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

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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)
Melchizedek and the Son of God 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... (28th Jul. 2017 | 1 comment)
Truly this man was a son of God: Jesus, kingdom and the divinity of Caesar 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... (27th Jul. 2017 | 12 comments)
“Our job is to plant the story… in ways that make sense…” 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 years, as a sort of... (13th Jul. 2017 | 3 comments)
How does Paul fill up what is lacking of Christ’s sufferings? 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... (11th Jul. 2017 | 0 comments)
Christian political witness and the stone of stumbling What is Christian political witness? In an age of both political upheaval and the headlong marginalisation of the church it’s a good question to ask. In a cogently written piece on Political Theology Today Alastair Roberts argues that:Christian political witness must be built around and declare... (4th Jul. 2017 | 0 comments)
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