Book Review: Timothy D.Padgett, ed. Dual Citizens: Politics and American Evangelicalism

Padgett, Timothy D., Ed. Dual Citizens: Politics and American Evangelicalism. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2020. 489 pp.; Hb.  $28.99  Link to Lexham Press

This volume is a collection of essays on American politics drawn from the pages of Christianity Today. In 2015 The Washington Post called Christianity Today “evangelicalism’s flagship magazine.” Timothy Padgett sifted through sixty years of articles and editorials in Christianity Today to collect the essays in this volume.

Padgett, Dual CitizensThe material is divided into five topical chapters with essays arranged chronologically (as early as 1956 and as recent as 2016). Charles Colson (with and without Nancy Pearcey) is featured frequently, and there are articles from Ron Sider, Carl F. H. Henry, and Francis Schaeffer.

The first chapter focuses on U.S. Presidents. There are editorials on the Kennedy Assassination, Watergate, and the election of Ronald Reagan. Philip Yancey’s “Why Clinton is Not Antichrist” (August 1993) is still timely, just swap out Clinton for the current candidate for antichrist. The chapter concludes with three essays concerning the 2016 election, Ron Sider, “Why I’m Voting for Hillary Clinton” followed by James Dobson, “Why I’m Voting for Donald Trump” and Sho Baraku, “Why I’m Voting for Neither Candidate.”

The second chapter covers the “Religious Right and Evangelical Left.” The essays concentrate on the growing influence of Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority, including a three-views essay by Charles Colson, Jerry Falwell and Jim Wallis on “The Christian as Citizen.” Sadly, this chapter only includes essays up to 2007 so there is nothing on so-called evangelicals and the 2016 election.

The third chapter concerns “Communism and Foreign Policy.” It may seem odd today, but Christianity Today published an article by J. Edgar Hoover on “The Communist Menace” in 1960. Even Billy Graham participated in these anti-communist essays with “Facing the Anti-God Colossus” (1962). The chapter includes Charles Colson’s response to the collapse of the Soviet Union, “If Communism Fails, Do We Win?” (1989) and his defense of “Just War in Iraq” (2002).

The fourth turns back to “Domestic Affairs,” although this essentially means race relations and abortion. Beginning with Earle Ellis, “Segregation in the Kingdom of God” (1957), the book collects quite a few articles on desegregation and race relations. In an essay dated September 30, 1957, the editors say “The Christian church should work for the elimination of every restriction, discrimination and humiliation aimed at people of any race. She should preach and exemplify love and compassion and consideration at all times” (321). In an important essay, “Our Selective Rage.” Ron Sider points out that being pro-life means more than being anti-abortion, a message that has fallen upon deaf ears in recent years.

The last chapter, “God and Country,” deals with the relationship of the church and state. Even as early as 1957, evangelicals were writing articles with titles like “is America Losing Her Cultural Distinctives?” (S. Richey Kamm) and “America’s Future: Can We Salvage the Republic?” (Carl F. H. Henry). Terry Muck suggested in 1987 separating church and state does not require separating religion and politics “The Wall that Never Was” (454). In 2001, Charles Colson warned “poll-driven elections turn voters into self-seeking consumers” (“Pander Politics”), another message that would be good for contemporary Christian leaders to here.

Overall, this is a fascinating book which documents several important shifts within the evangelical world. There are a number of issues missing from this collection, such as homosexuality, feminism, and environmentalism, but this is the choice of the editor. Perhaps another volume will appear collecting articles on these topics. It would be fascinating to track the developing viewpoints within the larger evangelical world on these controversial topics.

It is sometimes shocking how conservative some of the early articles are compared to contemporary Evangelical thinking (the articles on communism for example). On the other hand, reading these essays draws attention to the dumbing-down of evangelical political thinking over the last decade (culminating in the last five years). This book serves well as documentation of the ongoing development of conservative Christianity in America.

Thanks to Lexham Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Murray J. Harris, Navigating Tough Texts

Harris, Murray J. Navigating Tough Texts: A Guide to Problem Passages in the New Testament. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2020. 222 pp.; Pb.  $23.99  Link to Lexham Press

Murray Harris is well-known from his 2005 commentary on 2 Corinthians in Eerdmans’ NIGTC Series and in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary as well as his books on New Testament exegesis. This new book designed for pastors, teachers, theological students and thinking Christians who want to think more deeply about their faith and be exposed to some of the intricacies of the Greek language. Harris explains the studies in this volume arise out of his own experience teaching the New Testament for fifty years. The acknowledgment page points out some of his answers rely on some of his earlier published works.

Murray Harris, Navigating Tough TextsThe book answers 123 questions on “hard passages” in the New Testament. Some of these verses have been significant in church history (Matt 1:25 and Mary’s perpetual virginity), others are theological important (Rom 3:25, “the most important verse in the Bible”), evangelistically significant (John 3:16, “unique giving by unique love”) or contain issues relating to the Christian life (Luke 7:47 and forgiveness). Several questions and answers contain apparent contradictions (Acts 21:4, should Paul go to Jerusalem or not?). Some are key passages for understanding the person of Christ (John 1:14 and the incarnation) or the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29, what is the unpardonable sin?). Harris challenges several commonly accepted ideas. For example, commenting on Galatians 4:6 (“Should abba Be Translated as ‘Daddy’”), Harris states abba was not a childish term of the nursery comparable to “daddy” (p. 157).

Questions are arranged in two sections (Gospels and Acts, Epistles) and grouped by books. John has the most questions with nineteen and 1-2 Corinthians combined have twenty-one questions (reflecting Harris’s previous work in these letters). There are only five questions from the three pastoral epistles (and he does not deal with “save by childbirth” in 1 Timothy 2:15). Although he does comment on divorce and remarriage (on 1 Corinthians 7:15) and baptism for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29), he skips the difficult text in 1 Corinthians 11 on head coverings, the problem of people becoming ill or dying as a result of abuses at the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:30) and the very controversial 1 Corinthians 14:28 (silence for women in church). It is important to observe here that the title of the book refers to “tough questions” not “controversial questions.”

Harris’s approach to answering these questions is exegetical. Greek appears in transliteration. He does comment on grammatical and syntactical issues when necessary, but the discussion is presented clearly enough that a non-specialist will follow his point. Most often, his answers rely on lexical studies of key words. For example, in his discussion of Romans 3:25, he defines protheto (“set before himself”), hilasterion (“propitiation” or “atoning sacrifice”) and the phrase “in/by his own blood.” He rarely refers to secondary literature, even when defining key Greek words. This makes Navigating Tough Texts easy to read for the layperson.

Although he discussions theological issues, Harris does not answer theological questions directly, such as, “What is Justification?” Because his approach is exegetical, he does not answer hermeneutical questions directly. He does not answer questions about the synoptic problem in the Gospels or authorship issues in the epistles, not does he really do much in Revelation, a New Testament book which could generate enough questions to fill its own volume! Oddly, Mary’s perpetual virginity is discussed twice (questions #1 on Matthew 1:25 and again on question #16 on Mark 6:3 (the brothers of Jesus).

Conclusion. This book will make for an excellent devotional reader for the layperson who wants to go a little bit deeper than the English translation of the New Testament. In addition, the book will be a good resource for the Bible teacher who is looking to clarify their thinking on some of these difficult topics.

Thanks to Lexham Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Matthew S. Harmon, Rebels and Exiles: A Biblical Theology of Sin and Restoration

Harmon, Matthew S. Rebels and Exiles: A Biblical Theology of Sin and Restoration. Essential Studies in Biblical Theology; Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2020. 207 pp. Pb; $22.  Link to IVP Academic

The Essential Studies in Biblical Theology attempt to span the whole canon of Scripture and seeks to connect the theme to the person of Christ. In this third volume of the series, Matthew Harmon traces the related themes of sin and exile from the original rebellion in the Garden of Eden to the end of the exile in the New Creation. Harmon (PhD, Wheaton College) serves as professor of New Testament studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. Harmon’s The Servant of the Lord and His Servant People: Tracing a Biblical Theme Through the Canon (NSBT) will be published in January 2021. He has also written commentaries on Galatians, Philippians, 2 Peter, and Jude.

Harmon, Rebels and ExilesHarmon acknowledges the catalyst for significant attention on the theme of exile and restoration is the work of N. T. Wright. Wright argues the “return from exile” motif is central for understanding the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Wright himself has published several books and essays on this topic, and these works have generated responses from various scholars. However, this book is not slavishly devoted to Wright, even if his influence is not far from the surface. Harmon’s goal in the book is clearly present how Scripture describes the believer’s experience of exile as “a longing for a place we have never been.” The German word Fernweh expresses this idea (3). He relates this to well-known books (The Hobbit) and films (Terminal), although I am surprised Harmon does not refer to the U2 song “All that you Can’t Leave Behind.”

This longing results from the fall. Harmon therefore begins with a summary of the Fall, “Humanity’s Original Rebellion and Exile” (ch. 1). When humans rebelled and were exiled from the Garden, they lost their status as God’s people, their place in Eden and their experience of God’s presence in the earthly sanctuary of Eden. The promise to Abram in Genesis 12 begins the restoration of these three things; God promised Abram that his descendants will be the people of God, that people will have a place (a land), and a new Edenic home where God’s presence will dwell with them (23).

Chapters 2-3 deal with the reality of the exile foreshadowed as early as Mount Sinai and the golden calf incident. Abraham’s descendants are as rebellious as Adam and will suffer the same kind of exile from the land. Harmon rightly shows the curses for failure to keep the Law result in exile from the land where God’s presence dwells. He traces this theme (briefly) from Joshua to 2 Kings. He describes life in exile as a time when some of God’s people remained faithful to Yahweh (Daniel, for example) while others continued their rebellion against God (Ezekiel 14).

The fourth chapter of the book deals with the prophetic anticipation of the return from exile when Israel repents. The prophets balance nearly every threat of exile with a promise of restoration. Harmon points out four aspects of these promises. First, God promises a restoration of Temple worship. Second, God’s people will (finally) keep his law (Torah). Third, God will restore his people to a particular land (turf, to keep the alliteration going). Fourth, a Davidic king will rule over this restored people (a throne). Harmon argues these four restoration promises embody the foundational components of people, place, and presence lost in the original fall, but promised in the Abrahamic covenant (67).

Since this restoration will require a New Covenant, Harmon examines new covenant language in Isaiah 40-55, Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 34-37. The exiles who returned to Judea in 539 B.C. expected these promises to be fulfilled, but reality did not live up to expectation. They rebuilt the Temple, but God did not fill the second temple with his glory. The returned exiles kept the Torah, but there was still rebellion as demonstrated by the problems addressed by Nehemiah and Malachi. The restored exiles only possessed a fraction of the land and a Davidic king never appeared to rule a restored kingdom. As Harmon describes it, the four aspects of restoration (Temple, Torah, Turf, and Throne) were inaugurated, but not consummated.

Chapters 5-6 pick up the restoration from exile theme from the prophets and apply it to the life and ministry of Jesus, but especially in his death, resurrection and ascension. Harmon follows N. T. Wright closely here and argues Jesus inaugurates the restoration from exile through his ministry. This restoration is demonstrated by his healing the sick (expected in Isaiah 35:5-7, for example), his authority over the demonic realm, and in his teaching ministry. But it is in his death that Jesus brings an end to humanity’s exile. First, Jesus dies as the suffering servant promise by Isaiah. Second, Jesus ends humanity’s exile by drinking the cup of God’s wrath. Third, Jesus ends the exile by dying at Passover as the Passover lamb who takes away the sins of the world. The resurrection in the ascension represents God vindicating Jesus as the one who ends the exile. Harmon considers this an inauguration of the New Covenant and the end of the exile, but the end will not be consummated until the (future) return of Christ (108).

Harmon then turns to the epistles to develop exile themes (ch. 7, “Life as Exiles in a Fallen World”). Given the title for the chapter, it is not surprising that he gives serious attention to the letter of 1 Peter. He excepts the dominant view that 1 Peter was written to Gentile believers, although this once dominant view has a few recent dissenters. This does not distract from Harmon’s point that the letter portrays believers as sojourners and exiles in a fallen world. Through the death of Jesus, sinners are formed into a renewed and redeemed people, yet they are still living in a foreign land and looking forward to the end of the exile. Second, he turns to Hebrews and James as examples of how the church continues to live in exile. Like with 1 Peter, Hebrews and James seem clearly addressed to Jewish Christians who would resonate with the metaphor of exile.  Harmon includes four pages on two Pauline letters, although this is not as convincing as his sections on 1 Peter, Hebrews and James. Regarding Galatians, the examples Harmon offers have little to do with exile. For Philippians, focuses on citizenship in heaven. In either case the exile is not prominent, or even mentioned.

The penultimate chapter examines the book of Revelation and the ultimate end of Exile in the New Creation. There is nothing in this chapter on Revelation as a whole in this chapter, although the book has a great deal to say about living as an exile and second exodus themes run through the main section of the book. Harmon’s focus is in a “final exile” (Rev 20:11-15) and the new heaven and new earth. As expected, Harmon sees the description of the new creation in Revelation 21:1-5 as a new Eden. The river of life flowing recalls the rivers of the original Eden, and the tree of life returns. There is no hint of anything cursed in the new creation, so God’s glorious presence fills the new creation and humans are at least able to live out their purpose of the image bearers of God: “his servants will serve him” (136).

Harmon concludes this book with a chapter on practical implications of sin, exile, and restoration. Please seven brief points are pastoral, focusing on what God has done to fix the brokenness of this world, reminding us that this fallen world is not our home and that are true hope lies in the restoration planned by God from the beginning.

Conclusion. Since one goal of the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology series is accessibility to beginning students and laypeople, Harmon’s book does not interact in detail with scholarly work on the exile and restoration. He has a section of recommendations for further reading divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced studies. He includes the very popular text by Lee Beach, The Church in Exile (IVP 2015) and Stephen Dempster’s Dominion and Dynasty (IVP 2003). Several of the advanced studies interact with N. T. Wright, including two important essay collections: Carey Newman’s Jesus and the Restoration of Israel and James Scott’s Exile: A Conversation with N. T. Wright.

NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Michael Wittmer, The Bible Explainer

Wittmer, Michael. The Bible Explainer: Questions and Answers on Origins, the Old Testament, Jesus, the End Times, and More. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour, 2020. 464 pp.; Pb.; $19.99. Link to Barbour Books   Link to Amazon

In the introduction to this new book from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary professor Michael Wittmer, the publishers explain the Explainer as simple answers to common questions about the Bible. The book is like a “frequently asked questions” page for the Bible and basic Christian theology. Many of these questions and answers clear up misunderstandings about the Bible and Christian theology, others are concise summaries of Christian beliefs.

Wittmer, Bible ExplainerThe book is divided into six parts. The first part covers eighty questions on “Bible Basics: What it is and how we should read it.” Some of these questions are good for new believers opening a Bible for the first time, such as “why does the Bible have chapters and verses” and “why are some letters red?” “What’s a Study Bible?” “What about translations?” Others are more apologetic in nature, such as “How were the original Bible writings preserved?” The answer, “they weren’t.” What follows is about a page on how copies of ancient books were made. A few questions deal with authorship questions. For example, “Did Moses write the Pentateuch?” and “Who wrote Isaiah?” Three related questions (36-38) deal with the truth of the Bible; question 41 asks, “What should I do if I think I’ve found an error?” Question 54 lays out a simple four-point method for understanding any Bible passage and several other questions and answers focus on reading various genres in the Bible. For example, question 64, “What’s up with the Song of Solomon?” The final line of the answer is, “take a cold shower.” Questions 75 and 75 lay out six steps in applying biblical passages to one’s personal life.

The second part concerns Origins: Where everything comes from (forty-six questions). Much of this section is what might be called theology proper, with questions on Trinity and the nature of God. He answers why, when and how God created the world. In question 92, Wittmer compares four views of creation, noting both strengths and weaknesses of each view. This section also tackles Adam and Eve, Sin and the Fall, the origin of Satan and the fallen angels, and the problem of evil. The section covers many questions people have about the flood and the events after the flood. Wittmer also gives an answer for where Cain got his wife and whether (or not) the angels had sex with humans.

In part three, Wittmer answers questions on Israel and why the Old Testament matters today (thirty questions). If Part two covered Genesis 1-11, part three covers the seep of Israel’s history from Abraham (Genesis 12) to the years just prior to Jesus in about sixty pages.  Some are questions of basic facts, such as “Why are God’s people called Hebrews, Israel and Jews”? or “Who is Yahweh?” to more difficult theological problems such as “did God command Israel to commit genocide?” The section has several matters of application of the Law, such as “what does the Bible teach about” issues like immigration, homosexuality, polygamy, or slavery? Wittmer deals with the very common criticism of Christianity, “Why do Christians follow the Old Testaments teaching on homosexuality bit not its commands about eating bacon and shrimp?” And yes, I caught the allusion to Ron Swanson: “bacon wrapped shrimp.”

Part four concerns Jesus: who he is and what he means (forty questions). This unit is more theological than the first three, beginning with “who is Jesus?” and “Was Jesus divine?” Wittmer deals with several questions about Jesus’s teaching such as was Jesus a pacifist, a feminist, socialist, or a racist?  (He answers “Was Jesus married” with a simple, one-word answer. You will need to buy the book to find out what it is.)

The fifth part of the book covers a range of theological questions on “how the New testament affects our world” (thirty-two questions), but the primary focus of the section is what the church believes and how the church functions today. For example, he defines grace, salvation, faith, repentance, adoption, and prayer (although there are no questions and answers on justification by faith, redemption, reconciliation). He also defines key terms used frequently in churches a new believer may not fully understand, such as sacrament, baptism, Lord’s supper.  Several questions in this section clear up misunderstandings about what the church is. “Does God want my money?” Does God want to take away my fun?” There are a few controversial issues here, such as women in ministry, speaking in tongues, and how Christians ought to relate to their government.

The last section concerns the end times, heaven and hell. At only seventeen questions, this is by far the shortest section, although questions these topics could fill an entire book. More than half of these deal with heaven and hell. He defines millennium, rapture, antichrist, Armageddon and the significance of 666 (no, it is not who you are thinking…) For most of these he compares and contrasts the views of dispensationalism and amillennialism and he treats both sides fairly. But the most important things for Wittmer are the “three Rs: the return of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and the restoration of all things” (438).

Occasionally he sneaks an extra question into the book, for example, “What are BCE and CE” (page 48). There are two-pages each on the Roman Catholic Church vs. Protestant church and the Western church vs. the Eastern church. Since these are not phrased in the form of a question, they are not counted as one of the 250 questions. Wittmer has a sense of wry humor, and this comes through in his answers. For example, “the Bible is a big book. It’s much larger than Cool Dads of Teenagers or The Wisdom of Daytime Television, though it is still roughly 30% smaller than the Harry Potter series” (18). In discussing how Christians ought to relate to their government, “I’m looking at you America.”

Conclusion. The Bible Explainer is an excellent book for a new or young believer who has questions about the content of the whole Bible. It would make an excellent supplement to a basic discipleship class in a local church or a supplement for a small group Bible study or a handy reference for Sunday school teachers. Although Wittmer includes plenty of Scripture in his answers, the book may be even more useful if each question (or group of questions) concluded with suggestions for further reading.

NB: Thanks to Barbour Books for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: JoAnna M. Hoyt, Amos, Jonah, Micah

Hoyt, JoAnna M. Amos, Jonah, & Micah. Evangelical Exegetical Commentary. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2019. 850 pp.; Hb.; $54.99. Link to Lexham Press

JoAnna Hoyt is visiting professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and an adjunct professor at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics. This new exegetical commentary is a major contribution to the study of these three minor prophets.

Joanna Hoyt, Amos, Jonah, MicahIn the twenty-eight-page introduction to Amos, Hoyt offers a standard overview of the authorship, date, setting and audience of the book. The introduction includes about 20 pages on intertextual issues, including possible allusions to Amos in in Joel and Jeremiah and a brief comment on the quotation of Amos in Acts 15. After a summary of the theology of Amos she turns to the style in genres used by the book. There is nothing particularly controversial in this summary. However, in her section on the unity of Amos she summarizes various redactional theories, especially Hans Walter Wolff’s complex theory found in his Hermenia commentary on Amos (Fortress, 1977). Hoyt concludes, “The proposal that portions of Amos are late additions is based on criteria that cannot be substantiated” (23). The introduction concludes with a lengthy discussion of various suggested outlines for the book of Amos, and exegetical outline, and selected bibliography. A more detailed bibliography appears at the end of each commentary section.

The introduction to Jonah is much more extensive (about seventy-five pages). Authorship is problematic for the book of Jonah; Hoyt herself consider is it at least possible Jonah wrote the book himself, but it is more likely the author is an anonymous third-party who lived “during Jonah’s lifetime or at some later point” (339). She provides two pages setting Jonah into the context of 1 Kings 14 and deals in detail with the problem of when the story was actually written. Here she follows John Walton and dismisses Aramaisms as requiring a late date. Intertextual connections with Joel may be more important, but it must be admitted the date of Joel is not certain either. After providing several pages on the historical setting of the book of Jonah and the end of the Syrian empire, she surveys several doubts scholars have about the historicity of Jonah. Most of these doubts center on the city of Nineveh, and why God would send an Israelite prophet like Jonah to Nineveh in the first place. These doubts also include the problem of three nights in a fish.

She cites approvingly Douglas Stewart who concluded “it is important to note that there is ample evidence to support the historicity of the book, and surprisingly a little to undermine it” (364). But of course, a fictional story could be set into a proper historical context, and the story could still be true. This leads to the very difficult problem of genre. Hoyt surveys and critiques suggestions including historical narrative, novella, parable, allegory, and midrash. The increasingly popular view of Wolff that Jonah is a parody or satire. A few have considered the book to be a fairy tale or a fable. Even the psalm in Jonah 2 has been identified as either a thanksgiving or lament, and possibly also satire. Ultimately, Hoyt concludes the book should be read as a historical narrative with satirical elements (377).

In the thirty-two-page introduction to Micah, Hoyt places Micah in the eighth century, responding to the last years of the northern kingdom and kings Ahaz and Hezekiah in Judah. The all of Samarian in 722 B.C. and the Assyrian Invasion in 701 B.C. for the main context for the book. As with Amos, there are several suggestions to explain the so-called hope oracles scattered through the book. For some, their presence shows either a late date for the entire book or a later revision of the book during the exile.

In the commentary’s body each section begins with an introduction followed by an outline. She then provides a fresh translation with textual notes, followed by a verse-by-verse commentary. Hebrew appears in the text of the commentary without transliteration. Matters of technical Hebrew grammar and syntax are found in the footnotes. Each unit ends with a selected bibliography of journal articles or other resources pertaining to the unit. If there is a difficult syntactical or lexical problem in the unit, she will include an excursus, “Additional Exegetical Comment.” Readers without Hebrew can skip these sections without too much loss. Chapter units in with very short Biblical Theology comments, followed by Application and Devotional Implications.

Each commentary ends with an excursus. For Jonah, Hoyt examines Jesus’ mention of the Ninevites in Matthew 12:41/Luke 11:32. In Micah, she has a two-page excursus on high places and three pages on Migdal-eder, the Birth of the Messiah and Christian Myth in Micah 4:8. This is the belief that near Bethlehem there was a special flock of sheep set aside for cultic use at the temple. Pastors often try this special flock of sheep to the shepherds in Luke 2. Although this makes for a great sermon illustration at Christmas time, it is not based on facts. It probably entered popular preaching through Alfred Edersheim’s Life of Jesus the Messiah (1896).

Hoyt interacts with a wide range of secondary literature. As expected by the use of evangelical in the commentary series title, her conclusions are more conservative, although she fully interacts with major English commentaries and monographs on these three prophets.

As with other volumes of this series, Lexham published the commentary simultaneously in print and in the Logos Bible Software. The Logos book takes advantage of all the resources of the software, including tagging cross references and links to other resources when available. To date, there are thirteen commentaries in the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary available to Logos users, with a total of forty-four volumes planned. The series has been redesigned with new covers and Andreas Köstenberger is now the editor of the New Testament. Purchase all thirteen volumes at 20% off through the Lexham website or subscribe to the series and receive new volumes as they are published.

NB: Thanks to Lexham Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book, both in print and Logos format. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: L. Michael Morales, Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption

Morales, L. Michael. Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption. ESBT 2; Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2020. 207 pp. Pb; $22.  Link to IVP Academic

As Ben Gladd says in the introduction to the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology, this new series is dedicated to the essential broad themes of the grand story line of the Bible. Each volume spans the whole canon of Scripture and seeks to connect the theme to the person of Christ. In this new contribution to the series. In this new volume of the series, Morales surveys the historical Exodus out of Egypt (part 1) and the re-use of the Exodus in the prophetic books (part 2; primarily Isaiah). The final three chapters connect the New Exodus motif to the Gospel of John and the future resurrection. Morales previously published Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus (NSBT 37; IVP Academic 2015; reviewed here).

Morales, Exodus Old and NewIn the first chapter of the book, Morales summarizes the first eleven chapters of Genesis as a “exile before Exodus.” He explains that the first rebellion in the Garden resulted in humanity’s alienation from God. This exile from Eden sets up the theme of redemption throughout the rest of scripture.  The call of Abraham anticipates the Exodus. God called Abraham out of his own land and brought into a land God promised to give to his descendants. The rest of Genesis explains how Abraham’s descendants came to live in Egypt.

Israel’s redemption in the historical Exodus from Egypt sets up a three-fold pattern: the (1) redemption of Israel led to the (2) the nation’s consecration by covenant Mount Sinai and then (3) to the consummation of the inheritance in the land of Canaan (107). Morales highlights several important themes in the original Exodus which conform to this tree-fold pattern. First, Morales describes the plagues and crossing of the Red Sea as the destruction of the “Sea Dragon,” the ultimate enemy of God’s people. Second, the tenth plague and the blood of the Passover lamb anticipates John’s description of Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Third, Moses is the servant of the Lord and functions as an intermediary between Israel and their God. Moses frequently intercedes for Israel in both Exodus and Numbers. Even in the Pentateuch, there is an anticipation of a new Moses in the future, a role fulfilled by Jesus. Fourth, Morales focuses on the sacrificial system in order to describe atonement as the covering of sin in anticipation of what Christ will do on the cross. He argues that the sacrificial system has the same three-fold pattern found in the overall Exodus: moving from the purification by blood to consecration and ending with a fellowship meal in the Lord’s house.

The second section of the book examines the prophesied second Exodus, beginning with a brief chapter tracing the history between the Exodus and Solomon’s dedication of the Temple. This is a “third state of sacred history the same pattern of redemption, consecration and consummation (the Temple dedication). Morales argues the dedication of the Temple is a theological reversal of the Tower of Babel and undoes the nation’s exile, the scattering of God’s people after the Exodus. Since Israel fails to keep the covenant and goes once again into exile, the prophets expect a future second Exodus. This second exodus includes five elements: the nations recognizing the glory of the Lord’s name, the coming of a new David, a return of Elijah to prepare for the Lord’s advent, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and resurrection. As is often observed, the historical return from Babylon did not exhaust the prophecies of a second exodus. Only a fraction of the Jews returned to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, a temple which was a shadow of Solomon’s temple. For Morales, these five elements of the second Exodus theme in the prophets are fulfilled by Isaiah’s suffering servant. He briefly summarizes each of the four servant songs and focuses attention on the suffering servant in Isaiah 53. He argues Isaiah 56-66 concerns the servants of the servant, the disciples of the Lord who take up the servant’s role as to be a light to the Gentiles. It is these disciples will draw the nations to Zion.

All of this second Exodus language anticipates the coming of Jesus and his role as the suffering servant to die on the cross. In part three of the book, Morales relates his new Exodus themes to Jesus as the Messiah. In chapters 12-13 he focuses on the Gospel of John because the fourth gospel vividly connects the crucifixion to the Passover. John presents as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and God’s lamb is sacrificed at Passover (John 19:31–37). Morales argues that Jesus’s resurrection is a reversal of the expulsion out of the garden of Eden. He briefly notices that John uses Eden motifs more explicitly in Revelation 22.

In the final chapter, Morales connects New Exodus to the future resurrection. Because he has connected Jesus’s resurrection to Isaiah’s new Exodus, he can examine several passages on the future resurrection in Paul’s writings and consider them “new exodus.” However, there is far more to say about a future aspect of the New Exodus motif by including Revelation in this book. Although the meaning of the images in Revelation 8-9 are controversial, it seems absolutely clear John is drawing on Exodus language to describe the wrath of God. The call to come “out of Babylon” evokes the original Exodus from Egypt. Morales includes a brief reference to Revelation 12 in his chapter on crossing the Red Sea. What God has done in the past, he will do again in the future. Unfortunately, Morales overlooks these second Exodus themes.

A major component of second exodus material from the profits is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For example, Isaiah 51:3 indicates the Spirit will be poured out on Zion, and the wilderness will become like in the desert will become like the garden of the Lord. Picking up on these threads from Isaiah, he argues that the gospel of John presents Jesus as the giver of the Holy Spirit. Finishing the old creation work with his death on the cross as the Passover lamb, Jesus finishes the work of new creation by delivering the Holy Spirit to his people (176). His last chapter focuses on the resurrection, and he lays out Paul’s view of the resurrection in some detail. Although Morales connects new Exodus and resurrection, I am not convinced Paul made the same typological connection.

Conclusion. Since one goal of the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology series is accessibility to beginning students and laypeople, it is not surprising Morales does not interact with the vast literature on use and re-use of the new Exodus motif in the New Testament. However, in a series which seeks to engage the whole canon of Scripture, it is odd that he does not engage Matthew (Dale Allison, Jr., The New Moses: A Matthean Typology), Mark (Rikki Watts, Isaiah’s New Exodus in Mark), or Acts (David Pao, Acts and the Isaianic New Exodus). These more advanced studies do not appear on the further reading page. By limiting his New Testament interaction to two chapters on John’s Gospel and a single chapter on resurrection, Morales overlooks important allusions to the historical Exodus and Isaiah’s New Exodus passages.

NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Mark Meynell, ed. Pages form a Preacher’s Notebook: Wisdom and Prayers from the Pen of John Stott

Meynell, Mark, ed. Pages form a Preacher’s Notebook: Wisdom and Prayers from the Pen of John Stott. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2020. 238 pp.; Pb.  $19.99  Link to Lexham Press

This new book from Lexham Press is a collection of notes, quotes and illustrations from the files of John Stott. Volunteers compiled and digitally scanned Stott’s notes, originally written on 4×6 notecards. Mark Meynell, who worked at All Souls Langham Place with Stott, selected the best of these illustrations for Pages from a Preacher’s Notebook. In the introduction to this book, Meynell suggests that the value of these notes is threefold. First, they are fascinating, insightful and occasionally provocative. Second, they reveal a great deal about Stott’s evolving working methods. And third, these notes model a deep engagement with both Scripture have a contemporary world.

Stott, Preacher's NotebookMeynell presents these notes are in four broad categories: God and Gospel, Church and Christian, World and Worldviews, and Prayers. The entries rarely take up a full page since they originally fit on an index card. Following the title of the note, the note is tagged with two or three themes. When Stott used a quotation, the editor has provided a footnote to the original source.

In the introduction, Meynell observes Stott was a magpie when it came to interesting information or cultural artifacts. Stott’s observations run from church history (Tertullian’s prayer for the government) to observations about contemporary culture (Woody Allen’s film Love and Death). He refers to diverse literary figures (Ebenezer Scrooge as an illustration of covetousness), Mark Twain’s What is Man?, and Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff.  Stott copied out C. S. Lewis’s advice on writing (starting with “turn off the radio” and ending with “don’t use a typewriter”). This originally appeared in The Letters of C. S. Lewis (1966).

His engagement with contemporary culture is clear throughout the book. For example, he uses Gerald Ford’s presidential pardon is an illustration of God’s pardon of sin. Since these notes come from a world before Google, occasionally Stott writes a short biographical note on a contemporary figure. There is a note concerning the rules of cricket. He is aware of popular films and books and even refers to The Simpsons.

Occasionally I wonder about the value of a note. For example, under the heading “addictions, at least two of the notes are dictionary definitions of popular drugs (180-81). There is a list of “Key Astronomical Discoveries” (227-28). There are some notes on the book John Robinson’s Honest to God (1963), although the book is not particularly relevant today. These notes serve to illustrate Stott’s many interests, even if they seem dated.

There are several photographs of original notes scattered throughout the book. The book concludes with a helpful index to names cited in the notes. One thing lacking is a date for each note. Perhaps this information was not available; occasionally I wondered when a particular note was written.

Pages form a Preacher’s Notebook is a fascinating book which sheds light into John Stott’s process for gathering and organizing information. The notes selected for this collection are often thought-provoking, stimulating further thought in a contemporary context.

Mark Meynell has a blog, Quaerentia: a home for seeking, curiosity and curiosities.

Thanks to Lexham Press for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Ben Witherington III and Jason A. Myers, Voices and Views on Paul

Witherington III, Ben and Jason A. Myers. Voices and Views on Paul: Exploring Scholarly Trends. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2020. 233 pp. Pb; $30.  Link to IVP Academic

As the promotional material for this new book from IVP Academic indicates, there have been several major works published on Paul and his theology since Witherington’s The Paul Quest (InterVarsity, 1998).  Both James Dunn and N. T. Wright published massive theologies of Paul. E. P. Sanders published a book on Paul and his Letters in 2015. John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift is widely regarded as a major contribution to Pauline studies. The goal of this book is to summarize the “latest developments” in Pauline studies beginning with a New Perspective on Paul.

Witherington, Voices and Views on PaulAccording to the preface, Witherington’s contribution to this book includes the chapter on N. T. Wright and the section on John Barclay and Stephen Chester; everything else was written by Myers. Both of Witherington’s contributions contain material which originally appeared on his blog.

The first chapter offers on overview on the New Perspective on Paul beginning with Krister Stendahl. This “retrospective” is a preview of the next three chapters which each deal with a major writer associated with the New Perspective, E. P. Sanders (“The Sanders Revolution”), N. T. Wright (“Climbing the Wright Mountain”) and James Dunn (“with Paul and the Boundary Markers”). Each of these chapters describes some of the influences which led to the scholar’s major contributions on Paul. Ths is followed by a fair summary of the details of the view and some critique. Occasionally this critique is quite pointed. For example, in discussing N. T. Wright’s view of the law of Christ, Witherington declares that Wright is simply wrong (p. 75). Later he offers his opinion that Stephen Chester’s view of Romans 7 “founders on the rocks of Philippians 3:6” (198).

The fifth chapter sketches the origins and current state of the apocalyptic reading of Paul. After defining apocalyptic, the chapter begins with Johannes Weiss who focused attention on the apocalyptic elements in Jesus’s teaching and Albert Schweitzer who argued Paul was a thoroughgoing apocalyptic thinker. However, Myers sees Ernst Käsemann’s challenge to Bultmann as the bedrock of the modern apocalyptic Paul view. He summarizes, “Käsemann put forth a radical vision of Paul captured and enraptured his students as well as subsequent interpreters of Paul” (150). These subsequent interpreters include J. Christiaan Beker, J. Louis Martyn, Martinus de Boer, and Beverly Gaventa. Martyn’s commentary on Galatians (AB, 1997) is perhaps the fullest statement of the apocalyptic view, although he published an article as early as 1967 which laid the foundation for his later work. Although Käsemann saw the parousia as the main apocalyptic event, Martyn focused his attention on the cross as the key example of Paul’s apocalyptic thought. For Martyn, it is the cross the divides the ages and represents God’s invasion of this word to defeat the dark forces. Following Jorge Frey, Myers finds this proposal of an invasion to be “deeply flawed and to be a seeming modern attempt to make sense of an ancient world” (160).

The final chapter covers two “Other Voices, Other Views,” John Barclay and Stephen Chester. Barclay’s Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans, 2017) studies grace in an ancient context in order to create a broad taxonomy (“perfections”). One contribution of Barclay’s study is to point out how Grace functions differently an ancient benefaction culture (we are a gift often implied some responsibility or expectation of a return gift) than it does in a modern context (which usually emphasizes a gift given with no thought of return). Although this conclusion does not appear until the final chapter, the writers suggest that Barclay’s view on grace could really change the understanding of some aspects of Paul’s thought (222).

The second half of this chapter focuses on Stephen Chester’s Reading with the Reformers: Reconciling the Old and New Perspectives (Eerdmans, 2017). Chester argues later Lutheran and Reformed traditions do not always engage with the reformers themselves and do not always do justice to their views on Paul. The New Perspective challenged some classic reformation formulations of justification by faith or imputation of sin. What Chester just is that the new perspective is challenging Lutheran and Reformed descendants of Luther and Calvin rather than the reformers themselves.

In a final chapter, Witherington and Myers ask if there is an “Appalling Amount of Paul” in New Testament scholarship today. As it turns out, there may not be enough. They offer three examples. The views covered in this book do not focus on how radical Paul was from a Jewish perspective. Certainly “Paul the Jew” is more prominent since E. P. Sanders, but this is not the central focus of most Pauline studies.  Second, the writers complain most of these studies “truncate Paul” by ignoring books like 2 Thessalonians or Colossians (they do not even mention Ephesians or the Pastorals). Third, another serious omission in most Pauline studies is an account of Paul the missionary. Part of the problem is suspicion of the historical value of the book of Acts in scholarship. Yet Paul presents himself as a preacher of the gospel in his letters. How might Paul’s role as a missionary affect his theology?

Conclusion. I have a few minor quibbles regarding the content. Rather than four chapters on the New Perspective on Paul (the retrospective and one chapter each on Sanders, Dunn, and Wright), this book could be improved by devoting at least a full chapter to the so-called “Paul within Judaism” approach, probably featuring Mark Nanos (which would provide at least one more bad pun in a chapter title). Nanos (and similar scholars) are relegated to a footnote in the concluding chapter. In the chapter on the apocalyptic Paul, they only mention Douglas Campbell’s The Deliverance of God (Eerdmans 2009) in a footnote. Given his weighty contribution, Campbell deserved more attention. However, given the goals for this short book, decisions needed to be made and not everyone’s favorite Pauline interpreter will make the cut.

This book will make an excellent textbook for a Pauline literature course at the undergraduate or graduate level. In fact, seminaries should require this book to give a quick overview of Pauline studies over the last 30 years. The authors have clearly and concisely summarized massive quantities of Pauline theology and made it accessible to those who don’t have the time to wade through a 1700-page book on Pauline Theology.

NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Tremper Longman, III, The Bible and the Ballot

Longman, III, Tremper. The Bible and the Ballot: Using Scripture in Political Decisions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2020. 310 pp. Pb; $24.99.  Link to Eerdmans

Tremper Longman is well-known for his Old Testament scholarship. In this timely book from Eerdmans, he develops a method for applying Scripture to a wide range of controversial topics in contemporary American political debate. As he acknowledges in his preface, he writes as a professional Bible scholar, not an expert in public policy. Longman does not intend to write a book that sets out specific public policy, but rather how relevant principles from the Scriptures apply to particular policy issues. As a result, this book interacts with specific biblical texts and interprets them in their literary, historical, and theological context, as expected by a biblical scholar.

Longman, The Bible and the BallotLongman observes that the Bible is not “an information book dispensing principles” (75) but rather a collection of stories, histories and other genre which communicate information, arouse emotions and stimulate the imagination to form the reader person. The book therefore concentrates on “discovering biblical principles relevant to thinking through issues of public policy” (75). In his introduction he reviews Niebhur’s classic five categories from Christ and Culture and compares them to Craig Carter’s critique of Niebuhr (Brazos, 2006). Longman concludes that there is no one best strategy or formula of Christian interaction with culture. On some issues, a “Christ above culture” approach might be preferred, for other issues a “Christ against culture” may be necessary. Longman argues that the Bible simply does not give us instructions about specific policy decisions. If the Christian is going to interact with culture, they need to know the relevant biblical principles and be able to understand situations in order to know how to apply these principles (9).

The first section of this book sets out his interpretative method, beginning with an understanding of biblical genre so that the reader interprets the text in its original, ancient context. He uses biblical law as his example, discussing several laws found in the Old Testament that apply the general ethical principles of the Ten Commandments to cultural and religious issues in the ancient world. All the laws have principles at work which go beyond the general ethical teachings of the Ten Commandments.

Since there is continuity between the Old and New Testaments, Longman advocates a Redemptive-Ethical Trajectory for developing principles to be applied to issues that go beyond the Bible. Here he follows William Webb, Slaves, Women and Homosexuals (InterVarsity, 2001). Longman concludes, “It is important to carefully consider Old Testament law and even New Testament ethical pronouncement before assuming that the church today should adopt or assume their continuing validity” (49). But he also points out that we should not assume there is an ethical trajectory from the Old to the New, nor that the New Testament is more “progressive” than the Old Testament.

After summarizing central biblical theological themes, he then turns to a series of issues which are controversial for temporary American political discussion. Some of these are standard fair for these sorts of studies (war, abortion, capital punishment). Other issues have become more important in the last few years. For example, Longman has a chapter on nationalism, patriotism, and globalization and another on religious liberty. He discusses same-sex marriage, the environment, immigration and racism in separate chapters.

Many readers will approach this kind of book with their own assumptions about each of the issues Longman has covered and judge this book based on whether his conclusions agree with those assumptions. This is an unfortunate byproduct of current American political discussion: the myth that there are only two sides to any issue, conservative or liberal. But Longman is not writing a book from one political perspective or the other. His goal is to examine the principles which ought to guide a decision on these issues. His chapters are therefore decisively weighted towards discussion of biblical text. There are usually only a few pages on “public-policy implications.”

Each chapter ends with a summary statement entitled “attitudes and dispositions.” This is important because his conclusions address Christian’s mindset before approaching a particular issue. For example, in dealing with same-sex marriage, he says, “Christians should begin by acknowledging their own brokenness in the area of sexuality and work to maintain their own sexual integrity.” He encourages readers to remain faithful to the biblical teaching on sexuality, but also love people who are in the LBGTQ+ community. Most important, the Christian community should never demonize this community because all people are God’s precious creatures created in the image of God and therefore worthy of respect (231).

Conclusion: Longman’s The Bible and the Ballot is timely since American evangelical Christianity is divided politically like never before. Unfortunately, many of the people who decide public policy are ill-prepared to do the exegetical work necessary to understand biblical principles.

Thanks to Eerdmans for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Book Review: Benjamin L. Gladd, From Adam and Israel to the Church

Gladd, Benjamin L. From Adam and Israel to the Church: A Biblical Theology of the People of God. ESBT 1; Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2019. 182pp. Pb; $22.  Link to IVP Academic

In the introduction to this first volume of the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology, series editor Benjamin Gladd explains the need for a new series of books on Biblical Theology. The ESBT series is dedicated to the essential broad themes of the grand storyline of the Bible. The goal of the series is to explore the central biblical-theological themes of the Bible. The series is intentionally limited to ten volumes supporting and interlocking with one another to form a cohesive unit.

Gladd, From Adam to IsraelIn this inaugural volume of the series, Gladd presents a biblical theology of the people of God within the theological framework of covenant theology. Throughout the book he emphasizes a single covenant community from Genesis to Revelation. This is in contrast to dispensationalism, which makes a distinction between the church and ethnic Israel. For Gladd, there is one people of God throughout Scripture, beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing through the new creation.

The first two chapters of this volume examine creation and fall. Following Greg Beale, Gladd argues Eden was like a cosmic temple and God gave Adam and Eve specific roles when he created and commissioned them. God commissioned Adam and Eve to serve as kings, having dominion over creation and extending God’s rule beyond the garden. Second, God called Adam and Eve to serve as priests, caring for the garden. Third, they were commissioned as prophets, communicating God’s word to their children.

Adam and Eve failed in these roles and destroyed their commission when they rebelled against God in the fall. As kings, Adam and Eve ought to have guarded the garden and subdued the serpent; as priests Adam and Even ought to have rid the sanctuary of the defilement of the serpent;  as prophets, they ought to have meditated on God’s word and answered the serpent’s words with God’s word (p. 23-24). As a result, God exiles Adam and Eve from the garden. The rest of Scripture is the story of God restoring the image of God destroyed in the fall. Gladd contrasts the ungodly line of Cain with the godly line of Seth to show the restored image of God will continue (although he does not notice the flood destroyed both lines).

The scenario Gladd describes is compelling, but it is not clear that it is grounded in what the text actually says. I am quite attracted to Beale’s suggestion that Genesis presents the Garden of Eden as a sanctuary and there are clear connections between Eden and the Tabernacle and Temple. In fact, Adam as a priest in the cosmic garden-temple is not a problem, even if it is not explicit in Genesis 2-3. However, I am not convinced Adam and Eve functioned as kings or prophets in Eden. I know Gladd is building a typology from Adam, to Israel and ultimately to Jesus and the church, but it seems to me that he started at the end (Jesus is prophet, priest and king) and read that typology back into Genesis. This is how typology often works.

The next two chapters argue God intended Israel to be a new Adam. Like Adam, Israel was to rule as kings and to function as priests and prophets. He develops a typology between Eden and Sinai and shows the Tabernacle was intentionally designed to reflect Eden. Israel is to rule the land promised to Abraham on God’s behalf. Exodus 19:5-6 describes Israel as a kingdom of priests, created to be holy and set apart from the nations so that God could dwell in their midst. This explains why Israel was to expel the Canaanites from the land; like the serpent in Eden, they must purge all forms of spiritual uncleanliness from the new Eden of the Promised Land (p. 43). As prophets, Israel ought to have confronted the idolatry of the nations, communicating the first two of the ten commandments.

However, Israel also experienced a fall, resulting in their exile from the land. The people cannot maintain the holiness demanded by the Law and worship the gods of the nations. For Gladd, “Israel” does not refer to ethnic Israel even in the Old Testament. It is only the righteous remnant that is “real Israel.”  Gladd says, “The remnant within the nation relates to the covenant community spiritually and participates in the covenant of grace (Gen 3:15)” (p. 54, emphasis original). Gladd cites Romans 9:6 here, “not all who are descended form Israel belong to Israel.”

Yet the prophets of the Old Testament looked forward to a restoration of Israel to their former place in the “latter days” (ch. 4). The nature of this restoration is where Gladd intentionally draws a contrast with dispensationalism. Although he is not wrong, Gladd cites the success of the dispensational Left Behind series as the cause of much confusion about Israel’s future. He tracks many of the same Scripture dispensationalists use but concludes these prophecies do not refer to a future restoration of ethnic Israel. Commenting on Romans 9-11, Gladd states “the Old Testament, as far as I can tell, never talks about the restoration of the theocratic nation of Israel” (p. 128, emphasis original). It is possible to argue many in the Second Temple period expected a restoration of a Davidic king and a re-gathering of the exiles to the land. For Gladd, the restoration of Israel in prophetic texts refers to Jesus as the true king, priest and prophet. Where Adam and Israel failed in these divinely appointed roles, Jesus will succeed.

Gladd argues in the next three chapters Jesus fulfills Israel’s destiny as the king, the priest, and the prophet. The Gospels present Jesus as the king, especially the Gospel of Mark. Gladd conflates king, messiah, and the divinity of Jesus in this section. Jesus is not a conquering Davidic king but rather the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 or the cut-off anointed one of Daniel 9. Jesus rules as the firstborn of creation (Col 1:15), connecting the rule of Jesus to Adam, the firstborn of creation.

Jesus as a priest is more difficult to demonstrate from the Gospels, so Gladd touches on the Temple “cleansing” and argues Jesus’s sacrifice is better than the Old Testament as he functions as the faithful high priest. For Gladd, Jesus ushers in a new age and God’s presence is among his people, so there is no need for a physical temple. Jesus is the true temple. The temple at the time of Jesus had become a place of rampant, so Jesus fulfills Old Testament expectation that God would do well with humanity and act as a faithful priest by purging evil from the temple. This chapter is not as dependent as the book of Hebrews as expected because Gladd’s focus is on Jesus as the end times temple. As Adam and Eve’s commission was to increase the number and fill the earth, so too does Jesus comission his disciples to fill the earth by going to the nations with the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).

The chapter on Jesus as a prophet focuses on his conflict with the devil (overcoming the devil through God’s word) and “passing on the divine image” (1 Cor 15:42-53). 1 Corinthians 15 (or Romans 5:21-21) explicitly connects Adam and Christ; where Adam failed, Christ succeeded. Adam’s body died because of sin; Christ’s body was raised to incorruptible flesh. Just as Adam passed the image of God on to Seth, Christ will pass the image of God on to believers at the resurrection.

As representatives of Jesus Christ in the world, the Church now functions in some like Jesus. Here Gladd extends his Christological typology to ecclesiology by arguing the church functions as kings, priests and prophets. He makes a distinction between divine authority represented by Jesus as Messiah and the apostolic community, and the general authority held by pastors, teachers, elders, deacons and every believer. The church does not have the same “divine authority” as the apostolic community because it is under the authority of Scripture. The church therefore functions like kings or priests or prophets, but not exactly like Jesus as Messiah or the apostolic (messianic) circle.

Gladd briefly touches on Romans 9-11 in his chapter on the church ruling as kings. He states this complex debate is outside of the scope of this book, but it seems to me to be more important enough to merit more than a single page. After all, if Paul thought Israel would be restored, then Gladd’s understanding of the prophecy is flawed. Gladd says he is not convinced the church has replaced Israel, nor does he think dispensationalists are correct when they argue God will keep his Old Testament promises to restore the nation of Israel physically by bringing them back to the Promised Land. Instead, he argues true Israel is composed of a remnant of Christian Gentiles and a remnant of Christian Jews (p. 129).

Finally, Gladd looks to the end of the canon by arguing the Church’s function in the New Creation. He argues the Book of Revelation presents the new creation as God’s temple, a restoration of the Edenic Temple. It is therefore not no surprise that God’s people will be priests in the new temple and function as kings in the new creation. It is certainly much more difficult to see how believers will function as a prophet in the new creation, but he suggests individuals will recall the redemptive acts of God in worship.

Conclusion. Gladd’s From Adam and Israel to the Church does indeed tell the story of the unified people of God from the Garden to the New Creation. It reflects classic Covenant Theology with its focus on a single people of God while avoiding replacement theology or an over-emphasis on covenants to unify Scripture. By using the Christological typology of king, priest and prophet, Gladd is able to unify pre-fall Eden, Israel and the Church around the work of Christ.

 

NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.