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

Did Jesus promise to return within the lifetime of his disciples?

A decent sermon at a well known central London Anglican church Sunday night was spoilt, in my view, by the excited closing announcement that Jesus is coming back soon. Apart from the fact that the dogma is questionable on biblical grounds, which I’ll come to, I don’t understand how or why such a reputable church would think it necessary or plausible or wise to proclaim so confidently that finally, at this point in history, after centuries of us getting it wrong, Jesus is about to come back. It seems to me that we would have to be pretty sure—on some sort of collective ecclesial basis—that we’ve got it right this time before raising false hopes yet again and subverting our long term missional commitment to creation-as-we-know-it. Otherwise, this sort of fitful eschatological guesswork strikes me as plain irresponsible.

On top of that, I chanced upon this short and unhelpful video by Michael Kruger addressing the question “Did Jesus promise to return within the lifetime of his disciples?” Here we get to the matter of the biblical grounds for the belief that the church is still waiting for Jesus to return any time soon.

14 Mar 2018

I have written rather a lot about the doctrine of “hell” on this site, for several reasons. It bothers people. It is one of the least pleasant aspects of conservative-fundamentalist expressions of Christianity. It continues to be misunderstood by its detractors and defenders alike. It draws on narratives and...

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7 Mar 2018

This always baffles me. At the heart of Jesus’ teaching is the proclamation of the coming kingdom of God: ‘Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”’ (Mk. 1:14–...

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5 Mar 2018

Carrying on the conversation from here, with some repetition…

God was gracious and forgave or overlooked the sins both of Jews and pagans who believed in the new future vouchsafed by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Both Jews and Gentiles, therefore, like Abraham, were “justified” by...

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3 Mar 2018

In answer to Peter’s comments about my post on the “The logic of salvation for Jews and Gentiles in Paul” here’s another broad-brush attempt to clarify the thesis.

His basic point is that there is no real difference in the logic: “it seems that Paul’s argument was that Jews and Gentiles were in the same boat...

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28 Feb 2018

I’ve just finished reading a book on the church and same-sex attraction that has an appendix setting out the “Bible’s meta-narrative in its four great acts: creation, rebellion, redemption and perfection”. This grossly reductionist storyline is how evangelical thought has typically reconciled itself to a...

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23 Feb 2018

Is the main story that the Bible tells bigger than human history or smaller than human history? The biblical story is certainly bookended with creation and new creation, but it’s what happens in between that I’m concerned about—the sequence of events from the rise of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), say, to...

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15 Feb 2018

There were two parts to the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples.

Our Father in the heavens, sanctified be (hagiasthētō) your name; may your kingdom come; may your will become as in heaven also on earth. (Matt 6:9–10)

First, they were to pray that by intervening as...

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8 Feb 2018

Someone suggested on Facebook that Ephesians 1:7 contradicts my argument about the narrative logic of salvation:

In him we have redemption (tēn apolutrōsin) through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses… (Eph. 1:7)

This is the ESV...

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