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Showing posts from September, 2011

Book Review: The King Jesus Gospel

Thanks to Zondervan for a providing review copy and a spot in their blog tour.

For me, this summer has been a summer of reading Scot McKnight. I had the chance to read A Community Called Atonement (review forthcoming) and One.Life. Both of those were excellent books, so I was very excited to check out The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited. McKnight is a professor at North Park University and blogs over at Jesus Creed. As both an eminent New Testament scholar, a teacher of undergrads at a Christian university, and a man deeply committed to the church he leads the short list of those qualified to address the most important question that the church faces: 'has the church gotten the gospel right?'

Before jumping into that question, McKnight begins by pointing out that we have a major problem in evangelicalism (this book isn't written solely to evangelicals, but as McKnight is an evangelical, much of it is attempting to correct common evangelical errors). It&#…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 5:13-26

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdo…

Scot McKnight on the Problem the Gospel Solves

But I would urge us to think much more deeply about the problem that the gospel resolved in light of our study so far. If the Story of Israel finds its completion in the Story of Jesus and if that is the gospel, we must find the problem within the contours of Israel's Story and not just in my needs in my story. We need to find the problem behind the solution Jesus offered. Jesus word for the solution is the kingdom, or, if we frame it as John did, eternal life (which, too, is more than personally living forever with God after we die). If kingdom is the solution, the problem was about the search for God's kingdom on earth and the problem was the absence of God's kingdom on earth. If eternal life is the solution, then the problem was death and the absence of God's abundant life and the worldliness of this world (The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited p. 137).  Review coming soon...

Revamping the Masters of Divinity Degree

Seminary is something that I think about a lot. In part because I've done some course work there (at TEDS). In part because several friends have completed seminary, are going through it now, hope to go, or hoped to go. It's a frustratingly long program. Brian LePort's post a few weeks back rekindled my thinking process to the point that I would like to propose what a Master of Divinity curriculum would look like if I were the one designing the program from scratch.

First, I think we can shorten the program a little bit, trimming it down to 78 credit hours. This makes it doable in three years or less for everybody who attends full time. This is largely done by reducing the number of electives, but also by applying some trimming in a couple of places (specifics below). Second, the curriculum hopefully would have a little bit of a liberal arts type of feel. Classes hopefully would be taught and designed to encourage pastors to be life long learners. The biggest challenge is t…

Galatians: Augustine on Fornication and Love

Augustine, commenting on the vice and virtue lists of Galatians 5:
He put fornication at the head of the carnal vices and love at the head of the spiritual virtues. Anyone who takes pains in the study of divine Scripture will be prompted will be prompted to inquire attentively to the rest. Fornication is love divorced from legitimate wedlock. It roves everywhere in search of an opportunity to fulfill its lust.Yet nothing is so rightly suited for spiritual procreation as the union of the Soul with God. The more firmly it adheres, the more blameless it is. Love is what enables it to cleave. Rightly then the opposite of fornication is love. It is he sole means by which chastity is observed (Galatians 85).
I haven't come across any other commentators so far (I've only looked at Longenecker, Dunn, and Martyn) discussing if there's a possible link between the heads of each of Paul's lists in Galatians 5, and I'm curious if there is. I've been wondering why the early…