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

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Theological hermeneutics and the meaning of “Immanuel” Here’s another example of how a theological reading can drive a coach and horses through historical exegesis. At the heart of the “theological doctrine of the incarnation,” Adams writes, “is the union of the divine and human in Jesus the Messiah”. Keeping in mind Wright’s historical method and... (29th Apr. 2016 | 6 comments)
Adams, Wright, Barth, theology, history, time, eternity, and Paul’s letter to the Romans The fault line between theology and history is pervasive, persistent and profound. Samuel Adams argues in The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N.T. Wright for a theological hermeneutics at the heart of which is the “apocalyptic event” of God’s self-... (28th Apr. 2016 | 8 comments)
Explicit and implicit christologies in Mark The explicit testimony concerning Jesus throughout Mark’s Gospel is that he is the beloved Son, empowered by the Spirit, who will serve the purposes of YHWH, who will suffer, who will be vindicated by his resurrection from the dead, and who will be seated at the right hand of YHWH, having received... (27th Apr. 2016 | 0 comments)
Can evangelicalism hitch the wagon of church and mission to the horse of historical narrative? The cluttered mega-chart below (click for an enlarged version) combines yesterday’s schematic overview of Samuel Adams’ concise and lucid summary of Wright’s account of the relation between theology and history with my earlier attempt to show how the narrative-historical method goes back to the... (22nd Apr. 2016 | 1 comment)
Samuel Adams’ summary of Wright's argument about history and theology In The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology in Conversation with N.T. Wright Samuel V. Adams offers an inversion of Wright’s solution to the division between theology and history. Whereas Wright addresses the question of God from the side of history, Adams wants to consider... (21st Apr. 2016 | 2 comments)
In the shadow of Babel (a sermon) The last few weeks have been busy, and I’ve not had the time, or frankly the inclination, to blog. I haven’t posted a sermon before, and it’s perhaps a rather desperate measure, but I feel under some pressure to show that the narrative-historical approach can work in normal preaching-teaching... (5th Apr. 2016 | 3 comments)
Who is the founder of the narrative-historical hermeneutic? Craig got in touch with a couple of questions. He wants to know, first, what P.OST stands for. That’s straightforward and not very exciting. I ran a “collaborative” site called Open Source Theology from about 2002 to 2009. It was associated with the self-consciously postmodern rethinking that went... (16th Mar. 2016 | 1 comment)
How (and why) church planters should tell their story I’ve been preparing some material for a workshop on Theology and Future Church for a group of church planters, and as often happens, my mind ran off in a rather impractical direction. But the point is this. Too often practitioners look for a theology that will directly support or enhance or defend... (3rd Mar. 2016 | 3 comments)
Heaven and the apocalyptic narrative Paula Gooder talked about heaven at a Theos event last night in London, with passion, verve, an impressive grasp of the details (the gentleman behind me was certainly impressed), and a robust determination not to let theological tradition get in the way of honest biblical interpretation.Her leading... (1st Mar. 2016 | 1 comment)
Markan christology debate I have been closely following recent exchanges among a set of notable scholars regarding Mark’s christology. All good stuff, a model of civilised online debate. On one side we have those who argue that in subtle, ambiguous, indirect, and covert ways Mark presents Jesus as a figure who in some... (24th Feb. 2016 | 15 comments)
Judge of the living and the dead In a comment Peter asks about Acts 10:42: “So it seems you would say that Jesus’ role as judge of the living and the dead… already happened at the parousia (70 AD). Is this correct? If so, in what way did he judge the dead?” The main texts have to do with Peter—confusing, I know (Acts 10:42;... (22nd Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
Two unconventional ways of thinking about the delay of the parousia I have been getting a kick out of Albert Schweitzer’s 1930 book The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle. What’s so refreshing about the book is that Schweitzer attempts consistently to frame Paul’s thinking eschatologically. The book’s dated in many ways, and a lot of exegetical water has passed under... (19th Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
Schweitzer gets redemption and eschatology half right One of the most serious exegetical-hermeneutical-theological failings of modern evangelicalism has been to take soteriology out of eschatology, to disconnect the saying about the Son of Man giving his life as a ransom for many from the expectation that the Son of Man will be seen coming in glory on... (18th Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
The flood, Sodom, and the end of the world In The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus Dale Allison argues for an apocalyptic Jesus—that is, for a Jesus whose mind was resolutely set on a cataclysmic and transformative event in a not-too-distant future. He thinks that the “shared hypothesis of Weiss and Schweitzer is not just tenable... (17th Feb. 2016 | 0 comments)
The Son of Man sayings and the horizons of New Testament eschatology My last post, arguing against Dale Allison that Jesus’ saying about the Son of Man coming in clouds relates to the vindication of Jesus and his followers after the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, elicited a good critique on Facebook. The point made is that there is more to the prophecies... (13th Feb. 2016 | 6 comments)
Can we believe what Mark believed about the coming of the Son of Man? I’m about a third of the way through Dale Allison’s book The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus. So far, it’s been an introspective, ambivalent—if not vacillating—but engaging reflection on the difficulty of doing historical Jesus research in a way that is theologically or religiously... (11th Feb. 2016 | 3 comments)
What makes us so sure that the harvest is plentiful? Here’s another proof-text beloved of evangelists: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37–38; cf. Lk. 10:2). It will no doubt get a good airing in the coming months as the Church of... (4th Feb. 2016 | 4 comments)
Putting the apocalyptic back in apologetics Peter’s exhortation to the “exiles of the dispersion” to be ready at all times “to make a defence (apologian) to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15) has been a key text for those wishing to promote either a rational apologetics or personal evangelism.It... (2nd Feb. 2016 | 5 comments)
Yeah, but it didn’t happen: prophecy and historical fulfilment Matt Colvin offers a well thought out rejoinder to my latest attempt to show that John’s account of the fall of Babylon-the-great refers to Rome. The point he makes is a challenging one: John says that the great city will be thrown down by violence and will be found no more (Rev. 18:21). But Rome... (26th Jan. 2016 | 10 comments)
Babylon the great: all intertextual roads lead to Rome I was provoked to write this over-long post by a comment dismissing the relevance of Nahum 3:4 for the interpretation of John’s description of the fall of Babylon the great in Revelation 18 as a “tenuous consideration”. I have spent too much time on this matter already and I don’t expect anyone to... (25th Jan. 2016 | 5 comments)
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