Editorial: Reading And Apply Malachi Today -- By: Stephen J. Wellum
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 5
Editorial: Reading And Apply Malachi Today
Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He received his Ph.D. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and he is the author of numerous essays and articles and the co-author with Peter Gentry of Kingdom through Covenant (Crossway, 2012) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015), and the co-editor of Building on the Foundations of Evangelical Theology (Crossway, 2015 with Gregg Allison), and Progressive Covenantalism (B&H, 2016 with Brent Parker), and author of God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Person of Christ (Crossway, 2016).
Reading and applying the Old Testament (OT) to today’s church is not always well done. Our tendency either is to allegorize OT stories so that they have some direct relevance for us, or merely to read the OT to draw various moral lessons for us today. No doubt, especially in regard to the latter, all of Scripture, including the OT, is for our instruction including our moral life. However, the problem with both of these approaches is that they fail to interpret and apply Scripture in its canonical context and thus miss how the OT unfolds God’s glorious plan of redemption now brought to fulfillment in Christ.
In truth, as Christians, we stand in the second most significant place in all redemptive history. The best place to be is still future to us, namely, the second advent of our Lord Jesus. The great hope and longing of the church is for the day when our Lord returns to consummate what he began in his first advent and to bring all of history to its God-appointed end (Eph 1:9-10). Yet, today, living between the advents of Christ, we live in the next best place in history. Why? Because we live after the first coming of our Lord
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 6
who has ushered in God’s long-awaited kingdom, and by his life, death, and resurrection, has inaugurated the beginning of the new creation and the new covenant age.
In Matthew 11:13-15 Jesus makes this very point. Our Lord views John the Baptist as the last of the OT prophets and, amazingly, the greatest man born among woman up to that point in time. Jesus views John this way because he views John in relation to himself! John is so great because he had the supreme privilege of serving as Christ’s forerunner, and unlike any OT prophet, he had the glorious privilege of directly pointing out who the Messiah is. Yet, we, who are least in the kingdom, bec...
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