It’s been a good while since I’ve both laughed and cried at a movie. But somehow, some way, St. Vincent did produce that effect. Bill Murray has not played any good comedic roles in many moons, but he really sinks his teeth into this one. Mind you, this is far from a perfect movie, and Vincent McKinley, Vietnam vet and erstwhile gambler, is far from a perfect person. But Bill Murray knows exactly how to play him, and for an… Read more

Mention the issue of textual criticism and some people think you’re actually talking about criticizing the text of the Bible. Nope. Text criticism is the attempt to reconstruct the earliest form of the Biblical text possible, based on the thousands and thousands of partial and whole manuscripts of various portions of the Bible. In other words, since what we want in our Bibles is the original inspired text plus nothing of what was added later, text criticism is crucial and… Read more

In the Introduction to Craig Blomberg’s new book on the trustworthiness of Scripture, he lays down some premises which let us know his orientation from the outset. Inerrancy will be a big topic in this book so he lets us know from the outset that “not a single supposed contradiction [in the Bible] has gone without someone proposing a reasonably plausible solution.” (p. 2). On the questions Doesn’t the Bible promote slavery, Blomberg’s brief answer is no but God allowed… Read more

In an age of uncertainty and extreme skepticism about the Bible and Christianity, it is inevitable that there would be books written like Craig Blomberg’s lucid and balanced recent offering— Can We Still Believe the Bible? Just for clarification the question that Craig is asking is not ‘Can we Still believe in the Bible?’ Sometimes Protestants talk that way, and frankly that borders on bibliolatry. The Bible itself does not ask that we believe ‘in’ it, rather it points beyond… Read more

“Here is no unanchored liberalism—freedom to think without commitment. Here is no encrusted dogmatism–commitment without freedom to think. Here is a vibrant Evangelicalism–commitment with freedom to think within the limits laid down in Scripture.” — Vernon Grounds, Statement on a Plaque at Denver Seminary. Read more

If ever there was going to be a text in the NT where one could talk about an anti-imperial rhetoric and coded language, Revelation is that text. And for the record, I think there is a critique of abusive rulers, and empire in this book. There is also a critique of rulers who insist on idolatry in this book. We may want to ask then, why the sea change from what we find in our earliest NT documents (Paul’s letters),… Read more

Where exactly did the imperial cult come from? What were its ideological origins? The prevailing view, as Lynn Cohick points out, is that it grew out of the Greek ruler cult and perhaps more importantly in a Roman context from the private or household worship of the genius (spirit/life force) of the Roman paterfamilias, one’s chief male ancestor. The extension of this to the Emperor was rather natural since from Augustus on, the Emperor presented himself as the father of… Read more

The longest and most substantial essay in this volume is that of Michael Bird who analyzes Romans in terms of anti-imperial rhetoric. Point of view in such an analysis matters. For example, it’s one thing for a monotheist to say Jesus is the Son of God, which might well imply no one else truly is. But to a polytheist who overheard such a comment, it would hardly be heard as a directly negative comment on the living Emperor since: 1)… Read more

In this book, Acts is dealt with separately from Luke’s Gospel, though it may be doubted this was a good idea, since the vast majority of scholars think the same person wrote both books, and it would have been good if the case for anti-imperial rhetoric in the former volume was compared to the case in the latter volume. Certainly it is true, as D.J. Strait points out, that there were various cities visited by Paul and other early Christians,… Read more

Anyone at all familiar with the Gospel of John knows that it begins with the logos hymn, and that that hymn in a significant way sets the agenda for what follows, especially Christologically. Knowing where the Son came from, and where he is going is the key to knowing who Jesus is. The characters in the narrative, apart from Jesus, do not know he is God the Son prior to the resurrection, and so they make all sorts of false… Read more

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