Most Christians tend to take for granted that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but most New Testament scholars think the opposite, that it was an invention of Matthew and Luke to bolster Jesus’ prophetic credentials as the Messiah. New Testament scholar Jonathan Rowland in his paper On Chickens and Eggs: The Use of Old Testament Prophecy in the New Testament Birth Narratives of Jesus makes a scholarly case for why Jesus was born in Bethlehem and why it matters but not exactly for the same reasons as most Christians would suspect. Continue reading “The Case for Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem”
Have you ever heard the Trinity being described as a community of persons in mutual, voluntary, loving relationship with one another? Chances are that is a social theory of the Trinity that is being described. In the video below, theologian Dr. Karen Kilby discusses what social theories of the Trinity are and some of the problems they present in understanding the Trinity. Continue reading “The Social Trinity and its Pitfalls”
New Testament scholar Dr. Haley Goranson Jacob’s Conformed to the Image of his Son: Reconsidering Paul’s Theology of Glory (IVP 2018) is one of the best books in biblical scholarship I have ever come across. I read it earlier this year and it has had a profound impact on my own theology. I have covered or referenced her work multiple times this year, which you can read here including a helpful summary of her book which you can find here. She concludes her book with a powerful statement on how we ought to think of salvation. Dr. Jacob writes,
I return my reader to one of the key questions of this book: What is
the goal of salvation? For too long, scholars and laymen alike have myopically viewed justification and salvation as ends in themselves, whether for the benefit of the individual or of the incorporative body of Christ. The goal of salvation is believers’ conformity to the Son of God—their participation in his rule over creation as God’s eschatological family and as renewed humanity—but only and always with the purpose of extending God’s hand of mercy, love, and care to his wider creation. This was humanity’s job in the beginning; it will be believers’ responsibility and honor in the future; it is God’s purpose in calling his people in the present.
Over the years, I have referenced the work of British New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham a lot when it comes to the topic God’s identity and how Jesus is related to it. Bauckham was the first to show me that the New Testament, understood in its historical context, is sufficient to provide a framework for understanding who God and Jesus are in relation to one another without appealing to the doctrine of the Trinity or competing theologies like Arianism or Modalism. Now he sets all of this out in his brilliant book Jesus and the God of Israel (Eerdmans 2008). However, for those who do not have access to this book or would prefer something more manageable, there is a paper Dr Bauckham has written titled Paul’s Christology of Divine Identity which you can access for free here. Continue reading “Christ’s Divine Identity in Paul”