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

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