N.T. Wright’s New Book on Atonement

N.T. Wright’s forthcoming book is about the atonement and it is called The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion (New York: HarperOne, October 2016).

NTWHere is the publisher’s blurb:

In The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright once again challenges commonly held Christian beliefs as he did in his acclaimed Surprised by Hope. Demonstrating the rigorous intellect and breathtaking knowledge that have long defined his work, Wright argues that Jesus’ death on the cross was not only to absolve us of our sins; it was actually the beginning of a revolution commissioning the Christian faithful to a new vocation—a royal priesthood responsible for restoring and reconciling all of God’s creation. Wright argues that Jesus’ crucifixion must be understood within the much larger story of God’s purposes to bring heaven and earth together. The Day the Revolution Began offers a grand picture of Jesus’ sacrifice and its full significance for the Christian faith, inspiring believers with a renewed sense of mission, purpose, and hope, and reminding them of the crucial role the Christian faith must play in protecting and shaping the future of the world.

I can’t wait to read this one.  Rumor has it that N.T. Wright has changed his view on hilasterion (cf. Romans 3:25).

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My Installation as a Presbyterian Minister

Logo-620-e1466640354284After seven months of studying, written exams, oral exams, approval of a presbytery, I was installed last Sunday evening, July 24, as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

It was a wonderful time for my family and I.  Something of a celebration after several grueling months of study and exams.

Moreover, it’s something of a theological resting–after much studying, pondering, and wrestling with biblical and theological issues.

My family and I are eternally grateful to God for our time in the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Peter Enns Challenge for Political Leaders: Study the Book of Revelation

Professor Peter Enns is onto something:

Every Christian who wants to become a political leader should be forced to study the book of Revelation for a year and then pass a test of one simple question: “True or False: The Christian hope will be realized through political means.” Whoever says “true” should be forced to watch N. T. Wright videos about the kingdom nonstop for a year (starting with this one) and then take the test again every year until they get it right.

The book of Revelation is weird because it is full of ancient Jewish symbols of apocalyptic disasters and such. Teasing out what all those symbols mean is not for the weak, but neither is it necessary to get the gist of the book as a whole.

lamb of GodThe main message of the book is all about how wrong it is when an earthly power (the Roman Empire, for this ancient writer) claims a divine stamp of approval and divine authority.

Despite what it might look like to the naked eye, Rome, with its powerful armies and emperors, is not in charge. Rather, paradoxically and counterintuitively, the slain Lamb of God—the crucified and risen Jesus—is in charge.

Therefore—and I can’t stress this enough, people—Revelation is a call to God’s people at any time to be faithful to Christ over and against the “world system.”

As biblical scholar Michael Gorman puts it in his book Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb into the New Creation, Revelation is a critique of “civil religion”—of tying the Gospel to any political system.

Instead Christians are called to practice “uncivil religion” where Jesus is not tied to the state or aligned with any wanna-be king, and God is not dragged down into our political squabbles as if the Creator has chosen sides. Rather, followers of the slain Lamb stand firm in God’s kingdom and call earthly powers to account.

When I juxtapose the unholy prayer of civil religion at the RNC with the political tone of the Bible (and we’re just scratching the surface) is really makes me think Christians have lost their minds if they can’t see through how very sub-Christian—even anti-Christian—the Republican rhetoric is.

HT: Peter Enns

Do you agree?

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On the Sacraments: Different Administration but Same Substance

Sacraments may simply be defined as visible signs and seals of spiritual graces.  I hold, with the Reformed tradition,  that there are only two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper, whose Old Testaments counterparts are circumcision and the Lord’s Supper.

Though administered differently, within their respective dispensations, the sacraments are fundamentally pointing in the same direction: Christ and all his benefits.  Perhaps a sacramental reading of 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 will make this unmistakably clear.

Having been washed with water, we come to Table, to feed on the One who has made us his own.

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Overcoming Racism: the Church must take a Stand

Shootings of black men by white police officers have thrust the issue of race back in the spotlight once again–rightfully so.

Can we heal this racial divide?  Where do we turn for answers?

I believe the church has the answer.  History has shown over and over again that when the church takes a stand, history changes.

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ has been entrusted with a message of peace–a message of peace to tear down all barriers, be it racial, ethnic, economic, social, and so on (Eph. 2:11-22).

That is why I firmly believe that the reason why we continue to struggle with racism in this country is because of the American churches failure to take a stand against racism.

The American church must awake from its indifference and lethargy and realize that the racial discrimination and injustice in this nation all have gospel implications (Gal. 2:11-14).

  • I wish the American church would fight against racism the way she fights against abortion.
  • I wish the American church would fight against racism the way she fights for her religious liberty.
  • I wish the American church would fight against racism the way she fights______

She can.  And she must.

Or, unless she is comfortable and pleased with her indifference and lethargy, while a nation awaits her actions.

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