Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
June 1st, 2018 by Joel Watts

Review: New Studies in Biblical Theology on @AccordanceBible

Note, Accordance is offering introductory pricing until Monday, 4 June. You can buy them separate, but why do that?

Notably, the Reformed have the best theological series — and I say that as a Wesleyan. The New Studies in Biblical Theology (InterVarsity) continues that trend, which is something I cannot decide as to how I feel. Granted, the series (edited by D.A. Carson), conforms well to the Reformed Tradition of forming the mind in response to God. But it is Reformed. It is going to be rooted in that tradition, but I do not think we can limit our reception of it, simply because Calvinists and others of that tradition have contributed to such a magnificent set of volumes.

Note, “biblical theology” is a specific category. This series focuses on three areas: “the nature and status of biblical theology, including its relationship to other disciplines;” “the articulation and exposition of the structure of thought from a particular biblical writer or text;” “the delineation of a biblical theme across the biblical corpus.” Whether or not you agree with the general principle of “biblical theology” will largely determine your reception of this series.

To highlight this in particular, I want to highlight the volume, “Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification (NSBT Vol. 9).Mark Seifrid, the author, takes on the “New Perspective,” (NPP) offer something of a counter to that view. Seifrid does tackle that view — and honestly, how convincing he is is going to be determined by how you view the NPP. I find his take, overall, something to consider. I usually fall in line with the NPP, so I appreciate his allowance of something good in that line of thinking. For instance, I enjoy his placement of Paul as Jew, but I do not think Paul rejected Judaism even as he was “converted” by seeing the Risen Christ. On the other hand, his work is needed to better help Protestants understand “justification” and “righteousness.”

The second volume is one by Craig Blomberg, someone I started out largely disagreeing with, but have come over the recent years to admire his work on the authority of Scripture. The 2005 Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners (NSBT Vol. 19) takes the standard idea of the meal of Jesus as something against the pharisees, giving us something that transforms our understanding of the Incarnation. In this singular work is ground for the Wesleyan view of the Eucharist as a converting ordinance. Further, Blomberg manages to do something I do not see in Seifrid, to make it possible to pose tough academic challenges to longstanding interpretations, and then tell the Church what we should do with this new information. In other words, he uses Athens to help Jerusalem.

In Accordance, these volumes are highlight to scripture passages as well as to the endnotes. This helps research and recall — especially for those of us who get engrossed either in our age or in reading that we cannot remember the exact bible verse the author does.

Anyone concerned with the way Mainline Protestantism has labored to deprive us of sound thinkers should consider this series, especially preachers and those who see themselves as theologians. You do not have to agree with every facet of their interpretation, but these authors know how to think and they are firm believers, even after their academic training — if not the more so because of it.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

One Response to “Review: New Studies in Biblical Theology on @AccordanceBible”
  1. A study of theology is a study of nothing someone once said.

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