How the Covenantal Nature of the Church Disallows the Prevalent Individualistic, “Contractual” Ecclesiology (Gregg Allison)

The Church is the Church of the New Covenant. It is the New Covenant community. And Gregg Allison [1] rightly perceives that apprehension of this reality destroys the popular individualism in much contemporary church culture.

The dilemma: individualism and “contractual ecclesiology.”

AllisonHe cites Michael Horton who calls this unfortunate phenomena “contractual ecclesiology,” by which Horton means the following:

In evangelical contexts, the church is often regarded chiefly as a resource for fellowship. For the uniquely individualized personal relationship with Jesus, the church is not only dispensable but perhaps also a hindrance to personal growth. … [A] voluntaristic emphasis emerges, with human decision as the contractual basis for … ecclesial [church] existence. [2]

Many view the church as a ‘contractual reality,’ i.e., something that comes into existence  when fellow Christians just so happen to commit to one another (what is seen as an otherwise optional activity). In other words, the church is the product of Christians deciding to form a community. Thus the church’s existence is thought to be based on fellow ‘contractual’ agreement.

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Jesus the Son of God by D.A. Carson

In Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed, Dr. Carson presents a Biblical investigation and evaluation of the title “Son of God,” and specifically the title “Son of God” as it is used to refer to Jesus.

He breaks up the short book into three chapters.

In chapter 1, “‘Son of God’ as a Christological Title,” he investigates the various Biblical uses of “Son of ___,” then focuses  specifically on “Son of God,” and then focuses even more specifically on how the “Son of God” title is employed in reference to Jesus. Clearly, many “Son of ___” uses do not express a biological relationship, but presume some other kind of relationship or shared trait. Having established this point, Carson teases out its implications for the use of “Son of God” in reference to Israel’s kings who are called “Sons of God” and eventually the ultimate “Son of God” in this sense–Jesus.

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In Pursuit of Responsible Typology

As I mentioned yesterday, there has been some discussion within dispensational circles lately about typology and analogical interpretation. In my post yesterday I shared my dissatisfaction and qualms with that view which seeks to remove typology from its typical central role in “doing” Biblical theology in favor of “putting one’s Bible together” by means of analogy. So because I understand typology as fundamental to the unity and promise-fulfillment structure of the Old and New Testaments as well as a central way the New Testament writers use the Old Testament to show its continuity with their message and the work of Christ, I’m in pursuit of something more than an analogical interpretation, that being typology.

But yes, if lacking good definition and hermeneutical safety-rails, typology can easily become something other than typology–imaginative, fanciful, interpretations; finding typology where typology is not really present and connecting dots where no dots are to be found.[1] But, while recognizing the possible “slippery-slope,” I don’t want to be fallacious and equate typology with the slope itself, as many seem to do (e.g., Mark Snoeberger). Typology done legitimately is legitimate, despite hermeneutically unfortunate and irresponsibility decisions that find refuge under the umbrella of typology.

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On Calling Oneself a “Fundamentalist”

Let me be frank; my goal in this post is to inform you that “fundamentalist” and “fundamentalism” are pejorative terms and connote things with which I hope many of us would not want to associate. Therefore, to those whom it applies, unless you want to associate with the things these terms connote, at best I would like to convince you to stop calling yourself a fundamentalist; at minimum I’d like you to at least realize what your doing if you choose to call yourself a “fundamentalist.”

Introduction

But let’s start out by getting a few things straight.

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