Thursday 28 August 2014

The City 7, 2 (Summer 2014)

The latest issue of The City, from Houston Baptist University, is available online.

This edition includes several essays around ‘the question of inequality’, engaging with Thomas Piketty’s 700-page Capital in the Twenty First Century, along with some feature essays and book reviews.

The issue is available for access and download here.

Also worth checking out is the Spring 2014 issue, which included several essays on faith and work.

Monday 25 August 2014

Q Ideas on Biblical Literacy

This week’s question from Q Ideas is ‘How Can We Become Biblically Literate?’

Several responses are offered here, including:

Ben Irwin
Biblical Literacy Begins with Reading
We buy a lot of Bibles. We just don't read them. Instead, we cherry-pick.

Glen Paauw and Phil Chen
A New Way of Engaging Scriptures (video interview)
What does real ‘Bible engagement’ look like for a thriving Christian life?

Mark Wingfield
Four Types of Bible Study Learners
Learning styles affect the way people read and learn about the Bible.

K.D. Byers
Illiterate People of the Book
Christians are a people of the book – but we’ve grown illiterate.

Glen Paauw
How to Save the Bible
We’re not reading the Bible much these days. Is the way we’re reading it the problem?

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Themelios 39, 2 (July 2014)

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

D.A. Carson
What Are Gospel Issues?

Off the Record
Michael J. Ovey
Projection Atheism: Why Reductionist Accounts of Humanity Can Lead to Reductionist Accounts of God

Brian J. Tabb
Engaging with Edwards: Essays on America’s Theologian

Ralph Cunnington
A Critical Examination of Jonathan Edwards’s Doctrine of the Trinity
This article critically examines Jonathan Edwards’s doctrine of the Trinity with a particular focus upon his understanding of the person of the Holy Spirit. While his restatement of Augustinian orthodoxy served the church well during a time of great doctrinal heterodoxy, it created some problems of its own. These problems were rooted in his use of philosophical idealism, his reliance upon trinitarian analogies, and his adapted doctrine of perichoresis.

Gerald McDermott
Jonathan Edwards and God’s Inner Life: A Response to Kyle Strobel
This article surveys the state of Edwards studies today, focusing particularly on its philosophical theologians who have zeroed in on Edwards’s doctrine of God. It addresses current debates over dispositionalism, reviews a new book by Kyle Strobel, and criticizes recent uses of analytical philosophy in analyzing Edwards’s doctrine of God.

Jeremy M. Kimble
That Their Souls May Be Saved: The Theology and Practice of Jonathan Edwards on Church Discipline
A great deal of research has been done on the life and theology of Jonathan Edwards. However, there is a dearth of interest as it pertains to Edwards’s ecclesiology. As such, while certain moments in Edwards’s ministry dealing with excommunication have been dealt with, there is a need to look not only at the cases he oversaw, but also the theology that undergirded that practice of discipline. Setting Edwards in his historical context and looking specifically at both his ecclesiology and his doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, this article demonstrates how these doctrines coincided for Edwards to form a practice of church discipline that was exacting and rigorous in relation to many of his contemporaries in whose churches discipline was largely on the decline.

Kenneth J. Stewart
John Henry Newman (1801–1890) in His Second Century
In the current fascination of younger evangelicals with the ethos of both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, John Henry Newman (1801–1890) has become something of a ‘poster child’. The autobiographical and polemical writings of this celebrated convert to Rome (largely reflecting the first half of his career) enjoy ongoing popularity; these are taken to ‘define’ the man. Yet what this current fascination tends to overlook is that across the twentieth century Newman has been taken up as the theme of critical and ecumenical inquiry. Critical scholarship stops well short of the overly deferential attitude to Newman, all too characteristic at the present time. This article surveys this ongoing discussion of Newman up to our time.

Pastoral Pensées
Eric Ortlund
Laboring in Hopeless Hope: Encouragement for Christians from Ecclesiastes
The book of Ecclesiastes diagnoses humanity’s tendency to link the value of human life with permanent accomplishment in our work. As a wisdom text, Ecclesiastes warns its readers that this approach leads to hatred of life as we realize that, from an “under the sun” perspective, we gain nothing permanent in all our labor. The wisdom of the book of Ecclesiastes rather associates the value of human life and work in its status as a gift from God, irrespective of what we accomplish. Qohelet also explains why God has so disposed the present order of things that human beings labor much, but without permanent accomplishment. This article attempts to articulate Qohelet’s wisdom for living within the present age so that we can fully engage with and enjoy God’s gifts of life and work.

Book Reviews

Douglas Moo on Galatians

Last month, Douglas Moo, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois, led a two-day intensive course at Oak Hill College, London, on ‘Galatians: a Letter for Today’. I had wondered about trying to attend, but decided that other commitments would prevent me from doing so. In any case, audio files of all the sessions have now kindly been made available by Oak Hill here, and I’m confident they’ll be worth listening to for those able to spare the time.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Centre for Public Christianity (August 2014)

Among other items of interest this month, The Centre for Public Christianity has a video interview with John Stackhouse on the ‘weirdness and plausibility of Christianity’, and a video interview with Paula Gooder covering ‘the historical Jesus, theology as a discipline, and the Gospels as literature’.

Monday 11 August 2014

9Marks Journal (Summer 2014) on Biblical Theology

The latest issue of the 9Marks Journal, available here as a pdf, is devoted to Biblical Theology.

In the Editorial, Jonathan Leeman writes:

‘Churches, as much as ever, need to know who they are, where they come from, who their ancestors are. Are we not children of Abraham? Doesn’t our family tree include Moses and David, Rahab and Ruth? Are we not all adopted heirs and coheirs with Christ? Sons of the divine king?

Biblical theology is not just about reading the Bible rightly, though it begins there. It serves to guard and guide the local church. It maintains the right message, defines the task of the messenger, identifies imposters, tells us what we do when we gather, and sets the trajectory of our mission. It answers the question, Who are we, as the church in the world?

Those are some of the topics this issue of the Journal will explore. The goal here is not so much to trace out the Bible’s storyline, but to show how knowing that storyline locates the identity and work of the church in the grand sweep of history.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Ethics in Brief Volume 19, Nos. 5 & 6 (2014)

Two issues from Volume 19 of Ethics in Brief, published by The Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics, are now available online:

This article seeks to direct our attention away from more familiar instances of current Christian engagement with law to consider broader underlying trends. Modern law is characterised by the breakdown of older distinctions between democracy and rights, government and civil society, the sovereign nation-state and other levels of legal authority, and law and ethics. There is a characteristic Christian theology of law which should lead us to be concerned about the postmodernism, legalism, statism and imperialism implicit in these developments. Christian engagement with law has never been more necessary, for the gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed good news for law as well.

What is the essence of modern belief? Two scholars offer different answers to the question of modern belief that challenge some basic assumptions about our current secular age. While Simon May develops the claim that moderns believe in love, David Bentley Hart defends the view that moderns believe in nothing. Which of these judgements on modern belief is correct, and why does it matter? After exploring how the two judgements may not stand in complete tension, this article follows May's advice in rethinking our notion of love to rediscover the central questions that religion aims to provoke.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Simon Gathercole on the Gospel of Thomas

The latest briefing from Tyndale House features an interview with Simon Gathercole on the Gospel of Thomas, following the publication of a second monograph on the document.

‘The main reason I got into the study of the “other” Gospels is that I am always interested in the views people have about Jesus. After all, the question “Who is Jesus?” is and always has been at the heart of the Christian faith and of vital concern to Christians.’

Monday 4 August 2014

The Bible Project on Genesis 12-50

I blogged on this project here a few months ago.

A small team is aiming to put together a series of short videos introducing the structure and themes of biblical books and tracing some major themes through the entire Bible. They’re seeking to make the videos and supporting study guides available for free – although they’re asking for donations in order to do so.

They’ve just made available the next video on Genesis 12-50. Check it out from here (click on ‘Videos’ or scroll down to the ‘Videos & Study Guides’ section).

Love at Ephesus (4): An Undying Love

I contributed this week’s ‘Word for the Week’, a weekly email service provided by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
Ephesians 6:23-24

What will enable us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received? What will empower us to serve Christ in our daily arenas of home and work? What will equip us to resist evil forces? Paul closes his letter to the church at Ephesus by asking God to bless them with peace, grace, love, and faith – small words for huge truths writ large across the letter as a whole. So it is that he brings us back to where he started, with what God has done in Christ through the Spirit, and our response to the incredible blessings lavished on us.

The letter began with grace and peace (1:2) and now closes with it. The peace is that which Christ has brought about through his death, reconciling us to God, creating in himself one new humanity, and calling us to walk in love with our ‘feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace’ (6:15). The grace is that which flows generously from God’s own heart as a totally undeserved gift, which saves and liberates those who were dead in sins and in bondage to hostile forces (2:5, 8).

Paul also invokes God’s love – a major focus of his prayer for them at the climax of the first half of the letter and his exhortations in the second half – a hallmark of the new community in Christ. That he asks for ‘love with faith’ means this love has been moulded and transformed by their faith in the true and living God. As with peace and grace, the source of this ‘love with faith’ is nothing less than ‘God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’.

Paul finally prays a blessing on all who love the Lord Jesus Christ. The letter has referred to the Father’s love for them, Christ’s love for them, and their love for each other, but this is the only place where their love for Christ is made explicit. Like the readers of 1 Peter, they – and we – are those who love him without seeing him (1 Peter 1:8). That we do so ‘in immortality’ could refer to the kind of love we offer – incorruptible, undying – or the immortal realm in which we are united with the exalted Christ. Either way, death cannot touch it. By God’s grace we take such confidence into this week, and every week.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Greg Beale Lectures on Biblical Theology

The following set of lectures by Greg Beale on biblical theology is available for free download on iTunes U here.

1. Introduction; Inaugurated Eschatology I
2. Inaugurated Eschatology II
3. Inaugurated Eschatology III
4. Inaugurated Eschatology IV
5. Inaugurated Eschatology V; Biblical Theology of the Gospels I 
6. Biblical Theology of the Gospels II 
7. Biblical Theology of the Gospels III 
8. Biblical Theology of the Gospels IV 
9. Biblical Theology of the Gospels V
10. Biblical Theology of the Gospels VI
11. A Redemptive Historical Perspective of the Temple I 
12. A Redemptive Historical Perspective of the Temple II 
13. The Damascus Road Resurrection Christophany I 
14. The Damascus Road Resurrection Christophany II 
15. The Eschatological Nature of Paul’s Anthropology and Relationship of New Creation to Reconciliation I 
16. The Eschatological Nature of Paul’s Anthropology and Relationship of New Creation to Reconciliation II 
17. Sanctification, Justification, and the Relationship of Christ to the Law I 
18. Sanctification, Justification, and the Relationship of Christ to the Law II 
19. The Eschatological Conception of the Church I 
20. The Eschatological Conception of the Church II 
21. The Eschatological Role of the Holy Spirit I 
22. The Eschatological Role of the Holy Spirit II

Friday 1 August 2014

Geerhardus Vos on Biblical Theology

Arguably a classic in the field, Geerhardus Vos’s book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, first published in 1948 – by Eerdmans in North America and Banner of Truth in the UK – is available as a pdf here in its entirety.