All articles

From the River to the ends of the earth: Jesus and empire I’m working my way through the first of the two volumes that make up N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God . So far it’s all fascinating background stuff about the eschatological narratives of the Pharisees, the philosophies of the Greeks, and the religion and politics of the Romans,... (4th Dec. 2013 | 4 comments)
A narrative statement of missional faith I’ve been engaged in a little exercise with some friends rewriting a mission organization’s statement of faith. What I have presented below is my reworking of a rough, more cautious, but actually rather effective first attempt to make “a bit of a narrative out of our core beliefs, rather than a... (28th Nov. 2013 | 2 comments)
“Hell” and the individual sinner Rob got in touch with a couple of questions about my post on the unbiblical doctrine of hell. My argument is roughly that the language of painful judgment in the New Testament—Gehenna, wailing and gnashing of teeth, violent destruction, etc.—refers not to what happens to individuals after death but... (25th Nov. 2013 | 5 comments)
Violent Jesus vs. non-violent Jesus. And the winner is...? I’ve been reading David Neville’s book A Peaceable Hope: Contesting Violent Eschatology in New Testament Narratives in order to review it for the Evangelical Quarterly. Neville sets out the problem he means to address in the opening paragraph:There is a discrepancy at the heart of the New Testament... (22nd Nov. 2013 | 3 comments)
Who or what will see the Son of Man coming in clouds? And where? According to Mark’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that, as the apocalyptic storyline reaches its climax and the lights start going out over Jerusalem, “they” will see the Son of man coming in clouds (Mk. 13:24-26). But who—or what—are “they”? In A Peaceable Hope: Contesting Violent Eschatology... (18th Nov. 2013 | 6 comments)
Triumphalism, empire, and the early church Paul Dean is troubled by the inclusion of the word “triumphantly” in the closing sentence of the previous post on The end of narrative for Christians and Jews: “For the church, narrative came to an end triumphantly in the conversion of the empire and was replaced by theology.” He asks: “Why is that... (13th Nov. 2013 | 0 comments)
The end of narrative for Christians and Jews The New Testament is an eschatological text. It tells a story, which is essentially a Jewish story about the fulfilment of age-old, deeply held hopes expressed in the Psalms and the prophets. The death and resurrection of Jesus brings that story to some sort of climax, but not to an end. There is... (11th Nov. 2013 | 4 comments)
The woman and the dragon Preparing some lectures on Revelation, I came across Ian Paul’s very helpful introduction to the book in Exploring the New Testament: Letters and Revelation v. 2 . With Revelation, probably more than with any other New Testament text, it is difficult to deal with its meaning apart from its form... (6th Nov. 2013 | 7 comments)
The long, difficult story of new creation I had a long conversation over the weekend with an Asian friend who is engaged in conflict-resolution projects in her war-torn country. She was particularly interested in the importance of inter-faith conversations and practices, and we got round to talking about the difference between Christian... (30th Oct. 2013 | 5 comments)
The “Christ hymn”: true humanity or true kingship? The new Story of God Bible Commentary series is another encouraging sign that the narrative-historical approach to the New Testament is building up a head of steam, even if it is not entirely clear which track it is heading down or how far it might go. Interpretation is about telling the story,... (21st Oct. 2013 | 4 comments)
How Paul saw the future Paul had a sharp and vivid understanding of what the future held. It took the form of a prophetic narrative that would affect his own people Israel, the nations and the churches. It was not a matter of peripheral interest, an appendix to his theology. The narrative is pervasive in his letters and... (14th Oct. 2013 | 4 comments)
Larry Hurtado briefly on the question of whether Jesus demanded to be worshipped Larry Hurtado has a clear and concise summary statement of his view regarding the emergence of what he calls “Jesus devotion”. He does not think that Jesus himself demanded to be worshipped, which is not quite the same as saying that Jesus did not claim to be God or act as though he thought he were... (9th Oct. 2013 | 37 comments)
Either Paul got the timing wrong or we’ve got the end wrong Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which some would argue was his second (Wanamaker), or his first and second combined (Murphy-O’Connor), was written to encourage a novice community of mostly Gentile believers to stand firm in the face of persecution until the parousia of the Lord, when the... (5th Oct. 2013 | 7 comments)
1 Thessalonians: a document of eschatological formation In his little book Reading Paul: (Cascade Companions) Michael Gorman argues that Paul needs to be “read as Scripture, as—to be blunt—the voice of God speaking to us”. The historical distance between then and now needs to be understood, but it should not get in the way of hearing Paul address us... (2nd Oct. 2013 | 2 comments)
A paradigm shift in Pauline studies? There’s an excellent set of brief, somewhat dense responses, from earlier this year, to a question about developments in Pauline studies on the Enoch Seminar forum:Pauline studies have undergone major changes in recent times. Which new research topics and methods would you especially highlight?... (28th Sep. 2013 | 3 comments)
Paul (and the righteousness of God) I’m doing some preparatory work for a short series of lectures on Paul and thinking that it may be helpful to set out a rough summary of his thought—a sketch of the big picture—from my over-zealous narrative-historical perspective. If nothing else, it may help me to respect some boundaries.It is... (23rd Sep. 2013 | 5 comments)
I object! In What was credited to Abraham by faith? I suggested—perhaps somewhat mischievously, certainly polemically—that ‘The language of “imputation” or “impartation” or “infusion” is overblown.’ Nathan wonders why I am so opposed to the concept. What am I trying to counter? That bears some consideration... (18th Sep. 2013 | 4 comments)
Passover and atonement I made a bit of a mess of this—the system let me down—but I’ve moved this lengthy conversation about the passover and atonement to a separate thread. It arose from this paragraph in response to Peter Wilkinson:And I still don’t get this argument about the passover. I see no reference to the... (14th Sep. 2013 | 15 comments)
What was credited to Abraham by faith? Still on the subject of judgment and works, justification and faith, and the fundamental misalignment of Reformed theology… Darren asks: “What was credited to Abraham by faith?” I’m not entirely sure what he’s getting at—he may just be asking what “it” refers to: “he counted it to him as... (13th Sep. 2013 | 11 comments)
Justification by faith (in the story of Israel and the nations) The classic doctrine of justification is roughly that God declares righteous—and will declare righteous at the final judgment—the sinner who has faith in Jesus. There is nothing that we can do to make ourselves right with God—no works of any religious or moral “law”. The righteousness of Jesus may... (10th Sep. 2013 | 8 comments)
Subscribe to Postost: Andrew Perriman