NT Theology quote of the day

– I. Howard Marshall, in his NT Theology, writes:

New Testament theology is essentially missionary theology.”

Splendid.  Splendid indeed!

Now I just have to get this book!  Forget the rest – Marshall’s got it!

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EDIT: here is more of the quote to give it context.  On page 34 and following he is asking what should be the focus of the NT (witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord).  He goes on to write:  (paragraph breaks are mine for ease of reading)

“It may, however, be more helpful to recognize them more specifically as the documents of mission.  The subject matter is not, as it were, Jesus in himself, or God in himself but Jesus in his role as Savior and Lord.  New Testament is essentially missionary theology

By this I mean the documents came into being as the result of a two-part mission, first, the mission of Jesus sent by God to inagurate his kingdom with the blessings that it brings to people and to call people to respond to it, and then the mission of his followers called to continue his work by proclaiming him as Lord and Savior, and calling people to faith and ongoing commitment to him, as a result of which his church grows. 

The theology springs out of this movement and is shaped by it, and in turn the theology shapes the continuing mission of the church.  The primary function of the documents is thus to testify to the gospel that is proclaimed by Jesus and his followers.  Their teaching can be seen as a fuller exposition of that gospel.  They are also concerned with the spiritual growth of those who are converted to the Christian faith.  They show how the church should be shaped for its mission, and they deal with those problems that form obtsacles to the advancement of the mission. 

In short, people who are called by God to be missionaries are carrying out their calling by the writing of Gospels, letters, and related materials.  They are concerned to make converts and then to provide for their nurture, to bring new believers to birth and to nourish them to maturity”  (34-35 of Marshall’s New Testament Theology, IVP, 2004).

Some other statements are:

(re: Acts) “…a record telling the story of the mission in such a way as to show how, when the gospel was proclaimed by the missionaries, it was seen to be truely the gospel in that it brought salvation to those who responded to it” (35). 

“The New Testament tells the story of the mission and lays special emphasis on expounding the message proclaimed by the missionaries” (35). 

“A recognition of this missionary character of the documents will help us to see them in true perspective and to interpret them in the light of their intention” (35). 

That is the most I can reproduce here, if I haven’t already reproduced too much already, without violating copyright laws.   I hope it helps explain the quote more fully.  It’s really really good stuff.   It seems to me that anything less than a missionary focus of the Bible is an out-of-focus view of the Bible.

I hope this helps.  If you want more, you’ll have to buy it or use the Amazon reader to gleen more info.

Conversation with Craig Keener

I came across a casual conversation on Rick Hogaboam‘s blog by way of the Gordon Fee Appreciation page on Facebook.  It is interesting.  Remember it is an unoffocial – off the record conversation.  General statements are being made.  The discussion centers primarily around Charismatic issues.  Let me know what you think!

New Book: Aspects of the Atonement

Well the first of books I selected for my birthday Amazon gift card arrived today.  

I. Howard Marshall’s Aspects of the Atonement: Cross and Resurrection in the Reconciling of God and Humanity. Authentic Media, 2007, Paternoster, 2008. 137 pages. 

Product Description

The Christian understanding of the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ and its relationship to the salvation of sinful humanity is currently the subject of intense debate and criticism. In the first two chapters Howard Marshall discusses the nature of the human plight in relation to the judgment of God and then offers a nuanced defense of the doctrine of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for sinners. The third chapter examines the place of the resurrection of Christ as an integral part of the process whereby sinners are put in the right with God. In the final chapter Marshall argues that in our communication of the gospel today the New Testament concept of reconciliation may be the most comprehensive and apt expression of the lasting significance of the death of Christ. The papers are expanded versions of the 2006 series of Chuen King Lectures given in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  (bold italics mine)

I know there was a flurry of debate in the last year (or so) on the blogshpere and among bibliobloggers over various aspects of the Atonement with most folks critiquing the long held Penal-Substitutionary-Atonement (PSA) theory, which many are abandoning (or have long since abandoned) for the currently more popular Christus Victor (CV) theory of the Atonement.  As I understand it, the Bishop of Durham has lead the way in this new exodus.  

I decided to get Marshall’s book so I could learn from a premier NT scholar on the Atonement and see what I can learn from it.  It is a thin book (137 pages-Amazon is wrong on this) so it should not take too long to read and I trust it will be a blessing. 

The Chapters are as follows: 

  1. The Penalty of Sin – this chapter discusses issues of judgement, wrath, and punishment interating with Henri Blocher and Alan Mann.  He also confronts Steve Chalke’s claims of “cosmic child abuse.”
  2. The Substitutionary Death of Jesus – this chapter discusses the nature of the atonement and interacts with P. T. Forsyth.  
  3. “Raised for our Justification” – this chapter discusses the place of (and theology of) the resurrection in the atonement seeking to contribute to this infrequently discussed but important topic interacting with Richard Gaffin and M. D. Hooker.
  4. Reconciliation: It’s Centrality and Relevance – this chapter discusses the issue of reconciliation in light of the atonement interacting with Peter Stuhlmacher and Ralph P. Martin.  

I really look forward to the read and will review as able.