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

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Ethnocentrism, universalism, and new creation: an overstated salvation-historical paradigm I said last week that I would expand on my critique of Donald Hagner’s diagrammatic representation of Old Testament salvation history in his The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction. As he sees it, the biblical story plays out against the backdrop of the “reality of a fallen... (23rd Feb. 2015 | 8 comments)
History and theology: off the charts A major part of my general argument is that the modern church thinks of the New Testament as theology (or beliefs) set in a historical context and thinks that the historical context is of much less importance than the theology. My contention is that the New Testament gives us the opposite: history... (17th Feb. 2015 | 15 comments)
The Anglican Church renounces renouncing the devil The General Synod of the Church of England voted this week to pension off the devil, as The Telegraph puts it. The baptism service will no longer include a promise by parents and godparents to “renounce the devil and all his works” or in the language of a more modern version, “reject the devil and... (14th Feb. 2015 | 2 comments)
St Michael kicks the dragon out of heaven There has been some good discussion of the account of the expulsion of Satan from heaven in Revelation 12:7-12 attached to yesterday’s post about Luke 10:18. If only for my own benefit, I want to try to explain what I think is happening theologically in this passage. In Jewish thought Satan is a... (11th Feb. 2015 | 1 comment)
The fall of Satan from heaven and what comes next Having turned down applications from a number of people who were not up to the task (Lk. 9:57-62), Jesus appoints seventy-two messengers and sends them throughout Israel. The saying about the harvest being plentiful and the need for workers belongs in this historical setting (Lk. 10:2); it is not... (10th Feb. 2015 | 5 comments)
When Adam names the woman, he does not exert authority over her I’m trying very hard to like Greg Gilbert’s book Who is Jesus?, really I am, but he is a classic example of someone caught between two paradigms. On the one hand, he wants to take on board new perspectives arising out of biblical studies. On the other, he doesn’t want to let go of core Reformed-... (5th Feb. 2015 | 6 comments)
Neither the prince of Tyre nor the king of Babylon is Satan I have never understood why the prophecy about the prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1-19 and the taunt against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:3-23 have traditionally been interpreted as having reference to Satan. I have just come across the argument again in Greg Gilbert’s book Who is Jesus? Gilbert... (3rd Feb. 2015 | 17 comments)
John Piper, Scot McKnight, and Second Temple Judaism on eternal conscious punishment In response to this tweet by John Piper, Scot McKnight has posted a collection of Jewish texts from the second temple period which he thinks demonstrate a spectrum of views, from annihilationism (the destruction of the wicked at or after death) through “earthly judgment” to the dreaded eternal... (30th Jan. 2015 | 8 comments)
Same-sex unions in eschatological perspective This is not going to be a conventional review of James Brownson’s book on gender and homosexuality in the Bible. I’ll begin with two very broad assertions, then look at the texts, and finish with some cautious and increasingly opaque conclusions—be warned. For a summary of Brownson’s argument see... (28th Jan. 2015 | 0 comments)
A summary of James Brownson’s argument in Bible, Gender, Sexuality I mentioned that I have been working my way through James Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. I have looked at his argument that the “one flesh” motif in Genesis 1:24 speaks of kinship bonds rather than biological gender complementarity... (22nd Jan. 2015 | 0 comments)
James Brownson on “one flesh” and same-sex unions Moving on…. Yesterday I summarized James Brownson’s argument that when the author of Genesis says that a man leaves his mother and father and clings to his wife so that they become “one flesh”, he does not mean that they become a sexual union; he means that they become the basis for a new family... (16th Jan. 2015 | 3 comments)
Man and woman as “one flesh”: are we just obsessed with sex? I have been reading James Brownson’s Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships in preparation for a theological forum next week. The book basically attempts a re-thinking of “the moral vision regarding gender and sexuality that Scripture commends” (3)—a... (15th Jan. 2015 | 19 comments)
Guidelines for preaching: first get the biblical narrative more or less right Goaded by a comment to the effect that my Christmas story “doesn’t preach as well” as the traditional sentimentalized God-in-a-manger version, I want to try to develop in a few posts some thoughts about preaching from a narrative-historical perspective. The basic problem is this: the more we... (7th Jan. 2015 | 6 comments)
Robert Stein: Jesus, the Temple and the Coming of the Son of Man Last month Michael Bird posted a brief book notice about Robert Stein’s Jesus, the Temple, and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13, which he describes as “the first real full-length treatment of Mark 13 by an evangelical since the time of George Beasley-Murray”. Bird thinks that the best... (4th Jan. 2015 | 4 comments)
Top 10 posts of 2014 These are the posts which, by my rough-and-ready calculation (allowing for the fact that some are older than others), have generated the most interest over the last year. It’s not a very meaningful exercise—there must be more exciting ways of ending the year—but, with the exception of number 8 on... (31st Dec. 2014 | 1 comment)
The glory of the builder of the house Tomorrow I plan to publish a list of the most popular posts on P.OST over the last year. But it was suggested to me by someone before Christmas that Hebrews 3:3-4 makes sense only if ‘the author is flatly calling Jesus “God”’. I want to get this out of the way first. So with the usual caveat that... (30th Dec. 2014 | 8 comments)
Happy narrative-historical Christmas everybody! At a time when the celebration of Jesus’ birth is being buried ever deeper beneath the landfill-waste of a decadent, hedonistic, secular western paganism, we are naturally anxious as the church to recover the true meaning of Christmas. What we expect to find, when all the modern stuff has been... (22nd Dec. 2014 | 5 comments)
What N.T. Wright does with the early high christology of Hurtado, Tilling and Bauckham Following the recent posts on “divine identity” christology, I have been urged to have a look at what N.T. Wright does with the argument in Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Wright starts by tracing developments in Pauline christology in the modern era (644-53). The two competing “orthodoxies” of... (17th Dec. 2014 | 5 comments)
Richard Bauckham: the throne of God and the worship of Jesus I couldn’t make up my mind what to write about this week. I was going to do something on the rather depressing Westminster Faith debate on the future of the Anglican Church that I attended last week in Oxford. I’ve also had it in mind to write a review of Emily Ackerman’s The Amazing Technicolour... (11th Dec. 2014 | 8 comments)
Gender equality in Christian ministry and leadership I said a couple of weeks back that I would post the document that Christian Associates, my favourite church-planting people, recently published on gender equality in leadership. It’s probably fair to say that we have held an egalitarian position in practice for years, without exciting much... (2nd Dec. 2014 | 7 comments)
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