A few weeks back, I told you that I would present papers at the annual conference for the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Today, I’m sharing them with you.
Because these are presentation papers,…
1) the papers had to be brief and concise in order to satisfy time restraints. I expect to expand on these papers in the future.
2) I might not have footnoted everything as thoroughly as some would like. However, there is enough there for those who are interested in digging deeper.
I’ve again included the abstract of my papers. Click on each link to download the PDF. (NOTE: I use dropbox links)
If it is true that theology should shape Christian ministry and practice, then the church is ill equipped to deal with the subject of shame. While missionaries and counselors wrestle to address shame from a biblical perspective, theologians have been more reticent. Because shame and honor are often regarded as topics of psychology or anthropology, evangelicals have not given sufficient attention to the way these themes should shape our theology.
Many in the church have the impression that shame and honor are “subjective” concepts, varying with individual and culture. Consequently, evangelicals typically emphasize law and guilt, which are seen to concern “objective” truth. However, this way of framing the relationship between shame and theology is precisely the problem we need to overcome.
Accordingly, this paper seeks to correct a misunderstanding about the nature of shame (and honor). First, it argues that shame has both a subjective and an objective dimension. From this perspective, we then will see how the Bible uses shame and honor language to describe both the world’s most serious problem (sin) and its solution (salvation). In the process, this paper demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach to theology that has practical implications for the church’s ministry.
How might honor and shame shed light on the significance of sacrifices in the Bible?
Naturally, one’s understanding of the sacrificial system will greatly influence his or her view of atonement. This paper first explores the ways in which the biblical writers use honor-shame language to discuss various related concepts such as holiness, sacrifice, and sanctification. Specific attention is given to Old Testament passages. We frequently find that sacrifices function to restore God’s honor, which has been defamed by human sin. In the process, God’s people will not be put to shame.
This perspective is consistently reinforced through the canon, including the New Testament. As a sin offering, Christ bears our shame by giving to God the glory due his name. This interpretation cannot only be demonstrated exegetically, it has the potential to bring together multiple theories of the atonement.