NT Theology was an attempt to produce a synthesis and rearrangement of ideas.
But the biblical text is not written to do this. It was written to guide/sustain/direct the missional life of the early church. Doctrine needs to be made part of the great narrative of scripture. People of the NT are supposed to carry this story forward.
Is this Hegelian/ Supersessionist/ Constantinian? Wright says no.
Church has to be shaped for it’s mission and by it’s mission. Often we assume we know what mission is. Often dualistic (snatching them away from the world to bring them to a place to wait or to have a chaplaincy presence in the world and be with people).
Our mission must be shaped by our eschatology. Eschatology is to be shaped by Jesus himself. The real Jesus not the Jesus who died on the cross so I can go to heaven or the Jesus that I need to model and do good things.
Love not the world vs For God so loved the world tension. What the one God does for Israel is a step in bringing the rest of the world into the frame of reference. Judgement, salvation etc etc. Jewish text speak of God’s work for and through Isreal. Some kind of new world wide order. And Jesus will rule.
Not about saying that we have a better religion. The point was that the one God had done everything he had promised. New testament is about God claiming the world through Jesus already now. Missional language is sending language. Almost a sending language. The son is the mission of God. “The father has sentme.” Sending of the son leads to the sending of the spirit lead to the people of the Son being heirs. The inheritance is not heaven. It is God’s new creation. The redeemed cosmos. God has made a good world and he is going to rescue it.
Paul: You have the missionary God. The God who sends the son/ spirit. Against paganism the Gods that enslave you. We do this because Jesus is already in charge. How does he run things? Not to bully? Not to be served but to serve. The cross redefined the worlds mode of power.
Therefore we must learn to read the new testament. It is not an unsorted book of scriptures that we want to put on our coffee mugs. It is also not an unsorted version of systematic theology. The bible is about narrative of the missionary task.
How do we see this in Acts?
Underneath Acts is the theme of the temple and the church’s mission. The temple of the OT was not just one relic spot. It was a kind of a bridgehead where heaven and earth met. It is the recovery of a microcosm of the Garden of eden. Glory of the Lord fills the house, new temple will be built. End of it all the shechinah glory will return. The name of that city will be, “the Lord is there”. This is the narrative that is fulfilled about Jesus.
Ascension: Jesus is not a vertical take off lift. In Jesus the human who is also the living embodiment of Israel as one God. There is now a bit of earth in heaven. Now heaven and earth have come together, but in the human being Jesus. In Acts 2 (pentecost) babel is reversed: Now there is a bit of heaven on earth. There was a bit of earth in heaven. Now heaven and earth are joined. They are bridged.
In the temples new Christians are claiming that Jesus is the NEW place where heaven and earth come together on the steps of the temple (old palce). Jesus is now there interceding for his people as the great high priest. It is now time for the whole world to come into the purview. Lots of temple references throughout. Paul on Mars Hill is saying these temples of Nke etc are category mistakes. Paul’s new temple theology upstages the entire pantheon. Acts 27: Shipwreck. Sea monsters out to get him (chaos). Malta -> We were all through ally saved landed on the shore. This is the missionary theology.
How do we See it in John
Temple theology from the start: The word pitched his tent and lived among them. The glory of God has pitched his tent and it looks like Jesus. NT Christiology is about telling the story of Israel’s one God coming back and to tell that story you have to tell the story of Jesus.
Confrontation in John. Is it Jesus or it is the temple. John takes people into the upper room. Why? This is the new temple. Farewell discourse are not a retreat from the world. But a need to engage with the world. Jesus is the new source living water as mentioned in Ezekiel where new water flows out of the temple. You are the temple of Christ and out of that temple will flow living water. Missional to Jesus’ people.
John 16: When the spirit comes he will convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment. Jesus will do this through his followers. Part of the heart of the NT’s missional theology. If we pray for the spirit we should expect that the spirit will be teaching us how to hold the world to account. (sin, righteousness, judgment). A different sort of kingdom/ power. Different sort of truth. This is all linked with the unity of the church. If the world can look at the the church and see it’s disunity than why shall we take it seriously? Newspapers revel in reporting this because they can speak truth into the world and that is the church’s job.
How do we see it in Paul
If you want to read Epeshians happily focus on the tens. Ephesians: 1:10 -2:10-3:10 JOY. These passages talk about uniting all of the heavens and earth. The church constituted as God’s work of art/ poem. Good works are the mission of the church that show the world that there is a different way to be human. Unity of the church is to be the model of God’s heaven and earth at the end. 3:10 -> One people who in their unity are a sign to the powers of the world that Jesus is Lord and they are not. Eph 4: Unity Eph 5: Holiness. Paul is constantly concerned to bring about and sustain and shape a people who are a new sort of polis. City/ social order.
Romans: Romans about God’s covenant purpose all the world to Jesus. Not therefore “we are going to Glory”, but that “glory is coming to us”. Chapter 6(set free)/7 (torah)/8 (Jesus) in Romans is a retelling of the exodus story. Large scale exodus story. Horizon is the new creation.
Public theology should therefore be for all. Opening up for a new hermeneutical space within the world by people living together throughout the world. This will provide the new reality towards which the old cultures aspired.