Most of us have had the experience of drifting, half awake and half asleep, in a gray mist of semi-consciousness, only to be jerked fully awake by some sudden and vivid memory of a shameful thing we have done or said in the past. The action or words are terribly vivid, and we break out in a cold sweat of shame. An inner writhing makes us wish we could relive those moments and behave differently.
Memory is singularly important. At the personal level, it is a large part of what makes us who we are. Pardon the cheesy wordplay, but who can forget the closing scenes of Bladerunner when Harrison Ford discovers that his memories have all been manufactured and that he himself, a bladerunner, is actually a replicant, a robot?
feel honored to be able to give this lecture named after John Wenham. I met John Wenham only once, here in Cambridge, at Tyndale House. My impression was that he was a genuinely humble man who had no idea why I, as a young NT scholar, would be excited to meet him. He also seemed unaware of the significant contributions he had made for the advancement of God’s kingdom through his work for Tyndale House, his work for Tyndale Fellowship, and his published writings.
Does “Christocentrism” betray an asymmetrical trinitarianism that neglects the Father and the Spirit? The spate of calls for “Christ-centeredness” in evangelicalism’s past few generations collude with the twentieth century’s revivified trinitarianism to prompt this question. After laying out the tension with a brief historical overview, we will bring the teaching of the NT to bear upon the question.
Among the many biblical passages that provoke controversial questions about Christian non-violence and cooperation with the sword-bearing state, perhaps none presses the issue as sharply as Matt 5:38–42. When Jesus prescribes turning the other cheek, giving up the garment, and going the second mile as an alternative to the lex talionis—the eye-for-eye principle of strict, proportionate justice—he addresses a key element of justice not only in the Mosaic law (Exod 21:22–25; Lev 24:18–21; Deut 19:21) but also in the Noahic covenant of Gen 9 and in countless human legal systems, such as the Law of Hammurabi and the Roman Law.
Martin Luther was a pastor-theologian. He worked out his theology in the midst of teaching, preaching, participating in public controversy, and meeting all kinds of pastoral needs. Due to the shape of his life and ministry, his theology has not come down to us in a systematic form.2 We have received his theology through his polemical and pastoral writings as well as his preaching and teaching.
We want to understand how the power of God comes into our preaching. It is becoming clear that what ties these studies together is humility. Humility in the act of preaching decides to submerge Self so that Christ crucified is the only object of admiration (part 1).