Rethinking Heaven, Hell and New Creation with N.T. Wright

The lecture below represents and distils much of N.T. Wright’s significant contribution to Christian thought and theology over the last four decades. Continue reading “Rethinking Heaven, Hell and New Creation with N.T. Wright”

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The Problem with Christocentric Readings

Christocentric readings of the Bible have been around for a very long time but they have fairly recently come in vogue among theologically erudite Christians. Now there are different understandings of what it is but it literally means seeing Christ at the centre of whatever you read in the Bible. While I have appreciated the sincere sentiment behind it I have always been suspicious of it. Continue reading “The Problem with Christocentric Readings”

The Stories that make up the Story

One of my great interests is the biblical metanarrative, that is how the biblical canon tells one overarching story. The reason I am so interested in it is because it is what unites and explains the biblical texts. Ever since I learnt about it a couple of years ago it has absolutely revolutionised the way I read the Bible and understand Christianity. One of the challenges of the metanarrative is determining what stories fundamentally constitute it. In the article Relating all the Stories within the Grand Biblical Story, Jackson Wu does a wonderful job at doing this at the right resolution. His schema is not overly detailed yet it is not overly broad such that we miss significant details. He writes that in summary he is showing “how to present the entire biblical narrative in a way that reflects its inherent structure or plot, which enables us to discern how the Bible prioritizes its various sub-stories.” Continue reading “The Stories that make up the Story”

A Note on Narrative Theology

So the death and resurrection of Jesus define, for Christians, the core identity of God.  God–for us–is the one who handed Jesus over to be crucified, who raised him from the dead, and who has subsequently installed this risen Jesus at His right hand as Lord over all.  Deny this and, simply put, you are talking about another God.  I’ll leave the last word to Robert Jenson as he unapologetically lays out what which distinguishes Judaism and Christianity ever since Jesus came on the scene (hint: it’s not primarily different “attributes” of God, as if the prospect of Jews and Muslims and Christians all signing off on the same list of divine attributes would mean we all worship the same God.  What we fundamentally differ over are the acts of God in history, along with their specific interpretation and meaning for the community of faith):

“To the question “Whom do you mean, ‘God?’” Israel answered, “Whoever got us out of Egypt”.  The gospel of the New Testament is the provision of a new identifying description for this same God, that this new description comes to apply is the event witness to which is the whole point of the New Testament.  The content of the gospel is that God can now be known as “whoever raised Jesus from the dead” ‘ (Robert JensonThe Triune Identity God According to the Gospel [Philadelphia Fortress Press, 1982], pp 7-8) Continue reading “A Note on Narrative Theology”

The Christ Story

As it is commonly known the title Christ, which is the Greek for the Hebrew Messiah, literally means “the anointed one.” To anoint is to rub or smear with oil. Among other things, anointing was done as part of an ancient ceremony where a new leader was designated by having oil smeared on their head. In ancient Israel they also anointed the leaders of their nation including priests and prophets but “the Anointed One” became a title specifically used for kings. Continue reading “The Christ Story”

The Tanakh

In the short video below The Bible Project takes us through how Jewish people have traditionally conceived of what Christians came to the call the Old Testament. Continue reading “The Tanakh”

The Kingdom and the Crown

An attentive reader of the gospels, particularly the synoptic gospels, would notice there is a marked transition from Jesus’ itinerant preaching throughout Israel and to his later Jerusalem focused activity. Not only is there a difference in what he did but his attitude as well. In Matthew, Mark and Luke he goes about Israel announcing the good news of God’s imminent kingdom. (In other posts I explain what the gospel and the kingdom of God actually mean in scripture.) In the third act which is set in Jerusalem and it’s environs, Jesus drops his earlier kingdom preaching. It is not that the kingdom of God is no longer thematically important. On the contrary it rather intensifies.

Continue reading “The Kingdom and the Crown”