Extracurricular Activities — December 7, 2013
A few weeks ago I asked here what further news there was about the so-called “Jesus’ wife” fragment announced to the world in late summer 2012. Since then, despite direct inquiry to Prof. King (the email address listed for her [is] no longer valid) and asking several scholars who were in various ways directly involved in the analysis of the item last year, it has proven impossible to get anything further than the last notice about it given in early 2013, that it was undergoing further “tests”. (How long does it take to conduct such tests, after all?)
We do know that the article on the fragment by Prof. King on the fragment announced as forthcoming in Harvard Theological Review was put on hold, and, so far as one can tell, seems now likely permanently so (i.e., it isn’t going to appear). It also seems that the TV programme in preparation last year has been cancelled (so far as one can tell, again, without any formal notice given).
I had a wonderful time at ETS/IBR/SBL in Baltimore. Many highlights for me, but I thought I’d reflect on the conference theme of ETS.
The panel discussion on the book Five Views of Biblical Inerrancy was an absolute hoot! Sadly, Kevin Vanhoozer couldn’t be there, but he gave a pre-recorded video presentation. It was left to Al Mohler, Peter Enns, John Franke, and myself to strike up a conversation.
The center of all theology, of the entirety of the Christian faith, is Christ himself. The Christ-event—in particular his death and resurrection—is the center of time: everything before it leads up to it; everything after it is shaped by it. If Christ were not God in the flesh, he would not have been raised from the dead. And if he were not raised from the dead, none of us would have any hope. My theology grows out from Christ, is based on Christ, and focuses on Christ.
Years ago, I would have naïvely believed that all Christians could give their hearty amens to the previous paragraph. This is no longer the case; perhaps it never was. There are many whose starting point and foundation for Christian theology is bibliology...I don’t start there, however. I have come to believe that the incarnation is both more central than inspiration and provides a methodological imperative for historical investigation of the claims of the Bible.
For the sake of love and righteousness, Christians have the privilege of helping heal the breach between rich and poor. Against arrogant paternalism and resentful envy, we can shine the light of the gospel to illuminate the truth about what it means to be human. If all of us are made to be in relationship with God and to represent God, then, as believers, we belong to each other as spiritual brothers and, as human beings, we belong to each other as neighbors and citizens with a shared nature and a shared community. This is a message of love and hope that our culture desperately needs.
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