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Category: Theology (page 1 of 36)

The Geography of Hell in the Teaching of Jesus by Kim Papaioannou

It is a common (mis)understanding that “the Old Testament God” is one of wrath, while “the New Testament God” is one of grace and love. The usual response is that in fact Jesus spoke more about hell than anyone else in scripture. But what exactly did he say about hell? And what did he mean? There are several different words and concepts that he used, and “hell” is an unhelpful word to summarize them all. The Geography of Hell in the Teaching of Jesus is Kim Papaioannou’s published dissertation from Durham that tackles these questions and texts.

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Review: Salvation by Allegiance Alone by Matthew Bates

[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.

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Review: Calling on the Name of the Lord by Gary Millar

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.

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Review: Reversing Hermon by Michael Heiser

Though 1 Enoch is not in either Jewish or Christian canons, its ideas were highly influential in the first century. In fact, in Reversing Hermon, Michael Heiser argues that many of the details in the New Testament “can only be traced to 1 Enoch” (p2). Though Heiser is not alone in this claim, it will be a new idea to many and Reversing Hermon is an accessible presentation from an expert in the field of all things weird in the Bible.

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Review: Messiah ben Joseph by David C. Mitchell

Messiah ben JosephRead carefully, for not all is as it seems. A son of Joseph will be the Messiah. He will begin by gathering a following in Galilee before journeying to Jerusalem, where he will be killed. A foreigner will then attack Jerusalem, take captives, and leave many to wander in the wilderness. But the Messiah ben David will descend in the clouds to Jerusalem and raise the Messiah ben Joseph, and others, from the dead. There will be a time of peace before Gog will arise against Jerusalem. The LORD will then destroy Gog and Death itself, and the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh.

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The Ancient Origins of Messiah ben Joseph (Deuteronomy 33)

Leading up to Easter, I thought I’d trace the long-unknown concept found within ancient Judaism of a dying Messiah. In Messiah ben Joseph (review here), David Mitchell seeks to establish that the prominent and ancient Jewish tradition of a suffering, dying and rising Messiah was not a response to the life of Jesus, and certainly not that of Bar Kochba or Josephus. Rather, he is found within the Pentateuch itself. Mitchell’s two-pillar argument is found in deciphering the eschatological blessings of Jacob and Moses on Joseph’s seed in Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33. In this post, we will consider the second (see first post).

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