Blog Archives

Forced Choices: the Gospels

Last week’s forced choice pit J. R. R. Tolkien against C. S. Lewis. And, although Tolkien led big at the beginning, Lewis slowly caught up, before pulling ahead for good late in the week. So, after one week, the tally stands at Lewis 55% and Tolkien 45%.

Since we’ve been talking about Matthew a lot this week, I thought it would be appropriate for today’s Forced Choice to focus on the Gospels. So, make your choice. Which Gospel do you like better? Feel free to make a comment explaining your choice, but you don’t have to.


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Lunch with Greg Beale!

Earlier today, the Th.M. students at Western Seminary had the chance to eat lunch with Dr. Greg Beale from Westminster Seminary. And, we had a fabulous time talking about Peter Enns‘ book Inspiration and Incarnation and how the discussion around that book developed at both Wheaton and Westminster (yes, the very first question anyone asked was what Beale thought about that whole situation), inerrancy and how you interpret Genesis 1-2, New Testament theology, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and interesting/exciting areas of study for new biblical studies scholars. All that in just over an hour. It was fascinating.

Why am I telling you this? Mostly because every now and then I like to rub in how great our Th.M. program is by pointing out the cool things that we do. I realize that this may frustrate those of you who are not a part of this amazing program. And, I’m okay with that.

If any of the Th.M. students who were at the lunch happen to see this post, I’d be curious to know what you found most interesting in the conversation. So, let us know what you thought.

Our Gospel Problem

According to Scot McKnight, younger evangelicals are leaving the church in droves because we’re not teaching the Gospel well. According to him, 90% of evangelical children decide to follow Jesus. But, of those, only 22% will still be following Jesus when they’re 35. And, from McKnight’s perspective, the problem is how we present the Gospel.

McKnight’s book The King Jesus Gospel has been getting a lot of attention lately. And, now they’ve produced a very interesting promo video. I don’t usually link to these marketing videos, but this one seemed particularly intriguing. I may see if I can get my hand on a copy of the book to see where he goes anywhere unexpected with the argument (other than just pointing out the importance of “kingdom” in the NT gospel, of course).

Women in the Roman World

It always makes me nervous to post videos I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but when they look like interesting resources, I’m willing to take the chance. And, these certainly fit that bill. Thanks to Brian LePort for pointing out these videos of Linda Cohick, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College, discussing women in the ancient Roman world. Her book Women in the World of the Earliest Christians has gotten some really good reviews. So, I can only assume that the videos will be interesting as well.

Here’s the first one. You can view the other two at the Center for Public Christianity.

Win a copy of Grant Osborne’s commentary on Matthew!

Grant Osborne’s new commentary on Matthew has been widely received as a great, new commentary – especially for pastors.

And, I just happen to have a copy to give away.

Osborne’s commentary is part of Zondervan’s new Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, and it really strives to be a good resource for pastors.

As Osborne says in the introduction,

If I were to dedicate the rest of my life to one single, thing, it would be bringing the Bible back into the center of the church’s life.

And, in a very helpful review, Nijay Gupta thinks that the series has accomplished exactly this.

I am happy to report that Zondervan has really figured out what (evangelical) pastors and ministry leaders need, and they have planned a series that can deliver precisely in the traditional areas of “exegesis.”

Matthew Montonini also has an excellent review if you’re looking for more information on the commentary or the Zondervan series as a whole.

As usual, the rules for the giveaway are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, you need to do at least one of the following. Each different way that you enter the contest will increase your chances of winning. (Assuming that I don’t get grouchy and decide to use it to flog the neighbor cat instead.)

  • Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
  • Blog about the giveaway and link to this post
  • Tweet about the contest (mention @western_thm when you tweet or let me know about it in the comments.
  • Link to the contest from Facebook (tag Marc Cortez when you do or let me know about your post in the comments).

And, for the first time, I’m going to try allowing you to enter as many times as you want. So, if you really want the book, feel free to make multiple comments or tweet/FB/post about the contest as many times as you want.

I’ll randomly pick a winner at the end of the month, and they’ll get a brand new commentary.

So, let the games begin!

What if he doesn’t come? (When He Comes 8)

“I’ll be back.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered this famous line many times in his various movies. As the hero of Terminator 2, though, he offered it as a promise to John and Sarah Connor—a promise that though he’s going to be gone for a while, he will return and rescue them from their predicament. Believing the promise, John and Sarah hunker down in a smoke-filled elevator, waiting for the hero to return with the promised salvation.

Isn’t that how it always works with heroes? Somebody’s in danger, the situation is dire, and the hero needs to be gone for a while. But don’t worry, he’ll be right back. And when he comes, everything will be just fine.

That’s reassuring.

But, what if he doesn’t make it back?

Imagine that you’re Sarah Connor and Arnold has just stepped out of the elevator. “Oh, you’ll be back soon? That’s good because those guys with the guns look pretty unhappy. We’ll just hang out here and wait for you to get back.”

Now, suppose that thirty minutes have gone by and he still hasn’t returned. There was a lot of shooting at first, but everything’s been quiet for a while. You’re starting to get a little nervous. What’s taking him so long? If those guys with the guns come back, this could get messy.

Three hours later. Now you’re just angry. Where’s that stupid robot? The elevator is hot, uncomfortable, and John is really starting to get on your nerves.

After just one day, I’m guessing that you’d have lost all hope. He’s not coming back. Now you’re hungry, you smell, you still have angry guys with guns chasing you, and still no hero.

Bad robot.

It’s easy to lose faith when the promised one doesn’t return.

Just one day and your hope is gone. How would you do after several centuries? That’s how long God’s people have been waiting by the time we reach the beginning of the New Testament. Hundreds of years with nothing but promises to hold onto.

When he comes, everything will be fine. When he comes, God’s promises will be fulfilled. When he comes, shalom will be restored. When he comes….

But, what if he doesn’t come?

[Read the rest of the posts in this series on the Gospel Book page.]

The Ehrman project – critically engaging the work of Bart Ehrman

Thanks to Michael Gorman for pointing out The Ehrman Project, a website dedicated to exploring and engaging the work of Bart Ehrman. As the website explains:

 

Dr. Bart Ehrman is raising significant questions about the reliability of the Bible. In an engaging way, he is questioning the credibility of Christianity. His arguments are not new, which he readily admits. Numerous Biblical scholars profoundly disagree with his findings. This site provides responses to Dr. Ehrman’s provocative conclusions.

With resources from Alvin Plantinga, Ben Witherington, D.A. Carson, Darrell Bock, Craig Evans, Dan Wallace, and Larry Hurtado, among others, it looks like a great resource for understanding and engaging Ehrman’s writings and arguments.

And, no blog post on Bart Ehrman would be complete without referencing Stephen Colbert’s interview with Ehrman, in which Colbert drills Ehrman on why “the Bible is a big fat lie” and Stephen’s an idiot for believing it. Journalism at its finest.

 

Marcus Borg, Craig Blomberg, and a call for papers for the NW ETS meeting

Our Northwest ETS conference will feature Marcus Borg (fellow of the Jesus Seminar, retired Professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University, and now Canon-Theologian Trinity Cathedral) and Craig Blomberg (Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary) will lead the plenary session by presenting papers followed by a dialogue on the topic of “The Search for the Historical Jesus: Two Views.” The afternoon session will have three parallel sections with papers on a variety of topics.

The conference will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at Multnomah University in Travis-Lovitt Hall (Multnomah’s Seminary building). Registration will begin at 8:30 and the program will begin promptly at 9:00. $7.00 will cover registration cost. Lunch will be available at the Campus Dining Room in the Joseph Aldrich Student center. Prices for the all you can eat Brunch are $7.75.

We would like to have students contribute to evangelical scholarship in the Northwest by presenting papers in the afternoon sectional. Please submit the title of your paper along with a paragraph length abstract by email to Mike Gurney, Gerry Breshears, Marc Cortez (if you’d like informationon how to contact any of us, please leave a comment). Your paper can be on any topic of scholarly interest. For obvious reasons, it needs to be in our hands no later than February 1. We will use the abstracts to select the papers for presentation at the meeting. Include your name, institution and a telephone number and/or email address so we can contact you quickly.

Book giveway – Moo’s commentary on Romans

For some reason, I seem to have two copies of Douglas Moo’s The Epistle to the Romans from the NICNT series. At just over 1,000 pages, I can’t figure out how I managed to end up with two of them. But I did. And, being the cheapskate wise steward that I am, I was going to sell the extra copy. Then I realized that there might be some interest out there in a book like this and that it would be good for me to spread the wealth instead. So, I’m going to give it away. (But don’t tell God that I’m doing it publicly. I want to score some rewards in heaven for my generosity while I’m at it.)

As usual, the rules are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, here’s what you do (UPDATE – you only need to do one of the following, though you can do more if you choose):

  • Blog about it and link to this post
  • Link to the post from Twitter and let me know in the comments
  • Link to the post from Facebook and let me know in the comments
  • Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
  • Make a video of yourself on a busy street, dressed like a Roman citizen, explaining to random pedestrians why the book of Romans is important. Post the video on YouTube and leave a comment here.

You can enter as many different ways as you’d like (bonus points for the YouTube video) and increase your odds of winning. I’ll accept entries through September 15, and then randomly select a winner.

A new book on Paul

I just received an announcement about a new book on Paul that will be coming out in the fall: Tim Gombis’s Paul: A Guide for the Perplexed (T&T Clark, 2010). Like most of the books in the Perplexed series, Tim’s book strives to provide a clear and concise introduction to his topic and its most pressing/challenging issues. So, after an introduction and a brief chapter on Paul’s life and ministry, Tim devotes chapters to the following:
  • The Structure of Paul’s Thought
  • The Cross and the Spirit: Life as the Kingdom of God
  • Paul and Judaism
  • Salvation: Divine and Human Action
  • Paul and Women
  • Politics and Religion
Tim’s a solid NT scholar and the book should definitely be worth checking out.