According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

N.T. Wright, "Paul and the Faithfulness of God" (Vol 4) - Paul's Soteriology

From Worldview to Theology, NT Wright

by Scot McKnight
Oct 29, 2013

NT Wright, in his Paul and the Faithfulness of God, volume 2, opens up with a sketch of his plan, which I will sketch briefly before we get to Wright’s own proposal: Paul’s theology is thoroughly Jewish from top to bottom, and it therefore revolved around three major themes:
Monotheism: God is one and it is the God of Israel.
Election: God formed a covenant with Israel by his own will, a covenant that grabbed this nation among the many and gave to Israel a mission to the world. This election and covenant form the soteriology of Israel’s theology.
Eschatology: again, God has a plan for history to rule this world with Israel having formed a special role.
Paul’s theology though takes these three themes into new territory in reframing each through Jesus and Spirit — thus, a Christology and Pneumatology give the monotheism, election and eschatology reshaped focus.
Paul’s mission was to engage both Judaism and the Roman Empire with its paganism in forming churches across the Empire.
So now to Wright:
My particular proposal in this Part has a simple outline, unfolding in three stages. 
Stage One - I take as the framework the three main elements of second-temple Jewish ‘theology’, namely monotheism, election and eschatology. I am aware, as I have said before, that second-temple Jews did not characteristically write works of systematic theology… (610). “I am equally aware that many essays in ‘Pauline theology’ have assumed that its central, dominant or even sole theme will be soteriology, and that my proposal may appear to be ignoring this and setting off in a quite different direction. However, as will become clear, I believe that the theme of ‘election’ is the best frame within which to understand Paul’s soteriology, and that ‘election’ in turn is only properly understood within the larger frame of beliefs about the One God and the promised future (and the particular problem of evil which only emerges into full light once the reality of the One God has been glimpsed). Soteriology thus remains at the centre” (611). 
Stage Two - This brings us to the second stage of the hypothesis. I shall argue, in the case of each of these three central and correlated topics, that Paul rethought, reworked and reimagined them around Jesus the Messiah on the one hand and the Spirit on the other (612)…. 
Stage Three - The third stage of the hypothesis is to demonstrate this christologically and pneumatologically redefined complex of monotheism, election and eschatology was directed by Paul in three further ways, which we postpone to Part IV of the present book. I list them here in the reverse order in which they appear in that Part. — First, it was what drove and governed the main aims of his letter-writing…. Second, though, if Paul was indeed redefining the central beliefs of second-temple Judaism, we might expect to find, at least by implication, a running debate between him and others within that world, focused not least on how they were reading scripture (613)…Third, this christologically and pneumatologically redefined Jewish theology was in reasonably constant engagement, again sometimes explicitly and sometimes not, with the pagan world of Paul’s day.
So he is taking 2 Corinthians 10:5 at Paul’s word: the man was capturing every thought for Christ.
And all of this ends up in a local church, in the ekklesiai of Paul:
The result of all this (again, this will come in chapter 16) was the founding and maintaining of communities which, in terms of the first-century world of Diaspora Judaism, were bound to look extremely anomalous. On the one hand, they would seem very Jewish, indeed ‘conservatively’ so. On the other hand, they would seem very ‘assimilated’, since they did not practice the customs and commandments that marked out Jews from their pagan neighbours. But these communities, Paul believed, possessed their own inner coherence, due to the freshly worked elements in the theology which he expounded, elements that were not bolted onto the outside of the parent Jewish theology as extraneous foreign bodies but were discerned to lie at the very heart of what that theology had most deeply affirmed (614).


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