Tuesday 31 August 2021

Credo 11, 2 (2021) on Creeds

The current issue of Credo is available, this one devoted to the topic of the ‘We Believe: Creeds Every Christian Should Read’.

Here’s the blurb:

‘If evangelicals are anything, they are a Bible people; a people of the book who hold the Holy Scriptures as sufficient and authoritative. This is undoubtedly a good thing. But must this high view of Scripture lead to a depreciated view of the Church’s historic creeds? Too often, evangelicals are tempted to answer this question in the affirmative. This is a grave mistake, however, for while the Scriptures are authoritative and sufficient in their own right, they still must be interpreted. At their best, the creeds have functioned as faithful interpretations of the Scriptures; well-forged articulations of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The creeds are the collected wisdom of Christ’s Church, and confessing them is a way for evangelicals today to take Christ at his word when he promised that he would build his Church, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. When we read and confess the ancient creeds, we are self-consciously identifying ourselves with our family history. In this issue of Credo Magazine, readers are invited to listen to the past and to be reminded of the best early creeds of the Christian faith.’

Individual articles, along with interviews and book reviews, are available to read from here.

Thursday 26 August 2021

Themelios 46, 2 (August 2021)

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


D.A. Carson

A Biblical Theology of Education

Strange Times

Daniel Strange

No Longer Humans, but Angels (and Demons) 

Cory Barnes

Testimonies of Faith and Fear: Canaanite Responses to YHWH’s Work in Joshua

This article surveys five narrative passages in which Canaanites hear of the works YHWH has done on Israel’s behalf and act according to what they have heard (Josh 2:10–11; 9:1–2; 9:3, 9; 10:1–2; 11:1). Using some basic tools from narrative criticism, the article explores each passage by analyzing the characters who hear of YHWH’s work, the content of the message they receive, and their reaction to the message. The analysis of the narratives provides insight into the theology of the book of Joshua and informs theological method for contemporary readers of the OT. 

Justin Jackson

The Bows of the Mighty Are Broken: The “Fall” of the Proud and the Exaltation of the Humble in 1 Samuel

Modern scholarship has questioned the literary unity of Samuel’s Narrative (especially 1 Samuel), concluding that Samuel presents a fractured and, oftentimes, contradictory theological message. This article seeks to demonstrate 1 Samuel’s literary unity by highlighting the great reversal motif and the “fall” of the arrogant. The author explores four “falls” and the subsequent exaltations of the humble. The unified theological message of 1 Samuel is that God humbles the self-exalting and exalts the humble, thereby proving his sovereignty and his plan to raise up a humble prince to reign over God’s people.

Douglas S. Huffman

A Two-Dimensional Taxonomy of Forms for the NT Use of the OT

The field of the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament is encumbered with ambiguously defined terminology, especially with regard to such form labels as citation, quotation, paraphrase, allusion, echo, and the like. Refining the labels and their definitions, this article goes further in recommending a two-dimensional taxonomy that visually portrays the overlapping relationships of the various form classifications. The two-dimensional continuum charts the presence of introductory formulae on one axis and the level of verbal similarities on the other axis. This layout allows for some of the ambiguity that seems inherent in discussions of particular NT passages, but it can also help scholars see that their differences in classifying particular NT uses of the OT are not as far apart as previously imagined. Thus, the recommended two-dimensional taxonomy provides something of a playing field for scholarly discussions regarding the proper application of form labels for NT uses of the OT.

Joshua Maurer and Ty Kieser

Jesus, “Adopted Son of God”? Romans 1:4, Orthodox Christology, and Concerns about a Contemporary Conclusion

Rooted in readings of Romans 1:4, some recent evangelical theologians have advocated for the claim that Christ was “adopted” by God while still seeking to align their position with classical Christology. This article argues that these attempts to hold Jesus’s adoption and the christological affirmations of the ecumenical councils together are unsuccessful. Specifically, we suggest that this affirmation of Jesus’s adoption by God rests upon unwarranted soteriological premises, implies unwanted christological implications, and is exegetically unnecessary. Ultimately, the good news of our adoption is rooted in the immutable foundation of Christ’s eternal Sonship. 

Jeremy Kimble

Exclusion from the People of God: An Examination of Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in 1 Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5:1–13 serves as a key text when speaking about the topic of church discipline. Verse 13 provides a crucial example of how the NT uses the OT. However, to understand its full significance for one’s reading of 1 Corinthians 5, one must see how the quoted text is utilized within the book of Deuteronomy on numerous occasions. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth is intensified in a distinctive manner when one understands how Paul is seeking to use the OT in his argument. Namely, this rebuke from the apostle reveals an eschatological trajectory for excommunication, which, as a present judgment by the church, serves as a declarative sign toward the future judgment of God. 

Florenc Mene

Diognetus and the Parting of the Ways

Is it possible to speak of a real separation between Jewish and Christian communities in the first two centuries of the Christian era? A major strand of scholarship denies the tenability of the traditional Parting of Ways position, which has argued for a separation between Christians and Jews at some point in the second century. The purpose of this article is to explore what the second-century Letter to Diognetus reveals about its author’s attitude regarding the Jew-Christian relationship at that time and from that community’s perspective. After exploring four of the document’s features, which reveal the author’s attitude regarding the Jew-Christian relations, this article concludes that Diognetus seems to reflect a historical situation where Jews and Christians were viewed as separate entities, at least for its locality.

Dennis Greeson

Beginning at the End of All Things: Abraham Kuyper’s and Klaas Schilder’s Eschatological Visions of Culture

Abraham Kuyper’s theology of culture is gaining interest in the English- speaking world, especially among those outside the Dutch Reformed tradition. Historic debates in the Dutch Reformed tradition over Kuyper’s hallmark doctrine of common grace often seem parochial or irrelevant to contemporary engagement with his thought. Revisiting one figure in those debates, this essay argues that Klaas Schilder, one of Kuyper’s most vocal critics, offers an important counterbalance to problematic features of Kuyper’s theology. While the divide between Kuyper and Schilder has historically been severe, consideration of their similarities regarding their eschatological vision of Christian cultural creation offers a way to harmonize their differences.

Hans Madueme and Robert Erle Barham

Stories that Gleam like Lightning: The Outrageous Idea of Christian Fiction

We live our faith “in a condition of doubt and uncertainty,” writes Charles Taylor. Even, it seems, literary artists. In this article we argue that much contemporary fiction conforms to Taylor’s concept of secularity. We consider the relative absence of stories that dramatize spiritual realities consistent with Scripture, and we note a tendency to qualify robust Christian perspectives by means of historical context. We then propose an unapologetically Christian fiction, one that offers fictional worlds harmonious with a biblical picture of reality and that resists conformity to secularity’s spiritual ambivalence. Such Christian storytelling has the potential to transform the imagination and remind us that this world is a theater bursting with God’s glory.

Robert P. Menzies

A Tale of Two Stories: Amos Yong’s Mission after Pentecost and T’ien Ju-K’ang’s Peaks of Faith

This article contrasts two books on missiology: Amos Yong’s Mission after Pentecost and T’ien Ju-K’ang’s Peaks of Faith. The author argues that Yong’s approach, shaped by a post-colonial hermeneutic, dismisses the urgency of verbal witness, the significance of eschatological judgment, and the need for conversion. Thus, Yong falsely asserts the modern missions movement is dead. However, in Peaks of Faith T’ien Ju-K’ang offers a well-documented account of the powerful impact of the gospel in Southwest China from 1880 to 1985. The story of missions that T’ien tells is radically different from the caricature produced by Yong’s post-colonial critique. 

Kevin DeYoung

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: A Review

Beth Allison Barr’s influential book The Making of Biblical Womanhood sets out to demonstrate the historical roots of “biblical womanhood,” a system of Christian patriarchy that is not really Christian. This review article poses two key questions, both of which point to significant weaknesses in Barr’s argument. First, does Barr, as a historian, deal fairly and accurately with the proponents of “biblical womanhood”? Second, does Barr, as a historian, deal fairly and accurately with the historical evidence she cites in opposition to “biblical womanhood”? Specific examples of historical half- truths reveal a more comprehensive problem with Barr’s methodology, which reflects a “heads I win, tails you lose” approach to history. 

Book Reviews

Friday 20 August 2021

Evangelical Alliance UK on Following Jesus

What kind of follower?, produced by the Evangelical Alliance UK, is ‘a reflective, easy-to-follow study guide to inspire every believer to have the space for honest conversations about walking with Jesus and help navigate the main challenges we face as we try and live as followers of Jesus in this generation’.

The four-session study guide can be downloaded as a pdf here, and the four accompanying films can be viewed here.

Thursday 12 August 2021

Ethics in Conversation on Work and Worship

The latest Ethics in Conversation (formerly Ethics in Brief), from the Kirby Laing Centre is a review by Jon Hyde and David McIlroy of the significant work of Matthew Kaemingk and Cory B Wilson, Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020). It’s available as a pdf here.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

The Journal of Inductive Biblical Studies 8, 1 (2021)

The latest issue of the Journal of Inductive Biblical Studies is now available online, with the below articles and their abstracts (where available). Individual essays are available from here, and the journal is available in its entirety as a pdf here.

David R. Bauer

From the Editors

Suzanne Nicholson

The Two Spotlights of Inductive Bible Study and Narrative Criticism

Narrative criticism and inductive Bible study share many key features, such as intensive investigation of textual details, recognition of the importance of viewing a book as a whole, and specific techniques for analyzing passages. Biblical narratives do not simply describe the events in the lives of Israelite kings, prophets, or Jesus and the early church. Rather, these highly crafted narratives lead the reader to theological conclusions through creative plot structures, characterizations, point of view, and other tools. Theological truth springs from literary art. When IBS intentionally includes narrative criticism as part of its analysis of biblical narrative, a deeper understanding of the text will emerge. This paper will focus on examples from the Gospels and Acts, with a more detailed look at Acts 15.

Wilbert Webster White

The Resurrection Body “According to the Scriptures,” Chapter Four

Wilbert Webster White

The Resurrection Body “According to the Scriptures,” Chapter Five

Dorothy Jean Weaver

On Serving and Sitting: A Curious, Upside-Down Story about Discipleship (Luke 10:38–42)

This sermon presents the biblical text of Luke 10:38–42 and offers a “traditional” interpretation of this text. This “traditional” interpretation hinges (1) on Jesus’ rebuke of Martha (10:41) and (2) on Jesus’ commendation of Mary (10:42). Such an interpretation, however, leaves the almost unavoidable impression that Jesus is ungrateful for Martha’s efforts in doing the “women’s work” and cooking a meal for a large crowd of people. The sermon then deconstructs this “traditional” interpretation as it re-examines the text of Luke 10:38–42, paying special attention to the broader Lukan usage of the key vocabulary here, namely “serve” (diakoneo): 10:40a/b) with regard to Martha and “listen/hear” (akouo: 10:39) with regard to Mary. This reexamination leads to the paired conclusions that (1) Mary the contemplative will be called to active response to her “listening/hearing” (cf. Luke 6:46–49; 8:19–21; 11:27–28), while (2) Martha the activist – whose “service” reflects nothing less than the “service” of Jesus himself (22:25–27; cf. 12:37) – is even now called to “listening/hearing” as the foundation for her life of activism (cf. Luke 10:42).

Thursday 5 August 2021

Theos Report on Work

A new report from Theos has been published, this one exploring ‘how we can rediscover patterns of rest for human beings and for ecosystems’.

Paul Bickley and Barbara Ridpath, Just Work: Humanising the Labour Market in a Changing World (London: Theos, 2021).

Here are some paragraphs from the Theos website:

‘Currently, the world of work is facing three great disruptions: the technological (AI, machine learning, and automation), the ecological (climate change, loss of biodiversity), and anthropological (human vulnerability – seen through the pandemic, migration and declining birth rates). Any of these would see many jobs eliminated, replaced, or changed. Together they create an unpredictable environment in which work could be dehumanised – or, we could seize these disruptions as an opportunity to humanise work and working conditions.

‘As the relationship between work, time and place changes, there is a need to rediscover patterns of rest for human beings and for ecosystems.

‘We have three key proposals:

1. Paid employment is the main – but not the only – form of work… Our collective aim should be a ‘full work’ rather than ‘full employment’ economy…

2. All stakeholders need to recognise the human priority in work…

3. Dissolving boundaries between employment and leisure – exacerbated during the pandemic – have negatively affected many workers.’

A pdf of the full report is available here, and a launch blog post here.

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Michael Jensen on Grace

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (August 2021) it’s Is forgiveness really free? And other questions about grace, the law and being saved by Michael Jensen, available in exchange for an email address here.