We arrive in Orlando!

This afternoon Susan and I arrived in Orlando, Florida via Southwest Airlines to attend the 2022 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International. Several of our friends were on board with us. Our flight was pleasant and uneventful. More than 16,000 people are registered for the convention.

As we approached the baggage claim area to retrieve our luggage, it was our intention to seek out an Uber driver to arrange transportation to our hotel. Instead, an Uber driver already in the area offered his services. We accepted and enjoyed the trip to the Hyatt Regency, a beautiful hotel connected to the conference venue by 3 walkways.

Our only negative experience so far had to do with my CPAP machine. When we got into our hotel room, it was nowhere to be found. I knew we had brought the CPAP, so I descended the 13 floors to discuss the matter with the hotel staff. Here’s the story:

As we entered the car, our driver appropriately placed all our luggage in the storage area behind the back seat of the SUV. When we arrived at the hotel, the staff there removed our bags while the driver remained in the car to accept payment. The staff member who removed our luggage from the car brought the items into the hotel, where a bellman transported them to our room. As I looked about the room in search of my trusty CPAP, I interpreted the bellman’s nod toward the couch to mean it was behind the couch. But when he left, the area toward which he had nodded held no CPAP.

So I wound up in a conversation with the staff member who brought our luggage into the hotel, the bellman who carried it to our room, and another hotel employee of higher rank. The latter two of the three acknowledged that they both needed a CPAP because of their snoring, or at least that’s what their wives thought, if I understood them correctly.

The first of the three apparently didn’t sense any need for a CPAP, which may mean he was unmarried. Instead, he assured us he had left the driver’s briefcase in the car.

Now you know! Of course the driver had not left a briefcase in the car along with our luggage!

The top-ranking hotel staff member helpfully called the Uber driver and arranged for him to return to the hotel with my CPAP.

I will sleep well tonight.

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Celebrating Our Ninth Anniversary!

Yesterday Susan and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. On June 13, 2013, God answered my prayer and informed me that Susan Fuller was the person I could invite to go with me to the Ambassadors of Harmony concert who would accept my invitation and enjoy the event. The concert was scheduled for Saturday evening, June 15, 2013.

Not only did we both enjoy the music, but when I asked her nine days later, “Will you marry me,” she answered, “Yes, I will!” One of our friends who was also at the concert, P. D. Buford, predicted we would marry before the General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church International that Fall.

He was right!

Our story has been published in the Pentecostal Herald, now known as Pentecostal Life, in a book by Norma Clanton titled Letters from Friends, which consists of stories of the loss of spouses and later expanded with an introduction by Scott Graham as A Light in Darkness: Stories of Grief and Loss. This edition of the book includes accounts not only of the loss of spouses but also parents and children.

The story of our marriage has also been published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Therefore, I will not tell it again here.

In celebration, we spent the evening at the Seven Gables Inn, located in Clayton, Missouri, a historic hotel built in 1926 and restored in 2020.

Today is the first day of our tenth year of marriage, and on October 3 we will be on our way to our next general conference!

Susan struggles a bit to get the ring on Daniel’s finger!

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God Chose a Day of Rest

I am scheduled to teach the Adult Bible Class at The Sanctuary UPC, located in Hazelwood, Missouri, this next Sunday, September 18, 2022. Mitchell Bland is our pastor. The class will begin at 10 A.M. and continue until 10:45 A.M. Throughout all classes, we follow the curriculum God’s Word for Life, published by the Pentecostal Publishing House.

Next Sunday’s lesson is included in Series 1: The God of Deliverance, and its focus is on the Ten Commandments.

We will not, of course, be able to discuss all ten commandments thoroughly during our forty-five minutes, and that is why I have posted the article below. I wrote this article, “God Chose a Day of Rest: The Principle of the Sabbath,” and it was published in the January 2018 issue of “Pentecostal Life.” All of the ten commandments are important, but I plan to focus on the prophetic significance of the fourth commandment.

How did the fourth commandment anticipate the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ? The answer to that question is the essence of this article.

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“The New Birth,” Second Session, Purpose Institute

Daniel Segraves, Ph.D.

I am in the process of teaching the course on The New Birth for Purpose Institute. The second session will meet this coming Saturday, September 10, 2022 on the campus of New Life Church in Cabot, Arkansas. It will also be available on Zoom.

The session begins at 10:40 A.M. and concludes at 1:10 P.M. After this Saturday, the class will meet twice more on October 15 and November 5 with the same schedule. I will teach on Zoom, and Larry Gimnich, Associate Pastor of New Life Church, will host the on-campus presence of Purpose Institute. He can be reached by email at lgimnich@newlife.com.

I have taught courses for Purpose Institute for quite a few years, including The New Birth, and I look forward to the opportunity to present material I have not offered before.[archive]

Finally, the thesis.

On July 18, 2022, my post was titled “My Journey from Theory to Thesis.” It was the story of my development of a theory concerning the identity of “that which is perfect” (I Corinthians 13:10). If you have not read that post, I encourage you to do so before reading further in this one.

My original plan was to share my M.A. in Exegetical Theology thesis online in short sections, but I have changed my mind. Instead, I will post the approval page here, followed by the full thesis.

The thesis, titled “That Which is Perfect (I Corinthians 13:10): A Non-Eschatological Approach,” is a seventy-nine page document I wrote as my final project in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Exegetical Theology after three and one-half years of study at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, now known as Western Seminary (Portland, Oregon). The degree was granted on June 26, 1993.

At the request of M. James Sawyer, Ph.D., one of the faculty members who read and approved the thesis, I presented a forty-nine page condensed version of the thesis at the West Coast meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Here is the approval page:

And here is the thesis:

If you would like to purchase a hard copy of this thesis, you may do so at pentecostalpublishing.com. [archive]

The Encyclopedia Britannica and Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ

It is quite well known that the eleventh edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1910, includes an excellent article on baptism by Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare, M.A., D.Th. Conybeare was a Fellow of the British Academy. He was also Formerly Fellow of University College, Oxford as well as the author of The Ancient Armenian Texts of Aristotle.

The article runs to six pages, including a section titled “The Baptismal Formula,” wherein Coneybeare refers to the Teaching of the Apostles (i.e., the Didache) as follows: “The Teaching of the Apostles, indeed, prescribes baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but on the next page speaks of those who have been baptized into the name of the Lord — the normal formula of the New Testament. In the 3rd century baptism in the name of Christ was still so widespread that Pope Stephen, in opposition to Cyprian of Carthage, declared it to be valid.” This is not the only reference in the article to baptism in the name of Jesus. Coneybeare points out that in the apostolic age “the normal use … seems to have been ‘into Christ Jesus’ or ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ or ‘of Jesus Christ’ simply, or ‘of the Lord Jesus Christ.'”

A copy of this article has resided in my Baker’s Textual and Topical Filing System for years, but I had the occasion today to look at it again. I decided to copy the article and post it here for those who may not have a copy. I have highlighted sections relating to baptism in the name of Jesus Christ so you can find them quickly.

“The New Birth” offered by Purpose Institute

Beginning this Saturday, August 13, 2022, I will teach the Purpose Institute course The New Birth. The course will be offered both on the campus of New Life Church in Cabot, Arkansas, and by Zoom, beginning at 10:40 a.m. and concluding at 1:10 p.m on the following dates:

  • August 13, 2022
  • September 10, 2022
  • October 15, 2022
  • November 5, 2022

I will be teaching on Zoom, and Larry Gimnich, Associate Pastor of New Life Church will host the on-campus presence of Purpose Institute. He can be reached by email at lgimnich@newlifecabot.com.

I have been teaching courses for Purpose Institute for quite a few years, including The New Birth course, and I look forward to this, which will include some new material I have not presented previously.

Daniel L. Segraves, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus

Urshan Graduate School of Theology

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The Addiction of Sin: Lesson 13

In Lesson 12 of our series of lessons on The Addiction of Sin, we began to consider Keith Miller’s proposed adaption of the Twelve-step Program. Here is Step One:

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our Sin — that our lives had become unmanageable. (Compare with Romans 7:15-25.)

To see why we recommended Romans 7:15-25 to provide insight on Step One, I recommend going back and reading Lesson 12 again.

Now, let’s look at Step Two:

Step Two: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Consider Lamentations 5:21.)

I selected Lamentations 5:21 here because the “Power” greater than ourselves is not merely an impersonal “power” that is greater than us. Lamentations identifies the One greater than ourselves who can restore us as the LORD (Yahweh) (Lamentations 1:5). The next to last verse of the book reads: “Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21).

We cannot turn ourselves; only our Lord can turn us. Only He can restore us and return us to what we once were. This is not merely a return to sanity. It is a restoration to spiritual wholeness. It is a release from addiction

In Lesson 14, we will look at Keith Miller’s third proposed step in his adaption of the Twelve-Step Program.

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In Lesson 12 of our series of lessons on The Addiction of Sin, we began to consider Keith Miller’s proposed adaption of the Twelve-step Program. Here is Step One:

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our Sin — that our lives had become unmanageable. (Compare with Romans 7:15-25.)

To see why we recommended Romans 7:15-25 to provide insight on Step One, I recommend going back and reading Lesson 12 again.

Now, let’s look at Step Two:

Step Two: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Consider Lamentations 5:21.)

I selected Lamentations 5:21 here because the “Power” greater than ourselves is not merely an impersonal “power” that is greater than us. Lamentations identifies the One greater than ourselves who can restore us as the LORD (Yahweh) (Lamentations 1:5). The next to last verse of the book reads: “Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21).

We cannot turn ourselves; only our Lord can turn us. Only He can restore us and return us to what we once were. This is not merely a return to sanity. It is a restoration to spiritual wholeness. It is a release from addiction

In Lesson 14, we will look at Keith Miller’s third proposed step in his adaption of the Twelve-Step Program.

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My Journey from Theory to Thesis

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While serving as a pastor, I developed a theory on the identity of “that which is perfect.” Paul wrote, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (I Corinthians 13:10, NKJV). I knew some interpreters think this refers to the completion of the New Testament canon, which leads them to believe spiritual gifts would cease when the writing of the New Testament was finished.

Others think the perfect thing is some aspect of the last days, placing it in the realm of eschatology. Another notion is that Paul was referring to the maturity into which the church would grow, the maturity into which individual believers grow, to the death of a believer, or the general principle that completeness supersedes incompleteness.

I had a different idea.

I’m a big believer in the interpretive influence of context, and it was obvious to me that the context of I Corinthians 13, from beginning to the end, is about love.

But how could this work with I Corinthians 13:10? I knew there was no way I could prove this point to my satisfaction or write convincingly about it unless I had a sufficient command of the first-century Greek language. And I didn’t have it.

By the way, in later life, I have often told my students to stay away from the original languages of Scripture unless they have received formal training from academically qualified teachers. Otherwise, one is almost certain to misinterpret the text. There is far more to accurate use of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek than the ability to look at numbers in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or other tools keyed to that number system.

So I waited.

Finally, the day came when I faced the necessity of completing advanced academic requirements. I’ve written about that elsewhere, so I won’t take the time to say more about this now.

In short, I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Exegetical Theology degree program offered by Western Seminary (Portland, Oregon). Over the period of three and one-half years, I completed all requirements for this degree, graduating with highest honors. This included fulfilling all the language requirements (i.e., Hebrew and Greek) that would eventually enable me to enroll in the Ph.D. program Regent University School of Divinity offered. Since the Ph.D. requirements included Theological German, I finished that as well.

Now back to I Corinthians 13:10.

As I neared completion of the M.A.E.T., it was necessary to choose the topic for my thesis. Some students refer to this as the “big paper,” but it is more than that.

Now I had the necessary skill in Koine Greek to tackle the project. Could my theory face the test of the Greek language? It did, and the thesis, titled “That Which is Perfect (I Corinthians 13:10): A Non-Eschatological Approach,” was accepted and passed with an A.

As I sat in the final class session leading to graduation, the professor lectured on I Corinthians, specifically I Corinthians 13. As I listened, I realized he was teaching in a way that harmonized with my understanding of this text.

He looked at me and said, “I am almost completely convinced.”

This post is because I recently decided to share the thesis on this blog in short sections. They will be coming soon, and I hope you enjoy them.

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