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Missing Lenses


Discover what a change of paradigm can do for your understanding.

It brings clarity, removes confusion, strengthens faith, gives confidence in Scripture and the God who gave it. Questions like can we trust the Scriptures? What do we do with the passages we cannot understand and what do we do with apparent contradictions? This book answers many of these questions.

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Book Details : Missing Lenses
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 485 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1729326206
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.79 x 22.86 cm

Editorial/Customer Reviews


Dr. Florence Morgan Gillman,
University of San Diego, CA USA

“Missing Lenses offers non-specialist biblical readers a concisely written, yet amazingly informative text from an evangelical, Reformed perspective concerning a major issue in New Testament Studies: the recovery of the corporate, Hebraic backdrop undergirding earliest Christian thought. Serious Bible study participants from many traditions will enjoy engaging with this volume.”

Jerry from Chattanooga
Posted on Goodreads Amazing Grace

“Missing Lenses deserves a very wide reading—no, a very wide studying!—for its wealth of thorough information. Couldn’t put it down! Chiefly, I appreciate the completeness of Missing Lenses. It becomes more and more evident as one reads through the book that this has been a major goal of the work. The writing is from a humble stance, sometimes almost begging the reader to understand that there is no superiority of authorship when a major doctrine is presented from a “new” perspective. The “new” perspective is shown to be an old perspective that has been missed somewhere in the history of biblical interpretation, usually in missing the Hebrew background (context) of the doctrine or concept.

The book is divided into three parts. Part one recovers the Hebraic backdrop to Paul’s thought. It is here that Holland wants to correct four errors that have led the academy and the church astray. The first error is that the early church abandoned its Jewish heritage due to Gentile influx. The second error—often an overreaction to the first—is that first-century Jewish literature is the key to understanding the NT. Rather, the OT is the key to understanding the NT. The third error is that understanding Greek culture is the key to understanding the NT. No, while Greek language was used, the ideas are thoroughly Jewish. The fourth error is to miss the importance of context for understanding a word’s meaning. So what context is appropriate for understanding the NT? In contrast, Holland finds the answer in the storyline of the OT, particularly its expectation of a New Exodus through a new David.

Part two takes a deep dive into the concept of corporate solidarity. This section largely revolves around re-thinking Romans 5-8. The ideas in this section are many and complex, so adequate summary is impossible. However, the essence of Holland’s argument is that, building upon the New Exodus paradigm, “these passages should be read consistently from a corporate perspective first before making individual application” (p89). For example, as Israel was enslaved to Egypt, so all humanity is enslaved to Sin (Satan). As all Israel was baptized into Moses in the Exodus, the whole church was baptized into Jesus in his death and resurrection. Paul’s emphasis is less on individuals being mapped to Jesus’ experience of death and resurrection; rather, Jesus led the entire church—present and future—through the waters of death and new life, and individuals who believe join that community. This is what Paul means in Romans 6. The passage is not about the individual and their baptism in water, but the rebirth of church in the New Exodus from slavery to Sin. Humans have been in a covenant with death, and only death itself will free them from it. This shift from individual to community results in a radical re-reading of Romans and numerous striking insights along the way.

While the New Exodus changes how we think about community and the individual, part three develops how it affects how we think of salvation. The New Exodus paradigm affects how we think about righteousness, justification, atonement and more. For Holland, Christ’s death should be primarily read through the Passover lens. That is, Christ’s work is fundamentally not an atonement for sin but a redemption from slavery. Justification, then, is less a law-court or accounting image; it is about deliverance and acceptance. Theories of the atonement and debates about justification have gone astray when they neglect the New Exodus background of the NT.

As to the ideas within Missing Lenses, I must admit that I am still processing. With some books, it is easy to make critiques. Perhaps the author is inconsistent or works from a radically different starting point. However, I agree so much with Holland’s foundations that critique is difficult, despite how radically different his exegesis is. Since his exegetical insights are so numerous and profound, it will take significant time to sift through them all.

Most Christians have likely encountered the idea that we moderns are far more individualistic than our biblical forefathers. Many, too, have been told of the importance of the New Exodus theme in the OT. However, no one more than Holland has allowed these insights to radically reshape the interpretation of scripture with such fruitful results.

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