Book Notice: Matthew Emerson, “Christ and the New Creation”

In case you were curious, yes indeed, freshly-minted SEBTS PhD graduate Matthew Emerson_new creationEmerson has published his first book, Christ and the New Creation: A Canonical Approach to the Theology of the New Testament (Wipf and Stock, 2013). Emerson (Assistant Professor, California Baptist University) offers a stimulating read on the theology of the New Testament, in which he emphasizes the new creation inaugurated in Christ’s death and resurrection and consummated at his return. He argues that the canonical ordering of the New Testament itself emphasizes this theology.

Emerson’s method is canonical-linguistic. Instead of using a thematic or book-by-book analysis, Emerson attempts to trace the primary theological message of the New Testament by noting the narrative presented through the ordering of the books, or the canonical shape. That order goes as follows: “Christ inaugurates the new creation in the Gospels, commissions his church to be agents of it in Acts, calls believers and the church to live both in light of what he has already done in his death and resurrection (Romans–Colossians) and what he will do in the future in his Second Coming (1 Thessalonians–Jude), and consummates it in Revelation” (p. 169). Thus the New Testament emphasizes the story of Christ’s inauguration, commissioning, and consummation of the new creation.

Even for those readers who do not prefer Emerson’s canonical methodology, the book is well worth the read. Pastors, professors, and students will profit from engaging Emerson’s work, especially to the extent that they find themselves interested in themes at the intersection of Christ and new creation.

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