Sunday, 10 May 2020

Themelios 45, 1 (April 2020)

The latest Themelios is online here (and available here as a single pdf), containing the below articles.

Brian J. Tabb
Theological Reflections on the Pandemic

Strange Times
Daniel Strange
‘The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business’

Jonathan Leeman and Andrew David Naselli
Politics, Conscience, and the Church: Why Christians Passionately Disagree with One Another over Politics, Why They Must Agree to Disagree over Jagged-Line Political Issues, and How
Today many evangelical churches feel political tension. We recommend a way forward by answering three questions: (1) Why do Christians passionately disagree with one another over politics? We give two reasons: (a) Christians passionately care about justice and believe that their political convictions promote justice, and (b) Christians have different degrees of wisdom for making political judgments and tend to believe that they have more wisdom than those who differ. (2) Why must Christians agree to disagree over jagged-line political issues? After explaining straight-line vs. jagged-line political issues, we give two reasons: (a) Christians must respect fellow Christians who have differently calibrated consciences on jagged-line issues, and (b) insisting that Christians agree on jagged-line issues misrepresents Christ to non-Christians. (3) How must Christians who disagree over jagged-line political issues agree to disagree? We explain three ways: (a) acknowledge leeway on jagged-line political issues; (b) unite to accomplish the mission Christ gave the church; and (c) prioritize loving others over convincing them that your convictions about jagged-line political issues are right.

Katherine Smith
Should the Local Church Resist Texts in Scripture that Clash with Western Culture? The Test Case of Leviticus 21:16–24
Leviticus 21:16–24 instructs the Aaronic priest with a permanent physical blemish to refrain from serving YHWH in his presence. In today’s western culture, such exclusion would be deemed deplorable and so this clash of cultures raises the question of how the local church can appropriate Leviticus 21:16–24 as Christian Scripture in the present cultural climate. In addressing this question, this paper argues that the theological basis of Leviticus 21:16–24 is that only those who exemplify a whole condition are acceptable in YHWH’s presence. Thus, when a person does not exemplify this condition of wholeness, there is restriction and exclusion. Understanding the condition that leads to exclusion requires a holistic view of purity and impurity and, when we understand Leviticus 21:16–20 with this holistic perspective, the passage reflects a theological reality central to the person and work of Christ.

Etienne Jodar
Leviticus 18:5 and the Law’s Call to Faith: A Positive Reassessment of Paul’s View of the Law
Paul’s use of Leviticus 18:5 in Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:12 is generally understood as showing Paul’s negative view of the Mosaic law. The apostle would be using Leviticus 18:5 to show that the law comes short of the principle of faith. This paper shows that the difficulties with such an understanding of Leviticus 18:5 in Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:12 are both theological and exegetical. The proposed thesis is that Leviticus 18:5 powerfully brings trust in God into play, and thus can be used by Paul to show that the law calls to faith. Leviticus 18:5, then, would not come short of the logic of faith as some commentators assert. Informed by Second Temple Judaism’s understanding of Leviticus 18:5, this manuscript follows an exegetical method that gives particular attention to words like γάρ, δέ, αλλά, and εκ in Paul’s unfolding argument. The article shows that interpreting Leviticus 18:5 as a call to exercise faith makes good sense of Paul’s train of thought in both Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:12.

Daryn Graham
The Genesis of the Jerusalem Donation
The Jerusalem Donation was the Apostle Paul’s largest charity drive. However, it did not begin by his own initiative. In this article, it shall be shown using biblical evidence and other ancient sources, that the movement to provide the Jerusalem church with considerable added finances to alleviate suffering among them due to the Great Famine, began with the ordinary Christians of Achaea, Macedonia and Galatia. This article proves, contrary to the claims made by some commentators, the movement behind this collection was not driven by Jerusalemite coercion or pressure from James, Peter and John upon Paul, but rather, it began and progressed out of Christian solidarity and love between Gentile and Jewish believers in those provinces, and genuine concern for their brethren suffering from the effects of famine sustained in Jerusalem.

Jordan Atkinson
Paul’s Overlooked Allusion to Joel 2:9 in 1 Thessalonians 5:2
This article argues that Paul compares the day of the Lord to a thief in the night in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 because of the influence of Joel 2:9. While the scholarly consensus is that the thief imagery owes to Jesus’s thief imagery for his second coming in Matthew 24:42–44 or Luke 12:39–40, Joel 2:9 better fits the criteria for allusions identified in G. K. Beale’s Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Paul’s contextually faithful interpretation of Joel 2:9 is a model for how Christians should continue to interpret OT prophetic literature.

Jared M. August
What Must She Do to Be Saved? A Theological Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:15
In 1 Timothy 2:15, Paul asserts “the woman will be saved through the childbirth.” This essay asserts that this “woman” is Eve and that this “childbirth” is the birth of the Messiah. Although this interpretation is by no means new, the contribution of this essay rests in its proposal of the evidence for this view, namely, Paul’s use of the Adam/Christ contrast. This essay first analyzes the grammar and context of 1 Timothy 2:15 to assert that a messianic reading of this passage is an exegetically viable option. Subsequently, each instance in which Adam is mentioned by name in the NT is examined (Luke 3:38; Rom 5:14 [x2]; 1 Cor 15:22, 45 [x2]; 1 Tim 2:13, 14; Jude 14), thereby proposing a pattern for when to expect Paul to develop the Adam/Christ contrast.

Dane Ortlund
On Words, Meaning, Inspiration, and Translation: A Brief Response to Bill Mounce
This article is a brief response to Bill Mounce’s recent Themelios essay in which he argues that functional equivalence translations such as the NIV are the most effective approach to Bible translation as they carry over the meaning of the original text. I offer some clarifying remarks and reflect on three areas of disagreement: the usefulness of “literal” as a label, the relationship between words and meaning, and, most significantly, the nature of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

The Southgate Fellowship
Affirmations and Denials Concerning World Mission

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