Advent and the End of Racial Division

Racism is persistent. It comes in a variety of forms, some more veiled and incipient, others more explicit and fully formed. Many seem to espouse a myth of progress that envisions a gradual waning of all racialized ideologies. But recent years (and months and days) have given the lie to that myth. The truth is that only the redeeming work of the incarnate Christ can finally “bid our sad divisions cease.”

The breaking down of the dividing wall of hostility is one of the central messages of Advent, indeed of the entirety of the “Winter Pascha,” to use Alexander Schmemann’s memorable phrase to describe the liturgical cycle of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. In Advent, we long for the appearing of the Prince of Peace. In Christmastide, we celebrate his nativity, which is good news of great joy for all peoples. And in Epiphany, we herald his manifestation as King of the nations, signaled by the visit of the magi, bearing gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.

This last mystery, the visit of the magi, has been received by the church with a special connection to Christ’s universal work. As Joseph Ratzinger has noted, the Christian tradition developed the notion that the magi are kings hailing from all three known continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. So, says Ratzinger, “the black king is part and parcel of this: in the kingdom of Jesus Christ there are no distinctions of race and origin. In him and through him, humanity is united, yet without losing any of the richness of variety.”

In this way, Christ as the Last Adam is simply restoring the inherent unity of the human race that is obscured and undermined by human sin. In another place, Ratzinger reflects on the unity of man in Adam, the man from the dust:

Thus the unity of the whole human race becomes immediately apparent: We are all from only one earth. There are not different kinds of “blood and soil,” to use a Nazi slogan. There are not fundamentally different kinds of human beings, as the myths of numerous religions used to say and as some worldviews of our own day also assert. There are not different categories and races in which human beings are valued differently. We are all one humanity, formed from God’s one earth. It is precisely this thought that is at the very heart of the creation account and of the whole Bible. In the face of all human division and human arrogance, whereby one person sets himself or herself over and against another, humanity is declared to be one creation of God from his one earth. What is said at the beginning is then repeated after the Flood: in the great genealogy of Genesis 10 the same thought reappears — namely, that there is only one humanity in the many human beings. The Bible says a decisive “No” to all racism and to every human division.

“Blood and soil” ideologies seem to be on the rise again in some quarters. But the church of the universal Savior–the people whose identity is definitively marked by Advent, the Nativity, and the Epiphany–of all people should not be deceived by them. The church is the sign of a coming kingdom of peace in which the Desire of the nations will “bind in one the hearts of all mankind.”

William Marsh on Luther’s Hermeneutics and Reformation Truths and Myths

This episode is a conversation with Dr. William Marsh of Cedarville University. We discuss truths and myths regarding the late medieval church and Luther’s concerns (3:03), Luther’s hermeneutics and their relationship to the Christian tradition (19:37), the Reformers on reading and preaching Scripture (31:57), how the Reformation can help the church today (40:09), and more. Buy William’s books here, here, and here.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible and Cedarville University’s Graduate School. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Darian Lockett on Reading the Catholic Epistles and the Biblical Canon

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Darian Lockett of Talbot School of Theology. We discuss how the Catholic Epistles fit together in the biblical canon (1:22), faith and works in Paul and James (22:52), scholarship on James (28:05), scholarship on 2 Peter and Jude (34:17), and more. Buy Darian’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Biblical Reasoning (Part 2): Bobby Jamieson on Theology and Exegesis

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Bobby Jamieson of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. We discuss the benefits of theological resources in doing exegesis (2:15), partitive exegesis as a rule for reading Christologically (19:28), things that “need to die” in biblical studies scholarship (38:06), and more. Buy Bobby’s books for the church and for the academy.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Biblical Reasoning (Part 1): Tyler Wittman on Theology and Exegesis

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Tyler Wittman of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We discuss the relationship between theology and exegesis (2:18), honoring God in exegesis (9:34), the Trinity and the New Testament (20:07), inseparable operations and appropriations (27:23), and more. Buy Tyler’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Matthew Bingham on Baptist Origins, Historiography, and Being “Reformed”

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Matthew Bingham of Oak Hill College. We discuss how to understand Baptist history (1:28), the shared identity of 17th-century baptistic churches in the context of the English Reformation (4:50), the development of a Baptist identity (25:57), popular Baptist history truisms (30:37), what it means to be a “Reformed” Baptist (45:46), and more. Buy Matthew’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Timothy George on Evangelicals, the Great Tradition, and Christian Higher Education (Repost)

This episode is a repost of a conversation with Dr. Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School. We discuss being a Baptist and appreciating the Great Tradition (2:00), ecumenism and catholicity (7:35), the future of Christian higher education (22:35), and more. Buy Timothy’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl.

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Jarvis Williams on Ethnicity, Diversity, and the Church’s Mission

This episode is a conversation with Dr. Jarvis Williams of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. We discuss the phrase “redemptive kingdom diversity” (1:27), a biblical theology of the people of God (4:42), the difference between “race” and “ethnicity,” and avoiding extreme positions on personal and corporate responsibility (12:54), the church’s mission in pursuing diversity (34:51), how to fight for unity (48:09), and more. Buy Jarvis’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, a co-founder of the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

You can preorder Brandon’s new book, The Trinity in the Book of Revelation: Seeing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in John’s Apocalypse (IVP Academic, 2022).

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.

Madison Pierce and Ched Spellman on Anonymous Authors and Audiences in the New Testament

This episode is a conversation with Drs. Madison Pierce of Western Theological Seminary and Ched Spellman of Cedarville University. We discuss the anonymous authorship and audience of Hebrews (7:50), the hermeneutical effect of anonymous authorship (24:26), the development of the canon and tradition (46:05), and more. Buy Madison’s and Ched’s books.

Church Grammar is presented by the Christian Standard Bible. Intro music: Purple Dinosaur by nobigdyl. Producer: Katie Larson.

Brandon D. Smith is Assistant Professor of Theology & New Testament at Cedarville University, on the board of directors for the Center for Baptist Renewal, and writes things. You can follow him on Twitter at @brandon_d_smith.

*** This podcast is designed to discuss all sorts of topics from various points of view. Therefore, guests’ views do not always reflect the views of the host, his church, or his institution.