Item description for Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament by Kent E. Brower & Andy Johnson...
Overview Challenges the local church to become a community where holiness is a matter of public concern.
Publishers Description Throughout the biblical story, the people of God are expected to embody God??'s holy character publicly. Therefore, holiness is a theological and ecclesial issue prior to being a matter of individual piety. Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament offers serious engagement with a variety of New Testament and Qumran documents in order to stimulate churches to imagine anew what it might mean to be a publicly identifiable people who embody God??'s very character in their particular social setting.
Contributors: J. Ayodeji Adewuya Paul M. Bassett Richard Bauckham George J. Brooke Kent E. Brower Dean Flemming Michael J. Gorman Joel B. Green Donald A. Hagner Andy Johnson George Lyons I. Howard Marshall Troy W. Martin Peter Oakes Ruth Anne Reese Dwight Swanson Gordon J. Thomas Richard P. Thompson J. Ross Wagner Robert W. Wall Bruce W. Winter
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.18" Width: 6.34" Height: 0.9" Weight: 1.35 lbs.
Release Date Oct 26, 2007
Publisher WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
Edition Student/Stdy Gde
ISBN 0802845606 ISBN13 9780802845603
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More About Kent E. Brower & Andy Johnson
Andy Johnson is Professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO where he has taught for thirteen years. He was the co-editor of "Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament" (Eerdmans) and has published articles in a variety of scholarly journals including "Scottish Journal of Theology," "Horizons in Biblical Theology," and "Journal of Theological Interpretation." "
Reviews - What do customers think about Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament?
Solid biblical theology Jun 23, 2009
This is a good collection of scholarly articles from Wesleyan theologians, though like all such anthologies the quality of the offerings varies somewhat. I had considered this as a text for a unit I taught at Booth College on "The Doctrine of Sanctification: Biblical Perspectives" but thought the title indicated too narrow a focus. As it turns out it probably would have made a worthy textbook. The material is predominantly biblical theology, so there is little by way of confessional theology here. Those looking for uniquely Wesleyan insights into the doctrine of sanctification are not likely to find them here. It's a pity in a way that we are seeing Wesleyan theologians doing such fine scholarly work but not, at least not in this collection, doing much more than apologise for the inadequacies of their own tradition. Where is the creative articulation of Wesleyan theology that reads the Scriptures in a traditioned yet at the same time open-ended way that will advance the tradition? It has often been said that Wesleyan theology is less "systematic" and more "biblical." If that is the case why are the most fruitful and creative Wesleyan theologians all systematic and historical theologians (Maddox, Collins, et al?). Is there a biblical theologian in the Wesleyan tradition? Tell me if you have an answer to that question because I'm still looking for a good textbook for this course!
Called Holy and Called to Act Holy Mar 21, 2008
Ben Kickert. Review of Kent E. Brower, and Andy Johnson, eds. Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007).
Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament seeks to provide an account of who the people of God are and how they are called to behave. The focus of the book is on the biblical concept of holiness and the manner in which the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls depict this notion. Specifically, the book approaches the topic by viewing holiness through an ecclesial lens (xvi). The book is an anthology edited by Kent E. Brower and Andy Johnson and is comprised of twenty-one essays from twenty authors.
Rather than offer a collection of general essays, the editors present the topic largely through a book-by-book analysis of the New Testament. The book includes two essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls, four essays on the gospels, ten essays on the Pauline corpus, four that explore the general letters and Revelation, and three that are broader in nature. In addition to a wide range of content, the authors included employ diverse techniques for approaching the topic of holiness and ecclesiology. Some authors approach the text as a word study and explore the hagios word group in a text, while others grapple with the overall theme and flow of the book and how it relates to the concept of holiness. Still others focus on a single passage and the broader implications of that passage. While this editorial technique provides the reader with a diversity of thought and a broad range of topics, it makes it difficult to review the book as a whole. Therefore, this review will look at major themes common throughout the essays with particular attention to significant findings or divergent proposals.
As readers engage this book they will quickly notice the oscillation between scholarly and practical. This shift is not only present between the various essays, but also within individual pieces. After working through the assigned text, a vast majority of the authors conclude their chapters with a discussion of the practical implications of their findings. These praxis-centered conclusions range from the mundane to the profound. This illustrates that the intended audience of this book is understood to be a part of God's holy people. On a similar note, readers will find varying levels of formality and approachability within this volume. Some essays require a basic to intermediate grasp of Greek comprehension in order to follow the arguments, while others work with transliterations and English translations.
This book presents two primary aspects of holiness in the range of essays included: the holiness of calling and the holiness of behavior. Simply put, the various authors affirm holiness as an attribute used to describe God's people as well as a standard the people of God are expected to model. I. Howard Marshall depicts this dichotomy in his essay by noting that Christians are called holy and then called to act holy (119). As can be expected, some authors emphasize one of these aspects more than the other, but the majority of the essays included affirm both. Likewise, when considering the vessel through which holiness is to be lived out, the authors generally acknowledge both a communal and individual approach. Throughout the book, it is generally understood that holiness for God's people comes directly from God - a concept Brower and Johnson refer to as "derived holiness" (xix).
In this New Testament discussion of holiness, the authors included in this book consistently frame the concept of holiness in terms of Jesus and the resurrection. In addition to this broad scope, many of the authors refer to the concept of "cruciformity." This term seems to originate from Michael J. Gorman, who is one of the authors in this volume. In his book Gorman defines cruciformity simply as "conformity to the crucified Christ" (Michael J. Gorman. Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001, 4) Six of the essays explicitly discuss this topic, while several more approach it indirectly or apply similar terms. Gorman's chapter in particular focuses on the counter-cultural self-sacrifice that Christ demonstrated and the resulting call for Christians to emulate that behavior (148-166).
The inclusion of two essays on the texts from Qumran deserves special attention. George J. Brooke's essay seeks to establish an understanding of the community in Qumran in order to provide a "control group" through which a reader can understand first century writings such as those from the New Testament authors (16). Similarly, Dwight Swanson examines the Dead Sea Scrolls to provide insight on the New Testament writings; his contribution includes a broader understanding of holiness that relates less to behavior codes and more to ascribed status (19-39).
Within the remaining essays, several broad themes emerge. The first can be found in the Christological discussion of holiness and the church. There is a consensus that Jesus' ministry illustrated an understanding of holiness in terms of the redemption of unholy things rather than in terms of holiness codes. Second, the ongoing discussion of ecclesiology necessitates the formation of a theology of God's chosen people. Some authors approach this subject with a clear supersessionist understanding of God's people, while others avoid the specifics and simply note that Christian should understand themselves as part of the chosen people of God. Finally, most of the essays take this understanding of a chosen people of God and use that designation to promote and define holy behavior; that is to say, Christians are called to embody lifestyles worthy of their calling. This discussion is often connected with the work of the Holy Spirit. While Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament contains a broad spectrum of approaches and opinions, nearly all of them affirm holiness as an attribute ascribed to God's people because of their faithful relationship with Christ, which then requires an appropriate behavioral response through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In evaluating the merit and strengths of the Brower and Johnson's book, the first assessment must concern the approach and layout of the material. As has been mentioned earlier, there are certain strengths to employing 20 authors to each write an essay on a particular text; however, there are also distinct drawbacks. First, it is difficult to interact with divergent views of holiness and ecclesiology because each author is working with a separate text. Likewise, because no author deals with the New Testament as a whole, it is easy to focus on individual points rather than on developing a synthetic theology. Second, at many points the essays can become repetitious because authors are making similar points but from different sources. Third, the passages of varying importance tend to be leveled in this book-by-book approach. That is to say, epitomic passages are given the same emphasis as less important passages. This is true not only of pericopes, but of entire books as well. For instance, Ephesians with its clear emphasis on the church and on holy living is given the same amout of space for discussion as Galatians, which offers far less to the discussion. George Lyons addresses many of these issues by saying, "[while] an essay of brief scope can call attention to the major issues; it certainly cannot solve them all" (238). Unfortunately, in many cases the authors raise important issues, but are unable to provide definitive conclusions.
On a similar note, it should be of concern that nearly 25% of the essays begin with a confession similar to Richard Bauckham's: "At first glance the Gospel of John may not seem to have much to contribute to theme of a 'holy church'" (95 c.f. 57, 76, 219). Brower and Johnson themselves acknowledge this point, but frame it in a way as to argue for the presumed nature of these two concepts (xvii). While this may certainly be the case, it could all also highlight a deficiency wherein some authors are forced to make connections that may not be as obvious to the reader. In general, the essays that focus on word group studies and specific passages tend to offer more insights on the topic at hand than do the essays that seek to portray an overall understanding of the book and then relate it to the holiness of the church.
While some of the chapters included in this book seem stretched for content, it is unfortunate that some books of the New Testament lack any representation. For instance, of the ten Pauline essays, none of the essays cover the pastoral letters - texts that clearly address the formation and function of the church in holiness. Likewise, there is no discussion of the Johannine letters, which leaves readers without treatment of some of the most eloquent and practical treatment of holy living in the New Testament (xvii). James, the epistle often accused of being more about holy practice than saving faith is also absent in this anthology. The editors would perhaps have been better served either to include treatment of all twenty-seven New Testament texts or to provide a more general treatment of the topics included. As is, the benefits of covering each book individually are lost when several significant texts are excluded. Also lacking from the book is a subject index although a list of authors and scripture references is included.
Despite these shortcomings, Brower and Johnson's book does make significant contributions that cannot be overlooked. Of primary importance are the framing principles for the collected essays. By viewing holiness in terms of the church and its larger implications on society, the editors were able to present a discussion of holiness that is as practical as it is scholarly. The authors included in the book were able to approach the topic in a manner that avoided the legalistic discussions of the infinitesimal points of holiness while engaging the culture into which theses texts were delivered. Additionally, the works collected in this volume engage important discussions on the relationship between God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the church without getting mired in deeper epistemological questions.
In terms of content, while one may question the lack of treatment of some New Testament books, the editors' decision to include a discussion of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a stroke of genius and should be applauded. These opening essays allow the reader to engage the New Testament texts that follow in a fresh way. When the intended audience is the church, it is easy to bring detrimental presuppositions to the table. By including extra-biblical texts to grapple with in advance of the discussion of biblical holiness, Brower and Johnson limit this danger.
Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament is a valuable book that makes a significant contribution to the discussion of holiness, especially as it pertains to a newly redefined, post-resurrection people of God. While readers will certainly benefit from reading the book cover to cover, they may be best served to use this book as a reference when studying individual segments of the New Testament. Overall, the book provides consistent quality, which is a significant achievement considering the diversity and quantity of contributing authors. Additionally the practical application of this book cannot be overlooked. While the book is not without its liabilities, it remains a useful and well-written book - undoubtedly worth including in one's library.