Collin Hansen (CT) interviews Thomas Schreiner, Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, about his book New Testament Theology (Baker Academic, 2008), in which he argues that the 27 books of the New Testament present two unified themes.
1. In Jesus’ announcement that the kingdom has come, the New Testament (NT) advances the redemptive history of the Old. Since the first century Christians have lived in an “already not yet” tension, awaiting the kingdom’s full consummation.
2. The second theme is the book’s subhead: “Magnifying God in Christ.” The goal of the kingdom is to magnify God through the work of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
. . . I worked on and off for about seven years . . . First, as I read through the NT, I took notes on the major themes in the writings. Second, I wrote a first draft of the entire book from my notes. Third, I revised the book two more times after that. Fourth, I tried to read widely in NT studies to test my results against what was being said in scholarship. I revised and rewrote in light of what I read. . .
[Influenced by Ladd, but follows Jonathan Pennington’s work] . . . kingdom of heaven emphasizes the disjunction between God’s ways and ours. His kingdom is heavenly, in contrast to those that are wicked and earthly. . .
How do you envision this book edifying the church?
First, I hope and pray that preachers and teachers will preach and teach the greatness of our God and his saving work in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. In other words, my prayer is that my book will contribute to the proclamation of the gospel. Second, I hope that readers will grow in their trust in God’s Word. In other words, they will see that the NT message is fundamentally harmonious. Third, I know my book is long, but I hope that readers will see that the main message of the NT is clear. Our knowledge is limited, but God has revealed himself clearly to us in Jesus Christ. The gospel we proclaim wasn’t invented by us; it has been revealed to us. And we can understand it, live it, and proclaim it.
Update: See some important comments by David Miller on harmony and diversity.
I also just remembered that Art Boulet has blogged on the first chapter of Schreiner’s Theology. Obviously, he’s been a little distracted lately (end of post), but hopefully Sundays with Schreiner will be back. (No pressure Art, we feel your pain).