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Who are the “elect” in Jesus’ apocalyptic discourse? I argued in a couple of posts recently that Jesus’ apocalyptic discourse in Matthew 24 has reference exclusively to the siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, and the significance of this catastrophe for Jesus’ disciples. I maintain, in agreement with Dick France on this point, that the... (12th May. 2014 | 5 comments)
Assessing Dick France’s argument about the parousia of the Son of Man in Matthew In a comment on my recent post It’s not eschatology, folks, it’s just a story Ian Paul kindly took me to task for not consulting Dick France’s The Gospel of Matthew (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) . I used France’s commentary on Mark when writing The Coming of the Son... (7th May. 2014 | 1 comment)
It’s not eschatology, folks, it’s just a story I spent some time with the staff of a church in south London this week talking about “eschatology”. Which is half the problem. As long as we treat eschatology as a more or less independent sub-section of—or worse, appendix to—our general theology, we have no frame of reference, nowhere to anchor it... (1st May. 2014 | 23 comments)
Plotting the kingdom: now and not yet and not like that In order to keep my knee-jerk prejudices against certain aspects of traditional evangelical theology in good working order I have been reading Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well , edited by Grudem, Collins and Schreiner. What I have been looking for is... (23rd Apr. 2014 | 9 comments)
Two narratives of the cross for Good Friday There is a simple, universal or cosmic or existential narrative of the cross—the horizontal beam. Humanity has fallen, every individual person has sinned and must go by way of the cross to gain eternal life. But, for all its merits, this is a theological abstraction. It is not the biblical... (18th Apr. 2014 | 3 comments)
Chris Tilling aims a relational christology at Bart Ehrman I’ll make this my last post on Bird, et al.’s lively—bordering on manic—response to Bart Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee . Chris Tilling is a good friend, so I need to tread a little carefully here. His argument is based largely on his... (17th Apr. 2014 | 9 comments)
Simon Gathercole’s argument about pre-existence and divine identity in the Synoptics Bart Ehrman thinks that Jesus became God—not in reality, of course, but in the minds of the early Christians. Against Ehrman, Simon Gathercole argues in How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—-A Response to Bart D. Ehrman , much as Michael Bird did earlier, that... (9th Apr. 2014 | 10 comments)
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)
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