Andy Naselli, guest-blogging for Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds, has a great interview with Dr. Tom Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Associate Dean of Scripture and Interpretation at Southern, whose new book New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ.
For those wondering what the book is about…
13. Your “Introduction” opens with this:
The thesis advanced in this book is that NT theology is God-focused, Christ-centered, and Spirit-saturated, but the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit must be understood along a salvation-historical timeline; that is, God’s promises are already fulfilled but not yet consummated in Christ Jesus. . . . I will argue for the centrality of God in Christ in the concrete and specific witness of the NT as it unfolds God’s saving work in history. Another way to put this is that God will receive all the glory for his work in Christ by the Spirit as he works out his purpose in redemptive history. Further, redemptive history is characterized by inaugurated but not consummated eschatology, so that the glory that belongs to God has not yet reached its zenith but it will (p. 23).
You later state the argument of NTT more concisely:
I argue in this book that magnifying God in Christ is the foundation or goal of NT theology, and God works out his purpose in salvation history to reach that goal” (p. 880).
What led you to state the NT’s theme this way? What is the criteria for identifying a theological center to the NT?
If I may be utterly simplistic, I would say that the writings themselves point me to this theme as foundational or central. The NT is clearly the story about how God redeems his people, but there is no doubt that the central characters are the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The texts themselves teach us that God (Father, Son, and Spirit) saves (and judges!), and that his purpose in accomplishing this great work is his own glory. We see this theme in the Lord’s prayer, in Ephesians 1, Romans 9-11, Revelation, etc. If we examine major themes in the NT, is there a way of determining what is foundational? Texts like Eph. 1:3-4 help us to see that redemption or salvation (or covenant) or the people of God cannot be most important. Naturally, we would need to examine many other texts in all of the literature to defend such an assertion. My point is this: there are texts that indicate that God’s glory is foundational and central, and no other theme can compete with it.
And for those who were wondering what could Dr. Schreiner be working on after such a massive project…
21. What other short-term and long-term projects are ahead for you?
- I have finished a semi-popular book titled Run to Win the Prize, which IVP will publish in the UK. The aim is to make the thesis of a previously published book (The Race Set Before Us, co-authored by Ardel Caneday) available to readers in a shorter compass and also to clarify and respond to some criticisms of the previous book.
- Baker has just asked me to abbreviate my NT Theology and write a 250 to 300-page version, so I hope to do that in the near future.
- Baker also asked me to do a new edition of Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, which was published in 1990. [Editorial note from Naselli: Two chapters from this book are available as PDFs on Schreiner’s faculty page: (1) “Diagramming and Conducting a Grammatical Analysis” and (2) “Tracing the Argument.”]
- My big project right now is a commentary on Galatians in the new Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series.