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Showing posts from March, 2017

When ‘Preaching’ is No Longer ‘Christian’: A Study of Paul’s Opposition to Oratory in His Day—and Ours

Introduction:
Paul faced a major challenge in his missionary proclamation: he needed to distinguish himself from other public speakers of his day inbothwhat he proclaimedandhow he presented the Gospel.  Like them, Paul showed up at a new city and needed to find a hearing from people he did not personally know.  Yet that is about as much as Paul would have wanted to acknowledge he had in common with the Greek or Roman orators of his day.  To be sure, some public orators, like Dio Chrysostom (c. AD 40-c. 115), also wanted to distinguish themselves from popular orators for similar reasons to Paul.  Paul was not unfamiliar with the rhetorical methods of his day and could show himself an able writer and speaker.  Yet, for reasons of both a different content to his message and a concern for truth rather than persuasive methods of delivery, Paul was no orator.  He found the conventions of his day antithetical to the Gospel itself.
This essay seeks to show how Paul distinguished himself from …

The New Covenant of God for His People (I)

Introduction
If asked to think of passages in the Old Testament that foretell the coming of a new covenant, Christians regularly turn to Jeremiah 31.31-34.  After all, this is the text that has the exact phrase, ‘new covenant,’ and it is the text that Jesus references at the Last Supper (Luke 22.20; 1 Corinthians 11.25).  Hebrews quotes the passage at length (Hebrews 8.8-12).  Yet there are parallel texts in Isaiah 59.20-21 and Ezekiel 36.25-28 (these are key verses in a longer passage). 
All three texts are significant for understanding the New Testament itself.  These passages help us to understand (1) the continuity of the Law in the new covenant; (2) the role of Christ as redeemer; (3) the underlying narrative of the restoration of Israel from exile for the New Testament and for Christian perspective; (4) the understanding of the Holy Spirit as God’s transforming power; (5) the understanding of Christians as a righteous people of God; (6) the inclusion of the Gentiles into God’s re…