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We have an online Communitas “Thinklings” event coming up this week, spread over a few days, to consider the question of church and mission after the pandemic. Brian McLaren helped us launch this informal theological forum nearly 20 years ago, and we’ve kept it going fitfully. Never before online… (13 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
In answer to Drew’s question, Daniel is in Babylon, Jerusalem is in ruins, the Jews have become an object of scorn and ridicule among the nations. He confesses the sins of his people and prays that God will be merciful, that he will bring his anger and wrath against the city to a swift end, and… (9 Jul 2020 | 0 comments)
I made the point in my previous post that Paul’s teaching on marriage in 1 Corinthians is not stand-alone, timeless ethical exposition but a somewhat makeshift set of instructions to help the church navigate a difficult eschatological transition. I mentioned as part of my catalogue of… (6 Jul 2020 | 2 comments)
I thought that this was a rather good piece on marriage by the sociologist Mark Regnerus in Christianity Today. You have to be a subscriber to read it, unfortunately, or you could look out for his forthcoming book, The Future of Christian Marriage. Briefly, in the article he tries to give… (2 Jul 2020 | 1 comment)
I saw this comment in a Facebook thread about Black Lives Matter. The relation to its context was a bit obscure, but I think that the point being made is clear enough: “even though God’s kingdom is for everyone, Jesus’s ministry was principally devoted to the oppressed. A group of which He was… (24 Jun 2020 | 7 comments)
This is proving to be a tumultuous year for the world, and for the post-colonial western world in particular. Many people are hoping—myself included—that the coronavirus pandemic has woken us up to the damage that we are doing to our planet, and that the death of George Floyd has finally ignited a… (17 Jun 2020 | 5 comments)
The social unity and cohesion of the churches among the pagan nations was of utmost importance for the apostolic mission. Much of the teaching in the New Testament letters is given over to the issue. We mostly think of church unity as an end in itself, but the apostles also had an (14 Jun 2020 | 0 comments)
This is an attempt to address, at least in part, some difficult questions raised by Tim Peebles and Kevin Holtsberry in response to my recent reviews of books on coronavirus by Piper, Brueggemann, and Wright. The criticism seems to come down to two basic questions: Is coronavirus—even if we… (8 Jun 2020 | 3 comments)
This is the third short book-length theological response to the coronavirus pandemic that I’ve read. I’ve also looked at John Piper’s Coronavirus and Christ and Walter Brueggemann’s Virus as a Summons to Faith: Biblical Reflections in a Time of Loss, Grief, and Uncertainty. Tom… (3 Jun 2020 | 7 comments)
The Reformed tradition reads the coronavirus pandemic in a narrowly personal and dualistic fashion, with little regard for the tumultuous realities of history. How far this falls short of the standards of the biblical witness is apparent from Walter Brueggemann’s somewhat improvised contribution to… (27 May 2020 | 6 comments)
Ben Sciacca’s Gospel Coalition piece on “Coronavirus as Dress Rehearsal” had me fooled. Aha! I thought. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying. The pandemic is a dress rehearsal—a foretaste, a harbinger, a portent—for far more serious things to come. Conservative evangelicalism in America… (21 May 2020 | 54 comments)
The coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for the church to rethink its message and reform its behaviour, and we need to take up this challenge urgently. That’s how I see it. So it’s good that John Piper has attempted, within a very brief span, to assimilate the pandemic into his theological… (19 May 2020 | 11 comments)
Paul says that God sent his Son to Israel “in the likeness of sinful flesh” and probably “as a sin offering”. By so doing he “condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (… (12 May 2020 | 10 comments)
It sometimes happens that a response to a comment takes on a life of its own, which is the case with this attempt to address the excellent points made by Ted Hopkins about certain areas of disagreement and the tension between history and theology. I’ve omitted the reference to a “strong creator-… (6 May 2020 | 19 comments)
A passage that rarely gets taken into account in expositions of the “gospel” is John’s vision of three angels in Revelation 14:6-11. The context is important. It comes as part of a visionary interlude between the seven trumpets (8-11) and the seven bowls (15-16). I argued in The Coming of the… (30 Apr 2020 | 11 comments)
I was asked earlier in the year to answer a few questions about the “narrative-historical” approach to reading the New Testament, which has been the focus of this blog and a handful of books. I didn’t notice that the whole thing had to be done in 500 words and set about writing this rather lengthy… (24 Apr 2020 | 9 comments)
The merry-go-round of the debate between Scot McKnight and Matthew Bates, as exponents of a “King Jesus” gospel, and Greg Gilbert, representing a more traditional Reformed emphasis on justification by faith, continues to spin noisily. Gilbert has issued a response to the criticism he received from… (23 Apr 2020 | 5 comments)
Matthew Bates will think I’ve got it in for him, but that’s not the case. I love the direction he is moving in. I just don’t think he’s taking the journey seriously enough. He has a piece on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog asking whether Together for the Gospel and The Gospel Coalition are… (21 Apr 2020 | 10 comments)
Peter asks a question that gets right to the heart of my attempt to follow the historical narrative of scripture through to our own time. This is exactly the sort of conundrum that a consistently developed narrative-historical method throws up—and, I think, solves: I don’t mean any… (17 Apr 2020 | 13 comments)
This is the best theological reflection on coronavirus that I have read so far. It’s a Jesuit Review essay by Tomáš Halík, who is a Catholic priest and a professor of sociology at Charles University, Prague. It offers something of the prophetic perspective that is missing from much of the bland and… (15 Apr 2020 | 2 comments)