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

Jörg Frey’s critique of the neutralisation of apocalyptic in Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God

Jörg Frey offers a useful critique of N.T. Wright’s understanding of Paul’s apocalyptic in his chapter in God and the Faithfulness of Paul—the massive response to NT Wright’s massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I was asked what I think about it, so here’s my brief assessment and a quick overview of how I understand Paul’s eschatology.

The key question, according to Frey, is whether Paul’s apocalyptic vision constitutes a continuation of the “covenantal traditions of Israel” and the narrative of salvation history or a radical interruption of it, the introduction of something fundamentally new (522). The first position is represented by Wright, who insists that Paul’s apocalyptic language must be thoroughly assimilated into the covenantal narrative of Israel. The second position is represented by the cosmic, a-historical apocalypticism of the “Union School” of Martyn and de Boer, and more recently by Douglas Campbell.

30 Mar 2018

Zondervan Academic has just put out a blog post on the resurrection adapted from some online teaching material from Scott Oliphint. Oliphint is professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. I want to consider the piece, first, because it’s Easter, and secondly, because it...

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27 Mar 2018

In an article on “Evangelical Annihilationism” published twenty years ago J.I. Packer respectfully rebutted the arguments made by the likes of E.W. Fudge, John Wenham and John Stott in favour of a more benign understanding of “hell” not as a place of...

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20 Mar 2018

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...

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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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