The more I study God’s word, the more passages like Psalm 119:14 mean to me. As I look back these 4+ blogging years, I find my theology having widened and deepened significantly. Could Paul’s letters reflect a development of his own? This is the thesis of Garwood Anderson’s Paul’s New Perspective. Anyone familiar with recent Pauline studies will recognize the wordplay in his title, as Anderson’s thesis is directed to the debate surrounding the “Traditional” and “New” Perspectives on Paul (TPP and NPP hereafter). What if the two parties could be largely mediated by recognizing that Paul’s own theology developed?
Category: Reviews (page 2 of 31)
It’s commonly argued that God will snatch His people to heaven before the great tribulation. One go-to text is 1 Thessalonians 5:9: “For God has not destined us for wrath”. How could believers face a future time of God’s wrath poured out on the earth? This can be expressed as a syllogism: believers won’t face God’s wrath, the great tribulation is a time of God’s wrath, therefore, believers won’t experience the great tribulation. This is the Pre-Tribulation rapture view. However, what if the great tribulation isn’t the time of God’s wrath? Alan Kurschner, director of Eschatos ministries, such in his Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord. If Kurschner is right, then believers need to wake up to a coming persecution and deception beyond the likes the church has yet faced.
If you could ask Peter one question, what would it be? Or Paul? Better yet, what would it look like if the NT authors were gathered together in one room to discuss a given topic? Sometimes we like to play these thought experiments, but Derek Tidball has done one better: he’s written a book imagining a roundtable with the NT authors called The Voices of the New Testament.
Like many in my age group, my upbringing was filled with New Year prophecy updates and Left Behind novels. Growing up in the Calvary Chapel family (and still happily in it!), this was my bread and butter. But also like many my age, I have found myself reconsidering some childhood assumptions. In light of the modern Christian shift against supporting a national state and prophetic future for Israel, The New Christian Zionism is an opportunity to reconsider a dominant but former consensus of the past, but with fresh argumentation for a fresh generation.
Those who have seen The Sixth Sense will recall that bombshell moment, when everything we thought we “saw” was wrong, and we realized we would have to re-watch – or at least re-think – the entire movie. Suddenly, scenes that “clearly” communicated one thing are revealed to communicate another. A silent meal between husband and wife, on first viewing appeared to reveal marital conflict, but when re-watched becomes something else entirely. Matthew Theissen in Paul and the Gentile Problem recognizes that our reading of Scripture can be similar. We all have the same data, but changing one’s presuppositions, or sometimes simply the details of a single interpretation, may require a re-reading of the whole. This is seen clearly in the Old and New Perspectives on Paul, where the same texts are used to reach different conclusions. However, Thiessen believes both viewpoints are faulty! In fact, they are both faulty in the same way: both the Old and New “believe that Paul’s letters contain substantial criticisms of Judaism” (p8). In contrast, Thiessen believes Paul did not reject Judaism as legalistic (Old) or ethnocentric (New), but as “the wrong solution to the gentile problem” (p14). But what of Paul’s criticisms of the Law? This is where the movie needs to be re-watched, so to speak. When we recognize that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, and as such, wrote specifically to Gentiles, all becomes clear. Paul’s polemical words regarding the Law are not a critique about the Law itself, but about the Law applied to Gentiles.
The heart of the Christian faith is not ideas, truisms, or proverbs, but rather, an event. In particular, a series of events constituting one meta-event concerning the person of Christ: the incarnation, life, death, burial, descent to Hades, resurrection, appearances to others, ascension, and session at God’s right hand. This “Christ-event” has always been central to the faith, and in The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation, Matthew Bates applies this paradigm to Paul’s own reading of the Hebrew Scriptures (the OT). For Bates, “Paul received, utilized, and extended an apostolic, kerygmatic narrative tradition centered on key events in the Christ story as his primary interpretative lens” (p2). In other words, Paul’s own interpretive center is the story of Christ.