David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament


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I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Years after the Flood, pride leads the people to rebel against God by constructing the tower of Babel. After having dispersed them by confusing their languages, God would eventually choose one man and one nation as the instrument of His blessing to the entire world.

In this covenant God promised Abraham three specific things:. He will be made into a great nation This nation will be led into the Promised Land Through him Abraham all people of the earth will be blessed The Abrahamic Covenant is in part a Suzerain-Vassal covenant, as God required first that Abraham get up, leave his home and his family, and follow God to the land He would show him Gen. However, some aspects of the Abrahamic covenant are also in line with an unconditional Royal Grant.

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Exodus is key to understanding both redemptive history and the history of Israel as a nation. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. God tells Moses that if Israel obeys, they will be His chosen people, His treasured possession. Ultimately, these blessings will be extended to all people.

This conditional promise is a Suzerain-Vassal covenant and brings Israel closer to realizing the promises made by God in the Abrahamic Covenant. After the people disobeyed the commands made in the previous covenant, God made the Davidic covenant as a means to bring them back into relationship with Himself.

The key passage for this unconditional promise is 2 Samuel :. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

“Remember Jesus Christ. . . "

I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.

Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. Here God makes a Royal Grant covenant to David and his descendants that his house will rule over Israel forever. In the New Testament, Luke tells us:. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Although this is an unconditional covenant, there is a part of it which has a contingency: if the ruler of Israel is obedient, he will be blessed.

If not, he will be cursed. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. This promise finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ Hebrews ; 9 ; , as it is through Him we receive forgiveness of our sins and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit who enables us to seek after the things of God.

History Archaeology and the Bible – What Really Happened and How can we Know it?

Subscribe to receive our weekly emails PLUS access to the free digital theological library! Third , the only hope for Christian unity lies in continuing to seek proper enlightenment from the Bible itself as the common ground for ecumenical dialogue. The Bible tells us about missio Dei ; without it, we have no mission. A search for unity should motivate us toward a mutual and faithful hermeneutic.

Bosch recognizes that the West is wrong to claim hermeneutical and theological supremacy. He also observes that the Enlightenment principle that truth is truth only insofar as it can be objectively discovered has had an ambiguous impact on theology. For Bosch, biblical interpretation is the honest, communal, and never-ending task of the whole people of God, for the Bible is the book of the universal church of Christ.

Bosch argues persuasively that an authentic hermeneutics is always missional, which means that the New Testament, itself a product of missionary engagement with the world, must be read from the vantage point of mission. His goal can be described as the homecoming of wandering theology, for theology has long sought to establish itself independently from the missional life of the community of faith.

In doing so, he recognizes that there will always be a plurality of self-definitions both in the Bible and in the history of the church. It desires to encourage dialogue between those self-definitions and all subsequent ones, including those of ourselves and our contemporaries. It accepts that self-definitions may be inadequate or even wrong. Rather, reality is intersubjective ; it is always interpreted reality, and this interpretation is profoundly affected by our self-definitions.

Pleading as he does for a critical hermeneutic, Bosch warns against any narrow approach. Evangelicals are deceiving themselves for. In any interpretative framework, we should not routinely expect to find an antithesis between the meaning of the biblical text in its own time and what it means now; rather, we should treat the meaning then and the meaning now as interdependent forces in a creative tension. Understanding the constancy in the meaning of the text as well as the contingency of its subsequent meaning in history requires a dialectical process.


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Through a deliberate act of hermeneutical conversation, we can progress to an accurate understanding of the text on its own terms that also speaks to our context. In the same way, the New Testament writers made creative use of the Old Testament, as opposed to providing mere citations. The text remains the firm point of orientation. But understanding it is not merely a reproductive process but a creative one. The first and most obvious weakness is his lack of interest in the missiological reading of the Old Testament, which is particularly apparent in Transforming Mission.

He devotes less than 4 pages to the Old Testament, compared with pages for the New Testament.

This is a legitimate question. However, on the issue of mission we run into difficulties here. There is, in the Old Testament, no indication of the believers of the old covenant being sent by God to cross geographical, religious, and social frontiers in order to win others to faith in Yahweh.

While Bosch is correct in his interpretation that Israel was not expected to go out into the Gentile world, it was expected, by its very being, to be holy and set apart for a purpose higher than mere survival. This tack in his analysis is surprising, since Bosch explicitly dismisses any attempt to define mission too narrowly or on the basis of only one criterion. In this particular sense, Bosch falls prey to his own criticism of theologians who are self-servingly restrictive in their selection of texts while trying to justify a too narrow theory of mission.

But he cannot have it both ways. Critics such as J. He also wants to protect his intersubjective basis for mission from both relativism and absolute contextualism. He does this by appealing to the Reformed tradition, in which he stands, of sola Scriptura.

His alternative approach—the creative missional hermeneutic, which insists on a dialogue between our self-definition and various self-definitions of historical Christian communities dating back to the time of the New Testament—suffers from vagueness. He has not, however, adequately provided criteria, at least at a macro level, for determining what the text meant for the original readers and for finding a meaning consonant with that in the present.

He does not provide a clear starting point, nor does he answer whether the starting point should be our horizon or that of the biblical authors. Instead, he wants both but shows greater inclination toward the Eurocentric approach to the Bible by remaining faithful to the historical-critical method. While he makes a case for a connection between the biblical evidences for mission and contemporary missionary praxis, his approach—the third way—leaves itself open to a hermeneutical misreading of the Bible from the vantage point of the rich and the powerful, who can easily appeal to the Bible to spiritualize their privilege and their hold on power.

He has failed to be consistent in his insistence that the Bible is to be read from the so-called theology of weakness, since vulnerability and failure cannot have the same meaning for both the oppressed and the oppressor. For the latter, this theology could easily provide an escape from both a moral and a theological dilemma.

Bosch provides an excellent exegetical missiological analysis of the biblical books he chooses to study, but he remains too selective in his choice of books. Primarily, though Bosch does not intend to do so, it raises a question about the reliability of the Scriptures and thereby creates a sense of uncertainty.

The danger of this approach is that it opens the door to an almost infinite range of subjective interpretations of Jesus. Finally, Bosch leaves the distinct impression that the best one can get from Scripture is missionary models, rather than a biblically justified mandate. Such a notion can open the door to endless uncertainty.

Written for Our Learning: The Single Meaning of Scripture in Christian Theology

It is true that any definition of mission has some gray areas. It is also imperative to recognize that the truth-giving work of the Holy Spirit, which Bosch sees working outside of the walls of the church, applies also to illuminate Scriptures within the walls of the church. Despite these criticisms, the Bible remains the core foundation of mission for Bosch, and he argues strongly that any mission must take seriously the central thrust of the message of Scripture—the Heilsgeschichte.

David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament
David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament David Being a Prophet: The Contingency of Scripture upon History in the New Testament

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