Monday, March 05, 2007

Reading for February 2007

  • “Five Streams of the Emergent Church”- Scot McKnight Christianity Today (February 2007).

An article explaining the main features of the emerging church. The major goals of the article are not only to introduce the movement, but to clear up common misconceptions. One of the major clarification was the distinction between “emerging,” the broader movement, and “Emergent,” the official network of groups. The author identifies five major themes held in common by those within the emergent movement, prophetic, post-modern, praxis-orientated, post-evangelical and political. The author is clear throughout to note that the wide diversity within the movement. While offering a helpful introduction to the movement and the issues associated with it, the article leaves many questions and possible objections to the movement, particularly many gross generalizations and an ecclesiology which does not appear to be adequate.

  • "Israel, Prophecy and the Kingdom to Come”- Robert Vasholz and “Finding Strength Where We’re Culturally Weak”- Sam Wheatley By Faith (February/March 2007).

The first article addresses the nation of Israel and its setting within the Bible and redemptive history. The author offers a helpful, non-dispensational reading of Old Testament prophecy, particularly with their application to the modern nation. The author’s interpretation of Romans 11 does not seem to be the strongest conclusion to the article. The second article examines the state of Utah and draws application for mission strategy. The author contended that the state of Christianity in Utah, with all Christian groups representing only 8% of the population, is a foretaste for the future of Christianity in America as a whole. The position of an “outsider” offers Christianity many advantages, particularly in forcing the faith to deliberately practice and carefully expound the faith to those who have little cultural contact with Christianity.

  • "An Update from the Fields” New Horizons (January 2007)

The feature article contained updates from all the mission fields of the OPC. K. Scott Oliphant wrote an article challenging Open Theism by using the incarnation and in particular Philippians 2. The issue also reviewed Meredith Kline’s God, Heaven and Har Megedon and the first volume of R. C. Sproul’s commentary on the Westminster Confession.

  • Glorious Appearing- Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, 2004

The final book in the Left Behind series, the authors conclude their main story, but leave opening for other books to be written. Much of the plot consists of recaps of earlier material and tying up loose ends. At his arrival, Jesus primarily speaks only the words of Scripture. After the “military” defeat of Antichrist, the rest of the book covers judgments and preparations for the Millennium. Of all the books in the series, this has the least imaginative plot and is overly replete with dispensational sermons and lectures.

Wright examines Paul’s writings to discern the relation of Christ and the Old Testament law and the church. Wright begins discussing the nature of χριστός as a corporate individual and the implications of Jesus assuming a corporate personality for those represented. Adam Christiology was demonstrated from I Corinthians 15 and Philippians 2, stating that Christ not only succeeded where Adam failed, but also gaining more than Adam’s sin. It is possible that this pattern could form exegetical basis for the active obedience of Christ. Throughout the section discussing Christ, Wright notes that Paul’s common practice of applying monotheistic Old Testament texts without difficulty to Christ (most startling in the allusion to the Shema in I Corinthians 8)- thus redefining Jewish monotheism- and pointing towards the church’s developed Christiology. The second section discusses Paul’s perspective on the law in light of Christ’s advent. Focusing principally on Galatians and Romans, Wright asserts Paul was able to affirm the goodness of the law and it function with regard to Israel before Christ as being superceded. Wright attempts to show that Paul’s Old Testament citations are not arbitrary, but are carefully chosen and applied to the situation Paul addresses in light of Christ. The exposition of Romans, covering Romans 7 and the beginning of 8, along with chapters 9-11 was a particularly strong argument, in major part because of the careful connection made with the themes and purpose of Romans as a whole. The book concluded with an examination of the place of Paul in current studies and our assessment of his endeavors. While one of the earlier of Wright’s works, there is much that is developed in later writings, such as Wright’s take on Sander’s concept of covenantal nomism, his definition of Paul’s “righteousness” language and the continuing exile of Israel. This book offers a careful and helpful of some foundational concepts in Pauline theology through careful exegesis in light of current developments and discussions.

The principal topic of the article relates to the use of the Old Testament in light of Christ. The article begins with a standard recitation of the doctrine of Scripture and moves into the first major point on the meaning of Scripture. In a standard manner, Krabbendam argues that the meaning of a passage is single, and that meaning is determined by the expressed intention of the author. This thesis rules out a traditional typological reading, a unthinking redemptive-historical reading, an allegorical reading and even a sensus plenior understanding. Thus, it would be improper to read later development or passage into an earlier one. Yet, this does not destroy the unity of the Biblical text, but is organized by and unified by the concept of covenant. The organizing themes for this covenantal historical method are the following: the earlier is foundation for the later, is Trinitarian in character and is manifold in scope. The second major thesis is that the significance of a text is manifold. The relation between the meaning and significance is that the latter flows from the former. In application to the use of the Old Testament by the New, the author concludes that the New Testament does not give the meaning of the text, but applies it to the situation being discussed. Christocentricity is the guiding principal for the New Testament authors, and should be for modern readers.

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