About Me

My photo
Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Time to stop using language of "church"?

A brief conversation at SBL made me think about the use of the word "church" to translate ekklesia. The problem is that our word "church" is so overlaid with centuries of associations and connotations that when used in the New Testament it is very hard not to anachronistically read such things into the text.

Of course, I believe that the "church" of C21 is organically related to and descended from the ekklesia of C1 but it is so easy to misread the NT that I think perhaps we need to make the text strange again by resisting the word "church" in translation. A little distancing of horizons may open up enough space for us to hear the word afresh ... not least on the issue of the relation of Jews and Gentiles after the coming of Messiah.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Radom thought on Wayne Grudem's view of Prophets

When I was younger I was very much persuaded by Wayne Grudem's thesis (based on his PhD work) that the NT apostle and not the NT prophet was the successor to the OT prophet. He sought to draw a clear distinction between OT and NT prophets. The former were inerrant whilst the latter could make mistakes in the details whilst still remaining prophets.

I have become increasingly suspicious of the thesis over the years (suspecting that it was driven by systematic theological concerns rather than exegetical ones) but have never really given it any sustained reflection.

Whilst at SBL I was chatting with some Pentecostal scholars and one random thought came to me (which I am sure that countless people have pointed out before):

A key part of Grudem's case that NT prophets were not inerrant (and were thus different from OT prophets) is the case of Agabus in the book of Acts. A hair-splitting analysis of the Greek text of Agabus' prophecy opens up a gap between the details of what was foretold and what came to pass. This proves that he was not inspired in the same way as OT prophets. Or does it?

My simple thought was this: if one applied Grudem's super-high standards for what counts as accurate fulfillment to OT prophets then Agabus was in the same boat as them. Indeed, he was a darn sight more "accurate" in the Grudem sense than, say, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Daniel.

Far from driving a wedge between OT and NT prophets the case of Agabus may suggest that they were cut from the same cloth.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

John Walton on Genesis 1

I am reading John Walton's little book, The Lost World of Genesis One (IVP). It really is very good. Well worth checking out. Walton is a scholar of the ancient Near East and this is his own, creative, take on how Genesis 1 would have been interpreted by its ancient Israelite audience.

Walton seeks to recover the ancient cosmology behind Genesis 1. Modern readers almost inevitably try to read Gen 1 in the light of modern cosmologies and, as a result, end up misunderstanding the text.

His big idea is that creation is understood in functional terms (so Gen 1 is not, for instance, about creating something from nothing, but about giving functions to things. It is a more radical idea than it sounds from my brief comment here).

I have not yet got the parts where he discusses how we handle Gen 1 in debates on evolution but you can bet your butt that Walton sees evolution as "not incompatible with" anything in Gen 1.

One of the more sensible discussions on the text that genuinely sheds new light.


Just arrived home from the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. I was in meetings with potential authors the whole time so I did not get to attend any sessions but it sure was great to chat to so many interesting people. All very stimulating and great to meet old friends again.

Plus, it is always a joy to spend time with the Wipf and Stock boys — good conversation, good food, and good drink.

I did come away encouraged that there seems to be a growing breadth and generosity amongst evangelical scholars — less and less fit the old evan-jelly-mould. Creative thinking going on! Good stuff.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Narnia Code Conference in Oxford

This conference in Oxford jointly sponsored by Paternoster and the King's Bible College and Training Centre looks superb!

Michael Ward's hypothesis on the Narnia books is compelling and fascinating. It is a "must" for all C. S Lewis fans.