The Gospel as Jesus’ Exaltation

The Gospel as Jesus’ Exaltation December 28, 2018

There was some fascinating discussion a while back of the idea that what early Christians proclaimed as good news was not that Jesus died for forgiveness of sins, or that the end-of-time resurrection had begun, so much as that Jesus had been exalted to God’s right hand and installed as God’s vice-regent.

Andrew Perriman blogged in several posts about Matthew Bates’ book, Salvation By Allegiance Alone, which is focused on the meaning of “faith” in the New Testament, but in the process also tackles matters of Christology. He also wrote about the lack of substitutionary atonement in Luke, Jesus as adopted son, and an adoptionist parable in Shepherd of Hermas, as well as the Christological impact of the contrast between Christ and Caesar on early Christian portraits of Jesus. Scot McKnight also blogged about Bates’ book. And Andrew, asking about the absence of the word “gospel” from the Gospel of John, also brought this topic into sharper focus. See also a number of other recent posts related to intersecting aspects of gospel, Christology, Wisdom, and the Son’s ignorance that have appeared in recent months on Andrew’s blog.

In a comment on Jonathan Robinson’s blog (on a post about whether Christ is viewed as pre-existent in the Gospel of Mark) I wrote:

I think that “son of God,” especially if understood royally, can have the same multi-staged aspect that kingship has. At what point did David become king? When God chose him? When Samuel anointed him? When he actually took the throne and ruled over all Israel after the death of Saul?

It would indeed be interesting to explore a radical Protestant “Jesus was elected by grace and not because of works” Christology and see what happens to our understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, and then also in turn of Paul’s letters!

More recently, Keith Giles blogged against understanding Paul’s gospel as about penal substitutionKermit Zarley asked about 2 Peter 1:1. Adam Akma discussed “I Am” as possible circumlocution for the divine name.

Mike Bird’s book on adoptionism is close to the top of my “to read” list, as is Paula Fredriksen’s recent book (about which more here):

“Paul, the Pagans’ Apostle”

Mike Heiser had a multi-part series about Romans, Genesis, and deification in Judaism. Here are links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

A book review about Hebrews touched on the use of a Psalm that leads that epistle to intersect with the Christology of the Synoptic Gospels. There is also an article on the paradox of high Christology in Hebrews.

Larry Hurtado blogged about:

Philippians 2:6-11

“The Form of God”: Philo and Paul

An interesting article highlighted a possible precursor to Christian atonement theology found in 4 Maccabees.

Dale Tuggy blogged about a lot of matters related to different aspects of Christology, monotheism, and Trinitarianism:

Hays on “God” in the New Testament

human nature and Jesus’s pre-human existence

What is essential to the gospel, according to Luke? Part 1

What is essential to the gospel, according to Luke? Part 2

What is essential to the gospel, according to Luke? Part 3

What is essential to the gospel, according to Luke? Part 4

McLatchie argues that Acts is “trinitarian”

reading John 10: with axe-grinding and without

Does Paul call Jesus “God” in Romans 9:5?

James Goetz also blogged about Dale Tuggy’s posts.

There was also some interesting conversation between Daniel Kirk and Larry Hurtado a while back:

“A Man Attested by God”: A Review

“A Man Attested by God”: Kirk’s Response

Jesus in the Gospels

When Did Jesus Get Adopted as God’s Son?

Dustin Smith explored the idea that, before Wisdom was identified with Jesus, she was identified with the woman in Proverbs 31.

There was a series about worship, monotheism, and Christology:

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Jesus Devotion in Revelation

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Jewish Monotheistic Devotion

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Hymnic Devotion

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Christological Findings

Can A Pre-Christian Version of the Book of Revelation Be Recovered?

The Trinities podcast regularly engages with aspects of Christology and New Testament interpretation.

I was dismayed recently to find that the blog Diglotting has been deleted.

Finally, Michael Kruger offered an unimpressive rehashing of classic unconvincing claims about how Jesus’ self-proclaimed divinity is implicit in the Gospels. See also the post on a related theme on Jesus Creed.

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  • I am very much of the opinion that Maccabees 4 informs the “atonement” angle of Jesus’ crucifixion. On the one hand, that would remove it from the realm of strict penal substitution, but at the same time there is an element of God accepting a death on behalf of the nation.

    https://nextcreation.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/sunday-meditations-penal-substitutionary-atonement/

  • John MacDonald

    James said,

    I think that “son of God,” especially if understood royally, can have the same multi-staged aspect that kingship has. At what point did David become king? When God chose him? When Samuel anointed him? When he actually took the throne and ruled over all Israel after the death of Saul?

    It would indeed be interesting to explore a radical Protestant “Jesus was elected by grace and not because of works” Christology and see what happens to our understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, and then also in turn of Paul’s letters!

    My spidey sense is alerting me that James may have an essay in the works, or at least in mind, lol.

    • Nothing specific at the moment, but thanks for the prompting to think in that direction!