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The second part of chapter two of Matthew Bates’ important book Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ considers the means by which the “gospel of allegiance” saves people.He sums up the argument so far: “The gospel in Romans 1:1–5 is about the incarnation and... (14th Nov. 2019 | 0 comments)
Chapter two of Matthew Bates’ Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ sets out his understanding of the Greek word pistis. In the first part he explains why he thinks that “allegiance” is a better translation of the word than “faith”. In the second part he asks how “... (12th Nov. 2019 | 3 comments)
I have spent way too much time finding fault with Matthew Bates’ argument that Paul alludes to the pre-existence of Jesus in Romans 1:3. Now to get on with the substance of Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ. It might be a bit ambitious to take this one chapter at... (8th Nov. 2019 | 0 comments)
Well, we’re still not quite done with the purported incarnational christology of Romans 1:3. Matthew Bates makes the claim in a brief section of his excellent book Gospel Allegiance (51-52), and at greater length in a 2015 CBQ article (117-21), that in this verse the aorist participle genomenou... (6th Nov. 2019 | 0 comments)
This is a rushed and rather technical addendum to the previous piece on the question of whether there is a reference to the incarnation in Romans 1:3:concerning his Son | who came into being / was / was born | from the seed of David | according to the flesh…peri tou huiou | tou genomenou | ek... (2nd Nov. 2019 | 1 comment)
There is much that is good about Matthew Bates’ Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ, which is the follow-up to his highly successful Salvation by Allegiance Alone. I plan to review it in some detail over the next few weeks, all being well, and hope to recommend it... (1st Nov. 2019 | 3 comments)
Here’s my working assumption. From the second to the twentieth century Christian “truth” was sustained by a theological superstructure or scaffolding. Recently, that superstructure has begun to look unstable, indeed liable to collapse. If Christian “truth” is to survive into the age to come,... (29th Oct. 2019 | 1 comment)
So my argument is that the best way to make sense of Paul’s teaching about the parousia of Christ is to identify the apocalyptic event with the conversion of the nations of the Greek-Roman world through the faithful witness of the persecuted churches. Paul told the story looking forward, drawing on... (25th Oct. 2019 | 19 comments)
A good friend of mine has written a simple story in which the apostle Paul is transported to the twenty-first century and is disturbed to find that Jesus still hasn’t come back. It’s clear from his letters that Paul expected Jesus to return within his lifetime, or soon afterwards. But here we are... (23rd Oct. 2019 | 5 comments)
Hart’s second meditation, on eschatology, in That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, & Universal Salvation, ends with a discussion of the distinction between the present age and the age to come. There is some vacillation here, it seems to me, as he shifts between theological and exegetical... (15th Oct. 2019 | 0 comments)
I’ve done a couple of posts so far critically reviewing aspects of David Bentley Hart’s magniloquent anti-infernalist treatise That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, & Universal Salvation. My interest has been mainly in his use of the biblical material; I am not convinced that the theological... (7th Oct. 2019 | 0 comments)
A little while back I did a Bible for Normal People podcast interview with Pete Enns and Jared Byas. The question addressed: “Does the New Testament Predict the Future?” It’s now available here. In case anyone listens to it and finds it all rather bewildering, here’s a rough overview of my argument... (30th Sep. 2019 | 2 comments)
David Bentley Hart thinks that we find in the New Testament “seemingly contrary eschatological expectations.” The discussion is found in the second meditation, on judgment, in his book That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, & Universal Salvation.He has listed a number of texts which, in his... (28th Sep. 2019 | 3 comments)
I don’t think that the “kingdom of God” is half as complicated or mysterious as people sometimes make it out to be. In the Synoptic Gospels, it has in view a future moment in time when Israel’s God will intervene in the history of his people to put things right—to punish sin, to defeat enemies, to... (23rd Sep. 2019 | 2 comments)
This post is a response to some questions put to me by a young Christian who is exploring his faith, as he puts it. He writes: “I’ve been absorbed in your blog for the past couple of hours as I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s very different, and I’m sure you can sympathize with any feelings of... (19th Sep. 2019 | 20 comments)
Pete Enns has an excellent Bible for Normal People podcast on Romans in which he “shares 10 things essential to understanding the book of Romans.” I wrote about this last year, but since Geoff Leslie asked about it, here’s a brief rerun.Enns’ emphasis on the importance of groups gives a better... (13th Sep. 2019 | 2 comments)
The first thing to say about David Bentley Hart’s book, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, & Universal Salvation is that it takes as its point of departure the “Question of an Eternal Hell”. Immediately here, I think, we have the trouble with universalism. It has been devised as a solution... (10th Sep. 2019 | 4 comments)
I’m impressed by Andrew Errington’s lively tweeted summary of the argument of Romans—so impressed, in fact, that I thought I’d try a narrative-historical version. It’s an excellent little exercise, given the complexity of the letter. It’s crucial for good interpretation to have a sense of the whole... (3rd Sep. 2019 | 6 comments)
Here I want to try and answer some questions sent to me by someone who grew up in the “reformed, fundamental, SBC” tradition but has spent the best part of the last year deconstructing his faith “down to nothing.” He has been reading the work of historically-minded interpreters like Pete Enns and... (20th Aug. 2019 | 5 comments)
Certain core emphases or tenets have emerged over the years as I have dug myself deeper and deeper into the pit of the narrative-historical perspective:The key to understanding the Bible is history, not theology.What holds the whole thing together is the historical existence of a people that tells... (14th Aug. 2019 | 5 comments)
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