Very excited to announce that the Davenant Institute will hold its first UK Convivium on January 25, 2020 at The Kilns (C.S. Lewis’ former home) in Oxford. I will be there, as will Colin Redemer and Dr Michael Ward, our plenary speaker. We are also looking for people who would be interesting in submitting a paper of their own.
The Theopolis Institute has been having a conversation surrounding the identity and future of Israel over on its website. Theopolis Conversations are designed to explore complex yet important issue from different perspectives with various positions in sharpening dialogue. I’ve just posted a piece on supersessionism and the future of Israel.
For God to strip the olive tree of almost all of its natural branches and repopulate it with grafted wild branches instead raises serious questions about the tree’s continued identity. Even if we maintain that the Messiah is the root of the olive tree, bearing all of the branches, the olive tree is not reducible to its root, much as the body of Christ isn’t reducible to its head. The identity of Israel can be focused upon and borne by the Messiah, but it cannot simply be alienated onto the Messiah. As Paul says in the context, ‘the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’
Indeed, Paul’s claim in verse 15 suggests the most startling homology between the Messiah and the nation of Israel, even in its state of rejection: the rejection of Israel is the ‘reconciliation of the world’ and their acceptance would mean ‘life from the dead’. The story of the Messiah, cast away for the reconciliation of the world, is recapitulated in his people according to the flesh: just as the Messiah was raised from death, so must Israel be. And, when they are, it will mean resurrection.
Read the whole thing here.
Photo: Andrew Shiva
Posted in Bible, Church History, Election, Eschatology, Luke, Matthew, NT, NT Theology, OT, OT Theology, Politics, Romans, The Church, Theological, Theology, Theopolis
The Davenant Institute has just established Davenant Hall, which offers online courses on a range of different theological topics at the affordable price of $99 for ten hours’ of classes. For the first semester of classes, I will be teaching a course on the subject of Biblical Wisdom, which will, in a far-reaching engagement with the text of Scripture, explore the theme of wisdom as it runs throughout it. If you are interested, there is no time to lose: the registration deadline is the 23rd of this month and there are limited slots!
A piece of mine has just been published over on the Political Theology site:
The temptation to put faith in religiosity, to employ religious ceremonies and rituals as akin to compensatory ‘moral offsets’ for our godless, oppressive, and unjust behavior is a perennial one. Treated in such a manner, what we suppose to be our worship of God can be made an integral element of our oppressive and perverse societies, as if it were a valve designed to release the discomfiting pressure of uneasy consciences.
Like the people of Judah Isaiah excoriates, we can come before God with gifts rank with the stench of exploitative economic practices from which we have grown rich and hands bloodied from unjust wars. We can ignore the needy and the stranger in our neighborhoods, while expecting to receive God’s welcome when we visit his house. We can pollute our lives with all sorts of immorality and fornication, while feigning to be the spotless Bride of Christ.
Read the whole piece here.
Posted in Bible, Culture, Ethics, Genesis, Guest Post, Isaiah, OT, OT Theology, Politics, Theological, Worship
My final response in the Theopolis conversation on immigration has just been published here.
We beware of treating the condition of the uprooted immigrant as paradigmatic. As Christians, who are committed to the universal value of Christ, we can easily succumb to the distorted universalisms of the modern world, a universalism that resists the humility of particularity. Gottfried Leibniz expressed the modern liberal ideal of the universal human subject: “I am indifferent to that which constitutes a German or a Frenchman because I will only the good of all mankind.”
Read the whole piece here.
The Theopolis blog is hosting another conversation, this time on the subject of the immigration debate. I was invited to kick this discussion off and my opening post has just been published.
A neighbour-focused ethic is an ethic of love, an ethic that commits itself to particular persons over others. A liberal humanitarian ethic, on account of its abstract object, can undermine the particularity and the concreteness of our bonds and their related obligations. For instance, beyond the force of parental instinct, the reason why I should take especial concern for the well-being of my own children over the children of others may not be clear to someone holding such an ethic. However, Scripture makes clear that our moral duties are not generalized duties to humanity as such, but duties that are focused in concentric circles of proximity. We have duties to our households that we do not have to anything like the same degree to those outside of them. Likewise, our obligations are especially focused on the people of God (Galatians 6:10). Those who claim to be serving God in radical humanitarianism, while neglecting their obligations to their neighbours—those persons most immediate to them—reject the commandment of God (Mark 7:6-13).
Read the whole thing here.
Posted in Bible, Controversies, Culture, Ethics, Exodus, Genesis, Guest Post, OT, OT Theology, Politics, Society, Theological, Theopolis
I have just completed a 42-part, 25-hour-long, series on the story of the family of Abraham. Within it, I discuss the book of Genesis from chapter 11 to the end and reflect upon its relevance for us today. Take a listen here.