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Showing posts from November, 2010

Thesis Results

Not much time today but thought you might be interested to know my MTh thesis has returned to me, having been anonymously marked by two NT scholars (but there aren't that many in NZ to choose from - so feel free to guess who) and they both liked it, giving it 9.0 or an A+.  Just a few typo and grammar errors to sort and I should be publishing it online shortly.  In the interests of bragging I thought I would share with you some of the comments.  I promise I will return to my usual humble self soon.

And the second marker was also very kind, 

How do you like them apples?  Well it isn't really bragging, it is more promoting the forthcoming (online) publication.

Are Gangs the Symptom or the Cause?

Lots of interesting articles in the latest Rethinking Crime and Punishment (RECAP) newsletter.  Not least:
At the recent Police Leadership conference, Police Minister, Hon. Judith Collins stated that
she didn't adhere to the “widely held belief that it is society's fault that gangs exist.” In her
view, “gangs are not the result of people who believe they do not have a stake in their
communities and their country. Gangs create the people who believe they do not have a
stake in society.” She stated that she had a policy of not engaging with gangs and would
not knowingly even meet with anyone she knew to be a gang member.
(read the rest of her speech here) At the same conference, Kim Workman offered his own perspective. Drawing on his
experience as a Police Officer in Masterton, he said that within crime families, and within
whanau living on the edge of poverty, were people who wanted a better life for themselves
and their whanau. These people were prepared to support proactive pol…

Olsen on the "Two Evangelicalisms"

Wow, Roger Olsen is really saying what he thinks, he is even arguing an amicable split would be better than trying to continue together under the same label. I'm particularly interested that he traces this division to Whitefield and Wesley,

This is a reason why I increasingly view evangelicalism as two movements rather than one. We are like ships passing in the night even though we both call ourselves evangelicals and stand in that movement’s historical trajectory. Wesley and Whitefield have been pitted against each other. Indeed. Thank God they could both serve as catalysts for the Great Awakening, but their profoundly different views of God largely kept them apart. Wesley’s hermeneutic was captivated by God’s love revealed above all else in Jesus Christ. Whitefield’s hermeneutic was captivated by God’s glory revealed above all else in God’s sovereign election of individuals to heaven or hell.
Is this descrition valid, or does it obscure more through over simplification?  I…

Fee on Women and the Spirit

A number of fine folk have pointed to this article, the first I saw was Nick so I'll HT him, here's the section of the article dealing with Fee's stance on women in minstry:

“It’s a given,” he says. “The real question is, Which comes first, gender or gifting? What [opponents of women in ministry] are trying to tell me is that gender comes above gifting. How can that be? The Spirit gives the gifting. If a woman stands and prophesies by the Spirit, and men are present, does the Spirit not speak to them? Come on! How dumb can you get?”

His advocacy, Fee says, is on behalf of the Holy Spirit rather than women. “The Spirit is gifting women,” he says, “but many evangelicals are not prepared to adjust because of the ‘box’ they’re in.

“I’ve been blacklisted over this issue,” he adds. “People have said, ‘We can’t have Fee speak because he’s pro-women.’ I am pro-Holy Spirit! I just can’t get over that some people think gender comes before gifting.”
Let me know what you think :-)

All Our Problems Solved!

Once again Cake or Death has shown us the way!

James McGrath, The McGyver of Biblical Scholarship!

Yes, he is!

Spot the difference:

I'm not sure I can.  I guess the main difference is that McGyver would be no help at all when it came to translating Mandean manuscripts.

Wright on Colbert

I don't know how I missed this the first time round, but on a clue from John Byron (thanks John!), I sought and I found.  To be honest, it is not as much fun as I thought it would be, but still worth watching Tom in a less typical situation.  The time Bart Ehrman appeared on the Colbert report was much funnier though.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cBishop N.T. Wrightwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

29 miners dead at Pike River

My prayers and thoughts with all those connected to the miners and community affected by the news.
Xenos will observe a day's silence in memory. Pic from TVNZ's coverage.

Josephus on the Ressurection: Why Should We Want It?

A preacher I heard the other day alluded to the fact that non-Christian historians also recorded the resurrection of Jesus.  As far as I am aware the only non-Christian historian of that era to make any possible reference to the resurrection is Josephus in Antiquities, 3:63-64.  Whiston translates the passage,

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ.  And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross , those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named for him, are not extinct at this day.
Now, generally those Chri…

Education Must Change Or Die!

Well usually that is the catch cry for the Spong's of this world about Christianity, but i thought i would borrow it to catch your attention for this excellent presentation.  Another one of the RSA's brilliant and thought provoking animate videos.  Let me know what you think.  In particular, what effect might these ideas have on theological education for ministry, if we took them seriously?  And from my recent experience at Carey as student and faculty, i think we need to more and more.

Getting On My Blogroll

I've just spent a very worthwhile 30 mins updating my blogroll, removing some deadwood and adding a huge number that I've started reading since last time. Check it out!

If you are not on my blog roll leave a comment and I will happily link to you.  In fact I make it a policy to link to anyone who comments on my blog.  Not only so, but I will also link to anyone who links to me as a matter of politeness. So if you do link to me make sure you let me know.If I have linked to you, you might want to consider returning the favour. :-)PS.  I wish I had more on my blog roll that are non-western or non-white or non-male (i.e. not so much like me!) if you know of any answering to that description, do let me know!

Disclaimer: I read most but not all of the blogs on my blogroll, there are only so many hours in the day.

Vampires, Alpha and Contextual Evangelism

This little video is doing the roundsin the UK at the moment,

It is very funny, but I must admit had me cringing a few times as well.  Mainly because it shows clearly how the Alpha course looks for a particular stratum of British society.  So why then is the Aplpha course so succesful if it is so easily lampooned?  Well the simple answer is that it doesn't look like that for everyone.  Many people have come to faith in Jesus through the Alpha course or something similar, just as many people will find the whole concept cringeworthy and unspeakably tragic.  Our Western society is now so stratified and fragmented that what will work well for one group of people will be a downright turn off for another group.

Those of us with an interest in sharing the gospel need to take note.  Mass evangelism assumes that everyone we meet has the same concerns and recognises the same cultural markers.  Mass evangelism no longer has a place in our western multicultural world, in our fragmented and di…

When blogging fails

Extraordinary!  Tom Wright actually takes the time to reply to a blogpost about his views on justification and gets completely ignored by those discussing him. And then he even comes back again, but only manages to inspire some guy to tell him to take up blogging. D'oh! I can't help but feel we missed an opportunity to convert another scholar to the ranks of bibliobloggers, and what a trophy convert he would be.  :-D

The sad story of Andrew Mears

New Zealand has managed to raise a generation of young people who do not understand that their actions have consequences and live in a strange self centred universe where they cannot conceive their actions might affect another person.  When finally something goes catastrophically wrong, they are shocked.

Andrew Mears is understandably distraught to have killled a human being. But he was night hunting in blatant defiance of the terms of his hunting permit.  He is devastated at the the fact he has killed someone.  But here is the thing, he is lucky to only have a manslaughter charge against him.  He is a murderer.  He was trying to kill something, he just had no idea what that thing was.  If he was luckier it would have been a deer, he wasn't.  Neither was Rosemary Ives.  He intended to kill something, he just wasn't aware that that thing was Rosemary Ives.

There is little doubt that Mears only reflects the tip of the iceberg of males in NZ who drive, hunt and drink with no conce…

Ramachandra Asks About Gospel Priorities

And as usual he is angry about Western Christianity's myopic vision and not afraid to say why,
Whenever I ask such preachers, “Don’t you want everybody in the world to have the benefits you enjoy?”, the answer I receive is either “That’s the social gospel” or “That’s not our priority, as non-Christians can do that”. If the Gospel is not social, then what is it? And, if non-Christians can make sacrifices to ensure that people like us have a decent life, why are we reluctant to do the same for them? What we are facing here is hypocrisy and double standards, the very things that stirred the indignation of Jesus!

A Short History of Biblioblogging

Jim Davila has kindly made available his SBL paper, give it a read.  Some highlights
But my experience remains that the legacy media by and large is determined to ignore the implications of the new mass individual media and the increased scrutiny and accountability it generates. Journalists who are not experts in anything continue to pontificate and editorialize with a sanctimony that is increasingly intolerable to their audience, with the result that that audience is steadily shrinking.
Let me next say a little about what biblioblogging has done and continues to do for the field. First, it has made possible the rapid dissemination of information on new discoveries and other matters of interest – as well as dissemination of accessible specialist commentary on such matters – to a vastly enlarged audience.
Second, blogging helps to put a personal face on biblical scholarship by allowing scholars to speak with an informal public voice different from the voice of academic public…

2011 Colloquium on Theological Interpretation

Colloquium on Theological Interpretation Laidlaw College, Auckland, New Zealand,  19-20 August 2011 Announcement and Call for Papers
Sponsored by Laidlaw-Carey Graduate School, Auckland, New Zealand and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Featuring Joel Green and Murray Rae as keynote speakers and respondents, two scholars who have been prominent in the development of theological interpretation as a discipline.

This colloquium will explore the theory and practice of the theological interpretation of Scripture. The contributions by our two key note speakers/respondents will be supplemented by papers from scholars in NewZealand, Australia and the Pacific and from further afield.  Potential papers might cover, but are not limited to, the following types of areas:
Theological interpretation of particular texts.Issues relating to the practice of theological interpretation.Questions of method and theological interpretation.The history and …

Crystal Catherdral

For those of you still mourning the news that the Crystal Cathedral is going under in these tough economic times, spare a thought also for the flow on effect to other businesses

ANZABS Papers Dec 6-7

Here is the lineup for this years ANZABS conf. in Auckland hosted by the Good Shepherd College.  I've enboldended the ones I'd be especially keen to hear.  I'm pretty sure I'm gonna go, I might just take the time to read the abstracts and make sure. Paul Trebilco, “The Distribution of Self-Designations in Acts”Carlos Olivares, “A Narrative and Textual Critical Analysis of Matt 27:16-17: Jesus Barabbas or Barabbas?”Keith Stuart, “1 Kings 4:19 - 8:22 Text as Artefact - an Archivist's Perspective”Jacqui Lloyd, “The Contribution of the Women in Luke 8.3”Chris Marshall, “Why Didn't They Stop? The Priest, the Levite and the Bystander Effect”Don Moffat, “The Identity of the Exiles in Ezekiel and Ezra”Vince David, “The Matthean Great Commission”Debra Anstis, “Judas Iscariot as Necessary: A Typological Approach to Yom Kippur”Bob Robinson, “Christ the Exegete: a Theological Reading of Luke 4:16-30 in a Contemporary Context of Religious Plurality”Sean du Toit, “Conversion …

briack-a-brack 15/11/10 Bumper Edition

So much on the blogosphere in the last few days, this is almost another carnival. Sorry if i have missed a hat tip or three, but you know i've linked to your blog before and will do so again so let me off for a rush job in marking season please!

Biblical Studies

Mike Bird shares a couple of papers responding to NT Wright
Another couple of papers on Paul and Scripture
Mark Goodacre has a trio of papers on Mark's gospel
Daniel Kirk shares an insanely interesting post on ancient readers
Jim makes a hash of 1 Cor 7, I'd love to show why he's wrong, but not today
John Byron decides God doesn't hate divorce in Mal 2:16 after all
There is a new tool for the study of Paul's letters, it does look luscious!
Hurtado gives his list of important recent developments in NT/Chritsian origins and it is a doozy!
Duane thinks some more about snake omens and their possible relation to Gen 3


Byron Smith offers some help for all those struggling with converging global crise…

Stuff Article on Rimutaka's Faith Based Unit

Thanks to Hamish for pointing this out, it starts like this,
It's a topsy-turvy world where a killer is held up as a role model of morality, Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangsters sit tattoo to tattoo and talk about their feelings and the weapon of choice for settling scores is the gospel according to St Matthew, chapter 18, verses 15 to 17. Everything about Rimutaka Prison's faith-based unit marks it out as different from the rest of the world behind the razor wire. The first thing you see is the wooden cross in the window of the unit's library. There are trees and picnic tables, songs and laughter. Within these walls, inmates are called brothers. Read the rest here

Axwell - Nothing But Love

Came across this on facebook, interesting vid and message to the song.  I checked out some of their other songs/videos and they all seemed to be about how many bikini clad women they could cram onto the set so not very interesting, but I thought this one was a) an interesting example of pop culture using a contemporised Jesus narrative and b) might be a usefull discussion starter for a Bible study/sermon on loving your enemies.  Plus it is a pretty sweet choon. :-)


Well I just had one of those paradigm shifting experiences last night, a local trust, Tableside (who have a great website), had organised a seminar for men on coping with stress, led by Dr John McEwan (who needs to update his website badly).  The funny thing was, I thought I was going to it so I could share the information with other people who really needed it.  It came as a shock to realise, early on in the night as John explained the causes and physiological symptoms of stress, that I have spent the last few years being pretty highly stressed.  Aparently all change causes stress.  This was news to me, I have had a lot of change in my life in the last few years, and near constant change, but as it was almost all good, and almost everything was going my way, I couldn't understand why I was feeling so irritable and lethargic, not to mention all the minor health issues cropping up for no good reason (stress depresses your immune system, among other things).

It is hard to describe …

Jenkins on Miracles and Prophecy in the Southern Churches

This is a big 2 page quote from Philip Jenkin's The Next Christendom, (148-9), but I though it was well worth sharing, especially as google books only has a snippet view available.  A challenge to those Western Christians who think the highly charismatic southern churches are necessarily syncretistic.  Enjoy!

Considering the central role of healing and exorcism in Southern churches, it is tempting to look for older pagan roots, and to ask just how the emerg¬ing congregations justify their ideas. Of course, Southern churches thrive because of their appeal to distinctively African or Latin American ideas— their ability to work within traditional culture—but these examples of accommodation do not amount to a betrayal of the faith, still less to syncretism. The rising churches can plausibly claim to be following abundantly documented precedents from the founding ages of Christianity. The Bible itself so readily supports a worldview based on spirits, healing, and…

A couple of new books on OT and Christian faith

Grateful to JimWest for pointing out these books, both of which will be heading straight to my wishlist.  If you were interested in my series, Christian Preaching of the OT, you might be interested in these books too.

Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching

Wrestling the Word: The Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Believer

Roger Olsen's Anti-Militant-Calvinist Manifesto

. . . is well worth a read.  He starts like this,

For many years I had no particular bone to pick with Calvinism. I required my students to read Calvin (as I still do) and Calvinist theologians, and invited Calvinists into my classes to explain their theology (as I still do). Some of my relatives are Calvinists, as have been many of my friends. Then something new began to happen. One day in the early 1990s I read an article on line in which a leading Reformed theologian stated that a person cannot be both evangelical and Arminian. He equated Arminianism with Roman Catholic theology and called it semi-Pelagianism. If this were an isolated incident that would be one thing. But relatively quickly this sentiment about Calvinism and Arminianism began to sweep through evangelicalism. And the Calvinism being promoted as synonymous with evangelical Christianity itself was and is a particular strain of Calvinism that highlights and underscores double predestination.
You can&…

Reformed Baptism Critique #2

The next section of Pratt's article is headed Separation of Baptism and Divine Grace. In the previous sections Pratt had outlined a theology of baptism that was based on scripture and seemed to indicate credo-baptism as the scripural norm.  In this section there is a departure from references to scripture and instead we start to hear from Calvin and the Belgic, Heidelberg and Westminster confessions.  While I find Calvin's definition of the church extremely problematic ("two marks of the true church: the preaching of the Word of God, and the proper administration of the sacraments") the essential conclusion of this section is one which I cannot argue with:
In the Reformed view, baptism does not normally convey spiritual benefits apart from the preaching and reception of the gospel. Rather, it increases our understanding of the preached Word; it nourishes and sustains us in our faith; and it confirms the benefits that come through saving faith in the preached Word. Ref…

How To Write A Half Decent Essay

In the marking mode at the moment and it is sad when so many students just set themselves up for a fall by annoying the marker before the essay even begins.  Remember your essay marker is human and a few simple tips to make their life easier will also make your essay easier to grade.
Give your work a title so I know what it is about before I begin readingUse subtitles to break up the text and indicate to the reader your flow of thought Structure your essay around the marking criteria, give appropriate space to each section based on how many marks are available for thatMake sure that for each marking criterion you have included something in the essay to satisfy that criterion Make it clear what you are doing or arguing for in each section but don't waste text writing "now we are going to do such and such"Don't use metaphors and colloquialisms that could mean anything, the marker probably wont get your jist cos they aren't down with the kids like youWrite in a borin…

Reformed Baptism Critique #1

OK, before I start this I should say that I was baptized as an infant and I'm very grateful for the faith legacy of my family and my parent's commitment to raise me as a Christian.  I also have the utmost respect for the godliness and sincerity of many of my paedo-baptising brothers and sisters, that doesn't change the fact, however, that on this subject I think they are totally wrong and that my own baptism as a baby was no baptism at all and so when I was later baptised as an adult, that was my first and only baptism and not a "rebaptism" at all. 

I came across this article via TC Robinson who did so via Will LeeThe article is written by Richard L. Pratt, Jr. professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida, and so I don't think I can be accused of attacking a straw man.  If someone reading this thinks his presentation is not representative they should let me know. This should not be taken as an attack on any person but as a …

How To Leave An Answerphone Message

When you leave a message on someone's phone, be sure to:
Speak slowly and clearlySay your name slowly and clearlyExplain what you are ringing aboutGive your phone number slowly and clearly, perhaps even twice if you find it difficult to slow down.I'm sure it is not so difficult.

Jenkins on Liberalism's Broken Promise

I've just finished reading Philip Jenkin's The Next Christendom, (rev + exp ed.) this book is incredibly important exposing as it does in graphic detail the way the world is becoming rapidly more religious and arguing for the effect this is going to have on future international relations.  This is the book, that in its first edition, all but predicted 9/11 (the proofs of the 1st ed. were finalised on the 10th, the day before).  Whatever you think you know about religion you will find something in here to upset your preconceived ideas.  Every chapter you think you know where Jenkins is going to go and then the next one surprises you just as much.  Neither is he one sided, he has no qualms pointing out the good and the bad in everyone!  It is an unputdownable book, seriously I haven't read even a novel this hard to put down for a long time.  Here is is pointing out the irony of Liberal Protestantism.
Every so often, some American or European writer urges the church to adjust…

brick-a-brack 03/11/10

the ridiculous prudish literal mindedness of Christians around the world has once again been proven by the reaction to Skosana's sermon "Jesus had HIV."  Also interesting to note the African Christologies coming through in some of the discussion, Jesus the heavenly power is very important in that context, but a frail human Jesus is a source of suspicion.Loren Rosson gives a characteristicly interesting review of Dale Allison's Constructing JesusTim Bulkely fires a shot across the bow of the whinging Avalos and Lemenche Paul Windsor reflects on the recent sea changes in NZ theological trainingMarc wonders if we should read less in seminaryDaniel Kirk on Mark 13 and the fall of Jerusalem HT

Christian Preaching of the OT #10

[This is the tenth and final post of a serialisation and slight revision of an old essay of mine, in the hope of getting some interaction from others and also making it more accessible. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.)]

At the start of this series I anticipated that evangelical approaches to OT preaching would reflect a tension between the desire to see Christ in the OT (as Christians have done since the beginning) and the desire to conform to the Principlizing Bridge Paradigm as our only defence against liberal theology and post-modernism.  What I actually found was that the four authors surveyed had already resolved this tension in favour of one or the other.  Goldsworthy and Mathewson represent the extremes of their respective positions.  Greidanus and Kaiser adopt somewhat more mediating positions but still clearly remain in their respective camps.  Greidanus admits the possibility legitimacy of a Christian preaching OT sermons without reference to Jesus, but rightly …

Moving to Pastures New

Well, you may have noticed how my rate of posting has gone up since I submitted my thesis, but such halcyon days of working part time and having extra time to blog cannot last forever.  At the end of this year I will be finishing my role at Carey Baptist College and then starting as a Baptist pastor in an Auckland church in January.  I can't say how this will affect my blogging at this stage.  One of my hopes is that I will continue to research Biblical studies and try to publish a paper every year to keep myself sharp and maybe even to say something useful, I think this blog might be a good way to keep myself motivated in that.  I've really enjoyed my stint in "academia" but my heart has always been in the local church and I feel really blessed to be going back to pastoral ministry again.

Theological Robot Chat Up Crash and Burn

This thing is seriously fun and a truly dangerous pit for dropping valuable time, but i can see this being useful for all sorts of things, like programing a lecture or sermon that you can't be there to give, or creating your own video illustration of real life situations or recreating conversations you had but couldn't record for legal reasons!  Here's my creation, took about 25 mins (my lady wife was ignoring me to play computer settlers).

[update #1.  if it still isn't working here, try it here]
[update #2.  should be working now, and it was 25 mins including learning to use the thing!]

March to restore sanity has cool signs

Yes! Lots of them, HT

Who'd know Monty Python would  one day inspire American activism?

Yes please to this demand,

advice for us all from a fine beard,

a warning for you Americans,

nice to see people standing up for the wafflers,

I hope they make this an annual event!

Oktoberfest Biblical Studies Blog Carnival Extravaganza!

Haere mai, tena koutou katoa.  Welcome one and all to New Zealand for the October 2010 Biblical Studies Carnival.  Don't worry, sausages have a strong presence this month as rather presciently suggested by the carnival's rather larger and better lubricated Deutsche namesake.  Thanks go to Jim West for reviving the dormant carnival and coordinating hosts. Thanks to all those bloggers who plugged the carnival on their own blogs, and if you didn't - shame on you.  Thanks also to everyone who nominated posts, if you nominated it, it is here somewhere.  Special thanks to those very few who nominated other people's posts.  If I lovingly sought out your post and chose it for the carnival without asking anything in return, then you are very welcome.  If you haven't been mentioned and you think you should be, then you should have nominated yourself and you only have yourself to blame - go and sulk elsewhere.  If you find a link that doesn't work let me know in the comme…

Halloween for Christians?