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

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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)
Jesus is Lord (still) We visited Philippi in September. We were staying in Kavala, in eastern Greece, formerly Neapolis, which is where Paul landed having sailed from Troas via Samothrace in response to a visionary summons to Macedonia (Acts 16:11-12). The extensive ruins of the Roman colony of Philippi lie about 12... (7th Nov. 2016 | 1 comment)
The rider on the white horse and the war against the beast and the kings of the earth Someone got in touch asking about the interpretation of John’s vision of a rider on a white horse and the war against “the beast and the kings of the earth” in Revelation 19:11-21.What does Revelation 19 and the rider on the white horse defeating the beast, false prophet, and other kings represent... (4th Nov. 2016 | 0 comments)
Same-sex same old story? The narrative-historical approach recognises that the biblical story works on different levels. Modern (evangelical) theologies tend to highlight the universal story of the individual person who is a sinner in need of salvation, etc. More recently greater attention has been given to an overarching... (31st Oct. 2016 | 4 comments)
Kingdom and mission: a pants classification I mentioned before the distinction that Scot McKnight makes in his Kingdom Conspiracy book between a “pleated pants” view of kingdom as the redemptive activity of God and a “skinny jeans” view of the kingdom as social activism in which the church may be more of a hindrance than a help.You probably... (26th Oct. 2016 | 0 comments)
Paul’s parable of the olive tree In Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church Scot McKnight takes aim at two broad misconceptions of what the kingdom of God is: the “skinny jeans” reduction of kingdom to social activism, and the more conventionally religious “pleated pants” approach, which regards... (24th Oct. 2016 | 9 comments)
As Scot McKnight says, the meek ought to have inherited the land Let me state this as clearly as I can…(I’ve picked up something of Scot McKnight’s combative tone of voice here.)The sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 was not preached to or for the benefit of the post-Christendom, modern-going-on-postmodern, global church.It was preached to beleaguered first... (21st Oct. 2016 | 5 comments)
On second thoughts, the five act play model doesn’t work I wrote a piece recently offering my revision of Tom Wright’s five act play model of biblical authority. The aim was to take account both of the realistic character of biblical eschatology and of the historical experience of the church. This was my proposed narrative structure:Act 1 The people of... (20th Oct. 2016 | 2 comments)
An illustrated guide to Tom Wright and an introduction to “transtomism” I have been reading an excellent little “visual guide” to the thought of Tom Wright by Marlin Watling. The book is called The Marriage of Heaven and Earth, it’s self-published, and is available as a paperback or on Kindle. Coincidentally, my copy of Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began:... (18th Oct. 2016 | 8 comments)
John the Baptist and the wrath to come What did John the Baptist have in mind when he warned the Sadducees and Pharisees about the wrath to come (Matt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7)? Is there any scope for thinking that he is talking about more than—that his language exceeds or transcends—the disastrous events of AD 70? This is one of those posts that... (13th Oct. 2016 | 15 comments)
Getting saved in the Gospels Christianity is reckoned by most people, I imagine, to be at core a religion of salvation. The defining event is the cross, understood as an act of atonement or redemption, the means by which people are saved. If you are not a Christian you are “lost” or “perishing”. If you become a Christian, you... (11th Oct. 2016 | 16 comments)
Why I don’t like being labelled a “preterist” I asserted in the last post on the “firstfruits” that my reading of New Testament eschatology “is not preterism; it is a matter of taking the historical perspective of the early church seriously”. Peter thinks that taking the historical perspective of the early church seriously is exactly what... (6th Oct. 2016 | 8 comments)
What role do the “firstfruits” play in New Testament eschatology? I was asked how I understood the reference to “firstfruits” in the New Testament. It’s a rather obscure topic perhaps, but a bit of word study won’t go amiss and may shed some light on the eschatological narrative.In case you’re not familiar with my idiosyncratic way of reading the New Testament,... (4th Oct. 2016 | 2 comments)
Justice, justification, Jesus, Jerusalem, and the hell of fire I was recommended Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just as preparatory reading for a sermon at Crossroads International Church in the Hague this coming weekend. It’s a compassionate, practical, carefully argued, and in some ways quite audacious exhortation to the... (27th Sep. 2016 | 14 comments)
Five (reinforced) fundamentals for an evangelical future In an article on the Christianity Today website Ed Stetzer dismisses the doom-sayers and gloom-mongers who think that the church is in terminal decline and puts forward five fundamentals for an evangelical future. I am of a naturally cheerful disposition, but I think his analysis and proposals are... (22nd Sep. 2016 | 10 comments)
More on history and the drama of scripture Daniel Hoffman makes an important point about my argument that salient events in the history of the church could be said to have the same level of theological significance as events in the Bible:I sympathize with this in theory—it sounds right, but it seems to me the obvious difference, at least as... (17th Sep. 2016 | 4 comments)
All the world’s the stage: a narrative-historical revision of Wright’s five act play hermeneutic A friend sent me a link to a short talk by Tom Wright in which he explains his now quite well known five act play model of biblical authority. There are two further parts to the talk on reading the scriptures as narrative and on how the church can improvise its own narrative. I recommend it. I like... (14th Sep. 2016 | 3 comments)
What should we do with the lost and found parables today? The three stories told in Luke 15 about something or someone that is lost and then found are not about us, were not addressed to us, were not written for us. They are certainly not vehicles of a universal evangelistic message about lost sinners who need to be saved by the atoning death of Jesus and... (8th Sep. 2016 | 0 comments)
Discipleship and the eschatological narrative of 1 Corinthians I have to prepare some material about discipleship for a small leaders’ retreat. The approach I want to take is to frame discipleship narrative-historically. No surprises there. One way to do this is to take a very practical letter with strong discipleship content, such as 1 Corinthians, and try to... (30th Aug. 2016 | 5 comments)
Greg Beale’s multi-storied new-creational kingdom theology The basic thesis of Greg Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology is i) that the Old Testament gives us the story of how God “progressively reestablishes his new-creational kingdom out of chaos”; and ii) that this storyline is transformed in the New Testament inasmuch as Jesus’ life, death and... (23rd Aug. 2016 | 14 comments)
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