“One must without any doubt understand the words of psalms to shed light on the preaching on Gospel preaching: no matter who the person was by which the Spirit prophetically spoke, everything must be related to the understanding of the arrival, incarnation, passion, and reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory and to the power of our resurrection”
The New Perspective on Paul (NPP) is a recent interpretation of Paul’s theology. Basically, the NPP teaches that Judaism in the first century was not marked by works-righteousness per se but rather that Judaism was marked by God’s gracious salvation that resulted in the need for covenantal faithfulness. Covenantal faithfulness included circumcision, festivals, and other Jewish practices. This would mean that Jewish persons of the first century were not trying to work their way into salvation; rather, they did good works (the works of the law) to maintain their covenantal relationship with God.
On this reading, then, Paul called people to faith in Christ because that was a sufficient means to be part of God’s people. To be righteous is to be a member of God’s covenantal family. Righteousness in Paul, according to the NPP, has less to do with personal salvation and more to do with covenantal membership. Paul was calling people to a covenant relationship with God in Jesus Christ through faith and not through circumcision.
With that basic summary said, I should note that the NPP is not a clearly defined theological system. Actually, it would probably be better to call the NPP The New Perspectives on Paul due to the various positions within this camp of Biblical interpretation. So not everyone would agree with my summary above, but I hope that it at least gives some clarity to what the NPP is or might be.
Even though NPP eludes a clear definition, there are certain elements of it that are common. Charles Lee Irons in his 2015 work on The Righteousness of God provides pillars of the new perspective on Paul, which provide some clarity into just what NPP teaches. [Read more…] about Three Pillars of the New Perspective on Paul
During the Reformation, the reformers favoured the doctrine of penal substitution to describe how Jesus’ death on the cross saves us. Penal substitution means that the Father punished (penal) the Son instead of us (substitution) for our sins.
Some people have found this doctrine offensive because it constitutes child abuse. As this reasoning goes, if a father punishes an innocent son by placing him a cross (a tortuous death), this would be child abuse. Likewise, God the Father would be committing child abuse by punishing the Son on the cross. Others may disagree with penal substitution because it sounds like a pagan idea rather than a Biblical idea. Still others might simply assert that penal substitution arises out of medieval worldview, where God is a wrathful god who punishes sins and a person must receive punishment to satisfy justice.
It is this latter accusation, which I would like to respond to. The doctrine of penal substitution is not a medieval idea. It is a Biblical idea and an early Christian doctrine. I will focus on this latter idea (penal substitution as an early Christian doctrine) here. [Read more…] about Is Penal Substitution a Medieval Idea?
Porter, Stanley E., and Sean A. Adams, eds. Pillars in the History of Biblical Interpretation: Volume 2: Prevailing Methods after 1980. Biblical Studies Series 2. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2016. PP 526. ISBN 9781498292900. $60.00 USD [Digital]. Source for Book Cover.
Pillars in the History of Biblical Interpretation is a reference work, which outlines pillars of Biblical Interpretation. The word “pillars” seems to refer to scholars and to their scholarly method of Biblical interpretation.
The multi-author volume contributes to a body of literature that outlines the history of Biblical Interpretation (ix). The work has four unique features. First, it does not provide a sequential history of interpretation of the OT or NT or even both testaments. Second, it is selective in terms of which pillars that it includes. Third, it focuses on both the scholar and the type of biblical interpretation that the scholar uses. Fourth, it highlights recent and mainly NT scholars (x). The purpose of this second volume in the Pillars series seems simply to sketch modern interpretive methods of Biblical interpretation (xxv).
To this review this work, I did not read every chapter to summarize and critique it. The work is simply too large and is meant to be a reference work. I therefore read two chapters that were of particular interest to me (for reference!), and I evaluated these chapters on the basis of whether or not they accomplish the purpose for which this multi-author work was written. [Read more…] about Review of Pillars in the History of Biblical Interpretation (vol 2)
Bates, Matthew W. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the king. Grand Rapid: Baker Academic, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-8010-9797-3. Pp. xvi–234. Book Cover.
Matthew Bates wrote Salvation by Allegiance Alone primarily to rethink Protestant conceptions of faith, works, and the Gospel. Bates’ book, however, also engages with Roman Catholicism, which makes sense given Bates’ vocation. Bates is the assistant professor of theology at Quincy University, a Roman Catholic institution.
His previous publications include The Hermeneutics of Apostolic Proclamation and The Birth of the Trinity. His scholarly pursuits and his unique vocational position as a Protestant at a Roman Catholic institution give Bates an interesting platform from which he can critique both traditions. [Read more…] about Book Review of Salvation by Allegiance Alone by Matthew Bates
Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
– Jonathan Edwards
Fear, anxiety, and guilt are often futile. And they often feel inescapable. They take you and control you. They guide you to one point of focus: “Did I really say that?”, “How can live after this?”, “Nobody cares about me?” And the point of focus only serves to feed your dour emotions. Like the sun’s setting, gloom slowly but surely covers you in darkness.
And yet, some people overcome the soul’s darkest nights, and Christianity promises joy that puts out shadowy gloom (John 16:24). How? The answer is, in part, that Christians live their lives with eternity on their minds. While fear and anxiety will not disappear when you place eternity at the centre of your life, they will be put in their place and easier to handle. But before we get to this, let’s talk about two kinds of fear, anxiety, and guilt. [Read more…] about Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt Are Often Futile