In the last couple of months, coming across the insights of Dr. Matthew Gordley based on his book New Testament Christological Hymns has really changed what I think Christian music properly is. Gordley’s work shows that there are shared defining features of New Testament (NT) christological hymns and NT hymns more generally. This critical study of NT hymns resulted in a quite specific conception for me of what good quality religious music is according to NT standards. I applied this biblical standard to contemporary Christian music and the differences between them were noticeable. Continue reading “Christocentric Worship and Christian Pop”
I have had an interest in New Testament hymns because I think our worship should reflect what we find in the New Testament. Also these hymns are possibly some of the earliest Christian traditions we have so they can give us important insights on the origins of Christianity. On these and many other issues New Testament scholar Matthew E. Gordley has written a very important book called New Testament Christological Hymns (IVP, 2018.) Continue reading “New Testament Hymns”
For over 100 years, there has been a quest to identify the historical Jesus and differentiate between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith. Here are some of the aspects of these quests.
Books That Deal With These Issues
I quickly want to mention two books. I advise reading The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition: By: Paul Rhodes Eddy, Gregory A. Boyd and Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (second edition) by Richard Bauckham. Bauckham’s book is very significant in that he lays out some of the differences between ancient and modern historiography. After all, this issue plays a tremendous role in understanding the Gospels/New Testament (see more below). And by the way, The Jesus Legend is critical response to legend theorists. For those that want to see how silly it is to propose the theory that…
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Jesus of Nazareth lived between 6-4 BC and 30-33 AD. When he died, he was in his mid- to late-thirties. That’s about as good as we can get. The documents and historical sources don’t allow us any more precision. The first Gospels written about Jesus—perhaps in this order, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—are not written until 30-40 years after his execution. The period in between we call the period of oral tradition. In this time, the stories of Jesus are told and retold, and then they are written down in the books we have today. Now this does not mean there were not written sources during the period of oral tradition. It means we just don’t have them. Why? Because like most things written 2000 years ago they did not survive. If, as some believe, the stories of Jesus are taken up in longer narratives like Mark or Matthew, going…
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About three years ago I started taking biblical scholarship seriously and it absolutely transformed how I understood Christianity. Growing up in the Church scholarship was largely ignored or totally dismissed. Things have not changed. From time to time you hear some people say (or insinuate) that they do not need any scholar to tell them what the Bible says because it is God who reveals what his word means. While I can appreciate the sentiment the truth is biblical scholarship matters if you are a Christian, whether you know it or not, so I want to give four reasons why.
If you aren’t a Bible geek chances are you would be quite surprised to learn that the majority position in biblical scholarship is that Paul did not write all the letters in the New Testament that bear his name. In fact scholarship only accepts 7 undisputed letters which are Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon. Now the main reason for questioning the remaining 6 traditional Pauline epistles are stylistic differences. I have never found that line of argumentation particularly convincing and you can find a good response to it here.
New Testament scholar Scot McKnight was discussing his new commentaries on Philippians and Colossians over at OnScript and he was asked about the authorship of Colossians. I found his response quite interesting to say the least. He said that he doesn’t think Paul wrote any of the epistles.
When I got to seminary, I found out a lot of people think Paul didn’t all the letters attributed to him in the New Testament. Actually, it’s not just that some people don’t, but rather it’s the dominant position in non-conservative academia, and even many conservative scholars adopt it. The idea is that letters like Ephesians, Colossians, the Timothys, Titus, and 2 Thessalonians are later compositions, pseudepigraphal, either by an imposter, or a devoted disciple that claim Paul’s name and authority. Depending on how conservative you are, you might say that the earliest recipients would have, of course, known this, and so there really wasn’t fraud being committed, but rather this would have been seen as an acceptable instance of a very common practice. Or, you might just call it lying.
While I can’t get into all of the details, one of the main arguments against their authenticity is the…
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