Themelios, Volume 38, Issue 2
157 Pages
English

Themelios, Volume 38, Issue 2

Description

Themelios is an international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith. Themelios is published three times a year online at The Gospel Coalition (http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/) and in print by Wipf and Stock. Its primary audience is theological students and pastors, though scholars read it as well. Themelios began in 1975 and was operated by RTSF/UCCF in the UK, and it became a digital journal operated by The Gospel Coalition in 2008. The editorial team draws participants from across the globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers.
General Editor: D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Managing Editor: Brian Tabb, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Consulting Editor: Michael J. Ovey, Oak Hill Theological College
Administrator: Andrew David Naselli, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Book Review Editors: Jerry Hwang, Singapore Bible College; Alan Thompson, Sydney Missionary & Bible College; Nathan A. Finn, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Hans Madueme, Covenant College; Dane Ortlund, Crossway; Jason Sexton, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary
Editorial Board:
Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
Lee Gatiss, Wales Evangelical School of Theology
Paul Helseth, University of Northwestern, St. Paul
Paul House, Beeson Divinity School
Ken Magnuson, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jonathan Pennington, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
James Robson, Wycliffe Hall
Mark D. Thompson, Moore Theological College
Paul Williamson, Moore Theological College
Stephen Witmer, Pepperell Christian Fellowship
Robert Yarbrough, Covenant Seminary

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Published 13 January 2015
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DESCRIPTION hemelios is an international evangelical teological journal tat expounds and defends te istoric Cristian fait. Its primary audience is teological students and pastors, toug scolars read it as well. It was formerly a print journal operated by RTSF/UCCF in te UK, and it became a digital journal operated by he Gospel Coalition in 2008. he editorial team draws participants from across te globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers. hemeliosis publised tree times a year exclusively online at www.teGospelCoalition.org. It is presented in two formats: PDF (for citing pagination) and HTML (for greater accessibility, usability, and infiltration in searc engines).hemeliosis copyrigted by he Gospel Coalition. Readers are free to use it and circulate it in digital form witout furter permission (any print use requires furter written permission), but tey must acknowledge te source and, of course, not cange te content.
EDITORS General Editor:D. A. CarsonTrinity Evangelical Divinity Scool 2065 Half Day Road Deerfield, IL 60015, USAtemelios@tegospelcoalition.org Managing Editor:Carles Anderson he Crossing 3615 Soutland Drive Columbia, MO 65201, USAcarles.anderson@tegospelcoalition.org Contributing Editor:Micael J. OveyOak Hill heological College Case Side, Soutgate London, N14 4PS, UKmikeo@oakill.ac.uk Administrator:Andy NaselliBetleem College and Seminary 720 13t Avenue Sout Minneapolis, MN 55415, USAtemelios@tegospelcoalition.org
BOOK REVIEW EDITORS Old TestamentJerry HwangSingapore Bible College 9-15 Adam Road Singapore 289886 jerry.wang@tegospelcoalition.org New TestamentAlan hompsonSydney Missionary & Bible College PO Box 83 Croydon, NSW 2132, Australiaalan.tompson@tegospelcoalition.org History and Historical heologyNatan A. FinnSouteastern Baptist heological Seminary P. O. Box 1889 Wake Forest, NC 27588, USAnatan.finn@tegospelcoalition.org
Systematic heology and BioeticsHans Madueme Covenant College 14049 Scenic Higway Lookout Mountain, GA 30750, USAans.madueme@tegospelcoalition.org Etics(but not Bioetics)and Pastoralia Dane Ortlund Crossway 1300 Crescent Street Weaton, IL 60187, USA dane.ortlund@tegospelcoalition.org Mission and CultureJason Sexton Ridley Hall Ridley Hall Road Cambridge, CB3 9HG England jason.sexton@tegospelcoalition.org
EDITORIAL BOARD Gerald Bray,Beeson Divinity Scool; Oliver D. Crisp,Fuller heological Seminary; William Kynes,Cornerstone Evangelical Free Curc; Ken Magnuson,he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; Jonatan Pennington, he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; James Robson,Wycliffe Hall; Micael hate, Duram University; Mark D. hompson,Moore heological College; Garry Williams,he Jon Owen Centre, London heological Seminary; Paul Williamson,Moore heological College; Stepen Witmer,Pepperell Cristian Fellowsip.
ARTICLES Articles sould generally be about 4,000 to 7,000 words (including footnotes) and sould be submitted to te Managing Editor ofhemelios, wic is peer-reviewed. Articles sould use clear, concise Englis, followinghe SBL Handbook of Style(esp. for abbreviations), supplemented byhe Cicago Manual of Style. hey sould consistently use eiter UK or USA spelling and punctuation, and tey sould be submitted electronically as an email attacment using Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx extensions) or Ric Text Format (.rtf extension). Special caracters sould use a Unicode font.
REVIEWS he book review editors generally select individuals for book reviews, but potential reviewers may contact tem about reviewing specific books. As part of arranging book reviews, te book review editors will supply book review guidelines to reviewers. th Printed by Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8 Ave., Eugene, OR 97401. www.wipfandstock.com. ISBN: 
hemelios38.2 (2013): 197–201
E D I T O R I A L
Kingdom, Etics, and Individual Salvation
 D. A. Carson 
D. A. Carson is researc professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity Scool in Deerfield, Illinois.
1. he Callenge n recent years a number of stances ave arisen tat ave set temselves over against traditional mIore faitful tan traditional stances. To some extent tey overlap; to some extent eac is identifiably evangelicalism and traditional Reformed tougt, not a few of tem arguing, in part, on te basis of a particular understanding of te kingdom. hese stances claim to be more biblical and tus different from te oters. Wat are tese stances, wat can we learn from tem, and wat sould be resisted—and wy? 1. he kingdom, especially as empasized in te Synoptic Gospels, is often tied to communitarian etics rater tan individual etics. By contrast, Paul downplays te kingdom and focuses rater more on individual salvation. his as played into te individualism of te West, wic must be resisted by restoring a return to Jesus imself, acieving a better balance wit Pauline empases. 2. he kingdom is bound up wit a way of looking at reality tat undermines te perceptions of te fallen and broken world order. Many of te “parables of te kingdom” ave tis fundamental reversal at teir core, so it turns out tat te last are first and te wild and wayward son is given te party. In tis kingdom, we do not govern te way te world does: te one wo wises to lead must be te slave of all, even as Crist came not to be served but to serve (Matt 20:20–28). he kingdom-cross as more to do wit etics, especially te etics of reversal, tan wit atonement. 3. Wit te triump of Crist acieved on te cross and troug is resurrection, te kingdom as dawned—a glorious anticipation of te spectacular glory of resurrection existence in te new eaven and new eart. hat means Crist’s people are mandated to begin now to work out te dimensions of rigteousness and justice tat will be consummated at te end: saying “No” to raw power, caring for te poor and needy, reversing discrimination, being good stewards of te created order tat anticipates te consummated created order. All of tis is te mission of Jesus. 4. he clear command of Jesus is to seek te kingdom of God and is rigteousness—and Jesus makes clear, not least in te Sermon on te Mount, tat tis entails a range of socking etical transformations: turning te oter ceek to violence, recognizing tat te eart is more fundamental tan mere action, and forgiving oters (because, quite frankly, we will not be forgiven unless we do). his stance is often associated wit te Anabaptist movement, weter in its more traditional guise or in its Hauerwas form. he broad pacifism Jesus mandated finally means tat te curc in some measure, in some way,
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must witdraw from te world: our job is not to transform culture, but to constitute a new people, to live by te saping constraints and privileges of te kingdom. It is not our job to tell te world wat to do, or even to figure out ow to interact wit te broader culture; it is simply our job to be te people of God. 5. A postmillennial anticipation of te coming of te kingdom, combined wit eiter a soft spere-sovereignty (tink Kuyper) and/or wit some form of teonomy, develops its own ways of tinking about te transformation of te culture. 6. At a popular level (tink “Left Beind”), it is still not uncommon for some to tink of te kingdom as virtually an exclusive reality, so tat terms like “gospel” and “curc” may be nicely tied to tis generation, but “kingdom” as to do wit te future, millennially conceived or not. hese are all distinguisable ways of tinking about te dawning of te kingdom. Four of te six devote a lot of tougt to te callenge of transforming culture; one (te fourt option, Hauerwas) specifically sets itself against suc reflection, but devotes a lot of tougt to te callenge of being a distinct society over against te surrounding culture. All but te last tend to depreciate individual salvation, wile te last tends to empasize it to te depreciation of large-scale communitarian and etical reflection (i.e., were it focuses on etics, it tends to empasize te etics of te priorities of individuals). By contrast, many in tese camps wo align temselves wit social and communitarian etics would take umbrage at te carge tat tey downplay individual salvation, since tey acknowledge tat individuals must repent and believe. Neverteless, te focus of teir frame of reference is one or anoter of tese large visions, usually tied to a distinctive understanding of te kingdom, eavily leaning toward societal transformation (eiter of te entire society or, in te Anabaptist eritage, te ecclesial society). Individual supporters of tese movements tend to empasize different needs: te overwelming callenges of poverty, of AIDS and oter diseases, of abuse of power, of ecological responsibility, of reconciliation of various sorts (racial, etnic, religious).
2. Preliminary Responses
1. Like most positions tat claim to rigt a wrong, tere is some level of trut in tese proposals. Neverteless, in eac case tere is someting eiter reductionistic about te proposal or just plain exegetically wrong or bot. For instance, wit respect to te first proposal, wic tends to pit Jesus and te kingdom over against Paul: once one as noted te difference in bot literary genre and temporal location of Gospels and epistles, one can neverteless trace out te many teological connections 1 between Jesus and Paul. Or again, wit respect to te second proposal, wic elevates etics in te Gospels above te atonement, it painfully overlooks just ow central te cross is to te entire Bible’s storyline. Even in te Gospels, to abstract te etics passages from te narrative tat drives toward te passion and resurrection (one of Brian McLaren’s approaces), ultimately distorts bot te etics and te narrative—as te better commentaries invariably sow, and as Peter Bolt, for instance, as
1 See esp. David Wenam,Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Cristianity?(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995); or, more briefly, Wenam’sPaul and Jesus: he True Story(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002); or older sort books on tis topic by Herman Ridderbos and by F. F. Bruce (bot titledPaul and Jesus); or Paul Barnett,Jesus and te Rise of Early Cristianity: A History of New Testament Times(Downers Grove: IVP, 1999).
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2 dramatically demonstrated in Mark. So muc of te exegesis in tis camp is sligtly distorted, but tis “sligtly” turns out to be massively corrupting. For instance, I recently eard a well-known NT scolar argue tat te famous utterance, Mark 10:45 // Matt 20:28, is notreallyabout te atonement at all, but about politics and te nature of leadersip. Well, yes and no: te entirepericopeis about te nature of leadersip among Crist’s disciples, but te fundamental ground and standard is Crist and is atoning cross-work. Far from pitting etics and te atonement against eac oter, te passage grounds te former in te latter. Or again, te tird proposal, toug not superficially wrong, becomes deeply wrong because (a) te storyline on wic it is based is reductionistic, and (b) te applications commonly pursued are merely yped ecoes of contemporary agendas tat compared wit Scripture are at best decentered and at worst naive. And so we could work troug all te proposals. 2. Several of tese proposals depend on reductionistic approaces to te nature of te “kingdom” in te NT. he easiest way to demonstrate tis is by outlining some of te uses of “kingdom.” (a) In many uses, te kingdom of God is virtually coextensive wit God’s sovereignty: God’s kingdom rules over all, and e does wat e wills. Everyone is in te kingdom in tat sense—ateists, Buddists, Cristians, and so fort. It is impossiblenotto be in te kingdom. In tis sense, te kingdom is neiter someting to pursue nor someting tat can be avoided. (b) On te oter and, in many uses te kingdom of God is tat subset of God’s total reign under wic tere is acceptance wit God and eternal life. For example, one can neiter see nor enter te kingdom (in tis sense) unless one is born again (Jon 3). One is eiter in te kingdom or one is not. (c) Very frequently te Gospels present te kingdom as coming—eiter in process of dawning now or promised for te future and yet already inaugurated. Often tis tension is implicitly cast over against te anticipation of some Jews tat te kingdom of God would come in a climactic burst tat would user in rigteousness and destroy te ungodly. Instead, it comes like seed sown in various soils, like yeast transforming doug. (d) his coming or dawning kingdom can itself, at te moment, include bot weat and weeds. hat makes it like (a), above—except God’s sovereignty cannot be said to “come” or to be anticipated. hat it is not to be identified wit all of God’s providential reign makes it akin to (b), above—except tat tis usage includes bot weat and weeds. (e) Increasingly in te NT, te kingdom is distinctively Crist’s kingdom. In many of te parables, Jesus speaks of te kingdomof God. In some, owever, suc as te parable of te seep and te goats (Matt 25:31‒46), te King is clearly Jesus. hat raises te question as to wen Jesusbecomesking. At one level, Jesus is born a king (e.g., Matt 2); at anoter, e enters into is kingsip wit te onset of is public ministry; at yet anoter, in deepest irony e reigns from te cross (e.g., Matt 27:27‒53); very frequently in te NT is kingsip is tematically connected wit is resurrection, ascension, and session at te Fater’s rigt and, assuring im tat all autority is given to im in eaven and on eart (e.g., Matt 28:18). Paul sums up tis vision by insisting tat all of God’s sovereignty is currently mediated troug Crist and tat tis will continue to be te case until te last enemy as been destroyed (1 Cor 15). hat means tat Jesus’ mediatorial kingsip is contested. he consummation of te ages finally arrives wen is foes, including deat itself, ave been utterly vanquised. (f ) None of tis descriptive analysis mentions Mattew’s preference for “kingdom of eaven” over “kingdom of God.” Of te various proposals advanced to explain te semantic difference, tat of
2 See Peter G. Bolt,he Cross from a Distance: Atonement in Mark’s Gospel(New Studies in Biblical he-ology 18; Downers Grove: IVP, 2004).
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3 Jonatan Pennington is as believable as any. he difference is not one of referent, but of empasis or perspective: te kingdom, we migt say, is viewed a little more focally from eaven’s vantage point. (g) In no instance is kingdom to beidentifiedcurc, as if te two words can on occasion wit become tigt synonyms. Even wen tere is a referential overlap, te domain of “kingdom” is reign, and te domain of “curc” is people. () he kingdom is sometimes associated wit certain virtues or conduct (e.g., Matt 5:3, 8), even wit rigteousness (Matt 6:33). Sometimes suc passages seem to relis a certain escatological tension: Does “your kingdom come, your will be done, on eart at it is in eaven” (Matt 6:10) envisage te consummation, te presence of te future (to take up Ladd’s unforgettable title), or bot? Certainly tere is noting in te NT quite like te current infatuation for expressions like “kingdom etics,” in wic “kingdom” is reduced to a mere adjective. One could extend tis analysis quite a bit furter, but tis is enoug to flag te dangers of reductionism. 3. Several of te proposals mentioned at te beginning of tis editorial are difficult to evaluate in sort compass because tey depend on debatable assumptions regarding te meanings of several oter biblical terms or teological temes. Nowere is tis more notable tan in current debates over te meaning of “gospel.” Someone brings up te expression “te gospel of te kingdom,” assures us tat te kingdom as to do primarily wit etics, and ten assures us tat te only way to develop a really “robust” gospel is to integrate kingdom etics into our gospel. he metodological missteps bound up wit suc word-association games are too complex to be untangled ere. But if “gospel” refers primarily to te great news of wat God as done in Crist Jesus to redeem and transform is people, we ougt to distinguis wat God as done from its entailments in ow is people will respond. One could do a 4 lot worse tan read Greg Gilbert’sWat Is te Gospel? 4. here is a uge need to test all of tese proposals and systems byallte great turning-points in 5 redemptive istory, keeping in mindallof temallte time.
3. Four Concluding Reflections
Here I wis to do no more tan prime te pump: 1. here are important and sometimes neglected tings to learn from te actual practice and focus of te NT documents. For example, we cannot elp but observe tat some of te priorities of tese stances do not seem to be te first priorities of te Book of Acts or of any of te epistles, Pauline or oterwise. One wonders wy, if Paul ad been focally concerned about being a good steward of creation in is own time, e did not say a bit more about cleaning up te orse poop in Rome. here is plenty of biblical warrant for tinking troug our stewardsip of creation on te broadest canvas, but one sould be careful to make te first tings te first tings.
3 Jonatan T. Pennington,Heaven and Eart in te Gospel of Mattew(Supplements to Novum Testa-mentum 126; Leiden: Brill, 2007); ibid., “he Kingdom of Heaven in te Gospel of Mattew,”he Soutern Baptist Journal of heology12, no. 1 (2008): 44–51. 4 Greg Gilbert,Wat Is te Gospel?(9Marks; Weaton: Crossway, 2010). 5 his is one of te larger temes of myCrist and Culture Revisited(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007).
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2. In muc of te contemporary discussion, tere is an alarming lack of eternal perspective—or, better put, a mere tipping of te at toward te eternal, but not any acknowledgement tat viscerally and powerfully affects conduct and priorities. “Do not be afraid of tose wo kill te body but cannot kill te soul. Rater, be afraid of te One wo can destroy bot soul and body in ell” (Matt 10:28). 3. Doubtless some in te broad evangelical camp overreact and tink exclusively of saving souls as opposed to people in all te complexities of teir existence (weter because tey spring from an older dispensationalism or because tey ave been burned by te eritage of a 1920s social gospel). But somewere along te line Cristians ave to wrestle wit wat it means to do good to all, even if our first responsibility is toward te ouseold of God, serving as salt in a decaying world, as ligt in a dark world. 4. Finally, it is desperately important not to try to slaugter te complexity and balance of biblical mandates on all tese fronts by te simple expedient of universalizingourslot in istory and culture. Many of us are quick to identify te ostensible imbalances and errors of Cristians in oter generations witout adequately reflecting on our own blind spots or on te blind spots of our eroes. One wonders wat stances Kuyper would ave adopted ad e been born in Cina in 1940.
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O F F T H E R E C O R D
hemelios38.2 (2013): 202–204
From Moral Majority to Evil Disbelievers: Coming Clean about Cristian Ateism
 Micael J. Ovey 
Mike Ovey is Principal of Oak Hill College in London.
eople rigtly note te way Cristians in Englis-speaking Western culture ave moved in a generationfrombeingmoralmajoritytoimmoralminority.ButIwonderwetertatreallyI aPm most familiar, te UK and Australia. You see, wen I read teSydney Morning Heraldor te UK’s catces te intensity of te dislike and disdain tat I see in te two Western societies wit wic Guardian,wat I perceive goes beyond a simple carge of immorality (and I’m not talking just about te articles, but te subsequent reader feedback). It as a religious intensity. he same applies to te so-called New Ateism: Ricard Dawkins sounds like an OT propet denouncing Israel’s unbelief. It is important, I tink, to understand tat our surrounding secular culture regards Cristians not just as fools, but also—unconsciously—in a religious sense as evil ateists. Wy? Because our culture practices polyteism. his is a paradoxical polyteism wic isbot a kind of ateism itselfandwic will also see us as ateist. We need to grasp tis if we are to respond faitfully in our time and place. We can explore tis paradoxical polyteism using tree questions: Is our culture polyteist? How can tat polyteism also be ateistic? And wy sould our culture see Cristians as ateist?
1. So Is Our Culture Polyteist?
After all, at first glance tis is not ow our culture sees itself. But te biblical idea of idolatry seds a different ligt. Idolatry as many dimensions, but one key ingredient is tat in idolatry we parody te real relationsip between us and our creator by using substitutes for God. Substitution is at te eart of te excange/cange language of Rom 1:23 and Jer 2:11. Tertullian develops tis inDeIdololatriawen e points out tat an idol stands 4 proDeo (‘for God’). Someting can substitute for God eiter by passing itself off as God and trying to look as muc as possible like te real ting (Aaron’s golden calves fall into tat category) or simply by distracting and obscuring our view of te real God so tat we look at te idol and not at God. I suspect many of our culture’s idols fall into tat latter category. Our gods are not necessarily gods wo create from noting, are omniscient, and are personal. Vitally, tey may now be quite small-scale. In particular, we must grasp tat idol-gods may be impersonal: wealt is te obvious biblical example of someting impersonal tat can be treated as a god. For our time, we ave many gods, some crass like wealt and sexual pleasure, oters not ignoble in te rigt context, like equality before te law and
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From Moral Majority to Evil Disbelievers
freedom of speec—ideological idols. But te cultural memory tat a god sould be personal obscures te fact tat tis is idolatry. Hence, our culture is not only polyteist, in aving many small-scale tings tat standproDeo,it is anunawarepolyteist culture.Tis means tat as Cristian trinitarian monoteists we are deeply at oddsteologicallywit a culture tat is polyteist but does not know it.
2. But Wy Is Suc Polyteism an Ateism?
Remember tat te patristic teologians were set in a polyteistic culture. Ultimately, teir analysis of polyteism was tat it became ateism. his sounds odd. Wonderful temples were built, staggering works of art made depicting Zeus, etc. How can tat be ateism? Atanasius sums it up nicely wen discussing te idea of aving two gods (Contra Gentes6). He argues tat if you avetwogods, you avenogods in te real sense of te word because to be God means you ave no rivals wo can resist your will. His base assumption ere, drawn from biblical descriptions of God as Lord, is tat to be ‘God’ necessarily entails sovereignty. So te multiple impersonal values of our time boil down to tis kind of ateism. But it works te oter way too. If you are an ateist in Atanasius’s terms, wat are you left wit? here is no overall coerence, no God wo in imself is te sum of all perfections, and so tere’s no reason not to elevate your own personal values into tings wic function as absolutes for you, and to accept tat oters are entitled to do te same. In tat way, ateism becomes polyteism were tere are lots of small, often impersonal gods wo function as divine in our lives, even if we don’t see ourselves as worsipping tem. hink of G. K. Cesterton’s comment tat wen people stop worsipping God, tey don’t worsip noting; tey worsip anyting. Or indeed, everyting. One of Atanasius’s followers, Gregory of Nazianzen, is useful ere. He commented on te worldviews tat polyteism and monoteism tend to create and noted tat tere are tree ways of rd viewing te cosmos (3 Oration on te Son1): 1. A cosmic monarcy (one ruler) 2. A cosmic polyarcy (lots of rulers) 3. A cosmic anarcy (no ruler) His point was tat polyteism involved a cosmic polyarcy, and tis in turn became a cosmic anarcy because no one olds tings togeter and integrates tem. Ateism and anarcy go togeter. But anarcy is unstable. Anarcy is not a self-regulating dynamic equilibrium in uman experience, but consistently tends to allow different power-olders to establis temselves at te expense of oters. Eac power-older acts and competes against oters witout restraint—as if absolute. So in te value-anarcy of ateism, eac small-scale value can, paradoxically, be treated as if absolute. here is noting tere to restrain it. But were do Cristians fit into a culture caugt in polyteism and ateism? his takes us to te tird question.
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3. Wy Sould Our Culture See Cristians as Ateists?
hemelios
Again, tink back to te early curc. One of te more surprising carges made was tat Cristians were ateists. Wy? Because of te number of gods tey denied. No Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Mitras, Isis, or woever. Similarly, we deny our culture’s gods. Take one of te current cultural idols: equality. his is one of tose impersonal gods we were discussing earlier. Does te Bible give us an account of equality? Yes, but in relation to oter considerations. We ave an integrated account of equality, tat is, equality is put in proper perspective and place by te wole Bible’s teacing, and crucially, we as creatures are not equal to our creator. In tat way, equality is nottegreat overarcing teme of Cristian tougt. But it is one of te gods of te current secular panteon and pursued wit a religious fervour. In te value-anarcy of our time, it competes to be treated as absolute. So my refusal to accept equality as absolute looks rater like earlier Cristians refusing to worsip te god Zeus. I am an ateist witin tat framework of reference. Hence some of te rage wic comes our way on some of te debates of te day. Wen we oppose same-sex marriage, we are not just discussing different etical positions, we are demonstrating tat we are irreligious ateists because we are denying te ‘divinity’ of some very popular gods—sexual satisfaction, autonomy, equality, liberty. Of course, wat makes it ard for people to see tis rage as a religious rage is teir self-image as secular people. But ten polyteistic idolatry as always ad a somewat delusional, self-deceptive dimension: see Isa 44. here are some furter parallels ere in te way early Cristians were regarded. he neoplatonist Porpyry famously argues, ‘How can people not be in every way impious and ateistic wo ave apostatized from te customs of our ancestors troug wic every nation and city is sustained?’ his raises an important dimension. By not worsipping te ancestral ‘public’ gods, Cristians were tougt of as ateists wo undermined te state. And tis is not too far from te way ateist Cristians wo do not sacrifice at te altar of equality or liberty in personal edonism can be tougt of as ateists wo are public enemies, bad citizens. Our assertions of cosmic monarcy destabilise te value-anarcy polyteism of our time. It’s not surprising, ten, tat Cristians in te UK speaking on practising omosexuality as meriting God’s condemnation are prosecuted under public-order offences. And suc state action is perceived as self-defence.hisseemstometobeanextremelyimportantpartofteretorictemediaeliteusesagainst Cristians and oter cosmic monarcists. It is self-defence because we are tougt to undermine a society wic is a process of competing and plural forces and persons. he latter alf of te twentiet century is replete wit arguments tat a democratic society can take strong steps in defending itself against tose wo would overtrow it. In fact, because democracy is so precious (dare one say suc an idol?), security services are justified in taking very extreme action to preserve someting so precious. he retoric about self-defence is significant. In an instant te claim of self-defence allows one to present oneself as te victim. And a polyteistic culture may readily see itself victimised by te retoric of cosmic monarcists—for we are te ateists.
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hemelios38.2 (2013): 205–214
Abounding in te Work of te Lord (1 Cor 15:58): Everyting We Do as Cristians or Specific Gospel Work?
 Peter Orr 
Peter Orr lectures in New Testament at Melbourne Scool of heology in Melbourne, Australia. His PD dissertation is “Crist Absent and Present: A Study in Pauline Cristology” (Duram University, 2011).
ne of te deepest impacts of te Reformation on Western Culture arose from te robust reart-credO-secular divide tat was so prevalent in medieval tougt. Luter empasised te ordinary activi-iculation of te biblical doctrines of creation and vocation. Luter may ave captured te combined impact of tese neglected doctrines most strongly by rejecting te ensrined sa-1 tiesofdailylifeasexamplesofaCristiansreturntocreationandembraceofvocation.Lutervividlyillustrates tis in is reflections on marriage: ‘Wen a fater goes aead and wases diapers or performs some oter menial task for is cild, and someone ridicules im as an effeminate fool . . . God wit all 2 isangelsissmiling. Contemporary evangelical teology continues to empasise tis Reformation understanding of te interrelatedness of creation and vocation. Discussions of te Cristian understanding of work empasise 3 tatallBooks on te Cristian life stress te biblical empasis tatwork is intrinsically good. alllife 4 is to be lived for God’s glory. Is it possible, toug, tat in our rigt desire to affirm te goodness of creation and te validity of every vocation tat as evangelicals we ave unwittingly downplayed an equally important biblical empasis: te escatologicalpriorityfor te curc of Crist? Wile everyday tasks done to te glory of God do please im, tere remains a central priority to God’s working in te world.hat is, as muc as God affirms te goodness (and future) of tis creation and ence te validity of all work done in it, is cosmic plancentres on is new people created in is Son (Ep 1:22–23). Paul’s great escatological vision is of te Son as firstborn over is transformed people (Rom 8:29) and parallels Jon’s vision of a great multitude standing before te trone of te Lamb (Rev 7:9). As well as considering ow te goodness of creation sould impact our understanding of work, we also need to ask ow tiscentralescatological vision sapes our lives in te present. hese are issues tat merit a full-blown study of teir own. his article, owever, considers just one verse wic I tink elpfully encapsulates te core of te debate. By considering 1 Cor 15:58, we see
1 Robert Kolb and Carles P. Arland,he Genius of Luter’s heology: A Wittenberg Way of hinking for te Contemporary Curc(Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 112. 2 Martin Luter, ‘he Estate of Marriage, 1522,’LW45:50;WA10.2:207 (cited in ibid., 112). 3 E.g., Tim Keller,Every Good Endeavour: Connecting Your Work to God’s Plan for te World(London: Hodder & Stougton, 2012). 4 E.g., Julian Hardyman,Maximum Life: All for te Glory of God(Nottingam: IVP, 2009).
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