Unconventional Christianity

Posted: 25th June 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Bibles & Books
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Late last night I was looking on my bookshelf at the various things I’ve been reading over the past few years and realized that I’ve spent most of my time reading books that buck the traditional flow of things. I find a great deal of intellectual pleasure in digging out arguments against “conventional wisdom”, taking the less traveled or more difficult road, challenging the status quo, etc. and each of the following books has proven to be worth the time:

Calvin Seerveld, “the greatest song”

grtsong.gif Seerveld examines The Song of Songs and retranslates it literally for musical chorus and solo voices. The most interesting critique to me was that he finds two male solo voices instead of the traditional one. Instead of a maiden and the traditional Solomon, Seerveld sees The Song as God’s revelation for the norm of faithful erotic love between a man and a woman, the latter who is also being threatened by a lecherous Solomon. The woman rebuffs Solomon’s efforts to “know her” and remains faithful to her real lover. Fascinating treatment of a book that many choose to ignore.

Kenneth Genry Jr., “Before Jerusalem Fell”

beforejerusalemfell.jpg This has to now be the standard preterist text for arguing an early (pre-70AD) authorship date for Revelation and finding prophetic fulfillment in the events of the reign of Nero. Extensively footnoted with references and citations, Gentry looks at the internal and external evidence and presents a solid argument for partial/moderate preterism without spinning off into millennial hysterics.

Garry Friesen, “Decision Making and the Will of God”

decisionmaking.jpg Friesen challenges the traditional view of Christian decision making whereby we try to discern God’s will for our lives. He quite effectively argues that there is no Biblical basis for God having an individual will for each one of our lives. Instead, the Bible is our moral roadmap for making decisions and we are to employ wisdom instead of fleeces when choosing from the paths in front of us. A libertating read for those who are paralyzed by or consumed with “making the right choice”.

Mark Nanos, “The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul’s Letter”

romans.jpg One of the dangers of preterism is that it’s easy to find yourself wandering down the road of replacement theology and marginalizing the Jewish faith. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to recognize that the judgment of 70AD was against the Sadduccees and marked the end of the Temple Age, not Judaism as a whole. I’ve just started reading this argument against Replacement theology, but it’s already clear that Nanos has a strong argument that Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians is not an indictment of the Jews, but of the Christians themselves who were putting themselves in conflict with the leaders of the local synagogues by flaunting their separation from the Law. I expect this to be as powerful an argument against Replacement theology as Gentry’s book was against futurism.

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