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The glory of the builder of the house Tomorrow I plan to publish a list of the most popular posts on P.OST over the last year. But it was suggested to me by someone before Christmas that Hebrews 3:3-4 makes sense only if ‘the author is flatly calling Jesus “God”’. I want to get this out of the way first. So with the usual caveat that... (30th Dec. 2014 | 8 comments)
Happy narrative-historical Christmas everybody! At a time when the celebration of Jesus’ birth is being buried ever deeper beneath the landfill-waste of a decadent, hedonistic, secular western paganism, we are naturally anxious as the church to recover the true meaning of Christmas. What we expect to find, when all the modern stuff has been... (22nd Dec. 2014 | 5 comments)
What N.T. Wright does with the early high christology of Hurtado, Tilling and Bauckham Following the recent posts on “divine identity” christology, I have been urged to have a look at what N.T. Wright does with the argument in Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Wright starts by tracing developments in Pauline christology in the modern era (644-53). The two competing “orthodoxies” of... (17th Dec. 2014 | 5 comments)
Richard Bauckham: the throne of God and the worship of Jesus I couldn’t make up my mind what to write about this week. I was going to do something on the rather depressing Westminster Faith debate on the future of the Anglican Church that I attended last week in Oxford. I’ve also had it in mind to write a review of Emily Ackerman’s The Amazing Technicolour... (11th Dec. 2014 | 8 comments)
Gender equality in Christian ministry and leadership I said a couple of weeks back that I would post the document that Christian Associates, my favourite church-planting people, recently published on gender equality in leadership. It’s probably fair to say that we have held an egalitarian position in practice for years, without exciting much... (2nd Dec. 2014 | 7 comments)
My problem with divine identity christologies: Hays, Bauckham, Wright In the last two posts I suggested that the claims put forward by Richard Hays for “divine identity” in the Synoptic Gospels are problematic less for what they affirm—I am not arguing against Trinitarianism—than for what they obscure. Matt Colvin had this comment to make, and I think it merits a... (25th Nov. 2014 | 2 comments)
Richard Hays: how is it that Jesus gets to pour out the Spirit of God? Another questionable line of interpretation, if I may make so bold…. Jesus says to his disciples, “I will give you a mouth and a wisdom that none of those who oppose you will be able to stand against or contradict” (Lk. 21:14-15). Since his imminent death is in view, he must mean that he will have... (21st Nov. 2014 | 9 comments)
Richard Hays and the God who walks on the sea People who read this blog regularly will know that I am generally rather sceptical about claims that the writers of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—intended to present Jesus as God. See, for example, “Jesus as Lord in Mark” or “Simon Gathercole’s argument about pre-existence and divine... (20th Nov. 2014 | 9 comments)
Why I love Christian Associates, etc. I have been involved with Christian Associates in one capacity or another—as a pastor, inept church-planter, teacher—for the last twenty years or so. I love the people, I love the organization, I love its vision for starting imaginative new communities of faith in a difficult secular environment,... (18th Nov. 2014 | 0 comments)
Resolving the tension between wrath and love by means of diagrams Following on from the previous post on how to sing about the wrath of God, here are some simple diagrams to explain the hermeneutics involved. 1. There is a tension between two understandings of the cross. The rigorous conservative/Reformed folk want to sing about the wrath of God being satisfied... (12th Nov. 2014 | 19 comments)
And on the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied… I started writing this on Sunday morning before going off to church. It’s a reflection on a piece by Roger Olson about the difficulties many Christians have in using the language of divine wrath. He had come across a revised version of the song “In Christ Alone”, by Getty and Townend, in which the... (10th Nov. 2014 | 9 comments)
Why the Pharisee (probably) did not go home justified Two men go to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee thanks God that he is “not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector”. He fasts twice a week, he tithes his income. The wretched tax collector, on the other hand, says... (6th Nov. 2014 | 5 comments)
Why did the risen Jesus send the apostles out to make disciples of all nations? A narrative-historical hermeneutic has to respect the distinctions and boundaries—even the cracks and disjunctions—that emerge in the telling of the story. If we allow ourselves to read later developments back into earlier passages, we muddy the waters and risk getting the whole story, to whatever... (30th Oct. 2014 | 14 comments)
Weiss and Schweitzer on the kingdom of God: right, right, right, wrong, and still wrong I have read both Weiss’ Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Schweitzer’s The Mystery of the Kingdom of God recently. Both excellent books—up to a point, which I’ll come to—and well worth reading. The significance of their work for the modern understanding of the kingdom of God is neatly... (28th Oct. 2014 | 0 comments)
Israel and the nations: the limits of Old Testament expectation This is a rather technical piece—some notes I made while working on something else—but the gist of the argument can be gained from the introduction and the conclusion. I have been looking at how the idea of a Gentile mission emerges in the New Testament. I made the point in “The parable of the... (23rd Oct. 2014 | 23 comments)
How are you to escape being sentenced to hell? I don’t think I’d noticed this before. I have frequently maintained that what Jesus means by the “judgment of geenna” is not post mortem torment in what we call “hell” but the suffering and destruction that would result from the war against Rome. Basically, the argument is that Jesus adapted the... (16th Oct. 2014 | 3 comments)
The parable of the wedding feast and the man without a wedding garment I’ve been asked a couple of times recently about Matthew’s rather startling and perplexing version of the parable of wedding feast (Matt. 22:1-14). Don Lambirth, for example, sent me this question: In your opinion who are the people who are invited but don’t come? Who are those who are invited... (14th Oct. 2014 | 11 comments)
Why I believe in the rapture With all the current excitement/dismay in the US surrounding the release of yet another Left Behind film, starring Nicholas Cage, I thought I would offer a quick overview of arguments that I have presented in The Coming of the Son of Man and elsewhere regarding the offending passages. I was... (9th Oct. 2014 | 10 comments)
How to make narrative sense of miracles of healing The question of whether God heals miraculously today—or, for that matter, ever has—is obviously a difficult and contentious one for the church in a rationalist secular context. A comment by James Mercer, however, in connection with my post on the narratives of mission highlights a different and... (6th Oct. 2014 | 4 comments)
The narratives of mission I suggested in passing in a recent post on mission and blessing that in The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative C.J.H. Wright (not to be confused with N.T. Wright) ‘has misconstrued the “grand narrative” of the Bible as oriented towards salvation rather than “kingdom”’. JR Rozko,... (30th Sep. 2014 | 10 comments)
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