(how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference)
7 Feb 2018

This is a response to a couple of questions raised about the conclusions to the preceding post on the logic of the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. First, what did I mean when I said: “As a response to the fall of Christendom, modern evangelicalism has reinvigorated the universal model to keep the numbers up…”? Secondly, how are we to envision the “new...

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5 Feb 2018

The theologies that dominate the thought and practice of the modern church distribute their truths as flattened user-friendly doctrines. The Bible, however, gives us theological truth in the form of extended narratives mapped against the landscape of ancient history, as seen from the perspective of the covenant people. The overlap between these two modes of representation is actually quite small. That is the central issue that I have tried to address on this site.

In the New Testament...

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1 Feb 2018

Peter Leithart has written an excellent, concise, balanced account of the “Christendom model”, its relation to scripture, and its strengths and weaknesses, in a post simply entitled “For and Against Christendom”. I won’t bother summarising it—I hope people will read it. But there are three observations that I will make.

First, Leithart is a rare theologian who recognises the positive...

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29 Jan 2018

In a comment on my “Could you please help me understand the practical consequences…?” post Donald asks for ‘some explanation of what our “personal” relationship with Jesus should look like and if possible how it relates to our “personal” relationship to God.’ I’m afraid it won’t be possible to answer the second part of that question here. Maybe another day.

I had noted that people sometimes find my emphasis on the historical and “political”...

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24 Jan 2018

Psalm 82 is one of my favourite psalms. It is short, sweet, theologically irregular, but very much to the narrative-historical point, at least as I understand things. Oddly, it is quoted only once in the New Testament, but it encapsulates what would be a key New Testament affirmation—that the God of Israel would sooner or later seize control of the nations from the pagan gods. It also pops up to similar effect in the Dead Sea Scrolls, so we’ll have a look at...

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17 Jan 2018

“Could you please help me understand the practical consequences of the narrative-historical approach?” The question was put to me by a student at a conservative theological college. I realise that most of what I write here is of a “theoretical” nature, but I have tried occasionally at least to outline the practical implications—a few such attempts are listed below. I’ll have another go here.

The thesis

The basic “narrative-historical “ thesis is fairly simple. Modern “evangelical”...

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10 Jan 2018

According to Luke, when Jesus is taken up with the clouds into heaven, two men in white robes are watching on. They ask the disciples why they are still gazing into the empty sky. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the way that (or simply ‘as’: hon tropon) you saw him going into heaven” (Acts 1:11). I didn’t discuss this in my post on the doctrine of the Second Coming,...

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