Friday, February 11, 2011

A Biblical Theology?

Someone recently asked me if there was a biblical theology in print that I would recommend as a Wesleyan.  I've heard that Dennis Kinlaw has produced an OT one (I haven't found it on Amazon).  I made the usual references to Ladd and Marshall recently has one.

If I were to make a prediction, we might see in a few years a glut of biblical theologies.  What somewhat killed biblical theology about a generation ago is the fact that each biblical author has a unique theology.  The typical biblical theology book thus goes author by author and points out what is unique for them.  But with the rise of theological interpretation, we can come clean about the fact that biblical material can be organized on the basis of  Christian theology external to the text itself.

In short, the hermeneutical climate would now allow for a synthesized biblical theology once again, like the pre-modern ones of yore that did not realize they were organizing the content of the biblical texts on the basis of later Christian theology, but this time with intentionality.

So my next thought is predictable.  Should I dedicate a few years to writing one?  My answer thus far is no.  First, there is no real demand for me to write anything, especially on this level.  My own denominational publishers don't publish serious scholarship, and I don't know of any mainstream publishers that would be interested since I hardly have a following in mainstream circles.

But I also became stymied when I began to think of how I would organize the topic of God.  Barth, for example, organized his Dogmatics around Christ.  But God the Father remains the uncontested center of Scripture, with Christ firmly subordinated to him in the New Testament.  Once more it reminded me that I am not trendy enough to write this work.  The great biblical theology that would sell today would have to be co-written by someone with Richard Bauckham's Christological interpretations and Joel Green's hermeneutic.

Does that person exist?  Michael Gorman?  Maybe some of us in the Methodist tradition could get together.  Just let me write some of the parts on hamartiology, justification, and sanctification. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Information on The Old Testament Theology by Dennis Kinlaw can be found here:

Scott said...

What about Ben Witherington's Indelible Image volumes?

JohnM said...

Ken, what are other theological traditions, e.g. Calvinists, doing now? Anything like what you're talking about? If so, might that influence your decision?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I like your question mark at the end of "Biblical Theology"?

Biblical Theology would be a myth because, as you point out, there is no "one" biblical theology. And whoever attempts such a task might offend other Christians in thier understanding of scripture...this is the problem with the bible as "sola scriptura".
But, it is not less myth in a text/tradition context because it is still based on myth making...
You are in the "scientific group" approaching things through reason, not revelation.

Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

Take the sword my Wesleyan brethren--not just unto the Papist, Jew and imposter protestants: Mormons, Jehovah Witness's and Pentecostal Oneness. In our stewardship for Christ--lest damned man rebuild the Temple for Satan. Included is not just the Calvinist that has tranformed into the postmodern Evangelical church; but the supposed Wesleyans that have carried the torch of the counterculture and burned-down the church they profess.

I hope you are all ready to praise the Lord--not with a naive love of perversity.

John Mark said...

Dr. Kinlaws book is taken from class lectures given some years ago. I have listened to most of the lectures on CD and am working my way through the book; I'm about 2/3 of the way through. The title is Yahweh is God Alone, or something like that, I don't have the book handy. It is very readable and for a one-who-never-made-it-to-seminary type such as my self a most interesting and informative read.