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

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Apocalyptic-Inflationism and new creation Keen to avoid being condemned for the “heresy” of Apocalyptic-Inflationism and to “maintain narrative orthodoxy”, James asks what he should do with passages such as Revelation 21:3-5:And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with... (27th May. 2016 | 7 comments)
Theological heresy and narrative-historical heresy In his Christian Theology: An Introduction Alister McGrath discusses the taxonomy of “natural heresies” outlined by Schleiermacher in The Christian Faith (147-49). Here is the gist of the argument.1. The essence or basic principle of Christianity is that God has redeemed us through Jesus Christ.2.... (25th May. 2016 | 11 comments)
Blessed are the narrative-historical interpreters: preaching the Beatitudes We had a very good sermon on the Beatitudes yesterday. It did not sentimentalise the passage. It paid attention to the literary form. It was sensitive to language. It warned against careless application to our own context. But it made the assumption that this was generally relevant ethical-... (23rd May. 2016 | 3 comments)
Theology and history: on totally different wave lengths I have had quite a lengthy conversation here with Bobby Grow following on from my random review posts about Samuel V. Adams’ book The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N. T. Wright. The conversation was basically a dispute, a little testy in places,... (19th May. 2016 | 9 comments)
Samuel V. Adams and Paul’s “apocalypse of Jesus Christ” I think I’m getting to the bottom of Samuel V. Adams’ excellent, invigorating, complex, stimulating and—in my view—flawed critique of N.T. Wright’s historical methodology.History and theology have given us two different ways of understanding “apocalyptic”. When historians such as Wright use the... (10th May. 2016 | 24 comments)
Two stories about Jesus I taught a module on the historical Jesus recently for church leaders. My starting point was the suggestion that there are two basic ways of telling the story about Jesus. Traditionally the church has told a vertical story: Jesus comes into the world from heaven to die for our sins and then returns... (5th May. 2016 | 10 comments)
Adams and Wright: beyond worldviews? Samuel Adams argues—continuing my piecemeal critical review of his stimulating and exasperating book The Reality of God and Historical Method—that Wright’s historical method cannot deal adequately with the reality of God. Wright’s is not a thoroughgoing “methodological naturalism” because he ‘... (3rd May. 2016 | 7 comments)
Theological hermeneutics and the meaning of “Immanuel” Here’s another example of how a theological reading can drive a coach and horses through historical exegesis. At the heart of the “theological doctrine of the incarnation,” Adams writes, “is the union of the divine and human in Jesus the Messiah”. Keeping in mind Wright’s historical method and... (29th Apr. 2016 | 6 comments)
Adams, Wright, Barth, theology, history, time, eternity, and Paul’s letter to the Romans The fault line between theology and history is pervasive, persistent and profound. Samuel Adams argues in The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N.T. Wright for a theological hermeneutics at the heart of which is the “apocalyptic event” of God’s self-... (28th Apr. 2016 | 8 comments)
Explicit and implicit christologies in Mark The explicit testimony concerning Jesus throughout Mark’s Gospel is that he is the beloved Son, empowered by the Spirit, who will serve the purposes of YHWH, who will suffer, who will be vindicated by his resurrection from the dead, and who will be seated at the right hand of YHWH, having received... (27th Apr. 2016 | 0 comments)
Can evangelicalism hitch the wagon of church and mission to the horse of historical narrative? The cluttered mega-chart below (click for an enlarged version) combines yesterday’s schematic overview of Samuel Adams’ concise and lucid summary of Wright’s account of the relation between theology and history with my earlier attempt to show how the narrative-historical method goes back to the... (22nd Apr. 2016 | 1 comment)
Samuel Adams’ summary of Wright's argument about history and theology In The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N.T. Wright Samuel V. Adams offers an inversion of Wright’s solution to the division between theology and history. Whereas Wright addresses the question of God from the side of history, Adams wants to consider... (21st Apr. 2016 | 2 comments)
In the shadow of Babel (a sermon) The last few weeks have been busy, and I’ve not had the time, or frankly the inclination, to blog. I haven’t posted a sermon before, and it’s perhaps a rather desperate measure, but I feel under some pressure to show that the narrative-historical approach can work in normal preaching-teaching... (5th Apr. 2016 | 3 comments)
Who is the founder of the narrative-historical hermeneutic? Craig got in touch with a couple of questions. He wants to know, first, what P.OST stands for. That’s straightforward and not very exciting. I ran a “collaborative” site called Open Source Theology from about 2002 to 2009. It was associated with the self-consciously postmodern rethinking that went... (16th Mar. 2016 | 1 comment)
How (and why) church planters should tell their story I’ve been preparing some material for a workshop on Theology and Future Church for a group of church planters, and as often happens, my mind ran off in a rather impractical direction. But the point is this. Too often practitioners look for a theology that will directly support or enhance or defend... (3rd Mar. 2016 | 3 comments)
Heaven and the apocalyptic narrative Paula Gooder talked about heaven at a Theos event last night in London, with passion, verve, an impressive grasp of the details (the gentleman behind me was certainly impressed), and a robust determination not to let theological tradition get in the way of honest biblical interpretation.Her leading... (1st Mar. 2016 | 1 comment)
Markan christology debate I have been closely following recent exchanges among a set of notable scholars regarding Mark’s christology. All good stuff, a model of civilised online debate. On one side we have those who argue that in subtle, ambiguous, indirect, and covert ways Mark presents Jesus as a figure who in some... (24th Feb. 2016 | 15 comments)
Judge of the living and the dead In a comment Peter asks about Acts 10:42: “So it seems you would say that Jesus’ role as judge of the living and the dead… already happened at the parousia (70 AD). Is this correct? If so, in what way did he judge the dead?” The main texts have to do with Peter—confusing, I know (Acts 10:42; 1 Pet... (22nd Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
Two unconventional ways of thinking about the delay of the parousia I have been getting a kick out of Albert Schweitzer’s 1930 book The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle. What’s so refreshing about the book is that Schweitzer attempts consistently to frame Paul’s thinking eschatologically. The book’s dated in many ways, and a lot of exegetical water has passed under... (19th Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
Schweitzer gets redemption and eschatology half right One of the most serious exegetical-hermeneutical-theological failings of modern evangelicalism has been to take soteriology out of eschatology, to disconnect the saying about the Son of Man giving his life as a ransom for many from the expectation that the Son of Man will be seen coming in glory on... (18th Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
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