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Products>Clash of Visions: Populism and Elitism in New Testament Theology (Reformed, Exegetical, and Doctrinal Studies)

Clash of Visions: Populism and Elitism in New Testament Theology (Reformed, Exegetical, and Doctrinal Studies)

, 2019
ISBN: 9781527103917

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Each year thousands die for the Jesus they read about in the Bible. At the same time scholars worldwide reject central truths of the Book. Here is an analysis of two contrasting approaches to biblical interpretation: one which has encouraged many to abandon the Christian heritage, the other which has informed the largest numeric increase of professing Christians in world history in recent generations and which is projected to continue.

  • Contrasts the scholarly and theological approaches to the Bible
  • Explores how elitist and populist views do or do not connect or inter-relate
  • Analyzes the hermeneutical outlooks affecting how the New Testament is read and synthesized
  • The Enduring ‘Critical’ Objection to ‘Confessional’ Reading of Scripture
  • The Enduring Appeal of Neo-Allegorical Interpretation: Baur and Bultmann Redux
  • Is Rapprochement Possible... or Even Relevant?
Bob Yarbrough’s book, Clash of Visions, is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the theological pollution of liberal Christianity that persists in the Western world. The book contrasts the liberal ‘elitists’ and the Christian ‘populists.’ The former have denied the supernatural in the Bible, while the latter believe it (e.g., Christ’s deity, the virgin birth, Christ’s miracles, the inerrancy of the Bible, the penal substitutionary death of Jesus, and the resurrection of Christ). At the beginning of the book Yarbrough narrates a debate between a classic ‘elitist’ theologian (formerly educated at Wheaton College and who studied under Yarbrough himself) and a ‘populist,’ both of whom teach at the same state university in Sweden. The debate between these two theologians provides an excellent window through which the contrasting perspectives can be seen. Anyone who has studied biblical studies or theology at a non-evangelical university or seminary (as I have) will immediately identify and appreciate this book. The ‘elitists’ rarely welcome viewpoints that oppose their view and make those who disagree with them feel stupid. Yarbrough, indeed, shows that it is the ‘elitists’ that are out step with historic Christianity, which goes all the way back to the Apostles. The book provides perspective, showing that ‘elitist’ theology is losing its impact on the Christian movement around the world, while ‘populism,’ i.e., Bible-believing Christianity, is spreading like wildfire around the world (especially in Latin America and Africa). This is a book that every Christian student should read before studying at a non-evangelical institution. Even those at Biblebelieving institutions (including seminaries) will benefit, since they will likely be reading books by ‘elitists’ and may at some point study under them in graduate school. I found the book riveting and had a hard time putting it down. The two appendices about the life-pilgrimage of two ‘populist’ theologians alone are worth the price of the book.

—G. K. Beale, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In this short little book, Prof. Robert Yarbrough argues what should be obvious to many but is not, namely, that the New Testament is a religious book and is therefore of interest to religious people. It is not a text to be endlessly compared, dissected, or deconstructed for the amusement of elites or to provide them with assurance that they need not take God too seriously. To the contrary, Yarbrough shows that the majority of Christians in the majority world are interested in the theological and spiritual dimension of the Bible and that is a legitimate way of reading a book like the Bible. While Yarbrough can be questioned on points, his basic thesis holds: the Bible is the church’s book.

—Michael F. Bird, Academic Dean and Lecturer in Theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

Without dismissing the contribution of post–Enlightenment biblical studies, Yarbrough is recommending what one may call an Augustinian hermeneutic, already practiced in the majority world, where Christianity continues to thrive. He calls into question the...marginalization of ‘populist’ interpretive voices by an ‘elitist’ academia which has long lost its bearings.

—Adonis Vidu, Professor of Theology, Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Robert W. Yarbrough (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is a professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He has authored, coauthored, or translated several books, including the groundbreaking textbook Encountering the New Testament. He is also coeditor of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.


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    Digital list price: $16.99
    Save $2.00 (11%)