Current Issue of the Canadian Theological Review is the Best Yet

The current issue of the Canadian Theological Review, the journal of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (CETA), is now at press and should be ready shortly.

The issue consists of five papers that were presented at the Fall 2013 CETA theology conference held at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY, plus another paper that wasn’t presented at the conference. In my opinion, this is the best issue of the journal yet. The papers, though diverse, are uniformly thought-provoking and insightful.

This is the lineup of articles:

  • J. Gerald Janzen, “Ecce Homo: The Servant of YHWH as Imago Dei in Second Isaiah”
  • Steven Bouma-Prediger, “Eschatology Shapes Ethics: New Creation and Christian Ecological Virtue Ethics”
  • C. Cord Sullivan, “Introducing the Incarnate Christ: How John’s Logos Theology Sets the Stage for the Narrative Development of Jesus’s Identity”
  • James Pedlar, “‘His Mercy is Over All His Works’: John Wesley’s Mature Vision of New Creation”
  • Andrew Van’t Land, “(Im)Peccability amid the Powers: Christ’s Sinlessness in a Culture of Sinful Systems”
  • Anthony G. Siegrist, “Moral Formation and Christian Doctrine: ‘The Conjunction against Which We Must Now Struggle’”

Old Testament scholar Gerry Janzen engages in a superb intertextual study of the Servant of YHWH in Deutero-Isaiah to illustrate the profound theology articulated in this figure; the Servant is both the human image of YHWH (even in his suffering) and the alternative to Babylonian idols (false images).

Theologian and ethicist Steve Bouma-Prediger asks what sort of virtues we need in order to manifest the Bible’s eschatological vision of a new creation; his unpacking of this biblical vision and his interaction with the field of ecological virtue ethics provides an excellent grounding for contemporary earthkeeping or creation care.

Cord Sullivan, graduate student at Northeastern Seminary, shares part of his thesis research, illuminating the background to the Logos theology of John’s Prologue by recourse to the distinctive use of memra (Aramaic for “word”) in Jewish Targums; this background then becomes the clue to the unity between the Prologue and the rest of the Fourth Gospel (an issue that has been contested in Johannine scholarship).

The paper by James Pedlar, who holds the chair of Wesley Studies at Tyndale in Toronto, is a detailed exposition of John Wesley’s mature understanding of the redemption of creation; by examining a series of relevant primary texts Pedlar clarifies Wesley’s vision of God’s love for all creatures.

The paper by Drew Van’t Land (student at the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto) won the CETA theology award for best graduate student paper. Van’t Land addresses the knotty problem of how we can understand Jesus’s sinlessness given what we know of systemic evil; how did Jesus (if he was truly human) avoid being conformed to the pre-existing societal corruption he was born into? His concluding exegesis of Jesus’s two visits to the Jerusalem temple constitutes an enlightening exploration of the paper’s central theological claims.

Theologian Anthony Siegrist addresses how we get from the truth of doctrine to ethics, arguing these are not two separate categories (as often conceptualized), but that doctrine is meant to be morally formative; his analysis of the role of teachers in the process of communicating biblical truth for life-change is both insightful and encouraging to those who embrace this calling.

These articles are followed by a series of in-depth book reviews.

This issue of the Canadian Theological Review is currently at press and will be mailed out shortly. If you are not a CETA member, but would like to purchase a copy, please check out contact information for the journal on the CETA website.

Two other issues of the journal are currently being worked on, one incorporating papers from the Canadian Theological Society meeting given at the 2014 Congress at Brock University, the other showcasing papers from the Fall 2014 CETA conference at Wycliffe College on evangelical feminism.

The Canadian Theological Review is actively seeking submissions of both articles and book reviews for future issues.

The Meaning of “Heaven” in the Bible

Today Baker Academic uploaded my second weekly blog post in their series “Beyond the Book.” Each week during March I will be discussing something I learned about eschatology while working on A New Heaven and a New Earth; in each case, it will be a topic I haven’t explicitly blogged about before.

My first post, Preparation in Heaven for Revelation on Earth – The “Apocalyptic” Pattern, focused on the underlying pattern I came to discern in many “heaven” passages in the New Testament that seem to be associated with the Christian hope.

My second post, The Meaning of “Heaven” in the Bible, explains that “heaven” is not thought of in the Bible as an immaterial, uncreated realm; this is a later theological construct. I didn’t address this explicitly anywhere in my eschatology book, but it is implicit throughout, and requires some comment.

Due to the need to keep these “Beyond the Book” posts short, I’ve omitted much that needs to be said on this topic. Hopefully, the post will generate some questions, even challenges, to my claims, which will allow me to get into some of the important related questions that I had to omit.

Baker is giving away three copies of A New Heaven and a New Earth. The winners will be announced at the end of March and you can sign up for a copy here.

Preparation in Heaven for Revelation on Earth – The “Apocalyptic” Pattern

Today Baker Academic began their weekly series of blog posts “Beyond the Book.” Each week during March I will be discussing interesting things I learned about eschatology while working on A New Heaven and a New Earth. My first post, Preparation in Heaven for Revelation on Earth – The “Apocalyptic” Pattern, focuses on how I have come to interpret the many “heaven” passages in the New Testament, which seem to be associated with the Christian hope.

This is a very short post, which just scratches the surface of the topic. The full discussion can be found in chapter 10 of my eschatology book.

Also, as part of this series Baker is giving away three copies of A New Heaven and a New Earth. The winners will be announced at the end of the month, and you can enter here.