themelios

volume 40 issue 1

April 2015 / 194 pages

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Columns

Pastoral Pensées

Irrational Violence? Reconsidering the Logic of Obedience in Genesis 22

Matthew Rowley

The account of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac has been and will likely continue to be violently applied so long as the dominant misunderstanding of the text prevails. The first section of this article argues that the Abrahamic narrative has been dangerous and has been used to promote unhealthy decision-making. The second section reconsiders the logic of obedience presented in Gen 12-22. The text has a dangerous reception history, in part, because many preachers, authors, and congregants have misunderstood the rational grounds given in the text for Abraham's faith in Gen 22. The primary error is in separating the supreme act of faith (Gen 22) from the uniquely miraculous life of faith (Gen 12-21). The danger is not in the text itself but in the prevailing interpretation and application of the text. The third section gives five guidelines for preaching and applying Gen 22. These guidelines are more faithful to the entire Abrahamic narrative, and they guard against inappropriate and dangerous applications of this text.

Articles

‘Fathers of Faith, My Fathers Now!’: On Abraham, Covenant, and the Theology of Paedobaptism

David Gibson

The figure of Abraham creates a covenantal framework for biblical theology that allows baptism to be considered in relation to the Bible's developing story line. On this credobaptists and paedobaptists agree. I suggest, however, that reflecting on Abraham also requires baptism to be located in relation to the doctrines of Christology and anthropology, and the theology of divine agency in covenant signs, in a way which points to the validity and beauty of infant baptism. Locating baptism in this way sketches a theology of paedobaptism which has a richer view of Jesus, a more attractive understanding of creation, and a more powerful conception of what God is doing in the sacraments than is present in credobaptist theology.

The Abrahamic Covenant in Reformed Baptist Perspective

Martin Salter

Within the intra-Reformed debate over baptism, covenant theology is a crucial aspect in determining one's position. This paper argues that a proper understanding of the trajectory of the Abrahamic covenant necessitates credobaptism. In particular it explores the idea of covenant fidelity, noting the requirement and failure under the old administration, and the fulfilment in Christ as he exhausts covenant curses, and fulfils the righteous requirements. As a consequence, New Covenant children of Abraham are born of the Spirit, and trace their Abrahamic sonship through faith-union with Christ. The result is that their covenant status is sure and unbreakable.

Romans 4 and the Justification of Abraham in Light of Perspectives New and Newer

David Shaw

Romans 4 remains a central text in the debate over the New Perspective on Paul. This article locates that debate in the context of a wider discussion concerning the place of justification in Paul’s theology before responding to a fresh reading of Rom 4 by N. T. Wright. His proposal that Abraham’s belief in the God who justifies the ungodly refers to God’s promise to include the Gentiles is outlined and critiqued with the aid of Wright’s earlier and rather different readings of the chapter. In closing, the article accounts for Abraham’s role within the argument of Romans and the place of justification in Paul’s theology.

Evangelical History after George Marsden: A Review Essay

Nathan A. Finn

In recent years, a growing cadre of younger historians has begun publishing significant books on the history of American evangelicalism. Professionally, these scholars have come of age in the shadow of the renaissance in evangelical history typified by historians of the previous generation such as Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch, Joel Carpenter, and especially George Marsden. This essay reviews three recent monographs: Steven Miller's The Age of Evangelicalism, Matthew Avery Sutton's American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism, and Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism. These works are representative of the "post-Marsden" historical scholarship that is reshaping our understanding of modern evangelicalism in America.

Book Reviews

Old Testament

New Testament

History and Historical Theology

Systematic Theology and Bioethics

Ethics and Pastoralia

Mission and Culture

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