Tuesday, August 22, 2006

All biblical narrative is about Messiah-Jesus.

Mark Lauterbach is studying Ezra-Nehemiah:
"I am studying through Ezra-Nehemiah these days as we lead the church in understanding how God fulfills his promises for his everlasting kingdom. Set in the century after the exile, these books record the activity of God to rebuild the temple, the law, and the city of Jerusalem.

It would be very easy to study these for purely historical interest. Or, more commonly, to study these for "leadership principles." Neither of these is true to a Gospel driven approach. All biblical narrative is about Messiah-Jesus. This is not exception.

The opening verses of Ezra are a thunderclap about God's ways.

Ezra 1:1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom.

Here is what God has taught me.

These words seem simple, as a record of history, but behind them lies the covenant of God with Abraham -- a covenant to bless all nations through his ultimate Messiah-son. That covenant restrained the hand of God's justice against his people so that a remnant survived. That covenant God is working to fulfill here.

Behind them lies the covenant at Sinai and the clear conditions of obedience and the blessing of the land that will follow, or the curses of judgment that come with disobedience. Those curses came to pass after 800 years of patience by God toward his people. That covenant failed and the new covenant became a "felt need."

Behind these words lies the promise of God through Isaiah -- that God would raise up the King Cyrus, and through him he would rebuild the city and the temple after exile. (see Isaiah 44-45).

Behind these words lies the promise of God through Jeremiah (ch 25 and 29) that the exile would last 70 years.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Carl Trueman's I ♥ Biblical Theology

"if Lloyd Jones led the revolution which placed preaching back at the centre of British evangelicalism, the biblical theology movement has led the second revolution which has put careful attention to Christ-centred exegesis back at the centre of preaching."
(The Wages of Spin, p171 - A revolutionary balancing act)

"No-one should be allowed within a million miles of a pulpit who does not have a proper respect for biblical theology in terms of the overall story of redemptive history, a firm greasp of the importance of systematic theology, creeds and confession and a critical handle of contemporary culture."
(The Wages of Spin, p185)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Biblical Theology and Systematic Theology?

Matt Harmon writes:
"Acknowledging the necessary caveats that we do not come to the text as blank slate but with presuppositions (including those informed by systematics), I tend to think that biblical theology (BT) should precede systematic theology (ST) insofar as it attempts to let each book, author, etc. speak on its own terms. One of the great dangers of ST is the possibility of flattening out distinctive contributions for the sake of a clean way of organizing the "data," not to mention the danger of ignoring the narrative shape of God's revelation of himself in Scripture. This is not to say that God does not reveal himself in "propositional" truth, but rather to acknowledge that he reveals himself in other ways as well in Scripture.

On the other hand, one of the dangers of BT is the tendency of some to so emphasize the distinctive contributions of each part of the canon that they fail to pursue its larger coherence. Also, there are some theological conclusions that BT probably cannot achieve without ST, such as the Trinity."
See also Don Carson on Systematic Theology & Biblical Theology

Thursday, August 10, 2006

(more reasons why) I ♥ Biblical Theology

"good biblical theology is
theology for the church,
which drives the church
to worship."
- Alistair Wilson, reviewing
GK Beale: The Temple & The Church's Mission

A few words about The Temple & The Church's Mission.

Beale himself writes:
our task as the covenant community, the Church, is to be God’s temple, so filled with his glorious presence that we expand and fill the earth with that presence until God finally accomplishes the goal completely at the end of time (p. 402).
"This is not an abstract study of the architecture and furnishings of the temple, as some prospective readers might fear from the title alone. Rather, it is about the biblical revelation of the Lord’s personal presence with his people and the implications of that fact for the rest of creation."