Greg Cochran on Persecution

Greg Cochran (Blogs here) has been both pastor, mentor, and friend. For over a decade now, he has been writing, speaking, and an advocate on behalf of the persecuted church. To date, I have found no one more attuned to the modern reality of persecution, all the while furnishing a robust, biblical-theology of Persecution.

This week, he published two academic articles on persecution. Here are links to his articles.

Christian Persecution as Explained by Jesus (Matt 5:10–12)

What Kind of Persecution is Happening to Christians from Around the World?

If you are making your way to San Diego in the Fall for ETS, make sure to visit his session. Greg is presenting on “The Priority of Ministry to the Persecuted Church: A Reorientation of the Paradigm of Biblical Justice”(Session D 8:30am–11:40am Wednesday: Church History 1).

Greg is seeking to influence both the Church and scholarship on how to properly think about persecution. These are articles are well worth your time, both intellectually as well as spiritually.

Heb 13:3 “Remember those who are in prison,
as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated,
since you also are in the body.”

Preliminary Bibliography for New Testament Theology

I recently had the opportunity to compile a large list of sources for NT Theology. This is merely preliminary and will continue to add to this list as I find more sources. The list was long enough to prove useful so I decided to put this up. Please make use of this for your collection or to gain familiarity with the discipline.

Compiling a list like this, for obvious reasons, is very difficult. It’s difficult to determine the varying categories, it’s difficult to have your eyes on all or even the majority of the resources. If you find any glaring absences or have any suggestions, by all means, leave a comment below or e-mail me and I’ll gladly add to this preliminary list. Continue reading

2nd Temple Judaism, The Temple, and Biblical Theology

N.T. Wright, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God, has a section describing the worldviews of a 2nd temple Jew. He provides valuable insight in the purpose and function of the Temple. When matched with the Temple themes in the NT, a holistic change is brought forth. If he is right, it is no wonder early Christianity was not received well by the Jewish people, especially when it comes to the Temple.

But nonetheless, these comments do shed light for modern interpreters on the importance of knowing 2nd temple literature and having an idea of the contemporary worldviews because of its aid in shedding light on interpretation. Continue reading

1892 Housh Talk — Did Early Communities Have a Pauline Reading of Hebrews?

1892 Logo

Each Wednesday PhD students and SBTS faculty engage in useful dialogue, enjoy pour-over coffee, and experience the euphoria of tasting exotic cheese. In this 1892 Club, we converse with current leaders and theologians in the field of theological studies. Our topics of discussion vary and range with diversity, from writing and publishing, to academic societal involvement, to pressing topics in academia. Each week presents itself with new and refreshing times as a PhD student. Some of my favorite times in our 1892 Club and “Housh Talks” are the championing of open ideas, free thinking, mentorship, and peer friendship. To say the least, the 1892 Club is one of the more enjoyable times as an SBTS PhD student.

At the end of each semester, we have “Housh Talks”. A “Housh Talk” is a 6 minute presentation on an idea pertinent to your studies, with an 8 minute response of intense and focused dialogue immediately following. This is a wonderful time to test ideas, to publicly entertain nuanced thoughts, and to hear from critical thinkers across multiple disciplines. The name comes from Housh, one of the first Th.D. graduates from Southern Seminary in 1894. To make the name more intriguing, he was blind too. Therefore, the administration named these TED-like talks after Housh.
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Ambrose of Milan, Pauline Authorship of Hebrews, and Biblical Theology

In the myriads of current biblical theologies, some have focused on whole Bible theologies whereas others have only focused on authorial biblical theologies (i.e., Pauline Theology, Petrine Theology, Johannine Theology, etc.). Ambrose of Milan, a Late 4th century Western Father, provides an intriguing word to the inter-relationship of authorial thought. Especially in modern Pauline theologies, how many incorporate Hebrews into the worldview of Pauline thought? Not many, if at all.

There are few Ancient Homilies on Hebrews. Origen has the earliest known homily, though non-extant. Current researchers are familiar with it because Eusebius mentions the homily in Ecclesiastical History. In our Modern/Post-Modern era, Hebrews 6:4–6 continues to provide exegetes and Bible readers trouble. The same was in early Christendom as well. Even the Ancient Homilies and comments on Hebrews 6:4–6 prove troubling to early interpreters.
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Irenaeus on Gnosticism and the Christian Faith


Few fathers of the Christian faith appear after the death of John that have extant literature. Very little is left of Papias or Polycarp; some of which exist as quotes in other early literature. Iranaeus may be one of the first richest and earliest theologian in the proceeding decades after John.

Irenaeus (130–202), in Against Heresies, set forth a deafening blow to Gnostic Christianity. Calling it heresy, Against Heresies is a massive 5-volume tome. Half (Book 1–2) is devoted to critiquing Gnosticism and the other half (Book 3–5) is devoted to describing the Christian faith.

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1 Peter, Familial Language, and Cultic Imagery

The following is running “thought-process” as I’ve taken a short break from Patristic literature to study 1 Peter 1. In a way, I’m thinking out loud on patterns that caught my eye.

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Similar language of family, child, newborn, birth, rebirth, etc. are only found in 1 Pet 1.3–2.10 within his two epistles. Why? Peter uses imagery of kindred and familial language to describe the new people of God. The following is a progressive reading and noting its surrounding ideas.

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The Kingdom of God, Judgment, and Persecution: An Exegetical and Biblical-Theological Analysis of 2 Thessalonians 1:5

I am aiming to publish this article. Therefore, I’ve taken the majority of this article down. If you read this entry, keep in mind it may “sound” choppy due to eliminating the majority of my argument. I am wanting to maintain my introduction and conclusions for multiple reasons. First, I’d like to whet the appetite of those engaging eschatological language, persecution, and biblical theology. Second, for those desiring to pursue kingdom of God studies or sources for the Thessalonian epistles, I’ve maintained by bibliography to assist those researching. Finally, I desire readership and limiting the paper to the introduction and conclusion makes readership more feasible.


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Introduction: The Need for Changing Eschatological Language

Some elements of the future eschaton are making headway into the present era. Evaluating modern consensus, eschatology reveals hermeneutical and theological presuppositions in attempting to describe the already/not-yet tension.[1] Problematic to the discussion resides in determining what elements are future and what elements are present. Are some elements fulfilled now, implying no substantial change/modification will happen later? Furthermore, if nascent elements appear now, is there progressive development throughout the present era, if any?

Jörg Frey provides a helpful overview of the historical development of eschatological language. The landscape of scholarship demonstrates eschatological doctrine, but Philipp Heinrich Friedlieb, a classical Lutheran dogmatician, introduces “Eschatology” to designate the “last things”.[2] In 1644, he published a work with Eschatologia as part of a book title.[3] This title was first used as a systematic description of “death, the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, the end or dissolution of the world, about hell or eternal death, and finally, about eternal life.”[4] By strictly limiting few future-referent elements to this title, it is no wonder the subsequent history of eschatological interpretation has vacillated; it is difficult to include all necessary theological categories under the single umbrella “eschatology.”

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Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew

Heaven and Earth

Matthew’s idiolectic use of Kingdom of Heaven has perplexed the multitudes. With Kingdom appearing 162 times in the entire New Testament, it appears 126 times in the Gospels. Moreover, Kingdom appears 55 times in Matthew; yet, only 5 times with the genitive God (Kingdom of God) and 32 times with heaven (Kingdom of Heaven). Jonathan Pennington, in Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew, provides a superb analysis by providing solutions to this data.

Pennington’s thesis is multi-layered. Seeking to uncover the relationship between heaven and earth in Matthew, Pennington’s discussion begins with a deconstruction of Matthean presuppositions over the past 100 years concerning the reverential circumlocution. The Jewish nature of Matthew has led some to observe the reverential Jewish assumption of substituting other words for God and, consequently, conclude that Matthew exchanges Kingdom of God with Kingdom of Heaven. Pennington’s deconstruction is quite convincing by demonstrating Dalman’s (The Words of Jesus, 1902) scholarship to contain inconsistencies based on a faulty methodology, and, at not fault to Dalman, an inability to examine all the 2nd Temple intertestamental literature. Pennington proceeds to examine the evidence from OT, LXX, Qumran, Psuedipigrapha, and the New Testament literature. His conclusions, though, don’t fully negate the idea of circumlocution, but he does provide enough data to conclude this is not the prevailing or dominant pattern in Jewish literature. Furthermore, Matthew uses Kingdom of God, heaven is used in the singular and plural, and, thusly, the combined effort of these three items argue against a reverential circumlocution. (Keep in mind, Pennington’s argument is more developed). A cosmological duality may provide a better answer for Matthew’s use of Heaven and Earth.

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Analysis of “New Testament Eschatology: An Introduction”


Jörg Frey, in the “New Testament Eschatology—an Introduction: Classical Issues, Disputed Themes, and Current Perspectives”,[1] describes the past 200 years of eschatological discussion and its academic difficulties within critical scholarship. His description is four-fold: 1. The Term ‘Eschatology’ and the confusion of theological Language; 2. The Deconstruction of Eschatology in the Modern Debate: From Reimarus to Schweiter and Bultmann; 3. Crucial Issues and Questionable Categories, and; 4. Concluding Perspectives.

Frey provides a history of interpretation, though brief, of how scholars (liberal and conservative) have understood eschatology and the issues associated with this discipline. Providing a historical context is so important to see “where we’ve been” and will most likely provide some sort of trajectory of “where we should go.” Pertinent to this history is how eschatology has morphed into two categories of prophetic and apocalyptic-like literature and how Luke 17.21 was, initially, the lens to view the kingdom (“kingdom of God is in your midst”) solely as a present reality.

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