Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Good Book for a Good Cause pt. 2: Some highlights from Sweeney's review

Earlier I posted that Sweeney had written a review of Max Turner's festschrift.  Here are a couple highlights from the review, and Sweeney's recommendation.

Two chapter's stood out to me regarding their potential for an immediate contribution from academia to the church.  Of course, I am unsure beyond Sweeney's review how well these chapters were executed.  But here is Sweeney's words on them:

First, Mark Strauss explores Jesus and the Spirit in the Gospels as a test-case for when systematic theology can aid a biblical theological investigation that has reached its textual limits.  The relation of biblical and systematic theology continues to be a hot topic:

In “Jesus and the Spirit in Biblical and Theological Perspective: Messianic Empowering,
Saving Wisdom, and the Limits of Biblical Theology,” Mark L. Strauss initially provides
brief summaries of the role of the Spirit in Jesus’ ministry in the Synoptic Gospels, with
focus on Luke, and the Gospel of John. The common feature he finds in the four Gospels
regarding Jesus’ relationship to the Spirit is that the Spirit functions as the essential
empowering and revelatory agent for Jesus to accomplish his messianic task (272).
Following this, Strauss undertakes to bridge biblical and systematic theology in exploring the role of the Spirit in relation to the humanity and deity of the incarnate Christ. He notes that this question cannot be answered through exegesis alone, for the texts of the Gospels were not intended to answer the issues that arise from philosophical and theological questions about the incarnation. In this regard, biblical theology must give way to philosophical and speculative theology.

Next, Graham McFarlane explores the activity of the Spirit in the believer's life and its integral part of reconciling us to one another.  The relevant contemporary focus of this essay is especially eye-catching:

Graham McFarlane’s “Towards a Theology of Togetherness—Life through the Spirit”
offers reflections on a theology of human togetherness or at-one-ment in the context of
global lack-of-human-togetherness (sin). In so doing McFarlane reflects on the ongoing
reconciling role of the Spirit in the work of Christ on the cross in contemporary context.
The Spirit’s role in atonement includes believers’ reception of power to become children
of God, enablement to live by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, gifts, a realizable eschaton, and the gift of true forgiveness. 
 I am excited to read these potions soon.  Also, the notable contributions of Richard Bauckham, James Dunn, Conrad Gempf, D.A. Carson, among others, are works I look forward to reading.

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