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

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N.T. Wright and Paul’s eschatology (with coloured beads) In Paul and the Faithfulness of God N.T. Wright locates Paul’s eschatology firmly in a Jewish hope, rooted in scripture, “not just for an individual future after death, but for a restoration and renewal of the whole nation, and perhaps even for the entire created order” (1043). It gives me the... (29th Jun. 2016 | 5 comments)
Is suffering part of God’s plan for us? A couple of recent tweets from The Gospel Coalition raise the question of the place of suffering both in the New Testament narrative and in Christian experience. The first is an unattributed quotation, though I’m betting it’s John Piper: “Suffering is actually part of God’s plan (and so necessary)... (21st Jun. 2016 | 7 comments)
Some observations about divine Sonship in Hebrews 1 What is primarily said about Jesus in Hebrews 1 is that he is the Son whom God has “appointed the heir of all things”. After making purification for Israel’s sins—not the sins of the world—he “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”, which of course invokes Psalm 110:1-2 and the... (17th Jun. 2016 | 0 comments)
Is the “eternal generation of the Son” a biblical idea? Part 1 As much out of morbid curiosity as anything, I have been following the intra-Reformed debate over the eternal subordination of the Son rather closely. Posts, counter-posts and counter-counter-posts from some hard-hitting theologians have been proliferating at a great rate. For no very good reason—... (15th Jun. 2016 | 5 comments)
Trinity, subordination and narrative in Hebrews 1:1-2 Following on from yesterday’s piece on “The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender”….In response to accusations that his subordinationist Trinitarianism is a departure from orthodoxy Bruce Ware, who is Professor of Christian Theology at the Southern Baptist... (10th Jun. 2016 | 4 comments)
The subordination of the Son, and why it has nothing to do with gender There has been a furious flurry of posts (see below) from various directions this week laying into the argument of some neo-Calvinists (Wayne Grudem prominent among them) that the eternal subordination of the woman to the man is directly underpinned by the eternal subordination of the Son to the... (9th Jun. 2016 | 1 comment)
Craig Keener and the fallacy of mutual submission Craig Keener, who certainly knows a thing or two, has written a piece on Jesus Creed reaffirming the common egalitarian argument that Paul prefaces the instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 with an exhortation to mutual submission. I count myself a dyed-in-the-wool egalitarian,... (6th Jun. 2016 | 1 comment)
What must the church become? Narrative and praxis An opinion piece in the Guardian last week asked, “Is the end of western Christianity in sight?” On the strength of the most recent British Social Attitudes data the article asserted that “No religion” is now by far the largest self-identification in England and Wales, that the mainstream churches... (2nd Jun. 2016 | 10 comments)
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)
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