N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 66A (Atonement Theories)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Atonement Theories

We’re about halfway through Romans, and while Wright has much more to say about the rest of chapter 8, we’re pretty much at the final verse that deals directly with his atonement theories. And so it’s time for a summary — even though I’m anxious to explore the rest of chapter 8. Chapter 8 has always held a fascination for me with Paul’s talk of the indwelling Spirit, the Creation groaning, and predestination.

Now, the goal isn’t to find the one, unique true theory. Most scholars are coming to the view that there are multiple true theories — that the atonement lies at the intersection of multiple themes and narratives.

That’s not how most of us Westerners are used to thinking, but it makes a lot of sense — and explains why the scriptures speak of the atonement in seemingly inconsistent ways. The atonement draws together several strands of biblical thought into a single event that makes the best sense in light of several narrative threads woven through the scriptures. Continue reading

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The Resuscitated Church

Thom Rainer is a church growth consultant, author of several books on evangelism and leadership, and the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.

He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. And I’m a fan — and I’d be a fan even if he wasn’t an Alabama graduate.

He recently posted an article on how to resuscitate a dying church based on actual churches where this had happened.

Now, it’s difficult, and most churches that try to self-resuscitate fail — presumably because they still have the same problems that nearly killed them in the first place. But for those churches that managed it, here’s what they did —

  1. A prolonged period of prayer.

It’s a cliche but a true cliche. It starts with prayer, and if your church is too secular or has too little faith to call on God for help, it probably needs to stay dead anyway. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 65 (the heaping up of Sin)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 8:3-4, Part 2

(Rom. 8:3-4 NET)  3 For God achieved what the [Torah] could not do because it was weakened through the [weakness of our] flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh [as a sin offering], he condemned sin in the flesh [of Jesus],  4 so that the righteous [verdict] of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the [weakness of the] flesh but according to the Spirit.

The heaping up of Sin

Wright also presents a theory that the Torah was given so that Sin (the power of sin in opposition to the power of the Spirit) would be heaped up in Israel and Jesus could, as Israel’s representative, defeat it on the cross.

We’ve covered that theory already but not even to my own satisfaction. Wright gives a more thorough explanation in his commentary of Romans — Continue reading

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In re My Heart Surgery, Part 2

I have news.

1. Further testing shows that, in addition to needing a mitral valve repair, I need a triple bypass. One artery is 90% blocked.

2. Surgery has been moved to March 2 at Baptist Princeton in Birmingham. I go in the day before for preadmission testing, spend the night at a hotel on site, and then they go to work on my chest early the next morning.

I no longer qualify for any of the minimally invasive techniques. We could fairly think in terms of maximally invasive. Split the ribs, connect to a heart-lung machine, and rebuild the heart back to factory specs. I think there’s also new rings, a block and tackle, and a four-post car lift involved somehow, but sometimes I get confused.

I’ll likely be in the hospital for a week or so. May have to go to rehab for a week or so afterwards. There’s something about having a heart valve that pumps half your blood backwards (not kidding) that makes it hard to keep up your exercise regimen. (Or to do anything at all, really.) And then home to recuperate for a while. Continue reading

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NEEDTOBREATHE: “Washed by the Water”

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Are You Having Email Problems?

I’ve received a handful of emails and comments letting me know that sometimes OIJ’s daily emails aren’t going out. Evidently something broke a couple of weeks ago. It would help us track down the problem to know the kinds of email being lost and the date you stopped receiving.

And so … if you’re not getting your emails, I’d appreciate you letting me either in the comments below or by emailing me at jfguin(at)comcast(dot)net. Be sure to mention when they stopped and whether these are daily emails or a confirmation email for a new subscriber or a comment notification email (or whatever other kind of email OIJ may throw off).

Thanks for your help.

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Rick Richardson on the Renewal of Evangelism

In a recent guest post at Ed Stetzer’s blog, Rick Richardson points out barriers to evangelism faced by today’s conservative (evangelical) churches but also some signs of improvement and hope for more effective and vigorous evangelism in the near future.

You should read the entire article at Christianity Today, but here are the bullet points:

#1. Our old paradigms and methods of evangelism feel outmoded, intrusive, and inauthentic for too many people.

#2. Many people and ministries have decided we need to stop sharing the gospel and only show it.

#3. There is a downward trending life-cycle of many Evangelical denominations.

#4. We think no one wants to hear what we have to say.

However, Continue reading

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