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

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16 reasons for thinking that the conversion of the empire was at the heart of New Testament eschatology I suppose that one of the main oddities of my thorough-going narrative-historical reading of the New Testament, at least from a more or less orthodox evangelical perspective, is my contention that a significant part of its “eschatological” vision has in view the conversion of the nations of the... (18th Jan. 2017 | 18 comments)
Was the garden of Eden an “archetypal sanctuary”? I have to be a bit careful in critiquing John Walton’s thesis in his book The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, because, as has been pointed out to me, it’s only a summary of his much more substantial argument in his Genesis 1 As Ancient Cosmology. I’m not sure... (14th Jan. 2017 | 22 comments)
Larry Hurtado’s (non-apocalyptic) Destroyer of the gods If we are going to read the New Testament as historical narrative, we have to have some sense of historical context. The church, on the whole, is not interested in historical context. The Bible is mostly treated as a self-contained, self-sufficient sacred text. In a recent comment Travis Finley... (12th Jan. 2017 | 7 comments)
“Jesus is Lord” before (and after) Trinitarian orthodoxy I have no problem with Trinitarian orthodoxy as the product of a post-biblical, post-Jewish, post-apocalyptic rethinking of the relationship between Father, Son and Spirit, in the context of the construction of a new worldview for the Greek-Roman oikoumenē. I think that was probably, like... (10th Jan. 2017 | 9 comments)
Talking Jesus: how does the Trinity fit in? Neil asks in connection with my post Talking Jesus: problems with the modern evangelistic paradigm: “how do you view the Trinity given your statement about the uniqueness of Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ and everyone else’s encounter with either the pre-risen Christ or the Holy Spirit post... (7th Jan. 2017 | 33 comments)
The Lost World of Genesis One is lost on me I have finally got round to reading John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, and I have to say, I don’t see it.Walton’s central contention is that what we have in Genesis 1 is an account not of the creation of the material cosmos but of the inauguration... (3rd Jan. 2017 | 31 comments)
Born of a woman Why does Paul say in Galatians 4:4 that Jesus was “born from a woman” (genomenon ek gunaikos)? I argued in “Christmas according to St Paul” that the “sending” of Jesus was much more like the sending of the son to the vineyard in the parable of the wicked tenants than the sending of Wisdom into the... (24th Dec. 2016 | 0 comments)
Christmas according to St Paul Paul appears not to have known the Christmas story—or not to have been much interested in it, at least. In the letters that have survived he makes no mention of a census, a journey to Bethlehem, angels, shepherds, the presentation in the temple, astrologers from the east, the flight to Egypt, or... (22nd Dec. 2016 | 3 comments)
A conversation with Emi about salvation and mission Emi is a seventeen year old high school student in the Seattle area. She has posted a couple of lengthy comments on this site in which she expresses the struggle she is going through trying to reconcile the narrative-historical reading of the New Testament, which she understands and summarises... (20th Dec. 2016 | 15 comments)
There is only one biblical way to transform society, and it’s not social activism In his talk on Daniel 4 this week Barney made passing reference to the “biblical mandate to bring justice by changing the structures of society”. I forget exactly the point he was making, but it would have had something to do with Daniel’s words to Nebuchadnezzar after interpreting the dream about... (15th Dec. 2016 | 20 comments)
Celibacy, marriage, and the end of the age Something that struck me reading Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church was the general agreement that Paul’s views about marriage change between 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5.In the earlier passage he expresses a strong preference for celibacy but at the same time gives a “... (12th Dec. 2016 | 0 comments)
Homosexuality, marriage, and why I don’t think Paul teaches mutual submission There’s an interesting exchange between the contributors to Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church (ed. Preston Sprinkle) over how close the modern ideal of Christian marriage conforms to the biblical pattern of marriage. The underlying question is whether we have a closed and fixed... (9th Dec. 2016 | 6 comments)
Talking Jesus: problems with the modern evangelistic paradigm I’ve been working with someone who is doing research on the tensions between what I’ll call for convenience a “narrative-historical” understanding of the gospel and the gospel as it is commonly presented in modern evangelism. The Talking Jesus report came up for consideration as an example of how... (6th Dec. 2016 | 5 comments)
Are non-Christians “lost”? I received a newsletter from a good missionary friend yesterday that spoke of his intention to “rescue lost people for Christ”. I have always felt uneasy about that sort of language. It sounds condescending and disparaging. Perhaps I’m just being squeamish, but I think I have some biblical warrant.... (2nd Dec. 2016 | 4 comments)
The biblical argument about salvation (my soteriology) Emi sent me an email a while back, and because I have been slow to reply, she posted the whole thing as a comment. She notes that I argue in What must a person believe in order to be saved? i) that the mission of the church is not to save as many people as possible; and ii) that when ‘people today... (29th Nov. 2016 | 9 comments)
Two questions about “hell” I have a very clear and consistent view on “hell” in the New Testament. The “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). That is the bottom line. But in the New Testament narrative it is the story of Israel and the nations that determines the scope and reference of the “hell” language: wrath against the... (23rd Nov. 2016 | 2 comments)
Homosexuality, Black Friday, and the disordered human condition In his chapter on homosexuality in The Moral Vision of the New Testament Richard Hays argues that in Romans 1:Paul is offering a diagnosis of the disordered human condition: he adduces the fact of widespread homosexual behaviour as evidence that human beings are indeed in rebellion against their... (21st Nov. 2016 | 7 comments)
The inclusion of same-sex believers and the non-inclusion of Gentiles The purpose of this post is, first, to register the fact that J. Daniel Kirk has used Acts 15 to argue for the affirmation and inclusion of gay Christians in the church. I hadn’t seen these before—thanks, Andy, for pointing it out:Embracing the GentilesScripture and the Spirit of ChristGentiles?... (18th Nov. 2016 | 4 comments)
Same-sex same solution (simplified). And what was James on about? Ian Paul, who is a staunch defender of the traditional view, thinks that my modest proposal regarding the relevance of the deliberations of the Jerusalem Council for the seemingly intractable controversy over same-sex unions is a “bizarre misreading of the narrative”. My sense is rather that he has... (17th Nov. 2016 | 5 comments)
Same-sex same solution? Does the Jerusalem Council suggest a way forward? Some years back I wrote a book called Speaking of Women: Interpreting Paul. I took the view that both sides of the debate at the time were misreading Paul in their pursuit of polemical advantage, but I came down nevertheless on the egalitarian side of the fence. I think that male headship in Paul... (15th Nov. 2016 | 3 comments)
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