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The meek shall inherit the world: an exercise in historical restraint The sermon on the mount is addressed to first century Jews in Israel. The Beatitudes define that small community of first century Jews in Israel through which and for the sake of which YHWH would restore his people at a time of severe political-religious crisis. It is a community of the helpless,... (2nd Apr. 2014 | 6 comments)
Michael Bird on the question of whether Jesus thought of himself as God I am very appreciative of Michael Bird’s work, partly because he understands the importance of developing a credible theological mindset on the basis of a New Perspective reading of the New Testament, partly because he quoted my sinking ship parable from The Coming of the Son of Man: New... (27th Mar. 2014 | 10 comments)
The Gospel of Matthew and the horizon of the early church Mike Mercer—Chaplain Mike—wrote a nice piece a couple of years back on the Internet Monk site putting forward the view that Matthew’s Gospel is “a Torah, a catechism, an instruction manual for the church”. He wonders whether this perspective brings into question my contention that Jesus was a... (21st Mar. 2014 | 2 comments)
Will there be gender inequality in the resurrection? Another place where gender and eschatology intersect is Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees’ question about the woman whose misfortune it is to be serially married to seven brothers: “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife”. In Luke’s more developed... (19th Mar. 2014 | 0 comments)
Gender and headship in eschatological perspective Following a vigorous and invigorating discussion of Trinity, subordination and headship at a small theological forum last week, I sat down this morning to have a look at Ephesians 5:22-33 again. It occurs to me that I have never really considered the possibility of assimilating the gender issue... (17th Mar. 2014 | 4 comments)
The meek shall inherit the land: an exercise in hermeneutical restraint Why do we assume that in his sermon on the mount Jesus addresses the whole church throughout the ages? Much of the teaching has to do with what it means to fulfil the Law of Moses, which Jesus categorically says he has not come to abolish—at least, not until heaven and earth pass away (5:17). The... (11th Mar. 2014 | 15 comments)
There are two Trinities in the New Testament and they are not the immanent and economic Trinities In the last post on “The begotten Son and the subordinate woman” I argued that the Father-Son language in the New Testament belongs, pretty much exclusively, to the “central apocalyptic narrative of Jesus’ vocation, obedience, suffering, death, resurrection, exaltation and rule as YHWH’s appointed... (6th Mar. 2014 | 15 comments)
The begotten Son and the subordinate woman I’m still working on the Trinity and gender question, and I have to say, it still mystifies me that theologians on both sides of the debate will argue that relations between the persons of the Godhead are determinative for relations between man and woman. Egalitarians think that there is no... (25th Feb. 2014 | 40 comments)
Subordination, Trinity and gender The supposed connection between Trinity and gender-equality (or not) has come up for me in a couple of different settings recently. On the one hand, I have been trying to decide whether a statement about the equality of persons in the Godhead has a bearing on Christian Associates’ policy regarding... (20th Feb. 2014 | 9 comments)
The wisdom of Trinitarianism Reading Charles Freeman’s no doubt partial account in The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason of the development of Nicene orthodoxy makes you realize, nevertheless, just how entangled with the intellectual and political interests of Christendom the development... (12th Feb. 2014 | 35 comments)
Jesus, the gods, and the philosophers According to the standard evangelical model Jesus died for the sins of the world, and ever since Pentecost the church has proclaimed this “good news” of personal salvation to the world and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. That model is at best a modern theological abstraction. What we... (6th Feb. 2014 | 7 comments)
Is Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles a missional text? My friend Dan Steigerwald, who lives in Portland, Oregon, has written an excellent little book called Growing Local Missionaries: Equipping Churches to Sow Shalom in Their Own Cultural Backyard . He takes the view that the church after Christendom is a church in exile and he proposes a missional... (1st Feb. 2014 | 3 comments)
The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology I began reading The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology , edited by C. Marvin Pate, on my flight from London to Los Angeles. The thesis of the book is that the Bible is held together by the “paradigmatic story of Israel” and that this story properly counts as a biblical theology. I like the... (26th Jan. 2014 | 3 comments)
“My Lord and my God” In his discussion of the imperial cult in Paul and the Faithfulness of God Tom Wright notes that Domitian liked to be addressed as dominus et deus (“lord and god”)—a phrase “familiar to readers of John’s gospel” (341). Domitian was emperor from AD 81-96. He revived the imperial cult, which had... (17th Jan. 2014 | 7 comments)
Concerning the times and seasons Reading the New Testament as historical narrative rather than as “Christian theology”—as raw material rather than as over-refined intellectual product—is not a matter of self-contained interpretation. It’s not just about how we understand the text. It’s about how we live with it. If the... (15th Jan. 2014 | 4 comments)
The gospel, the story of Israel, and personal salvation: no compromise I read a couple of old articles this week responding to Scot McKnight’s book The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited from a Reformed perspective: Scot McKnight and the “King Jesus Gospel” 2: Points of Concern by Trevin Wax, and What God Has Joined Together: The Story and... (9th Jan. 2014 | 24 comments)
Anabaptism and the truncated politics of Jesus A few days ago I raised some questions about how well the characteristically “neo-Anabaptist” emphasis on the cross as the lens through which we must now view God—he is the “crucified God”, the “Jesus-looking God”—works within the overall narrative of the New Testament.My argument was, on the one... (6th Jan. 2014 | 5 comments)
A question about the “Jesus-looking God” of the neo-Anabaptists This pointed question was posed by Zach Hoag in a brief conversation about Jesus and violence that I was following on Twitter over the new year:Honest Q: Is there tension between the “Jesus-looking God” of neo-anabaptists & the “1st century Jewish Jesus” of the new perspectivists?I am not an... (2nd Jan. 2014 | 8 comments)
Top posts of the last year I haven’t done this before, but it seems a cheap and cheerful way to bring the year to an end. I got the idea from Brian LePort at Near Emmaus. It’s an inexact exercise. I know which posts received the most hits over the last year, but obviously those which went into the vineyard early have earned... (30th Dec. 2013 | 1 comment)
“Glory to the newborn King” or “Hail the incarnate Deity”? The Gospel Coalition has a blog post by Joe Carter: 9 Things You Should Know About Christmas. It’s all fairly trivial stuff: Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25th, there’s no mention of a donkey in the texts, we don’t know how many wise men there were, Martin Luther disapproved of Santa Claus... (23rd Dec. 2013 | 9 comments)
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