Tuesday 28 June 2022

Currents in Biblical Research 20, 3 (June 2022)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research arrived today – disappointingly trimmer than usual, with titles and abstracts of the main articles as below.

Mark Preston Stone

Don’t Do What to Whom? A Survey of Historical-Critical Scholarship on Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13

Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13 continue to play a decisive role in the debate over sexuality and the Bible. A bit surprisingly, it was not until the mid-1990s that these texts began to be subjected to thorough historical-critical analyses. Since that time, interest has steadily increased along with the number of hypotheses. Many have assumed that these laws unambiguously condemn ‘homosexuality’. Among specialists, however, there continues to be much disagreement with at least twenty-one unique proposals. This article will survey the various historical-critical offerings, put them into conversation with one another, and describe current trends.

Doosuk Kim

Intertextuality and New Testament Studies

Intertextuality is a hermeneutical strand of poststructuralism. In biblical scholarship, since Hays’s influential work Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (1989), the term has also been employed to refer to a later text’s interpretation of an earlier text. Regrettably, however, for the past three decades, scholars have failed to come to a consensus on how to understand and apply intertextuality in New Testament studies. Though both literary and biblical studies employ the same term intertextuality, their conception and application of intertextuality differs substantially. Accordingly, this essay will sketch how literary and biblical studies have perceived and utilized the concept of intertextuality. Following this, the study will evaluate these approaches. Finally, the present essay will conclude with a proposal for how to relate intertextuality and New Testament studies that is a cogent middle ground between poststructuralism and biblical studies, thereby compensating for both sides’ deficiencies.

Saturday 25 June 2022

The Bible in Transmission (Spring 2022) on the Church, the Bible, and Racism

The latest issue of The Bible in Transmission, from Bible Society, is available online here, offering a collection of articles on ‘The Church, the Bible and Racism’.

I have taken the summaries of articles below from Joshva Raja’s Editorial.

Joshva Raja


Joshua T. Searle

What is Wrong with Racism? A Biblical and Theological Answer

As Joshua Searle reminds us there is a non-negotiable biblical mandate and gospel imperative to confront and combat racism. Racism is more than the expression of a set of bigoted beliefs. It operates on many levels and manifests itself in many different ways. It promotes injustice and inequality, and is a ‘blasphemous violation of the sacred dignity of a human being who bears the divine image’.

Mohammed Girma

Racial Justice and the Church: Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy

Mohammed Girma discusses the struggle the Church has in moving from right theology to right practice when it comes to matters of racial justice. The Church needs to set a biblical agenda and engage prophetically in the public discourse about racial justice. Although the BAME community bears the brunt of abuse, marginalisation and injustice, we should recognise that the spiritual damage transcends racial boundaries. The issue goes deeper than skin colour because it is an example of the depth of human brokenness. If the Church is to change mindsets and become an inclusive and equal community, the goal must be ‘re-humanising by restoring the distorted divine image in humanity’.

Chigor Chike

Creating Space for Diversity within Church Communities

Chigor Chike reminds us that racism is about power. Building on his work in the area of ethnic diversity and inclusion, he argues that one strategy for confronting and overcoming racism is the promotion of diversity within our church communities. Diversity is a good thing. Churches wishing to confront racism should create space for diversity within their communities. This will be uncomfortable for some church leaders but they should commit to working with BAME people in order to fight racism.

Owen Hylton

The Reconciled Church: The Antioch Model

Owen Hylton shows that diversity and racial reconciliation are not purely modern inventions of a secular society. Rather they are at the very heart of God’s purpose: ‘God always intended... one day to display his wisdom through the multicoloured, multi-layered, multicultural diverse Church.’ Reflecting on the example of the Early Church in Antioch, Hylton outlines some of the steps churches can take to become reconciled and more integrated communities.

Jason Shields

Race, Justice and Social Analysis

Drawing on biblical views of justice and righteousness, Jason Shields asks church communities to transform themselves. They should alter their thinking and reimagine their prophetic role in challenging and changing the sinful and discriminatory structures within the Church and wider society. He invites churches to be part of an alternative biblical vision for diverse and inclusive communities, one that recognises the dignity of all people.

Chine McDonald

The God of All People

Chine McDonald writes about her experience of being both black and female in a world that in many ways is designed to elevate both whiteness and patriarchy. ‘White supremacy can come in the form of monochrome leadership, theology and practice.’ This is the status quo. However, the Church should be better than this because it should be actively breaking down the dividing walls of hostility that exist between people. The Church should be like a mosaic of different shapes, colours and sizes that come together to form a beautiful picture.

Ingrid Reneau Walls

Transcending the Dehumanising Effects of Slavery and Racism: Hope and the African American Spirituals

Ingrid Reneau reflects on how the Bible became the enduring vehicle for many forms of radical resistance thinking and actions for those Africans cruelly taken into slavery. Informed by biblical stores of exile, liberation, lament and hope, the African American Spirituals gave those forced into slavery the cultural and spiritual tools to overcome the limitations of their present realities and affirm a right to life. In doing so, those who sang and danced the Spirituals rejected the Christianity of those who enslaved them.

Thursday 23 June 2022

Ethics in Conversation on Reformed Public Theology

The latest Ethics in Conversation (formerly Ethics in Brief), from the Kirby Laing Centre is a review by James Rusthoven of Matthew Kaemingk (ed.), Reformed Public Theology: A Global Vision of Life in the World (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2021). It’s available as a pdf here.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

God is in the House

John Woods, God is in the House: A Fresh Model for Shaping a Sermon (Carlisle: Langham Preaching Resources, 2022).

I was asked to provide an endorsement for the above book, and did a long and a short version for the publishers – both are pasted below. In the interests of full disclosure, John is a personal friend, but the commendation is from the heart.

Longer version

Do yourself a favour and read this. Doing so will place you in the presence of a seasoned preacher and a skilled teacher of preachers. Through the familiar but evocative image of a house, John covers all the facets of the preaching task, from preparation to delivery, with helpful suggestions, gentle challenges, and fresh insights from Scripture along the way. Read it yourself. Read it with other preachers. Reflect together on its significance for your practice of preaching, for the good of your congregations and the greater glory of God.

Shorter version

Do yourself a favour and read this. Doing so will place you in the presence of a seasoned preacher and a skilled teacher of preachers. Read it yourself. Read it with other preachers. Reflect together on its significance for your practice of preaching, for the good of your congregations and the greater glory of God.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Adam Mabry on Rest

A bit late in posting this month…

Every month, The Good Book Company make available digital versions of one of their books at no charge. This month (June 2022) it’s The Art of Rest: Faith to Hit Pause in a World That Never Stops by Adam Mabry, which is available in exchange for an email address here.