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Showing posts from May, 2011

Richard Hays on Allegory Today

Should we emulate Paul's use of allegory?

Paul's method of discerning parallels between the biblical narrative and the crisis facing his readers is invariably employed whenever preachers see the circumstances of their own day illumined or prefigured by the stories of Scripture. Thus all Christian preaching is allegorical in the Pauline sense. The function of preaching is not to give factual historical reports; rather it is to make metaphors, linking the ancient text with the present life of the congregation in fresh imaginative ways so that the text reshapes the congregation's vision of its life before God.

By that criterion, Paul's allegory in Gal 4:21-5:1 is a brilliantly successful piece of preaching...When allegory functions like that, in service of proclaiming the gospel, who can withhold the water for baptizing it? The key question is whether the allegorical reading is governed by the larger shape of the biblical story - as it is here in Galatians - or whether the …

Paul's Argument in Galatians 4:21-31

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.” 28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.…

Getting the Short End of the Stick

Below are three quotes. Who wrote each of the following?

Commenting on Galatians 4:21-31
However, the free woman Sarah, who bore the free son, signifies the grace of the New Testament that begot the Christian people who are liberated in their baptism not only from original and actual sins but from every form of legal servitude. This is the inheritance of Christ, the homeland of Christ that they will inherit.On the same passage:
This people was born through the promise because God mercifully promised to save them through faith. It was through the promise, therefore, because this people did not serve God out of any desire for fleshly things, which are visible, but rather out of an affection for spiritual things, which are invisible. They trust that they will obtain these things based upon God's promise alone.Commenting on Galatians 2:16
In short, there is no way that one can be justified except through the faith of Christ Jesus, referring to the faith by which one believes in Christ...T…

Scot McKnight on the Church

Differentiating his view of church from common experiences of church:
Please don't mistake what I'm saying. We are not talking about church as many have experienced it. We are not necessarily talking about denominations or church buildings or catechism classes or priests or organs or parking lots or anything like that. Some churches, in fact, are like shopping malls: people park their nice cars, enter the building, get what they want, get back in the car and go out to eat. But that's not community (and it's not really church either). The word we are using is community, and we dare not confuse community-less church or Christianity or religion or Christendom with what the Spirit creates. The Spirit creates community that makes church what the kingdom wants church to be. So, when I say "Church.Life" I mean that kind of community, but it is in a church where that community forms (One.Life p. 101 - emphasis original).

Philippians 2:6-11 and Adam Christology

When I was preparing for my sermon, the argument I found that raged the strongest was whether or not there is an Adam Christology present in the passage. What thinketh I? Well I'm glad you asked! If you listened to my sermon, you might get the idea that I do subscribe to the Adam Christology theory. To channel my inner Lee Corso, 'not so fast my friend!' At the same time I want to say, 'of course there's an Adam Christology here!'

What gives? If one is doing a historical-critical reading of Philippians 2:6-11, I do not think that there is a tie back to Adam. The alleged parallels (like the alleged form/image parallel) simply are not strong enough to make the claim that Paul was intentionally playing Jesus against Adam (I won't rehash the argument here - see, O'Brien 263-8). However, does that mean that it's illegitimate to contrast Jesus and Adam when discussing this passage? Absolutely not. I'll have my cake and eat it too. It's a perfectly …

Thoughts on JVG

For about two weeks straight my friend and I engaged in conversation about Sucker Punch. Every single scene got dissected. We each had our theories on the movie and I tried to think through every aspect through the lens I constructed. At one point I asked my friend, 'am I going too far in my interpretations?' He responded by saying, 'I do think that you want it to box too neatly and consume everything with rational or symbolic relevance. The fact is it's a studio film and therefore given to the biases of the studio, the producer, the director, the whims of actresses who refuse this or that. Budget preventing this song to be chosen and forcing another etc.' I drew a very neat picture of the movie and I felt that I could integrate most every detail into that picture. The problem is that some of the coherence I saw wasn't real and was more easily explained as being caused by other factors (e.g., are the demon-like figures in the first fight scene the hospital ord…


If you've been wondering where I've been the past few weeks, I've been preparing a sermon that I finally delivered yestersday. Once a year all of the interns have to preach. This was my week, and I spoke on 'Creating Unity in Community through Humility.' My text was Philippians 2:1-11. If you'd like to hear it, here's the link.