How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference


16 Apr 2021

Cosmological renewal is mostly a metaphor in the Bible for the restoration of the people of God after catastrophic divine judgment—first, the Babylonian invasion and the exile, then the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by Rome in AD 70. But I think that the resurrection of Jesus was a real event, not merely a symbol for the “resurrection” of Israel, and that it introduces an ontological novelty into the narrative that will find fulfilment in the real—not metaphorical—remaking of heaven and earth, of which John speak in Revelation 21:1-8. The key point here is that the reign of the resurrected Jesus in heaven, at the right hand of God, was always meant to culminate in the defeat of the last enemy, death (1 Cor. 15:24-28). So John says that not only the wicked but also “Death and Hades” are thrown into the lake of fire to be destroyed (Rev. 20:14).

2 comments |
What’s the difference between “liberal” and “progressive” Christianity? It’s a good question. Roger Olson, who knows a thing or two about American liberal theology, vents his frustration with a publisher who insists that “progressive” is the new “liberal.” Nonsense, Olson says. Progressives are… (14 Apr 2021 | 8 comments)
The latest edition of the Journal of Biblical Literature has an article by Katherine Shaner entitled “The Danger of Singular Saviors: Vulnerability, Political Power, and Jesus’s Disturbance in the Temple (Mark 11:15–19).” It’s a nicely provocative piece on two counts: it suggests… (7 Apr 2021 | 2 comments)
We are between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. A few days ago Jesus rode into Jerusalem to excited cries of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mk. 11:9). The acclamation comes from Psalm 118:25-26: “Save us (hoshiʿ naʾ), we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us… (30 Mar 2021 | 4 comments)
It’s funny how quickly a book can go out of date. Admittedly, I’m reviewing Jennifer Butler’s Who Stole My Bible? Reclaiming Scripture as a Handbook for Resisting Tyranny from a safe distance, and maybe there’s a lot that’s not visible from here. But the book was written in the middle of a… (17 Mar 2021 | 3 comments)
I got flung against a wall by a good friend for my defence of a narrative-historical perspective on Christendom—not literally, but a vigorous pushback on Facebook. I’ve replied to him there, but I’m posting the main points I made in response here as an addendum to the piece. Perhaps it will make… (9 Mar 2021 | 0 comments)
I’m getting into the bad habit of answering questions raised in the comments with another post. The reason is that the questions are very good and merit consideration at length, but I wonder if the practice is conducive to good debate. Anyway, Jo says that he has trouble accepting that “European… (8 Mar 2021 | 2 comments)
What is the kingdom of God? The standard evangelical view is that it is the aggregated rule of God in the hearts of believers in advance of (“now and not yet”) a glorious future kingdom, usually confused either with heaven or the new creation. The main alternative these days would be the “… (2 Mar 2021 | 9 comments)