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

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I made the comment in part 1 of this review of Steve Chalke’s The Lost Message of Paul that he has worked hard to integrate recent New Testament scholarship into his analysis of Paul but that in the end his personal judgment as a post-evangelical pastor gets the better of him. That started me... (25th Mar. 2020 | 1 comment)
[This is a translation—kindly provided by Helge Seekamp—of last week’s post “No, coronavirus is not the apocalypse; it could be worse than that”. A few more German translations can be found here.]Ich habe bisher nur eine Person gehört – ein junger New Yorker, der im Fernsehen interviewt wurde –,... (23rd Mar. 2020 | 0 comments)
Steve Chalke is a British “Baptist minister, author, speaker, justice campaigner, broadcaster, social entrepreneur and former UN Special Advisor on Human Trafficking”, and the founder of the Oasis Trust. The Lost Message of Paul is his belated sequel to The Lost Message of Jesus, which he wrote... (21st Mar. 2020 | 4 comments)
[If you’re looking for a German version of this post, you’re in luck.]I’ve heard only one person so far—a young New Yorker, interviewed on TV—use the word “apocalyptic” in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Mostly, I guess, we are being very pragmatic about it. But it’s early days,... (18th Mar. 2020 | 4 comments)
In his book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, Bart Ehrman argues that in Galatians 4:14 Paul in effect speaks of Jesus as an angel:You know that because of a weakness of the flesh I first proclaimed the good news to you, and you did not despise or spit out your... (14th Mar. 2020 | 1 comment)
Alastair Roberts asks, “Where is the Trinity in the Old Testament?” He is quite candid about the fact that the “philosophical cast and categories of these later disputes transposed the biblical material into very different idioms and discourses animated by rather different concerns”; and he warns... (10th Mar. 2020 | 7 comments)
James Mercer is on the ministry team of the Benefice of St Aldhelm in Purbeck on the south coast of England. I’ve known him for some years, and we’ve had a few good conversations about the practical application of the narrative-historical method. He posted this bold, inspiring and beautifully... (6th Mar. 2020 | 7 comments)
Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians to “work out (katergazesthe) your own salvation with fear and trembling” is a bit of a puzzle. Are we saved by works after all? Remembering the exodus, the Psalmist declares, “Yet God is our King from of old; he worked salvation (eirgasato sōtērian) in the... (4th Mar. 2020 | 5 comments)
I wrote a piece a while back about a Barna Group report on evangelism in the UK, which took the goal of evangelism to be the transformation of individuals and communities “by Jesus’ love”. I made four broad points: 1) there is no simple universal “gospel”; any decisive proclamation of good news... (27th Feb. 2020 | 9 comments)
I despair sometimes of the Christian captivity to dogmatic tradition. Here’s someone, for example, excitedly celebrating the fact that he has relocated from the prison of Arminianism (a relaxed, easy-going prison, but a prison nevertheless) to the stronger, more secure, and safer prison of... (19th Feb. 2020 | 10 comments)
In the Prologue to God Untamed Johannes Hartl tells the story of being stuck on Mount Athos in northern Greece in a ferocious storm. He has spent a few days on this isolated peninsula, in the skete of St Anna, with a friend walking and praying. Now they need to get to Thessaloniki to catch a plane... (14th Feb. 2020 | 0 comments)
How, Michael Bird asks, did the early church carry forward “Jesus’s appropriation of Israel’s sacred traditions about the restoration of Israel and the inclusion of the nations in God’s saving purposes”?It’s a good question. If Jesus was a “prophet of Jewish restoration eschatology”, whose... (6th Feb. 2020 | 3 comments)
I still have a lot of marking to do, so I’ll keep this to the point again. A good friend with an interest in these matters came across Keith Giles’ argument that Paul is referring to something other than “homosexuality” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. He wants to know what I think of it.... (28th Jan. 2020 | 18 comments)
I have a lot of marking to do, so I’ll keep this to the point. In the Greek Old Testament it is God alone who rebukes the sea and calms the storm (Ps. 17:16; 103:7; 105:9; 106:28-29; Is. 50:2 LXX). So when Matthew says that Jesus “rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm... (22nd Jan. 2020 | 14 comments)
One of the biggest intellectual challenges facing modern evangelicalism—a movement that professes to adhere to both scripture and tradition—is how to reconcile a commitment to a rationally constructed trinitarianism with the dominant apocalyptic narrative about Jesus which we find in the New... (7th Jan. 2020 | 14 comments)
The promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 is that his descendants will be given a land where they will become a great and prosperous nation (goy), that they will be blessed by God, and that for this reason they will be a blessing to all communities of the earth.And the Lord said to Abram, “Go out... (31st Dec. 2019 | 2 comments)
1. Let’s be blunt. Christmas has nothing to do with God coming to earth as a helpless babe to save humanity from sin, etc. That is another matter, it’s not what’s being said, it’s not the burden of the stories in Matthew and Luke. These narrate the birth of a king who will deliver... (20th Dec. 2019 | 79 comments)
Here’s a good opportunity to defend a more or less egalitarian reading of Genesis 1-3. An older piece by Alastair Roberts on the differences between men and women in creation has recently been published in abridged form on the 9Marks site. The first two sections consist of a complementarian reading... (17th Dec. 2019 | 0 comments)
Two recent articles on the Gospel Coalition website ask whether missionaries should target unreached people groups. Darren Carlson and Elliot Clark argue that the strategy rests on a faulty assumption: that the ethnē in Matthew 24:14; 28:19 are not “ethnolinguistic” groups as understood by modern... (12th Dec. 2019 | 0 comments)
It’s the period of Advent, when we traditionally reflect on the “coming” of Jesus into the world, so let’s consider the question of why he came when he did. Why was Jesus born in 4 BC or thereabouts, and not two hundred years earlier, or a thousand years later?I’m still making my way through... (11th Dec. 2019 | 2 comments)
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