Jun 29, 2013

Free Course: Understanding the New Testament

Crown College is offering a free online course (MOOC): Understanding the New Testament. You can get details here. Note that it is free but you must register before July 1.

HT: Zondervan Academic 


Jun 28, 2013

Latest Issue of Bibliotheca Sacra

The July-September 2013 issue of Bibliotheca Sacra is now out. The issue contains the following articles.

A Literary Tribute to Dr. Roy B. Zuck
Compiled by Matthew S. DeMoss

Helping People REACH Forgiveness of Others: Part 3 of 4
Everett L. Worthington Jr.

Intertextuality and the Portrayal of Jeremiah the Prophet
Gary E. Yates

Pagan Worship in Jerusalem
Thomas A. Golding

Paul as Weak in Faith in Romans 7:7-25
John F. Hart

James 4:5 and the Jealous Spirit
J. William Johnston

Jun 27, 2013

Why the Decalogue Matters

Leon Kass has a pretty decent article on the Ten Commandments here.

Jun 26, 2013

Why the Biblical Languages Matter

See Michael J. Kruger's post entitled, "Why the Biblical Languages Matter—Even if You Forget Them" here.

Jun 25, 2013

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.

Mark J. Boda and J. Gordon McConville, eds.
Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets
Reviewed by Göran Eidevall

Ronald P. Byars
The Sacraments in Biblical Perspective
Reviewed by Thomas Bergholz

Joanne Clarke
On the Margins of Southwest Asia: Cyprus during the 6th to 4th Millennia BC
Reviewed by Allen Kerkeslager

Mark W. Elliott
Engaging Leviticus: Reading Leviticus Theologically with Its Past Interpreters
Reviewed by Bálint Károly Zabán

Judy Fentress-Williams
Reviewed by Peter H. W. Lau

Erhard S. Gerstenberger
Israel in the Persian Period: The Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C.E.
Reviewed by Jason Silverman

Candida Moss
Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions
Reviewed by Jan Willem van Henten

Caryn A. Reeder
The Enemy in the Household: Family Violence in Deuteronomy and Beyond
Reviewed by Sung Jin Park

Don Thorsen and Keith H. Reeves
What Christians Believe about the Bible: A Concise Guide for Students
Reviewed by Peter J. Judge

Robert W. Wall
1 and 2 Timothy and Titus
Reviewed by Raymond F. Collins 


Five Questions with Dr. R. Alan Streett on the Kingdom of God

Dr. R. Alan Street graciously agreed to answer five questions about his new book Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now. Dr. Streett is Senior Research Professor of Biblical Exegesis at the Criswell College.
Question: How did Heaven on Earth come about?

Over the past ten years, I have been immersed in a study of the kingdom of God. I have read every major work and nearly every minor work on the topic. As I pondered the issues I believe I came to develop a theology of the kingdom, which I articulated in class and in private discussions with friends and colleagues. Bob Hawkins, owner of Harvest House publishing, was the first to suggest that I write a book. The rest is history, as they say.

Question: What is the main thesis of the book?

Through the person and work of Christ, God inaugurated the kingdom on earth. It has not arrived in its fullness, but it can be entered and experienced today.

Question: What surprised you most during the writing of this book?

Since all my research was completed and I knew the materials like the back of my hand, I decided to simply sit down and start typing. I was surprised at times how the words flowed onto the page. During certain portions of the book, I could sense God’s presence. I am not a mystic, but I knew something special was happening. Over the past few weeks people have written to tell me how they have been changed by the book.

Question: What do you hope to accomplish through this book?

Although the kingdom began with Jesus, it will not be consummated until he returns. Between the “already” and “not yet” aspects of the kingdom, we have a job to do. Hence, “Heaven on Earth” challenges believers to take seriously their responsibilities on earth as kingdom citizens. Likewise, it calls for believers to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom. Hence the book seeks to be missional and transformational. My desire is to produce kingdom-focused believers and kingdom-focused churches.

Question: What other resources on the kingdom of God would you recommend?

I will mention only a few among the hundreds of excellent works on the kingdom of God:

Beasley-Murray, G. R. Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.
Cullmann, Oscar. Christ and Time. Trans. by Floyd V. Filson. London: SCM, 1951.
Ladd, George Eldon. The Presence of the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.
McLaren, Brian. The Secret Message of Jesus. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
Pate, C. Marvin. The End of the Age Has Come: The Theology of Paul. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.
Wright, N. T. How God Became King. New York: HarperOne, 2012.

Readers can access a sample from Heaven on Earth here.

Jun 24, 2013

Overcoming Writer's Block

Read this post on thirteen ways to beat sermon writer’s block. While this is specifically directed toward sermon writing, it should work for other kinds of writing as well.

Jun 23, 2013

The Sermon on the Mount, Mosaic Law, and Christian Ethics

The interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount and its implications for the Mosaic Law and Christian ethics is much debated. Alan Johnson has a pretty good discussion of the issues in a festschrift for Samuel J. Schultz. He offers the following six points by way of conclusion and summary.

1. The ethic of Jesus develops legitimately out of the Mosaic tradition and is not in essential disagreement with it—there is continuity with the old.

2. Jesus’ ethic fulfills or surpasses the Mosaic ethical tradition and thereby radically transcends the old—there is discontinuity with Moses and the Prophets. Something new has come with Christ.

3. The two basic assumptions of the Reformers (Luther and Calvin) are exegetically indefensible—i.e., (1) God’s Law cannot be modified, and therefore the Law of Moses cannot be modified—there is no I progress in moral revelation; and (2) Jesus was not a new lawgiver.

4. Anabaptist literalism, while rightly stressing discontinuity, yet without regard to a more precise hermeneutic, has produced an unwarranted absolutism that has restricted and at times misdirected Christian ethical action.

5. A proper grasp of both the aspect of continuity with the old and an appreciation for discontinuity with Moses and the Prophets will provide a more adequate foundation for Christian theological ethics.

6. The final authority for Christian ethics is not the Torah or even the Prophets but Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Alan F. Johnson, “Jesus and Moses: Rabbinic Backgrounds and Exegetical Concerns in Matthew 5 as Crucial to the Theological Foundations of Christian Ethics,” in The Living and Active Word of God: Essays in Honor of Samuel J. Schultz, ed. Morris Inch and Ronald Youngblood (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983), 106–7.