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Showing posts from February, 2010

Sin a History - Part 2: The Metaphor of Sin as Debt and the New Testament

When we see that the primary metaphor for sin in the second temple period was sin as a debt owed to God, our understanding of several New Testament passages is clarified. For example, we now understand more clearly why the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew has the line, ‘forgive us our debts.’ In Greek, ‘debts’ has no notion of sin attached to it. However that translation makes sense as a literal rendering of what Jesus said, especially considering that Matthew was probably written to a Jewish audience (and Luke’s translation of ‘forgive us our sins’ would be clearer to the non-Jewish that he wrote to). This also clarifies why Jesus chooses the theme of debt in his parable of the unmerciful servant.

An even more significant clarification comes related to Colossians 2:13-14, ‘13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against u…

Galatians 1:11-12 and the Overall Argument in Galatians

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any human source, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (TNIV)These two verses are the main thesis that Paul argues from here through the end of chapter 2. The Teachers claimed that Paul had been taught the gospel by the apostles in Jerusalem and that he was guilty of abbreviating the gospel that he had received by either (depending on how you come down on the New Perspective on Paul – an issue we’ll address later in Galatians) not requiring the Gentiles to follow the Mosaic Law or not requiring Gentiles to become like ethnic Jews by not forcing them to be circumcised and follow sabbath and food laws. Luther grasped the force of the Teachers arguments well:
They were saying that Paul was inferior to the rest of the apostles’ followers, who had received what they taught from the apostles; they had also observed their behavior…

Book Review: Inhabiting the Cruciform God

This book review was previously published at Jesus Creed
Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology is a very provocative work from the pen of Michael Gorman. Over the span of the book he unpacks two major ideas, justification by co-crucifixion (JCC) and that cruciformity is theosis (becoming like God).

In his introduction, Gorman presents his main claim, that cruciformity is theoformity (2) and alerts us to the path that he will take in support. Along

Sin: A History - Part 1

Currently I am reading Sin: A History by Gary Anderson, and I have to say that the book is fascinating. I don't think that I have time to write a formal review, but I will write a couple of posts discussing some of the important ideas he develops in the book. Today we will take a look at his approach to understanding what sin is.

Building on the work of Paul Ricoeur, Anderson suggests that to understand sin we must understand the metaphors used to describe it. The interesting thing that Anderson notices is that the metaphor seems to change after exile, thus the title of the book, sin has a history and the concept develops throughout the cannon.

Prior to the exile, sin was mainly conceived of as a burden or a weight that needed to be born (see e.g., Gen 4:13). After the exile we get a different metaphor, that of sin as a debt (see e.g., Is 40:1-2), which Anderson believes partly resulted from the influence of Aramaic on Hebrew and partly from the experience of Jews in the exile which…

Top 10 Foods to Eat While Watching a Game

My co-worker and I decided to make another top 10 list for this month. We tackled the top foods to eat while watching a game (drinks not included). There was no formal criteria or mathematical system.

1. Pizza - Anytime, anywhere, it's tough to beat.

2. Hot dogs - Probably the best food to eat at the game, no matter the sport.

3. Chili - This suffers a little from being a cold weather food, but it's a great accompaniment for watching football.

4. Chips and Salsa - I'm a messy eater, so this isn't as high as it could be because I'm very likely to spill salsa on myself.

5. Chicken Wings - This is a tough one to rate. If I'm back in western New York, wings are a clear number 2 behind pizza, but now that I live in Chicago it slides down the scale a bit because good wings are hard to come by (in fact I haven't had any wings in Chicago that I'd call good, anyone know a good place to try?).

6. Deli Sandwiches - I like salami or italian assorted. If they're made …

Galatians 1:6-10: Paul's Strong Langauge in Canonical Context

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God's curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God's curse! 10 Am I now trying to win human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.When you read Galatians you can tell that Paul was very worked up when he wrote it. Was he just an emotional guy who flew off the handle with little provocation or was the situation genuinely serious? One way we can investigate this question is t…

Galatians 1:6-10: Paul's Opponents in Galatia

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God's curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God's curse! 10 Am I now trying to win human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (TNIV)Right off the bat it seems pretty clear that Paul had opponents in Galatia. Who were they and what did they teach? In his Galatians commentary, J. Louis Martyn provides a detailed answer that is very helpful on pp. 117-126. I'll sketch…

Intertextuality?

I have a question that I would like to get input from you all on. I've been reading some of Richard Hays work on intertextuality and also am taking a course in biblical theology where this issue came up. When an New Testament writer alludes to or quotes the Old Testament, how often do they intend to pull in a wider context than the verses they just cited? To use a modern example, if you were delivering a speech on social justice, and you uttered the phrase, 'I have a dream' you probably would be doing more than just quoting a small phrase from Dr. King. You would probably be attempting to pull in the wider context of his speech and the moment in history and perhaps even of the character of Dr. King, himself. How often do biblical authors do the same thing and how integral is it to their arguments?

I am incluned to think that the above scenario does happen, so my follow up questions are, how conjectural should our exegesis be and what role this conjectural exegesis should ha…

Galatians 1:6-10 and the Overall Argument of Galatians

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let that person be under God's curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be under God's curse! 10 Am I now trying to win human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (TNIV) [1]
Here we begin to get more information about the nature of the problem in the Galatian churches. Paul had been to Galatia and preached the gospel to them. He notes with much astonishment that they have quickly fallen away from God to a …

Book Review: Baptism: Three Views

Sorry I missed last month's book review. You will get two this month to make up for it. Our book for this month is the recently published book on baptism released by IVP Academic. The format of the book was good, better than the Point-Counterpoint Series, in my opinion, because the author of each essay was given a few pages to respond to the critiques that the other contributors gave.

Defending the Baptist view was Bruce Ware, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A major strength is that he spends an extensive amount of time in analysis of the biblical texts. He does make some good points, especially in his analysis of the new covenant in Ezekiel 36 which strongly emphasizes faith as being a marker of the new covenant people.

On the other hand, I felt his logic was faulty on a couple of occasions. One was a minor point, but worth mentioning because I've heard others offer it. Ware claims that immersion being the mode of baptism portrayed in the New Testament sugge…