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Wisdom Christology: An Interview with Dan Ebert
Posted By Andy Naselli On June 14, 2011 @ 5:59 am In Interviews | 4 Comments
This is the latest volume in Explorations in Biblical Theology, a series edited by Robert Peterson:
Dan Ebert , Wisdom Christology: How Jesus Becomes God’s Wisdom for Us . Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2011. (Sample PDF here .)
It’s endorsed by Don Carson, Doug Moo, Chris Morgan, and Mark Gignilliat.
Dan Ebert served as a missionary in Asia from 1977 to 1999, then taught at Clearwater Christian College  for nine years, and now teaches at Cedarville University . He wrote his dissertation under D. A. Carson: “Wisdom in New Testament Christology with Special Reference to Hebrews 1:1–4” (PhD diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1998).
Dan graciously agreed to answer some questions about his book:
What do you mean by “wisdom Christology”?
This is certainly the right question. I am pleased that the publisher settled for the title Wisdom Christology because it gets right to the heart of the matter: how do Christ and wisdom interface? Three issues are wrapped up with this question: one is academic, one theological, and the third practical.
1. Academics. Certain streams of biblical and theological scholarship have played loose with the identification between Jesus and an antecedent Wisdom figure, sometimes called Lady Wisdom or Sophia. As a result the expression “wisdom Christology” has been hijacked by all sorts of ideas alien to the biblical witness. But I am not willing to give up the expression itself, and so in part I have been trying to reclaim it. The Church desperately needs the Christological wisdom of the New Testament.
This brings us to the next two questions: how is a proper wisdom Christology constructed, and what is its practical application?
2. Theological Construction. Along with the basic New Testament narrative concerning Jesus, certain key texts provide much of the biblical data for the orthodox doctrine of Christ. I deal with several of these passages in Wisdom Christology. These texts are discrete units that reveal Christ’s participation in the divine identity, and they highlight his role in revelation, creation, and redemption. These apostolic testimonies to Jesus can be described as “confessions” of the gospel.
Christ certainly was a “sage” or wisdom teacher, and he does take up (and surpass) certain features of Old Testament wisdom. But what is most important is that these heightened Christological passages celebrate the gospel. And it is precisely the gospel, with all its Christological richness, that is New Testament wisdom. This is best expressed in 1 Cor. 1:23–24, where Paul unequivocally identifies wisdom as “Christ crucified.”
3. Practical Application. These passages not only reveal the shape of God’s wisdom in Christ, but are actually doctrinal confessions applied to the practical life of the church. My thesis is that Christology functioned as wisdom in the early church. How could a church living in crisis be faithful? The answer was found in her confession of Christ as the wisdom of God.
In other words these Christological passages are functioning in their contexts precisely as wisdom. So I am arguing that “wisdom Christology” has two senses:
Chapters 1–6 in your book each explain a New Testament passage. How would you summarize the connection between Jesus and wisdom in each of those passages?
Part I studies two passages where Jesus and then the Apostle John invite us to God’s wisdom in Christ, and Part II analyzes four Christological passages that apply this gospel-wisdom to specific challenges in the church’s life.
You write, “The primary focal point of this study is the application of Christology to issues in the life of the New Testament church” (p. 5). What are some specific applications?
Let’s consider the situations at Corinth and Philippi:
The Gospel Coalition has been highlighting resources on preaching Christ in the Old Testament . How does your book help people in this regard?
These confessional texts and New Testament Christology in general have multiple Old Testament roots. So when students of the New Testament locate such a strand (particularly one related to creation, redemption, and revelation) the proper move would be to
Consider “wisdom” in Proverbs 8. Like the function of other Old Testament figures and institutions (e.g., prophets, angels, Torah, temple), Wisdom culminates in Christ. If I were preaching from Proverbs 8, I would look earlier to God’s creation by his word in Genesis 1. Then I would move forward to Christ’s public ministry, with his verbal power over creation exhibited in his nature miracles. I would then land in John’s prologue, which emphasizes the Word and the Son’s creative power. Or one could end in Hebrews 1:1–4, where the Son’s creative power symmetrically aligns with his redemptive power (i.e., the one who “made” all things is the same one who “made” cleansing for sin).
The practical takeaway is that we can be confident that the gospel is the wisdom and power of God (Rom 1:16). God powerfully removes our sins. This helps God’s people see that the Old and New Testaments cohere, that Christology is rich, and that the gospel is climactically important.
Article printed from TGC Reviews: http://tgcreviews.com
URL to article: http://tgcreviews.com/interviews/wisdom-christology-an-interview-with-dan-ebert/
URLs in this post:
 Dan Ebert: http://drdanebert.wordpress.com/about/
 Wisdom Christology: How Jesus Becomes God’s Wisdom for Us: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1596381027/?tag=thegospcoal-20
 here: http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/7538/?utm_source=anaselli&utm_medium=blogpartners
 Clearwater Christian College: http://www.clearwater.edu/
 Cedarville University: http://www.cedarville.edu/Academics/Biblical-and-Theological-Studies/Faculty-Staff.aspx#debert
 preaching Christ in the Old Testament: http://thegospelcoalition.org/preaching-christ/
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