Archive for April 15th, 2009

Revelation Lecture Outline

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

I am lecturing on Revelation for Prof. Susan Eastman’s NT intro class this Friday here at Duke. Here is the outline of my lecture, minus illustrations. I will post parts of the lecture in coming days. 

Worshiping and Following the Slaughtered Lamb into the New Creation

I.                    When I say “Revelation,” you say…

II.                 Attraction or Revulsion?

A.       The Aesthetic Appeal of Revelation: music, art

B.      Revelation as a Problem

                                                        1.      Critics

                                                        2.      Functional de-canonization

                                                        3.      Fanatics

III.               Introductory questions

A.       Genre(s): a hybrid

B.      Date: 60s or 90s

C.       Authorship: which John?

D.      Rhetorical situation: persecution or accommodation?

E.       Addressees: then and now

IV.              Hermeneutics

A.       Four possible strategies

                                                            1.      Preterist (historical-critical)

                                                            2.      Predictive

                                                            3.      Poetic

                                                            4.      Prophetic

B.      Misinterpreting Revelation: Why the “Left Behind” series should be left behind

                                                             1.      Hermeneutical problems

                                                             2.      Theological problems

                                                             3.      Political problems

C.       Principles for the Interpretation of Revelation

V.                 The Contents of the Revelation

A.       An Outline

B.      Seven Prophetic Oracles

                                                             1.      Form

                                                             2.      Examples: Smyrna, Laodicea

C.       Theological Foci in Images and Symbols

                                                              1.      The Son of Man

                                                              2.      The Heavenly Throne Room

a.      Counter-imperial

b.      Source of judgment and salvation

c.      God and the Lamb

d.   Central Image: The Lion of Judah as The Slaughtered Lamb

                                                               3.      Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

                                                               4.       Judgment and Plagues: Seals, Trumpets, Bowls

                                                               5.      The Unholy Trinity: One Dragon, Two Beasts

                                                               6.      Babylon the Harlot and the Lamb’s Bride

                                                               7.      New Heavens and New Earth

VI.              The Spirituality of Revelation

VII.            Revelation as Climax: of prophecy, NT, canon, God’s story




Commentaries by Mitchell Reddish (Smith and Helwys), Ian Boxall (Black’s), Chris Rowland (NIB), Eugene Peterson (Reversed Thunder)

Richard Bauckham, The Theology of Revelation

-  M. Gorman, Reading Revelation Responsibly (late 2009 or early 2010)

Summary of Inhabiting the Cruciform God (pt. 3)

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Here’s the final intallment of my brief summary of the new book.

Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology

Chapter 3. “You Shall be Cruciform for I am Cruciform”: Paul’s Trinitarian Reconstruction of Holiness as Theosis. Paul redefines holiness as countercultural participation in and conformity to the cruciform character of the triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit. Holiness is not a supplement to justification but the actualization of justification, and may be more appropriately termed theosis.


~ “Cruciform holiness stands in marked contrast to key Roman values (which can infiltrate the body of Christ), especially those values associated with the libertine and status-seeking lifestyle of the elite, and those related to the power and domination predicated of imperial divinity. This cruciform holiness means, in sum, becoming like Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son, and thus also becoming like God—for God is Christ-like…. Paul speaks to the ancient (and contemporary) desire for God-likeness by claiming that [it occurs] through participation in Christ’s death and resurrection” (p. 124)


Chapter 4. “While We Were Enemies”: Paul, the Resurrection, and the End of Violence.” Nonviolence is one of the essential marks of participating in the life of the kenotic, cruciform God revealed in the gospel of Christ’s cross and resurrection and narrated by Paul. Paul’s own conversion when he met the resurrected Jesus included turning away from justification by exclusion and zealous violence, the mode of justification seen in Phinehas, to justification by participation in the inclusive death of the Messiah.


~ “Because of the resurrection of Christ, Paul comes to see the cross, not merely as a means of death, but as a means of life. He also sees Christ’s resurrection by God as God’s pronouncement that covenant fidelity, justification, holiness, and opposition to evil are not achieved by the infliction of violence and death but by the absorption of violence and death. For Paul, the communities to which he wrote, and us, his gospel of cross and resurrection defines the ongoing identity of Christ present among us and thus a fundamental characteristic of cruciform existence in Christ: a life of nonviolence and reconciliation. That is, for Paul, this kind of life is an integral part of his vision of justification and of participatory holiness—theosis.” (p. 130)


Conclusion: Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Theosis as Paul’s Narrative Soteriology. The conclusion summarizes the book, concludes that theosis is the center of Paul’s theology, and shows how cruciformity (radical, costly discipleship) and participation/theosis appear also in Bonhoeffer’s interpretation of Paul in [The Cost of] Discipleship.


~ “To describe Paul’s soteriology as theosis, and to posit it as the focus — or even the center — of his theology, does not… “over-spiritualize” salvation and thereby de-politicize it. Such a conclusion, which constructs a dichotomy where Paul sees only a unity,  would be possible only if one were to ignore the argument of this book from chapter one to the conclusion. Furthermore, the use of the term theosis does not remove salvation from the larger narrative and divine project to which the Scriptures of Israel and the Pauline letters bear witness.” (p. 172)