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

Review articles

This gives you a way to find posts that are either reviews of books or discuss a book in some detail. The dropdown has a list of books to choose from.
I made the comment in part 1 of this review of Steve Chalke’s The Lost Message of Paul that he has worked hard to integrate recent New Testament scholarship into his analysis of Paul but that in the end his personal judgment as a post-evangelical pastor gets the better of him. That started me... (25th Mar. 2020 | 1 comment)
Steve Chalke is a British “Baptist minister, author, speaker, justice campaigner, broadcaster, social entrepreneur and former UN Special Advisor on Human Trafficking”, and the founder of the Oasis Trust. The Lost Message of Paul is his belated sequel to The Lost Message of Jesus, which he wrote... (21st Mar. 2020 | 4 comments)
In the Prologue to God Untamed Johannes Hartl tells the story of being stuck on Mount Athos in northern Greece in a ferocious storm. He has spent a few days on this isolated peninsula, in the skete of St Anna, with a friend walking and praying. Now they need to get to Thessaloniki to catch a plane... (14th Feb. 2020 | 0 comments)
It’s the period of Advent, when we traditionally reflect on the “coming” of Jesus into the world, so let’s consider the question of why he came when he did. Why was Jesus born in 4 BC or thereabouts, and not two hundred years earlier, or a thousand years later?I’m still making my way through... (11th Dec. 2019 | 2 comments)
Still going strong here. In chapter three of Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ Matthew Bates sets out his version of the gospel narrative as a sequence of ten events, somewhat in the manner of the Apostles’ Creed (86-104). (I had a similar go at writing a... (20th Nov. 2019 | 0 comments)
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 | 1 comment)
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)
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)
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)
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)
There is an argument that when the Synoptic Gospels speak of Jesus coming to Israel, we must imagine him making a journey from heaven to earth to fulfil God’s purposes.The demons ask Jesus, “Have you come here to destroy us?” (Mk. 1:24 par. Lk. 4:34; Matt. 8:29). Jesus says that he has come to... (30th May. 2019 | 11 comments)
It is sometimes argued that when Jesus laments over Jerusalem, saying, “How often I wanted to gather your children…” (Matt. 23:37), we should understand this as an assertion of his involvement “in the entire duration of Israel’s history.”1 In Simon Gathercole’s words, Jesus is portrayed in Matthew’... (15th May. 2019 | 3 comments)
In the previous post I put forward my reasons for doubting Michael Bird’s claim, in his anti-adoptionist polemic Jesus the Eternal Son, that Mark identifies Jesus as the “Lord” whose way is prepared by John the Baptist. Bird offers a number of further arguments in his chapter on “The Gospel of Mark... (8th May. 2019 | 4 comments)
Adoptionism, Michael Bird tells us in his book Jesus the Eternal Son: Answering Adoptionist Christology, was one of the “most potent if not persistent heresies of the second and third centuries”. It came in several unpalatable varieties, but common to all was the view 1) that “divine sonship was... (1st May. 2019 | 40 comments)
Donald Hagner’s book How New is the New Testament? First Century Judaism and the Emergence of Christianity is coming to epitomise, in my view, evangelicalism’s sad failure of nerve when it comes to the interpretation of the New Testament’s outlook on the future. As a historian Hagner is fully aware... (10th Apr. 2019 | 18 comments)