Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Forty Eight

The exposition of Rom. 7.1-8.11 is of a piece with what we have heard before. Tom thinks two stories are running simultaneously just beneath the surface of the text, the story of Adam (see Rom. 5.12-21) and of Israel. The attempt to see both stories for instance in Rom. 7.7-13 however is problematic in various ways, as we shall see. And I would remind the reader of this blog one more time--- all the evidence we have suggests that the majority of Paul's audience in Rome are Gentiles, not Jews, … [Read more...]

Captain America— The Winter Soldier

By now the formula is familiar. Lots of action, lots of chases, occasional snappy dialogue, but nothing too heavy. Good vs. evil writ large on the screen. But what if in the good their lurks evil, and what if the evil is manipulated good? And what if the price of security is freedom, the giving up of freedom?The Marvel comic movie franchise which has been rolling along nicely for a considerable period of time, has increasingly attracted to it, because of its success, all kinds of … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Forty Seven

In dealing with pp. 880-92, we are dealing with one of the more revealing passages in this whole book, a passage which depends, again and again, on the notion that 'dikaiosune tou theou' literally the righteousness of God, refers to God's covenant faithfulness. We have had occasion to make clear some of the real problems with that whole idea, but here in dealing with materials in 2 Cor. 3-5 it becomes really evident that that dog just won't hunt. It does not make sense of texts like for … [Read more...]

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

Tom's exegesis on pp. 870ff. of Gal. 3.19-22, and it brings to light his reasoning about why Paul thought the Law seemed to have failed. Tom says it was no fault of the Law itself, the fault lay entirely in the sinfulness of Israel. He puts it this way "Torah offered life, it could not give it-- not through its own fault, but through the sinful human nature of Israel". But this is not entirely correct. Even the Law given to Adam could not give him everlasting life. That's why there was a tree … [Read more...]

Aaron Sorkin’s– The News Room, Season One

In the wasteland that is American TV which has become, as Bruce Springsteen once said '57 channels and nothing on' (or words to that effect), it is difficult to find substantive TV series that involve: 1) issues that matter; 2) good acting; 3) top notch script writing, and 4) characters you care about. Without question, one of the best script and especially dialogue writers for TV is Emmy award winning (for West Wing) Aaron Sorkin. He can really turn a phrase, and quick too. You really have … [Read more...]

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

What follows in pp. 860ff. is an exposition of Galatians, an exposition which clarifies some things, and makes more of a puzzle of other things. First of all, Tom is absolutely right that the logic of the arguments in Gal. 3-4 is narratival in character more than anything else. Paul will connect the community of Christ back to Abraham and his covenant, and will stress that the role of Torah was temporary for the people of God. In other words, this is not basically argument about law vs. grace, … [Read more...]

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

It would be difficult, in a work so large, to pin point certain sections that were most crucial to understanding Tom's approach to Paul, but certainly one of them must be pp. 852-60, which are the subject of this post. Here Tom is dealing with the crucial proposition or thesis statement found in Gal. 2.11-21, or vss. 15-21 depending on whether you see the transitional comments about Peter in Antioch as part of the thesis statement or not. There is a definite coherency to Tom's argument here, … [Read more...]

Spiritual Formation at Eastertide– Rethinking Basic Assumptions

A couple of years ago I wrote a book for Abingdon entitled A Shared Christian Life, deal with the issue of spiritual formation in a Wesleyan form. I stressed, as I will stress in this post, that the primary place most human beings are going to get spiritually formed is in the context of the congregation-- whether it be congregational worship, or the sharing of the Eucharist, or on retreat with a Bible study group, or a fellowship meal in church or in a home. Spiritual formation is not … [Read more...]

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

Tom is right to stress that the notion of pistis Christou is not a comment on Jesus' faith in God, his religious awareness or even his trust of God as opposed to his own good works, or anything of that sort. No, it has to do with the faithfulness of Christ to fulfill God's purpose for him, including dying on the cross. On p. 841 he has once more explained his understanding of the righteousness of God as having to do with: 1) the divine character rather than a status of righteousness imputed or … [Read more...]