Reviews

Simon Gathercole is worried that the doctrine of substitutionary atonement is going out of fashion so he sets out to defend it in this brief book Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul. It’s a very limited argument: in two main exegetical chapters he considers two statements… (17 Jun 2015 | 3 comments)
I’m trying very hard to like Greg Gilbert’s book Who is Jesus?, really I am, but he is a classic example of someone caught between two paradigms. On the one hand, he wants to take on board new perspectives arising out of biblical studies. On the other, he doesn’t want to let go of core… (5 Feb 2015 | 15 comments)
I have never understood why the prophecy about the prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1-19 and the taunt against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14:3-23 have traditionally been interpreted as having reference to Satan. I have just come across the argument again in Greg Gilbert’s book Who is Jesus… (3 Feb 2015 | 39 comments)
This is not going to be a conventional review of James Brownson’s book on gender and homosexuality in the Bible. I’ll begin with two very broad assertions, then look at the texts, and finish with some cautious and increasingly opaque conclusions—be warned. For a summary of Brownson’s argument see… (28 Jan 2015 | 0 comments)
I mentioned that I have been working my way through James Brownson’s book Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. I have looked at his argument that the “one flesh” motif in Genesis 1:24 speaks of kinship bonds rather than biological gender… (22 Jan 2015 | 4 comments)
Moving on…. Yesterday I summarized James Brownson’s argument that when the author of Genesis says that a man leaves his mother and father and clings to his wife so that they become “one flesh”, he does not mean that they become a sexual union; he means that they become the basis for a new family… (16 Jan 2015 | 3 comments)
I have been reading James Brownson’s Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships in preparation for a theological forum next week. The book basically attempts a re-thinking of “the moral vision regarding gender and sexuality that Scripture commends” (3… (15 Jan 2015 | 19 comments)
Last month Michael Bird posted a brief book notice about Robert Stein’s Jesus, the Temple, and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13, which he describes as “the first real full-length treatment of Mark 13 by an evangelical since the time of George Beasley-Murray”. Bird thinks that… (4 Jan 2015 | 4 comments)
Following the recent posts on “divine identity” christology, I have been urged to have a look at what N.T. Wright does with the argument in Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Wright starts by tracing developments in Pauline christology in the modern era (644-53). The two competing “… (17 Dec 2014 | 5 comments)
I couldn’t make up my mind what to write about this week. I was going to do something on the rather depressing Westminster Faith debate on the future of the Anglican Church that I attended last week in Oxford. I’ve also had it in mind to write a review of Emily Ackerman’s The Amazing… (11 Dec 2014 | 9 comments)
Another questionable line of interpretation, if I may make so bold…. Jesus says to his disciples, “I will give you a mouth and a wisdom that none of those who oppose you will be able to stand against or contradict” (Lk. 21:14-15). Since his imminent death is in view, he must mean that he will… (21 Nov 2014 | 9 comments)
People who read this blog regularly will know that I am generally rather sceptical about claims that the writers of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—intended to present Jesus as God. See, for example, “Jesus as Lord in Mark” or “Simon Gathercole’s argument about pre-existence and divine… (20 Nov 2014 | 9 comments)
This is a rather technical piece—some notes I made while working on something else—but the gist of the argument can be gained from the introduction and the conclusion. I have been looking at how the idea of a Gentile mission emerges in the New Testament. I made the point in “The parable of the… (23 Oct 2014 | 23 comments)
I suggested in passing in a recent post on mission and blessing that in The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative C.J.H. Wright (not to be confused with N.T. Wright) ‘has misconstrued the “grand narrative” of the Bible as oriented towards salvation rather than “kingdom”’.… (30 Sep 2014 | 10 comments)
I suggested recently that in their book What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert highlight some legitimate concerns regarding current “missional” thinking. There will be differences of opinion, but I… (25 Sep 2014 | 14 comments)
In their book What is the Mission of the Church? Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert make a brave and generous attempt to steer the conversation about mission back in a more traditional direction. Many people these days would… (2 Sep 2014 | 5 comments)
I got so depressed watching England lose to Uruguay last night that I started reading the chapter on the “Apocalyptic Character of Paul’s Gospel” in J. Christiaan Beker’s celebrated book Paul’s Apocalyptic Gospel: The Coming Triumph of God. OK, it wasn’t technically the end of the… (20 Jun 2014 | 0 comments)
Chris Tilling has taken the trouble to reply at some length to my review of his contribution to How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature. I want to address the issues he raises, not with a view to picking a fight with him—honestly, Chris—but because the… (12 Jun 2014 | 1 comment)
I’ll make this my last post on Bird, et al.’s lively—bordering on manic—response to Bart Ehrman’s book [amazon:978-0061778186:inline]. Chris Tilling is a good friend, so I need to tread a little carefully here. His argument is based largely on his published PhD thesis [amazon:978-3161518652:inline… (17 Apr 2014 | 9 comments)
Bart Ehrman thinks that Jesus became God—not in reality, of course, but in the minds of the early Christians. Against Ehrman, Simon Gathercole argues in [amazon:978-0310519591:inline], much as Michael Bird did earlier, that the Synoptic Gospels “see Jesus as having pre-existed and as… (9 Apr 2014 | 17 comments)