Biblical Theology

Review of God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King by Abernethy and Goswell
Biblical Theology , Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 23, 2022

Abernethy, Andrew T. and Gregory Goswell. God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020, pp. xii + 292, $29.99, paperback. Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment but the fulfillment of what? Over the years people have made him into their own image, as the fulfillment to their own self-determined needs and ideals. Think of all the images constructed: Jesus the fulfillment of Plato and Aristotle, a teacher of liberal morals, a Hindu Sage, a Nazi, a Marxist revolutionary, a hippie, the greatest salesman, the greatest therapist, a Hollywood superstar. Jesus of Nazareth came to fulfill what?  The real Jesus of Nazareth came to fulfill the BC Scriptures. That was and is his “job description.” He is “the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26), God’s Messiah. The words “Christ” in Greek (christos) and “Messiah” in Hebrew (mashiach) mean “Anointed One” (cf. John 1:41). While Jesus fulfills the BC Scriptures in many ways, one crucial dimension is the royal Messianic King from the line of David, anointed with the Holy Spirit. To understand Jesus of Nazareth as the anointed Davidic King requires study of the BC Scriptures. For that study I recommend this volume. Andrew T….

Review of Contemplating God with the Great Tradition: Recovering Trinitarian Classical Theism by Craig A. Carter

Carter, Craig A. Contemplating God with the Great Tradition: Recovering Trinitarian Classical Theism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021, pp. 352, $32.99, paperback. Craig A. Carter currently serves as research professor of theology at Tyndale University in Toronto, Ontario, and he serves also as theologian in residence at Westney Heights Baptist Church in Ajax, Ontario. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of St. Michael’s College and has published multiple books within the discipline of theological studies. Carter is both Reformed and Baptist, confessing the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689). The book at hand is the second part of a trilogy that aims to recover important insights from the classical Christian tradition. The first installment was Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis, which took up the subject of classical theological hermeneutics. In Contemplating God with the Great Tradition (CGGT), Carter argues that Christians today should be intentional with retrieving and confessing the doctrines of God and the Trinity that were developed by the pro-Nicene patristic fathers along with the hermeneutics and metaphysics they used in so doing. This retrieval is necessary if Christians are to confess the doctrines of God and the…

Review of Christian Platonism: A History edited by Hamilton and Kenney
Book Reviews , Philosophy / February 9, 2022

Hampton, Alexander J. B. and John Peter Kenney, eds. Christian Platonism: A History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021, 512, $130.00, hardcover. Christian Platonism: A History is edited by University of Toronto Assistant Professor Alexander J. B. Hampton and Saint Michael’s College Professor Emeritus John Peter Kenney. The individual chapter authors range from various universities around the world from Cambridge to Notre Dame to Toronto to Oxford. It is hard to imagine that the editors could have assembled a more well-educated group for the topic. And at over 500 pages, it is a dense, well-researched, tour de force on the topic. The book is divided into three parts: Concepts, history, and engagements. Before the main three sections the editors provide an overall introduction to Christianity and Platonism. The editors argue that the term “Christian Platonism,” for the purposes of this book, is elastic given the complex relationship between Christianity and Platonism and the significant variances across history (p. 3). However, they do suggest that there is one constant thread throughout history: transcendence, or a commitment to a higher level of reality beyond the material world (p. 4). The first section on the major concepts of Christian Platonism begins with a chapter…

Review of Why Read the Bible in the Original Languages? by Takamitsu Muraoka

Muraoka, Takamitsu. Why Read the Bible in the Original Languages? Leuven: Peeters, 2020, pp 106, $24.00, Paperback. Takamitsu Muraoka received a PhD from Hebrew University in 1970 and has served as a lecturer on Semitic languages at Manchester University, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Melbourne University, and chair of Hebrew, Israelite Antiquities, and Ugaritic at Leiden University. Since his retirement in 2003 he has continued to publish in Semitic and Septuagint studies as well as teach biblical languages and the Septuagint in Asian countries. In 2017 he received the Burkitt Medal for Hebrew Bible studies from the British Academy. In Why Read the Bible in the Original Languages, Dr. Muraoka seeks to convince readers that when the Bible is read in its original languages “it can be interpreted and analyzed better or differently than when it is read in this or that modern translation” (7).  He introduces the work by sharing his passion for the languages through a brief autobiography. He then outlines two general principles concerning the value of the biblical languages: (a) there are certain aspects of language (such as poetic devices) that can only be seen in the original language, (b) and reading the original language…

Review of Death and the Afterlife: Biblical Perspectives on Ultimate Questions by Paul R. Williamson

Williamson, Paul R. Death and the Afterlife: Biblical Perspectives on Ultimate Questions. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018, pp. 226, $20, paperback. Paul R. Williamson serves as professor of Old Testament, Hebrew, and Aramaic at Moore College in Sydney, Australia. Among his many published works, Williamson made a previous contribution to the NSBT series in his work, Seal with an Oath (InterVarsity, 2007), where he examined the nature of the biblical covenants as central to God’s advancement of universal blessing. He is a contributor to the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (InterVarsity, 2000) and the co-editor of Exploring Exodus: Literary, Theological and Contemporary Approaches (InterVarsity, 2008). In his most recent publication, Death and the Afterlife: Biblical Perspectives on Ultimate Questions, Williamson explorers the metaphysical reality of death and the afterlife from the vantage point of the Bible’s storyline. After a brief examination of the literature in ancient religious cultures, chapter one outlines the trajectory of the book. Williamson’s chief aim is to evaluate the biblical data related to death, resurrection, judgment, hell, and heaven. Williamson contends (chapter 2) that death, apart from being a ubiquitous reality across the ages and cultures, is diversely variegated. In the Old Testament (OT), death…

Review Article of The Growing Tree of the Global Church: Review Article of Robert F. Rea and Steven D. Cone, A Global Church History: The Great Tradition Through Cultures, Continents, and Centuries by Rea and Cone
Book Reviews , Church History / December 28, 2021

The Growing Tree of the Global Church: Review Article of Robert F. Rea and Steven D. Cone, A Global Church History: The Great Tradition Through Cultures, Continents, and Centuries (London: T. & T Clark Bloomsbury, 2019), pp. xxviii + 847. Michael McClymond Professor of Modern Christianity, St. Louis University When I attended a Protestant seminary in the 1980s, our assigned text for general church history was the venerable work by Williston Walker, D.D., L.H.D., Ph.D. (1860–1922), who had graduated from Amherst College in 1883, from the Hartford Theological Seminary in 1886, from Leipzig University (PhD) in 1888, and then taught and Hartford Seminary, before proceeding to Yale University, where he taught after 1901.  By the time I first encountered it, Walker’s book had already been revised and updated by a team of three scholars from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, first in 1956 (2nd ed.), and then again in 1970 (3rd ed.). A side-by-side comparison between the 1918 and third (1970) editions shows that the essential framework of the original 1918 book—published as soldiers battled in the trenches of World War I—had not appreciably altered, except within the final section of the six-hundred-page book.  “English Unitarianism” was expanded to include both English…

Review of Disability and The Church: A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion by Lamar Hardwick

Hardwick, Lamar. Disability and The Church: A Vision for Diversity and Inclusion. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021, pp. 199, $12.99, paperback. Lamar Hardwick, known as “the autism pastor,” is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. Hardwick is the lead pastor of at Tri-Cities Church in East Point, GA and the author of Epic Church and I Am Strong: The Life and Journey of an Autistic Pastor. Lamar has not always had his current reputation as “the autism pastor.” For many years, Lamar struggled with interpersonal relationships and social anxiety. At the age of thirty-six, doctors diagnosed Hardwick with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In Disability and the Church, Hardwick includes eight chapters devoted to creating an inviting atmosphere for people struggling with a disability. According to Hardwick, the disabled community is the largest minority in the world (p. 12). For Hardwick, many churches are failing at their responsibility to be an inclusive Christian institution. Hardwick explores various avenues through which the church should implement diversity and disability strategies in the body of Christ. If the church wants to make a kingdom impact, Christians must recapture God’s intent of inclusion and access into God’s kingdom (p. 18). In the opening chapter,…

Review of The Problem of the Old Testament: Hermeneutical, Schematic, and Theological Approaches by Duane A. Garrett
Book Reviews , Old Testament / December 16, 2021

Garrett, Duane A. The Problem of the Old Testament: Hermeneutical, Schematic, and Theological Approaches. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2020, pp. 395, $40.00, paperback. Duane A. Garrett is the John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written numerous works on the Old Testament, including a commentary on Hosea and Joel (The New American Commentary), a commentary on Song of Songs and Lamentations (Word Biblical Commentary), and Amos: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text, and A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew. Garrett makes his premise clear from the moment his book is picked up by a reader. How can modern readers make sense of the challenges, or the “problem,” of the Old Testament? He begins the book by defining the problem, which he does by listing three propositions: the Old Testament is hard to define, hard to read, and hard to reconcile with the New (p. 4). He goes on to demonstrate that the lack of a consistent Old Testament theology or definition of the Old Testament among the early church fathers provides an example of these propositions (p. 45). In part two, Garrett outlines the various…

Review of The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible edited by Will Kynes
Book Reviews , Old Testament / December 14, 2021

Kynes, Will, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible. New York: Oxford University Pres, 2021, pp. 712, $150, hardback. Will Kynes is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Samford University. Kynes has authored and edited several books, including his most famous book, An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus (2019) and editing alongside Katharine Dell Reading Job Intertextually (2013), Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually (2014), and Reading Proverbs Intertextually (2018). Following is a summary, a review of the handbook, and a recommendation for the best use of the book. The Oxford Handbook of Wisdom and the Bible is a collection of entries on “Wisdom Literature,” many from renowned scholars such as Raymond Van Leeuwen, Norman Habel, Mark Sneed, and Tremper Longman III. Each essay contributes to reflections on the concept of wisdom and the issue of wisdom literature as a genre (inside front cover). The handbook is divided into two parts. The first section is about “wisdom as a concept, and the second section addresses “‘Wisdom Literature’ as a category” (p. 11). The handbook studies a large chronological window. This captures the concept and development of wisdom literature from pre-biblical books to Rabbinic…

Review of Minding Creation: Theological Panpsychism and the Doctrine of Creation by Joanna Leidenhag
Book Reviews , Philosophy , Theology / December 14, 2021

Leidenhag, Joanna. Minding Creation: Theological Panpsychism and the Doctrine of Creation. London: T&T Clark, 2021. 224 pages. $120.00. Minding Creation is the first full-length treatment of panpsychism for contemporary theological construction. Similar treatments from different perspectives have been published and come to mind that provide similar fruitful discussions. Just consider two recent representative examples: J. T. Turner On the Resurrection of the Dead and my The Soul of Theological Anthropology. All three provide interesting constructive theological treatments of a particular doctrine by drawing from a particular position within the philosophy of mind. Turner advances a theological construction using a version of hylomorphism and I advance a constructive, and in some ways exploratory, defense of Cartesianism. These represent some of the more recent analytic theological literature that moves beyond philosophy of religion to contemporary constructive theology. Leidenhag approaches the doctrine of God’s relationship to creation through a consideration of panpsychism. Panpsychism is the view that mentality is fundamental to the natural world such that it permeates the whole world. She is clear that panpsychism, which serves as a broad category for a host of nuanced positions about the mind, is compatible with distinct comprehensive ontological theories instead of entailing just one (e.g., process…