Category Archives: Psalms


Sermon Text: The Gospel in Psalm 23

The most recent sermon I preached… On August 18, 2013. At Parkway Bible Church on my 2nd last Sunday as the Worship Director.

One of the major difficulties that I came across when I first became the music director here at Parkway is that while I was quite familiar with a lot of worship songs, I came to quickly realize that I didn’t know a lot of them all that well. That is – I sometimes didn’t know the words of the songs all that well. What would happen to me sometimes, more often in rehearsal, rather than during the actual service itself … is that I would just start singing the wrong lyrics…

So, like for example, just couple of weeks ago while Kristy Mikelait and I were practicing for the service, we were just plugging along on the hymn “In Christ Alone” when all of a sudden, she just stops and kind of gives me this goofy smile. And I was like what’s up? What’s wrong? Well, I had just sung the wrong words to this song that I had used in worship maybe dozens of times in the past 10 years.

You see, I was familiar with the song as a pianist who accompanies singers. But singing it myself, I realized that I didn’t actually know it all that well. And I am wondering if when it comes to the passage that we’re going to consider this morning, that many Christians – many of us here today, are merely “familiar” with it, having heard it once in a while throughout our Christian lives, not realizing that we don’t actually know it all that well…

Psalm 23

1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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Credo Paper: Penal Substitution

Chris Evangelista
Dr. Joseph Mangina
28 November 2011

Penal Substitution

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14


In chapter eight of The Apostolic Faith, David Yeago begins his discussion on the atonement by taking a look at two theories of atonement which he deems inadequate. The second theory, and the subject of this essay, is the doctrine of penal substitution. Yeago builds his case against this doctrine on three points: (1) that it creates a conflict between God’s love and justice, (2) that it presents the goal of Christ’s atoning work as God changing his attitude towards sinners, and (3) that scriptural support for Christ’s death as the substitution for punishment is weak.

In this essay, I will argue that Yeago does build a convincing case against penal substitution as an explanation for atonement. He does an inadequate job of presenting the strengths of penal substitution, choosing instead to present and counter points that work to his advantage when he goes on to present his own model of atonement. I will show that his first two points do not actually discredit or disprove penal substitution. In fact, the alternative that he proposes for these two points would seem to harmonize quite nicely with the doctrine. Furthermore, his third point – that the scriptural case for substitutionary punishment is weak – is itself ironically weak, as it relies merely on the argument that the scriptural conclusions made by proponents of penal substitution are “illogical”, rather than being based scripture itself. Continue reading

Exploring the Kerygma, Part 2

Chris Evangelista
Catherine Sider Hamilton
2 November 2011

Exploring the Kerygma: Part 2

Section 1
Four elements of the core kerygma can be clearly seen through a cursory reading of Matthew 27:45-60. Most obviously, Jesus’ death is at the forefront as it is the account of his crucifixion. In addition, there is a statement establishing that Jesus is the Messiah as the centurion utters in amazement: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (27:54, ESV). Also, it is also explicitly stated that several witnesses were “looking from a distance, [witnesses] who had followed Jesus from Galilee” (27:55, ESV). Finally, Jesus’ burial was narrated at the end of the pericope. Of these four elements, Jesus’ death and burial really stand as the main emphases, as this pericope is, after all, an account in which Jesus’ death is central. However, it does seem that the author did take care to mention that certain people were watching from a distance, emphasizing the fact that there are witnesses to this event.

While these four elements can easily be seen, a fifth one may also be discerned through careful reading and reasoning. This element is that these events are accomplished in God’s power. This is evident in the curtain being torn in two, the earth shaking and rocks splitting, and some of the saints coming back to life (27:51-53). Though these events are not explained in the passage, such astonishing events occurring at the moment of Jesus’ death can only suggest that God was supernaturally at work throughout the event.

On the one hand, several elements would seem to be missing from the passage at first reading. Foremost of this is the explanation that all of this had happened for the forgiveness of sin. Any thought of the resurrection is also missing, though to be sure, this will be covered later on in the narrative. Finally, also seemingly absent is any reference to these events fulfilling Old Testament scripture.

On the other hand, we may also see several elements being added in this account. Most curiously, there is the declaration of Jesus as the “Son of God”, which although is one of the elements of the core kerygma, who makes the declaration comes as a surprise. It is a Roman centurion and not one of the disciples, witnesses, or even a Jew who recognizes Jesus as such at the moment of his death. Another added element is in verse 50 where it says that Jesus “yielded up his spirit” at the moment of his death. This seems to suggest that Jesus was in control even of his own death, which shows his willingness to sacrifice himself to death. Finally, as mentioned above, the supernatural events occurring in verses 51-53 are not part of the core kerygma, though it may be seen as an extension of other elements from the core. Continue reading

Exploring the Kerygma, Part 1

My second paper of 2011-2012 … Grade received: A-

Chris Evangelista
Prof. Catherine Hamilton
5 October 2011

Exploring the Kerygma: Part 1

Four constituent parts of the Gospel message can be discerned to have been proclaimed in the early church: (1) Jesus died, (2) he rose from the dead, (3) he physically appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, and (4) all of these occurred in accordance to Jewish scriptures. These elements were drawn out of a process of closely reading and comparing Paul’s exhortation in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, and the context and content of five sermons in Acts found in 2:14-39, 3:12-26, 4:8-12, 5:30-32, and 10:34-43.

That Jesus died and rose again are the two elements of the core Gospel message that are most obvious in the passages listed above. It seems that the disciples intended to be quite clear that this really happened, and that these two elements must be part of the core message. The fact that Jesus rose again from the dead is even proclaimed twice in the Acts 2 (verses 24 and 36) and Acts 3 (verses 15 and 26) sermons. To be sure, variations can be found between each of the passages; however, these variations are somewhat superficial.

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