Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Twenty Five

Building on the seminal work of Richard Bauckham, Tom makes his case for adding to the picture by talking more specifically about the sort of eschatological fulfillment of the creational monotheism he sees as central to the way Paul reworked early Jewish monotheism. His essential premise is that far from taking intermediary figures and symbols using them as a basis to promote Jesus into the divine sphere, to the contrary, Paul takes images of God himself and applies them to Christ. Specifically … [Read more...]

A Response to Bishop Sano’s ‘Call to Biblical Obedience’– Part Two

Another specious presupposition that we often here mentioned in discussions of the issue of gay marriage or gay sexual behavior is the notion that this issue is on the same ethical footing as racial prejudice. It certainly is not. There can be no analogy between prejudice against a person because of their ethnic origins (e.g. anti-Semitism) or their skin color (various sorts of racism), and a criticism of the sexual behavior of the gay and lesbian community. The former has to do with some … [Read more...]

‘Since God is One’– The Monotheism of Judaism and Christianity

There have of course been many books written on monotheism (see e.g the book by Rodney Stark show above). Monotheism itself is a modern post-Enlightenment term, but this doesn't much matter. The idea and belief is clearly present throughout the Bible. At the level of thought, it was the most fundamental difference between pagans on the one hand, and Jews and Christians on the other in the first century world, and it is still the most fundamental difference between those who affirm the Biblical … [Read more...]

A Response to Bishop Sano’s ‘Call to Biblical Obedience’– Part One

It was with great sadness, and dismay, that I read the recent article by Bishop Sano, a retired bishop of the UMC, which can be found here, at this site---- http://www.pnwumc.org/news/biblical-obedience/. I find it sad not only because Bishop Sano is in fact calling for the very opposite of ‘Biblical Obedience’. I find it sad because he mistakenly thinks that a matter of sexual ethics and sexual behavior is somehow a ‘justice’ issue, when it absolutely is not. The very logic of Scripture is t … [Read more...]

How to Get a PhD the Easy Way

(The following I owe to Steve Walton of Cambridge, forwarded on to me by alert reader and my T.A. Jason Myers).-------HOW TO GET A PHD - NO SWEAT! (for my research students and my friends doing PhDs and their supervisors)Picture a small clearing in the forest. The morning sun is clearing away the remaining traces of mist. Rabbit sits in deep concentration typing on his laptop. Into the clearing lopes a fox."Morning Rabbit!" "Hiya Fox!" "What are you doing Rabbit?" "I'm … [Read more...]

A Response to Adam Hamiliton’s 3 Buckets Approach to Scripture

[The following is a response to Adam Hamilton's recent blog post and forthcoming book on the issue of how to approach Scripture, by my colleague and friend Bill Arnold. I am entirely in agreement with Bill on the flaws in Hamiliton's approach and argument and am happy to post this response here, now. BW3] -------Adam Hamilton’s Buckets Don’t Hold Water By guest blogger Bill T. Arnold Things just got even more interesting for United Methodists. A bishop in New York has called for a ces … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Twenty Four

The discussion which begins on p. 634 on how exactly Paul reformed and reaffirmed Jewish monotheism is interesting in various ways. Tom begins by discussing texts such as the cause celebre Rom.8.18-30. His translation of key phrases is interesting (on which see his earlier Romans commentary). Instead of the word predestined, he prefers 'marked out in advance to be shaped according to the model of the image of the Son'. He also prefers the translation 'called according to his purpose' even … [Read more...]

Breaking News— The James Ossuary Inscription Vindicated— Again

http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperDownload.aspx?DOI=10.4236/ojg.2014.43007". This article appeared in the March 2014 issue of Open Geology, and one of the authors (Rosenfeld) was one of the original Israeli Geological Survey persons who validated the authenticity of the inscription in the first place. … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Twenty Three

Just as the belief that there is only one God was central to early Judaism, so for Paul the reformulation of what that belief meant is central to Pauline theology, and Wright is prepared to explain why. When the major symbolic praxis of the Jewish worldview (circumcision, food laws,sabbath-keeping) had been deemed 'adiaphora'...then theology and particularly monotheism needed to take on far more of the load in sustaining the worldview in its radically new form." (p. 625). The key to … [Read more...]