In a candid moment, Tom reveals that Wayne Meek’s First Urban Christians provided something of a template for what he was trying to do in a major part of his Paul and the Faithfulness of God. He says this on pp. 260-61…. “One or two reviewers of my Paul and the Faithfulness of God have expressed surprise at the significant number of times I refer to Meeks’s book. There was a good reason. I envisaged Part II of my book… Read more

When one turns the page to Chapter Ten and the third major section of Tom’s book, the atmosphere changes. This is in part because Tom is very affirming of the recent gains in studying Paul in light of the social history of Paul’s period. He finds himself much indebted to Edwin Judge and his work in this regard, and also quite congenial with many of the insights of Wayne Meeks. It may come as something of a surprise that Tom… Read more

The concluding chapter of this second major section of Tom’s book devotes itself to a rather detailed critique of the controversial and very large and detailed work of Douglas Campbell on justification and Paul. Tom summarizes Campbell’s theses in this book as follows: “— The main argument of Campbell’s book is (a) that the normal way of reading Romans 1—4 is wrong, (b) that Romans 5—8 offers an altogether superior way of understanding Paul in general and Romans in particular,… Read more

Some movies are short and sweet, some are short and funny, and some, you’re just glad they are short. This one, with an all star cast (Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, and Mary Steenbergen) is of the second sort, and really, it should have been longer (it clocks in at one hour and thirty eight minutes). Bill Bryson is a funny guy who has written a lot of travelogue sort of books which are truly a pleasure to read…. Read more

Tom reserves his most strident critique of the apocalyptic approach to Paul for Lou Martyn’s Galatians commentary and the impact it has had on Pauline interpretation. So Chapter Eight of the book is an analysis of the work of Lou Martyn and his disciples e.g. M. de Boer, B. Gaventa. The basic analysis of the apocalyptic school involves the assumption that God in Christ breaks into the world bringing new creation and overthrowing not just one religion but the whole… Read more

The word Apocalyptic means different things to different folks. In the second major part of Tom’s review of recent scholarship on Paul, he focuses in on the ‘apocalyptic’ approach to Paul’s Gospel spawned by Kasemann and carried forward by J.C. Beker, L. Martyn and his disciples in the U.S. Tom is quite critical of this whole approach to Paul, and fundamentally the reason is because: 1) it rejects the notion of a continuous story that the Gentiles are grafted into,… Read more

Writers of fiction come in all shapes and sizes. Some are better at short stories and perhaps the odd novella. Some are better at the full length novel. Some are good at both. But not many. Think Edgar Alan Poe or for that matter O’ Henry or Ferrell Sams, or on the other hand, think of P.D. James or Agatha Christie or Ellis Peters. When it comes to mysteries or who dunnits or detective stories it does seem that the… Read more

Interestingly enough, making a movie about prayer can be very difficult. Movies, especially lately, are all about action, but prayer is about talking to God, unceasing talk to God. How then do you do a movie with that as the subject matter without it being an endless harangue, or invasion of privacy, or too schmaltzy and talky for words? The Kendrick Brothers, having already made a series of so-called faith-based films (Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants) have done their best… Read more

P.S. Don’t worry, they are not quitting their day jobs just yet!! Read more

I like testimony books, and having written something of that sort for Zondervan some time ago chronicling my journey of faith into being a Biblical scholar (entitled Is There a Doctor in the House?) I am especially pleased to commend to one and all a book that has Christian testimonies of a brace of my kinsmen and kinswomen in the scholarly guild– both Evangelical and otherwise, both male and female, both OT and NT scholars, both foreign and domestic. The… Read more

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