Recent Goings On

So much has been happening and I’ve not kept my faithful readers abreast of it all.

First, thanks to those of you who have stuck with this blog during its dormancy.

Second, I’ve received a couple of books over the past few months for review. Yes, I still plan to review books when I have the time. My Twitter followers have been made aware of these but my blog readers have not.

Wipf & Stock sent along Kevin Giles’ The Rise and Fall of the Complementarian Doctrine of the Trinity. I was made aware of this volume from a post on Scot McKnight’s blog. The material he quoted had Giles quoting Denny Burk so I naturally tracked the original material down and found that Giles was taking Burk out of context and misrepresenting him. Burk confirmed as much on Twitter when I brought it up to McKnight. So I’m looking forward to a more than likely scathing review of this book. I’ve admitted to being unnecessarily harsh to Giles’ work in the past but then I reread it or read something new and think that maybe it was necessary.

The other volume I received for review came courtesy of Mohr Siebeck. It’s Benjamin Pacut’s Redescribing Jesus’ Divinity Through a Social Science Theory. Tim Bertolet had good things to say about it so I’m hopeful that it will be good.

Thirdly, in other news, Fortress Press has partnered with an organization called Givingtons and they’re running a ridiculously discounted sale on a bunch of books. I had initially ordered a copy of David Congdon’s The Mission of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann’s Dialectical Theology. Okay, so this has a $99 list price. Amazon sells it for just under $70. They had the Kindle version available for like $7 for a while but I’ve never once read any of the Kindle volumes I own. I can’t see starting now. So I was pretty much out of luck with this one. Until this sale. I found out about it on Facebook from Congdon and proceeded to order his book for a paltry $9! I also added a book on Incarnation.

But then some wacky stuff started to happen. Two weeks after placing the order I emailed customer service to check on the status of the order since nothing had even been shipped. I was refunded the money for Congdon’s book with the explanation that they were out of stock and didn’t expect to receive any from the publisher. This was disappointing. But they assured me that they were sending the other book. I told them thanks, but no thanks, and canceled the entire order. The other volume was merely an add-on.

So I took to Twitter and lamented the state of affairs. I also emailed the customer service rep and asked why people who had ordered the book after I had received a copy while I had been declined. You see, I know for a fact that there were people who missed out on the initial sale and ordered during a second wave. They had received books while I had not. I was given an unsatisfactory answer. But Congdon was good enough to contact his people at Fortress and get to the bottom of it all. I ended up being contacted and told that they were getting a new batch and that I could order it again, this time with free shipping for my inconvenience! So that I did. I also added a book on a non-sacramental reading of John 6.

Fourthly, I got off Facebook. I had initially signed up to meet my wife. We met. We dated. We married. The end. I still have the account; I just deleted the app.

product_thumbnailFifthly, I’ve self-published a collection of book reviews on books about Christology. It’s called Christology in Review: A Layman’s Take on Books about Christology. You can purchase a copy here if you’re so interested. It’ll cost you $6. Almost all of these reviews are available for free on the blog. I have added a review essay of Bart Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God, which is a bit more detailed than the review I have on the blog. I’ve also slightly edited the content of the some of the reviews and have done my best to format them all similarly; at least where possible.

And that’ll just about do it for this update.

Oh, and I’m happy to note that my brother from another mother Fr Esteban Vázquez is back to blogging! It’s substantive stuff too; not drivel like this!

B”H

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Home Library/Office Tour

I wanted to do this for a while. I had some time today. One day I’ll get a good camera and give this thing some real production value.

B”H

In the Mail

I forget who posted about the ESV Reader’s edition of Paul’s Letters but once I learned of its existence I just knew that I needed a copy for the bedside table. When I looked around I saw that CBD had the best deal so I went with them and in the process I discovered that they have a Reader’s edition of the Gospels as well!

I nearly talked myself out of getting both volumes by reasoning that I already own the six-volume ESV Reader’s Bible as well as the single volume edition of the same. But then I took a good hard look and noticed some significant differences. The six-volume set has Acts bound together with the Gospels! And Paul’s letters are bound with the Catholic Epistles as well as Revelation!

These observations made all the difference in the world so I went ahead and got Paul’s Letters and the Gospels. They’re glorious! All of these ESV Reader’s editions are glorious. Crossway has done an outstanding job with these Bibles.

In addition to these two volumes I also picked up a copy of the third volume of John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings. I managed to find a damaged copy of Tim Keller’s Preaching and what must have been an overstock copy of Frank D. Macchia’s The Trinity: Practically Speaking, which I spent only $0.99 on!  

B”H

Arius was Not a Bible Guy

Rowan Williams provides a translation of Arius’ Thalia in his classic Arius: Heresy and Tradition, in which Arius said:

For him it is impossible to search out the mysteries of the Father, who exists in himself (eph’ heautou); For the Son does not [even] know his own substance, Since, being a son, he came into actual subsistence (hupērxen alethōs) by a father’s will (thelēsei potros). What scheme of thought (logos), then, could admit the idea that he who has his being from the [a?] Father (ton ek patros onta) Should know by comprehension (en katalepsei) the one who gave him birth? For clearly the one who has a beginning (to archēn echon) is in no way [in a position] to encompass in thought or lay hold upon the one without beginning as he is [in himself] (hōs estin).

Arius: Heresy and Tradition, 103.

Apparently, Arius must have been unfamiliar with Matthew’s Gospel. Jesus is there quoted as saying, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matt 11:27).

B”H

Upcoming Office Tour

I watch a lot of room tours and office tours on YouTube and as of late have even gotten into personal library tours as well. Many of them have been inspiring. I’ve gained ideas and insights on how to improve my own setup and in some cases I’ve been able to implement those ideas. My home office has been a work in progress since I got married nearly 5 months ago. I’d say that I’m roughly 93% done with it. I just need a couple of decorations, some touchup paint work, and a little tidying up and it’ll be complete.

The tentative plan is to film an office tour when I have it to where I want it. Or at least when it’s 98% done. In all likelihood I’ll film it before the paintwork. It’s not going to be anything fancy. Just me walking through with my phone for a few minutes and explaining what I’ve done and why I’ve done it. At least that’s the plan. We’ll see what actually happens. Until then I thought I’d share some before and after pics.

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B”H

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