

Later in the evening, the four of us shared dinner at a lovely restaurant. It is customary in Europe to eat later in the day. Restaurants typically open at about 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, we traveled to the Chateau de Fontainebleau, one of the largest French royal chateaux, dating from the 12th century, where French rulers, including Napoleon, lived for more than 8 centuries.

On Sunday, I preached in each service. Brother Nowacki translated. Susan and I enjoyed the lively worship and the excellent music and singing provided by the Spirit-filled youth. My subject was “The Miraculous Good News” [the gospel] with I Corinthians 15 and Psalm 45 as my texts. One person was baptized with the Holy Spirit, and three were water baptized in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I take no credit for this, of course.


I taught about four hours each day, Monday through Friday. Brother Nowacki translated for me in the beginning session on Monday, with Missionary Marcos Brainos and Associate Missionary Mike Long assisting throughout the week. My topic was “The Messiah in the Psalms.” The students listened carefully. Their questions at the end of the week revealed keen curiosity and insight. Susan, who attended each session, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is such a rich blessing to have Susan as my wife. She says she would rather hear me teach than go shopping!


We were treated to excellent food each day and evening. After all, we were in France! But on Friday night Mike Long picked us up for a special surprise. He said we were going to “Justin’s,” which I assumed was a French restaurant. It turned out to be the home of Justin Ward, a professional chef, and his wife, Caroline [from left, Caroline, Justin, and Mike]. Their hospitality was warm, and the four course meal Justin had prepared was delightful. We had heard that, for the French, an evening meal was a relaxed event with plenty of time for conversation between courses. That is what it turned out to be. We began eating just after 8 p.m. and our visit drew to a close at about 11 p.m. Conversation ranged from Bible quizzing (Caroline is the Bible Quiz Master for France) to cuisine (Justin has a degree in baking and teaches tourists from around the world how too bake) to our upcoming week in Paris (Mike Long has written a guidebook titled “Paris … 3 Days … No stress,” which is available on Amazon.com) to the fascination Justin and I share concerning Hammond B-3 organs and Leslie speakers (Justin plays various instruments, including the organ, and is leader of the music program at the headquarter’s church).


Kiran was one of the students at the French Bible Institute. He is also an Uber driver, and on Saturday he drove us carefully and safely from our hotel in Melun to our hotel in Paris for our stay of nearly one week. Kiran is married, with a one year old daughter. He speaks French, English, and Malagasy.

In a following post, I will tell you about our time  in Paris. Keep in mind that Susan and I have been married almost 5 years. At this time, Paris is the place to be!









Andrew David Urshan Memorial

Today Susan and I had the privilege of visiting the Andrew David Urshan Memorial in Melun, France, hosted by John and Anne Nowacki, founders of the Chretiens de l’Eglise Pentecotiste Unie.

The memorial acknowledges Urshan’s role as a pioneer missionary on the European continent.

My doctoral dissertation is titled “Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography.”

Matthew 28:19 and Granville Sharp’s Sixth Rule

Does Granville Sharp’s sixth rule require Matthew 28:19 to indicate that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons?

Sharp’s sixth rule says that when nouns of the same case are joined by kai [and] and each noun is preceded by the article [the], the second noun expresses a different person, thing, or quality than the first noun. Here is the exact wording:

And as the insertion of the copulative kai between nouns of the same case, without articles, (according to the fifth rule,) denotes that the second noun expresses a different person, thing, or quality, from the preceding noun, so, likewise, the same effect attends the copulative when each of the nouns are preceded by articles: . . .

As with some of Sharp’s other rules, there is an exception to the sixth rule. It is as follows:

Except distinct and different actions are intended to be attributed to one and the same person; in which case, if the sentence is not expressed agreeable to the three first rules, but appears as an exception to this sixth rule . . . the context must explain or point out plainly the person to whom the two nouns relate.

One such exception that is commonly agreed upon, and that is offered by Sharp himself, is John 20:28. In this text, Thomas says to Jesus, “Ho kurios mou kai ho theos mou.” A literal translation would be “the [ho] Lord [kurios] of me [mou] and [kai] the [ho] God [theos] of me [mou].” Even though this conforms to Sharp’s sixth rule (two nouns, Lord and God, are joined by “and,” and both are preceded by the article), Sharp rightly determined that this is an exception to the rule. The reason for this is that the context clearly indicates that Thomas was speaking to one person, Jesus, and that he was identifying Jesus as both Lord and God.

The relevant phrase in Matthew 28:19 reads as follows: “eis to onoma tou patros kai tou huiou kai tou hagiou pneumatos.” The literal translation would be “into [eis] the [to] name [onoma] of the [tou] Father [patros] and [kai] of the [tou] Son [huiou] and [kai] of the [tou] Holy [hagiou] Spirit [pneumatos].”

Here there are three nouns (Father, Son, and Spirit [“holy” is an adjective modifying “Spirit”), all joined by “and” and each preceded by the article. The question is whether this text qualifies for Sharp’s exception. Is there anything in the context to indicate that one person is in view rather than three?

The word “name” is a singular noun. In the Jewish mind, “name” is virtually synonymous with “person.” In other words, Jesus’ Jewish disciples would have understood Him to mean that they were to baptize believers into the “person” (God Himself) who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Some trinitarian scholars have recognized, based on the grammar of the text, that Matthew 28:19 is about a singular name. For example, J. Oliver Buswell, a Presbyterian theologian, wrote, “The ‘name,’ not ‘names’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in which we are to be baptized, is to be understood as Jahweh, the name of the Triune God.” F.W. Beare, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies in Trinity College, University of Toronto, in his comments on Matthew 28:19, wrote,

From Acts and the Pauline epistles, we gather that in the earliest days, converts were baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38), or of “the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16); “into Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:3), or “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). . . . The triple formulation . . . is not, properly speaking, “trinitarian”; there is no element of speculation about the divine essence or the relations between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It reflects the modes in which the divine is manifested in Christian faith.

Marvin R. Vincent wrote, “The name is not the mere designation, a sense which would give the baptismal formula merely the force of a charm. The name, as in the Lord’s Prayer . . . is the expression of the sum total of the divine Being: not his designation as God or Lord, but the formula in which all his attributes and characteristics are summed up. It is equivalent to his person.”

Sharp’s sixth rule (without the exception) calls for a radical distinction to be made between persons, things, or qualities. This is a grammatical device to indicate that two persons or things or qualities are in no way the same. Although trinitarianism teaches that God exists as three persons, it teaches that God is one being. The doctrine sees the three persons as being distinct, but not separate. In other words, trinitarianism does not call for the kind of radical distinction between the persons that would be required if Sharp’s sixth rule is applicable to Matthew 28:19. Sharp’s sixth rule, logically applied, would require the Father to be one being, the Son another being, and the Holy Spirit a third being. This is not what trinitarianism teaches. It would actually be tritheism.

Those who wish to apply Sharp’s sixth rule, without its exception, to Matthew 28:19 have misunderstood either the rule itself or the doctrine of the trinity. There is no indication in Granville Sharp’s Remarks that Sharp himself applied the rule to Matthew 28:19.

Since, according to the grammar of Matthew 28:19, there is but one name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that means there is but one person – one God – who is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The God that we know as the Son is the same God that we know as the Father and the same God that we know as the Holy Spirit. Sharp’s rule does not require a fragmentation of God into three radically distinct persons.

W. D. McBrayer, ed., Granville Sharp’s Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek New Testament (Atlanta: The Original Word, 1995), 25.
Ibid., 28.
J. Oliver Buswell, A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), 123.
F. W. Beare, The Gospel According to Matthew (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1981), 545.
Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Volume 1 (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, n.d.), 149-150.

The Living Word

Today I received my copy of The Living Word, volume one of the all new Word Aflame curriculum produced by the Pentecostal Published House.


The material is well designed and written by twenty one authors under the editorial direction of Jonathan McClintock. I had the privilege of writing three of the lessons. The new teaching tools include integrated questions, interactive student workbooks, and free PowerPoints.

This has the potential of rekindling interest in Bible study. I think you will be pleased with the fresh approach.