Extracurricular Activities 12.13.15—Pauline Studies Shift, Donald Bloesh's Soteriology, & Sexual Assault
Since 1977 there has been a regular conversation among those who study the New Testament, especially those studying the theology of the apostle Paul. In 1977 E.P. Sanders published his magisterial Paul and Palestinian Judaism and unleashed forces at work (from G.F. Moore to K. Stendahl) to form what my own professor, James D.G. Dunn, called the “new perspective on Paul."
The debate has been with us for more than two decades, but that conversation is now radically shifting.
The old perspective Paul vs. the new perspective Paul is now over. The new debate will be between the new perspective Paul vs. the apocalyptic Paul.
It’s very hard for inerrantists to change their thinking about how their doctrine of scripture is related to the spiritual life.
The problem is that they don’t have an alternate model and so instead of jeopardizing their connection to God (which they see as being established via scripture), they cling to inerrancy and hold out for any argument that gives an inerrant Bible even the slightest possibility of being true.
I trace this to a rhetorically powerful visual metaphor that they use to help conceive of what happens to believers when they begin challenging inerrancy: the slippery slope.
Here’s a link to an article I recently published on the doctrine of salvation in the theology of Donald Bloesch: Saved by Word and Spirit: The Shape of Soteriology in Donald Bloesch’s Christian Foundations, in Midwestern Journal of Theology, Spring 2014 (13.1), 81-96.
Bloesch’s system of theology, Christian Foundations, doesn’t actually have a separate volume on salvation: the seven volumes are on method, scripture, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, and eschatology. Nevertheless, salvation is central for this evangelical theologian. To pull together his soteriology, you have to read several chapters from the book on Jesus and several chapters from the book on the Spirit...
In an earlier post I summarized the perspective of six Christian historians who offered their take on the place of providence in historical interpretations.
In this post I want to look at what this means for the actual writing of history by Christians who want their works to be read in a largely secular academy.
Sexual asssault is all over the news today. Headlines in the United States tell of a long list of woman who have accused Bill Cosby of assault, and tell of college campuses where rape is shockingly common. Headlines in Canada tell of reporter Jiam Gomeshi and his ugly history of sexual violence. It is my sincere hope that these stories spark new and better discussions about the prevalence of sexual assault, how we can prevent it, and how we can respond to it...
Pastor Justin Holcomb has given a great deal of attention to this topic over the past few years, and I recently spoke to him about sexual assault in light of today’s headlines.
(Image: St. Paul Preaching in Athens; Raphael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
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