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What about 1 Corinthians 1:30? Nope, no imputation of righteousness here either. So where is it then? John Piper thinks that 1 Corinthians 1:30 “stands as a signal pointing to the righteousness of Christ that becomes ours when we are united to him by God through faith”.1 He is pleased to be able to quote Tom Wright’s “concession” to the Reformed position regarding this text:It is the only passage I... (18th Apr. 2013 | 2 comments)
More on the righteousness of God and the justification of believers Some pertinent questions were asked by Jon and Geoff in the comments in response to my last post on Wright and White on the “righteousness of God” in 2 Corinthians 5:21. This is an extended answer to them. The questions overlap a little, so I may be repeating myself in a couple of places.It may... (16th Apr. 2013 | 26 comments)
Wright and White on the “righteousness of God” in 2 Corinthians 5:21 Driving back from visiting my mother yesterday I listened to a Premier Radio podcast of Tom Wright and James White debating the meaning of “justification” in Paul. It’s a difficult and rather disjointed conversation—Justin Brierley was clearly struggling to keep his head above water—but it’s worth... (12th Apr. 2013 | 17 comments)
He is near, at the doors Ian Paul wonders whether it’s not the besieging Roman army that will be at the closed gates of Jerusalem rather than the Son of Man, who will be “coming on the clouds of heaven” rather than entering by the gates. His interpretation would fit the historical thesis well, but I’m not sure the limited... (9th Apr. 2013 | 2 comments)
The coming of the Son of Man: theology or history? Here’s another example of how we can let theology or dogma get in the way of good biblical interpretation. Bill Mounce, whose mostly excellent exegetical notes I read from time to time, discusses the translation of Mark 13:29, which in the ESV reads:So also, when you see these things taking place,... (4th Apr. 2013 | 30 comments)
Good Friday: the death of Jesus in narrative-historical context It has been stated a number of times in recent discussions here that only a divine Jesus could atone for the sins of the world. The death of a mere man is simply not big enough or significant enough—metaphysically speaking—to account for such a massive outcome. Since it is Good Friday tomorrow, I... (28th Mar. 2013 | 20 comments)
Jesus is God or Jesus is Lord? The long conversation I have been having with John Tancock (starting here) illustrates rather well, to my mind, the difference between the theological approach and the narrative-historical (a.k.a. apocalyptic-eschatological, biblical critical, you name it) approach to reading the New Testament.... (21st Mar. 2013 | 95 comments)
When prophecy fails: why do people always assume that Jesus got it wrong? I have started reading Frederick Murphy’s book Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction . Why? Because I think that the theological paradigm for interpretation of the New Testament has passed its sell-by date and that apocalyptic is a crucial component of the... (16th Mar. 2013 | 4 comments)
Theology, narrative and history: how they work in practice Following up on The battle between theology and history for the soul of the church: 24 antitheses, I want to clear up what looks to me like an area of confusion regarding the relationship between theology, narrative and history. In a couple of helpful comments Ted Grimsrud argues for what he calls... (13th Mar. 2013 | 2 comments)
The battle between theology and history for the soul of the church: 24 antitheses I keep coming back to this. There are people out there in the church—perhaps not very many—who think more or less the same way that I do. We may not agree on the details or the degree, but we are oriented in roughly the same direction. But there are a lot of good people out there in the church who... (5th Mar. 2013 | 22 comments)
Reading the Old Testament as a Christian I am preparing a piece for a theological forum in a couple of weeks on reading the Old Testament as a Christian. I will probably make two main points. The first is that the traditional approach needs to be reversed. We usually read the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament: on the one... (1st Mar. 2013 | 3 comments)
A missional understanding of justification by faith (by way of Isaiah) Isaiah is on the defensive. He hears a word from the Lord and he has to speak it. He does not disobey, nor does he contradict God. As a result, he gets scourged, beaten, and spat upon. But he can endure all this abuse from unrighteous Israel because the Lord is his helper. He has not been disgraced... (21st Feb. 2013 | 9 comments)
Eternal life and the story of Israel I got a question from someone recently asking about the meaning of “eternal life” in the Gospels. He takes it that the expression “age to come” refers to the time after either the collapse of national Israel or the collapse of the pagan oikoumenē. That is also my view. But at the end of the story... (13th Feb. 2013 | 8 comments)
What is the basis for the mission to the Gentiles? As a thoroughly Gentile church we take the logic of a mission to the Gentiles for granted, but it’s not as obvious or inevitable as we might think. Jesus appears to have been almost entirely occupied with a mission to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6; 15:24; cf. Jer. 50:6) and,... (8th Feb. 2013 | 7 comments)
Eschatology, mission and the theological formation of the church I spent a day this week with a group of leaders from a network of churches in the UK who were discussing how best to teach theology across the movement. They went about it with a refreshing candour: “We have an anti-intellectual history—we need to embrace learning.” The discussion revolved around... (2nd Feb. 2013 | 7 comments)
Misreading the parable of the minas from the post-Christendom margins There is a strong dissident view that the nobleman in Jesus’ parable, who gives ten minas to each of his servants to “do business with” before travelling to a far country to receive a kingdom, is an unjust rather than a just “lord” and that his “kingdom” is quite antithetical to the kingdom of God... (28th Jan. 2013 | 6 comments)
Review: Richard Horsley, The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel (part 2) In the second part of The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel: Moving beyond a Diversionary Debate Richard Horsley first discusses a number of methodological issues, then outlines his view of Jesus as a prophet leading the renewal of Israel against the rulers of Israel. I will give a quick... (26th Jan. 2013 | 0 comments)
Review: Richard Horsley, The Prophet Jesus and the Renewal of Israel (part 1) I have read a fair bit of Richard Horsley’s work on the social and imperial background to the New Testament. It’s always been interesting stuff, but my impression is that he has been more interested in the critique of political and economic injustice in the abstract than in the particular Jewish-... (21st Jan. 2013 | 0 comments)
Jesus as judge of the living and the dead in the Apostolic Fathers I recently outlined what I see as the apocalyptic Christology of Acts and suggested that most of what is said about the post-Easter Jesus in the New Testament needs to be interpreted within this narrative framework: Jesus was unjustly killed by the rulers of Israel and the Gentiles; he was raised... (14th Jan. 2013 | 4 comments)
The parables: Jesus was just being obtuse It’s remarkable how pervasive the assumption is that Jesus told stories for the same reason that aspiring preachers and teachers today are urged to tell stories—to get people’s attention, entertain, illustrate the point in a homely and accessible fashion, provide vividness, bring clarity, and so on... (11th Jan. 2013 | 1 comment)
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