In case you missed it, David Murray has a helpful series of posts on the Holy Spirit and Old Testament believers here, here, here, and here.
Sep 24, 2011
Sep 23, 2011
Like a number of other bloggers, I have been invited to participate in the blog tour of Scot McKnight’s recent book The King Jesus Gospel subtitled The Original Good News Revisited. This book has received strong affirmations from the likes of N. T. Wright and Dallas Willard.
There are a number of main points in this book that I am glad to affirm. I affirm the idea that the subject of the book is of primary importance, namely, the gospel itself. McKnight’s contention is that many Evangelicals have a simplistic or reductionistic view of the gospel that sees the gospel as solely being the plan of salvation or the method of salvation. To that end, I believe that McKnight is largely correct. McKnight, I also believe rightly suggests that whatever the gospel is must be defined by the Scriptures. I also affirm, as McKnight does, that we should not talk about gospels (plural) but of the gospel (singular) (pp. 81–3). McKnight is surely correct that there is no gospel that does not have the story of Jesus at its center (p. 82).
That being said, I have real questions about McKnight’s definition of the gospel as “the story of Jesus as the completion of Israel’s story.” I am not sure that this definition does not betray some of the same overly-reductionistic thinking that McKnight challenges. For example, I am not convinced that equating the Bible with Israel’s story (35–6) is not a bit simplistic. If anything, I think it would be better to think of the Bible as God’s story which is told in part through Israel. But to be fair, I suspect that McKnight must equate the Bible in general, and the Old Testament in particular, with “Israel’s story” because passages such as 1 Corinthians 15 do not explicitly tie the gospel to Israel or Israel’s story (the same point could be made in McKnight’s discussion of the creeds in chp. 5). Instead, what you have in 1 Corinthians 15 is the twice-stated assertion “according to the Scriptures” (vv. 15:3, 4). While we are in 1 Corinthians 15, I find at least one aspect of McKnight’s discussion on this passage puzzling. He writes, “the gospel is the story of the crucial events in the life of Jesus Christ” (49, repeated on 50). The problem is that 1 Corinthians 15:3–8 only mentions four events (Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and resurrection appearances). So I wonder whether what McKnight means by “crucial events” is only the death, burial, and resurrection, and resurrection appearances of Jesus. Or to put it more bluntly is Jesus’ life and ministry part of the gospel, if so, how so? If not, why not? There also appears to be a major lacuna in the discussion since McKnight does not really address what he means by “Israel.” Since “Israel” is such a key component of the discussion, I would have expected that this much debated issue would need to be defined. Similarly, I wonder a bit about what McKnight means by “completion.” There are hints here and there, e.g., “This Jesus is the one who saves Israel from its sins and one who rescues humans from its imprisonments” (37), but since McKnight seems to distance himself somewhat from the salvation sense of the gospel I have to think that he means something more by “completion.”
One additional concern I have is more ministerial in nature. It is that, McKnight seems to argue so forcefully for a robust, well-rounded, and biblically informed gospel that he seems to imply that anyone who shares less than “the story of Jesus as the completion of Israel’s story” is sharing something less than the gospel. I wonder here whether McKnight has made the opposite error from the one he condemns earlier in which he rightly criticizes the over-emphasis of decision-making versus discipleship. That is, he might be placing too much emphasis on front-loading a gospel presentation with content that better belongs as part of the ongoing discipling process.
In summation, I think that McKnight has served the church by bringing this discussion to the fore and that his concerns and criticisms are in many cases valid. But on the whole I remain skeptical of significant aspects of his arguments and thus, his conclusions.
Zondervan provided a free review copy of this book.
Sep 22, 2011
William Varner has an interesting post on the meaning of James 5:6c. Those who have worked through James know that this is a tough passage. I am not sure I agree with the conclusion, but it has given me something to think about.
Sep 21, 2011
Sep 20, 2011
Yesterday I posted on the upcoming Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop (Sept. 26, details here) and I promised an interview with Dr. David Allen, one of the workshop speakers. Dr. Allen is the Dean of the School of Theology, Director of the Center of Biblical Preaching, and Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Seminary. I appreciate Dr. Allen's willingness to take part in the following interview.
What is an Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop?
The Center for Expository Preaching at Southwestern Baptist theological Seminary offers two expository preaching workshops every year. The first workshop (Expository Preaching Workshop) is held in the spring. This workshop consists of two days of instruction on the philosophy, theory, and methodology of expository preaching. The presenters are well-known expositors drawn from all over the United States. The second workshop (Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop) is held in the fall. This workshop will take a book of the Bible (in this case Genesis 1–11) and seek to apply the philosophy, theory, and methodology of exposition to that book. The advanced workshop will have presentations on the book (e.g., its structure, theology) and how to preach the book (e.g., preaching plans, example sermons). This year, the Advanced Workshop is presented by expositors selected from Southwestern’s faculty (David L. Allen, Matthew McKellar, Jason Lee), plus our special guest, Dr. Allen P. Ross, Professor of Old Testament at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.
Who should attend the Advanced Expository Preaching workshop?
The Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop is designed for pastors and preachers who want to review, retool, or refresh their expository preaching skills. While the workshop is designed for pastors and preachers, Bible college or seminary students interested in expository preaching and/or Genesis 1–11will also benefit. In fact, Sunday school teachers and other laypersons have attended previous workshops to become better equipped to serve in their churches.
What can pastors and preachers hope to take away from this workshop?
They can expect to receive very practical insights into Genesis 1–11 and how to preach the book expositionally. Each attendee will receive notes from the sessions and even lunch is included with registration. In the campus bookstore, some of the better resources on Genesis 1–11 will also be available for purchase as well.
Why did you choose to cover Genesis 1–11?
The Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop is committed to teaching the whole counsel of Scripture. So we alternate our book selections between the Old and New Testaments. Last year the workshop tackled Hebrews and so this year we were looking at a book from the Old Testament. Given the current climate concerning the issues of creation and evolution, we thought it was timely to offer this study. We have heard from many pastors over the past year or two who have requested a workshop on this subject.
What do you think are some of most helpful commentaries or resources for studying Genesis?
At the risk of leaving out some great resources, I would suggest the following:
The two-volumes by Ken Matthews in the NAC series published by B&H are a must. Derek Kidner in the Tyndale OT series is also quite good, along with Sailhamer in the EBC series. Gordon Wenham’s Genesis 1–15 in Word Biblical Commentary series is well-done. Victor Hamilton’s two volumes in the NICOT series is a solid work. Waltke’s Genesis is also helpful. From the standpoint of exposition of Genesis, I would recommend three additional excellent works: (1) James Montgomery Boice’s three volumes on Genesis (published by Zondervan); (2) Allen P Ross, Creation and Blessing is a gold mine for the preacher; and (3) John Walton’s Genesis in the NIV Application Series is also an excellent resource for the pastor.
Sep 19, 2011
The Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop held at The Riley Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is only a week away (Monday, September 26): This conference is attractive for at least four reasons.
1. The conference is only one day long so your busy schedule doesn't have to take a major hit.
2. The conference has a good line-up of speakers (Drs. Allen Ross, David Allen, Matthew McKellar, and Jason Lee).
3. The theme of the conference is interesting and timely (Genesis 1-11).
4. The conference is affordable. The cost is only $25 which includes lunch.
You can get all the details here.
I will post an interview tomorrow with Dr. David Allen, one of the conference speakers and the Dean of the School of Theology, Director of the Center of Biblical Preaching, and Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Seminary.