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

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Digging for deeper meanings that don’t exist Jerel Kratt has been making a vigorous case against my suggestion that Isaiah 60-66 describes an enhanced but essentially historical future for Israel that was not fulfilled, either in the decades after the return from exile or in the events narrated in the New Testament.He thinks that Isaiah was... (18th Nov. 2017 | 3 comments)
Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: the eschatology of Isaiah 60-66 In “21 reasons why the coming of the kingdom of God was not the end of the world” I stated that “There is no new creation in the Old Testament…, only kingdom.” There are, however, two explicit references to new creation in the Old Testament, both in the third part of Isaiah: “For behold, I create... (17th Nov. 2017 | 15 comments)
21 reasons why the coming of the kingdom of God was not the end of the world I recently took part in a recorded conversation with Matt Hartke for Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? programme on Premier Christian Radio. It will be broadcast and made available on podcast some time in the next few weeks, I believe.Matt has been on a long journey of faith and theology. You can... (14th Nov. 2017 | 8 comments)
Signs in the heavens and distress on earth In Matthew and Mark Jesus speaks of events in the heavens prior to the revelation of the Son of Man: the darkening of sun and moon, the falling of the stars, the shaking of the powers of heaven (Matt. 24:29; Mk. 13:24-25). In response to Dale Allison’s argument that Jesus expected a literal... (7th Nov. 2017 | 1 comment)
Dale Allison on Jesus and the end of the world (or not) Shortly before his arrest in Jerusalem, as Mark tells the story, Jesus made a prediction: after a period of severe tribulation the sun and moon would be darkened, the stars would fall from heaven, the powers of heaven would be shaken, people would see “the Son of Man coming in clouds with great... (2nd Nov. 2017 | 1 comment)
Son of Man: title, self-reference, or narrative? I’m a little mystified by Larry Hurtado’s argument about “the son of man” as an “Obsolete Phantom”.He is taking issue with the now rather dated view that when Jesus spoke of “the son of man”, he was referring to someone other than himself, namely a heavenly, eschatological redeemer figure bearing... (23rd Oct. 2017 | 9 comments)
Did Jesus believe that Gentiles would be included in the renewed people of God? I argued last week that Jesus believed that his mission would lead not to a fundamentally new people of God, following the destruction of national Israel, but to the restoration and renewal of Israel, on the basis of repentance and Jesus’ atoning death, under a new covenant and a new régime.But... (17th Oct. 2017 | 10 comments)
Just to be clear, I am neither a Preterist nor a Unitarian I saw a comment on a Reddit thread which said that this blog “takes a conservative unitarian view of things”, adding, “It’s very well-argued.” I also get accused of being a Preterist from time to time, though not so much recently. I understand how the misunderstandings arise, but I want to make it... (12th Oct. 2017 | 5 comments)
Jesus and the restoration of Israel according to Matthew My response to Peter Wilkinson’s attempt to show from Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus had no thought of reforming or restoring Israel as a nation has grown too long to post as a comment. My contention, more or less in agreement with Caird and Wright, is that the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels announced... (9th Oct. 2017 | 17 comments)
What took us so long? G.B. Caird on the historical Jesus I was pointed to G.B. Caird’s Ethel M. Wood Lecture “Jesus and the Jewish Nation” last week. The lecture was delivered in 1965 and published by The Athlone Press. It can be downloaded from Rob Bradshaw’s BiblicalStudies.org.uk.I tend to trace my understanding of Jesus’ eschatology back to Wright’s... (2nd Oct. 2017 | 20 comments)
Postost-millennialism, or the end of eschatology as we know it Tim Challies has produced a helpful diagram to explain the differences between the three most prominent views of the end times—premillennialism, postmillennialism and amillennialism.I say “helpful”, but “unhelpful” might be a better word for it, for at least three reasons.First, this sort of... (25th Sep. 2017 | 20 comments)
Biblical narrative, missional context, and same-sex sexual relations all in the same breath This may be getting much too speculative for most people’s taste, but I’ll have a go….It’s basically another attempt to talk about biblical narrative, missional context, and same-sex sexual relations all in the same breath, with an overblown chart thrown in for good measure.The bit that I’m... (19th Sep. 2017 | 13 comments)
The Nashville Statement and the future of the church The furore surrounding the Nashville Statement may have come and gone, but I have been in a lot of discussions about the missional implications of the LGBT “problem” recently and I feel I ought to make a belated stab at an appraisal.The Statement is not well written and is ambiguous at critical... (13th Sep. 2017 | 25 comments)
Who was/is Jesus? Who was/is Jesus? If we read the New Testament as historical narrative—rather than through later theological grids—the dominant story by a country mile is the one about the man who was marked out at birth, and by his birth, as Israel’s future saviour and king, who was chosen and anointed by Israel’... (29th Aug. 2017 | 8 comments)
A meditation on narrative for Carnival day The Notting Hill Carnival kicks off today, so there is no church this morning. The whole of Westbourne Grove has been fenced off, boarded up, covered with tarpaulins. Large numbers of decent people have evacuated the area. You’d think Hurricane Harvey was about to hit west London. But it has given... (27th Aug. 2017 | 2 comments)
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... (22nd Aug. 2017 | 9 comments)
Did God die on the cross? Part 2 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 is a more... (17th Aug. 2017 | 21 comments)
Did God die on the cross? Part 1 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... (15th Aug. 2017 | 9 comments)
Trump vs. Kim: what does Jesus have to say about it? 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... (10th Aug. 2017 | 7 comments)
The centurion at the cross and the lack of a definite article 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... (31st Jul. 2017 | 6 comments)
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