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Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth…

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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 | 21 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)
In the opening paragraph of his book Jewish Messianism and the Cult of Christ (SCM Press, 1998) William Horbury outlines a basic model for understanding the relation of the Old Testament to history. His leading contention is that the Old Testament “forms the backbone of any study of messianism in... (6th Aug. 2019 | 3 comments)
At the Communitas Family Reunion in Malaga last week my friend Wes led a brilliant series of teaching conversations on Daniel 9. In my view it was a model of narrative-historical pedagogy. The historical context was critically appraised and kept in focus, and precisely for that reason our group of... (30th Jul. 2019 | 1 comment)
A post by the Arminian theologian Roger Olson this week outlining “9.5 Theses about Evangelical Christianity” serves to illustrate a number of the points that I made with my little diagram about theology and history. It’s a quick read. Here’s my take on it.1. I don’t see the problem with... (19th Jul. 2019 | 7 comments)
It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and there’s not much happening, so I was doodling and came up with a little diagram to show the difference between traditional evangelical thought and the approach that I take on this blog. For many readers it will be familiar, but if you’re new here, it may... (16th Jul. 2019 | 6 comments)
In this rather long post I want to address some questions put to me about the general plausibility of my reading of the parousia texts as prophecies regarding two historical developments—the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the armies of pagan Rome and the overthrow of pagan Rome through... (11th Jul. 2019 | 5 comments)
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