Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
- I find his existential Deism nauseating.
- There is more to Romans than a diatribe.
- His History of the Synoptic Tradition asserted more than it argued and is methodologically defunct.
- There never was a Gnostic Redeemer myth nor was there ever any proof for it in the first place.
- He was wrong to cordon off Christianity into Palestinian, Hellenistic, and Gentile varieties.
- His depiction of Judaism as pure legalism is both inaccurate and has had horrendous effects in Pauline studies.
- His best book A Theology of the New Testament gives us 30 pages about Jesus and 120 about a fictitious Hellenistic Community.
Let me say that I do however like Bultmann's TDNT articles and he found a way to momentarily stop liberal protestants from becoming atheists and post-Christian secularists. In terms of twentieth-century Germans, give me Zahn, Schlatter, Pannenberg, Stuhlmacher, and Hengel any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
I dedicate this post to my good friend Jim West!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Chapter one: The Penalty of Sin
Marshall here sets out the debate about penal substitution and offers a discussion about biblical metaphors and he offers several "basic affirmations" including:
1. We are saved from the consequences of our sin by the grace of God and not by anything that we ourselves can do.
2. In the death of Jesus, the Father and the Son are acting together in love, so that there is no question that the Son was acting to persuade an otherwise unwilling Father to forgive; the source of the atonement lies in the gracious agreement of Father and Son.
3. The decisive element in our salvation is the death of Jesus, or rather, the death and resurrection of Jesus.
4. This death is the death of one who is, at one and the same time, the Son of God and the sinless human being, the second Adam.
5. It follows that the incarnation was an essential condition of that saving action.
6. The salvation secured by the death and resurrection of Jesus becomes effective through the work of the Holy Spirit and through the faith of the recipient.
7. The main results of the atonement are, negatively, to deliver us from the guilt and power of sin and, positively, to restore us to a right relationship with God with all that that involves (pp. 9-10).
Chapter two: The Substitutionary Death of Jesus
Here Marshall discusses the holiness and wrath of God (with a good discussion of P.T. Forsyth) and how it relates to various metaphors for atonement: sacrifice, curse, redemption/ransom, reconciliation, forgiveness. Marshall also deals with the view that penal substitution implies a violent and angry God. In an extended footnote he takes Joel Green and Mark Baker to task on the grounds that: (1) Their book ignores or caricatures the NT teaching on wrath and judgment; (2) The sacrificial languge of the NT is largely set aside and its implications ignored. I like Marshall's quote about Gal. 3.13: "Jesus bears the curse of God on our behalf. If that is not penal substitution I do not know what it is". Marshall does note though that one aspect that does count in Green and Baker's favour is Acts where "Salvation is understood as status-reversal, but what makes the status-reversal possible is not disucssed" (pp.53-54). On the allegation of divine child abuse he says: "There is an indissoluble unity between Father, Son, and Spirit in the work of redemption. The recognition that it is God the Son, that is to say quite simply God, who suffers and dies on the cross, settles the question finally. This is God himself bearing the consequences of sin, not the abuse of some cosmic child" (p. 56). Marshall does however think that what some Evangelicals say about Jesus' death (e.g. Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 575) assert an unbiblical position that God was angry with his Son, but this is a clear minority position (p.63). He regards Rom. 3.25 as teaching both expiation and propitiation or when sin is cancelled God's wrath is appeased (p. 42). Against those who link penal substitution to limited atonement (e.g. Jeffery, Ovey, and Sach, Pierced for our Transgression), Marshall says: "Those of us who were brought up on Hammond, T.C. In Understanding be Men were forewarned against that misapprehension. The doctrine of penal substitution is not part of package which also contains as essential the concepts of particular election and limited (or definite) atonement" (p. 63). In the end, Marshall prefers the term: "substitutionary suffering and death" (pp. 65-66).
Chapter three: Raised for our Justification
This was a chapter near and dear to my heart. Marshall shows how atonement, forgiveness, and justification are indebted to BOTH the cross of Christ and the resurrection of Christ. Sad to say, I have not yet convinced Marshall that 1 Tim. 3.16 refers to "justification" as opposed to "vindication".
Chapter four: Reconciliation: Its Centrality and Relevance
Marshall proposes that reconciliation is the central concept underlying the biblical teaching on atonement (somewhat reminiscient of R.P. Martin). He concludes with these words: "I would claim, then, that our enquiry has demonstrated that reconciliation is a model that expresses clearly the basic pattern of human need, God's action, and the resultant new situation that shapes all the biblical imagery of salvation, and that it does so in a way that is particularly comprehensive and is especially relevant in a world where the need for new relationships between human beings is so clamant" (p. 132).
All in all this is a good little book and one for all young students and pastors should read. This is classic Marshall (not bad for an Arminian!) and welcome successor to his earlier book, Jesus the Saviour.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Perhaps you are like me and believe that while there are clearly limitations at the undergraduate level on the depth of research, it is possible and commendable to supervise and promote research among undergrads. I would like to know if you are supervising research with undergrads and what lessons you have learned in the process. What are the limitations you have discovered?
I am working on a Research Assistant Program in corrdination with our university which is beginning to encourage (provide financing in other words) for undergraduate research. Here is a draft description of the program I am seeking to establish.
Professor Joel Willitts, Ph.D.
Biblical and Theological Studies
North Park University
Learning is best done in community and for this reason students and professors benefit from pursuing academics in relationship. An undergraduate setting is an ideal time for students with interests in graduate work in biblical studies to begin developing skills in the basics of research method and critical thinking. Strong graduate programs in biblical studies are highly competitive and demand increasingly better preparation at the undergraduate level. What is most needed for an exceptionally prepared application to graduate school is (1) a developing research facility and evidence of critical thinking sometimes evinced in a piece of written work and (2) a strong academic recommendation. In addition, professors in undergraduate settings like NPU have significant course loads and the ability to continue working on research projects becomes acutely challenging. A research assistant program, then, can be an effective tool for both student development and professorial research.
The student will assist in research projects and the more general academic responsibilities of the professor as well as be responsible to conduct individual research on a topic in the area of the New Testament or Second Temple Judaism.
1. Student will have taken one year of Greek.
- Booth, Wayne, Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 2nd ed.(University of Chicago Press: Chicago) 2003 (ISBN: 0226065685)
- Turabian, Kate L, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed. University of Chicago Press: Chicago) 1996 (ISBN: 0226816273)
3. Student will work between 5 and 10 hours a week. This may vary significantly from week to week but the balance of personal research and assisting the professor will demand time.
4. Student will assist the professor in research and writing projects in whatever capacity is needed. Professor will seek to match gift and skill sets to particular tasks.
5. Student will assist the professor in academic administrative duties, e.g. data entry.
6. Student will present their research at an academic meeting, e.g. University Symposium and/or ETS/SBL regional meeting
Thursday, October 11, 2007
[The hea]vens and the earth will obey His Messaih [... and all that]at is in them. He will not turn aside from teh commandments of the holy ones. Take strength in His service (you) who seek the Lord. Will you not find the Lord in this, all you who wait patiently in your hearts? For the Lord will visit the pious ones, and the righteous ones He will call by name. Over the meek His Spirit will hover, and the faithful He will restore by His power. He will glorify the pious ones on the throne of the eternal kingdom. He will release the captives, make the blind see, raise up the downtrodden. For[ev]er I shall cling to him ... and [I shall trust' in His loving kindness, and [His] goodness of holiness and will not delay. And as for the wonders that are not the work of the Lord, when He [...] then he will heal the slaint, resurrect the dead, and announce glad tidings to the poor. He will lead the [hol]y ones; he will shepherd [th]em; he will do and all of it ....Lk. 7.22-23
And he answered them, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The (Re)Turn to Theology
Joel B. Green (now of Fuller Seminary!)
Reading the Bible with Eyes of Faith: The Practice of Theological Exegesis
Richard B. Hays
Texts in Context: Scripture in the Divine Economy
Mission, Hermeneutics, and the Local Church
Micahel A. Rynkiewich
Trust and the Spirit: The Canon's Anticipated Unity
Interpretation on the Way to Emmaus: Jesus Performs His Story
D. Brent Laythan
A "Seamless Garment" Approach to Biblical Interpretation?
Michael J. Gorman
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Hengel notes the efforts of several scholars (e.g. W. Wrede, G. Lüdemann, and H. Räisänen), who have made the NT canon obsolete as a historical entity with the result that: ‘In place of Introduction to the New Testament we are to have the History of Early Christian Literature; in place of a New Testament Theology, the History of the Religion of Earliest Christianity.’ He says in counter-point:
"To be sure, I cannot share this fear of the concept ‘theology,’ the Christian understanding of which is ultimately grounded in the Prologue of John. It is not by chance that an irreducible connection between the word of God, faith, and history is presented to us in this particular passage. The concepts theologos, theologia, and theologein enter at first on the basis of the Johannine logos in the language of the early Church Fathers and preserve over against the Greek environment a wholly new meaning. Our discipline would self-destruct were it to give up the question of truth pressed by Pauline and Johannine theological thinking and transform itself into a merely descriptive history of religion. For this is the salt that seasons our work and warrants its existence."
Hengel acknowledges that study of the NT should be comprehensive and the boundary of study should be expanded to include the Judaism of the early Hellenistic period and in reference to Christian writings the upper echelon should pushed up towards the third century CE. At the same time, Hengel affirms the value of the canon precisely on historical grounds since the decisive boundary-markers for the canon have already been established by 180 CE. In Hengel’s view, the writings deemed canonical by the church are not only earlier than the extra-canonical writings, but also:
"[T]he genuine Corpus Paulinum and Johanneum together with the synoptics represent the basis of Christian theology—who would doubt this? And on what would it base itself otherwise, if it expects to be and to remain Christian theology? And what authorizes the existence of our Societas, if these things were no longer so? These texts do certainly form the center of our efforts, but we shall only do them justice if we draw the circle around them more broadly, so that we grasp them in relation to their Jewish and Hellenistic antecedents as well as to their early Christian effects."
According to Meeks New Testament scholars need to press on in the pursuit of history, they must pay greater attention to Wirkungsgeschichte (or reception-history), and they also should ‘erase from our vocabulary the terms “biblical theology” and, even more urgently, “New Testament theology”’ and whatever ‘contribution these concepts may have made in the conversation since Gabler, we have come to a time when they can only blinker our understanding’. He substantiates that on the grounds that, first, biblical theology smuggles in a cognitivist model of religion that privileges doctrine at the expense of life. Second, biblical theology claims textual and historical warrant for propositions that emerge out of the relationship between text and reader and tacitly masks authoritative truth claim embedded in biblical texts. Third, biblical theology has functioned ideologically in order to secure one’s beliefs in a theological hierarchy within the church.
 Martin Hengel, ‘Aufgaben der neutestamentlichen Wissenschaft,’ NTS 40 (1994): 321-57 = ‘Tasks of New Testament Scholarship,’ BBR 6 (1996): 67-86; Wayne A. Meeks, ‘Why Study the New Testament?’ NTS 51 (2005): 155-70.
 Hengel, ‘Tasks’, 72.
 Hengel, ‘Tasks’, 72.
 Hengel, ‘Tasks’, 72-73.
 Hengel, ‘Tasks’, 74.
 Meeks, ‘Why Study the New Testament?’ 167-68.
 Meeks, ‘Why Study the New Testament?’ 168.
 Martin Hengel, The Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion (London: SCM, 1976); Richard Bauckham, God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1999); Larry Hurtado, One God, One Lord: Early Christian Devotion and Ancient Jewish Monotheism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988); idem, The Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003).
 Helmut Koester, ‘Epilogue: Current Issues in New Testament Scholarship,’ in The Future of Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Helmut Koester, ed. Birger A. Pearson (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 472.
 George A. Lindbeck, The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Post-Liberal Age (Philadelphia, PN: Westminster, 1984); Alister E. McGrath, The Nature of Doctrine: A Study in the Foundations of Doctrine Criticism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990).
Friday, October 05, 2007
Martin Hengel, "Tasks of New Testament Scholarship," BBR 6 (1996): 67-86.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The Reverend Professor CFD Moule
The Rev Professor C. F. D. Moule
HT: Jim West
Monday, October 01, 2007
A Bird’s Eye View of Paul: The Man, His Mission, and His Message
(Nottingham: IVP, forthcoming May 2008).