The Pinnacle of the Gospel?

I started reading Scot McKnight’s The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited the other day and I’m in agreement that what we’ve come to call “the gospel” is really something else altogether. He’s quite right to point out that the gospel is about much more than personal salvation. On page 24 McKnight says, “I encourage you to pull out a piece of paper or open up the flyleaf of the back of this book and scribble down your answer to t his most important question before you read one more word: What is the gospel?” So scribble I did. Here’s a photo of what I wrote in the back of the book (because I’m too lazy to type it all out):

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So my working definition (and this is just a summary) includes Jesus’ life, ministry, death, resurrection, the message he preached about the kingdom, our victory over sin and a life enabled for good works in obedience to God. I’m sure McKnight’s definition will be slightly different and perhaps he’ll highlight things I’ve neglected and neglect things I’ve highlighted, but I think my working definition is a decent summary of the gospel as we see it in the Bible.

But that brings me to the point of this post. As I began chapter 4 of the book McKnight says that we should turn to 1 Corinthians 15 and begin there because that is the closest we come to a definition of the gospel in the New Testament. That got me thinking about how I’ve always viewed this chapter, especially the early parts of it. I’ve always described this as Paul’s summary of the Gospel. In other words, if Paul were to sum the gospel up in a pithy statement it would be the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But that leaves so much out, so I started to wonder if this is best described as a summary.

Perhaps we can view 1 Corinthians 15 as the pinnacle of the gospel. The focal point perhaps. Jesus’ sinless life, Spirit-empowered ministry, preaching of God’s rule and Israel’s restoration, etc. all led up to his death and subsequent resurrection. These events were the culmination of his ministry and the vindication of his message. Paul doesn’t have much to say about Jesus’ ministry at all but it makes sense that he wouldn’t. He gets right to the high point because without the death/resurrection Jesus would have been another failed messianic claimant.

I will note that this pinnacle is also the basis for Paul’s telling believers that they can live a Spirit-filled life in Christ. And that without this focal point our lives mean nothing. So he spends plenty of time talking about the latter part of my working definition but that’s all predicated upon our resurrected Lord.

B”H

Just Ordered

So I noted yesterday that Baylor University Press is rereleasing some important volumes on early Christology at affordable prices. I mentioned Charles A. Gieschen’s Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence (Library of Early Christianity), Carey Newman’s Paul’s Glory-Christology: Tradition and Rhetoric (Library of Early Christianity), as well as The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (Library of Early Christianity), and a new volume of Larry Hurtado’s essays.

I had $200 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my pocket so I decided to purchase some of these books. My perusal of Amazon turned up even more results and I found that Baylor was also putting out Jarl Fossum’s The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord: Samaritan and Jewish Concepts of Intermediation and the Origin of Gnosticism (Library of Early Christianity) as well as Loren Stuckenbruck’s Angel Veneration and Christology: A Study in Early Judaism and in the Christology of the Apocalypse of John (Library of Early Christianity), and David Capes’ Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul’s Christology (Library of Early Christianity).

I proceeded to order all of the volumes mentioned above minus The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism because I already own it  and Hurtado’s volume because it’s release is slated for September and I’ll pick it up closer to then. But I’m very much looking forward to owning physical copies of books that I’ve wanted for years but have been unable to attain. Thank you Baylor!

B”H

Baylor & Christology

I’ve just spent the better part of the morning perusing Amazon’s “Prime Day” deals (with no interest in anything they have on sale) and in so doing I’ve learned that Baylor University Press is rereleasing some important volumes on Christology.

The first is Charles A. Gieschen’s Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence (Library of Early Christianity). This is slated for release at the end of this month. Considering that third party sellers on Amazon are selling the original hardcover version for over $500 I think that $40 is a steal!

Next up is the incredibly important collection of essays The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus (Library of Early Christianity)The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism edited by Carey Newman and James Davila. This is also set for release at the end of this month and the price is right at $40 as compared to the over $200 price tag from sellers of the original.

Carey Newman’s Paul’s Glory-Christology: Tradition and Rhetoric (Library of Early Christianity) has the same price tag and same release date.

Finally, Larry Hurtado has a collection of essays (750 pages in total!) being published in September entitled Ancient Jewish Monotheism and Early Christian Jesus-Devotion: The Context and Character of Christological Faith (Library of Early Christianity).

While I have most, if not all, of the essays being published in the Hurtado volume in either digital or print formats it will be nice to have them all bound together. I’ll definitely be ordering the Gieschen and Newman volumes as well. Newman’s has eluded me for years. I have a PDF of Gieschen’s but it’s a scan and not the best quality. Still, real books are better than PDFs any day of the week!

I should note that these are all part of Baylor’s Library of Early Christianity series, which I just learned about this morning. I can’t wait to see what else they release!

B”H

Life Update

I’m not sure if anyone still reads this blog. I wouldn’t know how one would these days. Is Feedly still a thing? Do people keep up with RSS feeds anymore? I imagine that those who still follow me on Twitter might see a link to this pop up once I post it. But anyway…

So I’ve been up to a lot. I met a beautiful young woman last year and we began dating but knew almost immediately that we were meant for one another. So last week, yes, seven days ago today, I married this beautiful creature. We enjoyed a lovely honeymoon on a cruise and arrived home this Friday past. We’ve spent the weekend getting the house ready for cohabitation. There’s still plenty to do! Just today my lovely bride and her two daughters moved in with me and my daughter. So I am now living with four, I repeat FOUR women! It’s going to be a wild ride!

That’s the big news. In smaller matters I’m still the associate pastor of my church New Hope Fellowship. I’m still earning a living as a barber/barbershop manager. We’ve since moved our business location a few doors down in the same plaza. I like the new space much better.

I have moved all of the books out of my bedroom and into my office, which I plan to convert into more of a library than an office, although it will still have a desk and my computer(s). Although I haven’t made much time to read anything other than the Bible I’ve still been purchasing books. I hope when things settle down and I have the house the way that I want it I’ll be able to start reading regularly and perhaps even set aside some time to blog about what I’ve been reading.

I’ve seen a ton of movies since I’ve last been active on the interwebs but I doubt I’ll have much to say about any of them. Maybe one day I’ll bang out a quick movie notes post. But yeah, that’s about it. Work, marriage, family, church, house. Not much else happening. I’m looking forward to all that God has in store. And of course I’ll be posting pictures once the library is complete!

B”H

 

Just Ordered

Took advantage of some deep discounts and got the following from Wipf & Stock:

Richard of Saint Victor, On the Trinity

The Glory of Kings: A Festschrift in Honor of James B. Jordan

Basil of Caesarea: A Guide to His Life and Doctrine

Between Babel and Beast

The Son of God: Three Views on the Identity of Jesus

Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus

And these from Oxford University Press:

The Trinitarian Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas

The Son of God in the Roman World

And this from Amazon:

The Trinitarian Theology of Basil of Caesarea

Christmas come early!

B”H

Why I Don’t Discuss Politics

The title of this post is actually not true. I do discuss politics. All the time in fact. I just don’t like to discuss politics. I think the main reason is that I’m a realist. Being a realist also makes me a political cynic. I have no confidence in the American political system (or any other political system of this world). I’ve come to believe that politicians of any party will promise whatever they can to get elected and then do very little to fulfill those promises unless those promises serve their own agendas and the agendas of those they serve.

And while I’m on that, I think all American politicians, regardless of what side of the aisle they sit on, serve a super wealthy elite . The two party system exists to convince us that we really have a choice. At the end of the day it’s the same folks calling the shots. My vote matters only in the sense that it makes me feel as if I’ve exercised a right. Well bully for me!

But here’s my real issue. When I discuss politics I see people who are optimistic and idealistic and who expect real and significant changes. I don’t think it’s wrong to be hopeful. I do think it’s naive to think that American politicians will bring them. At least if the changes we’re expecting are positive. It’s basically like this: the country is getting worse. It has been in decline for a long time. I don’t see things getting better in a real and significant way until the Messiah returns and ushers in God’s kingdom.

Does that mean we stop hoping for change? No! Does it mean we stop taking steps to affect change? No! To the contrary, we have to occupy until Jesus returns, but I’m not expecting the kinds of changes that I’d like to see until that day comes. If the present US presidential election teaches us anything it should be that bad leaders (and that’s what we’re going to be stuck with regardless of who wins!) are God’s judgment on an unfaithful nation.

B”H

What I’ve Been Up To…

In a word: work. I’ve been working. A lot. Like 70 hours a week. For over a year. It’s been lucrative. It has. Really. But it doesn’t afford me much time to do pretty much anything. Except church that is. There’s Sunday service and Wednesday evening Bible study. I do that too and when I’m there there’s a few things I do to help the service run smoothly. So I’ve been busy. Really busy.

The business of life hasn’t afforded me much time to blog. Not because blogging takes that much time, but rather because I’m occupied with things that don’t give me as much time to think of the things that make for good blog fodder. Make sense? I used to have a bunch of time to read and review books. I don’t have that any more. I used to have a bunch of time to study Scripture and reflect on it. I don’t have that any more (although rest assured I still read my Bible).

For a while I was keeping my reading audience abreast of what books I’ve been ordering and receiving (that’s right folks, I’m exclusively buying books these days!) but that’s been mostly relegated to my social media outlets, If I even keep up with it there. The truth is that my addictive personality has struck again and I’ve added a new addiction to the repertoire. Sneakers. But not just sneakers in general, rather Jordan 1s in particular.

I’ve never been a Jordan guy. I was always a Knicks fan so wearing Jordans back in the day was never a thought in my mind and I’ve not been a fan of the various iterations of his shoes anyway. But I do like the 1s because they’re really just Nikes. They got their design language from the Air Force 1, which is undoubtedly my favorite sneaker of all time. But I digress… Anyway, after never having owned a pair of Jordans I now own 7 with plans to get more in the very near future. I’d like to stop but being the way I am I probably won’t.

I’ve also taken up comic book reading. After consulting with my friend Bryan L. a few months back I subscribed to Marvel Unlimited and I have access to thousands of comics on my iPad. I’ve been reading the Civil War series and it’s pretty good. Quite a bit different than the last Captain America film, which I loved, but still good.

And there’s the beat making. It’s slowed a bit but I still dabble. I really do have to post some of the stuff I’ve made. One day…

Oh, and then there’s my daughter. She’s in high school now which means she wants nothing to do with dear old dad so I have to take every moment I can spend with her and spend it. Consequently, I have to take every waking moment to fight off the depression of being old enough to have a daughter in high school! Just kidding. I don’t get depressed. I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart, (where?) down in my heart, (where?) down in my heart…

So that’s it in a nutshell. I’d like to talk politics real soon but I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t. Until then…

B”H