Off The Record
The Eighth Commandment, “You shall not steal,” has massive implications for human life on earth. Exodus 20:15 provides the necessary foundation for system of private ownership of property, of stewardship and accountability, and of an expectation of human flourishing. This article also argues that “business as mission” is a legitimate calling and that founding and running a profitable and ethical business glorifies God.
C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength is often regarded as one of his most bizarre and unwieldy books. There are very few studies of it, and those that do exist tend to focus on its central social critique, leaving its ancillary theological and philosophical themes largely unexplored. This article examines the motif of conversion in That Hideous Strength. It traces out the contrasting conversion narratives of Mark and Jane Studdock, situates them in relation to the larger social message of the novel, and then draws two applications for what we can learn about evangelism today from this book.
In Rom 10:13, to “call on the name of the Lord” (ἐπικαλεῖν τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου) involves more than simply invoking the Lord, but expresses a prayer for deliverance with cultic connotations, that is “to worship Jesus as Lord.” Paul’s use of ἐπικαλέω in Rom 10:13 resonates with strong liturgical overtones, draws on a long OT tradition of employing such language in cultic settings, parallels closely other NT texts that are cultic in orientation, and coheres with our earliest evidence about the worship practices of the early church. These observations, in turn, suggest a tighter thematic relationship between Rom 10 and Paul’s description of humanity’s fundamental predicament as false worship in ch. 1, his exhortation for renewed spiritual worship in ch. 12, and his vision for unified Jew/Gentile worship in ch. 15.
The literary notion of “implied reader” invokes a series of hermeneutically significant questions: What is it? Who produces it? and How can it be identified? These questions naturally lead to a further query: What is the relationship between this implied reader of a text and an actual reader of a text? This type of study is often associated primarily with reader-response theory and purely literary approaches. However, the concept can help uncover an often-neglected aspect of biblical interpretation, namely, the role of the reader. If biblical authors envision certain types of readers, then identifying the nature of this “implied audience” is an important part of the interpretive task. Further, because Christians read the biblical writings within the context of a canonical collection, this concept can be pursued in light of the Christian canon as a whole. Through this literary and theological study, I seek to demonstrate that strategic biblical texts envision an “ideal reader,” namely, an actual reader who seeks to identify with the implied reader.
John Barclay has written a stimulating and ground-breaking book on Paul’s theology of gift. He situates the meaning of gift in antiquity, noting that a return for a gift was part and parcel of what it meant to receive a gift in the ancient world. Barclay profiles the different conceptions of what it means to receive a gift in antiquity and explores the notion of a gift further in some Second Temple Jewish writings. He also provides a useful history of interpretation, concentrating on key figures. Finally, he explores Paul’s theology of gift, especially in Galatians and Romans. What marks out Paul’s understanding of the gift, according to Barclay, is its incongruity. Barclay’s work is a significant step forward, showing that there wasn’t a consensus in Second Temple Judaism as to what it meant to receive a gift. Different notions of grace and a gift were current. Nevertheless, some questions are raised in the review. Against Barclay, Paul’s theology of gift provides a platform by which other Second Temple notions of the gift can be criticized. Furthermore, evidence for a polemic against some form of works-righteousness is present in Galatians and Romans.
Although evangelicals agree the church must be fervent in seeking to reach those who have little or no access to the gospel, this missiological consensus has not led to a theological consensus regarding the salvific state of those whom the church never reaches. Yet Daniel Strange seeks to throw fresh light on the discussion by proposing an alternative understanding of “unevangelized” based on a more nuanced explanation of divine revelation. This article will summarize Strange’s theory and then evaluate his approach by using the doctrinal rules instantiated by the solus Christus, sola fide, and fides ex auditu principles. For however one answers this disputed question in theology, Scripture is clear that salvation is through Christ alone by faith alone and that faith comes from hearing. The hope is that this doctrinal typology will facilitate not only this particular review, but also indicate a common theological environment in which evangelical theories on the unevangelized might be formulated and assessed.
Kyle Faircloth argues that Daniel Strange’s earlier work on the question of the unevangelised is undermined by his more recent theology of religions, and in particular his theory of a ‘remnantal’ revelation. This rejoinder argues that Faircloth has misunderstood Strange on this point and that his original work on the unevangelised is consistent with later work.