In The narrative premise of a post-Christendom theology, which stands as an introductory piece for the approach to reading the New Testament that I think an “evangelical” church somehow needs to take on board, I suggest that:
The New Testament presupposes, describes, and predicts a long, tumultuous transition in the history of the people of God, running from the initial summons to Israel to repent in the face of imminent judgment and national destruction (John the Baptist) to the eventual displacement of the institutions and worldview of classical paganism and the recognition of Christ as sovereign over the empire and beyond (Constantine).
My point is that this is not just historical background. It is what the New Testament is all about. It is what the theology of the New Testament is all about. So, for example, Jesus’ death must be understood in the light of the impending political catastrophe; his resurrection anticipates a dramatically different state of affairs beyond that catastrophe. Al has asked, however, whether the argument is not rather invalidated by the way things actually turned out….