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

27 May 2020

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 theological reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic: ...

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21 May 2020

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 really is moving...

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19 May 2020

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 paradigm and draw some conclusions.

The book is in two parts. The first part basically states Piper’s conviction that God is...

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12 May 2020

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” (Rom. 8:3–4).

I maintain that the phrase “in the likeness of sinful flesh” is not a reference to the paradoxical ontology of incarnation but a more realistic, though somewhat opaque, allusion to...

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6 May 2020

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-creature distinction” because I’m not sure what he was getting at. Arianism? Perhaps he will come back and explain. In the meantime, these are the main issues...

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30 Apr 2020

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 Son of Man, on intertextual grounds, that the trumpets signal judgment on Israel, the bowls...

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24 Apr 2020

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 response. Then I had somehow to cut it down to the required proportions. All Saints Centre for Mission & Ministry are happy for me to post this and to cross-reference...

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