Category: Biblical Studies

Matthew Bates – “Faith” means “Allegiance” to King Jesus (EP-49)

This is a conversation with scholar and author Matthew Bates. We talk about a little word with a big meaning: pistis. This Greek word is often translated "faith" or "faithfulness" but we discuss how it might be better to translate it as "allegiance."

Matthew W. Bates is Associate Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois. Bates holds a Ph.D. from The University of Notre Dame in theology with a specialization is New Testament and early Christianity. His books include Salvation by Allegiance Alone (Baker Academic), The Birth of the Trinity (Oxford University Press, 2015), and The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation (Baylor University Press, 2012). He also hosts OnScript, a popular biblical studies podcast.

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EPISODE SPONSORS

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast.

*Sponsors do not endorse every word or idea on each episode.

Challenging the Assumptions of Classical Theism

What came to be known as the classical view of God’s nature has shaped the common, traditional way that most people think about God. It is based in the logic borrowed, mostly unconsciously, from a major strand within Hellenistic philosophy. In sharp contrast to ancient Israelites, whose conception of God at work in this strand of ancient Greek philosophy was most fundamentally a concept that explained all that was not self-explanatory—namely, the contingent, ever-changing, limited, compound world. [...] The post Challenging the Assumptions of Classical Theism appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Could Heaven Exist Without Hell?

“Miss Driver, look at my hand! I was playing Bloody Knuckles.” I winced appropriately, but then inwardly ranted about the stupidity of the game, not understanding anyone who plays Bloody Knuckles or appreciates boxing. Don't get me wrong. I like a good competition and totally understand that games sometimes mean getting beaten up. But those are in games which have a goal other than “inflicting pain” --goals like getting the ball to the other side of the field or earning points. Blame my gender, personality or pacifistic convictions. Whatever. But perhaps my reaction to hurting others explains why I struggled when Herman Reitz’ SS class discussed Joshua and Judges (books in the Bible about the Israelites fighting other countries). How could the God who taught turning the other cheek and dying for one’s enemy actually promote war and killing? How did my pacifistic stance fit with this Warrior God? But Miroslav Volf’s quote echoed in my mind every single Sunday: “If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence that god would not be worthy of our worship". Perhaps I was the one who had it wrong. Perhaps instead of asking how a loving God fit with this wrathful God, I should have been asking why I expected a loving, peace-desiring God to not attack evil? As Martin Luther King, Jr. declares, “To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.” Or Edmund Burke puts it slightly differently, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Which brings me to the question, do I really want a God who doesn't confront evil? Do I want a God who isn't angry at sex trafficking, murder, or laws exploiting the poor?
We’d call someone a bad parent who ignored his child playing on the street or didn't prevent his child from a candy-only diet. A loving parent protects his child from death and sickness. Yet, when God is saddened by how sin is harming us and He longs to protect us from the effects --well, we complain that He’s strict, harsh, hateful and in-our-business. “A loving God wouldn't require me to do that,” we say, or “A loving God will forgive me.” Yes, just like a parent will forgive his child for hitting a sibling, God longs to forgive us, but that doesn't mean a parent isn't showing love when he tells his child not to hit or doesn't want what is best for the child when he punishes the child for hitting. God longs to restore us to perfection and happiness, but He knows we won't see our need for restoration without consequences and guidelines. For perfection to happen, evil must be destroyed. I, personally, am often quiet when it comes to confrontation. If a friend is in a harmful relationship, I think, “I don't know the whole situation.” If an acquaintance is making stupid choices about his money, I say, “Well, it's none of my business.” If a coworker is deceiving his students, I argue, “I shouldn't impose my standards on him.” In one such situation, I kept my mouth shut about my disagreement with a friend’s decision. But later I realized that if he had been my sibling there is no way I could have remained quiet! I would have pleaded with him, cried for him and prayed that God would change him. The difference between the friend and the sibling? Love. The more I love a person, the more I am going to speak into his life. Similarly, God’s love for us means that He pleads for us not to sin, and He longs to cleanse the sin in our lives. He speaks into our lives --not because He hates us-- but because He loves us. Thus, a loving God requires that there be a hell. A God who wants His people to experience the joy and abundance of heaven will out of necessity remove those who want to continue to selfishly exploit and hate others. If governments didn't exist, then crime would be rampant. If hell didn't exist, then the biggest bully would be the winner, gaining the most comfort in this life and the life to come. If hell didn't exist, we'd know that God didn't care what happened on earth and that there was no fulfillment in pursuing Him. Joy requires sadness removed. Health means getting rid of the infection.
Love comes when selfishness flees.
Thus, a God of love must be a God of justice; our sin requires death (Jesus’ death), and heaven cannot exist without hell.
 
Work Cited:
Volf, Miroslav. Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996. Print.

Paul, Creation & Evolution #1 – Why our Conversations about Science Matter (EP-48)

In this series, Kurt will explore Paul's worldview concerning God and creation. What did Paul have in the background? How did this affect how he would think about Adam and Eve? Then, we will end our series looking at Romans 5 and its compatibility with evolution (or lack there of).

GIVE THE SHOW SOME LOVE

1) If you would be so kind to hop on iTunes (or your feed of choice) and leave The Paulcast a review there, that would be amazing. The more reviews we can get will lead to greater visibility in iTunes. And I (Kurt) LOVE reading your comments!

2) Also, please consider hitting up The Paulcast Patreon online tip-jar (think Kickstarter for ongoing content creators). For $3 per month, or more, you can make a direct impact on this show. Financial partners like you really do make this all possible! Through Patreon, you make a tangible difference in this show’s sustainability and quality!

http://patreon.com/kurtwillems

EPISODE SPONSORS

This episode is sponsored by Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. They are excited to announce the launch of the new Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture. This online program, designed for practicing pastors and ministry entrepreneurs, will help you understand and integrate sub-cultures, theology, and leadership into practice. Guest faculty like Bruxy CaveyGreg Boyd and Brian Zahnd model practical integration of Anabaptist theology and 21st century kingdom work. Learn more at fpu.edu/paulcast

*Sponsors do not endorse every word or idea on each episode.

Death is Dead

I’m a busy man these days. No busier than others, I suppose. I like to blame my illness and many life transitions for my lack of writing and rigorous intellectual thought as of late. But I am without excuse. Regardless, I want to write something, anything, about this Easter weekend. What better to write about than death? The greater meaning associated with this arbitrary weekend is that death is truly the only lifeless creature in this reality.  Continue reading "Death is Dead"

Crucified Transcendence

If our thinking about God is to be faithful to the New Testament, then all of our thinking about God must, from beginning to end, be centered on Christ. I’m persuaded that even our thinking about God in his transcendent, eternal state should begin and proceed with the Pauline conviction that we know nothing “except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (2 Cor. 2:2). [...] The post Crucified Transcendence appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

God on God’s Terms

As human beings, we tend to want God on our own terms. We want what we want from God when we want it. We want God to validate our assumptions, our preferences, our view of how the world works or ought to work. We want to drape all of our aspirations and self-understandings and projects and identity constructions with divinity. Anne Lamott once remarked that one sure way to tell if you’ve created God in your image is when he ends up hating the same people you do. I suspect that the opposite is also true. I am suspicious when God ends up loving only and always the things that I do in precisely the ways that I love them.
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