Bates, Abraham, and allegiance in the gospel

At the Logos Academic Blog, Tavis Bohlinger has part 4 in his interview series with Matthew Bates about Bates’s recently released Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017). Bates comments, in part,

My preference for “allegiance” springs from the conviction that the proclaimed gospel centered on Jesus the royal messiah, and this suggests that the “allegiance” portion of the range of meaning of pistis is in play in some crucial New Testament texts pertaining to salvation…. It is extremely unlikely that Paul felt that pistis was something that was ultimately in tension with or contradictory to embodied activity (i.e., good works as a general category). Paul’s complaint with works (of Law) lies elsewhere, as I explain in Ch. 5.

For the balance of the interview, see the original post at theLAB. Apparently, I’d overlooked part 3 of the series, which is, of course, also available at the LAB. So, for prior discussion of the volume, see also Bates at theLAB, part 2Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance”Bates interview at theLAB, and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Bates at theLAB, part 2

Bates, Over at the Logos Academic Blog, Tavis Bohlinger now has up the second part of his interview with Matthew Bates about his Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017).  This interview portion focuses much more on Bates’s particular proposal in the volume.

For previous related discussion, see Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance,”  Bates interview at theLAB, and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Other discussion of Bates, “Salvation by allegiance”

In commenting about theLAB’s interview with Matthew Bates, I overlooked having saved a couple other recent interactions with his Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017):

  • Nijay Gupta provides a friendly, largely affirmative, and probing set of thoughts.
  • Thomas Schreiner expresses his appreciation for some of the volume’s core impulses but suggests that the proposals gains fail to outweigh the corresponding deficiencies that it creates.

For additional, related discussion, see Bates interview at theLAB and Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Bates interview at theLAB

At the Logos Academic Blog,  Tavis Bohlinger has the first part of an interview series with Matthew Bates. This first entry takes its main impetus from Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King (Baker, 2017) but also ranges into other areas of personal background, research productivity, and spiritual formation.

For prior further discussion, see also Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears.

Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears

Bates, "Salvation by allegiance alone" coverOne of the new titles in the recent Baker catalog (due for release this month) is Matthew Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King. According to Michael Bird’s blurb,

Matthew Bates argues that faith or believing is not mere assent, not easy believism, but covenantal loyalty to the God who saves his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bates forces us to rethink the meaning of faith, the gospel, and works with a view to demonstrating their significance for true Christian discipleship. This will be a controversial book, but perhaps it is the controversy we need!

I haven’t read the volume yet, and the book’s apparent thesis will doubtless be controversial in some quarters as Bird suggests. But, this thesis is also something that definitely resembles prior thinking.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the formulation “only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes”—because believing is a response to an announcement that has the nature of a command (Cost of Discipleship, 69–70). Or,  as Augustine suggested, the notion of faith may have two aspects:

We use the word in one sense when we say, “He had no faith in me,” and in another sense when we say, “He did not keep faith with me.” The one phrase means, “He did not believe what I said;” the other, “He did not do what he promised.” (On the Spirit and the Letter 31.54)

Or, indeed, in Romans, as sometimes is bypassed all too easily, part of Paul’s portrait of Abraham is precisely that his faith was also obedient: Abraham becomes the father not only of individuals within the scope of his biological descendants, but to all “those follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was uncircumcised” (Rom 4:12; τοῖς στοιχοῦσιν τοῖς ἴχνεσιν τῆς ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ πίστεως τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ; cf. Rom 1:5, 3:31; Dunn, Romans, 211–12).