I’m a bit surprised that the McFall article didn’t generate response. It is so dramatically different (opposed) to the typical evangelical mantra on Daniel 9:24-27 that I thought it would generate discussion. Maybe it didn’t because it is so coherently reasoned and (dare I say) “suspiciously biblical” in its position and internal consistency. That said, it doesn’t actually dictate one’s eschatological position. All it does is destroy the “Left Behind” approach to one passage, Daniel 9:24-27, and anything else attached to it (necessarily or not).
At any rate, I thought I’d ask you all what you’d like to read about and talk about next. In the near future, I’m going to say something about universal salvation. You may recall that, perhaps a year ago (?) I offered to create a reading group online to read Gregory MacDonald’s (pseudonym) book, The Evangelical Universalist. We started, but it didn’t last long due to inactivity. Given the shameless marketing going on over Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins” (wonder why he didn’t title it “God Wins” … hmmm), I thought it would be worthwhile to say something here at the Naked Bible on this topic — but I’d still like to take suggestions for future topics. Otherwise you might just get my free flow of though, which can be frightening at times.
In the short term, don’t waste your time on Bell’s book. No, I haven’t read it. The reason I say that is because Bell isn’t a theologian and ought not to be treated like one. He is basically about marketing and not much else. If you want to read something of high quality (though for me, still ultimately unpersuasive) on “universal salvation,” read The Evangelical Universalist. Its author (who recently revealed his identity as Dr. Robin Parry) is a trained scholar and careful thinker. His book is coherently written, so fluency in academese is not required. Why read someone parroting the thoughts of a real theologian when you can read the real theologian?
Did you end up meeting McClellan at the SBL meeting? I would like to see the two of you engage. It appears that he all but disappeared off the face of the internet.
I went to his paper and took some notes. That’s a good idea to pick that up. I’ll put it on the list.
I just finished reading a story in the Daily Bell about a man named Tom Harpur. He is an author and a priest in the Anglican Church among other things. He has some very controversial ideas, not the least of which is the idea that Jesus Christ never actually lived! I’d love to hear what you think about his ideas. Here is the link to the article: http://www.thedailybell.com/1859/Anthony-Wile-with-Tom-Harpur-on-Bible-Mythology-and-Why-He-says-Jesus-Christ-Never-Lived-Historically.html.
This one’s been done many times over (are you sure he’s still a priest)? Anyway, all his ideas (along with Robert Price) have been addressed in considerable detail by the book by Boyd and Eddy, The Jesus Legend.
I’ve just about finished “On the incarnation” by Athanasius i hadn’t heard much about him before he seems to get overlooked by the other big names Augustine, Calvin, Luther which is a great shame, i think he is much needed as i constantly see people attacking the trinity and the Diety of Christ. I would guess you rate this guy also ? due to your high Christology i heard once in a presentation on the God head and the OT.
Could you do something on the “Filioque” controversy and why the church split over it, and the ramification it has on theology ?
Athanasius was a core figure with respect to Nicea and the Nicene creed. There is also the Athanasian creed (of which he is the namesake). I’ll put the Filioque in the list.
Briefly. I’m pretty familiar with ‘evangelical universalist’ theology from posting on blogs & forums. I’ve heard Robin Parry on programs like “Unbelievable!” (in the UK), and read quite about about this beliefs. My own view is closer to Conditional Immortality, though I don’t have every exegetical problem solved (by any means).
Just wanted to note (I hope this is OK) that: Rob Bell is streaming live this evening, Mon, 14 Mar 2011, 7-8p.m. (eastern). I’m not very familiar with Bell’s beliefs, which is why I want to watch him this evening. I don’t recall Robin Parry’s theological background, in terms of formal training. Rob Bell has an M.Div. from Fuller. Anyway, I wanted to inform of Bell’s talk with Q&A this evening. For more info go to:this page on Rob Bell’s site —or— https://www.robbell.com/ (if links aren’t permitted here, or I linked to it wrong).
At least Bell’s new book has lots of people thinking. Thanks.
Parry has an earned doctorate in Old Testament. I just got home so I just saw this. I have to be honest and tell you I wouldn’t have listened to Bell anyway. I’m fine with the link.
Parry’s book got a lot of people thinking. He did it the right way – low key, putting things out there for discussion. Pushing buttons among the laity is different; that’s how I view Bell.
Errata (sorry): it should have read –
“Ive heard Robin Parry on programs like Unbelievable! (in the UK), and read quite a lot about about this beliefs.”
I did not read McFall because of a lack of time. Concerning Perry’s book, I never finished it due to the courses we had over at MEMRA. Perhaps, your blogging about it will push me to read it over and finish it up.
Sounds interesting. I’d love to hear you weigh in on universal salvation.
As far as other topics that I would love to hear your opinion on:
A more in-depth look at Hell/Heaven and what the various references in the text actually meant within the culture. There’s a lot of great stuff on here already about this, but I think I remember you saying you’d like to get into it in more depth.
Divorce and how it differs between the OT and NT as well as the cultural framework surrounding it (For instance, I’ve been taught that there were two types of divorce in the Israelite culture — not sure if that holds a drop of water, of course, but I’d like to hear your thoughts there on what the text says).
On how biblical Molinism can be considered as opposed to a Compatibilist view of God ( I’d like to hear your thoughts on Open Theism as well — No reason to limit you there). I realize this rehashes a good bit of your predestination writing, though, so no big deal if you’d rather skip.
I really appreciate the time you put into your blogs. Thanks, Mike.
The heaven / hell thing is something we’ve already dealt with at NB (look under Sheol in the archive). Divorce and remarriage is a good idea. I’ll add it to the list.
You’re right on the open theism thing. I just don’t think it’s coherent to say God doesn’t know the future (I think the Keilah incident makes it clear that he knows all things real and possible). But that *could* be narrowed to “knowing EVENTS real and possible – see the earlier article on whether God reads minds). Maybe we’ll revisit that.
That article was awesome. Your earlier post on Cyrus being the “anointed one” in the same passages. Was that the same author???
What is your opinion as to the authorship of the Gospel of John.
There a circle of scholarship that is now questioning whether the author was John the Apostle or John editing or writing based on the eye witness testimony of Lazarus.
The arguments for Larzarus is intriguing…but if anyone can debunk this stuff….its you.
The Lazarus view seems to be an idiosyncratic view held by Ben Witherington. He’s a good scholar, so I’m sure his reasons are reasonable (i.e., not incoherent), but they ultimately haven’t really convinced many scholars to abandon John as author.
Not the same author as I recall.
Mike I’m a multiyear follower of yours and a LITTLE surprised by your dismissal of Rob Bell’s book, especially since you work in the biz. He’s just doing what many other buzzy christian temporary-luminaries do [rick warren, mclaren, etc], employing western marketeering to push a product that people are demonstrably interested in.
He’ll not solve any great exegetical problems, but he will echo the voices of many people in and outside of the established church, raising the question that must not be raised, but not answering it… just like the average Joe who is in angst over the untimely death of a child or other loved one… and blames “GOD” for taking that one.
We know that universalism is a good and valid theological concept that every serious disciple needs to deal with. Bell seems to be raising the concept to a wide audience of people who have not given it serious thought. I wouldn’t attend his church or buy his stuff, but I will not judge him for his schtick.
I have no wish to be associated with Christian pop culture. I care about what biblical scholars do and write (not necessarily with PhDs – just people who seriously engage the text). These guys don’t and, frankly, can’t. McLaren was (is?) an English professor with no scholarly training in biblical studies. Warren is a seminary grad with no scholarly training in biblical studies (a D.Min. is not an academic degree; it is a “ministry skills” or “ministry applicability” degree – it’s the terminal degree for people whose vocation is pastoral ministry, not academia or professional biblical scholarship). But degrees aren’t the central issue, though in this arena they are very important. Clear thinking and engagement of the text (and what scholarship has contributed to such inquiry) is the issue (after all, Timothy Keller has a DMin). I’ve never seen Warren produce anything that engages the text or is truly insightful with respect to an intellectual approach to theology like, say, John Piper, Gordon Hugenberger, or Timothy Keller.
I don’t care about buzz, either. I care about substance. It’s irresponsible to titillate a largely non-specialist audience with this sort of thing. I think Robin Parry did this the right way – produce an academic book through an academic publisher, which guaranteed that his readership would be people who would weigh his arguments carefully and be capable of meaningful interaction. What Bell is doing feels like name (brand) building to me and little else. Sanctified hucksterism is still hucksterism. I could be wrong, but that’s where my gut is on it.
I just got The Evangelical Univeralist from the library today. I look forward to more discussion on this topic.
How about ideas on WHO Cain was afraid of when expelled from the Garden of Eden if it was just Adam, Eve, and himself. Why would God need to protect Cain if he going to be isolated just from his mother and father.
not a bad idea; I’ll add it to the list.
oh please do! great question
Yes, please do
This topic may also play into some translations of Genesis 3:16 that hint at the possibility of children born before the fall. The key wording speaks to increasing pain in childbirth. How can something that has never occurred be increased? Also, was there pain before the fall?
I’ve never heard a good explanation for this. Good meaning believable. Thanks
“If a traditional interpretation of a passage and a universalist one reach hermeneutical stalemate, then reason would lead us to prefer the universalist interpretation.” Parry page 35
This seems to be the crux of the matter. If both can be derived from the text should we not engage with the debate from the point of view of reason? How else are we to resolve issues where two opposing positions can both be derived from the text? This was the same question that I had regarding women in ministry, but I don’t think that discussion led to any conclusion.
Perhaps now, on this topic we can discuss again what the proper approach is where both positions can be derived from the text?
This presumes both positions are equally coherent. Parry makes some assumptions (and some omissions in my view) with the Old Testament that siphon the explanatory power from his arguments. I’ll be trying to post on this topic this weekend.
Don’t know if you guys have seen this interview with Bell.
it doesnt’ go very well for him
I’ll have a look.
I am not as learned as some of you in Biblical Studies but I do have I think some God Given common sense on this issue of Universalism….and that is that it is a rank heresy…if not blasphemy…..
I cannot even believe anyone who calls themselves a Christian would entertain this idea?
Calvary answers this issue 100 percent clearly!
Indeed from beginning to end the Bible is clear…..all this is part of the politically correcting nonsense that is forced upon the plain simple teachings of scripture.
I put this nonsense along with those that say being Gay is okay for a Christian alao…
Truly, we are in the days of Noah.
it’s actually much more complicated than you suppose (i.e., there are reasons it’s been debated so long and hard – for centuries – within the Christian community). I’ll try to explain why in a post.
How can I come to know in reality who “Jesus” and “God” is according to just the Naked Bible approach? Do I have to be taught church doctrine and theology, or are they revealed in a personal way? What is the Naked Bible when it comes to me understanding and knowing God and Jesus as revealed in the Bible and not according to doctrine or dogmas? Is this a subject for the list?
Can you state it in one or two propositions? Something where I can be more focused than saying “read the text carefully and closely and put away the creeds”?
(I too have been “out”-sorry for the delay) I have concluded that the church and the Jews
relate storeis of people crying out for a deliverance from their bondages; and their stories reveal that the God of Scriptures provide such a deliverance. Must I go to the church to hear their creeds; must I go to the rabbinic teachings to hear the oral traditions before I can hear the God of the Scriptures? How does Scripture reveal God to someone apart from creeds and traditions – or can it?
So, where is my comment from a few days ago? Patience did not make any difference. Apparently you didn’t like what I had to say?
Bashir’s attack interview convinced me to buy the book.
JFYI msnbc interviewed Bell again. Here’s the link.
please re-post it; I have no idea.
Given your interest in this subject, let me recommend that you read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven at http://wp.me/PNthc-i6
What I think you may find unique is that in establishing the biblical case, I start with the cosmology and afterlife view of the Old Testament. Then I show how the New Testament accepted that cosmology and afterlife view. They I show how both the OT and NT said it would change. Every polemic for the doctrine of heaven-or-hell in the afterlife either ignores or only pays lip service to the cosmology and afterlife view of the OT. As a result, all these polemics rest on no certain foundation.
I hasten to add that I am not seeking to get this book published. I like making it universally available on line (forgive the word play). Neither am I seeking followers or out to build a church or denomination. It is purely a biblical study written by a human being for other human beings.
I have have a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. I say this only to assure you that in making my case, I am not doing so out of ignorance of the opposing view. Nevertheless, I do not write in any sort of ministerial capacity. I write simply as one who has read the Scriptures and is passing on what I have read.
Like you, I was never fully convinced by the arguments of universalists. For me, understanding the Scriptures was the key to winning my support for this idea.
thanks – I will have a look at it since I can’t just type out Robin Parry’s first chapter. I’ll be trying to capture its spirit and arguments. But if anything at this link helps me summarize all that, it will be a help!
Dr. I’d love to hear your take on this lady’s claims:
I don’t beat the atheism dead horse. Atheism has been addressed ad nauseum on other sites — by Christian philosophers, scientists, and apologists. You could fill a city block with this stuff.
Hi Dr, I didn’t want you to comment on atheism but her assertion that the Israelites accapted that God had a wife.
who is “her” in your sentence?
If you look at the link, a Dr is going to be featured in a BBC show stating a case for the Israelites worshiping God’s supposed wife. Never heard that one before.
Nevermind, just saw you answered my question on your Paleobabble blog. Thanks for the info.
yep – thanks for the alert.
old news to OT specialists.