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Sinning against Christ and the argument for a divine christology Chris Tilling has taken the trouble to reply at some length to my review of his contribution to How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature. I want to address the issues he raises, not with a view to picking a fight with him—honestly, Chris—but because the points he... (12th Jun. 2014 | 1 comment)
Origen, Jesus, and the kingdoms of the world (in narrative-historical perspective) I’ve been reading the Fathers, trying to get a better idea of the catastrophe that befell the Jewish story about Jesus, which is part of the story of Israel, as the church put down cultural and intellectual roots in the Greek-Roman world. Somewhat by-the-by, I came across this passage from Origen... (6th Jun. 2014 | 8 comments)
Missional pneumatology: is the Spirit active outside the church? The piece I wrote last week on the difficulties that post-charismatics can have finding an honest place for the gifts of the Spirit in a justice-oriented “missional” framework provoked a rather aggrieved response from Michael Frost on Facebook. That appears to have been largely a matter of... (2nd Jun. 2014 | 10 comments)
How might the post-charismatic “missional” church rediscover the gifts of the Spirit? We had an interesting session on the gifts of the Spirit last night in Harlesden. Many in the church are from a charismatic background but seemed wary about pursuing the conversation. One young woman put the choice rather starkly—she could spend her time praying that someone’s back-ache would... (28th May. 2014 | 10 comments)
Why does Jesus give the kingdom back in the end and become subject again to God? Bob Macdonald is feeling a little grumpy but he asks a good question about Paul’s belief i) that at the end Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, and ii) that “the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor.... (23rd May. 2014 | 5 comments)
Is Jesus included in the “divine identity” in 1 Corinthians 8:6? Following a bit of an exchange on Facebook, I have been looking again at the now widely accepted contention, associated especially with Wright, Bauckham and Fee, that in 1 Corinthians 8:6 Paul has taken the extraordinary step of including Jesus in the Shema and therefore in the divine identity. The... (21st May. 2014 | 12 comments)
The book of Acts as political-religious narrative I’ve put this up for a couple of reasons. First, I’m pulling together some ideas for teaching on Acts at a mission conference in the summer, and a rough narrative outline is a good place to start, though how much use I’ll make of it remains to be seen.Secondly, someone got in touch recently asking... (16th May. 2014 | 6 comments)
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 . I used France’s commentary on Mark when writing , but the Matthew commentary came out a couple of years later. I have since got hold of a copy, and I have... (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)
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