Should Christians Defend Jesus’ Virgin Birth?
“The notion that Jesus was born to a young Galilean girl who was still a virgin has proven to be one of the most objectionable and mocked beliefs of the Christian faith” (99), Michael Bird contends in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe.
Even a Christian pastor once suggested that it should make no difference to our faith if archaeologists found definitive, biological, DNA proof that Jesus had an earthly father named Larry.
“And yet,” Bird continues, “there it is right in front of us, right there in the Apostles’ Creed, to be confessed by Christians as part of our holy faith.” (99)
What are we to make of this stanza from our creed: “[Jesus] was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”? Is…
What Does it Mean to “Believe”? Here are 5 Aspects of Christian Faith
That’s how one of the most important creeds of Christ’s Church begins. And it’s no surprise that it does. Because as Michael Bird explains in his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, not only is “the Christian life a story of faith: of coming to faith, of keeping the faith, and of finishing the faith.” (43) Life itself is a life of faith:
Faith, believe, trust and hope—whatever you like—these emerge from a deeply human experience full of dualities; experiences of life and loss, fidelity and failures, joy and grief, as well as trust and betrayal…The reality is that faith is an inalienable feature of human existence. (44)
What this opening salvo of our cornerstone creed is inviting those who recite it to do is “to recognize their need…
4 Reasons Why Every Christian Ought to Know the Traditional Creeds
In the last several years, there has been a resurgent interest in rediscovering the historic Christian faith. Among others, we have Michael Bird to thank.
In his new book What Christians Ought to Believe, Bird follows up his magnum opus on evangelical theology with a sturdy guide to the bedrock of Christian doctrine: the Apostles’ Creed. It summarizes and explains the basic tenets of the Christian faith using this theological bulwark, in order to reverse a trend he calls a “theological travesty”:
Sadly, I know many churches that make no effort to recite, teach, and confess the Apostles’ Creed or any creed for that matter…By ignoring the creeds those who consider themselves to be orthodox are effectively sawing off the theological branches upon which they are sitting. (13)
Is Church Unity Possible? – An Excerpt from Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series)
The Story of God Bible Commentary explains and illuminates each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. It aims to set each passage within the context of Scripture and leads the reader to (1) “Listen to the Story,” (2) “Explain the Story,” and (3) “Live the Story.”
In his commentary on Romans, Michael F. Bird examines each portion of scripture through this three-step process. This week’s excerpt is taken from the “Listen to the Story” and “Explain the Story” sections of Romans 14:1 – 15:13 revealing the apostle Paul’s instruction on the perennial problem of church disunity.
LISTEN TO THE STORY
Problems of Disunity The Roman…
Special Access and Endurance – An Excerpt From Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
Approaching Holy Week brings our thoughts to the implications of Christ’s work on the cross. In his new commentary on Romans (The Story of God Bible Commentary Series) Michael Bird leads through the text of Romans 5 with humor and depth of insight into the great gift we are given and the hope that results.
Reflect on this excerpt of the commentary from Romans 5:1-11:
The summative nature of Paul’s language easily lends itself to application in both the ancient Roman churches and in the contemporary ones, especially in relation to the real meaning of our salvation and how it proves to be transformative for our own character…
Michael Bird on the “Gracism” of Romans 3:21–31
Aussie Michael Bird observes what many Americans often forget: “Blacks, whites, and Latinos are never more segregated than when it comes to attending worship services.” Sunday at 11:00 a.m. truly is the most segregated hour in America.
What we need is a healthy dose of “gracism.” Bird’s fresh look at Romans 3:21–31 will administer this vital antidote.
Gracism means that grace is both preached and practiced toward others. Gracism means that the most ruthless and efficient way to destroy our tribal enemies is by making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. (135)
What Bird reveals about Paul’s central passage on justification is a…
Why Did Paul Write Romans? Michael Bird Offers 5 Possible Reasons
Like many practitioners, my shelves groan under the weight of a cohort of Romans commentators, including: Cranfield, Dunn, Fitzmyer, Jewett, Moo, Nanos, Schreiner, and, of course, Luther, Calvin, and Barth.
It’s time to add another: Bird.
Michael Bird’s new Romans commentary is a worthy addition to our shelves. Not only because he exploits Romans’s narrative world and situates the letter within the broader biblical story. But because of how he views Romans, which informs his commentary:
Romans is a word of exhortation, a masterpiece of missional theology, culturally savvy apologetics, christological exegesis, pastoral care, theological exposition, and artful rhetoric… (11)
His Romans-In-Brief helps answer our question. So does the history of interpretation…
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Extracurricular Activities 2.7.15 — The Trinity, NT Papyrus, and the Crusades
In the most recent issues of JETS is a review by Jeffrey A. Stivason of my Evangelical Theology. Its quite a fair review, with a bit of push back, and some nice points of affirmation as well. Stivason claims that because I am reluctant – unlike B.B. Warfield – to find an explicit Trinitarian affirmation in the NT, that I thereby “weaken rather than strengthen this fundamental doctrine among evangelicals” and contribute to a belief that the Trinity is “the most abstract and impractical of all Christian doctrines.”
Let me say that I believe that the Trinity is “biblical”…
A papyrus witness to the Greek New Testament has been discovered in the Cadbury Research Library of the University of Birmingham.
Following an initial visit last year,…
Extracurricular Activities 11.8.15 — The 153 Fish, Strong vs. Weak Christians, & Making Papyrus
In 1962, Arthur W. Wainwright published The Trinity in the New Testament, a helpful one-volume treatment of a vast subject. Wipf & Stock keeps it in print, and no wonder: Wainwright handled the material so well that only a few pages in it seems dated –though it’s more than fifty years old, and there has been much change in some of the sub-fields it reports on. If it doesn’t quite cover everything a reader could hope for, it nevertheless lives up to the promise of its clear title. These 270 pages deliver.
Here are some scattered notes from a reading of the first fourteen pages, where Wainwright sets up his approach. (I hope to post more notes from later sections in subsequent blog posts.)
My Advice to Students — Michael Bird Has 3 Things to Say to Younger Bird
(Can't see the video? Watch it here)
I would wager most of the scholars who’ve contributed to our series would say their advice is meant for a younger version of themselves as much as young students and scholars.
Michael Bird, contributor to Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy, has three things to say to young Bird and young up-and-comers:
Don't be a man pleaser. “Because if you go chasing respect or chasing some sort of validity in a certain camp, ultimately you’re going to sell out.” Work in the primary languages and sources. Bird admits this is something he wishes he would've done more of as a young scholar. Take measures…
The Resurrection Has Consequences — An Excerpt from “Evangelical Theology” by Michael Bird
We do not merely preach a crucified Christ; we preach a risen crucified Christ whom God has exalted to the highest place. Because as Michael Bird reminds us in his new book Evangelical Theology, the cross and resurrection form an indissoluble unity.
"The cross without the resurrection is just martyrdom…Conversely the resurrection without the cross is a miraculous intrusion into history, a redemptive-historical enigma, and a paranormal freak show with indeterminable significance." (436)
But what does the resurrection actually mean?
The resurrection “is not simply an amazing fact that God brings dead people to life. It has a host of consequences.” (447) Today Michael Bird reminds us what those consequences are, particularly for our resurrection-inspired Kingdom ministries—whether in a church or a classroom.
-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)