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

Could you please help me understand the practical consequences…?

“Could you please help me understand the practical consequences of the narrative-historical approach?” The question was put to me by a student at a conservative theological college. I realise that most of what I write here is of a “theoretical” nature, but I have tried occasionally at least to outline the practical implications—a few such attempts are listed below. I’ll have another go here.

10 Jan 2018

According to Luke, when Jesus is taken up with the clouds into heaven, two men in white robes are watching on. They ask the disciples why they are still gazing into the empty sky. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the way that (or simply ‘as’: hon tropon) you...

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9 Jan 2018

The Second Coming of Jesus is a classic Christian doctrine. The Nicene Creed says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. The Basis of faith of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK affirms belief in the “...

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3 Jan 2018

The argument runs something like this….

The church began as a movement within first century Judaism. Like any other historical movement, its character and purpose were shaped by its historical circumstances. It was a product of its time and place. It was part of an ancient story.

The church presented...

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22 Dec 2017

Jonathan Leeman has weighed into the debate about whether the gospel has to do with personal salvation or social and cosmic justice. Or both. Or neither. He takes Tim Keller’s side in this week’s little well-mannered twitter spat, and zealously raises the banner of “inseparable asymmetry” in the hope of...

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19 Dec 2017

This little well-mannered twitter spat illustrates what seems to me to be a basic theological flaw in the modern church.

Tim Keller tweeted:

Rachel Held Evans replied, somewhat circumspectly, but we know where this is coming from:

Various people pointed out—including Keller himself—...

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18 Dec 2017

Fred Sanders appears to be the go-to evangelical academic for a defence of Trinitarian orthodoxy these days. In a post last week on the Zondervan Academic blog he asks ‘Is the “Trinity” in the Bible?’ In it he sets about defending the doctrine of the Trinity against the perennial protest that it isn’t found in the...

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14 Dec 2017

Alex notes that a corollary of the narrative-historical approach is that “Jesus’ primary ethical concern centered around the survival of the covenantal communities he was forming—communities that he believed would face violent opposition”. That is well stated. Jesus taught his disciples how to behave—towards those...

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11 Dec 2017

Here’s a diagram (click for a larger version) to accompany last week’s post explaining how I think the biblical eschatological narrative takes us beyond the violence of God.

1. The diagram starts with the mission of Jesus and his followers as a continuation of the story of Israel.

2. This...

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