“Paul Is Derivative of Peter” with Gene Green

What follows is the transcript of a conversation I had on The Stone Chapel Podcast with Dr. Gene Green about his wonderful book, VOX PETRI. Peter, he says, is the lost boy of Christian theology, particularly with the Protestant Church.

To hear the podcast, you can go to your favorite platform or click here.

Episode 132 Vox Petri with Gene Green.

Gene Green   

I’m Gene Green. I’m Professor Emeritus of New Testament from Wheaton College and Graduate School in Illinois, and also currently adjunct professor at NACOS, the Native American Course of Studies of The United Methodist Church. 

David Capes   

Dr. Gene Green. Gene, good to see you. Welcome to the Lanier Theological Library and to the Stone Chapel Podcast.  

Gene Green 

Well, it’s a delight to be here. And it’s such a beautiful place and beautiful day here in Houston, Texas. And I’m grateful for the weather. 

David Capes   

Well it’s cooler than usual, but I’m sorry.  

Gene Green 

I brought the weather f. Blustery.  

David Capes 

The Lanier Library is a delightful place. I know you haven’t seen much of it. But after this weekend, you’re here for a lecture weekend. Hopefully, you’ll get a chance to see a little bit of all of it.  

Gene Green   

Well, I hope so. And the library is just a beautiful place a marvelous collection of books. And I’m sure that many many scholars are wanting to come here if they haven’t already come to do some research. And may I say probably they’d want to ride the small gauge train around the property as well.  

David Capes   

So, for those who don’t know, who is Gene Green?  

Gene Green   

Well, I’m a New Testament prof.  Taught for about 13 years in Latin America and the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. I spent about 24 years at Wheaton College, teaching New Testament and have done some academic administration—crossed over to the dark side of the academy. But my real joy is being with students and teaching and writing, to be able to think through in fresh ways, some issues in Scripture and theology. It’s been quite a joy. The experience in Latin America brought me pretty deep into the conversation with our brothers and sisters who are developing Latin American theologies, and that was extremely enriching. I have had the honor of working not only with Latin Americans, but also women and men from across the globe, from Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as in indigenous communities and listening to the theological conversation. This cutting edge conversation, Justo Gonzalez said, is a macro-reformation in Christian theology that’s happening around the globe.  

David Capes   

And it’s really exciting.  

Gene Green   

It really, really is, as our brothers and sisters are bringing us fresh and faithful visions of the faith that are enriching us all, not only for their communities, but for all Christians, every place. And here in North America, we need to be listening to them as we listen to our brothers, like Peter. And as he’s developing theologically, in his context, also, we’re seeing tremendous developments in these various regions of the world. So, that’s what I’ve been up to. Currently, I’m writing a commentary on Acts for the Tyndale series, and just having a great time.  

David Capes   

Good. Well, we’re so pleased that you’re here. We’re here today to talk about your book that was published a couple of years back, called Vox Petri, A Theology of Peter, foreword by Michael Gorman, a good friend of ours. But “Vox Petri”, “the voice of Peter,” is that a good translation? 

Gene Green   

Yeah, his voice that said, we use the title Vox Petri to  talk about the way that the New Testament gives us the, not the ipsissimia verba, the exact words of Peter, but the voice of Peter. Peter is always mediated to us in the various witnesses in the New Testament. So, there are others that are managing his voice. So, it’s the voice of Peter, but I think we have a faithful picture of who Peter is. But my concern has been over the years with the way that the New Testament presents the theology of Peter. And we have to remember that Peter was the Rock, and ‘upon this rock, I’ll build my church’.  

David Capes   

I would love to have some sort of a study done with Protestant ministers, to say how many of you are preaching on Peter. I bet not too many. I mean, we’re “all in” for Paul. We’re sort of “all in” for Paul. And maybe the Gospels. But there’s a huge part of the New Testament that we stay away from, I’m afraid, some of that’s the reaction to the Catholicism in terms of how they view Peter, right? We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to go that far. So, in a way we play him down.  

Gene Green   

We do and, in the book, ‘Vox Petri, Theology of Peter,’ I start off by talking about Peter being the lost boy of Christian theology and we’ve lost him, we lost him in the Reformation. We think, well, Protestants, we’ve got Paul and Roman Catholics have Peter, we’ve lost him in the pulpit. When you think about the preaching we’ve heard about Peter, you know, he’s the disciple who fails and is restored. you know, he rejects the idea of the cross. Jesus rebukes him for that, he denies the Lord, he walks on water and he sinks. He and Paul have a bit of conflict in Antioch. And we think about him as the failed but then restored disciple, so we lose him in the pulpit, as a theological figure, we’ve lost him to critical scholarship.  

Our colleagues who do not believe that you can hear or reconstruct a theology of Peter from the New Testament sayt all we have are images of Peter, instead of the authentic voice of Peter, the authentic theology of Peter. So, the problem with Petrine and studies is very similar to Jesus studies, where you bifurcate between in Jesus studies—the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith—with the Christ of faith being the invention of the church. Well a similar thing happens in Petrine studies. Now, you have the Simon of history. And then the Peter of faith. And most who work on Peter say, really, all we’ve got are just images of Peter, but not Peter himself. And my argument has been that no, the Simon of history is the Peter of faith, and we can hear him. We can hear him in the New Testament.  

David Capes   

Yeah, and I love the way you bring in the Gospel of Mark, at a very early part. Tell us a little bit about that. Why Peter is not the one speaking necessarily, but he is speaking through Mark.  

Gene Green   

Yeah, there’s the church father, Papias, who talks about the gospel of Mark being the anecdotes of Peter. And that Mark was Peter’s translator. Now for many years, people didn’t think that that was really a faithful statement. But scholars such as the late Martin Hangul and Richard Bauckham, and others have said, No, we believe that Papias’ testimony is correct that that Mark was Peter’s interpreter. And basically, from Papias, we understand the gospel of Mark was Peter’s preaching, translated and formed into a gospel. But it’s interesting. Papias also says that, the gospel of Mark is not “in order,” in order which doesn’t mean chronological or logical order. But it was language that was used at the time to talk about a literary production. This is not a final, polished literary production. Whereas Matthew, for example, is in order, which means that it’s a final edited edition. So, there’s something rough; I mean, we teach Greek, we speak Greek-well we read Greek. And we know that the Greek of Mark is not the best of the New Testament. There’s something rough about it. But this is the first telling of the Jesus story. And then we have Matthew and Luke, at least according to one school of thought, that are using this gospel, which is really in some ways an inferior literary production. And the question is, why did they use it? If it wasn’t the best, and I think it’s because Peter,  is behind it. He’s just amazing. Now, you know, what started me off on the study was the recognition that the New Testament witness about Peter always puts him in the first place. He’s the first disciple chosen, he’s the first to walk on water and sink, but he did walk on water, not something you and I have done recently, and he’s the first one to confess that Jesus was the Christ. Yeah, he was the first to deny the Lord but he was the first to be restored. Go tell my disciples and Peter. He was remembered as the first witness of the resurrection, the women were there first. But he was remembered by the church as the first Apostolic witness to the resurrection. First leader of the early church, I’m working on Acts right now-there’s Peter. Yeah, right at the beginning, and the first one to open up the mission to the Gentiles. And the first one to defend Gentile inclusion without conversion to Judaism without having to be circumcised. So there’s something there’s a Petrine primacy, in the New Testament.  

David Capes   

And there’s deference in Paul’s language, too, for Peter? There’s some little bit of a struggle going on there and Galatians 2. There’s still a deference in that a Peter extended to me the right hand of fellowship, he affirmed my gospel. 

Gene Green   

Right, and so Peter has a much more prominent place in the early church than we recognize. And the argument that I’m trying to build is that that primacy wasn’t just about leadership in the church, but it was about theology as well. I think that Peter is foundational for Christian theology.  

David Capes   

So, is Peter the first theologian, in a sense? I mean, Paul’s literary output is much greater, and he was first. 

Gene Green   

 I like to wind up my Pauline scholar friends by saying that Paul is derivative of Peter. And when you think about Peter’s story about Jesus, I mean, he was the one that recorded what we know or remembered. What we know as Mark 10:45, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. And here he’s bringing together obviously, teaching from Jesus, but mediated through Peter to Mark and then in our Gospel. So, our basic understanding of what the cross is all about. Where does it come from?  

David Capes   

As a Protestant, they would go to First Corinthians, they would go to Galatians. Right? We almost always go to Paul.  

Gene Green   

Yeah. And it’s really Peter, who is giving that first testimony. And in Galatians, Paul says he went up and interviewed Peter, he talked to Peter and I don’t think they just sat around and had a cup of mint tea. Or talk about the weather. But where did Paul get his full understanding  of the Jesus story? So we find that there’s not this type of old Tubingen school, two wings of Christianity, Pauline and a Petrine.  You know Martin Goulder, in a revival of that. No. There was a right hand of fellowship between them. So there is harmony. 

David Capes   

There’s tension in every human relationship too. So sure, these guys are not infallible completely. 

And you know, a similar case been made for James but other people as well that James is much more significant figure that we don’t totally ignore, right, but we don’t spend a lot of time with it. So, is there anything unique about Peter’s theology compared to let’s say, Paul, or John or Matthew? 

Gene Green   

Exactly. That Petrin primacy. That’s there. He was a more important figure in Christian theology than we dare realize. 

David Capes   

Yeah, he is certainly an influencer. At the very beginning, isn’t he of all this. Now, let me let me ask this. Beyond the New Testament, there are a number of books like the acts of Peter and the acts of Paul and Peter and the apocalypse of Peter and the Gospel of Peter right? There are these other books. Do you include those in your book, Vox, Petrie?  

Gene Green   

To answer that, let me read to you a little bit from ‘Vox Petri, Theology of Peter’. And this is at the end of the book, “Peter and the Foundations for Christian Theology’. And I think that’s the point of this book, that Peter is foundational for our full understanding of the faith. Let me read “Peter was the first to tell the story of Jesus as a narrative whole, the first to identify Jesus as the Messiah, and the first to explain the meaning of the cross of Christ. He developed his theology on the road, in the face of opposition, offering the church a theology of suffering and glory. He stood to the very beginning of Christian understanding of the inclusive nature of God’s saving work through Christ, the Jews and the Gentiles together. All people, both Gentiles and Jews have a place in God’s plan. The Apostle lifted the church’s eyes in hope to the final consummation of all things, when God’s act of restoration would be complete.” All that is very familiar. And that’s the point and that was a surprise. That when we take a look at Peter and his theology it’s not that it’s unique. But the beauty of it is that it’s not unique. It’s the theology that you and I, and the rest of the church have inherited and understood. It’s just that we haven’t recognize that at the very head of the table is Peter as the first Christian theologian and our contours of the faith, our understanding of the gospel is mediated to us, obviously, it’s originated from Jesus, but mediated to us in the first place through Peter. And that’s the beauty of it. So, as I said, Peter is the lost boy of Christian theology, but in the end of the day, he’s been sitting there at the table all along. We just didn’t see him. We didn’t recognize him.  

David Capes   

So, you don’t hear the authentic voice of Peter, then in these other second century or third century manuscripts? 

Gene Green   

No, I really don’t. And I’d want to refer people to the work by Pheme Perkins on Peter, the apostle for the whole church. And what Pheme Perkins does is talk about the way that in the early church, second, third century, that if you wanted to support a heresy, you appeal to Peter because he was recognized as so foundational for theology, so central that you’d appeal to him. Or if you wanted to take down a heresy like the Gnostic heresy; Well, you’d bring up the story about Peter and Simon, the magician, who was considered by some to be the genesis of Gnosticism. So, you would appeal to Peter. So, I think it’s interesting that in the early church, there was a recognition of Peter’s theological role, and not simply his leadership role in the church.  

Gene Green   

Well, I’ll just say that hasn’t been part of the study. Are there echoes of his voice in that? Possibly. Well, there’s echoes of his importance whether there’s any fragments in there of Peters theology, I’d hesitate. Now, truth in advertising here in Vox Petrie, I didn’t deal with Second Peter either. Yeah. And I’ve written commentary on Second Peter and Jude couple of commentaries on them.  

David Capes   

Well, this is a big book to start with. 

Gene Green 

And there’s so much controversy about the authorship of Second Peter, although I come down in favor of the authorship, I just didn’t want it to be a distraction. From this. I think there’s another study to be done to take this material and then ask, are there resonances there in Second Peter. Obviously, the style is different in the Greek, and, and there’s some changes in emphasis in Second Peter, but I think it’s a worthwhile study that I hope somebody will do,some day. 

David Capes   

Well, this is a book that took you how long to write? 

Gene Green   

Oh, my, well, you know, Peter, and I started going a long time ago. I mean, I started back in my doctoral studies at Aberdeen in 1977. You know, I worked on First Peter, theology and ethics and First Peter. So this has been a long time coming, but this particular book, about 15 years, yeah, you know, but that’s in the middle of writing some other things and fishing, but it was a slow process. It was slow cooked.  

David Capes   

The old adage, I hate writing, but I am so pleased that I have written. It is done.  

Hey, listen, thanks for being with us today, Gene on the Stone Chapel Podcast.  

We’ve been talking to Dr. Gene Green, who’s written an amazing book and awesome book, I’d encourage you to go out and get a copy and read his called Vox Petrie: a Theology of Peter, published by Cascade Press.  

If you’ve learned too much today, in the podcast, there is one guaranteed cure, and that is to share it with a friend. It’ll take the pressure off the brain, okay? If you’ve never visited the amazing Lanier Theological Library, make plans to do it soon. We are growing, we’re expanding. We’ve got a new presence over in Oxford, England. This is a place of solace and discovery. If you have comments for us or some questions or just want to be in touch, contact us at podcast@lanierlibrary.org. And thanks to all those who make this podcast possible, you know who you are Till next week, thanks for listening. Standby for a nugget of wisdom from our friend, Dr. Gene Green. 

I had open heart surgery in 2010. And I’ll never forget after that somebody came in and gave me a glass of orange juice. And I broke out in tears. There was something so wonderful in its taste, and that freshness-an absolute delight. And I’d like to say for all of us that life is grand, and we find the grandeur of life given to us by God and just the simplest things. It might be the rays of the sun, shining through the clouds and might be the emerging of spring where I live in Chicago. It might be a first kiss that you’ve had. Life is grand-the birth of a child. And we’ve got a lot of, a lot of problems in life. We have sickness, we have death, we have heartache and lack, but still there’s a grandeur in life. So I like to say to people, life is grand. 

Great Theology and Warm Hearts

Here is my interview with Rob Trenckmann, director of the Newton House, Oxford.

To hear the podcast click here.

Rob Trenckmann  00:00

Hi, my name is Rob Trenckman. I’m the director of Newton house in Oxford, England.

David Capes  00:22

Rob Trenckmann. Good to see you, Rob. Thanks for being with us today on the Stone Chapel.

Rob Trenckmann  00:29

Oh, it’s my pleasure. Looking forward to this, David.

David Capes  00:31

Yeah, I have met you last summer. And you’re very gracious to spend a little bit of time with me and give me a bit of an update on what was happening in Newton House. The way I heard about Newton House was through Phil Ryken, who’s a friend of mine. He was my former President at Wheaton College. When I told him about what we were doing in Oxford with Yarnton Manor and everything. He said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to connect with Newton house’. So let’s begin with this, who is Rob Trenckman?

Rob Trenckmann  00:59

My background is this. I was a pastor in the States for a number of years. And then in 2012, God called my family and I to move to Europe and be part of a missions organization in Central and Eastern Europe called Josiah Venture. And we were with Josiah Venture in the country of Hungary for nine years. We got to work with a number of churches in in the region. And I also had the privilege of leading our international training conference that worked with about 20 countries across the region. While we were there, we added two more kids to our family. So I’ve one born in the States and two born actually in Vienna, Austria. And then a couple of years ago, the Lord moved us to the UK. And really our vision has remained the same. And that is, we want to be part of energizing a movement of God in Europe and really around the world. And we felt like for us and our gifting and our calling, the best way we could do that is through inspiring and equipping the next generations of of theologians and theological communities in Europe and around the world to have great theology and warm hearts. So that’s what drew us to Newton House and to be part of what’s happening here.

David Capes  02:12

Alright, so when did you become affiliated with with Newton House?

Rob Trenckmann  02:16

Yeah, I’ve been with Newton House from the beginning. So we’re a fairly recent project we started a couple of years ago, and we’ve had our physical location here in Oxford open for just about a year. So I’ve been part of that from the beginning.

David Capes  02:31

Now, when you say Newton House, is there a really a Newton house?

Rob Trenckmann  02:35

Yes, we’re a global theological research community that’s headquartered in Oxford. So we serve people really all around the world. But we do have a physical location here in Oxford and have a number of Oxford D Phil students that come and study with us and enjoy some Evangelical community while they’re working on their doctorates in biblical studies, or theological studies, or church history or things like that.

David Capes  03:00

So if you were to say what the mission of Newton House, what is it exactly?

Rob Trenckmann  03:06

So Newton House in a nutshell is is is we’re trying to raise up people, specifically theologians, those pastors, scholars, teachers of the next generation, to have great theology and warm hearts. And as you can imagine, in today’s world, we desperately need men and women who are deeply committed to the key doctrines of the faith and can speak that with winsomeness and warmth and wisdom into what is an increasingly complicated world.

David Capes  03:39

Yeah, it surely is. You know, we we exist here at the Lanier Theological Library to help bring the the church together with the Academy. And it seems to me like that, that is that is a perfect match for what you’re talking about.

Rob Trenckmann  03:54

Yeah, absolutely. We want to see theologians raised up who really serve the church and whether they’re serving the church as theologians in an academic environment, or they’re serving the church as pastor theologians, as so many people do really well. We not only want to bridge that gap between the academy and the church, but there’s other things that get wrongly separated too, aren’t there? So so all too often the people that have have great doctrine can have cool hearts. People that have warm hearts can not pay attention to their theology as they should. And and we would say with with Torrance, that that great theology is theology that sings You know? Great theology should always lead to doxology. So we want to hold those two things together and not neglect one at the expense of the other.

David Capes  04:43

I heard a lecture years ago in the states by Sidney Alstrom, who was a church historian, he was lamenting the fact that we had developed at that point and we’re developing you know, pastors on the one hand and then theologians on the other hand, and yeah, at one point in our history, our great pastors were theologians and our theologians were pastors. So I love the movements that are trying to pull that back together. And to say that, you know, pastors ought to be deep people. They ought to be, not just great communicators, we hope that that’s the goal, and pastoring big staff, but also be be deeply theological. And they’re both teaching, preaching and living. And I think that’s what Ostrom was concerned about. And I’ve been concerned about that as well, and many others do as well. So So who were some of the fellows the people, and that don’t mean necessarily males only, but who are some of the people who are affiliated with you there in Newcastle Oxford?

Rob Trenckmann  05:52

Yeah, you’re exactly right. Fellows is that academic term that does include both men and women and going for Gwenfair Adams, for example, is one of our female senior fellows from Gordon Conwell. We have, we have a fantastic group of men and women that have gotten behind this venture. So you mentioned Wheaton, Phil Ryken and the president at Wheaton is one of our senior fellows, Kevin Vanhoozer, from from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. We have Andrew Atherstone, who’s here at Oxford. Michael Reeves, who’s president of Union School of Theology. We just welcomed the new dean of Newton House who’s providing theological oversight and direction that’s Donald Fairbairn from Gordon Conwell. Thrilled to have him involved. And there’s more Michael Hagen, Gerald Bray, Bradley Green, Robert Letham,  Corneliu Simut. It’s it’s a, it’s really a world class group of senior fellows that have said, we’re committed to investing in the next generation of evangelical theologians and theological communities, and we’re thrilled to have their involvement.

David Capes  06:58

Now, when you look at your website, it’s clear that sort of the identity of a number of these leaders is in from the reform side in a Reformed Church. But a lot of times that term reform gets a little muddy for people. I don’t think everybody in the audience understands what Reformed Theology means. Could you sort of simplify that? Unpack that a little bit for us?

Rob Trenckmann  07:22

Yeah, you’re exactly right, that Reformed Theology gets used in in a variety of ways as well. And I would say, for us, we are, we are distinctly a group of people that are from that reformed camp. But it’s also not the only badge that we wear, we wear it with courage, but it’s not the only thing that we emphasize. But But specifically, that usually talks about a couple of things. One, it you know, that’s all, generally coming downstream from from John Calvin. And so one emphasis of that is the emphasis of God’s sovereignty and saving people, that God is the one who, who reaches in and rescues people out of darkness into light. And then the second thing that usually is associated with Reformed Theology is more of a coventional reading of Scripture than a dispensational reading of Scripture. So to look at the major covenants of Scripture, as one of the primary organizing principles for understanding how scripture is revealed, and how God has revealed himself in the world.

David Capes  08:30

Now when I think of those covenants, Abraham comes to mind. And then Moses comes to mind and Israel, yes. And then some would say, and I’m one of those, that God has a covenant with King David, is a promise, I don’t know that everybody uses covenant language there. But then also you come to the New Testament, and then you have what is the new covenant as well, so those are kind of the overarching big picture ideas of reading scripture, and the promises made by God through the prophets and those who spoke for those times, and then for for the future, as well. So when you look at your website, you find out you guys do conferences, and you got publications and tell us a little bit about all of that. I mean, if people wanted to kind of dig into what you’re doing, but they’re living here in the States, what can they find on your website? That might be of some help?

Rob Trenckmann  09:25

Yeah, so we have a number of different communities that are a part of Newton house. So for those who might be listening, in that, specifically they themselves are future theologians or current theologians, their students, their scholars, we have a number of Newton house associates and junior fellows that are studying at PhD institutions really all around the world, multiple continents, multiple countries, global south western world. It’s not a large community, but it’s quite an international community that we have. And for those people that are in that world, we gather monthly online for a conversation with one of our senior fellows. So this is a chance to get behind the scenes with Kevin Vanhoozer. And ask him those questions that you might not otherwise get a chance to ask, or to hear the latest research from Mike Reeves and what he’s digging into and get a chance to look at that before it, before it hits publication, that sort of thing. And then occasionally, we also will take some time for some, from some group member presentations in that in that conversation. So that’s a smaller group that gathers online once a month for about an hour and a half to just have some rich, theological, evangelical theological conversation together. And for many of our students, they’re studying at institutions where they may not have a lot of evangelical community, or perhaps they’re coming from countries where they don’t have much academic interaction if they’re from more of a developing world situation or something like that. And so we’re trying to provide that evangelical theological conversations that they might not get somewhere else. And here’s why that’s exciting. You know, I’m from the church world, I’m from the missionary world. So I don’t get that excited about a bunch of academics sitting around reading papers to each other, you know, but that’s not, that’s not the point here. The point is, for somebody who’s joining us, from Rwanda, they’re getting an access to cutting edge theological conversations that really matter. And then that that is spreading through them to the people in their context. And that has the opportunity to shape the conversation for an entire country. And that’s really, really exciting to us. So that’s one of the ways that people can get involved on a little bit more public facing level. We also host a number of conferences, lecture series, things like that, for the theologically minded pastor, which I hope is most or all pastors, for the theologically minded pastor, for the theologically minded layperson, a chance to come and hopefully have access to some of, some of what I hope is really the best of what the the evangelical academy is wrestling with, and offering that to the church. So last spring, we had a conference here in Oxford, but we had people come from all over where we were looking at the role of, what’s the role of the heart, what’s the role of the affections, in that whole area of faith. And so we got to hear from Mike Reeves from Phil Ryken. And from Michael Hake, and Bradley Green. And we just had a fantastic couple of days together. In fact, one of the pastors who came-longtime pastor, he just said, that was the best conference I’ve been to. And I’m sure not everyone felt that way. But I was sure glad to hear that. For him, that was a really, really rich time of fellowship, but also digging deep into key key theological issues. 

David Capes  12:57

I’ve been to conferences, Rob, that are, you know, thousands of people, you know, go to the conference. Yeah. And then I’ve been to conferences where there’s 25-30, maybe 50-60 people. And by far, I appreciate the smaller ones better. Because you really get a chance to engage in conversation and you, you get to meet people, you get to hear things that you don’t get to hear in much larger kind of context. So do you do all of those in Oxford or around Oxford? Or you do, do you do conferences elsewhere around the world?

Rob Trenckmann  13:32

Well, for for that conference, for example, we had an in-person here in Oxford, but we also did offer a live stream option as well,  so people could buy a package and get the recordings afterwards. And and that’s what I mean, when I say we’re really an international theological community that’s headquartered here in Oxford, so so we have far more people involved with Newton House that aren’t in Oxford than those that are. But we also do specifically serve the Oxford community. So it’s really are both and starting in April, we’re just putting the final details together on this, we’ll be offering an online lecture series with some of our senior fellows. And that’ll culminate with a visit from Don Fairbairn here in Oxford in June. But again, we’ll be looking to livestream those events as well, so people can tune in or catch the recording, if they can’t be with us in person here in Oxford. 

David Capes  14:26

Well you guys are just a few years old, and yet you’ve brought together a just, a great group of scholars and thinkers. And if you’re an undergraduate student, can they come to these conferences or for Masters student? Or is it just for PhDs?

Rob Trenckmann  14:43

We have all sorts of people involved with our our conferences, our lecture series. That I mean, those are, those are pastors. Those are church elders, those are undergraduate students. So those are really public facing events. For those who would like to be, you know, an associate or are a Junior fellow of Newton House. Those are typically, those who are at least, are working on a high level Master’s, or are doing doctoral work or have completed a PhD. And that’s because those conversations tend to be, you know, explicitly academic in nature where we’re digging into some more finely tuned stuff that that we still trust is very much serving the church but is happening at a, at a level that’s assuming a certain level of knowledge and familiarity with the subject.

David Capes  15:30

Yeah. So if people want to know more about Newton house, how would they? How would they do that?

Rob Trenckmann  15:36

The best is to take a look at our website, that’s just Newto- house.com. So Newton-house.com. That gives all the information. And you’ll also see there that there’s a place where you can sign up for our mailing list. And we don’t send out emails very often. So don’t worry about your inbox getting full of tons of spam from Newton House. But what we do is we send out just the occasional event, notices that says, ‘Hey, by the way, this lecture series is coming up if you’d like to join us on Zoom, here’s where you can register, don’t miss our conference’. Those sorts of things that just give people a sense of how they can tune in to the conversations that we’re having. So for example, last year, we hosted a five part series looking at the theology of Augustine, and we had people join us, you know, from all over the world for conversations, a chance to hear a paper from one of us, from a veteran scholar in that field, and then a chance to ask questions. And those tend to be conversations that are, you know, enough people to be interesting, but not so big that you’re afraid to raise your hand and really ask a world expert. ‘Hey, tell me more about this.’ So, so those are, those are really interesting conversations to be able to really dig in with a group of like minded people around some interesting topics.

David Capes  16:51

So it’s Newton-house.com. Okay, very good. Well, Rob Trenchmann, thanks for being with us today to talk about the Newton House there in Oxford. I look forward to seeing you sometime this year in 2023. I’ll be heading that way I think in April. So I’ll let you know. Be good to, be good to share a coffee or a meal or something together. But I’m grateful for what you guys are doing. I look forward to connecting when I see you.

Rob Trenckmann  17:17

 Great. Great. Likewise. Hey, thanks so much for having me on. And for the chance to talk about this. It’s a real privilege. Appreciate it, David.

David Capes  17:25

What a great conversation. I hope you agree. Only 168 hours until the next podcast drops. I can’t wait. Subscribe to Our Podcast, rate us, give other people the opportunity to find us. Tell a friend about us as well. Thanks to the Lanier Foundation, Jocelyn Soliz, Phil K, and Cathy Capes, who helped make this podcast possible. Till next time. Thanks for listening. Standby for a nugget of wisdom from Rob Trenckman.

Rob Trenckmann  17:58

One of my favorite ministry Proverbs is ‘good ministry always starts with a stare.’ Do you remember being a little kid or a teenager and pulling over at the side of the road and staring at nothing just to see how many people you could make look? I think sometimes in ministry, we forget that the most, the most compelling thing is someone who’s so deeply captivated by Jesus that everyone around them goes ‘What on earth are they looking at?’ And they instead of looking at us, they try to figure out what has captured our attention and in the process they to get captured by Jesus. So one of my favorite ministry proverbs “Ministry always starts with a stare.’

The Only-Begotten God with Travis Wright, John 1:18

Travis Wright is a Ph.D. candidate in Theology and Religion at Cambridge University. Today’s topic: Pairing a knowledge of Greek with the field of linguistics allows for a sharpened exposition of the crucial statement about God and the only-begotten God in John 1:18.

To hear the podcast click here.

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu. And keep listening. 

15 New Testament Words of Life

Dr. Nijay Gupta,
Northern Seminary

15 New Testament Words of Life: A New Testament Theology for Real Life (Zondervan) is Nijay Gupta’s most recent book.  He joins David Capes to talk about it on “The Stone Chapel Podcast.” 

Dr. Gupta is a New Testament Professor at Northern Seminary in Lyle, IL.  He is the author of many books and articles.

In 2021 he appeared on “The Stone Chapel Podcast” to talk about another of his books, Paul and the Language of Faith.

The book begins with an assumption: we don’t read the Bible in a vacuum.  We read it in the midst of the ups and downs of our lives.

As a result, a different way of reading the Bible is called for, a strategy that asks the question: “So what?”  

Nijay wrote this book for those who consider themselves students of the Bible, whether seminary students, pastors, or interested laypeople. 

By choosing these particular words, Dr. Gupta hopes to break down “Christian-ese.”  Each of the 15 words are tied to a particular book or set of books.

Most New Testament theologies are written for academics.  They are big books often running 1000 pages or more.  They tend to be esoteric and filled with academic speak. 

Rather than focusing on the day to day, namely, life, many New Testament theologies stay in the abstract.  While Nijay reads these big books and appreciates them, he wanted this book to be much shorter and more to the point. 

The New Testament is filled with church letters, pastoral letters.  The authors were writing amidst the rough and tumble of life.

Since there was not enough time to talk about all these words, David and Nijay focused briefly on three: forgiveness, salvation, and hope. 

Listen carefully to the podcast to pick up on the nuances of these words. 

Here is what one scholar had to say about the book:

“Do you suspect there’s more to the Christian faith than what you’re hearing? Dr. Gupta brings the best of biblical scholarship to the pews, where standard Christian ways of talking about things have grown stale. By highlighting these fifteen key words, he opens a whole new world of understanding that will reinvigorate Christian practice. If you are hungry to move beyond clichés, this book is your invitation to a nourishing feast.” 

—CARMEN JOY IMES, Associate professor of Old Testament, Biola University, author ofBearing God’s Name

David recorded an earlier podcast with Nijay on his book, Paul and the Language of Faith.

To listen to this podcast, click here.

Recently, David Capes was interviewed by Nijay on his book and especially ch. 1 “Righteousness in Matthew.”  To see and hear the post click here.

To learn more about Nijay Gupta, follow his blog: “Crux Sola” on Patheos.

To hear the podcast (20 minutes), click here.

Bible, Theology, and Language with Randy Hatchett

Dr. Randy Hatchett

To hear the podcast (9 minutes) click here.

Dr. Randy Hatchett is Professor of Theology and Program Coordinator for Theological Studies and for Christianity at Houston Baptist University. Among other things, he has written Engaging Theology: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Introduction. In this conversation with Dr. Capes he reminds us that at every step the study of biblical languages is crucial for reading the unfolding story of our texts (economy) and the necessary theologizing upon these texts (theology).

To hear the podcast (9 minutes) click here.

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu. And keep listening.