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What Is God’s Ultimate Purpose?

My brief answer can be found in a guest post on the Crossway blog.

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Presentation on God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment

Sunday night, November 7, 2010, I had the privilege of presenting the argument of my book, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, at Bethel Church in Houston, Texas.

Bethel Church has kindly made the audio from the presentation available. On this page you can check out the “prezi” that I made to accompany my remarks. If you haven’t checked out this prezi software, it’s a nice alternative to powerpoint.

This talk is summarizing my conclusions. Obviously I wasn’t able to develop all the biblical evidence for these conclusions. The book moves inductively through the whole Bible book by book to show how this theme naturally rises up from what the texts say. The book is mainly dealing with the Bible, so I think that even if you disagree with the thesis you might still appreciate the attempt to do whole Bible interpretation that pays close attention to the parts.

A note on buying the book (which, ahem, I’d love for you to do if you haven’t yet!): If you buy from Crossway or Westminster Bookstore it ships immediately, but for some reason Amazon has had a bit of a delay. I see that Crossway has a nifty link to a Google Preview:

Audio of the summary lecture, with Q&A.

Presentation accompanying the lecture.

Here’s a rough outline of the presentation I did at Bethel Church (basically the text from the prezi in outline form):

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology

Overview of Seven Reasons to Conclude that God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment is the Center of Biblical Theology

1.     God’s Revelation of His Glory to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7

2.     God’s Goal in Redemptive History: To Cover the Dry Lands with His Glory as the Waters Cover the Sea

3.     God’s Pattern of Saving through Judgment in the Bible’s Big Story

4.     God’s Pattern of Saving through Judgment in Each Major Redemptive Event in the Bible

5.     God’s Way of Saving Sinners

6.     God’s Ground of Ethical Appeal

7.     God’s Praise from the Redeemed

Brief exposition of these seven reasons to conclude that God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment is the Center of Biblical Theology:

1. God’s Revelation of His Glory to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7

In Exodus 34:6­–7 Yahweh proclaims his own Name, showing Moses his glory, causing his goodness to pass before him, forgiving sin but not clearing the guilty, revealing his justice to highlight his mercy.

2. God’s Goal in Redemptive History: To Cover the Dry Lands with His Glory as the Waters Cover the Sea

Numbers 14:21, “all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD”

Isaiah 6:3, “the whole earth is full of his glory”

Habakkuk 2:14, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”

Psalm 72:19, “may the whole earth be filled with his glory”

Romans 11:36, “to him be glory forever”

3. God’s Pattern of Saving through Judgment in the Bible’s Big Story

creation – sin – exile – restoration

4. God’s Pattern of Saving through Judgment in Each Major Redemptive Event in the Bible

The Fall

The Flood

The Exile

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

The Return of Christ

5. God’s Way of Saving Sinners

revelation of holiness – conviction of sin – mercy in Christ – God exalting trust

6. God’s Ground of Ethical Appeal

the fear of the LORD’s Judgment – curbs behavior – keeping God’s people – on the God-honoring path of life

7. God’s Praise from the Redeemed

God’s people praise his justice

God’s people celebrate his mercy

Salvation belongs to the LORD

We’ll praise him forever.

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Completion!

A FedEx Truck just left this copy of God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology on our front doorstep.

Praise the Lord! May his favor be upon us, and may he confirm the work of our hands (Ps 90:17).

Some time back I thought through the timeline on this project. It’s a joy to reflect on God’s faithfulness to me and my family through these years:

Spring 2002, Prof. Mark Seifrid’s Seminar on New Testament Theology introduced me to the discussion of the question of the center of biblical theology, and in reading these discussions I was struck that no one had proposed that God’s glory was central to biblical theology.

October 2002, Finished my first trip through Isaiah in Hebrew, very impressed with the theme of God’s glory in salvation through judgment.

Summer 2004, Presented a paper at the Triennial Conference of the Tyndale Fellowship, responded to by I. Howard Marshall, attended by, among others, G. K. Beale and T. Desmond Alexander.

Spring 2005 (April), Met Bruce Winter at the Wheaton Theology Conference, and he told me that the paper would be published in Tyndale Bulletin.

November 2005, Presented a paper at ETS on “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts.”

Spring 2006, “The Centre of Biblical Theology: The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment?” appears in Tyndale Bulletin.

June 24, 2006, Justin Taylor emailed me asking if I had ever considered proposing a book on the center of biblical theology.

September 20, 2006, Justin emails again, and I send him initial proposals.

January 2007, Proposal shaping up, positive emails with JT, Schreiner, and Beale.

January 17, 2007, Discussion of August 2007 or January 2008 as completion dates!

February 7, 2007, Passes first hurdle at Crossway.

February 21, 2007, Offer to publish (contract!) comes from Crossway.

Fall 2008, “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts” published in Themelios.

January 1, 2010, Completed manuscript submitted to Crossway.

Spring/Summer 2010, Read through the book three different times in various editorial stages.

November 4, 2010, The book arrives at Crossway, and they overnight me a copy.

November 5, 2010, Today the book arrives on my doorstep while we were eating lunch as a family. Our 6 year old son went to the door and came back with a package. Rejoicing and celebration ensues.

Glory to God in the highest.

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Interview on God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment

Andy Cheung, Academic Dean of King’s Evangelical Divinity School, interviews me about God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology here.

You can preorder the book on Amazon. Watch for it, Lord willing, in early November.

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Baptism Now Saves You?

Have you ever wondered why Peter says (1 Pet 3:20-21) that the waters of the flood through which Noah and a few others were saved correspond to baptism?

In the sermon it was my privilege to preach yesterday, I tried to pursue a biblical-theological explanation of how the flood was an expression of God’s wrath that was used by Israel’s prophets to symbolize the wrath of God that would fall at the exile. When Jesus died on the cross, the full expression of wrath anticipated by the flood and the exile was poured out on him. To capture this reality, Jesus spoke of his death as the moment when he would “drink the cup” of God’s wrath and be “baptized” (e.g., Mark 10:38-39). Jesus was baptized into the floodwaters of God’s judgment, and when believers are baptized into the body of Christ, they are united to Christ, and his baptism into the floodwaters of judgment counts for us. We are saved through the death dealing waters of judgment and raised to walk in newness of life.

As I say, I did my best to exposit these themes in a sermon preached at Baptist Church of the Redeemer on June 6, 2010. You can download it here. Thanks to my dear friend and former fellow elder, Travis Cardwell, for letting me seek to serve the beloved saints of Redeemer.

I didn’t say this in the sermon, but if my exposition is correct, we see Moses doing biblical-theological interpretation of the creation and flood narratives and then connecting those events to his own experience as a baby in the Nile and Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea at the exodus. The prophets then follow the biblical-theological interpretation modeled by Moses, and Jesus interprets what will happen to him in line with these biblical-theological moves made by Moses and the Prophets in the OT. That is, Jesus interpreted the OT and his own life the same way that Moses and the prophets interpreted the OT and their own lives. Then the Apostles, Peter in this case, interpret the OT, the Gospels, and their own experience the same way that Moses and the Prophets did, and Peter learned this way of reading the Bible, as well was this way of reading life through the lens of the Bible, from Jesus.

I didn’t say this in the sermon either, but I think that the flood, the exile, the cross of Christ, and the baptism of new believers all show that the glory of God in salvation through judgment is indeed the center of biblical theology, which is the thesis of my forthcoming book. One of the reasons I wanted to preach this sermon was that I hadn’t dealt so much with these connections between the flood and baptism in the book.

As days go by someone may want to find this sermon among the others in the sermon player on that page. If you need to search the sermon player, you can probably search my name (Jim Hamilton), the date (June 6, 2010), or perhaps the title of the sermon (“The Floodwaters of Judgment”).

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God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment Available for Pre-Order at Amazon

It looks like persecution for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus may be on its way to us, so why don’t we use the calm before the storm to study up to stand firm in the hour of testing?

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology is available for pre-order on Amazon.

I’m pretty sure they’ll let you buy as many copies as you please.

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Tyndale Bulletin Essay on the Center of Biblical Theology Now Online

I have just been notified that my essay on the center of biblical theology published in Tyndale Bulletin in 2006 is now online:

The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment: The Centre of Biblical Theology? (that’s not a typo, and that’s not me deploying British spelling; the editors changed my American spellings to the British ones). I’m glad this is now online!

See also: “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine,” Themelios 33.3 (2008), 34-47.

And my manuscript on a book project on the center of Biblical Theology arguing for this center is due to Crossway January 1, 2010. I would appreciate your prayers that the Lord would enable me to help his people, particularly the shepherds and teachers of his people, understand the Bible in a deeper way (borrowing the motto of the ESV Study Bible).

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The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts

Andy Naselli announces the release of Themelios 33.3:

The latest issue of Themelios was released today, and it is outstanding! (It is available as a 129-page PDF or inHTML.)

  1. Editorial | D. A. Carson
  2. Minority Report: The Way of the Christian Academic | Carl Trueman
  3. The Gospel and the Poor | Tim Keller
  4. Shared Intentions? Reflections on Inspiration and Interpretation in Light of Scripture’s Dual Authorship | Jared M. Compton
  5. The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine | James M. Hamilton Jr.
  6. Salvation History, Chronology, and Crisis: A Problem with Inclusivist Theology of Religions, Part 2 of 2 | Adam Sparks
  7. Ezra, According to the Gospel: Ezra 7:10 | Philip Graham Ryken
  8. Book Reviews | 32 reviews
    1. Old Testament | 4 reviews
    2. New Testament | 6 reviews
    3. history and historical theology | 4 reviews
    4. systematic theology and bioethics | 16 reviews
    5. ethics and pastoralia | 1 review
    6. missions and culture | 2 reviews

A revision of my 2005 ETS presentation, “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine” appears in this issue. The essay can be accessed in either HTML or PDF format. 

I am at work on a larger project on the Center of Biblical Theology, and I welcome any feedback that might present objections I should answer, things I should make more clear, or any suggestions as to how I could improve the argument I’m trying to make.

Or if you just want to register your opinion that there’s no center to biblical theology or that I’m wrong about what it is, you can of course do that in the comments, too.

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