Reviews

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… (10 Jan 2019 | 6 comments)
I pointed out last week that in the standard “redemption in history” construal of the biblical narrative—as represented, for example, by Chris Wright’s The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission—all the history is found before Jesus. Nothing of… (16 Aug 2018 | 0 comments)
Chris Wright’s The Mission of God’s People is methodologically one of the best books on a biblical theology of mission that I have come across. I will be recommending it in the workshops that Wes and I will be doing at the Communitas staff conference later this week. Wright argues… (7 Aug 2018 | 5 comments)
In chapter four of his book Salvation By Allegiance Alone Matthew Bates sets out to defend his core thesis that the pistis (“faith”) with which we respond to the gospel is better understood in terms of concrete allegiance than as mere mental assent.He argues that the… (4 May 2017 | 2 comments)
From pre-existence and incarnation Bates works swiftly through “died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”, “was buried”, “was raised on the third day”, and “appeared to many”, to the climax of the chapter and the best bit of the book so far: “is seated at the right hand of God as… (27 Apr 2017 | 2 comments)
I am in solid agreement with Matthew Bates that the central narrative of the New Testament—the narrative which makes sense of the “gospel”—has to do with the enthronement of Jesus as king by his resurrection from the dead and his ascension to the right hand of the Father.Two areas of… (24 Apr 2017 | 1 comment)
After an exciting afternoon with friends at Antalya Zoo—a pair of lions shamelessly and noisily copulating in the long grass, a family of grizzly bears brawling over some obscure breach of protocol—it’s back to part two of my review of Matthew Bates’ Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking… (22 Apr 2017 | 6 comments)
Matthew Bates’ book Salvation By Allegiance Alone is further evidence that evangelicalism is wrestling honestly and constructively with the biblical, theological and practical deficiencies of the traditional understanding of gospel, faith and salvation.I haven’t got very far into it,… (20 Apr 2017 | 2 comments)
I have to be a bit careful in critiquing John Walton’s thesis in his book The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, because, as has been pointed out to me, it’s only a summary of his much more substantial argument in his Genesis 1 As Ancient Cosmology… (14 Jan 2017 | 22 comments)
If we are going to read the New Testament as historical narrative, we have to have some sense of historical context. The church, on the whole, is not interested in historical context. The Bible is mostly treated as a self-contained, self-sufficient sacred text. In a recent comment Travis Finley… (12 Jan 2017 | 7 comments)
I have finally got round to reading John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, and I have to say, I don’t see it. Walton’s central contention is that what we have in Genesis 1 is an account not of the creation of the material cosmos but of… (3 Jan 2017 | 31 comments)
Something that struck me reading Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church was the general agreement that Paul’s views about marriage change between 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5. In the earlier passage he expresses a strong preference for celibacy but at the same time… (12 Dec 2016 | 0 comments)
There’s an interesting exchange between the contributors to Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible and the Church (ed. Preston Sprinkle) over how close the modern ideal of Christian marriage conforms to the biblical pattern of marriage. The underlying question is whether we have a closed… (9 Dec 2016 | 6 comments)
I mentioned before the distinction that Scot McKnight makes in his Kingdom Conspiracy book between a “pleated pants” view of kingdom as the redemptive activity of God and a “skinny jeans” view of the kingdom as social activism in which the church may be more of a hindrance than a help… (26 Oct 2016 | 0 comments)
In Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church Scot McKnight takes aim at two broad misconceptions of what the kingdom of God is: the “skinny jeans” reduction of kingdom to social activism, and the more conventionally religious “pleated pants” approach… (24 Oct 2016 | 10 comments)
Let me state this as clearly as I can…(I’ve picked up something of Scot McKnight’s combative tone of voice here.)The sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7 was not preached to or for the benefit of the post-Christendom, modern-going-on-postmodern, global church.It was preached to… (21 Oct 2016 | 5 comments)
I wrote a piece recently offering my revision of Tom Wright’s five act play model of biblical authority. The aim was to take account both of the realistic character of biblical eschatology and of the historical experience of the church. This was my proposed narrative structure: Act 1… (20 Oct 2016 | 3 comments)
I have been reading an excellent little “visual guide” to the thought of Tom Wright by Marlin Watling. The book is called The Marriage of Heaven and Earth, it’s self-published, and is available as a paperback or on Kindle. Coincidentally, my copy of Wright’s The Day the Revolution… (18 Oct 2016 | 9 comments)
I was recommended Tim Keller’s book Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just as preparatory reading for a sermon at Crossroads International Church in the Hague this coming weekend. It’s a compassionate, practical, carefully argued, and in some ways quite audacious exhortation to… (27 Sep 2016 | 14 comments)
The basic thesis of Greg Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology is i) that the Old Testament gives us the story of how God “progressively reestablishes his new-creational kingdom out of chaos”; and ii) that this storyline is transformed in the New Testament inasmuch as Jesus’ life,… (23 Aug 2016 | 14 comments)