Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wright, Piper, and reviews by Ken Schenck

Ken Schenck has a number of interesting reviews at least for me on NT Wright and Piper and others. I am glad for the reviews because I am not inclined to read the authors though I might be tempted more by Wright since I read some of the to me loud-sounding Piper the other day. I have read some Dunn years ago before I started working through the psalms. I always liked his writing simply because he reframes Paul with what seems better accuracy than what I grew up with. But like any picture frame, I might occasionally like to look through another one.

I like some of Ken's personal conclusions:

I personally think it is beyond question that a lot of the questions we most debate over in conservative Protestant circles are not the issues Jews of the day were. The New Testament is not about how to get to heaven. It isn't even clear about whether heaven is the place of our eternal destiny.
This is so important and so obvious if you read the NT. The phrase 'getting to heaven' is not what life is about. I cannot find that phrase anywhere. If we are 'in Christ' we are already there, (whatever that means).

I had not read Daniel for ages - Daniel 9 particularly has such deep overtones of Deuteronomy and the Psalms - that I must eventually get to reading it in Hebrew rather than my superficial scan in English. Of course I am going nowhere near the ridiculous abuse of Daniel by late unmentionable 20th century authors.

My own summary of the impact of reading the OT is here jotted down last night from a couple of rare words in Psalm 12. It's my last sentence that expresses for me the now and not yet that is implied in the beloved Daniel. What end are we waiting for or are we coming to? My answer in Christ is
to the death that is in his cross - a unique destruction for the wicked and the hope of all. For whatever is conformed to his death awakens to new life now and in the age to come.
It is not that Paul or any other NT author has 'return from exile' as a lens - but that they have multiple lenses and any pair of glasses you might like is there for the constructing from Biblical texts if you care to mold your frame and polish the lens to your particular corneal shape. It is that in Christ, the end to which we are called is already present. As the Old Testament witness implies, we too, like them can now apprehend it by faith. We have more information, but the impact is the same and even the information that we have can be seen in the mystery of God's choice of Abraham, Moses, Israel, David and the later prophets and poets of that remarkable history.

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