[Update: 14/03/18. After some reflection and a conversation with the author, I softened my critique a little to reflect my current perspective.] Western Christians exist in a sub-culture of “prepackaged…definitions of belief, faith, works, salvation, heaven, and the gospel that in various ways truncate and distort the full message of the good news about Jesus the Messiah that is proclaimed in the Bible” (p2-3). With this opening volley of Salvation by Allegiance Alone, Matthew Bates is on the offense, and Christianity-lite is in his crosshairs.
Category: New Testament (page 2 of 15)
Karen Jobes, having written on the General Epistles already, is a fine choice for this commentary on the Johannine Epistles. Two distinctives set her 1, 2, & 3 John commentary apart from others. First, Jobes is unconvinced that 1 John responds to (proto-)Gnosticism. She also considers John’s Gospel as the interpretive framework for the Johannines. These two factors influence her opinions on the text.
Prayer. For many Christians, the word evokes feelings of guilt. Who is content with their prayer life? It can be easy to blame our modern age. Or our busy lives. But I think our lack of prayer is often due to a lack of understanding. What really is prayer and what does it do? We need to think about prayer. We need a theology of prayer. Of course, there are lots of books about prayer. However, most approach the topic from a systematic or devotional viewpoint. Gary Millar, in Calling on the Name of the Lord, takes a different route that fills a niche.
Is preaching simply an invention of the Reformation? Is the preacher a quirk of Protestantism, with no counterpart in the early church? The appropriately titled Preaching in the New Testament by Jonathan Griffiths establishes that the NT teaches preaching is indeed a unique ministry, integral to the health of the body. As a volume in the New Studies in Biblical Theology (other reviews), it approaches the topic from a biblical-theological angle, attempting to discern and harmonize the teaching of Scripture.
Sadly, the ascension is regularly neglected or forgotten. The ascension is surely essential to NT theology, but what did it mean in the first century? And what role did it play in Luke’s writings, in which it is found? This is where Ascent into Heaven in Luke-Acts: New Explorations of Luke’s Narrative Hinge comes into play. The book has two goals. First, to consider ancient contexts that may have influenced Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ ascent. Second, to consider the importance of the ascension narratives within the larger work of Luke-Acts.
Just how Jewish was Paul after his conversion? Didn’t he renounce his heritage? Didn’t he say that we are under grace, not the Law? To many, Paul effectively rejected his Jewishness and became a circumcised Gentile. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is the smoking gun. Here, Paul’s Jewishness appears nonessential, optional. He simply adopted or discarded it for missionary purposes. But what if we’ve misread this passage? In A Jew to the Jews, David Rudolph confronts this reading of Paul. He specifically targets 1 Cor 9:19-23 and proposes that Paul remained a fully-observant Jew in Christ.