The Relationship Between Biblical Studies and Theology

“In the modern period, ask but especially in the last few decades, here the disciplines of biblical studies and systematic theology have grown so far apart as to seem hardly within shouting distance of each other. The two disciplines are natural partners who have lost the means of effective communication with each other, cialis so absorbed have they become in their own issues.” Richard Bauckham in R Bauckham and C Mosser, eds. (2008) The Gospel of John and Christian Theology.

The chasm between biblical studies and theology continues to baffle me. Why do so few biblical scholars interact with, reference, or acknowledge theologians who reflect on or exegete Scripture?

Take my recent work on Karl Barth. For those of you who are not in the loop, my research focuses on Barth’s use of his original exegesis of John 1:14 (found in the book Witness to the Word which is his lecture notes from his class on John) in the Church Dogmatics. Barth is no exegetical slouch. In fact, exegesis is at the very heart of his theological method. And yet, as I navigate through the Johannine scholarship there is very little reference by Johannine scholars to the exegesis done by Barth. Indeed, only in the above cited book, The Gospel of John and Christian Theology, have I found much reference to Barth.

Is there value to be had in including theological exegesis such as Karl Barth’s? Is exegesis done by theologians always useful? Not necessarily.

Take for example John Owen’s exegesis of Hebrews 4:10. Here, Owen suggests that “the one having entered the rest” refers to Christ and not to the Christian believer. Modern translations and most modern commentaries all understand this verse to be in reference to the Christian believer. Owen seems so focused on cramming Christ into an already Christological passage (Hebrews 3:1-4:16) that he actually does injustice to the text through his excessive Christocentrism. Most biblical scholars don’t even entertain or interact with Owen’s exegesis. And when they do it is, I think, to rightly dismiss it. For example, Paul Ellingworth considers the Christological interpretation of Hebrews 4:10 and rightly notes, “It is difficult to understand why, if the author had wished to speak of Christ’s entry into God’s place of rest, he should not have done so plainly.” (The Epistle to the Hebrews, 257.)

But this kind of interaction with theological exegesis is rare. What would happen if there was more cross-over and collaboration between biblical studies and theological studies? Of course, part of it requires theologians to spend time learning the biblical languages and doing exegesis, which many seem loathe to do. But why is there more emphasis put on learning theological German than on learning Greek and Hebrew? (says the theology grad student who knows that learning German is going to be an inevitable requirement for further study, even though I’d much rather learn Hebrew). Likewise, it requires biblical scholars to be explicit in their commentaries that in doing their exegesis they are also doing theology.

Donald Gowan’s “The Bible on Forgiveness”

Donald Gowan takes a comprehensive look at forgiveness in the Bible. In looking at both the Old and New Testaments, here he divides each into two sections: ‘God Forgives Us’ and ‘We Forgive One Another’. In both cases, ‘the God Forgives Us section’ is longer. It is this aspect, ‘God Forgives Us’, that is the focus of this review. In particular two theological themes emerge from Gowan’s book. The first is God’s forgiveness being grounded in his character. And the second is the complicated relationship between repentance and forgiveness.

The idea that forgiveness is grounded in the very character of God finds its roots in Exodus 34. Here, God forgives Israel for the purpose of keeping the covenant relationship intact. As God passes before Moses, God describes his character and actions that are foundational to his very being. He is gracious, compassionate, loving, and forgiving, even in light of the horrendous sin committed by turning so quickly to the idols (Exodus 34:6-7). Gowan then traces how the Old Testament continues to echo Exodus 34:6-7, and how it is repeated throughout the prophets and the psalms. That God forgives is ultimately tied to his faithfulness, and Gowan argues that this is the inherent difference between God and Israel: God can and does maintain the covenant relationship, while Israel is unfaithful and unable to do the same. Closely related to this is Gowans assertion that “Forgiveness is God’s work alone.” This theme, that God forgives, carries into the New Testament. The healing of the paralytic and the story of the woman who anointed Jesus point to Jesus’ action. Indeed, Gowan rightly argues that the point of the parables, such as the Prodigal Son, is to point to the forgiver, to show that God forgives, and that the parable makes no mention of what is “involved in receiving forgiveness.”

The second theological theme that runs through Gowan’s book is the complicated relationship between repentance and forgiveness. As Gowan traces the passages that speak of forgiveness, it becomes clear that the Bible does not always demonstrate that repentance must precede forgiveness. Indeed, as Gowan demonstrates, more often than not, God forgives, which in turn allows the person (or nation) to repent and turn to him. This starts, according to Gowan, in the narrative of Exodus 34. God forgave the unrepentant Israel so as to insure the continuation of the relationship. And while it is true that the Deuteronomistic History of Joshua-Kings, as well as the sacrificial system, demonstrate a theology of repentance preceding forgiveness, the prophets demonstrate that God forgives, and promises to forgive, without Israel first repenting. Repentance appears to be dependent on God’s work. God revokes the punishment, prior to repentance, and because of God’s action of forgiveness Israel is able to repent.

Even in the New Testament, while the model in Acts is “repent and be baptized”, this repentance and the possibility of forgiveness comes in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. To state it another way, because Jesus forgave, we can now respond by repenting in light of the proffered forgiveness. Indeed, when a person’s sins are forgiven, they receive the indwelling of the Holy Spiri,t which brings about the change that the Old Testament authors had hoped for. Gowan argues that this becomes the impetus for the activity of the apostles and early Christians in the book of Acts. They were able to go out and proclaim the Good News precisely because Christ had forgiven them. The parables, like the Prodigal Son, demonstrate the model of forgiveness preceding repentance. Even in the epistles, like 1John, the message is that we can confess our sin because God is forgiving and has forgiven us through the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Interestingly, Gowan notes that Paul rarely speaks of forgiveness, choosing instead to speak of justification, and that on the one or two occasions that he refers to repentance (in the Corinthian church) he does not also speak of forgiveness.

Gowan argues that forgiveness in the Old Testament is not only a forgiving of past wrong, forgiveness also encompasses the idea of healing, cleansing and change. From a theological perspective, what this demonstrates is that, in the Old Testament, forgiveness is not just justification, it is also sanctification. When God forgives, it involves the changing and healing of the offending person with the goal of restoring the broken relationship. To just have sins forgiven does not mean that there is a restoration of relationship, there needs to be change. This is also the message of the New Testament, with the only change being that this forgiveness, which brings healing and restores and sanctifies the relationship, is now offered specifically in the name of Jesus, and is no longer just for Israel, but is available for all peoples of all nations.

That forgiveness is a part of the very character of God, and that this is repeated throughout the Old Testament, may suggest a way through the two God (God of the Old Testament vs. God of the New Testament) dichotomy to which many Christians hold. It would be an intriguing project to develop a theology of God that finds its focus on the forgiving nature of God, rather than on the holiness or love of God. A possible weakness may be found in one of the conclusions Gowan draws about forgiveness. He writes that, “forgiveness may begin entirely by the initiative of the injured party, but it can never achieve what is intended unless it can be accepted by the guilty one.” The question arises, is Gowan’s understanding of forgiveness then not dependant on repentance so much as it is on acceptance of said forgiveness? Gowan demonstrates how forgiveness precedes repentance more often than repentance precedes forgiveness, and so the question becomes, what is the role of repentance? Could the downplaying of repentance be an example of God’s reformed theology that emphasizes the monergistic work of God? While a theology of repentance is outside the scope of this particular work, it is important to remember that repentance and forgiveness, in whatever order they appear, are still theologically related.

Gowan’s book is an important contribution to the Church’s development of a theology of forgiveness and reconciliation. By tracing all of the passages concerning forgiveness, and how they are all connected back to the very character of God, this book offers a much-needed corrective to today’s pop-psychology-saturated church. It is important to understand the broader biblical picture of forgiveness, as it will help the Church to translate, interpret and apply those popular passages on forgiveness that we too often read through the lens of our contemporary culture’s definition of forgiveness.

Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul?

When I went to Bible College I was a brand-new baby Christian. I didn’t know hardly anything about Christianity, cialis other than Jesus had rocked my world at the age of 16 and I was forever changed. But off I went to Bible College, purchase excited and ready to learn. One of the first classes I had included a spirited discussion about the end of evangelicalism’s fascination with Paul. We had matured past Paul and it was time to ignore him and focus on the Gospels. (oh those poor catholic epistles and Revelation, look will they ever be cool?) It was interesting to hear some of the hate towards Paul coming from the students. Jesus preached freedom for the captives, but Paul endorsed slavery. Jesus gathered women around him, but Paul said women can’t teach. I didn’t get the anti-Paul hate. In fact I really liked and continue to like Paul. Sure, I may struggle with Paul’s teaching on women, but that doesn’t mean I hate him or see him as being antithetical to Jesus’ proclamation of Good News.

Confession time: if given a choice between reading the Synoptics and reading the Pauline Epistles, I’ll chose the Paul (note: The Gospel of John is better than all of them combined. That is my Jesus Gospel).

Now, here I am, years later in seminary, and I was so excited when I heard that Dr. Kirk was writing a book on the tension and struggle that evangelicals have in reading and reconciling the words (and deeds) of Jesus and those of Paul. Not only that, but he was taking a narrative approach to the discussion and I love narrative!

But, I struggle with how to interact with this book. Should I do a straight review? I could. I think what is more helpful is to incorporate elements of this book in the narrative here at Cheese-Wearing Theology. So for example, I’ll have a post up this weekend interacting with Dr. Kirk’s strong emphasis on the resurrection, as I tell my favourite story about one church’s Easter Sunday service and how kids are smarter than adults.

That being said, there do need to be a few ‘review’ type comments made about this book.

1) Who would benefit from reading this book?

Pastors who are working on trying to find ways to preach the “grand story” of the Gospel.
Christians who grew up in rugged individualistic North American evangelical churches.
A bible study with a group of mature Christians. There can be a lot of good discussion and questions come out from each of the chapters. (An example of this discussion can be seen in the recent blog tour of the book, where different bloggers were asked to interact with a specific chapter of the book.)
This book might also be a good secondary source for a graduate-level intro to NT class.

2) You may want to read William Webb’s Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals prior to reading this book. The narrative approach that Dr. Kirk presents incorporates the redemptive (trajectory) hermeneutic of Dr. Webb.

3)You don’t have to agree with everything in this book to appreciate it. I’m probably more theologically conservative than Dr. Kirk but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate (while disagreeing with) his conclusions about hot-button issues.

4) A few minor nitpicks:
a)ENDNOTES. Publishers, please stop doing this. Especially in a book with only a handful of citations per chapter. Footnotes are better. I probably won’t ever win that fight with publishers, but I can dream.
b) While I appreciate the minimal number of citations in this book, there are a few places where the added citations would have been helpful. Example: pg. 42, Dr. Kirk writes, “In Romans 1:3-4 Paul says something so surprising that most of our Bible translations refuse to print it.” Refuse to print it? What does that mean? And have translation committees specifically said, “We won’t print this?” A citation to bring context to this comment would have been helpful.

5) You should absolutely check out Dr. Kirk’s blog.
There are some very good conversations going on over there, and most importantly, he writes about Barth on a weekly basis!

(I am grateful to the fine folks at Baker Academic for this review copy.)

The Coming of the Son of Man in Mark

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Despite his sometimes far-reaching emphasis on exile, and despite his rather hyperbolic insistence that the end-times does not mean “the end of space-time continuum,”(pg. 321) N.T. Wright is entirely correct in arguing that Mark 13 should not be read as an apocalyptic message about the Second Coming of Christ. Keeping Mark 13 in its context of Mark 11-14, and understanding it as part of Jesus’ overall pronouncement on the temple, means that we should understand Mark 13 as referencing and finding fulfillment in the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

Wright understands “Son of Man” to be a reference to Jesus being Israel’s representative, rather than as a title for Jesus’ humanity. As King David was a hologram of Israel, Jesus, as the Son of David, is a hologram of Israel. The “Son of Man” then, Wright argues, can be seen in Mark and in Daniel, as not necessarily a “super-hero” but as a representative of Israel. In Daniel, the prophetic visions of mighty animals warring against the Son of Man should be understood then as the epic battle of evil nation states against Yahweh’s people, Israel. The Son of Man ‘coming’ in Daniel 7:13 refers to an ascension to the Ancient of Days (Yahweh), and so it should be seen similarly in Mark 13:26. As Wright argues, ultimately Daniel 7 and Mark 13 are stories of vindication and exaltation, (pg. 361) not only of the Son of Man but ultimately of Israel.

Jesus’ prediction of the fall of the temple was a risk, but if it came to pass, it would be his vindication. As Wright argues, if the temple was not destroyed within the generation as Jesus predicted, then Jesus’ whole ministry and message would have been that of “a charlatan, a false prophet, maybe even a blasphemer.” (pg. 361) And while there is the possibility of prophetic telescoping happening in Mark 13, where the prophesy can have multiple fulfillments, it is important to understand it first and foremost in its historical fulfillment. As Wright says, “this is how the story must end. If Jesus is not the last prophet, he is a false prophet.” (pg. 362)

Through Jesus’ messianic mission, Israel was being redefined. Israel would no longer be a community defined by ethnicity. It would now be a community defined by repentance. If the people did not heed Jesus’ message, they would become Babylon, the arch-type of oppression and exile. The leaders and the people who rejected and railed against Jesus’ radical teaching would inevitably “discover themselves in the position that they had thought was reserved for the pagans,” namely, judgment. (pg. 329)

Jesus’ message, while radical, was not revolutionary. As Wright rightly points out, it was the Pharisees who were looking for revolution. Jesus’ message was consistent with a classic prophetic profile. Jesus, as prophet and Messiah, was standing in a long tradition of prophetic critiques from within Judaism. He was following in the way of the prophets. As such, his message was in no way anti-Jewish. It was a message for a specific people in a specific moment in history.

If, following Wright, Mark 13 is understood not as part of the doctrine of the Second Coming, but as temple discourse, there is still the question as to whether or not the early church understood it as Wright presents it. Dale Allison suggests that 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is Paul’s interpretation of Mark 13, or a tradition closely associated with it. (Allison, 135) While Wright’s interpretation works while looking at Mark 13, Paul’s adaptation, as well as Matthew’s in Matthew 24, seems to suggest that the early church understood it to be referencing Jesus’ Second Coming.

Wright does address the parallel passage in Matthew 24, and argues that the disciples’ question is “when will you be physically installed as king?” Jesus’ response (Matthew 24:4-51) is that he will be installed when the temple is destroyed. (pg. 342) Part of the problem, Wright argues, lies in the fact that the Church has not understood the fall of Jerusalem as theologically significant.

The question then is, how do academics and pastors communicate Wright’s presentation of Mark 13 to the church at large? How do we teach about the theological significance of the fall of Jerusalem? And how do we show the proper separation of Mark 13 from the overall doctrine of the Second Coming, given that the North American evangelical culture is held captive by Left Behind (and Zionist) eschatology?

Biblioblog Carnival February 2012

It’s a port of call, generic a home away from home, pilule for diplomats, online hustlers, entrepreneurs and wanderers. A shining beacon on the internet, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it’s our last best hope for peace. The year is 2012. The name of the place is The Biblioblogging Carnival.


Ranger One/Valen/Sinclair — Barth, Barth and More Barth
“There was a saying on Mimbar, anyone who wanted to get a straight answer out of Ranger One was to look at every reply in a mirror while hanging upside down from the ceiling.” “Did it work?” “Oddly enough, yes! Or after a while you passed out and had a vision. Either way the result was pretty much the same.”

Travis McMaken posts the abstract for his completed dissertation on Infant Baptism after Barth. Kait points us to Barth on the Freedom of Theology. She also looks at Barth and Oppression. What would Barth say about Tim Tebow? Andrew Browne reflects on how he fell in love with theology. Darren looks at Van Til’s critique of Barth. This was followed up by a post by David Congdon on Barth and actualistic ontology.
And, of course, we can’t forget Daniel Kirk’s weekly interactions with Barth: one, two, three and four.

Sheridan: (playing a game of chess with Theo) Concentrate all you want, there’s nowhere you can go.
Brother Theo: I’d expect a comment like that from someone with no clearly defined pattern of faith.
Sheridan: I believe in a little of everything. I’m an eclectic. Open minded.
Brother Theo: Rudderless, directionless, cast adrift without compass, on an ocean of ecclesiastical possibilities. Tossed by the winds this way, that way…
Sheridan: Oh, I’m hearing a lot of talk and you still haven’t made a move!
Brother Theo: Your Ambassador Delenn has a wonderful phrase: Faith manages. Check. And I do believe, mate.

Tripp and Bo introduce Process Theology to the readers of Rachel Held Evans blog. Julie Clawson asks her own questions about Process Theology.
Carson Clark asks the age-old question Was Calvin a Calvinist?
Brian Gronewoller looks at Polycarp and the idea that Christians shouldn’t explain Christianity.
Daniel McClellan contemplates conceptualizations of theological boundaries and the prototype theory.

A look at freewill and biology.

Rod talks about the theological and cultural significance of the mission of the Trinity. The trek through the top 10 theologians continued over at Parchment and Pen with #1 being Augustine.
Allan Bevere writes that our God is too small. Ken Schenck on why we need theology. C. Michael Patton looks at the doctrine of the Trinity. Brian LePort asks whether Oneness Pentecostalism is the same as Modalism.

Hermeneutics & Interpretation:
Leslie Keeney works toward a Christocentric hermeneutic. Andrew’s writes on the clarity or otherwise of Scripture.


Church History:

Church historians are like Delenn, who can’t seem to explain anything without starting off with “A thousand years ago…”

Greg Boyd writes that the most tragic event in history was Constantine’s victory. Sheila McGinn reflects on God’s “tenting” and church schisms. James McGrath tackled the way mythicists misrepresent historians and also points us to an online bibliography of Syriac Christianity.


The Book of G’Quan — Old Testament:

“Do not thump the book of G’Quan. It is disrespectful.”
Steven Leckvold compares how Augustine and Chrystosom read Genesis 1 & 2. David Miller talks about teaching his youngest Hebrew student. Jason asks where Cain’s wife came from. Jeremiah points to an early non-literal reading of Genesis 1. Bob MacDonald examines Jonah 1. Brian LePort points us to a Aramaic learning resource. RJS asked when was Genesis written and why. Theophrastus discusses how translators and publishers have treated Targum Onkelos versus Septuagint Pentateuch.


The Book of G’Kar — New Testament:
“Well, if the book is holy and I am holy, then I must help you become closer to the thoughts of the universe. Put your face in the book.” [slam!]
Tim Henderson spends some time working through Michael Licona’s ‘The Resurrection of Jesus’: one, two, three, four, five. Nijay Gupta asks whether the world needs another commentary on Colossians?
Did you see the blog tour for Daniel Kirk’s “Jesus I have Loved, But Paul?” Collin Hansen interviews Peter O’Brien about the warning passages in Hebrews. Monica Coleman takes another look at Mary and Martha.

Michael Gorman posts a few paragraphs from his upcoming work on the Mission of God in the writings of Paul.
RJS starts the conversation about Peter Enns’ latest book, by looking at how Paul referred to Adam.

Kevin DeYoung looks at the 144,000 in Revelation. Matthew Montonini looks at Jesus’ emotion in Mark 3:5. Preston Sprinkle gives us a good introduction and overview of The New Perspective On Paul. James Crossley examines a fascinating interview between Craig Keener and Michael Liconaon in which they explore racism in New Testament studies. Suzanne McCarthy continues her examination of Junia with a look at the use of episemos in Psalms of Solomon.

Mike Bird looks at Galatians 1:4. Claude Mariottini offers an excerpt from his entry on ‘fear’ in the Holman Bible Dictionary. Brian LePort on proskuneo in Matthew. Jeremy Rios looks at Matthew 24. Bill Mounce on how a comma makes a world of difference. Rod looks at the similarities between Plutarch, the NT and the Church Fathers.


Interplanetary Expeditions — Archaeology:

“Exploring the Past to create a better future”
Several posts about The Talpiot Tomb from around the blogosphere can be found here, here, here and here. A new fragment of the book of Romans has been found.


Futuristic Monks — Book Reviews:
“Faith and reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with both than you can with just one.”

Nijay Gupta writes about how much of the book to read before you write a review. Stephanie Lowery reviews ‘The Church and Development in Africa.’ James White critiques Roger Olson’s portrayal of Calvinism in his newest book, ‘Against Calvinism.‘ Brian LePort reviews ‘The Torah’. Nick Norelli reviews Craig Keener’s commentary on Romans.
James Pate works his way through Ben Witherington’s ‘Jesus the Sage’ one, two, three, four. Todd Miles reviews Keith Johnson’s Rethinking the Trinity and Religious Pluralism: An Augustinian Assessment.
John the Lutheran interacts with Terry Eagleton’s new book on New Atheism.


Academics — The Same in Any Era:

“You do not wish to know anything. You wish only to speak. That which you know, you ignore, because it is inconvenient. That which you do not know, you invent.”

The Best Footnote Ever.

Marc Cortez provides info on how bad the job market is for PhD-holders. E-books don’t save students much money. Bradley Wright explains why he would rather research than publish. How to survive a postgrad program. Brad writes about how to cultivate a Sabbath rest for those in academia (grad school). Jason Staples writes about how he has changed how his tests his NT students. Roland Boer has been providing a hilarious list and description of “Types of Scholars.”


Interstellar Network News — Politics and Culture:

“A no-holds-barred look at the events of today that will shape the world of tomorrow.”

TC Moore writes about the seduction of politics. Not being a fan of football, I largely ignored the 316 hoopla about Tim Tebow. Here is one post about Tebowing.

A youtube video made the rounds about being cool with Jesus but not with religion. Several people have chimed in. Of note, check out Dane Ortlund’s reflection, where he asks if these analyses and critiques of the video are nitpicking. The Jesus and Religion video guy responds to Kevin DeYoung.

Travis McMacken and David Congdon write an open letter to the editors of Christianity Today regarding an article in the latest issue on Christians and politics. Roger Olson suggests it is time to throw out the ‘Right-Middle-Left’ Spectrum. Allan Bevere chimes in and says that Olson’s suggestion applies not just to evangelicalism, but also to politics in general.


Shadows vs. Vorlon — Complementarianism/Egalitarianism:

They’ve fought so long that they’ve stopped respecting each other’s viewpoints and so entrenched in their own rightness that they’re willing to destroy entire planets to prove that they’re right.

Roger Olson offers a critique of extreme complementarianism. Later Olson argues that complementarianism “is an open door to abuse and idolatry.” Rod offers some thoughts in light of Roger Olson’s post on Gender and Feminism.

Kait Dugan looks at the Trinity and Gender Inclusive Language. Brian LePort considers the image of woman in Genesis 1 &2. Leslie Keeney has a word for women who feel called to Christian academia.

Jon Coutts asks who are the daughters of Zelophehad today? He also suggests that the labels ‘complementarian’ and ‘egalitarian’ hinder the ongoing conversation. Josh writes about Strategic Advice for Egalitarians. Derek Ouellette is going to continue to wrestle through the egalitarian/comp debate, trying to take into account his post conservative sensibilities.

Scot Mcknight points us to an article by Nijay Gupta on the role of Deborah in contemporary discussions of women in ministry. Tim Challies reflects on Mutual Submission. Matthew Tan looks at First-Wave, Second-Wave and Standpoint feminism. Preston Yancey writes about his journey through the comp/egal debate. Frank Viola writes about God’s view of women.

You know what, on second thought, maybe the comp/egal debate is not so much Vorlons vs. Shadows as it is Drazi vs. Drazi: Green must fight purple. Purple must fight green.


We Have ‘Six’ — Mark Driscoll’s ‘Real Marriage’:

“You see, we have six, ah… we have six, you see, and each one is a different level of intimacy and pleasure. So, you know, first you have one, and that’s naa-naa. Then there’s two… and by the time you get to five it’s a heehaa-heehaa.”

Rachel Held Evans. The Friendly Atheist. Denny Burk. David Moore. Internet Monk.
Books and Culture. Doug Wilson. Matthew Lee Anderson’s two part review: here and here. The best review of the book has to be Eugene Cho’s.

And then the brouhaha continued after Driscoll gave an interview on a British radio station.


The League of Non-Aligned Worlds — Conference Announcements and Calls for Papers:

Jim Linville announces the Research in Religious Studies conference at the University of Lethbridge. Paul in Conversation. Jesus Conference announcement. Frank Emanuel announces the call for papers for the next meeting of the Canadian Theological Society. Pastorum Live conference in June.


Zocalo — Miscellaneous:
“Zocalo is a human word. It’s from one of their southern continents. I think it means great marketplace.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben Witherington whose daughter passed away on January 11th at the age of 32.

Kevin ponders the difference between urban and rural religious landscapes. Adam McLane talks about how youth ministry is flatlining. Gavin Ortlund offers some thoughts on ‘Mere Christianity.’ Frank Viola looks at the four streams within evangelicalism. Richard Flory looks at research about how going to church influences our lives. Joel interviews Allan Bevere. Thabiti looks at blackness and whiteness.

Leslie suggests that our definition of a successful ministry is problematic. The crew over at Black, White and Grey point us to their top 11 religion research stories. They also look at the question of how many Americans are Atheist. J.K. Gayle provides an analysis of how Martin Luther King used Bible in his civil rights speeches.


The Biblioblog Carnival changed the future and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future or others will do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don’t, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places. Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope, that there can always be new beginnings. Even for people like us.

Reminder About the Biblioblogging Carnival

Just a reminder that the next Biblioblog Carnival will be hosted here at Cheese-Wearing Theology on February 1st. I’m collecting posts from around the blogosphere, seek so if you’ve seen something of note, pharm let me know by sending me the link in the comments, tweeting it to me @CWTheology or by emailing me.

{{{{{cdntheologianscholar}}}} AT {{{mac}}} DOT com.

Biblioblogging Carnival

Dr. Jim Linville has posted the latest Biblioblogging carnival. I will be hosting the next carnival, sovaldi taking place February 1st. So if you come across a great bible, buy viagra theology, history of Christianity, biblical language post in your internet travels, let me know about it by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post.

And what will the theme of the next carnival be? Here are your clues:

1. The expanding Russian Frontier
2. An entire level is missing but that’s okay because that’s where Freddy Krueger now lives.
3. An epic battle between order and chaos
4. Swedish meatballs are a cross-cultural universal
5. Zootie! Zoot Zoot!

Stay tuned!

2011 A Year in Review — Top Posts

10. The Great Blog Experiment: What would happen if I made myself anonymous on my blog?

9. Theologians Who Just Happen to be Female: Female theologians are not just writing about feminism. In fact, there there are some amazing contributions being made in the areas of Christology, treat ecclesiology, soteriology and much, much more.

8. Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part Two: Guest Series by Charles Hackney

7. Christian Female Bloggers that I Read: An updated list in honour of Girly-Girl Week.

6. Malcolm Reynolds’ Loss of Faith Part One — Firefly and the Psychology of Religion: Guest series by Charles Hackney

5. The Gender Difference — Pulling Apart Leviticus 12: There are several possible explanations as to why the Levitical law distinguished between 40 days following the birth of a male child and 80 days following the birth of a female child.

4. Is Star Trek Friendly to Christianity?: I would argue that the Star Trek universe doesn’t become comfortable with religion until DS9…

3. Rob Bell Round-up: I am doing this round-up mostly for my benefit so I can keep track of the hoopla. But feel free to use it if you want to see what all the fuss is about.

2. Game of Thrones — A Final Review: The vastness of the universe created by Martin is lost in the adaptation to the small screen. The show fails to present the nuances of the rules of honour and chivalry of the world, which means that for a modern audience watching the show, the actions of certain characters seem barbaric instead of justifiable or even noble.

1. Complementarianism — The Litmus Test for Faithfulness: I get that there are different positions on women in ministry. And I respect churches’ rights to decide the qualifications of a pastor (meaning I won’t go crusading to change a congregation that refuses to ordain women). But what frustrates me to no end is the idea that to be an egalitarian, and worse a female pastor, is unfaithful, unChristian and unwise.

Another Adventure in Anglicanism

I have previously written about our new family devotions, sovaldi based off the Evening Service in the Book of Alternative Services. It is still going strong, and I really like the rhythm and routine of it. Part of it involves reading Scripture (obviously) and so we follow the Daily Office schedule in the back of the BAS. We’ve run into a little hiccup though, and I was hoping that some of my Anglican readers could help me out. Starting tomorrow, the Daily Office has us reading 1 Maccabees. Now, obviously, coming from an evangelical tradition, 1 Maccabees hasn’t been part of our tradition. I don’t have anything against 1 Maccabees, but I’m not quite sure that family devotion time is the place to start exploring that book. Doing a reading of 1 Maccabees would probably be better suited to a ‘study’ type setting, where commentaries and other texts could be consulted, rather than at our already hectic dinner table. (Oooo now there’s an idea for a seminary class, a semester on the Apocrypha).

So my question: Is there something specific I should be replacing 1 Maccabees with for the next week or so, or do we just ‘skip’ an OT reading for this next week?

If I Was Going to ETS…

…here are some of the papers I’d love to attend:

W. Paul Franks (Tyndale University College) — “Original Sin as a Defeater for the Free Will Defense.”

William Lane Craig (Talbot) — “A Molinist Account of Providence: A Second Look”

Philip Stewart (Ludwig-Maximlans Universitat) — “The Moral Knowledge of the Virtues”

Charlie Trimm (Wheaton) —“YHWH the God of Chaos: The Anti-Chaoskampf in Exodus”

Ben Rhodes (King’s College) — “Karl Barth on Sanctification: Do We Grow in Holiness?”

Stephen K. Moroney (Malone University) — “Integrative Perspectives on Human Flourishing: Sin, troche the Imago Dei, and Positive Psychology”

Mark Bowald (Redeemer University College) — “On Metaphors and the Word of God: Prolegomena to a Rhetorical Dogmatics of Holy Scripture”

In other ETS related news, Michael Bird observes that only a handful of women are presenting at this years ETS:

I have just noticed that there are about 700 hundred papers being delivered at ETS this year and only eight of them will be delivered by women. What is more, I think I actually know half of the women presenters. Now maybe there are more, I looked up the index in the ETS book and some names like “Leslie” can be unisex, and I don’t know the gender of most Asian names. But even give or take a few, this would mean that women presenters make up only 1% of the papers at ETS. This is not satisfactory.

Read the rest of his post here.

Speaking of female presenters, if you’re going, be sure to check out “Psalm 24:4 and the Decalogue: A Mutually Illuminating Relationship?” This paper is being presented by fellow blogger Carmen Imes from the blog Seminary Mom.

For those of you who are going, what papers are you looking forward to?