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March 28, 2020 Lecture by Michael Lloyd

Registration is now open for this event at the Lanier Theological Library, Houston, TX!  Click HERE to register!

Did the Demons Do it? Jesus, Satan and the Problem of Suffering

Why suffering occurs in a world created by a loving God remains one of the most wrestled-with questions in human thought. Does God send suffering to educate, correct or deepen us? Does suffering bring out human qualities that would never emerge without it? Or, is suffering a negative, destructive force we would be better without? If so, why does God allow it? Michael Lloyd takes a dim view of suffering. He will look primarily at the Gospels for answers to some of these questions, and he will argue that taking the New Testament’s demonic language seriously helps us to think more humanely about these difficult questions.michael_lloyd-200x300

Michael Lloyd

Michael Lloyd is the Principal of Wycliffe Hall and was formerly the chaplain at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford and the Director of Studies in Theology at Christ’s College, Cambridge University. He has his BA and MA from Cambridge University and D.Phil. from Oxford. He has taught theology and doctrine at the University of Oxford, Cambridge University and St. Paul’s Theological Centre, London.

Michael has published the popular introduction Café Theology (2005) and has a particular interest in the doctrine of evil and the problem of pain. He wrote his doctoral thesis on “The Cosmic Fall and the Free Will Defence” (Bodleian Library, 1997). This is a survey of Christian responses to the problem of evil, and a constructive defense of the Fall of the Angels hypothesis. He is working on turning this into an academic treatment of theodicy, and most of his academic work is in this area.

In his article on “The Humanity of Fallenness,” Michael argues that, without a doctrine of the Fall, the problem of evil is insoluble and Christian theology unravels. Many theodicies attempt to defend suffering as in some way instrumentally beneficial. This seems to Michael pastorally damaging, as it makes God the cause of people’s suffering and their enemy, at a time when they most need to know that He is with them, for them and on their side. He argues that theodicy should be about the defense of God, and should not pay suffering or evil the respect of granting it any positive place in the plan of God.

Michael also has an interest in the theology of G. F. Handel, and his significant place in the Deist Controversy of the 18th Century. Creative artists, composers, and writers play a bigger role in the shaping of intellectual culture than professional theologians and philosophers have tended to recognize. He wants to explore this further, and see if there are ways in which Wycliffe Hall can support and promote creative artists as part of the vision to be a center for the intellectual renewal of the Church, and, through the Church, of Society.

Michael

Michael Lloyd is the Principal of Wycliffe Hall at the University of Oxford in England.

To learn more about Michael Lloyd, click HERE.

The Lanier Theological Library

On this edition of “Exegetically Speaking,” Mark Lanier, lawyer and founder of the Lanier Theological Library, describes the history and mission of the library he and his wife, Becky, started in 2010.  It is an amazing resource tucked away in northwest Houston.  Take a look at their website: https://www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/  Four to five times a year they host lectures featuring top scholars in Scripture, archaeology, and theology.  There is a great library of past lectures available featuring scholars such as N. T. Wright, Lynn Cohick, Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham, Andrew MacIntosh, John Piper, just to mention a few.  Listen.  All it takes is seven minutes!Mark and Becky Lanier

 

 

 

Here is the URL:

http://exegeticallyspeaking.libsyn.com/the-lanier-theological-library

or click here.

Biblical Wisdom: Ancient and Relevant

Not long ago I was invited to moderate a panel discussion at the Lanier Theological Library featuring three top Hebrew Bible specialists: Dr. Tremper Longman (Westmont College), Dr. Lawson Younger (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Dr. James Hoffmeier (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School).  The topic of the symposium was Biblical Wisdom, inspired by Tremper Longman’s new book (The Fear of the Lord is Wisdom, [Baker Academic]).

Mark Lanier, who normally moderates these panel discussions, was out of town and not able to join us.  So I was grateful for the opportunity to work with the panel of experts that day.

Here is a link to the conversation. It was a good introduction to the wisdom tradition in the Old and New Testaments.  Few traditions bring together both Old and New Testaments in a more elegant and personal way.

A “Forged” Gospel and Substitutionary Atonement

I had the privilege on May 6, 2016 of moderating a panel discussion at the Lanier Theological Library.  Mark Lanier, owner and namesake of the library, was out in California and made a surprise appearance at the end.  I guess the winds were in his favor.

The topics were diverse: The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and the notion of substitutionary atonement in Paul.  Those two topics were related only in that our special guest, Simon Gathercole, had written on them recently.  We rounded up some usual and unusual suspects for the afternoon’s discussion. Here are the key contributors:

David Capes (Moderator – Dean, Professor of New Testament, Houston Graduate School of Theology, Houston, TX)
Graham Cole (Dean, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, IL)
Craig Evans (Dean, School of Christian Thought, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University, Houston, TX)
Simon Gathercole (New Testament Scholar/Teacher, University of Cambridge, England)
David Moessner (Professor, A. A. Bradford Chair of Religion, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX)

The video lasts for 90 minutes but contains a lot of great information on topics related to the New Testament.  I’m grateful to Charles Mickey and Brent Johnson for their help that day.  Mark Lanier took a big chance getting a non-lawyer to moderate, but I hope he wasn’t too disappointed.  I thought it was a good discussion.

 

Here is a link to the discussion:

http://www.laniertheologicallibrary.org/seminar-videos-2/

 

Hell and Edward Fudge

 

I’m glad to learn that Edward Fudge is now following this blog.  I heard of Edward Fudge many years ago from my Doctor Father, Dr. Earle Ellis.  Ellis was impressed and persuaded by a book Fudge had written entitled The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment now its third edition.  My friend, Richard Bauckham, has written the forward.  Fudge makes the case that, according to the Christian Scriptures, the fate of the wicked is not conscious, eternal suffering but annihilation.  He moves carefully through the biblical texts and, like the good lawyer that he is, makes his case.  Fudge has convinced a lot of scholars and evangelicals that his reading is the best reading of a lot of controversial texts. Fire that consumes

Over the last few years I am pleased to say that Edward and I have become friends.  He lives in Houston and is a frequent participant in lectures and symposia at the Lanier Theological Library.  He has written other books which I’ve had the privilege to read and even endorse.  We talked the other day and he was busy researching another question: rabbinic stories which appear to parallel Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Edward has lived a remarkable life. The story of how he came to write such an influential book is the subject of a movie produced by Jeff Wood, Hell and Mr. Fudge (2012; DVD released in 2012).  The movie shows how Fudge, played by Mackenzie Astin, comes under attack from members of his denomination because he dedicated a year of his life to prove whether or not hell really exists.  People who take the Bible seriously have a hard time ignoring Fudge’s work.

Recently, a group of scholars have gotten together and produced a Festschrift honoring Edward for his work.  It is entitled A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge (Wipf & Stock, 2015).  Christopher M. Date and Ron Highfield were the editors.  Stephen Travis wrote the forward.A-Consuming-Passion

If you are curious or puzzled by the biblical teaching on hell, you can do no better than pick up Edward’s book and spend some time with it.  Like I said, he’s convinced some heavyweight scholars. Maybe he will convince you too.

 

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