p.ost

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

A pragmatic non-theory of the atonement

The title of the previous piece (“The death of Jesus: not as difficult to understand as you might think”) was perhaps a mistake. I suspect that many people found my narrative-historical reinterpretation as baffling as the classical theories of the atonement, if not more so.

In my defence I would say that the difficulty lies not in the narrative-historical account itself but in the amount of unthinking that we need to do—the mental effort involved in discounting a mountain of redundant conceptuality in order to see the narrative for what it was.

It’s a case of not being able to see the wood for the wall that has been built in front of it.

22 Dec 2016

Paul appears not to have known the Christmas story—or not to have been much interested in it, at least. In the letters that have survived he makes no mention of a census, a journey to Bethlehem, angels, shepherds, the presentation in the temple, astrologers from the east, the flight to Egypt, or the massacre of the...

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20 Dec 2016

Emi is a seventeen year old high school student in the Seattle area. She has posted a couple of lengthy comments on this site in which she expresses the struggle she is going through trying to reconcile the narrative-historical reading of the New Testament, which she understands and summarises remarkably well, with...

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15 Dec 2016

In his talk on Daniel 4 this week Barney made passing reference to the “biblical mandate to bring justice by changing the structures of society”. I forget exactly the point he was making, but it would have had something to do with Daniel’s words to Nebuchadnezzar after interpreting the dream about the tree that is...

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12 Dec 2016

Something that struck me reading Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church was the general agreement that Paul’s views about marriage change between 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5.

In the earlier passage he expresses a strong preference for celibacy but at the same time gives a “...

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9 Dec 2016

There’s an interesting exchange between the contributors to Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church (ed. Preston Sprinkle) over how close the modern ideal of Christian marriage conforms to the biblical pattern of marriage. The underlying question is whether we have a closed and fixed or an...

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6 Dec 2016

I’ve been working with someone who is doing research on the tensions between what I’ll call for convenience a “narrative-historical” understanding of the gospel and the gospel as it is commonly presented in modern evangelism. The Talking Jesus report came up for consideration as an example of how evangelism is...

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2 Dec 2016

I received a newsletter from a good missionary friend yesterday that spoke of his intention to “rescue lost people for Christ”. I have always felt uneasy about that sort of language. It sounds condescending and disparaging. Perhaps I’m just being squeamish, but I think I have some biblical warrant.

The word...

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29 Nov 2016

Emi sent me an email a while back, and because I have been slow to reply, she posted the whole thing as a comment. She notes that I argue in What must a person believe in order to be saved? i) that the mission of the church is not to save as many people as possible; and ii) that when ‘people today become...

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