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The popular view is that when Christians die, they go to heaven to be with God for ever and ever. This is a sub-biblical notion that has to some extent been corrected in recent years, thanks not least to Tom Wright. We are now much more likely to recognize that the biblical narrative terminates not... (21st May. 2012 | 10 comments)
We had a very interesting session on the Book of Revelation in Harlesden last Tuesday evening. The big hermeneutical question it raised, in my view, is whether we live in the story it tells or after the story it tells. Barney suggested that we live in it and compared its complex allusive discourse... (18th May. 2012 | 5 comments)
This question was put to me via the contact form. It’s brief and I’m not entirely sure where it’s coming from. My guess is that the questioner is from a Calvinist background and wants to know whether my writings are safe to read, but I could be wrong, and it doesn’t much affect my response. I... (11th May. 2012 | 10 comments)
A four hour ferry journey across Lake Van gives me the opportunity to write up some reflections on chapter seven of Tom Wright’s How God Became King - Getting to the heart of the Gospels, in which he describes how the clash between God and Caesar plays out in the story of Jesus. These rusting boats... (8th May. 2012 | 1 comment)
Chapter 6 of Tom Wright’s How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels is entitled “The Launching of God’s Renewed People”. I read it on a rather scary bus ride through the mountains from Diyarbakir to Tatvan on the western edge of Lake Van, in eastern Turkey. It was such a rough ride I... (6th May. 2012 | 1 comment)
In order to distinguish his own approach from well-meaning but misguided attempts to prove that Jesus was divine, Wright argues in How God Became King - Getting to the heart of the Gospels that the Gospels do not aim to prove Jesus’ divinity; rather they presuppose it.The point… is not whether... (4th May. 2012 | 114 comments)
Yesterday we made it all the way from Dubai to Duhok, in what used to be Assyria, via Abu Dhabi and Erbil. All in all a rather uneventful journey. I got a good 80 pages into Wright’s How God Became King - Getting to the heart of the Gospels, and so far I think my main prejudgment stands. He does... (2nd May. 2012 | 9 comments)
I have downloaded Tom Wright’s new book How God Became King - Getting to the heart of the Gospels and plan to read it as we travel through northern Iraq and eastern Turkey on our way home from Dubai. I am not expecting any great surprises—not in the book, at least; the journey home may be another... (30th Apr. 2012 | 9 comments)
I will be speaking at a church in one of the labour camps Friday afternoon. My plan is to explain what Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is all about and why it is worth taking the trouble to read it. I will stress the fact that Ephesians is a straightforward “letter”, written for a straightforward... (25th Apr. 2012 | 8 comments)
Brian LePort, who regularly takes the trouble to highlight posts on this blog, for which I am very grateful, has posted a great list of the “ten most difficult doctrinal/theological subjects that contemporary Christians must address”. I don’t agree with everything on the list, probably because I am... (23rd Apr. 2012 | 27 comments)
While we’re on the subject of what people in the New Testament had to do to be saved, I notice that Larry Hurtado whose blog I highly recommend, disagrees with Tom Wright over the question of the ultimate salvation of national Israel.Wright—according to Hurtado’s reconstruction of his argument—... (19th Apr. 2012 | 5 comments)
What did people in the New Testament have to do to be “saved”? I was prompted to ask this question by this assertion in a comment in the discussion about the sinlessness of Jesus: Many within the orthodox evangelical world go so far as to say that one can not deny Christ’s deity and experience... (18th Apr. 2012 | 41 comments)
One of the issues raised by the lengthy discussion about the designation of Jesus as a high priest after the order of Melchizedek is that of Jesus’ “sinlessness”. Traditionally we have understood this in what I suppose are general existential or ontological terms: Jesus was sinless because he was... (16th Apr. 2012 | 35 comments)
One of the arguments put forward by those who wish to find the divinity of Jesus under every stone is that as a “priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:17) Jesus must have been both God and man. This is a misunderstanding of the argument in Hebrews, and I want to set out... (12th Apr. 2012 | 72 comments)
A key part of the broad “thesis” that I am putting forward on this blog and in my books is the observation that the New Testament texts reflect a consistently apocalyptic outlook. What I mean by this, essentially, is that the whole story about Jesus and the emergence of the churches is directed... (10th Apr. 2012 | 35 comments)
This morning’s Good Friday sermon focused on four aspects of the atoning function of the cross: propitiation, redemption, justification, and reconciliation. The sermon had a strong evangelistic slant, and it’s not at all surprising that Jesus’ death was presented as having this four-fold atoning... (6th Apr. 2012 | 16 comments)
I imagine Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek cover article on Christianity in Crisis will attract a great deal of interest. He castigates the modern church in all its forms for its corruption, hypocrisy, loss of moral authority, materialism, obsession with sex, intellectual obscurantism, and collusion with... (3rd Apr. 2012 | 12 comments)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we do not need a theory of the atonement. Theories of the atonement are nothing but excess intellectual furniture. We can’t move in here at the moment because the place is heaped up with ponderous medieval dining tables, fussy baroque wardrobes that go... (2nd Apr. 2012 | 7 comments)
As I would redefine the term from a narrative-historical perspective, an “evangelical” in the broadest sense is someone who finds “good news” in the long and complex story of the historic family of Abraham, descended through Jesus. Or better, the church is “evangelical” insofar as it finds good... (29th Mar. 2012 | 10 comments)
In my post on the Gentiles and the Holy Spirit I made the remark that Cornelius is described as a ‘pious man, who feared God, who prayed continually; a righteous and God-fearing man, who was “well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation”’ (Acts 10:2, 22). Mike has asked in what version Cornelius is... (27th Mar. 2012 | 11 comments)

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More on the justification of Gentiles who do good works I really like this comment from Steven Opp—first, because it gives me an opportunity to address in a bit more detail the relation between the justification of Gentiles on the basis of what they have done and the justification of the people...
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...
Paul (and the righteousness of God) I’m doing some preparatory work for a short series of lectures on Paul and thinking that it may be helpful to set out a rough summary of his thought—a sketch of the big picture—from my over-zealous narrative-historical perspective. If...