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Sheol, the place of the dead The question of what sort of place “Sheol” is and who goes there often gets brought up when hell is being discussed. Alex Jordan, for example, made this comment a few days back:I believe there are warnings about hell in the Old Testament. Sheol is not a neutral place, but the place where the wicked... (21st Aug. 2012 | 19 comments)
Tim Challies' final arguments for the existence of hell Tim Challies’ final post on “The Holiness of God and the Existence of Hell” is a bit of a let-down. I was rather hoping that he would examine the biblical evidence for his doctrine of eternal conscious torment. I thought he might have considered how words like “wrath” and “Gehenna” and “Hades” are... (17th Aug. 2012 | 47 comments)
Tim Challies on the wrath of God and the existence of hell Tim Challies thinks that one of the most important questions that as Christians we have to ask ourselves today is “Does hell exist?” I also think that this is an important question, one that, in my view, highlights a major flaw in the way most modern Christians understand the Bible, which is why I... (16th Aug. 2012 | 27 comments)
Who else has argued that Gehenna is a place of historical judgment? I see one hand hesitantly raised I have argued in The Coming of the Son of Man (91-94) and frequently on this blog that in Jesus’ teaching the Greek word geenna, which is usually erroneously translated “hell”, signifies not a general “place” of punishment of sinners after death but divine punishment of Jerusalem by means of... (10th Aug. 2012 | 34 comments)
Can anyone recommend a seminary that embraces narrative theology? I have had a couple of questions from someone which I’m struggling to answer. He grew up and still lives in Texas, has a “hyper-conservative, mainstream” evangelical background, but has recently been exploring new ideas about theology and doctrine, in particular the sort narrative approaches to the... (9th Aug. 2012 | 11 comments)
Should the church be committed to the mission of Jesus? The last of the eight marks of the “true church” according to Mark Driscoll is that the “church is committed to Jesus’ mission”—and you think, well, that’s a no-brainer. Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. Proclaim the good news that Jesus died for our sins. Baptize people.... (2nd Aug. 2012 | 9 comments)
Satan, The rise and fall of Do I believe in Satan? To be honest, on a good day, I’m not sure I do. I suspect that this arch hypostasis of evil is just a bit too much of a stretch for my largely rationalist view of the world. Should I be concerned about this? A narrative appraisal of Satan’s function in the New Testament... (30th Jul. 2012 | 28 comments)
The story is more than gospel: a response to Leslie Leyland Fields In an article in the latest edition of Christianity Today (“The Gospel Is More Than a Story: Rethinking Narrative and Testimony”) Leslie Fields examines the current preference expressed by many evangelicals for narrative over doctrine. She offers by way of evidence a statement made by Derek Flood... (25th Jul. 2012 | 6 comments)
The kingdom of heaven and the men of violence While we’re on the subject of the kingdom of God, what are we to make of Jesus’ enigmatic saying about violent men taking the kingdom by force (Matt. 11:12)? The only way to make sense of it, I would suggest, is to read carefully Jesus’ reaction to the visit from the disciples of John the Baptist... (22nd Jul. 2012 | 3 comments)
The kingdom of God is in the midst of you. Or is it? The coming of the kingdom of God in the Synoptic Gospels is, in my view, entirely a cataclysmic future public event. This event would not happen very soon, from Jesus’ point of view, but some of his followers would certainly live to witness it. It is closely linked, in Jesus’ apocalyptic story-... (21st Jul. 2012 | 24 comments)
Was Jesus' kingdom spiritual or physical? No. The debate running over here regarding spiritual and physical kingdoms seems to me to be getting confused. To my mind, a straightforward distinction needs to be made between the place where the king is and the place where his reign takes effect. Jesus became Israel’s king by his resurrection and... (17th Jul. 2012 | 9 comments)
Michael Bird notices that there are two competing gospel visions in evangelicalism In some reflections on an essay by Darrell Bock in the recent Howard Marshall festschrift Michael Bird makes the comment: “I seriously wonder if we have two competing gospel visions in evangelicalism.” He quotes a couple of paragraphs from Bock’s essay which make the point that whereas the gospel... (15th Jul. 2012 | 1 comment)
In what sense are we "bound to what the New Testament teaches"? I don’t want to make this too much a Q&A type blog, but when good questions come up in the comments, it seems a shame to waste them. This one from Mitchell Powell gets at a problem which is often reckoned to be the Achilles heel of narrative-historical approaches to the New Testament, though... (12th Jul. 2012 | 32 comments)
Mark Driscoll and the marks of a "true church" Scot McKnight has provoked copious debate on Jesus Creed in characteristically economical fashion by asking people what they think of the eight marks of a “true church”, by which is meant a church that conforms to the teachings of the New Testament, as defined by Mark Driscoll: The church is... (9th Jul. 2012 | 5 comments)
I think I might be a realized premillennialist I picked up a discounted copy of Roger Olson’s A-Z of Evangelical Theology (SCM, 2005) in the London School of Theology book shop earlier in the week. A central theme of the book that I am currently working on will be the kingdom of God and how to live with it, so I had a look at Roger’s brief... (6th Jul. 2012 | 13 comments)
By way of distraction: Studdert Kennedy on the Blessed Trinity I am sitting in the library at the London School of Theology trying to cobble together a book proposal. Looking for distraction I have just pulled off the shelf beside me The Wicket Gate by G.A. Studdert Kennedy, first published in 1923. Opening the book more or less at random I happened upon this... (3rd Jul. 2012 | 4 comments)
Do both the good and the bad go to Hades? Steven Opp has drawn attention to the argument of W.G.T. Shedd in The Doctrine of Endless Punishment that Sheol in the Old Testament (Hades in the Greek Old Testament) is not merely the grave but a place of endless punishment for the wicked, in part, at least, on the grounds that there are passages... (2nd Jul. 2012 | 8 comments)
More on the rich man and Lazarus and the question of “hell” I have suggested in The Coming of the Son of Man and on this blog that the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 is not intended to provide factual information about the afterlife but rather belongs to Jesus’ critique of a complacent elite in Israel that served mammon rather than God (... (1st Jul. 2012 | 9 comments)
Is David Fitch right that God is making the world right? Having just read Frank Viola’s Beyond Evangelicalism, I thought I ought to take a look at David Fitch’s more solidly analytical, and much less succinctly titled, The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission: Towards an Evangelical Political Theology (Theopolitical Visions).... (26th Jun. 2012 | 8 comments)
Should we still love our enemies? Chris asks a straightforward and pertinent question in response to my general argument that a narrative-historical hermeneutic, which necessarily brings into the foreground of our reading the contextual factors that restrict the New Testament’s frame of reference, may still be formative for the... (21st Jun. 2012 | 10 comments)

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