From my limited perspective (other limited perspectives are available), it appears that the church in the West is changing or being changed quite dramatically. It is adapting to a marginalised and diminished presence by re-imagining the manner of its engagement with the world around it. We are concerned less with the quantity of church community than with its quality. Boundaries have become more porous. There is more going out than coming in. We have rediscovered a preference for the poor and dysfunctional, in their various guises. Buildings are being reconfigured and repurposed; new forms of sacred space are taking shape. Mission has become an amorphous concept, flux rather than programme.

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Under what circumstances did Paul imagine that “all Israel” would be saved? How did he think it would come about? I want to look at two passages here that point to national disaster as the circumstances and means by which such a reversal might happen. The second is the obvious one: ()
Paul makes reference in Romans 2:7 to people who “by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality” (ESV). Who are they, what are they seeking, and what do they get on the day of God’s wrath? I ask because the question came up in an X/Twitter exchange, and I want to take the… ( | 5 comments)
I really shouldn’t be going on about this, but I keep running into the same issue, and it is irksome. Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism (2015), edited by Blackwell, Goodrich, and Maston, ought to be a useful, if elementary, resource for exploring the abundant… ()
There is an obvious contradiction—at least in the popular imagination—between the values of Jesus and the practices of Christendom, and it is not surprising that what is left of the Christendom church in the West now largely views its past with horror and shame. Surely, the conversion of the Roman… ( | 2 comments)
I am writing this in hope of offering some encouragement to Liam, who is planning to go to university in September to study theology but is worried that he may be wasting his time.Liam is caught on the horns of a classic dilemma and at risk of falling torn and bruised between them. One horn is… ( | 15 comments)
Paul is in Athens, waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. His spirit is troubled by the profusion of idols in the city, and he gets into lively disputes about the phenomenon with Jews and God-fearing gentiles in the synagogue on the Sabbath and for the rest of the week with philosophers and… ()
The idea of the “eschatological pilgrimage of the Gentiles” to a rebuilt temple and restored Zion is well attested in Isaiah especially but is found in other Old Testament and Hellenistic-Jewish writings. Here are three examples, but we could add Isaiah 56:6-7; 66:18-20; Zech. 14:16; Mic. 4:1-… ( | 2 comments)