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Don Carson, kingdom, ethics and individual salvation I managed to get an internet connection on the bus between Antakya (Antioch on the Orontes) and Tarsus and followed a link from Michael Bird to a Themelios article by Don Carson on “Kingdom, Ethics, and Individual Salvation”, republished on the Gospel Coalition site. It doesn’t seem an... (16th Aug. 2013 | 9 comments)
Where should a statement of faith begin? I was asked a while back by Brad Knight what I thought of this post by Roger Olson. Olson addresses the question:When composing a Christian statement of faith, a statement of faith for a Christian church, educational institution, whatever, what or whom should the first article be about? Where... (14th Aug. 2013 | 3 comments)
Rocking the boat: Noah in narrative-historical perspective Following the brilliantly intense Christian Associates staff conference in Budapest, my wife and I are spending a couple of weeks in eastern Turkey. Yesterday we went to see the remarkable rock structure, in the hills close to the border with Iran, that is believed by some to be the petrified... (9th Aug. 2013 | 11 comments)
Evangelicals, historical criticism and the second coming One of the most encouraging developments in evangelical thought in recent years has been the willingness of scholars to engage with scientific and historical criticism. I have recommended the work of Kenton Sparks and Peter Enns before. Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism... (29th Jul. 2013 | 9 comments)
Making space for God in post-Christian Europe I spent last week teaching at a church family camp in Belgium on the theme of “Making space for God in post-Christian Europe”. It was a great opportunity to think through, with a highly motivated but marginalized group of people, how a narrative-historical approach to the New Testament might help... (23rd Jul. 2013 | 8 comments)
Church as eschatological community (part 2) This is the belated second part of my write up of a talk I gave at Community Church Harlesden a few weeks back. In part one I argued that what we find in the New Testament is not a generic or standard or universal definition of church but a definition of church as historically contextualized,... (9th Jul. 2013 | 6 comments)
Where does authority lie? Peter Enns on historical criticism and evangelicalism Peter Enns has written a clear, concise and sensible piece on the uneasy relationship between historical criticism and evangelicalism that I think is well worth reading. He notes the tensions between evangelicalism’s commitment to scripture as divine revelation and the proper task of historical... (4th Jul. 2013 | 5 comments)
Three ways to put ourselves in the story In response to my argument that what we have in the New Testament is a “narrative for the early churches as they confronted the frightening hegemony of classical paganism”, Evelyn asks, quite reasonably: “but then how can it serve as a narrative for us?” I will suggest here that there are three... (2nd Jul. 2013 | 9 comments)
Would God have got excited about the conversion of Constantine? Someone recently got in touch with some pertinent questions about my contention that the main trajectory of New Testament eschatology lands not at the end-of-the-world but firmly in the muddy battle-field of history, at the conversion of Rome.This is not just a question about New Testament... (27th Jun. 2013 | 16 comments)
Does James preach the gospel? It may sometimes appear that the narrative-historical approach to reading the New Testament throws up more questions than answers, but one point that I am pretty confident about is that what the modern evangelical world generally means by “gospel” is not what Jesus or Paul meant by “gospel”.Or... (24th Jun. 2013 | 5 comments)
Creation, fall, redemption, and new creation is not much of a metanarrative I came across this somewhat at random, but it illustrates a point. In an article on the role of theology on the Gordon Conwell website John Jefferson argues that a sound biblical theology is like the backbone in the human body—it provides “support, shape and stability to the Body of Christ”.In the... (21st Jun. 2013 | 7 comments)
Does the gospel first appear in Genesis 3:15? Another good example of how theology gets read back into texts where it doesn’t belong is provided by the argument that the gospel first appears in Genesis 3:15. The singular “seed” of the woman, who will crush the head of the serpent, is taken to be a prophecy of the coming messiah. It’s known as... (18th Jun. 2013 | 11 comments)
The Gospel Coalition gets the gospel back to front A while back Daniel asked me what I thought of a Gospel Coalition video called “Did Jesus Preach the Gospel?” The question which John Piper, Tim Keller, and Don Carson address is basically this: Is Paul’s gospel of justification by faith on the basis of Jesus’ atoning death for the sins of the... (13th Jun. 2013 | 24 comments)
Church as eschatological community (part 1) I gave a talk last night at Community Church Harlesden on church as eschatological community. It was a little complicated, as you can see from this handout, so I promised to write up a summary. I’ll do it in two parts. If you’re not sure what “eschatology” means—or at least, what I mean by “... (5th Jun. 2013 | 3 comments)
Adam, original sin, and wrath against the Jew At the THINK Conference last week Tom Wright made the interesting observation that Judaism shows very little interest in Adam and his original sin until after the destruction of the temple. With slightly different emphases the apocalyptic texts 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, written around AD 100, both make... (29th May. 2013 | 16 comments)
The Lord said to my lord... I have argued in a number of posts recently (see below) that the confession that Jesus is Lord is not the same as the confession that Jesus is God, and that we are likely to miss a critical part of New Testament teaching if we carelessly conflate the two. There is an eschatological or historical... (25th May. 2013 | 55 comments)
Rob Bell: What we don’t talk about when we talk about God I have been listening to Rob Bell talk about his book What We Talk About When We Talk About God with Justin Brierley and Andrew Wilson on Premier Radio’s Unbelievable podcast. I download one of these discussions from time to time if I have a long car journey to make. I find them a bit rambling... (22nd May. 2013 | 15 comments)
Is the Shema really so important for understanding “one God… one Lord” in 1 Corinthians 8:6? Richard Worden Wilson has drawn attention to a short piece by Scot McKnight on the relation between Paul’s statement about one God and one Lord in 1 Corinthians 8:6 and the Shema, the great Jewish confession that “The LORD our God (yhwh eloheinu), the LORD (yhwh) is one” (Deut 6:4). McKnight thinks... (16th May. 2013 | 7 comments)
Tweaking Richard Bauckham on Jesus and the God of Israel In his valuable book Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity Richard Bauckham argues that the unique identity of God in scripture is characterized in two ways: he is the particular God of Israel, known to them as YHWH,... (14th May. 2013 | 41 comments)
Some rough and ready “rules” for doing a narrative-historical reading of the New Testament In response to persistent demands that I explain my hermeneutic, here is a list of seven rough and ready “rules” for doing a narrative-historical reading of the New Testament. They loosely outline or summarize what is to my mind a coherent and defensible methodology, but I have not offered here... (9th May. 2013 | 22 comments)
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