The Examined Life— by James Howell

The following is a helpful post by James Howell, my friend and fellow Um minister, who pastors at Myers Park UMC.---- The Examined LifeSocrates was right: "The unexamined life is not worth living." The depressing vanity of our culture is that we just seem to live thoughtlessly, bouncing from one experience to the next, too busy to stop and wonder about the Why of it all.Everything we read about Socrates indicates that (1) he was exceedingly wise, and that (2) he almost never … [Read more...]

Timothy George on the Churches of Rome

I am not a Roman Catholic, but I love the churches of Rome. Where else on earth is there such a concentration of hallowed houses of worship, sermons in stone and light, in art and architecture, that reveal so completely the antiquity and historical density of the Christian faith? That is why I was delighted to see George Weigel’s beautiful new book, Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches (New York: Basic Books, 2013).Many of the churches in Rome are built over or near the tombs of the m … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Fifty Six

Tom, on p. 984, makes much of Phil. 3.2 'we are the circumcision'. He is right that this is a statement about who is part of the new covenant community, namely all Jews and Gentiles who confess Christ and have been indwelt by the Spirit, and worship the Lord in spirit and in truth. It will be noted that what Paul is talking about with this metaphor (for his audience is not all Jews, and indeed Paul warns against the Judaizers whom he calls polemically 'the mutilators of the flesh') is those … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Fifty Five

The rest of the discussion of the Galatians material is basically just a re-run so we will move on to the discussion of 1 Corinthians which begins on p.976. Tom will argue in regard to judgments made now in the church, that it is bringing forward the final judgment into the present, just as he has argued that initial justification is the bringing forward of final justification into the present. The discussion kicks into high gear on p. 977. He draws on an analogy and says we have the same … [Read more...]

Hurtado’s Critique of Wright– Part Three

Here is the third post of Hurtado on Wright-- reposted here... “Israel” and the People of God: Wright & Response by larryhurtadoIn this posting I query another of Tom Wright's major emphases in his mammoth new work, Paul and the Faithfulness of God (see my previous postings on the work here and here). This concerns his emphatic view that in Paul's view "Israel" becomes effectively the church, or more specifically becomes simply all those who put faith in Jesus. I've queried thi … [Read more...]

Hurtado’s Response to Wright– Part Two

“Paul and the Faithfulness of God”: 2nd Posting by larryhurtadoYesterday, I posted on Tom Wright's 2-vol opus on Paul, and in this and a couple of subsequent postings I'll offer further comments about some features of this work. My first observation in yesterday's posting was that it's massive, 2 volumes, over 1600 pages. Wright seems to have taken this opportunity to lay out extensively his views, not only on Paul, but on a wide panoply of other/related matters as well. For those who ha … [Read more...]

Hurtado’s Response to N.T. Wright– Part One

“Paul and the Faithfulness of God”: Wright’s big Opus by larryhurtadoLate in 2013 I was asked by the journal, Theology, to review N.T. (Tom) Wright's then-forthcoming book on Paul. As I am committed to preparing an essay on Paul for a conference in Rome in June this year, I agreed. A few days later a huge parcel arrived for me, and upon opening it I found that I had agreed to read/review a work of two volumes comprising over 1600 pages! I've sent off the review now, and it's been accep … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Fifty Four

The discussion of Gal. 2-4 which ensues, beginning on p. 966 and here we find Tom making some excellent points about what Galatians is and is not about. For example, it is not primarily about 'how shall we be saved' (answer by justification by faith). Paul is addressing those who already are Christians and the question for them is 'how then shall we now live, and live together as Jew and Gentile in Christ'. Further, Paul's arguments are meant to demonstrate that Gentiles do not need to … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Fifty Three

On p. 957, Tom says this: "the declaration 'dikaios' 'in the right' is therefore bestowed on those who are both 'in the Messiah' and indwelt by the Messiah's spirit, by the Messiah himself." Here, this seems to suggest regeneration precedes the declaration. There are two problems with this analysis: 1) it contradicts what Paul specifically says in 1 Cor. 12--- there he says 'by one Spirit we have all been baptized into the one body, and given the one Spirit from which we all may drink' (this … [Read more...]