(how to tell the biblical story
in a way that makes a difference)
1 Feb 2019

The Canaanite woman in Matthew’s story got the leftovers from the table at which the “children” of the household of Israel were being fed. She had no right to sit at the table, nor was any such right promised to her or her daughter; and it is clear that Jesus found her a distraction.

The earlier encounter with the centurion whose servant was sick is similar in many respects (Matt. 8:5-13). Like her he knows that as...

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26 Jan 2019

When Jesus says that some people will “see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mk. 13:26), does he mean this literally—picking up on a recent comment? Does he expect people to look up to the sky and actually see a human figure descending to earth on a cloud, like Mary Poppins?

But in those days, after that tribulation…

The saying comes as part...

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21 Jan 2019

The story of the Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:21-28; cf. Mk. 7:24-30) has been going round in my head the last few days, partly because I have been marking a number of undergraduate essays comparing the two versions of the episode, partly because I happened across quite a good podcast in which Trevin Wax and Brandon Smith ask why Jesus called the woman a dog. I wonder if there isn’t, in Matthew’s telling of...

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10 Jan 2019

One of the main arguments that I have been putting forward on this site is that modern evangelicalism needs to shift its weight from the rickety stool of theology or dogmatics, before it collapses, to the much more solid and reliable stool of history. What would this mean for how we understand things? First, we would read the New Testament as a narrative testimony to the historical experience and perspective of a...

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1 Jan 2019

I want to begin the new year by exhorting “evangelicals”—that is, by my definition, Christians who think that the Bible is to be taken seriously—to get to grips with eschatology. Why not? It’s as good a time as any to pause and reflect on where things are going.

The traditional view is that the events associated with the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds have not yet happened—even though Jesus seemed confident that his parousia would take place within the lifetime of at...

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20 Dec 2018

In the beginning, which may have been either the beginning of creation or the beginning of new creation, or both, the Word was with God, and the Word in some sense was God. This is John’s reworking of a familiar Jewish Wisdom motif, probably with a view to linking it with the prevalent Hellenistic idea that the logos , as “word” or “reason”, underpins reality. All things were made through this divine Word or Wisdom; in it was life, and the life...

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14 Dec 2018

Carlton Wynne is assistant professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary and, therefore, not surprisingly believes that “as the eternal Son of the Father, Jesus Christ possesses the fullness of deity, including the attribute of omniscience”. But how are we to reconcile this dogma, he asks, with Jesus’ claim to ignorance in Matthew 24:36 (cf. Mk. 13:32): “But concerning...

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