“Christotelic Preaching:” Reflections on Daniel Block’s Approach -- By: Peter J. Gentry

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 22:3 (Fall 2018)
Article: “Christotelic Preaching:” Reflections on Daniel Block’s Approach
Author: Peter J. Gentry

“Christotelic Preaching:”
Reflections on Daniel Block’s Approach

Peter J. Gentry

Peter J. Gentry is Donald L. Williams Professor of Old Testament Interpretation and Director of the Hexapla Institute at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served on the faculty of Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College and also taught at the University of Toronto, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Tyndale Seminary. Dr. Gentry is the author of many articles and book reviews, the co-author of Kingdom through Covenant, 2nd ed. (Crossway, 2018) and God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants (Crossway, 2015), and the author of How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets (Crossway, 2017). Dr. Gentry is currently finishing a critical text of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs for the Göttingen Septuagint.

It is an honor to be asked to evaluate Dan Block’s essay, since I was a colleague of his at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and we enjoyed many long hours affably debating interpretation of the Scriptures over the years. There is much that deserves comment in Block’s essay, but there is not space to address all the issues that he raises.

In general, I found Block’s position and presentation a bit confusing and conflicted. Several examples can be given without getting bogged down on issues of lesser importance. The difference between Christocentric and Christotelic proclamation was not clear in spite of a diagram to aid the explanation. His comments on “making a beeline for the cross” (p. 19) were amusing, yet he does appear to be concerned with how we get from a passage in the Old Testament (OT) to what it may instruct us about Christ.1 This is a central issue, indeed, and he does well to make it so.

One of the problems is that the manner in which he adduces evidence to support statements is frequently selective and difficult to substantiate.

Block claims, “in the Scriptures Jesus is much more common as a designation for the second person of the Trinity than the title Christ” (p. 8). When one speaks of the second person of the Trinity, the designation that comes to mind first is “Son.” Moreover, names and titles given to the incarnate Lord have to be treated in an interlocking network of meaning and not pitted one against the other. Any grammar of biblical Greek will note that while χριστός begins as an epithet and is usually articulated, later in the New Testament (NT) it becomes equivalent to a name or proper noun and is no longer articulated.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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