Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Rising of the Saints: Micheal Green and the Late John Stott

The late John Stott edited Michael Green’s commentary on Matthew.  When John Stott passed away in July of 2011 at the age of 90 the NY Times called him a “Major Evangelical Figure." [1]  Micheal Green writes,
Does Matthew mean us to take this literally?  Does he mean that the tombs were broken open, and that the bodies were somehow clothed with flesh and brought to life, as in Ezekiel’s vision?  It is possible, but unlikely that this is how Matthew intended us to read it…Matthew seems to be giving us a profound meditation on what the crucifixion of Jesus means for the destiny of humankind.  His death is an eschatological event;   it is a foretaste of the end of the world. [2]

Micheal Green expands on his comments in a footnote suggesting,
…Matthew wanted, at the very point when Jesus died, to draw out its theological significance.  A straightforward historical reading of these verses is hard to contemplate.  Who were these people? Were they resurrected or resuscitated?  Why did they go into the holy city? What happened to them subsequently?  Indeed, what happens to the priority of Jesus’ resurrection? And if they appeared to many people (53), why is there no reference to this event elsewhere, either inside or outside the New Testament? [3]

[1] ; Larsen, Bebbington, and Noll expand on why Stott has had great influence on the evangelical world beyond his own denomination penning, “Stott’s ministry always extended beyond Anglican circles and included a widening range of students and pastors…His prominence within North American evangelicalism was reflected in his role as Bible expositor on six occasions in the 1960s and 70s at the triennial Urbana Missionary Convention organized by the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. His stature internationally was evident in his pivotal role in the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization held at Lausanne, Switzerland. Organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Congress was a defining moment in twentieth-century evangelicalism. Stott handled two crucial assignments that testified to his position as what one observer called ‘the theological leader of worldwide evangelicalism’. First, he gave an opening address on the nature of biblical evangelism, which included biblical definitions of five key words: mission, evangelism, dialogue, salvation and conversion. Secondly, he chaired the drafting committee of the Lausanne Covenant, a concise theological statement of Christian belief and commitment that became very influential in evangelical circles.” (emphasis added) Timothy Larsen, D. W. Bebbington and Mark A. Noll, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 639.
[2] Green, Micheal. The Message Of Matthew. Edited by John R.W. Stott. (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 302-303.
[3] Ibid, 302-303

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