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  Question #4: What impact does the belief that God’s adoption of his people is metaphorical have on the way we understand Paul’s language?  Our endeavor to clear the ground for a fresh perspective on the biblical teaching of adoption has led us to engage a series of questions. In answering the first three, we […]

  These dippings are intended to clear away some of the muddled thinking inherited from the historic neglect of adoption. They offer us a taste of the doctrine’s substratum ~ a foundation touched on in passing in some biblical studies of adoption, but consistently omitted from theological and practical treatments. I am offering not a final […]

Fundamental Question #2: Is Paul’s Language of Adoption to Be Taken Literally or Metaphorically? (Answered) Finally, we come to the point of decision. To be clear, we are not deciding whether Paul’s language of adoption bespeaks a reality or not, for as those holding a high view of Scripture we understand it does. Rather, we […]

Fundamental Question #2: Is Paul’s Language of Adoption to Be Taken Literally or Metaphorically? (Continued) Since, to my knowledge, there is no source to which we may go to compare in full the arguments for the naive- and critical-realist readings of Paul on adoption, we have begun to identify the respective cases which may be […]

Fundamental Question #2: Is Paul’s Language of Adoption to Be Taken Literally or Metaphorically? (Continued) Conservative theologians are united in their belief that God’s adoptive grace in Christ is a reality ~ indeed, a wonderful reality! Some think or assume Paul’s references to adoption are literal, which is to say that God has actually adopted […]

1. Distinguishing the Filial and Familial Language of Scripture (i) Basic Facts about Adoption Having committed ourselves to construct the doctrine of adoption from the ground up, and having mapped out the six issues necessary for a solid foundation, we now begin to consider the biblical data. There’s historical and theological rationale for doing so. […]

Identification Let’s not be put off by the label “metaphorical theology”! The discussion of metaphor can be a lot more interesting than it sounds. Not only does it take us to places rarely considered in either theological or popular studies of adoption, it focuses on the way some of the most graphic images of Scripture […]

Conclusion to the Survey of the Ante-Nicene Fathers Our search of the Hendrickson edition of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (vols.1-10) is now complete.  The last documents ~ newly discovered or translated in the late nineteenth century ~ provide no mention of the doctrine of adoption. In the main we wouldn’t expect them to. They are works connected with […]

We’re amid the remaining miscellaneous writings of the of the first three centuries. They are too numerous to mention individually, but include chiefly the Early Liturgies, Pseudo-Clementine Literature, Apocrypha of the New Testament, The [Papal] Decretals, and ancient Syriac Documents (Ante-Nicene Fathers 7: 509-8:785). It was tempting to omit the reading of these, for some are of uncertain origin, some are apocryphal, […]

The nuggets digested to date have given us a taste of the doctrine of adoption in the apostolic fathers, the Greek fathers, and the Latin fathers, respectively. Here we begin to close out the history of the doctrine in the first three centuries anno Domini by considering the remaining extant writings. These are an assortment which includes those without […]

In the years which followed Origen and immediately preceded the Council of Nicea (254-325 A.D.), the Greek Fathers almost entirely ceased to mention adoption, at least so far as we can tell from their extant writings. The references simply petered out as they did among their Latin counterparts.* Only six times does mention of adoption […]

Following Clement, Origen (184/185-253/254) became the next renowned teacher of the Catechetical School of Alexandria. It was there his prodigious talent, purity of character, and capacity for learning first developed. With the martyrdom of his father Leonides (and the confiscation of his property), Origen came to rely on a wealthy patron before going on to become […]

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