(how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference)

Not all who say, “Lord, Lord”, know what they’re talking about

What it means to call Jesus “Lord” has been a big bone of contention over the last decade or so. I have had a lot to say on the matter here, there, etc., and on Facebook recently. Many people are convinced by a syllogistic Trinitarian logic: YHWH = Lord, Jesus = Lord, therefore Jesus = YHWH. Others, myself included, think that Jesus is confessed as “Lord” because the authority entailed in lordship has been graciously bestowed upon him by God (cf. Phil. 2:9-11).

This latter ante-Trinitarian line of thought can be made to serve different theological agendas. My own view is that it is not an argument against Trinitarianism (that is, anti-Trinitarian). It is an argument for a narrative-historical reading of the New Testament that foregrounds the kingdom-political significance of Jesus in the first century context. This is not the whole story, but it is by far the most important narrative thread in the New Testament, running from the announcement to Mary that her son would receive the “throne of his father David” (Lk. 1:32) through to the fall of Babylon the great in Revelation 18-19. I think it needs to be better understood—at the expense of the classic Trinitarian paradigm if necessary.

17 Aug 2017

I’ve had a couple of different types of response to my “Did God die on the cross?” post. Not a lot, but enough to justify a follow-up, I think. There is a biblical response based on the view that the New Testament directly equates or identifies Jesus with YHWH as kyrios; and there...

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15 Aug 2017

This has been giving me a headache.

Luke has Paul say to the Ephesian elders: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). In a sermon posted last week on The...

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10 Aug 2017

In good off-the-cuff biblical language Donald Trump has warned that North Korea’s recent salvo of threats “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

Jesus said that the Roman assault on Jerusalem would result in “such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God...

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31 Jul 2017

What did the centurion at the cross believe about Jesus? Did he believe that Jesus was the true Son of God? Did he believe that he was equivalent to the divinised emperor? Or did he merely agree with popular Jewish opinion that Jesus was a righteous man (and not the first), who had been unjustly put to...

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28 Jul 2017

This is a quick response to Mark Nieweg’s question, following yesterday’s post on Jesus as the Son of God, whether Hebrews 7:13 is an argument for the eternal existence of the Son of God: “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he...

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27 Jul 2017

Theological accounts of Jesus tend to portray him as a divine figure who descended to earth at a certain moment in human history, died on the cross for the sins of humanity, and then returned to heaven. Historical accounts place him firmly within a story about Israel under Roman occupation in the...

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13 Jul 2017

I may get into trouble for this, but I want to make a couple of constructive critical points about this quotation from the missiologist Alan Hirsch, posted by communitaseuropa on Instagram.

Communitas is a US-based church-planting organisation that I’ve been involved with for...

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11 Jul 2017

My friend Joel White—well, technically I suppose he’s the brother of my friend Wes, but the brother of my friend is my friend—kindly sent me a copy of an article he wrote on Colossians 1:24 because we had a chat about this once. It’s a pet theme of mine. The article is entitled “Paul Completes the Servant’s...

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